COA wants probe on town’s purchase of contraceptives

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    MEXICO, Pampanga’s purchase of P1.495 million worth of contraceptives has given birth to bigger problems for municipal officials, 11 years after the supposed delivery.

    In a decision released yesterday, the Commission on Audit asked the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the municipal government for violation of RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and other possible crimes.

    The COA Commission Proper denied the appeal filed by Mexico Mayor Teddy Tumang seeking the lifting of the notice of disallowance against the procurement of birth control items in 2010.

    COA chair Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioner Roland C. Pondoc directed the Prosecution and Litigation Office-Legal Services Sector to forward audit records to the Ombudsman.

    Records showed the municipal government posted an invitation to bid on the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) in early 2010 but the post was later marked “cancelled.”

    However, documents obtained by government auditors revealed the procurement pushed through and the supply contract was awarded to Pharmazel Inc.

    Subsequently, the local government released the payment totaling P1,495,490 even if there was no delivery receipt and no inspection and acceptance report.

    In issuing a notice of disallowance, auditors also found that Panlaqui used the name and documents of Pharmazel, a kind of substitution that is prohibited under RA 9184 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

    They also noted that the mayor approved the purchase request even if it was undated and unnumbered and the purpose for the transaction was not stated.

    Held liable and ordered to refund the procurement cost were Mayor Tumang: Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members Avelina Reyes, Lucila Agento, Marlon Maniacup, Jesus Punzalan, Luz Bondoc, Romeo Razon, and Adonis Cosio; BAC Technical Working Group members Marlon Macabali and Anthony Maniago; municipal accountant Perlita Lagman; and Panlaqui and Pharmazel.