Ex-Southern Leyte gov Mercado faces graft raps for buying second hand vehicles

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Former Southern Leyte Governor Damian Mercado has been charged with graft over the alleged anomalous purchase of second-hand service vehicles.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed the charges before the Sandiganbayan after finding probable cause to indict him with two counts of graft.

Records show that, when he was still mayor of Maasin City in 2007, the local government purchased three vehicles from Kojac Auto Repair Shop proprietor Baltazar Avila Jr. for the amount of P2.3 million.

The vehicles include an Isuzu Wizard Wagon and a Toyota Grandia for P1.5 million; and a Mitsubishi Pajero worth P800,000.

However, graft investigators discovered that the payments were made despite violations of the provisions of the Government Procurement Act on the advertising of Invitation to Bid, reference to brand names and allowing the posting of a performance bond upon the contract’s signing.

Also, investigators found that the three service vehicles were below the standard of five years as required by Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Mercado got dismissed as governor in 2017 by the Ombudsman over these deals.