Ombudsman affirms graft raps against Tining, exec

By Izobelle T. Pulgo |August 04,2016 - 10:45 PM

THE Ombudsman-Visayas affirmed the charges against former Bogo City mayor Celestino Martinez III and former municipal treasurer Rhet Minguez in relation to the alleged anomalous use of funds for fertilizers and materials in 2004.

In April of last year, Martinez was indicted of the charge but filed a motion for reconsideration with the Ombudsman’s office to seek the reversal of the resolution.

In May 2004 Bogo, then a municipality, received six checks worth P6 million from the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit for procurement of fertilizers for rice and corn.

Martinez then entered into an agreement with a nongovernment organization called Sikap Yaman with no stipulations on project cost and time schedule.

The NGO was also not accredited as required under a Commission on Audit (COA) circular.

The Ombudsman-Visayas said Martinez and Minguez issued undated and unnumbered disbursement vouchers (DV) and allotment and obligation slips.

The COA also noted that Sikap Yaman failed to submit a list of previous projects implemented as well as accomplishment reports.

Despite these irregularities, Martinez and Minguez signed the MOA, DV and checks which authorized the release of funds to Sikap Yaman.

“As signatories, respondents should have raised reasonable questions on the legality or regularity of the transaction,” stated the order.

On July 28, a dismissal order was also implemented against Martinez by the Department of Interior and Local Governance (DILG) after the Ombudsman-Visayas dismissed him from government service.

The dismissal also perpetually disqualified him from holding public office in connection with the 2004 fertilizer fund scam.

Martinez vacated his seat at the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) as ex-officio member of the board, being the president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) Cebu Chapter.

When reached for comment, Martinez said he was already aware about it.

“My lawyers have prepared the necessary documents in our defense and have submitted them, and I feel that the Sandigan would be the better venue to hear our side,” Martinez said.

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