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Ombudsman orders filing of malversation, graft raps vs Misuari

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Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari. AFP FILE PHOTO

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has approved the filing of malversation and graft charges against former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Nur Misuari, the leader of the rogue faction of the Moro National Liberation Front, over the anomalous procurement of P137.5-million educational materials.

In a statement on Wednesday, Morales said she has ordered the filing of three counts of Malversation of Public Funds through Falsification and three counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Sandiganbayan against Misuari.

The Ombudsman cited the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) that the payment to five suppliers of textbooks and educational materials amounting to P137,511,108.14 were irregular and were conducted without public bidding.

The Ombudsman said Misuari approved the payment of the following educational materials amounting to P137,511,108.14:

  • White Orchids Printing and Publishing House – Various educational materials worth P37,959,204.00
  • CPR Publishing House of Caloocan City – 170 sets of multimedia information technology package worth P46,261,250.00
  • Esteem Enterprises of Quezon City – 6,000 copies of Demokrasyang Pambarangay, 22,000 copies of Malakas ang Batang Pilipino. 5,000 copies of Fight Drug Dependency, 8,500 copies of multicolor coated map of the Philippines worth P12,030,000.00
  • Dunong Publishing of Parañaque City – 6,857 sets of Easy Learn Day Care Chart with Teacher’s Guide book, 25,238 copies of Easy Learn Day Care Workbook worth P21,999,848.00
  • MBJ Learning Tools of Caloocan City – 124 sets of information technology package for elementary and high school students worth P19,260,806.14

The Ombudsman listed the following flagrant red flags in the procurement: lack of public bidding; undated and unnumbered procurement documents; absence of contracts, inventory and distribution lists; undue haste in the purchase of goods showing the rigged bidding; and non-compliance with eligibility requirements by the suppliers.

Morales said “the Office finds probable cause that Misuari [and respondents] conspired with one another while discharging their official functions, [acting] with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence when they conspired to rig the procurement.”

Also included as co-accused are former Department of Education ARMM executives Director Leovigilda Cinches, Supply Officer Sittie Aisa Usman, Accountant Alladin Usi, Chief Accountant Pangalian Maniri, Education Program Specialist Bai Sherilyn Mustapha, COA Auditor Nader Macagaan. The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charges against suppliers Lolita Sambeli of White Orchids, Cristeta Ramirez of CPR Publishing, Mario Barria of Esteem Enterprises and Ma. Lourdes Mendoza of Dunong Publishing.

Meanwhile, the charges against former Undersecretary Abdurajul Alpha and Regional Secretary Mahid Mutilan were dismissed in view of their deaths before the filing of the complaint. RAM

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