The Ombudsman ordered the dismissal from government service and the filing of criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan of four top officials of the Bohol Island State University (BISU) â€“ Dr. Elpidio Magante, BISU President, Ambrosio Orillos, Dean of the College of Industrial Technology (CIT), Professor Lorenzo Sarigumba, Director of Sports and Cultural Affairs and Alan Jaum, Instructor 1.
The nineteen page decision approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on April 25, 2016 imposed the penalty of dismissal from government service against the four BISU officials including forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility and were barred from taking the civil service examinations.
The Ombudsman, in a twenty page resolution also recommended that the four BISU officials including a private respondent, Rochelle Cababan, Manager of RDAK Transport Equipment, Inc., Mabolo, Cebu City charged with violation of RA 9184 known as the Government Procurement Reform Act and Falsification of Public Documents before the Sandiganbayan.
The Ombudsman directed the Chairperson of the BISU Board of Regents, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan “to immediately implement the decision”.
The Chronicle learned that Dr. Dioscoro Avergonzado, Campus Director, Candijay Campus was designated Officer-in-Charge (OIC).
Efforts to get the side of Magante thru text messages were not returned. Sarigumba told the Chronicle that “they will exhaust all legal remedies” and belied the allegations of the Ombudsman.
“These are very minor procedural lapses that does not warrant the imposition of penalties by the Ombudsman”. Jaum is reportedly working abroad. Orillos whereabouts cannot be verified by the Chronicle.
The Ombudsman, in a twenty page resolution also recommended that the four BISU officials including a private respondent, Rochelle Cababan, Manager of RDAK Transport Equipment, Inc., Mabolo, Cebu City are prima facie criminally liable for splitting of contracts charged with violation of RA 9184 and Falsification of Public Documents.
Magante, Orillos, Sarigumba and Jaum were found guilty by the Ombudsman of “grave misconduct for using Shopping as the method of procurement for motor vehicle spare parts for assembling a mini dump truck and “Dishonesty” for the splitting of contracts which exceeded the procedural purchase limits.
According to the Ombudsman, the four dismissed BISU officials illegally resorted to Shopping by splitting of contracts for the purpose of evading or circumventing the provisions of RA 9184 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations on competitive bidding.
The sum of the two transactions amounting to P402,800.00, according to the Ombudsman exceeded the threshold amount of P250,000.00 and “were only a scheme for the acquisition of one unit mini dump truck”.
The purchase of motor vehicle spare parts were split into two phases to avoid exceeding the P250,000.00 limit – P221,956.50 for the first purchase and P180,843.50 for the second.
The alleged one unit mini dump truck was a Suzuki “half roof pick-up” purchased more than six months after the “ghost delivery” of the spare parts.
The Suzuki pick-up was bought on March 30, 2009 for P179,558.00 for the Balilihan Extension Class Mobility from RDAK and was inspected, verified and found OK by Sarigumba and the transaction was approved by Magante.
But the four dismissed BISU officials argued that the purchase of spare parts did not require competitive bidding since the amounts involved are within the threshold of P250,000.00.
Furthermore, there was no splitting of contracts because the purchases were surplus spare parts to be assembled in two phases, the BISU officials claimed.
LACK OF EVIDENCE
The complaint against five other BISU officials – Ernesto Rulida, Campus Director, Calape Campus, Trinidad Castolo, Administrative Officer lV(Budget Officer-designate), Raymundo Aparre, Administrative Officer 1 (Supply Officer), Ma. Agnes Candug, Administrative Assistant lll (Accounting Officer) and Gaudisio Renegado, Jr., Administrative Aide lll (Storekeeper) were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.
The complaint against the nine BISU officials was lodged before the Ombudsman by Delfin Aguilar, Regional Director of the Commission on Audit (COA) 7 based on an audit report on April 21, 2009 of COA State Auditor 1 Rogelio Palaca.
RAISON D’ ETRE
The complaint against the nine BISU officials arose from a scheme allegedly hatched by Orillos, Sarigumba and Magante to purchase motor vehicle spare parts to be assembled as a mini dump truck amounting to P402,800.00.
The need for a mini dump truck was to address the garbage problem of BISU and the purchase of the spare parts was to save funds since the College of Industrial Technology under Orillos had the skills, training and equipment to assemble a mini dump truck.
Magante and Orillos justified the transactions as a cost saving program included in the 2008 Annual Procurement Plan split into phase 1 for the acquisition of a 4BEI engine, front cab assy w/ complete assessories and dumpbox w/ hydraulic cylinder.
Phase ll was for the procurement of frame with complete running gear/under chassis.
The audit report of Palaca unearthed two disbursement vouchers Â amounting to P221,956.50 on July 7, 2008 and Â P180,843.50 on September 2, 2008 “apparently for spare parts for assembling a mini dump truck but were actually payments for one unit mini dump truck”.
The spare parts were found to be “ghost deliveries” since, according to the Ombudsman decision and resolution there was no delivery of the spare parts “in truth and in fact since one unit mini dump truck was delivered.”
In both deliveries, Sarigumba told the Ombudsman that “he inspected and found the goods delivered by RDAK in order and regular according to the Purchase Orders” as gleaned by the signed Inspection and Acceptance Report (IAR) on June 2, 2008 and August 7, 2008.
IN GOOD FAITH
Aparre, as supply officer explained that “he did not actually receive the subject purchases from the supplier” since as early as April 18, 2005 Magante allowed delivery of purchased goods directly to the end-user acting as the technical inspector of the items.
Aparre signed the IAR after Sarigumba and Jaum, the end-user signed the acceptance report. The Ombudsman pointed out that Aparre’s only mistake was signing the IAR’s in good faith despite not having actual custody of the spare parts but on the basis of Sarigumba and Jaum’s certifications.
Accounting Officer Candug pointed at Orillos, Magante and Professor Fernando Restificar, BISU Main Campus Administrator as those who hatched the scheme to purchase the whole unit of motor vehicles through the “appearance of chop chop”.
Restificar was not included in the complaint filed by PACPO.
Candug explained to the Ombudsman that she entered in the books the spare parts as “for construction in progress” as indicated for assembling of a mini dump truck later and reclassified the entry to “vehicle transportation equipment” after the receipt of the production report from Orillos and pre-audited by the Chair of the Internal Control Unit.
The Ombudsman also accused RDAK Manager Cababan of allegedly delivering the assailed spare parts and accepting checks supposedly for payments of the motor vehicle parts “when in truth and in fact, there was none since one unit mini dump truck was actually delivered”.
The Ombudsman concluded that Magante, Orillos, Sarigumba and Jaum conspired to cheat, deceive or defraud the government for “making it appear that motor vehicle parts for assembling a mini dump truck were procured, delivered and paid when in fact, one unit mini dump truck was actually procured, delivered and paid”.
Docketed as OMB-V-A-11-0012-A for Grave Misconduct and Dishonesty, the complaint was filed by the Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office (PACPO), Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas.
PACPO also filed a criminal complaint docketed as OMB-V-C-11-0008-A for violation of provisions of RA 9184 known as the Government Procurement Reform Act and Falsification of Public Documents.Â (Chito M. Visarra)