Sep 30, 2020

Narra vice mayor recommended for graft charges over botched facemask deal

Municipal administrator Dionyseus Santos told Palawan News his investigation showed that Vice Mayor Lumba had planned to corner a bulk supply of facemasks for the town’s disaster risk management office, in the process easing out local suppliers.

Photo courtesy of Philippine Information Agency.

NARRA, Palawan — This town’s municipal administrator, who was tasked by Mayor Gerandy Danao to investigate a controversial transaction of facemasks supply for the town’s campaign against COVID-19, has recommended the filing of graft charges against Vice Mayor Crispin Lumba, Jr.

Municipal administrator Dionyseus Santos told Palawan News his investigation showed that Vice Mayor Lumba had planned to corner a bulk supply of facemasks for the town’s disaster risk management office, in the process easing out local suppliers.

Santos also recommended the slapping of an administrative sanction against former Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) head Raymund dela Rosa “for conduct unbecoming, and simple neglect of duty and command responsibility.”

“Noong [April] 13 pa po natapos ang investigation. Ang findings namin — si Raymund Dela Rosa reprimanded for conduct unbecoming, simple neglect of duty and command responsibility. Si Vice – Mayor Lumba, ay may probable cause para sa criminal case ng R.A. 3910, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices, tapos sa administrative ay liable siya for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service,” Santos said.

Face mask supply

Santos said that Lumba planned to sell to the MDRRMO some 30,000 pieces of facemasks he had shipped from Manila. The MDRRMO had stopped buying from local suppliers, prompting them to file a complaint before Danao.

“May probable cause sa anti-graft and corrupt practices kasi hindi naman siya (Lumba) procurer, hindi naman siya GSO, siya ay legislator, so napakalayo sa trabaho niya,” Santos said.

Santos said that Lumba had ordered the supply from a certain Cleo Marro, only that the shipment failed to arrive on time.

“Isinabay ‘yon halos sa pamimili ng local ng MDRRMO, so may intensyon talagang ipasok. Hindi lang naipasok dahil ‘yong barkong pinagkargahan, sa hindi malamang dahilan, hindi naisamang maikarga ang container. Naikarga siya ng April 4 at dumating ng April 5, at na-claim ni Vice, April 7. Hindi siya naisama, kumbaga sa murder, attempted,” Santos said.

Santos also denied Lumba’s earlier claim that the face mask supply he had ordered was not for the town but for distribution among Palawan’s vice mayors, where he is president of its League.

“He lied. Unang sinabi ng mga anak niya sa Facebook na galing sa pondo ng Sangguniang Bayan (SB). Nag-imbestiga kami wala namang pondo ‘yong SB para doon. Pangalawa, sabi naman mula sa pondo ng vice mayor’s league. Nagsinungaling na naman siya. Tinawagan namin ‘yong mga vice-mayors, mga anim sila. Dini-deny ‘yong sinabi ni vice na galing sa pondo ng liga,” he said.

Relief goods distribution

Santos said he also recommended further investigation to probe the role of Lumba and some of his family members on the procurement of relief goods being distributed to families as part of the town’s emergency response.

“Recommendatory ako, nireview ni mayor, nirelease niya noong 15 inapprove niya, ibig sabihin, may recommendation pa doon for further investigation para sa pangingialam ng pamilya niya sa procurement ng mga relief goods. Lumalabas na nangingialam pati pamilya ni vice sa transakyon ng MDRRMO sa relief goods. Pwede pang magpahanap si mayor ng panibagong ebidensiya para sa panibagong kaso or he can choose to send it to the ombudsman. Depende po ‘yan kay mayor,” Santos said.

Santos said he completed his investigation April 13 and had forward his report to Danao.

“Recommendatory ako, tapos si Mayor ang mag-aaprove. Inaprove niya ‘yon at sinubmit namin sa Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) at sa Sangguniang Bayan,” he said.

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