Complainant in Sereno impeachment sues 5 Supreme Court officials

A GRAFT complaint has been filed against five Supreme Court (SC) officials in relation to the hiring by the Office of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of an information technology (IT) consultant and the delay in the resolution on survivorship benefits.

Slapped with charges for violation of the anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, or Republic Act 3019, and violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act, or Republic Act 9184, were Ma. Lourdes Oliveros, Michael Ocampo and Helen Perez-Macasaet.

Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, the same lawyer who filed an impeachment complaint against Sereno, lodged the complaint before the Department of Justice on Monday, March 12.

During one of the hearings conducted by the House committee on justice on the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno, it was revealed that the Office of the Chief Justice hired Perez-Macasaet as an IT consultant from October 1, 2013 until November 23, 2017. The contract was awarded without proper public bidding.

The hearing also revealed that Oliveros, Chief Justice staff head, and Ocampo, Court Attorney IV also under the office of the Chief Justice, had recommended the hiring of Perez-Macasaet.

Over the four-year period Macasaet, received a compensation amounting to P10.6 million.

Gadon also filed graft charges against Anna-Li Papa-Gombio and Jocelyn Fabian "for causing undue injury and damage to surviving spouses of retired justices and judges."

Papa-Gombio is the chairperson of the Supreme Court Special Committee on Retirement and Civil Service Benefits (SC-RCSB) while Fabian is the chairperson of the technical working group on SC-RCSB.

In the separate complaint, Gadon said that during the hearing of the House committee on justice on Sereno's ouster, it was revealed that several resolutions on the application for survivorship benefits were delayed for as long as two years since the committee handled said applications.

During the hearing, Office of the Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said that prior to the creation of the committee, the SC en banc resolved petitions on survivorship benefits in less than a month. (SunStar Philippines)