By Jun Ramirez
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of graft charges against former Negros Oriental Tanjay City Mayor Lawrence Teves before the Sandiganbayan for alleged procurement anomalies and undue delay in the implementation of construction projects.
Included in the charge sheet are Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) members Jose Orlino and Steve Teves. The graft charge stems from the barangay projects riddled with procurement anomalies.
According to the report of the Commission on Audit (COA), several red flags were observed in the construction of footsteps in Barangays Obogon and Sto. Niño.
The COA noted the delay of three years in the project implementation, noting that the materials were received in July 2011 but actual installation was made only in 2014.
It was also observed that 85 pieces of footsteps were not installed but piled near the house of the village chief of Sto. Niño.
Teves’ defense of good faith was junked by the Ombudsman, stating that the mayor “cannot hide behind the defense that he merely approved the transaction to benefit the city. Clearly shown in the program of works is the fact that that the implementation shall be by administration, that is by the executive branch.”
The Ombudsman noted that respondents acted in concert in the procurement of construction materials and in not complying with the dimensions of the footsteps, resulting in the shortage in volume and delay in the project completion.
The charges against SP members Orlino and Teves were ordered as they requested for the project and concurred in the canvass and award to Rebelin Enterprises for the supply of construction materials. Orlino and Teves also signed the delivery receipts “which obviously meant that they received materials.”