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Iloilo VM Palabrica in hot water for awarding construction projects to wife

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The Office of the Ombudsman has charged before the Sandiganbayan the vice mayor of Dingle, Iloilo for allegedly favoring a company owned by his wife for several construction projects in the municipality.

In the case filed by the Ombudsman, Vice Mayor Rufino Palabrica III will face four counts of violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Records show that Palabrica, then serving as municipal mayor, “willfully, unlawfully, and criminally” intervened in the awarding of a P5.36-million contract entered into by the local government with Tri-B Marketing from 2007 to 2009.

According to the Ombudsman, Tri-B was owned by Rufino’s wife, Theresa Palabrica, but was registered under the name of her dummy, Eden Casteneda.

The contract was for the concreting, rip-rapping, widening, and construction of the drainage system at Espino St., and construction of the drainage on Aportadera St. worth PHP1.89 million in December 2007, and the concreting of a portion of Pototan-Dingle Road worth P1.79 million in September 2008.

The local government of Dingle also awarded Tri-B the concreting of Camambugan-Caguyuman Barangay Road amounting to P733,794 in February 2009 and the construction of a home technology building at Rufino Palabrica Sr. National High School worth P953,271.64 in March 2009.

The anti-graft body said the business interest of Palabrica’s wife in a government contract violated Section 89 of RA 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, and Section 7(a) of RA 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standard for Public Officials and Employees.

The Ombudsman has recommended a bond of P120,000 for Palabrica’s temporary liberty. (PNA)