By Rey Panaligan, March 31 2019; Manila Bulletin

Image Credit to Manila Bulletin

The town mayor of Sto. Tomas in Batangas has been charged with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly demanding kickbacks from the company that got the 2010 contract to upgrade the municipality’s waterworks billing and collection system.

Charged before the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) was Mayor Edna P. Sanchez in a complaint filed by WeDo BPO, Inc., an information technology company engaged in the delivery of strategic sources services.

A copy of the complaint received by the OMB was given to journalists covering the justice and courts beat.

The complaint alleged that Sanchez demanded that WeDo turn over to her all the payments made for the project since she claimed it was she who “facilitated” its approval.

It claimed that on Sept. 1, 2010, Sanchez sent her police bodyguard William Ardaniel to WeDo to receive a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) check for P1.2 million and P1 million in cash.

It also claimed that Ardaniel brought with him an authorization letter from Sanchez along with her postal identification card. Later, the complaint stated, Sanchez encashed the check.

WeDo’s complaint also stated that when the firm advised Sanchez that it received only P4.94 million in payment for the contract in 2010, the mayor questioned the amount and insisted the budget for the project was P5.9 million.

It stated that despite WeDo’s explanation that the payment for taxes was withheld and 10 per cent of the total amount was retained, Sanchez demanded that all the proceeds of the contract should be turned over to her.

The complaint also stated that Sanchez directed WeDo’s general manager to release the money in tranches which would be picked up by her bodyguard.

Also attached to the OMB complaint were receipts of various cash and check deposits to town officials who were allegedly instructed by Sanchez to withdraw the amounts from WeDo.

It is expected that the OMB would ask Sanchez to submit her counter-affidavit to the complaint.