Former Maguindanao mayor faces trial in Sandiganbayan

THE FORMER mayor of Northern Kabuntalan, Maguindanao is facing trial before the Sandiganbayan for the alleged anomalous procurement of the municipality’s water project in 2011.

Datu Umbra Dilangalen Al Hadj is indicted by the Office of the Ombudsman with violation of Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act)

Also set to face trial are municipal accountant Rahima Ali and municipal treasurer Kabiba Mael.

The investigation of the anti-graft body revealed that in 2011, the respondents received P5 million for the construction of the municipality’s small water impounding project (SWIP).

The Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) conducted its pre-bid conference on Nov. 21, 2011, just two days before the opening of bids scheduled on Nov. 23, 2011. Then, respondents paid the contractor, FFJJ Construction, in full despite the non-completion of the project.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, in a resolution, said “the attending circumstances show that respondents Dilangalen, Mael and Ali acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence and gave unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference to FFJJ Construction when they signed the disbursement vouchers, thereby causing the first and final payment for the SWIP. At no time should full payment be made prior to the completion of the project, which is what happened in this case.”

On the other hand, respondents Ali and Mael were found guilty of grave misconduct and ordered dismissed from the service with the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and bar from taking civil service examinations.

The Ombudsman also found BAC chairperson Teng Ungkakay and BAC members Basser Macarimbang and Averose Savidra guilty of simple misconduct and ordered their suspension for three months for non-compliance with Sec. 22 of Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act), which requires that a pre-bid conference be held at least 12 days before the deadline for the submission and receipt of bids.

The Decision added that in case of separation from the service, the penalty of dismissal from the service is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondents’ salary for one year, and in the case of respondents ordered suspended, their salary for three months.

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