By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Former Negros Occidental Board Member Victor Puey filed a complaint affidavit to the Office of the Ombudsman against Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia in relation to the alleged anomalous purchase of P50 million worth of furniture and fixtures for the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC) in 2008.
The Court of Appeals-Visayas Station recently overturned the Office of the Ombudsman decision on the matter, which earlier dismissed the mayor and eight others.
Based on the copy of the affidavit, furnished to Watchmen Daily Journal yesterday, Puey called it “unfortunate” that Leonardia was able to secure a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction in the administrative case from the Court of Appeals, which was accomplished through the Condonation Legal Doctrine, or the Aguinaldo Doctrine, wherein reelection to office is considered an acceptance of the official’s actions.
In the previous court ruling, the judges claimed, “We see no error in the computation of the liquidated damages.” However, Puey pointed out the Commission on Audit (COA) released a notice of disallowances, dated March 14, 2014, that showed an overpayment of P890,432.12.
He also noted, P2,691,946.98 worth of goods remain undelivered, a violation of Purchase Order No. 1024-08, dated October 24, 2008.
“I am beseeching the Office of the Ombudsman to make a follow-up investigation in regards to the purchase of the said furniture and fixtures, particularly the issue of over and under delivery,” Puey stated.
The mayor has since denied any wrongdoing, saying, “This case does not involve dishonesty at all.”
Puey earlier claimed the case had been prejudged by the Court of Appeals.
According to a letter he wrote earlier this year, the former board member claimed the Condonation Legal Doctrine was already being discussed before hearing rebuttal to arguments made by Leonardia in his appeal.
He wrote, “It is very clear and apparent that this honorable Court of Appeals has already prejudged the case in favor of petitioner Evelio Leonardia.”
Puey also pointed out a March 2, 2017 issue of a local newspaper with a headline reading
“Mayor’s camp expects preliminary injunction.”
He explained, with the said newspaper under ownership of the mayor’s family, “This only goes to show that they already expect and are sure of a favorable ruling.”/WDJ