Ex-Iloilo mayor, 8 others fined P999K for overpriced fertilizer

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Nine former officials of Calinog, Iloilo were ordered by the Sandiganbayan to jointly pay almost P1-million as fine for their involvement in the irregular purchase of liquid fertilizer back in 2004.

They must pay the amount within 10 days from receipt of the decision.

The anti-graft court 7th Division found former Calinog mayor Alex Centena and eight other municipal officials guilty of violating Art. 218 of the Revised Penal Code (Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Accounts). (

The others were former municipal treasurer Valentine Sobretodo, former municipal accountant Meriam Celeste, former municipal Agriculturist Crispino Castro, former municipal supply officer Jose Rex Casipe, former municipal administrator Melanie Hilario, former municipal planning and development officer Rhoda Lyn Panizales, former municipal engineer Jose Edeso Enriquez, and former municipal council secretary Ana Lerio Caspillo.

The respondents were originally charged with violation of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas indicted the town officials of violating the government procurement law relative to the distribution of 666 bottles of Bio Nature Liquid Fertilizer, which allegedly did not undergo the mandatory public bidding.

The liquid fertilizers, which cost P1,500 each, totaled to P999,000. The purchase of such fertilizers was part of the Department of Agriculture’s farm inputs and farm implements program.