Govt to charge Pichay, LWUA execs over chess sponsorship
Jovee Marie de la Cruz – April 26, 2016
THE Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of charges before the Sandiganbayan against Prospero A. Pichay Jr. and three other officials of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) in connection with P1.5 million worth of chess sponsorship.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said those ordered charged with Pichay are LWUA executives Daniel Landingin, Emmanuel Malicdem and Wilfredo Feleo. The four will face violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act [RA] 3019) and Section 7(a) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713).
Morales said the criminal charges stem from the illegal payment of P1.5 million, representing the sponsorship grant given to the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in August 2010.
Section 3(e) prohibits public officials from causing any undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of their official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
“Documents show that Pichay, et al. approved and facilitated the sponsorship of the Second Chairman Prospero Pichay Jr. Cup International Chess Championship,” Morales said.
Section 7(a) of RA 6713 prohibits public officials from having any direct or indirect financial or material interest in any transaction requiring the approval of their office.
“Feleo, Malicdem and Landingin were manifestly partial to NCFP, a private organization headed by their superior, Pichay,” Morales said. “The allocation is excessive and dubious, especially since holding or sponsoring sporting events, like chess tournaments, is not among LWUA’s primary purposes.”
According to Morales, NCFP received the sponsorship amount from the LWUA, “only because of its association with Pichay, not because it was legally entitled to it.”
Morales said Pichay’s financial and material interest in the NCFP’s sponsorship request is undeniable, as the sponsorship sought by the chess organization was intended for a tournament named in Pichay’s honor.