NBI wants NPO officials charged over P73.6-M printing deal
The National Bureau of Investigation has asked the Ombudsman to file graft charges against eight people, four of them officials of the National Printing Office (NPO), over an allegedly anomalous P73.6-million printing deal.
In a transmittal letter, the NBI’s antifraud division identified the NPO officials as Rolando Caluag, former officer in charge; lawyer Sherwin Prose Castañeda, director III; Ruben Dancel, retired chief of the production and planning and control division; and Myralyn Soriano, division supervisor.
Also facing charges are four representatives of private printing firms: Edwin Malapajo, vice president for finance of Western Visayas Printing Corp.; Benjamin Yam, president of Bestforms, Inc.; Ramil Tamayo, president of Triprint Corp.; and Celso Viray, general manager of Metrocolor Corp.
The NBI said its investigation showed that after the Social Security System (SSS) awarded to the NPO the contract for printing 870,000 pads of contribution forms on July 13, 2016, Caluag “entered into one-year equipment lease agreements for printing machines” with the four printing firms.
The NPO, through Dancel and Soriano, gave the first work order to Western Visayas Corp. for P73.6 million. But about a week after, Castañeda and Dancel canceled the deal and awarded three new work orders to Betforms for P33.4 million, Triprint for P16.9 million and Metrocolor for P14.8 million.
According to the NBI, the issuance of work orders was “clearly discretionary on the part of the NPO” as the government agency did not cite any written guidelines or parameters when it picked a printer, a move “which could only lead to graft and corruption.”
Subcontracting is prohibited under Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. In addition, only three agencies are considered RGPs or recognized government printers—the NPO, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and APO Production Unit.
The NBI said that based on the equipment lease agreement the NPO entered into, the subcontractors were tapped to just lease printers for the SSS forms.
However, the “agreement [went] beyond the leasing of printing equipment as the lessor-printers ended up being assigned the whole printing project [that SSS] awarded to the NPO,” it added.
“It turned out that the lessor-printer not only provided the printing machines, they also supplied paper, ink and other consumables as well without the benefit of competitive bidding,” the NBI said.
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