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Ex-mayor charged with graft

The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to charge former Norala, South Cotabato Mayor Romeo Januto with graft and corruption over the alleged anomalous procurement of P1.8 million worth of fertilizer in 2005.

Also charged before the Sandiganbayan are municipal accountant Grace Mediana, municipal treasurer Carlos Bengil and bids and awards committee (BAC) chairman Dominador Escucha, Jr. and member Victor Balayon.

The charges were based on the findings of the Commission on Audit that no competitive public bidding was conducted for the contract awarded to RCS Trading (RCS) in violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Records showed that Januto together with the other respondents prematurely resorted to direct contracting as a mode of procurement when they immediately awarded the contract to RCS without first showing that there were no other suppliers at terms that were more advantageous to the government. (Jun Ramirez)