Criminal charges filed with OMB vs PITC President-CEO Almarinez

Published June 7, 2021, 5:47 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Office of the Ombudsman

A criminal complaint against Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dave M. Almarinez was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday, June 7, for alleged questionable and inefficient use of funds intended for the procurement of goods and services in 2019.

Lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” G. Gadon, who ran and lost as a senatorial aspirant in the May 2019 elections, filed the complaint against Almarinez for alleged delays incurred in procurement, which resulted in “idle funds” that were unreturned.

He accused Almarinez of violating Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Section 40 of Republic Act No.10951, also known as Malversation of Public Funds or Property; Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code otherwise known as Illegal Use of Public Funds or Property; Article 215 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Section 38 of RA 10951 or the crime of Prohibited Transactions; Article 315(1)(b) of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Section 85 of RA 10951 or Estafa; and Section 3(g) of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The basis of Gadon’s complaint was the Commission on Audit (COA) report on May 2, 2019, which revealed that the PITC entered into several memorandum of agreements (MOAs) with 17 government agencies for the procurement of goods and services, including infrastructure projects, that have no provisions for a definite timeframe.

Gadon said funds were still transferred to the PITC despite the absence of complete documentation, which resulted in delays in the implementation of procurement. Idle funds worth P7.931 billion were reportedly accumulated as of Dec. 2019, he claimed.

These idle funds, Gadon alleged, had interest earnings worth P13.042 million that should have benefitted the concerned government agencies and not the PITC.

At the same time, he said there were “unexplained balances” amounting to P349.419 million that were not returned by the PITC to the source agencies.

He also alleged there were interest earnings on fund transfers from various government agencies aggregating P581.135 million as of Dec. 31, 2019 that were invested in money market placements. He claimed that some interest earnings were even recorded as income of the PITC.

He identified the 17 government agencies as the Philippine Army, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Navy, Department of Health (DOH), Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine General Hospital, UP Systems, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Sugar Regulatory Administration, UP Los Banos, Philippine Coast Guard, and Civil Defense.