Garchitorena mayor faces graft raps

GARCHITORENA, Camarines Sur—A complaint for Indirect Bribery, violation of RA 3019, Sec 3 (b) and Violation of RA 6713 in relation to Executive Order 292 has been filed by Erasmo P. Bombase, Jr. and Jessie Boy Clores, against Jesus Rico C. Sarmiento, incumbent mayor of this town.

Garchitorena Mayor Jesus Rico Sarmiento
Photo via DA
Aside from the criminal complaint, a separate administrative complaint was also filed by Erasmo P. Bombase, Jr., against Sarmiento for Grave Misconduct.

In the criminal complaint docketed as OMB-L-15-009 for Indirect Bribery; Violation of RA 3019 Sec 3 (b); Solicitation or acceptance of gifts, Atty. Margie G. Fernandez-Calpatura, Reviewing GIPO III and Head, Zero Backlog Unit Evaluation and Investigation Office, by authority of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, directed the complainants and respondent to submit copies of their affidavits and counter-affidavits and other controverting evidence ten days upon receipt of the said order.

In the criminal complaint, Bombase, a member of the Municipal Council of this town, and Clores, the store keeper of Garchitorena Multipurpose Cooperative, alleged that Mayor Sarmiento, on several incidents, openly and publicly used the luxury SUV vehicles of JM Cofer Construction & Supply in the concept of an owner of the vehicles.

These acts, they claimed, constitute violation of Republic Act 3019.

JM Cofer Construction & Supply has had several transactions and contracts with the local government unit of Garchitorena.

Bombase said the acts of Sarmiento of using and/or receiving the luxury vehicles of the contractor is a clear violation of the abovementioned law.

Meanwhile, Clores, another complainant in this case, said that Sarmiento is involved in the illegal delivery of 25 sacks of National Food Authority (NFA) rice to the Barangay Food Terminal on January 27, 2014.

This was allegedly in payment for the 25 sacks taken by Mayor Sarmiento through Neil D. Dianela, Civil Defense officer of the LGU, from the same source, during the October 2013 elections.

On October 17, 2013, the Garchitorena Multi-purpose Cooperative acquired from the NFA in Pili, Camarines Sur 75 sacks of rice.

Fifty sacks were bought from the Department of Agriculture while 25 sacks were bought by the GMC as part of its inventory. However, upon instruction of Mayor Sarmiento, the LGU’s delivery truck unloaded 25 sacks to the residence of Mayor Sarmiento.

Said cargo was received by his wife, the complaint indicated.

On January 27, 2014 , 100 sacks of rice were procured by the LGU for distribution to families affected by storm surges.

Upon delivery of the 100 sacks to the Bodega at Pambuan National High School, at Barangay Pambuan, at around 9 a.m., 25 sacks were picked up by employees of the LGU.

The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of this town, through the Office of the Vice Mayor, invited the employees of the LGU to appear before them to shed light onto the investigation in aid of legislation regarding the 25 sacks that were withdrawn from the evacuation center.

Mayor Sarmiento, however, did not allow the LGU employees concerned to appear before the SB. Instead, he insisted that a meeting be made in the Office of the Mayor.

Further, an invitation letter was sent to the Office of the Mayor by the SB, but said request was turned down by the chief executive.

Complainant Bombase said that from the exchanges of letters and reply, he claims that the mayor does not want to have the alleged anomaly investigated.

In this regard, Bombase charges that Sarmiento violated the Sec 5 (a) of RA 6713 when he deliberately failed to act on the request of the public which was coursed through the SB.

“His refusal to cooperate in the investigation of the SB, including his receipt of gifts or favors from a contractor through the use of the contractor’s vehicles are also in violation of the law” the complaint added.

Meanwhile, Bombase added that Sarmiento was able to purchase a house and lot at St. James Homes Subdivision in Naga City, after a short period of time following his assumption to office as mayor of the town.

This matter should be investigated, Bombase urged.

Bombase also prayed for the suspension of Sarmiento, if and when the Ombudsman finds probable cause.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM