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DOJ denies leaking report vs Bureau of Corrections execs

- Edu Punay () - May 17, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Members of a fact-finding panel of the Department of Justice (DOJ) have denied leaking the report recommending criminal and administrative charges against Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gaudencio Pangilinan and six other officials for allegedly anomalous renovation projects at the New Bilibid Prisons.

Muntinlupa City Prosecutor Edward Togonon, State Prosecutor Berlin Berba and National Bureau of Investigation anti-graft chief Rachel Angeles faced the four-member probe committee led by Undersecretary Leah Armamento during a closed-door meeting last Monday.

They denied having any knowledge on how their 99-page report signed last April 9 and immediately submitted to the office of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was leaked to media.

Mediamen who reported the “leaked” report, including Henry Omaga Diaz of ABS-CBN 2 and Christina Mendez of The STAR, were summoned to the hearing last Tuesday but failed to appear.

De Lima had earlier said that members of the media would be spared from the probe meant to determine who could be held liable for the leakage of the report.

Armamento’s panel, composed of Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong and Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, had interviewed the janitress in-charge of the DOJ legal office where the document was kept.

De Lima admitted she was disturbed by the leakage of the report, which was already submitted to President Aquino.

In the leaked report, the DOJ panel recommended that Pangilinan and the other BuCor officials be held responsible for violating the government procurement and anti-graft laws for the P1.4-million renovation of the NBP administration building without a public bidding.

During an ocular inspection, the panel said the “most striking” were the air-conditioned male and female restrooms at the ground floor of the NBP administration building, which have “amenities comparable to five-star hotels.”

The panel said the NBP restrooms were renovated at P809,876.

At least 193 projects worth P58.7 million were implemented by Pangilinan since his appointment as BuCor chief in July 2011.

“There is a great disconnect in the way of life between people separated by the NBP metal gates. On the one side, BuCor people have air-conditioned comfort rooms while on the other, an inmate is living on a P50 per day meal allowance,” the panel said.

The panel also recommended that BuCor chief of staff and consultant Venancio Santidad; Alfredo Benitez, chairman of the bids and awards committee; Dr. Ernesto Tamayo, BAC vice chairman; and BAC members Elsa Alabado, Celso Bravo and Nora Corazon Palermos be subjected to preliminary investigation.

They are being charged for violating Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act based on a complaint filed by Kabungsuan Makilala, a former prison guard assigned at the NBP.

ALFREDO BENITEZ BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS CELSO BRAVO AND NORA CORAZON PALERMOS CHRISTINA MENDEZ OF THE DE LIMA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DR. ERNESTO TAMAYO ELSA ALABADO GAUDENCIO PANGILINAN GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT REFORM ACT HENRY OMAGA DIAZ
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