QUEZON CITY – The Office of the Ombudsman (National Office) has found probable cause for the filing of a case against former Butuan City mayor Ferdinand M. Amante, Jr. for violation of Section 3 (g) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. This was according to documents obtained by Butuanon Chronicles from the said office.
While the charges of his co-accused were dismissed for lack of merit, the court found that only Amante was the only official to be blamed for such a disadvantageous transaction against the city government. According to court documents, “while there may be truth to respondent Amante’s assertion that the cost of acquiring the equipment is nothing compared to the immense benefit that may be gained from it, the same did not turn out into fruition, and mainly due to his failure to ensure that the machine – a 2003 model, not brand new, and partly rusted and scratched – was fully functional and pre-tested before allowing its importation into the country.” The court added that “the huge public expense could have been avoided had respondent Amante, as the local chief executive exercised such care and diligence warranted by the situation.” Finally, the court said that “the fact the WMRI is willing to replace the machine is beside the point, and even if true, it has yet to materialize despite respondent Amante’s claim that it would arrive by the end of April 2016.”
It can be recalled that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), after its thorough investigation, had filed a case against Amante and some other officials of the city government stating that on November 28, 20012, respondent Amante, in representation of the City Government of Butuan and Butuan City Medical Center (BMC), accepted from the World Medical Relief, Inc. (WMRI), by way of donation, one (1) unit Mobile Seimens Biograph PET-SCAN machine with accessories. The Sangguniang Panlungsood authorized the donation through SP Resolution No. 544-2011 and No. 745-2012 enacted on August 8, 2011 and December 2012, respectively; transported all the way from Michigan, USA in the final destination at the BMC. The City Government shouldered the customs duties, freight and other incidental expenses of the said donation.
Amante was a two-termer City of Mayor of Butuan which ended last May 2016 elections after he was beaten by landslide by an unknown businessman-candidate. During his two terms as Mayor, his administration has been marred by controversies such as the PET-SCANdal, construction of a highly overpriced poly sports complex, attempted purchase of overpriced heavy equipment and many more.