NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Former Gov. Arthur Yap and six other past and present Capitol officials and a businesswoman have been named respondents in a plunder case to be filed before the Ombudsman by members of the Office for Governance Accountability and Review (OGAR).
The Chronicle obtained a copy of the complaint after it was signed by the complainants and notarized by Public Prosecutor Nilda Villatima last Friday, Sept. 22.
Aside from Yap, named respondents in the plunder case are lawyer Kathrin Fe Pioquinto, former provincial administrator; Giselle Quimpo, former chief of staff of the Governor’s Office; lawyer Julius Gregory Delgado, former provincial legal officer; Peter Ross Retutal, chief budget officer; engineer Camilo Gasatan, and Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
Delgado was the former chair of the bids and awards committee (BAC) while Quimpo was vice chair with Retutal, Gasatan and Lopez as members.
The seventh respondent, Stella Marie Ancla, is the sole proprietor of Dextel Trading, a supplier of the provincial capitol.
The complainants were former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, retired Judge Suceso Arcamo, former prosecutor Macario Delusa, former City Mayor Dan Lim and businessman Emmanuel “Willy” Ramasola, all of OGAR in their personal capacities.
According to the facts of the case, Lopez, then PHO OIC, requested the purchase of a senior citizen’s health kit through a purchase request dated Jan. 25, 2022 with a total value of P57,168,855.
The said kit’s major component was the Multivitamins with Iron and Zinc making it a procurement of medicines.
Pioquinto, then provincial administrator, approved the purchase request by Yap’s authority.
Although the the procurement was cleverly labeled as a procurement of health kits, the complainants alleged that it was essentially a procurement of medicines.
Since most of the procurement was the value of the Multivitamins with Iron and Zinc, the procurement was covered by Rule No. 36 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 9502.
After Lopez forwarded the purchase request to the BAC to procure through bidding, the BAC opened the bids on March 4, 2022.
There were two alleged bidders, RGS Marketing Corp. and Dextel Trading but RGS’ bid was declared non-complying. Dextel Trading’s bid in the amount of P56,816,444.25 was declared “Single Complying and Responsive Bid and Recommending Approval” in BAC Resolution No. 2022-078 Series of 2022.
Complainants said all BAC members, Delgado, Quimpo, Retutal, Gasatan and Lopez signed the resolution approved which was by Pioquinto by Yap’s authority.
The complaint alleged that a careful review of the documents submitted will show that Dextel was in fact non-responsive to the items. It pointed to item no. 1 to be procured which is one box of Multivitamin with Iron and Zinc Cap 1001 but Dextel’s response is Biomin.
“Biomin is NOT RESPONSIVE to Item 1 box Multivitamin with Iron and Zinc Cap 100s of the goods to be procured,” said the complaint.
The complainants said that the Food and Drug Authority’s Certificate of Product Registration for Biomin showed that it is “a food supplement with no approved therapeutic claim”.
“Biomin is NOT a Multivitamin with Iron and Zinc,” the complaint pointed out.
Under Rule No. 36 of the IRR of Republic Act 9502, all government agencies including local government units shall procure drugs and medicines within the Philippine National Drug Formulary (PNDF).
The complaint alleged that Biomin, the item submitted by Dextel, is not within the PNDF since it is not a drug but a food supplement with no approved therapeutic claim.
According to the complainants, the respondent BAC members declared Dextel Trading’s bid as Single Complying and Responsive Bid even though it is not responsive to the items to be procured.
This was “a manifest partiality giving unwarranted benefits and preference to DEXTEL TRADING” and its proprietor Ancla “to the detriment and damage of the Provincial Government of Bohol”.
A day after the purchase order was received, Dextel delivered the Biomin food supplements and was received by Lopez, “inspected and accepted without any objection”.
As a result, complainants alleged that the provincial government suffered a loss of P57M equivalent to the amount paid to Dextel Trading.