2 dads file Ombudsman case against Lobregat PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:45

A case of plunder and violation of the code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees was filed by Councilors Rommel Agan and Cesar “Jawo” Jimenez Jr. with the Office of Ombudsman against Mayor Celso Lobregat

An affidavit of complaint executed by Agan and Jimenez , which was discovered by RMN radio announcer Gil Climaco and this DZT correspondent (also an announcer of RMN Straight to the Point program), states that Lobregat  in his capacity as mayor of Zamboanga City, entered into contracts and approved projects for and in behalf of the city government without any authority from the City Council covering the period of April 3, 2008 until October 2009 amounting to P192, 299, 705.52.

Agan and Jimenez said they filed the complaint in their capacity as incumbent city councilors and as taxpayers.

This maybe the first time in the administration of Lobregat that members of the City Council have questioned his action before the Office of the Ombudsman in Davao which officially received the affidavit of complaint last January 24, 2012.     

In a radio interview yesterday morning, Agan said they did not make any noise when they filed the complaint “for we don’t want to politicize the issue.”

“We are just doing our job as representative of the people. The money involved in the implementation of the projects without authority from the city council is the people’s money. Anyway, the mayor has the right to defend himself and we don’t want to engage in trial by publicity,” Agan said.

To recall, in January 17, 2008, the council approved a resolution granting blanket authority to Lobregat to enter into contracts for the implementation of the projects under FY 2008 Annual Budget and prior years’ infrastructure projects, whether bidded out or negotiated, funded in the General Fund and its Special Accounts Budget, Special Education Fund and their Supplemental Budget and to sign the same for and in behalf of the city government.

Sources however said that many of the projects covered by Resolution No. 18 were not actually completed. Worst, the contractors have allegedly collected payment in excess of what they have actually completed.

The affidavit of complaint of Agan and Jimenez further states that some of the projects were abandoned by the contractors in the middle of its implementation.

Because of the account of this dismal circumstance, the City Council resolved to recall Resolution No.18  which was approved on April 3, 2008.

However, Agan said that despite having recalled the blanket authority, Lobregat continued, “in bad faith and utter disregard of the recall”, to enter into contracts for the implementation of infrastructure projects under FY 2008 Annual Budget.

Lobregat’s action, which Agan and Jimenez described as “irregular and illegal”, continued until October of 2009 while after the recall, he was only given the authority to enter into contracts and sign documents only on October 1, 2009 thru Resolution No. 324.

“If you note, the period from the recall or on April 3, 2008 until October 1, 2009, the mayor had no authority in any form whatsoever, to represent the local government in undertaking the projects amounted to more than P192 million,” Agan said.

The complainants, in their affidavit of complaint, also cited Sec. 22 of the Local Government Code of the Philippines which provides that “no contract may be entered into by the local chief executive in behalf of the local government unit without prior authorization by the Sangguniang concerned.

Besides, the mayor was no longer clothed with any authority to continue entering and signing contracts for and in behalf of the city government, Agan said.

It was learned that the Office of the Ombudsman has already written Lobregat, which was addressed thru the City Secretary, informing him of the complaint of Agan and Jimenez. — Jimmy Villaflores