Former Bohol gov Arthur Yap faces charges over P57-M senior health kit deal
TAGBILARAN CITY — Former Agriculture Secretary and Bohol Governor Arthur Yap and six others face charges of plunder and graft tied to an alleged anomalous purchase of senior citizen health kits valued at P57 million.
On Sept. 26, former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, retired Judge Suceso Arcamo, former Provincial Prosecutor Macario Delusa, former Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Lim, and businessman Emmanuel “Willy” Ramasola asked the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate Yap and other respondents.
“In conspiracy with each other, the relatively young and able respondents committed corrupt practices that facilitated the plunder of the provincial government of Bohol in the amount of P56,816,444.25,” the complainants said.
Other respondents include lawyer Kathrin Fe Pioquinto, former provincial administrator; Giselle Quimpo, former chief of staff at the Governor’s Office; lawyer Julius Gregory Delgado, former provincial legal officer; Peter Ross Retutal, chief budget officer; Engr. Camilo Gasatan, chief provincial engineer; and Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
Delgado formerly chaired the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), with Quimpo serving as vice chair. Retutal, Gasatan, and Lopez were members.
Also named as a respondent was businesswoman Stella Marie Ancla, sole proprietor of Dextel Trading, a provincial capitol supplier.
Responding to the allegations on Facebook, Yap said the case was anticipated, criticizing the current administration of Bohol Gov. Aris Aumentado as vindictive. Aumentado beat Yap in the May 2022 elections.
“Plunder case? I was not shocked. Are you still surprised? We shouldn’t be shocked anymore,” Yap said.
“At the beginning of Aumentado’s administration, the first thing he did was to create a group tasked with persecuting and persecuting us. It was an indication of what the new administration of the provincial government has done. It is not to increase the life of our people but they increase the persecution and prosecution of us,” he said.
The complainants noted that Lopez, then PHO officer-in-charge, initiated the purchase of the senior citizen’s health kit on Jan. 25, 2022, totaling P57,168,855. Pioquinto approved the purchase on Yap’s authority.
On March 4, 2022, bids were opened for RGS Marketing Corp. (RGS) and Dextel Trading. RGS’ bid was deemed noncompliant. By March 16, 2022, the BAC approved Dextel Trading’s bid.
BAC members Delgado, Quimpo, Retutal, Gasatan, and Lopez signed the resolution, which Pioquinto approved on Yap’s behalf.
According to Republic Act 9502 or the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, all government entities, including local governments, must buy drugs and medicines within the Philippine National Drug Formulary.
The complainants argue Ancla secured the purchase order due to the BAC members’ “corrupt act.” Lopez, who received the items, reportedly failed to produce Requisition and Issue Slips (RIS) for the distributed health kits. Additionally, detailed records of kit recipients were absent.
The transaction was quickly recorded as a donation expense.
“The provincial government of Bohol suffered a P56,816,444.25 loss, booked as donation expense, from the procurement. No single senior citizen made a benefit from this sham transaction,” the complainants said.