MANILA - Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, the complainant in the impeachment case against Chief Justice on-leave Maria Lourdes Sereno, filed graft charges before the Department of Justice on Monday against 4 officials and a consultant of the Supreme Court as an offshoot of the chief magistrate’s impeachment case.
Sereno’s chief judicial officer, Ma. Lourdes E. B. Oliveros; another member of her staff, Michael B. Ocampo, and controversial IT consultant Helen Perez-Macasaet were charged in connection with Macasaet’s hiring.
The complaint pointed out that only 2 of Macasaet’s 8 contracts of service with the high court passed through the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), while “the other six were renewed by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno.”
This “splitting” of the contracts was intended “to evade competitive bidding,” in violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9184, also known as the Government Procurement Reform Act, the complaint read.
“[T]he mode of procurement utilized in the hiring of respondent Perez-Macasaet was negotiated procurement (direct negotiation) instead of public bidding…” the complaint read.
The alleged offense is also in violation of RA No. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
A separate complaint for RA No. 3019 was also filed by Gadon against Anna-Li R. Papa-Gombio, SC Deputy Clerk of Court En Banc, and Jocelyn T. Fabian, a member of Sereno’s staff and designated chairperson of the Legal Technical Working Group for survivorship benefits.
The TWG was supposed to expedite the study and resolution of retirement and other civil benefits for spouses of justices and judges who have died. However, during the House hearings on the Sereno impeachment case it was revealed that the body caused undue delays in the grant and release of the benefits, with some claims being processed for 2 years instead of the previous timeframe of 2 weeks under the Office of the Court Administrator.