The National Bureau of Investigation-Anti-Graft Division has filed graft charges against 20 officials and employees of National Center for Mental Health and three private individuals for violation of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), RA 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act), and gross negligence and serious dishonesty in relation to the procurement and payment of a CT Scan Project amounting to P30,407,706.25.
NBI Director Dante Gierran said among those charged before the Office of the Ombudsman include Dr. Bernardino Vicente, retired NCMH Medical Center Chief II; and incumbent officials and employees of NCMH, namely: Dr. Beverly A. Azucena, Clarita A. Avila, Dionisio A. Tolentino, Dulce V. Valerio, CPA, Godofredo S. Valles, MPA, Dr. Jenkin L. Go, Engr. Esteban L. Gamurot, Dr. Alden Cuyos, Dr. Jumelyn Perez, Dr. Cynthia Agustin, Belma Cruz, Publio Plotena, Dr. Christopher Christian S. Chu, Jerry Rodriguez, Arturo C. Salcedo, Dr. Evelyn P. Belen, Engr. Darwin P. Pastor, Solidad G. Yambao, Ma. Charina Concepcion O. Aberin, and private individuals Portia Baviera of Technomed International Inc., Ronald T. Tan, general manager of RJJL Construction and Trading and Ronald Allan Gacoscos, general manager of GACOSCOS Construction.
Gierran said the case stemmed from the complaint of the Employees Association of NCMH.
Investigation disclosed several irregularities in the procurement of CT Scan Equipment which includes non-compliance with the requirements of RA 9184 and Department of Health. He said the investigation also disclosed that notwithstanding the inoperability and non-functionality of the CT Scan Equipment, NCMH accepted and paid P24,500,000.00 to Technomed Int’l Inc. Moreover, the CT Scan Project was split into four contracts with aggregate cost of P 30,407,706.25 despite only an approved budget cost of P26,800,000.00 as per Sub-Allotment Advise (SAA) No. 2017-08-1646, purposely to circumvent the requirements of the law and the necessity of competitive bidding.
Further, it can be gleaned from the procurement documents of the CT Scan Building that it was intended to be constructed and to be bid by phases. However, there is no clear delineation of work for each phase and no detailed engineering activities that would justify implementation of infrastructure project by phases.
Subject NCMH officials accepted the delivery made by Technomed Int’l Inc. and RJJL Construction and Trading despite failure of the contractors to comply with provision of “Testing and Commissioning” as mentioned in the contract.
The contractors were paid in full amount. In addition, liquidated damages amounting to P4,753,000.00 and P 62,503.44 were not imposed upon Technomed Int. Inc. and RJJL Construction and Trading for the delay in the delivery of the CT Scan Equipment and Building.
What is more disadvantageous to the government is that the warranty provision lapsed while the entire CT Scan Project is neither functioning nor operational, the NBI investigation showed.
It may be recalled that last July 15, 2019, criminal cases were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against retired and erring NCMH officials and subject contractor, Octant Builders, with regard to irregularities in the procurement and payment of NCMH Pavilion 6 amounting to P 60,415,183.22.
Reports said that NCMH Chief Administrative Service Clarita A. Avila was an incorporator of Octant Builders. The Office of the Administrative Service has direct supervision and control over the Engineering Section and Bids and Awards Committee which has direct access to substantial information relative to NCMH bidding.
Perusal of NCMH Infrastructure Projects disclosed that from year 2013 to 2018, a total of 14 infrastructure projects amounting to P188,718,184.10 were awarded to NCMH’s preferred contactor, Octant Builders.