NBI files complaint against 14 officials

Published July 16, 2019, 12:48 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Jeffrey Damicog

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed a criminal complaint against 14 persons including former and current officials of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) over an alleged anomalous construction project worth P60 million.

National Bureau of Investigation (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
National Bureau of Investigation (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

NBI Deputy Director Vicente De Guzman III said Tuesday that the complaint was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman last Monday.

De Guzman identified the respondents as retired medical center chief Dr. Bernardino Vicente; clinical center chief Dr. Beverly Azucena; chief administrative officer Clarita Avila; finance service chief Dionisio Tolentino; chief accountant Dilce Valerio; budget section head Godofredo Valles; engineering section chief Esteban Gamurot and assistant chief Darwin Pastor; Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairperson Dr. Julien Guiang and members Dr. Evelyn Belen and Penafracia Gladys Domingo; technical working group member Arturo Salcedo; and administrative officer Gilbert Naval.

Also named as a respondent is Octant Builders president Rowena Manzano.

In its complaint, De Guzman recommended that all 14 respondents be charged before the Sandiganbayan with violating Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; malversation of public funds in violation of Presidential Decree 1445; and falsification of documents in violation of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); and serious dishonesty.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by NCMH chief Dr. Roland Cortez before the NBI concerning the construction of the Pavilion 6-Extension which was awarded to Octant Builders in 2017.

“NCMH Officials conducted the bidding and recommended the award of the contract despite irregularities in the procedure they followed,” read the NBI’s complaint before the Ombudsman.

Among its findings, the NBI said the NCMH should have disqualified Octant Builders during the bidding process of the project since the tax clearance it submitted “belongs to Rowena Manzano (Little Lemon Children Warehouse) and not the Octoant Builders, the bidder.”

The NBI also found from the articles of incorporation of Octant Builders “subject Clarita M. Avila is one of the incorporators of Octant Builders.”

Octant also received the full payment of the project even though it remains unfinished.

“Despite the irregularities, the project was awarded to Octant Builders, and the latter was subsequently paid, despite lacking documents to support the Disbursement vouchers,” the NBI stated.