Anomalies in Iloilo med deals probed
ILOILO CITY—The Ombudsman is investigating former Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupas and other provincial officials for alleged irregularities in the purchase of P5.3-million worth of medicines given to typhoon survivors.
In separate but related orders, the Ombudsman-Visayas directed Tupas and 11 other officials to submit counter-affidavits on criminal and administrative complaints filed by the Field Investigation Office (FIO) of the Ombudsman’s Western Visayas office.
Tupas cannot be reached for comment on Saturday.
Tupas has been named as among the respondents in the criminal complaint for graft in relation to 14 transactions of medicine purchase for survivors of Typhoon “Frank” in 2008.
The purchases, made from Jan. 1-April 29, 2010, were funded by contributions of other government agencies and private donors.
The complaint stemmed from a notice of disallowance issued by the Commission on Audit which found that the 14 transactions for medicines and medical supplies violated procurement rules and regulations.
The alleged violations included the lack of public bidding, rigged procurement process to favor the supplier—JVZ Drug Distributing Center—illegal use of a negotiated contract and splitting of contracts.
“Respondents awarded the procurement contracts with evident bad faith, manifest partiality or gross negligence…,” said the FIO complaint.
The antigraft body said those behind the procurement justified it as an emergency but the purchases were made two years after the typhoon.
“The justification…has no factual basis, designed only to avoid public bidding,” the FIO said in its complaint.
It also said the 14 purchases were “intentionally broken into smaller amounts not exceeding P500,000 to evade public bidding.”
Governor Tupas was included in the criminal complaint for approving payment.
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