Ombuds fires DepEd execs
Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman) - December 30, 2014 - 12:00am

 CEBU, Philippines - Ten officials of the Department of Education-Cebu Province were ordered dismissed from service by the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas after they were found guilty of grave misconduct over the questionable bidding of school furniture projects amounting to P17,758,420.00 for public elementary and high schools in Cebu.

The anomaly was first published by The FREEMAN in April 2009 and triggered an investigation by the Cebu Provincial Board and a House inquiry based on a resolution filed by former Akbayan Partylist congresswoman Rissa Hontiveros.

The FREEMAN ran a series of reports of the anomaly and discovery of substandard tables, armchairs and desks distributed to the different public elementary and high schools in Cebu Province.

Ordered dismissed were Serena Uy, then Cebu School Division Superintendent and Head of the  Procurement Entity, and Judiana Corriente,  Officer-in-Charge, Office of the Assistant School Division Superintendent and chairwoman of the Bids and Awards Committee.

The other members of the Bids and Awards Committee ordered dismissed were Romualdo Abella, Norberto Torbeso, Daria Sarsalejo, Willie Adonay Jr., Gervasia Sanchez, Tiburcio Paras, Teonilo Ibarra and Felix Mejias Jr.

Aside from dismissal from service, Ombudsman also ordered the cancellation of their eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and the perpetual disqualification from re-employment in the government service.

For Uy, who already retired from the government service, the penalty was converted to a fine equivalent of her salary for one year, chargeable against unused leave credits or receivables from Department of Education-Cebu Pro-vince, payable to this office, pursuant to this office rules.

Charges

The administrative complaint for dishonesty, grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and or falsification of official documents was filed on January 30, 2013 by the Public Assistance and Office of the Ombudsman Visayas against Uy and other top officials of DepEd-Cebu Province.

 The Bids and Awards Committee of the Department of Education-Cebu Province conducted a bidding on July 25, 2008 for the 2007 School Furniture Program with a total approved budget for the contract of P17,758,420.00.

The three bidders were JEC Lumber Corp. who submitted a lowest bid amounting to P17,228.446.60 followed by Ramagal Doors & Sash who submitted a P17,359,963.00 bid and Gala Industries, Inc. who submitted a P17,683,555.00 bid.

Despite JEC’s lowest calculated and responsive bid JEC and Ramagal were simultaneously, instead of successively, disqualified by the BAC as shown by BAC Resolution No. 2008-03 dated August 19, 2008.

The records said that the corresponding Notices of Post Disqualification were issued to JEC and Ramagal at the same time due to poor and unsatisfactory performance in the previous projects undertaken and their submission of defective papers and false information in their eligibility documents.

With the disqualification of the first two bidders with Lowest Calculated and Responsive Bid, the Bids and Awards Committee declared Gala Industries as the winning bidder. The Notice of Award was issued on October 2, 2008, the contract was executed on October 9, 2008 and the Notice to Proceed followed on October 20, 2008.

But investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas discovered that despite its poor performance in DepEd’s furniture project in 2006, as shown by the qualified certificate of acceptance report indicating defective delivery, Bids and Awards Committee passed Gala Industries in the eligibility stage.

They also committed irregularities before, during and after the bidding. According to the records, these include the non-publication of the bidding and the holding of the pre-bid conference only nine days before the deadline of bids instead of the mandatory twelve days.

The BAC also unilaterally bid out the project into a single transaction instead of five different contracts without authority and legal basis.

After the bidding, Commission on Audit found out that the respondents authorized the payment to Gala Industries in four installments without the required inspection and acceptance report from recipients schools even if only 23.99 percent of the items was delivered as of December 2009 and six defective tables, desks and armchairs costing P3,089,256.32 were accepted by the Division Inspection Committee.

In their counter-affidavit, those charged denied all allegations of irregularities. To prove their innocence, they offered documents showing that the required procurement process was followed from the procurement plan to payment. — /BRP (FREEMAN)

 

AKBAYAN PARTYLIST BID BIDS AND AWARDS COMMITTEE BIDS AND AWARDS COMMITTEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION-CEBU PROVINCE CEBU CEBU PROVINCE CEBU PROVINCIAL BOARD CEBU SCHOOL DIVISION SUPERINTENDENT AND HEAD DARIA SARSALEJO GALA INDUSTRIES OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN VISAYAS
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