Sen. Lito Lapid faces graft charge
On Friday, August 1, the Office of the Ombudsman announced that it has found probable cause to indict Senator Manuel "Lito" Lapid and several others for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the P728 million fertilizer fund scam.
In a statement, the Ombudsman said a special panel determined that Lapid, Provincial Accountant Benjamin Yuzon and Provincial Treasurer Vergel Yabut committed several violations of the procurement rules after purchasing fertilizer that was "1,000 percent higher than the other fertilizers of the same kind."
The Ombudsman panel cited records showing the provincial government, under Lapid, purchased 3,880 liters of fertilizer at P1,250 per liter from Macro-Micro Fertilizer in 2004. At that time, Lapid was still governor of Pampanga.
Investigation showed the same kind of fertilizer costs only P120 per liter.
"If the Provincial government of Pampanga undertook the purchase through public bidding, it could have purchased a fertilizer of equal or better quality than Macro-Micro Foliar Fertilizer at a lesser or competitive cost, thus allowing the Province of Pampanga to secure the best commercially available fertilizer product at the lowest price possible," the Ombudsman resolution said.
Ex-Gov. Lito Lapid, Pampanga execs charged for graft in fertilizer fund scam
Lapid also issued a certification that "there was no suitable fertilizer substitute with the same quality" and that the mode of procurement would be direct purchase from its exclusive distributor, MPTC.Lapid case shows how public funds were stolen, say farmers
Also charged were the incorporators of Malayan Pacific Trading Corporation (MPTC) Ma. Victoria Aquino-Abubakar and Leolita Aquino, and Dexter Alexander Vasquez, proprietor of D.A. Vazquez Macro-Micro Fertilizer Resources.
While in the performance of their duties, Lapid, Yabut and Yuzon, in conspiracy with Vasquez, Aquino and Abubakar, committed the act of purchasing the fertilizers in complete disregard of Republic Act No. 9184, or the "Government Procurement Reform Act", and its implementing rules and regulations.
Moreover, the manner and inordinate speed by which the transaction was consummated in a mere 12 days -- manifested the partiality of Lapid, Yabut and Yuzon to D.A. Vazquez and MPTC.
Meanwhile, the criminal cases against Lulu Alingcastre, Leonardo Mendoza, Ramir Flores, Ismael Abubakar, Jr., Alberto Aquino, Arthur Aquino, Paul Albert Aguino, Marites Sto. Domingo, Rolando Dorado and Ade Nasuiton were dismissed for lack of probable cause. In the related administrative case, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales also ordered the dismissal from the service of Pampanga provincial treasurer Vergel Yabut and Pampanga provincial accountant Benjamin Yuzon. On the other hand, the administrative charges against other co-respondents Lulu Alingcastre, Leonardo Mendoza and Ramir Flores were dismissed for lack of merit.