Mountain Province Gov, 15 Other Execs Face 33 Counts of Estafa, Graft Raps

Sixteen provincial officials, employees and a private lawyer in Mountain Province, including Gov. Maximo Dalog have been charged with 33 counts of estafa through falsification of public and commercial documents stemming from an alleged anomalous procurement of a van which was eventually converted into an ambulance.

BY ACE ALEGRE
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 35, October 7-13, 2007

BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) – Sixteen provincial officials, employees and a private lawyer in Mountain Province, including Gov. Maximo Dalog have been charged with 33 counts of estafa through falsification of public and commercial documents stemming from an alleged anomalous procurement of a van which was eventually converted into an ambulance.

The National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera Administrative Region (NBI-CAR), in a 20-page case report signed by Valentino T. Valvuena and lawyer Paul Alain M. Moises named the erring officials and employees as Dalog, provincial accountant Teodore B. Marrero, provincial health officer Nenita Lizardo, provincial Nurse Helen Macli-ing, provincial administrator and Bids and Awards Committee chairman Paulo Pagteilan, Lily Rose T. Kollin, Bids and Awards vice-chairperson as well as BAC members Florence Gut-omen, Edward Likigan, Solidad Teresa F. Wanawan, Jerome Falingao and Abdon M. Emingan, Abelardo T. Pachingel, inspector of vehicle, Teodore L. Dalog, engineer IV and inspector of vehicle, provincial treasurer Cawed A. Gammonac, Ronald C. Kimakim, proprietor of RONHIL Trading and lawyer Bartolome Macli-ing.

Except for Macli-ing and Kimakim, all officials including Dalog and employees were also administratively charged for grave misconduct and dishonesty.

Governor Dalog in a telephone interview belied the charges, claiming these were politically-motivated having been lodged by a losing gubernatorial bet. While the governor claimed he has not received any copy of the charges, he maintained his innocence. He added that the van/ ambulance is in the possession of the provincial government.

Macli-ing was also recommended by the NBI investigating team for disbarment for participating in the alleged anomalous transaction.

The case stemmed from a Feb. 5, 2007 complaint letter by former Tadian mayor Harry C. Dominguez requesting the NBI to investigate the alleged anomalous transaction regarding the purchase of one unit Mitsubishi van acquired by the provincial government of Mountain Province and registered at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.

The NBI verified with the LTO in Baguio City that the said vehicle bearing license plate number SGA-109 was registered on Sept. 12, 2006 at the LTO in Bayombong. Unlawful transactions involving the same vehicle was found, the NBI reported.

On Feb. 15 this year, Kimakim appeared before the NBI-CAR and denied having made transactions especially in the purchase of the said van.

In his sworn statement, Kimakim disclosed that sometime in March 2006, Helen Macli-ing, a nurse at the Bontoc general hospital, approached him and handed him a blank bid form. Macli-ing reportedly instructed him to write the text under the item description of said bid form.

On Feb.16, 2007, businessman Adelon Espiritu accompanied by his mother Arcely T. Espiritu appeared before the NBI-CAR where he elaborated that he and Kimakim never met or knew each other or have they made any dealings especially on the purchase of the reported overpriced van and claimed that it was Helen Macli-ing who purchased it from Motor Plaza .

The NBI concluded that the transaction between Kimakim and Dalog on the sale of the van never transpired, thus, the narrations contained in the deed of sale of the vehicle were “absolutely false and in violation of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code.”

“By operation of law and for reason that the narrations contained in the said deed of sale of the van are untrue, all the documents that were issued in support to the same deed of sale of the van are deemed fabricated and falsified,” the NBI probers said. “In the same manner, all the subsequent documents issued in support of the same deed of sale of the van are likewise believed falsified and made up purposely to justify the disbursement of the payment of the vehicle in the amount of P999, 000 ($22,324 at an exchange rate of $1=P44.75).”

The NBI found out that the Mitsubishi van that was made to appear to have been officially purchased in the amount by the Mountain province provincial government was actually the same Mitsubishi L-300 van that was privately purchased by the spouses Bartolome and Helen Macli-ing from the Motor Plaza Corporation in Baguio City in the amount of P756,000 ($16,893) only.

The provincial government was defrauded in the amount of P999,000 in view that no transaction on the sale of the said van between Kimakim and Dalog transpired and through the concerted efforts of the private and government employees signatures on the documents, the NBI probe added.

Paper trail

The NBI further claimed that inspection and comparison of documents at first glance may be construed as one and the same document pertaining to the purchase of the vehicle but a detailed scrutiny evidently revealed distinctive discrepancies.

Aside from the discovery by the NBI team that the documents were fabricated, the same is corroborated by the documents particularly the minutes of the pre-bid conference held at the BAC office on March 3, 2006.

The NBI who scrutinized the documents believed that the bidding is for the construction of the controversial Bontoc Commercial Center Phase I and not for the purchase of the van.

Kimakim’s establishment – RONHIL Trading – located at Abatan, Buguias, Benguet and was made to appear to have “sold” the brand new Mitsubishi van was shown to be catering to mobile phone and Internet businesses, thus not selling vehicles.

William Cua, sales manager of the Motor Plaza head office which is located in Calasiao, Pangasinan also vouched that their office did not accredit nor authorize any private individual to dispose or sell bran new vans, claiming that brand new vehicles can only be obtained from their establishment and their outlets.

Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Victor C. Fernandez earlier granted the NBI-CAR authority to pursue the investigation of the case. Contributed to Bulatlat

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