Dismissed NPO execs tasked to handle ballot printing for May polls
(The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – A document showed that six officials of the National Printing Office (NPO) that were ordered dismissed from the service were assigned last December to handle printing of election ballots for the upcoming national polls.

In an Office Order No. 146-15 dated Dec. 10, 2015 and signed by NPO acting Director Emmanuel Andaya, he assigned himself as chairman of the “Ballots Printing Executive Committee.” 

“In the interest of exigency of the service, an Executive Committee to oversee the printing of Official Ballots for the 2016 National and Local Elections is hereby created,” the order stated.

Andaya also designated all NPO division chiefs as members of the committee that included the five other dismissed officials.

Andaya was one of six NPO officials found guilty of grave misconduct by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the anomalous printing of travel clearance certificates of the National Bureau of Investigation worth P1.9 million on Nov. 18, 2010.

Apart from Andaya, also ordered dismissed were Sylvia Banda, as chief administrative officer; Josefina Samson, printing operations chief; Antonio Sillona, printing operations chief; Bernadette Lagumen, supervising administrative officer; and Ma. Gracia Enriquez, printing operations assistant chief. 

“We do not have accountability with them. Whatever happened to the printing of ballots we cannot hold them accountable because they are already dismissed from the service,” said Mario Adarlo, an employee and former president of the NPO workers union.

Adarlo also questioned why the six officials were assigned in sensitive posts, such as printing of ballots, as against other capable NPO officials.

It was also learned the assignment of the six NPO officials came five months after the ombudsman handed out the dismissal order.

TV5 went to NPO office to get the side of the six officials but they refused to be interviewed.

In a statement, Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said “the cases filed against certain officials of the NPO will not in any way hamper its operations including the printing of the official ballots.”

“The officials involved have filed their respective motions for reconsideration to the Office of the Ombudsman order and are awaiting its resolution,” Coloma added.

TV5 resident legal analyst Dean Mel Sta. Maria of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law said the six officials defied the ombudsman’s decision and their acts are a clear violation of the law.

The case of the six NPO officials stemmed from a complaint filed by Guillermo Sylianteng Jr., who alleged the bids and awards committee of the NPO subcontracted the project and awarded the contract to Advance Computer Forms Inc. without proper bidding, in violation of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

ACIRC ADVANCE COMPUTER FORMS INC ANDAYA ANTONIO SILLONA BALLOTS PRINTING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE BERNADETTE LAGUMEN DEAN MEL STA NPO OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN OFFICIALS PRINTING
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