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COA wants unpaid delivery of educational materials probed

The Commission on Audit has recommended an investigation of unpaid delivery of educational materials in Western Visayas by the Department of Education regional officials.

An en banc decision showed COA would refer its findings to the Office of the Ombudsman to establish the sanctions against the DepEd Region 6 officials for violation of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

“The Prosecution and Litigation Office, Legal Services Sector, this Commission, is hereby directed to forward the case to the Office of the Ombudsman for investigation and filing of appropriate charges, if warranted, against the persons liable for the transaction,” the decision read.

Jovita Aquino, Bookcraft Publishing Co. Inc. vice president filed a petition for money claim for the delivery of P67.9-million supplementary educational materials in 2005.

Those that benefited were Iloilo City, Passi City, Roxas City, and Capiz and Antique provinces.

Then education undersecretary Alberto Muyot barred the direct contracting for the book request and the release of funds for 2006 and 2007.

The transaction did not go through public bidding and was not included in the DepEd’s agency’s annual procurement plan.

Former Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, in January 2013, said the education materials from Bookcraft were not part of the 2005 procurement plan.

In addition, he said the company was under the jurisdiction of COA that ruled in favor of the book firm over its rights to receive payments since Bookcraft was able to accomplish the delivery of the goods.

“Total denial of the claim, therefore, will lead to the unjust enrichment of the DepEd at the expense of Bookcraft. Hence, Bookcraft is entitled to reasonable compensation based on the principle of quantum merit. This principle is a device to prevent undue enrichment based on the equitable postulate that it is unjust for a person to retain benefit without paying it,” COA’s decision read.   

The state auditors said it could only grant the company’s money claim of P2.46 million as broken down into P2.07 million as the declared value of the shipping materials and P388,671.50 as the total shipping cost based on its computation on the way bills of MLBP Cargo Movers.   

COA blamed the book firm’s failure to offer the en banc its total production cost, including the labor and material costs, of the educational materials as part of its evidence. 

Topics: Commission on Audit , Department of Education , Office of the Ombudsman , Government Procurement Reform Act
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