Four key personalities of the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Medical Center (GCGMMC) were charged with plunder, graft and malversation for the alleged misuse of funds intended for the purchase of medical equipment for the Multi-Specialty Medical Center (MMC) that is currently being built in Cortes town.
Charged before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly diverting P187,260,440 were hospital chief, Dr. Mutya Kismet T. Macuno, GCGMMC Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chair Pinky Lumbre, Procurement Officer Frederick Namoc, and Materials Management Section head Luz Rosales.
The complainants, former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., retired Regional Trial Court Judge Suceso Arcamo, former Tagbilaran City Mayor Atty. Dan Lim, retired Provincial Prosecutor Macario Delusa and businessman Emmanuel Ramasola, alleged that the hospital officials disregarded the law by intentionally diverting funds “to hide their plunderous acts.”
Complainants alleged that in the General Appropriations Act of 2021, the amount of P574 million was allocated for capital outlay under multi-year authority that is valid until 2022 and which was intended for the procurement of medical equipment for the MMC.
The MMC, which is situated in Barangay Malayo, Cortes, Bohol, is a different, distinct and separate facility from GCGMMC Tagbilaran City, as made clear with the signing into law of Republic Act No. 11883 on July 29, 2022. The law created Gov. Celestino Gallares Multi-Specialty Medical Complex composed of GCGMMC Tagbilaran City and MMC – Cortes. Under the said law, both medical facilities shall operate separately and distinctly from each other and shall be headed by their respective medical chiefs.
Acting on the availability of funds for capital outlay for medical equipment for MMC Cortes, the four accused allegedly purchased medical equipment for MMC Cortes totaling P187,260,440.00. The complainants obtained a list of the procured equipment from the Commission on Audit (COA) AOM No. 2023-002 dated February 24, 2023.
However, according to complainants, despite the “very clear” provision in GAA 2021 that the appropriation was for medical equipment for MMC Cortes, they used the purchased equipment at GCGMMC Tagbilaran City.
The complainants obtained a list of the purchased equipment for MMC Cortes amounting to P94,298,960 but which were diverted for use at the GCGMMC Tagbilaran City. The list contains the date of the Property Acknowledgement Receipt (PAR) and the recipient of the equipment, which complainants secured through AOM No. 2023-002 of the COA.
What was worse, according to complainants, was that the four accused issued PAR for the equipment of MMC Cortes to be used at GCGMMC Tagbilaran City when it is “already very clear that they do not have authority over the properties of MMC Cortes as provided under RA 11883 which specified that MMC Cortes and GCGMMC Tagbilaran City are two distinct and separate facilities with their separate medical chiefs and employees.
The respondents allegedly issued the PAR for the MMC Cortes equipment to be used in GCGMMC Tagbilaran City after the signing into law of RA 11883 on July 29, 2022.
Among the equipment diverted to GCGMMC Tagbilaran City are several units of hydraulic transport stretchers, ophthalmology surgical equipment – digital stilt lamp with a digital camera, microscope, 50 wireless routers, and 150 electric hospital beds.
Complainants further questioned the custody of equipment worth P9 million and P2.18 million to Macuno’s nephew, Dr. David Ammiel Tirol, who is also an employee of GCGMMC Tagbilaran City.
“At the time the PARs of the equipment were issued to her nephew, Macuno no longer had authority over said equipment as they were owned by MMC Cortes, not by GCGMMC Tagbilaran City,” the complaint states.
Complainants said that “what is sickening is the degree of over price the equipment was bought.”
According to complainants, the purchase of 50 units of wireless fidelity (Wi-fi) routers from B&J Computer Sales for P19,040 apiece is overpriced by 69% as said routers only sell for P5,839 in a LazMall Verified Store.
“Applying the said overprice rate of 69% to the total procurement of P187,260,440 would yield a total loss to the government of P129,209,703.60,” which complainants said, constitutes an act of plunder.
LIABILITY FOR TECHNICAL MALVERSATION
Complainants said the four hospital personalities are all liable for the crime of technical malversation under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, as they applied public funds and property under their administration for public use which is different from the purpose for which they were originally appropriated by law.
The complainants explained that the four used the property acquired for MMC Cortes for public use at GCGMMC Tagbilaran City.
The complainants added that the properties or equipment were purchased pursuant to a provision in the GAA of 2021 which provided a budget for the procurement of equipment for MMC Cortes. A total of P187,260,440 were procured for MMC Cortes.
However, of the said purchases, equipment amounting to P94,298,960 were diverted for use at GCGMMC Tagbilaran City.
LIABILITY FOR GRAFT
Complainants alleged that the respondents are liable for violation of Sec. 3(e) of R.A. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Macuno, Lumbre, Namoc and Rosales allegedly acted with evident bad faith when they diverted properties or equipment from MMC Cortes for use at the GCGMMC Tagbilaran City despite having no authority over said equipment with the passage of RA 11883.
Complainants also alleged that the accused also caused undue injury to the government and gave an advantage in the discharge of their functions by diverting the equipment of MMC Cortes for use at their facility in GCGMMC Tagbilaran City.
“MMC Cortes could no longer be appropriated for the purchase of said medical equipment as appropriations have already been granted and the said equipment has already been procured just that they were technically misappropriated or malversed by the respondents. The actions of respondents deprived MMC Cortes of the said medical equipment and they will be forced to operate without the equipment as they have already been used and installed at GCGMMC Tagbilaran City,” the complaint stated.
LIABLE FOR PLUNDER
Plunder, which is penalized under RA 7080, stated that the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth amassed, accumulated, or acquired is at least P50 million.
According to complainants, there is “no doubt that respondents took advantage of their positions in purchasing overpriced equipment for MMC Cortes in the amount of P187,260,440.”
Based on the overpriced rate of 69% as illustrated by their purchase of routers, the respondents allegedly plundered the amount of P129,209,703.60.