MANILA (UPDATED) - The Office of the Ombudsman filed another case of graft against Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. at the Sandiganbayan over a security service contract he entered into as provincial governor from 2008 to 2009 allegedly without public bidding.
In the information filed by the Ombudsman Monday, Villafuerte, as the “head of the procuring agency,” supposedly gave unwarranted benefits to Tigon Security Investigation and General Service Inc.
Also charged were then provincial accountant Leticia Aliorde, executive assistant Richard Rivera, rural health physician Bernadette Carlos, and medical officer III Gerardo Villafuerte.
It was found that Villafuerte approved disbursement vouchers after Aliorde certified the documents as complete, while Rivera, Carlos and Gerardo Villafuerte certified in the obligation requests that the supporting documents were valid.
According to the Ombudsman, the certifications the officials issued even if there was no public bidding was a violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The recommended bail for each of the accused is P30,000.
In a statement, Villafuerte dismissed the case as "another baseless complaint."
"This is another baseless complaint from the perennial filer of nuisance cases, more so now that it's political season again.
I am confident that this case will be dismissed in due time for being baseless and nothing more than an instrument of political harassment," he said.
He added the government did not lose any money with its hiring of the security agency.
"No money was lost by the government as the service was fully rendered by the security company. The security agency was hired by the provincial capitol for more than 10 years even before I took over as governor in 2004. I merely renewed its contract after I assumed office. The provincial government benefited from the contract as it was renewed with the old rates and much lower than market rates," Villafuerte added.
In 2013, the Ombudsman also charged Villafuerte with 3 counts of graft for the alleged illegal purchase of petroleum products by the provincial government, also allegedly without proper bidding.
-- with a report from Mylce Mella, ABS-CBN News