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Samar solon faces raps over anomalous P69M medicine purchase

/ 01:56 PM February 23, 2017
Office of the Ombudsman.  PHOTO from www.ombudsman.gov.ph

Office of the Ombudsman. PHOTO from www.ombudsman.gov.ph

A former governor and now Western Samar congresswoman Milgros Tan and six others face graft and malversation charges over the anomalous procurement of medicine worth P69.04 million.

In a statement on Thursday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan against Tan and other six for their involvement in the anomalous procurement of medicines totaling P69,040,514.84.

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Tan is set to face trial on five counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act No. 3019); three counts of violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. No. 3019; and five counts of Malversation of Public Funds.

Her co-accused were Bienvenido Sabanecio Jr. (provincial treasurer), Francasio Detosil (provincial accountant), Rolando Montejo (administrative officer), Ariel Yboa (OIC-general service office), George Abrina (supply officer); and Roselyn Larce, representative of supplier, Zybermed Medi Pharma, a Pasig-based company.

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Ombudsman investigators said Tan used the provincial government’s multi-million peso health fund for extravagant purchases of drugs and medicines.

The Field Investigation Office (FIO) said “the province of Samar, thru Tan, has been making extravagant purchases of drugs and medicines from Zybermed using its multi-million peso health fund.”

In its report, the Commission on Audit (COA) noted the following irregularities: steady unexplainable increase in the year-end inventory balance of drugs and medicines from 2005 to 2007; the accuracy of the year-end inventory balance could not be determined due to lack of monitoring and inadequate record-keeping; intended beneficiaries/end-users of medicines could not be ascertained due to lack of distributions lists.

The COA in 2007 disallowed the irregular payments for the procurement of drugs and medicines worth P64,385,534.30 and dental supplies worth P4,654,980.54.

The COA said the transactions were “disallowed for being unnecessary and non-responsive to the exigencies of the service.”

The COA noted the following deficiencies: the disbursement vouchers were not supported with proper documents; the local government had no sufficient storage space for the large quantity of goods; non-submission of proof of consumption by the barangays (villages); absence of proof that the items were received and inspected; and non-validation that the medicines were actually used for alleged medical missions.

Zybermed also had no valid business permit to be eligible to accept multi-million peso payments in 2007.

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In the approved resolution, Ombudsman Morales said “the disallowance is the disapproval in audit of a transaction, either in whole or in part, for being illegal, irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or unconscionable expenditure.”

Tan failed to account for the disallowed amount worth P69,040,514.84, Morales said.

“Tan and Sabanecio’s failure to question the observation of the COA in the notice of disallowance and the charges of the FIO in this complaint raises a prima facie evidence that they have placed such missing funds to personal use,” Morales said.

According to Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 or the anti-graft law, public officials are prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party, including the government, 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.

Section 3(g) of the law is violated when a public servant enters, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby. RAM/rga

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TAGS: medicine, purchase, raps, Samar, solon
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