THE Ombudsman directed Wednesday the filing of three counts of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents and graft against former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Nur Misuari before the Sandiganbayan for anomalous procurement of P137.5-million educational materials in 2000 to 2001.
ARMM’s ex-Department of Education executive director Leovigilda Cinches, ex-supply officer Sittie Aisa Usman, ex-ccountant Alladin Usi, ex-chief accountant Pangalian Maniri and ex-education program specialist Bai Sherilyn Mustapha, and ex-auditor Nader Macagaan were also included in the charges.
Also facing charges were textbook suppliers Lolita Sambeli of White Orchids, Cristeta Ramirez of CPR Publishing House of Caloocan City, Mario Barria of Esteem Enterprises of Quezon City and Ma. Lourdes Mendoza of Dunong Publishing of Parañaque City.
On the other hand, cases against former DepEd undersecretary Abdurajul Alpha and regional secretary Mahid Mutilan were dismissed due to their death prior to the filing of the complaint with the Ombudsman.
“The Office finds probable cause that Misuari [and respondents] conspired with one another while discharging their official functions, [acting] with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence when they conspired to rig the procurement,” Ombudsman Conchita Morales said in a statement.
Citing the Commission on Audit’s findings, the Ombudsman said the payment to five suppliers of textbooks and educational materials worth P137,511,108.14 was irregular and made without public bidding, the Ombudsman said.
Flagrant red flags were noted in the procurement, such as lack of public bidding; undated and unnumbered procurement documents; absence of contracts, inventory and distribution lists; undue haste in the purchase of goods showing the rigged bidding, and non-compliance with eligibility requirements by the suppliers, it added.
The White Orchids Printing and Publishing House was able to receive payment of P37,959,204 for various educational materials, while CPR Publishing House of Caloocan City was paid P46,261,250 for 170 sets of multimedia information technology package.
Esteem Enterprises of Quezon City got P12,030,000 for 6,000 copies of Demokrasyang Pambarangay, 22,000 copies of Malakas ang Batang Pilipino, 5,000 copies of Fight Drug Dependency and 8,500 copies of multi-color coated map of the Philippines.
Dunong Publishing of Parañaque City was also paid P21,999,848 for 6,857 sets of Easy Learn Day Care Chart with Teacher’s Guide book and 25,238 copies of Easy Learn Day Care Workbook, while MBJ Learning Tools of Caloocan City received a total payment of P19,260,806.14 for 124 sets of information technology package for elementary and high school students.
According to the Ombudsman, Misuari, also founding chairman of the rebel Moro National Liberation Front, and the other respondents violated the Revised Penal Code for malversation and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act 3019.