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  • Writer's pictureGuru Press Staff

Tabuk City Mayor Estrañero begins serving six months suspension

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Tabuk City, Kalinga – Tabuk City Mayor Darwin Estrañero on Friday, Sept. 29, started serving the six-month suspension order meted against him by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The said office likewise indicted Estrañero for violating the Anti-graft and Corruption Practices Act before the Sandiganbayan.

In relation to administrative cases filed against him by former Vice Mayor Bernard Glenn Dao-as and other taxpayer-complainants for overpriced procurement of medical supplies at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ombudsman found Estrañero guilty of simple misconduct.

In his complaint, Dao-as specified among others the infamous thermal scanner bought by the city government for P12,000 each despite the issuances on Price Freeze on Emergency Supplies under JMC No. 2020-01 dated March 18, 2020, issued by the DTI, DA, and the DOH38.

Dao-as alleged that the mayor is administratively liable for knowingly entering into a contract that is grossly disadvantageous to the government.

In its Nov. 2022 decision released in July 2023, the Ombudsman ordered Estrañero to serve six months of suspension as a penalty for the administrative cases filed against him.

Suspension of elective officials during the election period, however, is prohibited without prior approval from the poll body, unless said suspension will be for purposes of applying the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as embodied in Section 261 (x) of the Omnibus Election Code.

On Sept. 04, DILG Undersecretary Juan Victor Llamas requested an exemption which the Commission on Election granted.

The order penalizing Estrañero has been served by the local DILG and the incumbent Tabuk City Vice Mayor Dick Bal-o takes over as acting Mayor.

Meanwhile, Lucretina Sarol, the highest-ranking Sanggunian member in the city, serves as acting Vice Mayor.

Ombudsman indicts Estrañero for violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act

Ombudsman, in a resolution dated Nov. 28, 2022, which was only released on July 25, 2023, found probable cause to charge Tabuk City Mayor Darwin Estrañero for gross overpricing of medical supplies and devices before the Sandiganbayan.

“…Records disclose that respondent City Mayor Estrañero entered into contracts grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the City Government of Tabuk, by purchasing medical supplies that were grossly overpriced (ranging from 135% to 609% overpriced),” said the Ombudsman.

The overprice rate for the thermal scanner alone is at 353 percent. Instead of paying for only P340,000.00, the contract entered into by Estrañero states they paid for P1,200,000.

Other overpriced items purchased by the CLGU were personal protective equipment (PPE), nebulizers, oxygen tanks, nasal cannulas, alcohol, and medical gowns, among others. Overpriced supplies procured amount to over P2 million.

At least over 20 complaints have been lodged against Estrañero at the Office of the Ombudsman. The suspension order covered only 8 cases.



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