Recently, directors and officers of PNOC EC had been subject of suits that were subsequently dismissed by either the Supreme Court or the Office of the Ombudsman.
Similarly, the Supreme Court, on October 16, 2014, upheld a ruling by the Office of the Ombudsman clearing then PNOC President and CEO Antonio M. Cailao and top executives of PNOC Exploration Corporation (PNOC EC), namely, Rafael E. del Pilar, Lourdes S. Gelacio, Jose C. Sta. Ana, Leocadio M. Ostrea, Jose M. Eijansantos, and Jose Anthony T. Villanueva of graft and plunder charges.
The case against former PNOC President Cailao and PNOC EC officers was filed before the Ombudsman by Crismel Verano, a former director of PNOC EC. He claimed that Cailao, in conspiracy with PNOC EC executives and some private parties, violated government’s procurement act for not conducting public bidding in the importation of 65,000 metric tons of coal in 2009. The Office of the Ombudsman dismissed this case in March 2014 for lack of basis, which ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court in October 2014.
Likewise, on December 17, 2015, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the cases filed by the Field Investigation Office (FIO) of the Office of the Ombudsman and then PNOC EC Chairman and President Gemiliano C. Lopez Jr., against PNOC EC officers namely: Rafael E. del Pilar, Lourdes Gelacio, Raymundo B. Savella, Marita S. Dayleg and the members of PNOC EC’s Bids and Awards Committee for violation of Sections 3 (e) and (g) of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The cases filed by the FIO and former Chairman Lopez generally alleged that PNOC EC officers, BAC members, and certain private parties conspired with one another to split contracts, intending to avoid public bidding, in the 2010 Building Renovation Project of PNOC EC.
In dismissing this case, the Office the Ombudsman found no sufficient basis to establish overpricing and contracts splitting, and that there was no contract that was entered into by PNOC EC that is grossly or manifestly disadvantageous to government.