Officials of the National Printing Office are facing a consolidated complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for a supposed P197-million transaction with a private company for the printing of ballots for the May 2022 elections.
The group Task Force Kasanag-International filed plunder, graft and corruption, grave misconduct, and gross neglect of duty complaints against NPO Director IV Carlos Bathan and engineers Benedicto Cabral, Yolanda Marcelo and Leah Dela Cruz.
Holy Family Printing Corp. president Leopoldo Gomez was also implicated.
The task force’s president, John Chiong, said the NPO agreed to refund the P197-million income of the government from a deal with the Holy Family Printing Corp. for the printing of ballots for the national and local elections last May.
Based on the joint revenue and revenue-sharing agreement between the NPO and Holy Family Printing, the NPO was supposed to earn P2 per ballot and 16.88% of the income from the printing of ballots, while 83.11% would go to Holy Family.
Despite such, the Holy Family Printing Corp. charged the NPO for the 16% that was supposed to be the printing offices’ earnings.
Chiong said the transaction with a private company must initially pass through the Commission on Audit and should not have been directly dealt with by the NPO.
Bathan said the complaints were “unfair and malicious,” and that he had not yet authorized any transactions regarding a joint venture agreement.
“To set the record straight, the present leadership of NPO has not yet signed nor authorized any transaction, bidding, or replicate the questionable joint venture scheme. Hence, the case filed by Mr. John Chiong is grossly unfair and malicious,” the NPO official said in a previous statement.
NPO is conducting “open and competitive biddings” according to the provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, he stressed.
“I have also instructed that all previous contracts and agreements of NPO be reviewed and if there are violations, we will hold the abusive personnel accountable including those outside NPO who are extorting money from the printers, contributing to the malpractices, and blocking our programs to improve NPO,” he noted.