BACOLOD City Administrative and criminal complaints were filed before the Ombudsman in Cebu City against the mayor, vice mayor, city engineer and an employee of the Himamaylan City government in Negros Occidental for the alleged illegal use of city-owned heavy equipment.
The respondents are Mayor Agustin Ernesto “Tinto” G. Bascon, Vice Mayor Carmenia “Mincit” Bascon, City Engr. Vicente Chong Genova, and contractual employee Arnel Bernesto.
The complainant is Vidastro T. Reyes of Barangay To-oy, Himamaylan, temporarily residing in Barangay Masaling, Cauayan town.
The complaint-affidavit received by the Ombudsman Visayas on March 28, 2019 claimed that the four respondents allegedly conspired and violated the following:
-Articles 217 and 220 of the Revised Penal Code; and
-Sections 3 (e) and (g) of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as amended by RA 1060.
Article 217 involves malversation of public funds or property (presumption of malversation) while Article 220 involves illegal use of public funds or property.
Reyes alleged that for several times from August 2018 to March 2019, he saw the heavy equipment of the Himamaylan government being used and operated in the road project from Crossing Tuyom and Cauayan Road by a private contractor.
He also saw Genova at the project site in Cauayan town.
Reyes claimed that based on his inquiry, the use of the Himamaylan government’s heavy equipment had no written contract between the City and the private contractor.
Aside from the illegal use of the heavy equipment, Genova also used the citys service vehicle in supervising the project.
Reyes also alleged that Genova and Bernesto were engaging in private contracting during official hours.
Aside from photos and documentary evidence, Reyes’ complaint-affidavit is backed by another complaint, stating that the equipment used by the respondents, allegedly with the knowledge of the Bascons, included the city-owned backhoe loader, grader, road roller, mower/hauler and the city engineer’s service vehicle.
The project in Cauayan, where the Himamaylan City-owned heavy equipment were used, started in 2018 and the last time the equipment were spotted in the area was March 2019.
The rental receipts for the equipment were allegedly issued on March 7, 2019 at 5:37 p.m.
The respondents could not be reached for comment as of press time.