Quirino hospital head, 3 suspended over P45M equipment deal
MANILA, Philippines — The head of the state-run Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC) and three other hospital personnel have been ordered suspended for 90 days by the Sandiganbayan over the allegedly anomalous purchase of a medical equipment worth P45 million in 2004.
In a statement, the Office of the Ombudsman said on Wednesday, the anti-graft court’s First Division granted its motion seeking to suspend the QMMC chief, Dr. Angeles de Leon; nurse Luz Padua; medical technologist Michael Raquel; and nutritionist Milagrina Jacinto.
The Ombudsman said the officials of the Quezon City-based hospital have been indicted and would face trial for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, more known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Section 3(e) bars government officials from causing “any undue injury to any party or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”
The anti-graft court ordered Health Secretary Janet Garin to immediately implement its order.
The Ombudsman said the case against Padua and the others stemmed from the irregularities in the purchase of a magnetic resonance imaging machine from Fernando Medical Enterprises Inc. in the amount of P44.9 million.
Citing a resolution signed by Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, chair of the First Division, it said the law “unequivocally provides that the accused public official shall be suspended from office while the criminal prosecution is pending in court.”
“The law leaves no room for interpretation such that the court has neither the discretion nor duty to determine whether preventive suspension is required to prevent the accused from using his office to intimidate witnesses or frustrate his prosecution or continue committing malfeasance in office,” Dela Cruz said in a five-page ruling. SFM
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