North Cotabato solon, ex-town officials face raps over overpriced fertilizers

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2018 08:16 PM

MANILA - North Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Nancy Catamco is facing one graft and two malversation cases at the Sandiganbayan filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against her.

Charged alongside her were her former husband Pompey Perez and former Poro, Cebu Mayor Edgar Rama.

The cases stemmed from the procurement made by Rama in 2004 of 3,333 bottles of Vitacrop liquid organic fertilizers priced at P1,500 per bottle from Perzebros Company, supposedly owned by Perez and Catamco.

Also included in the graft case are ex-Poro officials Ronald Carcellar, Ruben Estrera, Gorgonita Gonzales, Sergio Zurita, Nilo Gorgonio, Gregorio Dorog and William Surbano.

The Ombudsman alleged that the fertilizers “were found overpriced by the Commission on Audit by at least P1,092 per bottle or a total amount of P4,580,375.25.”

The procurement was also allegedly done “without public bidding and recommendation of the Bids and Awards Committee” and Rama only acted purportedly on the basis of a city council resolution authorizing him to directly contract and approve the payment of P5 million to Perzebros Company.

The Ombudsman also said that there were two tranches of payments made to Perzebros, P3.2 million and P1.65 million, “despite irregularities and violations of Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.”

The Ombudsman recommended P110,000 bail for each of the three main accused and P30,000 each for the rest of the respondents.

Catamco's name figured at the height of the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam when she was linked to the non-government organization Aaron Foundation supposedly owned by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

In a statement released by lawyer Geraldine Quimosing, Catamco refused to comment on the cases filed against her.

“As far as Rep. Catamco is concerned, the cases, which arose before she entered government service, have just been filed with the Sandiganbayan, a forum where she will ventilate all her arguments and defenses. Given that the cases are now sub-judice, we regret that we cannot elaborate further. We hope you understand the limitations that bind us on this particular matter,” Quimosing said.