NBI endorses graft charges against ERC officials

NBI endorses graft charges against ERC officials

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has urged graft charges at the Office of the Ombudsman against three Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) execs and an advertising CEO over speculations of an audiovisual presentation (AVP) they secured through improper bidding.

Involved are ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar, legal service staff Prescia Vanessa Reynante-Reynoso, planning and information service officer-in-charge Teofilo Arbalate and Luis Morelos, owner of advertising company Fat Free Inc., who are revealed in a series of notes ERC director Francisco Jose Villa Jr. wrote before committing suicide in November 2016.

The bureau have also conducted an investigation against Salazar after discovering that the AVP project was implemented through a “rigged selection system”. Salazar & co., along with Fat Free’s Morelos, were recommended to have violated Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 65 of the Government Procurement Reform Act due to the anomalous infomercial project.

“Based on the submitted pieces of evidence, there is no question that prior and during the required bidding for the AVP project, Fat free Inc. was already pre-selected to undertake the said infomercial project. This is evident from the series of meeting between the said ERC officials and the personnel of Fat Free Inc. even before the start of the procurement process of the AVP project,” the NBI said.

“Worse, Fat Free Inc. is not even qualified to participate since the requirement as per the Terms of Reference (TOR) prepared for the AVP project is at least 10 years relevant professional experience, whereas Fat Free Inc. was just incorporated sometime in 2014,” the NBI added.

However, according to his affidavit, Salazar denied that he pressured Villa of the project’s procurement in favor of Fat Free, Inc. and instead claimed that Morelos has been giving commission-free concepts for the infomercial after the bidding processes failed.