Walks free after posting P30 thousand bail: Mayor Gica arrested for graft
CEBU, Philippines — Dumanjug Mayor Efren Guntrano “Gungun” Gica was arrested yesterday over a 2016 case involving the hiring of Pinoy rock star Bamboo Mañalac for a town fiesta performance that did not allegedly go through the bidding process.
Gica’s lawyer, his father Edgar Gica, however, told The FREEMAN over the phone that his son was immediately released after posting the required P30,000 bail.
Back in September, the Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause against Gungun for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Gica allegedly influenced the municipal Bids and Awards Committee to perform an act constituting a violation of the rules and regulations.
The case was resolved in November and a warrant of arrest issued. Thus, police arrested the mayor in his home in Dumanjug yesterday morning by virtue of a warrant of arrest signed by Regional Trial Court Branch 59 Acting Judge Reginald Fuentebella in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Colonel Rhoderick Mariano said that Gica’s camp was able to post bail at the RTC in Barili town, which prompted his release from detention.
Atty. Gica was quick to label the move as “obviously politically motivated,” adding that they were surprised with the accusation.
Earlier, Ombudsman Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Rheia Tibon recommended the filing of the case against Gica in court and the recommendation was approved by Ombudsman Samuel Martires on June 13, 2019.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by former mayor Nelson Garcia on September 2, 2016.
Garcia was the town mayor of Dumanjug from June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2016 but Gica assumed office as acting mayor effective March 2015 after Garcia was suspended.
In preparation for then upcoming 160th founding anniversary of the municipality, Gica and former municipal administrator Danilo Macoy requested the cultural presentation of two local bands — Adrianne Band and Overdue Band, Powerspoonz Band, and entertainment and musical numbers from Bamboo.
In his memorandum dated September 16, 2015, Gica directed the municipal BAC to resort to direct contracting to secure the services of the performers for the fiesta celebration.
The Sangguniang Bayan authorized Gica to engage the services of TSE Live Inc. which was responsible for the performance of Bamboo and other artists.
The anti-graft investigation showed that it is of record that Gica directed the BAC through memorandum 0916-01 to resort to direct contracting.
The BAC also complied with the said directive and issued a letter dated September 18, 2015 stating therein that the committee yields to the mayor’s memorandum.
“Thus, by explicit provisions of RA 9184 and its implementing rules, it is the BAC which determines, in particular instances, whether to resort to Alternative Methods of Procurement and recommends to the Head of Procuring Agency the methods of procurement,” read the resolution of the Ombudsman.
Gica also allegedly directed the Local Finance Committee to release the payment of P953,200 prior to the performance date of the artists on October 1, 2015.
The advance payment was prohibited under Presidential Decree 1445 or the State Auditing Code of the Philippines. JMD (FREEMAN)