ILOILO City – A complaint for graft, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, gross neglect of duty, grave abuse of authority, and gross dishonesty has been filed against the director of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Western Visayas before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The complaint, filed by Felizardo Valdez Jr. of Barangay Lapuz Norte, La Paz district against Director Roland Ramos on March 11, stemmed from the repair and improvement of LTO Region 6’s general services office, toilet and proposed finance records room last year.
According to Valdez, nearly half a million pesos was released as payment to a contractor that did not do the job.
Ramos denied the alleged anomaly. “The project was in order po,” he told Panay News.
Valdez charged Ramos specifically with violating Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act [“causing undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party 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”].
Valdez asked the anti-graft office to, pending hearing, suspend Ramos from office to prevent the possible coercion of witnesses who are LTO employees and destroy evidence and documents at LTO Region 6.
According to Valdez, documents relating to the supposed completion and acceptance of the project were falsified.
It would appear in the documents, according to the complainant, that the following processes were observed on the following dates:
* Sometime in early October 2018 – request made for the repair and improvement of general services office, toilet and proposed finance records room
* Oct. 29, 2018 – Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) issued Resolution No. 2018-163 recommending to adopt small value as mode of procurement for the project request
* Nov. 7, 2018 – BAC recommended awarding the project to 3rd Dragon Builders Innovation for submitting the lowest quoted price
* Nov. 8, 2018 – Director Ramos issued Notice of Award to 3rd Dragon Builders Innovation
* Nov. 12, 2018 – Director Ramos issued Notice to Proceed to 3rd Dragon Builders Innovation
* Dec. 17, 2018 – 3rd Dragon Builders Innovation requested payment, stating among others that the job had been completed
* Dec. 20, 2018 – LTO Region 6 paid 3rd Dragon Builders Innovation P468,335.96
Valdez said there was only a 35-day difference between the Notice to Proceed to the issuance of the Certificate of Completion and release of payment to the contractor.
“This is not realistic considering the extent of the repairs and improvements,” he stated in his complaint.
Simply put, he averred, “the contract with all the supporting documents were drafted for collection purposes only.”
If Valdez were to be believed, Ramos actually requested him “and some LTO employees to look for the materials needed in the said project like sand, gravel, paint and other materials” as early as August 2018.
“It was actually the person of Romeo Muega who was asked by Ramos to provide for the carpenters and workers for the construction,” read part of Valdez’s complaint, and that Muega was also asked to provide some materials and pay for the carpenters on the promise that he would be reimbursed.
Muega was an LTO-6 employee.
“Muega later learned that LTO had already paid (3rd Dragon Builders Innovation) for the said construction while those who actually provided and worked for the said construction are still unpaid,” read Valdez’s complaint.
“There is no truth to the allegation. I did not ask the complainant to purchase any materials. Bakit naman ako magpapabili ng materials sa kanya? May contractor naman to do the job,” Ramos told Panay News.
The LTO director believed Valdez simply wanted to discredit.
He said he had previously chided Valdez whom he described as a “fixer” of driver’s license applicants conniving with Muega, the LTO-6 employee tasked to administer examinations to applicants.
“Valdez is transacting for and in behalf of driver’s license applicants…walang nangyayaring actual exam,” said Ramos.
Upon learning this, Ramos said he immediately reassigned Muega to the LTO-6 CSR table.
“Apektado sila kaya sinisira nila ako,” said Ramos.
In fact, said the LTO-6 director, a complaint was coursed through the President’s complaint hotline 8888 regarding the two./PN