CA upholds dismissal of Eastern Samar provincial administrator over P10M fertilizer scam

The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the Ombudsman’s dismissal of Eastern Samar provincial administrator Necitas Ponferrada in connection with the misuse of P10-million fertilizer fund allocations in 2004.

In a recent 11-page decision, the CA 8th Division denied Ponferrada’s petition to overturn the Ombudsman’s March 28, 2017 ruling finding her guilty of the administrative offenses of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Ponferrada, then a bids and awards committee (BAC) member, allegedly connived with former Rep. Marcelino Libanan and several government officials to split the contracts and skirt the requirement of public bidding for the benefit of AKAME Marketing International, whose product was not registered under the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA).

She also allegedly conspired with former Governor Clotilde Salazar to falsify the procurement documents to make the transactions look legitimate.

The CA said Ponferrada failed to show that the BAC was able to justify the resort to direct contracting instead of public bidding.

“Her act of affixing her signature to the questioned Resolutions allowing Direct Contracting is not merely ministerial on her part; her signature signifies that a resort to the alternative methods of procurement is justified under the law,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Cruz.

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