MANILA–The Office of the Ombudsman (Om-budsman) has ordered the dismissal from the service of Southern Leyte Gov. Damian Mercado after he was found guilty of grave misconduct for mishandling the 2007 procurement of second-hand vehicles.
The dismissal order carries the accessory pe-nalties of perpetual disqua-lification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits, can-cellation of eligibility and bar from taking the civil service examinations.
Mercado and five other local executives are also set to face trial before the Sandiganbayan for viola-tion of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”.
Likewise charged are Bids and Awards Commit-tee (BAC) Chair Crispin Arong, Jr., BAC Vice-Chairperson Feorillo De-meterio, Jr.; BAC members Anecito Narit, Benjase Lumen and Consuelo Lad-rera; and supplier Baltazar Avila, Sr. of Kojac Auto Repair Shop and Auto Supply.
Arong, et. al. were also found guilty of grave misconduct and ordered dismissed from the service.
Probe showed that in 2007, Mercado, then Maasin City Mayor, approved the purchase of three recondi-tioned vehicles totaling P2.3million.
After the bidding, the acquisition of the Mitsubishi Pajero, Isuzu Wizard and Toyota Grandia was awar-ded to Kojac Auto Repair Shop.
However, in-depth investigation found that Mercado was the original owner of the Grandia which was sold to Avila in No-vember 2006 for P390,000 and that the Wizard was acquired by Avila in 2006 for only P275,000. PNA