Bongat, et al. slapped with admin, crim raps

It is a double whammy for Naga City Mayor John Bongat as he faces two separate complaints for the violation of Republic Acts 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and 6713 (Conduct of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees).

Mayor John Bongat
Photo by Corky Lim

Bus terminal takeover controversy

In the first complaint, Bongat, along with several others, has been ordered by the Ombudsman to respond to four counts of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019.

Said complaint, docketed as Ombudsman Criminal Case IC-OL-14-1085, was filed by FPM Corporation, represented by Fortunato P. Mendoza and in his personal capacity.

FPM Corporation was the former operator of the Naga City Central Business District Terminal (now the Bicol Central Station) prior to the local government’s takeover.

The other respondents directed to file their counter-affidavits are: Nelson Legacion, City Vice Mayor; Perfecto N. Bragais III, City Legal Officer; and Sangguniang Pangungsod Members Jose A. Tuason, Cecilia V. De Asis, David Casper Nathan A. Sergio, Ryan Cedric G. Rentoy, Babet Lavadia, Joaquin Perez, Jr. Mila S.D. Raquid Arroyo, Esteban Greg Abonal III, Gabriel Bordado, Jr. and Elmer Baldemoro.

The order to file their respective counter-affidavits was issued on 28 October 2014 but was only received recently by some of the parties.

The complainant contends that respondents have conspired in the commission of the alleged offense in the performance of their functions or in relation thereto, wilfully, criminally thru manifest partiality, evident bad faith and/or gross inexcusable negligence when they:

1.) did not call for offers or conduct a public bidding, without just and valid cause without due process of law in accordance with Ordinance #2002-049;
2.) issued Executive Order #2013-030 establishing the Central Bus Terminal Transition Committee and enacted the ordinance setting the guidelines for the interim operation of the bus terminal complex by the city government and its management thereafter;
3.) did not call for offers of conduct public bidding pursuant to Ordinance #2002-049 on 31 December 2013 when the extended period of 6 months ended per Management Agreement dated 17 July 2013 and instead passed resolutions recommending the city government to directly operate and manage the terminal and its takeover and management of the bus terminal; and
4.) forcibly took over the operation of the management of the Central Bus Terminal without any motion for the issuance of a writ of execution pending appeal and favourable order thereto without the presence of the sheriff to legally implement and enforce the order denying the Petition for Injunction with prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and for Judicial Declaration of Nullity of Ordinance #2013-062.
This, the complainant alleged, violated the vested contractual rights and privileges granted to the corporation and caused irreparable damage and prejudice to him.
Apart from the criminal cases, the complainant also filed administrative charges on the basis of the foregoing as separate acts under Section 46, of Book 5 of Executive Order #292 (Administrative Code 1997), in relation to Section 46, Rule 10 of Civil Service Commission (CSC ) Revised Rules on Administrative Cases which constitute Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Public Service, and for common administrative liabilities under Section 4A (a) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Demolition of Naga City Police Station annex controversy

Meanwhile, last week, Citizens Crime Watch officials Diego L. Magpantay and Carlo M. Batalla also named Bongat as among the respondents of a complaint for grave abuse of authority.

Also identified as respondents in the complaint are Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion, City Administrator Florencio Mongoso, Jr., City Engineer Leon B. Palmiano IV, and Solid Waste Management
Department Head Engr. Joel Martin.

The complainants allege, among others, that respondents acted with grave abuse of authority when they acted in concert resulting in the controversial demolition of the the Annex buildings inside the Philippine National Police compound.

In a copy of the complaint furnished to BICOL STANDARD, the complainants contend that “due to the destruction of the annex buildings that housed the Police Community Relations Office, Clearance Section, Special Weapons and Tactics, and Police Retirees Association Office, the Naga City Police Office under the Police Senior Supt. Filmore Escobal was forced to occupy temporary offices provided by the city government which is very [far] from its main Headquarters thereby affecting its adminstrative and operational functions.”

All these, the complainants maintained, affected the morale of the police officials and personnel.
Magpantay and Batalla also underscored the following points:

1. “The Mayor has no authority to order the demolition of the buildings because the lot occupied by the Naga City police are not included in the inventory of real prperties owned by the local government unit;”
2.”The subject portion of lot was reserved for Constabulary purposes as per Executive Order No. 45 signed by Governor-General W. Cameron Forbes dated 25 June 1913;”
3.”The demolition of subject buildings was not undertaken in accordance with the rules provided in the provisions of the Commission on Audit;”and
4.”It did not even conform with the normal procedures as provided for in the DILF Standard Operating Procedure on Demolition and did not inform the Philippine National Police hierarchy through formal notice regarding the impending demolition.”

Pending investigation of the aforementioned cases, complainants seek that respondents be preventively suspended.

As of press time, BICOL STANDARD has not been able to reach the respondents.— BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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