Printing Office execs indicted for graft

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The Office of the Ombudsman has found sufficient grounds to indict acting National Printing Office director Emmanuel Andaya and five other NPO bidding committee officials on graft charges for failing to bid out a contract to print  accountable forms for the Cebu provincial treasurer’s office.

Andaya and NPO officials Sylvia Banda (chief administrative officer), Josefina S.

Samson and  Antonio V. Sillona (printing operations head), Bernadette T. Lagumen (budget officer), and Ma. Gracia L. Enriquez (printing operations assistant chief) will be charged at the Sandiganbayan for violations of the procurement law and antigraft law.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Guillermo Sylianteng, a private printer, who accused the NPO of skipping the mandatory bidding process and tapping a private contractor, JI Printers, to provide accountable forms to the Cebu treasurer’s office.

Sylianteng claimed that the NPO fabricated an emergency situation to justify the award to JI Printers. He said the NPO had enough supply of these items that were bought at a much lower price than those provided by JI Printers. He said the Cebu government suffered a loss of P738,400 from the allegedly overpriced accountable forms.

 

‘Overloaded’

 

NPO claimed in its defense that it was “overloaded” when the Cebu treasurer’s office submitted the order for accountable forms and that there was a real danger of possible interruption in government service.

It accused Sylianteng of having an “ax to grind” against the NPO. Sylianteng is the owner of Ready Forms Inc. which was slapped with a one-year suspension and then blacklisted from government bidding by the NPO.

According to Blesilda T. Ouano, graft and investigation and prosecution officer at the

Ombudsman, Andaya and the five other NPO officials “may be reasonably considered to have displayed gross inexcusable negligence or manifest partiality” for JI Printers which “enjoyed unwarranted benefit, cornering a government contract, through the wrongful acts of public respondents without the benefit of a public bidding.”

New controversy

 

The Ombudsman’s order to indict Andaya and other NPO officials came amid the furor over the NPO’s decision to disqualify two of the three  bidders for the P780-million contract to print 55 million ballots for the 2013 elections. The contract was awarded to the last remaining bidder, Holy Family Printing Corp., despite allegations  that it too should have been disqualified for not meeting the bidding requirements.

The two disqualified bidders were Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) and a consortium that included a subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

Saying losers always complain, Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Thursday defended the NPO’s award of the P780-million ballot-printing contract to Holy Family Printing Corp. and its partner, Canon Marketing Philippines.

Brillantes said he saw nothing irregular in the NPO decision to award the contract to Holy Family.

“If there were (irregularities), then we would have vetoed it,” he said.

“And we’ve checked (Holy Family’s) background. They filed requirements and they’ve been joining NPO biddings for a long time,” he added.

No cash out yet

 

He said the poll body has yet to pay for the job. No cash has been released, he said.

Brillantes said Holy Family’s ballots did fail in the initial tests using the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines but a “retest” was conducted and they passed.

“We used 1,000 (ballots) and they got it perfect based on the final report to us,” he said.

Smartmatic Phil. president Cesar Flores, who has accused the NPO of favoring Holy Family, said he was worried that Smartmatic’s PCOS machines might be blamed if the ballots are rejected.

Brillantes dismissed Flores’ misgivings. “Are you worried? I’m not worried. We have a report. I don’t know why many people are worrying about this when we are the ones who have (the responsibility). Not them,” he said.

“A bidding will always have critics. Losers do that. Only God knows if there’s going to be a problem but I don’t think that there will be one,” he said.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • wakats

    The indicted NPO officials committed inexcusable travesty of procurement law to favor JI Printer, based in Cebu City, for direct printing of accountable forms for the province of Cebu without the indispensable requirements of public bidding to determine the most advantageous price for the government, thus violating also the Anti-graft & Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019).

    The new Ombudsman must pursue this case relentlessly to set examples for all government entities to follow strictly the procurement laws and adhere to the Daang Matuwid of PNoy… 

  • nti_boohaya

    Does anyone ever look at how provincial LGU’s bid out projects of the mayor like the ever popular farm-to-market road or flood mitigation or river /canal dredging?  It’s no different from the charges facing these NPO officials.  If nobody in the ombudsman’s office is dedicated to check out the LGU’s then ningas cogon lang ang efforts to curve corruption.  Tuloy ang ligaya!

  • Cal_Reznick

    The providers of the machines scanning the ballots says that there may be a problem with the scanning of the ballots.

    Shouldn’t the Administration take this warning seriously and do more to double and even triple check the procedure that will decide the 2013 elections.

    This is more important than traveling abroad just to attack the former President using corny and lame jokes isn’t it??

  • Cal_Reznick

    So there is some indictment here against some exec…to save people time of what the outcome will be, you only need to know if the person being indicted is part of the President’s kkk or not.

    If he or she is part of the President’s kkk then nothing will come out of this indictment and may quickly get dropped but if he or she is not part of the kkk and even worse is against the Administration then whoever will quickly get dropped in jail.

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