Ombudsman orders dismissal of Sulu college prexy, 4 others

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 June) – The Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of Sulu State College (SSC) president Abdurasa Sariol Arasid and four other officials who are members of the school’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) for multiple irregularities in the procurement in 2011 of equipment for the physics, computer engineering, and agriculture laboratories worth P22 million.

Students stroll at the Sulu State College campus. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Based on the decision of the Ombudsman, Arasid, BAC chairperson Hja Ferwina Jikiri Amilhamja, and BAC members Anang Agang Hawang, Nenita Aguil and Audie Janea were found guilty of grave misconduct.

The Ombudsman ordered their perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits, barred them from taking the civil service examination, and cancelled their civil service eligibility.

The Ombudsman also found probable cause to indict the respondents and BAC member Joseph Pescadera for violation of Section 3e of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Section 3e defines some acts of public officials that constitute corrupt practices such as “causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”

The investigation conducted by the Ombudsman found that the state-owned college entered into a contract with State Alliance Enterprises, Inc. on May 30, 2011 for the acquisition of equipment for its physics, computer engineering and agriculture laboratories.

However, the Commission on Audit (COA) based in Sulu noticed that there was no publication of the invitation to bid in a newspaper of general circulation and the supplier tendered a bid in excess of the Approved Budget for the Contract.

The COA also found that the bidding was undertaken despite the absence of certification of availability of funds and lack of procurement documents such as the bidding documents, bid security and abstract of bids.

The COA consequently issued a Notice of Disallowance for the transaction on June 15, 2015.

The Ombudsman maintained that the purchase of the equipment “reeks of violations, not only of the procurement law, but of other laws as well.”

“The flawed process deprived the SSC of a competitive bidding that would have extended equal opportunity to enable other contracting parties who are eligible and qualified to participate in public bidding,” the Ombudsman added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)