By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki
Tuao, Cagayan Mayor Francisco Mamba Jr. and 10 other officials of the municipality have been charged with graft before the Sandiganbayan Second Division over their alleged involvement in the 2004 fertilizer fund scam.
Mamba Jr. is facing two counts of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, together with his brother and former mayor William Mamba, Administrator Frederick Baligod, Municipal Treasurer Rodolfo Cardenas, Administrative Assistants III Merlina Dayag and Jose Palacpac, Accounting Clerk Anabel Turingan, Agricultural Officer Teresita Espinosa, Clerk Juliana Padilla, and Agricultural Technologists Leticia Acob and Petra Santos.
Feshan Philippines, Inc. representative Ramon Aytona is included in one of the two graft charges.
The charge sheet naming containing all 11 respondents was in relation to the reportedly anomalous procurement of 3,333 bottles of Bio-Nature Liquid Organic Fertilizer at P1,500 per bottle, or the total amount of P4,999,500 from Feshan on April 5, 2004.
The local officials caused the partial payment of P3,101,962.50 despite several irregularities, such as the absence of public bidding. They also selected Bio-Nature as goods to be purchased and the price indicated without any project proposal, report, or market survey for available fertilizers.
After the payment, the local officials even failed to perform their duties under the memorandum of agreement with Feshan. They did not conduct periodic monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the funds would not be misappropriated.
The second graft charge was for the same purchase with the same amount made on July 2, 2004.
A P60,000 bail for each official was recommended for their provisional liberty, while P30,000 was recommended for Aytona.