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Postmaster, others charged over computer, Internet deal

By: - Reporter / @jgamilINQ
/ 02:20 AM April 16, 2012

The country’s first woman postmaster-general continues to come under siege, with her critics now lodging criminal and administrative complaints against her, 10 other postal officials and two companies over the “questionable” procurement of computers and Internet connections for the Philippine Postal Corp. (PhilPost).

Three complaints of falsification of public documents, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as grave misconduct, dishonesty, grave abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the public have been filed against Postmaster General Josefina de la Cruz by Alab ng Mamahayag (Alam), which claims to be a journalist group.

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The complaint was filed by Alam president Berteni Causing and Alam PhilPost chapter president Tirso Paglicawan Jr., who is also president of the PhilPost Workers Union.

The complaint, filed in the Office of the Ombudsman on April 10, alleges that PhilPost entered into three undated contracts for computers and Internet connections with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Xitrix Computer Corp. without a public bidding or the required publication of documents.

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PhilPost allegedly entered into a P9,515,200 contract with PLDT for the delivery of 200 unbranded computers with two-year Internet connections each and with Xitrix for the procurement of 100 unbranded computers and 45 bar code scanners worth P2,374,750, as well as for 25 unbranded computers and 11 bar code scanners worth P591,925.

In its complaint, Alam also named as respondents and “conspirators” PhilPost chief accountant Marietta Bertillo, PhilPost directors Cesar Sarino, Felipe Hidalgo, Ronaldo Tuazon, Joel Otarra and Mory Sison; PhilPost bids and awards committee officials Mama Lalanto, Elizabeth Tungol, Luis Carlos and Lee Viceral; and PLDT president Manny V. Pangilinan and Xitrix officials Napoleon Nazareno and Vicente Esperanza III.

Alam accused the respondents of railroading the contracts and falsely claiming that they underwent a public bidding. “[These] did not have any bidding and did not have any publication as required under the procurement and e-commerce law,” Alam charged.

“The respondents declared in the contract[s] that there was compliance with these requirements of the law for procurement but the truth is there was none, hence, it was dishonesty in the highest,” the complaint read.

When told of the complaint, PhilPost public information officer Alvin Fidelson said, “Anyone can file, but there is a process … that should be observed based on existing law, not through forum shopping.”

Another PhilPost information officer Bong Sablan also denied that the contracts were illegal.

“There was nothing irregular in the transactions. They went through correct processes,” he said.

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TAGS: Alab ng Mamahayag, Alam, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Graft and corruption in the Philippines, Philippie Postal Corp., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), Philpost, postmaster, Postmaster General Josefina de la Cruz, Xitrix Computer Corp.
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