MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the indictment of a Samar town mayor for 16 counts of graft in connection with P2.6 million in catering contracts in 2012.
Aside from Jiabong Mayor Jocelyn de Jesus, the Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charges against budget officer Arnaldo Morabor, treasurer Erna Morabor, Accountant Rolando Jabeguero and Helen Labrague, proprietor of Helen’s Catering Services.
The Ombudsman ordered Morabor and Jabeguero dismissed from the service as they were found guilty of grave misconduct.
The case stemmed from a 2012 Commission on Audit report that showed that the municipal government disbursed a total of P2.6 million for the procurement of 32 catering service contracts, 16 of which were awarded to Helen’s Catering Services.
State auditors found irregularities as the respondents illegally resorted to the alternative method of procurement through individual transactions, and there were also no supporting documents for the deals.
"It is undisputed that the value of the 16 catering transactions exceeded the threshold set by law, yet public respondent Arnaldo proceeded with the procurement thereof without public bidding. Despite the patent irregularities in the supporting documents, public respondents De Jesus, Erna and Jabeguero still caused payment to private respondent," the Ombudsman said.