By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, along with seven other government officials, were indicted by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas over allegations P9.3 million used on city activities and projects did not undergo public bidding.
According to documents signed by Deputy Ombudsman to the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente, the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office found cause to file criminal and administrative charges of grave misconduct against Leonardia; former secretary to the mayor, Atty. Goldwyn Nifras; former City Accountant Eduardo Ravena; former Vice Mayor and current City Councilor Renecito Novero; and former City Administrator Lorendo Dilag.
The office also found cause to file a criminal case in violation of RA 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, against former Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson; former Management Audit Services Office (MASO) OIC Ricardo Dahildahil; and former secretary to the mayor, Dr. Rogelio Balo.
According to Section 3(a) of RA 3019, the specific section named in the case, the law prohibits giving any private party “unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference.”
Respondent were given ten days to respond with counter-affidavits and other evidence.
It also specifies, counter-affidavits must indicate the respondent’s salary grade.
Documents noted, failure to comply will be considered a waiver of the right to file a counter-affidavit or reply-affidavit.
The order also stated motions to dismiss, including motions for extensions and second motions for reconsideration or re-investigation, are prohibited./WDJ