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5 Sulu state college execs axed over rigged bidding for P22-M equipment

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The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal from the service of five officials of the Sulu State College (SSC) for multiple irregularities in the procurement of laboratory equipment worth P22 million.

The Ombudsman found SSC president Abdurasa Sariol Arasid, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairperson Hja Ferwina Jikiri Amilhamja and BAC members Anang Agang Hawang, Nenita Aguil and Audie Janea guilty of grave misconduct.

“The penalty of dismissal from the service carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits, bar from taking the civil service examination, and cancellation of civil service eligibility,” the Ombudsman said.

The Ombudsman also indicted the five SSC officials and BAC member Joseph Pescadera for graft charge.

The anti-graft body probe showed that on May 30, 2011, the SSC entered into a contract with State Alliance Enterprises, Inc. for the acquisition of equipment for its physics, computer engineering and agriculture laboratories.

Upon audit, the Commission on Audit (COA)-Sulu Province observed that there was no publication of the invitation to bid in a newspaper of general circulation; the supplier tendered a bid in excess of the Approved Budget for the Contract; bidding was undertaken despite the absence of certification of availability of funds; and lack of procurement documents such as the bidding documents, bid security and abstract of bids.

Consequently, on June 15, 2015, the COA issued a notice of disallowance for the transaction.

In its decision, the Ombudsman said that “the purchase of the equipment reeks of violations, not only of the procurement law, but of other laws as well. The flawed process deprived the SSC of a competitive bidding that would have extended equal opportunity to enable other contracting parties who are eligible and qualified to participate in public bidding.” (PNA)