Ombud to probe P1.7 M ‘defective’ tables, chairs

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THE Ombudsman-Visayas decided to conduct a formal probe over the alleged irregularities in the purchase of P17.7 million worth of school furniture for public schools in 2007 in Cebu.

Facing charges of four counts of falsification of public documents are Schools Division Supt. Serena Uy as well as Department of Education (DepEd) staffers Gervasia Sanchez and Judiana Corriente.

Uy, Corriente along with Division Inspectorate Team member Teonilo Ibarra, Felix Mejias, Tiburcio Paras, Romualdo Abella; Bids and Awards Committee members Norberto Torbeso, Daria Sarsalejo, and Willie Adonay also have to address the charges of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act with a corresponding administrative case for grave misconduct.

They will have to answer the allegations before the anti-graft office which found sufficient basis to conduct a preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication against them.

The issue stemmed from the complaints of JEC Lumber Corporation and Ramagal Door and Sash which lost in the bidding for the purchase of arm chairs, teacher’s tables and desks.

They said the project was awarded to Gala Industries which happened to be the third lowest bidder only. Parents and teachers complained that the items delivered by the supplier didn’t meet specifications.

“The teachers claimed that nails instead of bolts and screws were used in the armchairs and desks.

They also reported that some handles of the teacher’s tables were missing,” said graft investigation officer Alejandro Borden.

The complainants alleged that there was “unwarranted preference” in favor of Gala Industries before and during the bidding process.

The Ombudsman said the Commission on Audit found out that DepEd authorized the payment for the school furniture without the required Inspection and Acceptance Report.

The investigator also said that the disbursement voucher was also falsified.

Borden said the school furniture were delivered and received by the respondents even if there were visible defects during the delivery.

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