Davao city agri execs to face trial for graft
09 February 2017
The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to charge officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Unit XI (Davao City) of violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. To be tried for graft are DA executives Constancio Maghanoy, Jr. (Regional Executive Director); Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) officials Isagani Basco (Chairman), Alma Mahinay (vice-chairperson), Alfredo Cayabyab, Rafael Mercado, Larry Pineda, Herna Palma, Rosalinda Mediano, Melani Provido, Isabelita Buduan, Lelisa Lascuña and Marie Ann Constantino.
The Ombudsman determined that procurement irregularities attended the agency’s acquisition of 38 drums of disinfectant in 2012. Documents showed that undue preference was given to supplier FKA Agri-Chemical Corporation (FKA) which was awarded the project despite the fact that it was not the lowest bidder. Investigators uncovered that FKA was favored due to its “freebie” consisting of additional protective gears given at no extra price to the government.
According to the Resolution, “the inclusion of freebies should be discouraged, if not prohibited during biddings as this may result to another form of graft and corruption in awarding bids as this serves as an enticement or added flavor to the BAC to favor another bidder.”
Sanitation Concepts, Inc. (SCI), the lowest bidder with an offer of P2,647,308.00, did not provide any additional “freebies” in its bid offer. FKA’s offer of P3.04 million was considered by respondents despite findings that “FKA’s bid is much higher and despite being grossly disadvantageous to the recipients of the goods because it is detrimental to people’s health.”
A post-evaluation report found that FKA’s offer had a concentration of 40% of benzalkonium chloride (BC) as compared to SCI’s 5%.
“Had the BAC conducted due diligence and further research on the effects of increased solution of BC to health, it would have known that BC is effective at exceptionally low concentration,” explained the Ombudsman.
Under Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, public officials are prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. Meantime, Section 3(g) prohibits public servants from entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby. ###