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Shady backhoe purchase hounds ex-Catanduanes mayor Torres, fellow politikos

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Former municipal officials of Viga, Catanduanes are in hot water for the alleged anomalous procurement of a backhoe way back in 2005.

Charged by the Office of the Ombudsman for graft were ex-mayor Jose Torres, ex-vice mayor Yolanda Tuquero, and ex-councilors Lourdes del Rosario, Asuncion Odi, Rosario Mollasgo, Horacio Aquino Jr., Domingo Villanueva, Orbel Tonio, William Tuplano, Gomercindo Litong and Nerissa Usero.

A Bicol Standard report Tuesday (May 30) said that the backhoe was acquired at the cost of P13.95 million. The problem is, the purchase didn’t go through the required public bidding, the Ombudsman said.

In particular, the Ombudsman said the former Viga town politikos violated Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The section reads: “In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful: (e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.”

A bail bond of P30,000 was recommended for the temporary liberty of each respondent.