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Ombudsman files graft charges vs. Nur Misuari, others

MANILA – The Ombudsman has filed graft and malversation charges former Muslim autonomous regional governor Nur Misuari for an anomalous purchase of educational materials worth P137.5 million from 2000-2001.

Ombudsman Conchita Morales said Misuari is facing three counts of malversation of public funds through falsification and three counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) before the Sandiganbayan.

She said based on the findings of the Commission on Audit, it was found out that the payment to five suppliers of textbooks and educational materials totalling P137,511,108.14 were irregular and made without public bidding.

The investigation disclosed that Misuari approved the payment of the following educational materials: White Orchids Printing and Publishing House for various educational materials worth P37,959,204; CPR Publishing House in Caloocan City for 170 sets of multi-media information technology package worth P46,261,250; Esteem Enterprises in Quezon City for 6,000 copies of Demokrasyang Pambarangay, 22,000 copies of Malakas ang Batang Pilipino,
5,000 copies of Fight Drug Dependency, 8,500 copies of multi-color coated map of the Philippines worth P12,030,000; Dunong Publishing in Parañaque City for 6,857 sets of Easy Learn Day Care Chart with Teacher’s Guide book, 25,238 copies of Easy Learn Day Care Workbook worth P21,999,848 and MBJ Learning Tools in Caloocan City for the 124 sets of information technology package for elementary and high school students amounting to P19,260,806.14.

“Flagrant red flags were noted in the procurement such as lack of public bidding; undated and unnumbered procurement documents; absence of contracts, inventory and distribution lists; undue haste in the purchase of goods showing the rigged bidding; and non-compliance with eligibility requirements by the suppliers,” according to the press statement released by the Office of the Ombudsman.

According to Ombudsman Morales, “the Office finds probable cause that Misuari and respondents conspired with one another while discharging their official functions, acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence when they conspired to rig the procurement.”

Also included as co-accused are former executives of the Department of Education – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Director Leovigilda Cinches; Supply Officer Sittie Aisa Usman; Accountant Alladin Usi; Chief Accountant Pangalian Maniri; Education Program Specialist Bai Sherilyn Mustapha and Commission on Audit’s Nader Macagaan.

The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charges against suppliers Lolita Sambeli of White Orchids, Cristeta Ramirez of CPR Publishing, Mario Barria of Esteem Enterprises and Ma. Lourdes Mendoza of Dunong Publishing. There were no immediate statements or reactions from Misuari or to any of those accused by the Ombudsman. (Mindanao Examiner)

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