PLO to investigate capitol exec in furniture scandal

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – The Provincial Legal Office (PLO) of Negros Occidental will conduct an investigation to determine if there are grounds to terminate an Executive Assistant of Governor Eugenio Lacson, allegedly involved in the unauthorized repair of furniture in the latter’s office.

PLO head, Atty. Alberto Nellas, told reporters Wednesday that EA IV Francis Velez has already submitted his reply to the show cause order issued to him by the PLO.

“Parte sa show cause ni Francis Velez naka submit na sia answer so ang next phase ma conduct na ta preliminary investigation,” Nellas said.

He added that the next step is to come up with an investigation report and make the necessary recommendation to the governor based on the outcome of the investigation.

“It’s a position of trust and confidence, so the administrative rules will apply,” Nellas said.

He added, “It has to be determined whether or not there is ground for termination.”

Velez was asked to explain the withdrawal of several pieces of furniture from the Office of the Governor for repair without the governor’s authority.

“This action was taken without following the procurement process outlined in Republic Act (RA) 9184,” Nellas noted.

Records show that on June 25, Velez issued an Obligation Request for labor and materials for the repair of furniture at the Office of the Governor, including four long sofas, two small sofas, 12 visitor chairs, and four executive chairs with arms, amounting to PHP 129,200.

“This was done without any prior consultation with Gov. Lacson or his authority,” Nellas pointed out.

He also noted that based on comparative research of prevailing market prices, the items were overpriced, and no bidding was held.

Velez could be liable for alleged violations of RA 9184, the Procurement Law, and RA 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Nellas added.

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