Cebu's Gwen Garcia to face graft raps over CICC project

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2016 02:17 PM

Gwen Garcia. File Photo.

MANILA - Cebu Congresswoman Gwendolyn Garcia will soon face another set of charges at the Sandiganbayan.

This, after the Ombudsman affirmed its earlier finding of probable cause to indict her for graft over the alleged anomalous procurement of the P830-million Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) project when she was governor.

In a resolution issued on March 31, the Ombudsman found probable cause to file 11 counts of graft against Garcia and Bids and Awards Committee members Eduardo Habin, Roy Salubre, Cristina Gianco, Adolfo Quiroga, Necias Vicoy, Jr., Emme Gingoyon, Glenn Baricuatro, Bernard Calderon, Marino Martinquilla and Eulogio Pelayre, and W.T. Construction, Inc. (WTI) Vice President Willy Te.

The Ombudsman alleged that the respondents resorted to an illegal procurement after awarding P16.8 million architectural and engineering design contract, P307 million combined structural steel contracts, P59 million adjacent/contiguous works, P7.5 million cladding contract, P1.8 million structural cabling system, P3.6 million fire protection/sprinkler system, P3.4 million glass works, and P26.5 million air-conditioning to WTI.

Garcia and the other respondents also allegedly allowed
WTI perform additional works worth P257.4 million without an appropriation, contract and public bidding.

The Ombudsman said Garcia's claim that the charges are "politically motivated" was baseless.

"This Office, as a dispenser of justice, ensures that justice is meted out objectively, without fear or favor, and that the cases are decided based on the evidence, not on motives, personalities or political affiliation," the Ombudsman said.

Garcia has a pending graft and malversation case at the Sandiganbayan in connection with allegations of irregularities in the purchase of the 24.92-hectare Balili Estate for P98.93 million in 2008 when she was still provincial governor of Cebu.