Sandiganbayan convicts ex-DSWD officials on P5.7-M medicine purchase

Published July 17, 2021, 3:27 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki


The Sandiganbayan has convicted three former officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region XII (Soccsksargen) of graft in the irregular purchase of P5.7 million worth of medicines in 2001.

Convicted were former Regional Director Kunesa Sedik Sekak and bids and awards committee (BAC) members Fatima Panda Abobakar and Jesus Enjambre Flores.

The sixth division of the anti-graft court sentenced them to six to eight years imprisonment with perpetual disqualification from holding public office. They were also jointly and severally liable for the amount of P5,781,772.81.

The court affirmed the prosecution’s charge that they purchased the medicines from Pharmazel, Inc. without public bidding.

While they said the medicines were purchased for relief, rehabilitation, and community-based development efforts in Mindanao, the court said they did not present evidence which would justify the lack of public bidding.

The court noted that the medicines had been delivered by Pharmazel, Inc. two days ahead of the supposed canvass conducted on Dec. 21, 2001.

“This confirms that Pharmazel, Inc. was already chosen as the winning supplier even before the conduct of the alleged canvassing,” the court said.

The decision was written by Associate Justice Karl B. Miranda with the concurrence of Associate Justices Sarah Jane T. Fernandez, chairperson of the sixth division, and Kevin Narce B. Vivero.