Ombudsman orders dismissal of Bukidnon NIA officials

Published June 5, 2018, 3:24 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Czarina Nicole Ong

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal from service three officials from the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) Bukidnon Provincial Irrigation Office due to their involvement in the anomalous procurement of fertilizers worth P9,447,200 back in 2009.

Office of the Ombudsman (Credits: Office of the Ombudsman Philippines via Facebook | Manila Bulletin)
Office of the Ombudsman (Credits: Office of the Ombudsman Philippines via Facebook | Manila Bulletin)

The dismissed officials are NIA division manager Editha Abdon, administrative and finance head Adelina Calonge and principal engineer Leonila Tenestrante. They were found guilty of gross neglect of duty.

Aside from dismissal, they are also perpetually disqualified from holding public office, and their retirement benefits are forfeited. They are also barred from taking the civil service exam, and their civil service eligibility is cancelled.

Ombudsman investigators discovered that in June 2009, the NIA Regional Office (RO) received P10 million for the implementation of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) bio-organic fertilizer program.

Using this fund, the NIA RO purchased thousands of liters of organic fertilizers and pesticides from 3K & C Enterprises, Dating Bayan Agro Industrial Corporation, MLB Enterprises, and EMP Feed Mix Manufacturing.

However, investigators discovered that the suppliers failed to meet the required product specifications and quality standards.

At the same time, the projects were awarded without the benefit of public bidding. More irregularities surfaced when investigators learned that supplier 3K is a business firm owned by Regina Salazar, wife of then NIA administrator Carlos Salazar.

Lastly, no postqualification proceedings were undertaken to ensure the capability of the suppliers to undertake the project.

“The following respondents committed serious Neglect of Duty: Abdon and Calonge by certifying that the supporting documents for the first tranche disbursements were complete, when in fact this was not the case; and Tenestrante for failing to conduct real postqualification of MLB as required by Republic Act No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act),” the Ombudsman decision read.

“As there was no justification for the resort to shopping, not to mention the apparent splitting of the P9,477,200.00, Abdon should not have permitted the disbursements from the fund. The same is true with respect to Calonge. As such head, she also allowed this disbursement notwithstanding the lack of public bidding,” it added.

ts committed serious Neglect of Duty: Abdon and Calonge by certifying that the supporting documents for the first tranche disbursements were complete, when in fact this was not the case; and Tenestrante for failing to conduct real post-qualification of MLB as required by Republic Act No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act),” the Ombudsman decision read.

“As there was no justification for the resort to shopping, not to mention the apparent splitting of the P9,477,200.00, Abdon should not have permitted the disbursements from the fund. The same is true with respect to Calonge. As such Head, she also allowed this disbursement notwithstanding the lack of public bidding,” it added.

 
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