Coloma, et al. face plunder raps for printing deals
PLUNDER charges were filed on Friday against former Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and several executives of APO Production Unit for hiring “charlatan sales specialists” to siphon P191.2 million in commissions from the government printing office over five years.
In the six-page complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, Conrado Molina, president of the APO labor union, Asian Productivity Employees Association (Apea), accused Coloma, who headed APO, and six APO officers of using the sales specialists as their dummies to collect commissions from its revenues.
APO is a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) that enters printing contracts with other government agencies.
P70M in 2015
“Accordingly, for the year 2015 alone, the total amount sacked by respondents in the guise of sales commissions was P70,103,077.02, an aggregate amount already qualified for plunder pursuant to Republic Act No. 7080,” Molina said in a statement.
Also named in the complaint were Milagros Alora, Armando Dimacurot Jr., Jaime Aldaba, Olivia Marcelo, Gerardo Sevilla, Dominic Tajon, and 11 “John Does,” referring to the unidentified sales specialists.
Former Makati Vice Mayor Bobby Brillante, who accompanied Molina in the filing as a legal consultant, said APO did not actually need sales specialists as its transactions were mostly with other government agencies, which he described as a “captive market.”
“They used these sales specialists as their dummies to collect their commissions,” he told reporters.
Raymar Mansilungan, another legal consultant, said Coloma was named in the complaint due to command responsibility, as APO was under the office he served.
Coloma said the charges were “false and baseless.”
“The reported filing of plunder charges against me and senior officials of APO Production Unit is pure harassment,” he said in a statement.
“Contrary to our detractors’ claims, we have professionalized APO’s management and restored its finances and operations to an even keel. From near-bankruptcy and continuous losses, APO has posted profits that have been turned over to government coffers,” he said, noting that the Governance Commission on GOCCs gave it a seal of sound management for adherence to good governance practices.
Molina asked the Ombudsman to investigate the respondents for violations of the plunder law, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Government Procurement Reform Act.
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