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Former mayor Vicente Emano during a despedida gathering in his honor at city hall in 2013. A graft complaint was filed against Emano in connection with the controversial Scantel project. (Gold Star Daily file)

Scantel ghost haunts Dongkoy

By NITZ ARANCON
Correspondent .

A FORMER barangay official asked the Office of the Ombudsman to prosecute ex-mayor Vicente Emano before the Sandiganbayan for graft in connection with city hall’s controversial telephone project for 17 rural barangays in the city over a decade ago.

The Gold Star Daily learned over the weekend that the complaint for graft was filed by former Mambuaya barangay treasurer Danilo Daaca against Emano months before former city hall “job order” worker Ernesto Molina filed two sets of administrative and graft charges against the ex-mayor and his former city hall subordinates before the ombudsman.

In one of his complaints, Molina accused Emano of causing the release of a congresswoman’s pork-barrel allocation to Kaagapay Magpakailanman Foundation Inc., a “nongovernment organization” linked to the pork barrel scam, for a meat-processing training and for materials. Another complaint was that Emano used city hall’s calamity fund to buy seedlings supposedly for typhoon victims at a time when there was no declaration of a state of calamity. The funds were released shortly before Emano stepped down in 2013.

But months before Molina went to the ombudsman, Daaca filed an administrative and criminal complaint against Emano and former city accountant Wilma Rugay for city hall’s nearly P50-million deal with the firm Supplier Contractor and Networking Telecommunications (Scantel).

The ombudsman has yet to act on Daaca’s complaint.

The May 28, 2003 contract with Scantel, which cost P49.746 million, was intended to put in place a wireless communications network for 17 rural barangays in the city under the “Telepono sa Barangay” program.

Daaca said city hall paid Scantel a total of P31,544,761 between 2004 and 2005.

In his 11-page complaint, Daaca asked the ombudsman to hold Emano and Rugay administratively liable for grave misconduct, grave abuse of authority, and for violation of the code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees.

Daaca also accused the respondents of violating the anti-graft law and malversation of public funds. He asked the ombudsman to bring the former city hall officials to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.

Daaca “silently” filed his complaint with the ombudsman on Oct. 26, 2017. It was only after Molina went public last week with the two complaints he filed this July that a copy of Daaca’s complaint surfaced.

In the complaint, Daaca alleged that Emano signed the May 28, 2003 contract with Scantel despite the absence of an approved budget and a proper public bidding.

Scantel, according to Daaca, had no congressional franchise to engage in the telecommunications business. Neither did Scantel secure a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the National  Telecommunications Commission (NTC), he said.

He said Scantel also had a paid-up capital of only P2 million.

Daaca said the nearly P50-million project was a white elephant. Reads part of his complaint: “True enough, Scantel was unable to meet its contractual obligations and the rural telephone system that was supposed to be installed some 14 years ago were (sic) never realized even to this day.”

Daaca said it was made to appear that the city hall-Scantel contract was a result of a “limited source bidding” procedure but “no bidding was conducted, and the conditions set forth under RA 9164 allowing the use of an alternative method of procurement were never justified.”

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