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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Philippine procurement doesn't compute

Ombudsman stops Marinduque purchase of computers
Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has blocked the Marinduque government's release of P14.7-million for the purchase of allegedly overpriced personal computers.

In a two-page order, Gutierrez told Marinduque Gov. Carmencita Reyes and other local officials "to cease and desist" from paying Pisces Publishing Inc. the amount "while this issue of anomalous procurement is still under investigation."

Citing the initial probe of its Field Investigation Office, the Office of the Ombudsman said that in June 2010, the Marinduque government bought 53 units of computers at P278,000 each, for a total of more than P14.7 million. The computers were for the province's Day Care Center Computer-based Learning Development Package.

However, private citizen Pedrito Nepomuceno filed a complaint before the Ombudsman's FIO claiming the transaction was anomalous.

Following the investigation, FIO Intelligence Bureau acting director Beda Epres said the procurement for the computers "did not conform with the conditions and procedures for Direct Contracting as stipulated in the Manual of Procedures for Procurement of Goods and Services" for local government units and the implementing rules and the regulations of the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Marinduque computers overpriced, say probers
The previous administration of Gov. Antonio Carrion sealed the contract to buy the computers at P278,000 each from Pisces for the benefit of day care centers.

Acting director Beda Epres of the Ombudsman’s field intelligence bureau said that “the procurement process did not conform to procedures and an examination of the procured items, which include workbooks and CDs show that they are overpriced at P278,000 per set considering that the personal computers are free.”

Meanwhile, anti-corruption agencies from China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia will be in the country for the Philippine launching on Thursday (August 25) of the Declaration of Ombudsmanship Principles that will guide all anti-graft institutions in the performance of their mandated functions.

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