Atty. Vincent Paul Montejo, the legal counsel of North Cotabato Governor Emmylou “Lala” Mendoza said that his client remains confident that she will be able to address all the accusations of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Montejo said : “Any accusation of partiality, preference or bias in favor of any gas station has no basis. What should be borne in mind is that Gov. Mendoza is not a member of the Bids and Awards Committee (“BAC”). It follows then that she did not handpick or select any particular station as the Province’s supplier for the P2.4M fuel.”
Montejo further rebutted the Ombudsman by saying that “the fuel was procured after it went through a form of bidding, allowed under the Government Procurement Act and as recommended by the BAC…Lastly, the Ombudsman also ignored evidence that fuel was actually utilized for the Province’s road projects,” he added.
North Cotobato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza will be charged with 3 counts of graft over the provincial government's purchase of diesel worth P2.4 million from her mother's gasoline station without the prerequisite bidding.
In a resolution made available to the press Friday, March 8, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the indictment of Mendoza for approving the payment from the provincial fund of 49,526.72 liters of fuel.
She will face trial before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, specifically for violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).
According to the Ombudsman investigation, the government-procured fuel was used for one road grader and 4 dump trucks for two days of road rehabilitation projects.
In arguing against her charges, Mendoza said it was only her mother's gas station, the Taliño Shell Station, which was "willing to accommodate the credit term requested by the provincial government."
However, the Ombudsman found that "there was no compelling justification for dispensing with the requirement of public bidding."
"The great disparity between the estimated 552 liters of diesel actually consumed for the two-day road maintenance project in Magpet vis-à-vis the 20,833 liters actually paid for, is proof that the fuel-purchase transaction is illegal and that this transaction is obviously a scheme to pocket government funds," the resolution read.
"[Respondent] made it appear that the diesel fuel was procured and used in a government project when in truth, only a small portion of the fuel was actually used and the rest was converted to cash for the benefit of those who were involved in the fraudulent transaction," it read further.