Axed NPO execs remain in posts
(The Philippine Star) - February 3, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Six officials of the National Printing Office (NPO) dismissed from the service continue to report for work, it was learned yesterday.

In a 12-page decision dated July 24, 2015 and signed by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Jose Ronald Bersales and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, the court found the officials “guilty of grave misconduct” in connection with the anomalous printing of travel clearance certificates of the National Bureau of Investigation worth P1.9 million on Nov. 18, 2010.

Ordered dismissed were Emmanuel Andaya, NPO director; Sylvia Banda, chief administrative officer; Josefina Samson, printing operations chief; Antonio Sillona, printing operations chief; Bernadette Lagumen, supervising administrative officer; and Ma. Gracia Enriquez, printing operations assistant chief. 

Another official identified as Ruben Dancel, technical working group head of NPO, was cleared for “lack of merit.”

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Guillermo Sylianteng Jr. who alleged that the bids and awards committee (BAC) of the NPO sub-contracted the project and awarded the contract to Advance Computer Forms Inc. without proper bidding, in violation of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Andaya approved the contract which was awarded to Advance Computer Forms.

The BAC was headed by Banda, with Samson, Sillona, Lagumen and Enriquez as members.

In their defense, the NPO officials claimed “sub-contracting is not a prohibited activity under RA 9184.”

They said “the BAC resorted to emergency procurement considering the urgency of the subject purchase order.”

However, the Office of the Ombudsman maintained that the officials violated the law.

“There was no state of calamity that posed imminent danger to life or property, or time was of the essence arising from natural or man-made calamities, or other causes necessitating immediate action to restore vital public services, infrastructure facilities and other public utilities,” it said.

“Even if there were extraordinary or emergency circumstances, NBI travel clearance certificates are not vital public services to justify the negotiated procurement of printing services of the subject purchased order,” it added.

The court also ordered the cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits of the officials and their perpetual disqualification from holding public office. They were also barred from taking civil service examinations.

Employees have complained that the six are still reporting for duty and holding vital positions involved in the printing of ballots, especially for the May polls.

“The decision came out from the ombudsman last July 24 and yet they are still working and getting their salaries,” Mario Adarlo, an employee and former president of the NPO employees union, said in Filipino.

Banda confirmed that all of them still report for work but insisted that they have filed a motion for reconsideration before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, who has direct supervision of the NPO, said “the concerned officials have filed their respective motions for reconsideration; hence, they continue to perform their duties while their motions for reconsideration are pending.”

But Mel Sta. Maria, Far Eastern University Institute of Law dean and TV5 resident legal analyst, said the six officials defied the ombudsman’s decision “and their acts are a clear violation of the law.”

ACIRC ADVANCE COMPUTER FORMS ADVANCE COMPUTER FORMS INC ANTONIO SILLONA BERNADETTE LAGUMEN BUT MEL STA EMMANUEL ANDAYA FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF LAW GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT REFORM ACT GRACIA ENRIQUEZ OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
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