Zamboanga Sur solon, 8 face graft rap for 2001 medical supplies purchaseBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the filing before the Sandiganbayan of a criminal case against former Zamboanga del Sur Governor now lawmaker Aurora Cerilles and six others in connection with the questionable purchase of medical supplies in 2001.
Aside from Cerilles, also facing a case for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act are:
Marina Tudio-Tampus, then officer-in-charge (OIC) Provincial Accountant; Estita Tago, OIC provincial budget Officer; Malaya Ysmael, OIC general services officer;
Corazon Silla-Ariosa, chief of hospital of Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Hospital, all four as members of the bids and awards committee (BAC) of the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur; and private individuals Rey Morgada and Neil Cruz, who acted as representatives of U-Net Distributors Corporation (U-Net) that bagged the supplies contract.
The case stemmed from the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) that “various hospital supplies amounting to P6,879,225 were procured from exclusive distributors in violation of Section 105 of COA Circular No. 92-386,” which circular allows procurement from exclusive Philippine agents or distributors only if “(a) the Philippine distributor has no sub-dealers selling at lower prices; and (b) no suitable substitutes of substantially the same quality are available at lower prices.”
The Ombudsman agreed with the findings of the Commission on Audit (CoA) that the items bought from U-Net are very common that there is no need for an exclusive distributor.
In its resolution, the Ombudsman pointed that had a public bidding been conducted, the government could have saved more than P1,204,755 since there will be competition of prices among many prospective suppliers.
“There is reason to believe that [they] had unlawfully allowed the direct purchase of medicine supplies from U-Net Distributors Corporation despite knowing that the situation does not call for such kind of purchase and notwithstanding that the documents supporting the identity of the said distributor as an exclusive distributor are questionable,” the Ombudsman stated in the resolution.
The case against Zenaida Galicinao, Filomena Pongon, Roseller Ariosa and Isaias Regis, Jr. were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.
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