July 21, 2017Written by Marlon PurificacionPublished in Top StoriesRead: 202
TWO days before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte, and in line with the administration’s campaign against graft and corruption, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran recommended the prosecution of several officials of the National Printing Office (NPO) led by its Deputy Director Atty. Sherwin Prose Castañeda over the controversial issuance of work orders to private printing companies.
In a letter to the Office of the Ombudsman, the Anti-Fraud Division (AFD) of the NBI recommended the filing of charges against Castañeda, former NPO Officer-in-Charge Rolando Caluag, Myralyn Soriano, retired NPO employee Ruben Dancel; Edwin Malapajo, vice president of Western Visayas Printing Corporation; Bestforms Inc. President Benjamin Yam, Triprint Corp. President Ramil Tamayo and Metrocolor Corp. General Manager Celso Viray.
“They committed violation of Republic Act No. 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” stated in the NBI letter to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales signed by Dep. Dir. Vicente de Guzman III of Investigation Service.
Gierran said the NBI is committed to obey the marching orders of President Duterte against graft and corruption.
“Sabi ng ating Presidente na ‘the corruption must be stopped’ at ginagawa natin ito para pakasuhan ang mga dapat kasuhan,” said Gierran.
The NBI probe was made at the request of Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar. The NPO is under the PCOO.
In its report, NBI-AFD chief Atty. Irvin Garcia and investigator on case Atty. Norman Anire said that the crime was committed between July 25 and August 2016.
On July 13 last year, the Social Security System (SSS) awarded to the NPO the bulk purchase of 870,000 pads of contributions payment form amounting to P73,602,000.
The NPO, through Caluag, entered into one-year Equipment Lease Agreements for printing machines with Triprint (P19M), Metrocolor (P19M), Bestforms (P49.9M) and WVPC (P49.9M). The NPO will pay the private printers after completion of job order.
On August 29, work order was issued by the Production Planning and Control Division (PPCD) led by Dancel and Soriano to WVPC.
After about one week, as WVPC had already started printing the SSS forms, Malapajo was summoned by Castaneda and Dancel and was informed that the payment forms will be ran instead in the machines of Bestforms, Triprint and Metrocolor.
Castaneda and Dancel agreed to cancel work order No. 003877 of WVPC and decided to split work order numbers A,B,C and D for the three printers and NPO for the remainder.
But the NBI found out that there was no notice of cancellation of work order given to WVPC.
Last November, Metrocolor and WVPC delivered 100,000 pads each to NPO but were not accepted by the NPO citing pending investigation by the PCOO.
Just recently, Dancel affirmed to NBI investigators, through gestures, that he and Castañeda cancelled the work order of WVPC and awarded the same to the three printing companies. Dancel is suffering from motor neuron disease which affects his speech.
In the presence of his wife and former NPO colleagues Atty. Sylvia Banda and Ma. Cecilia Madriaga, Dancel affirmed on video camera by gestures the contents of his “salaysay” at Room 321 of the Lung Center of the Philippines where he is presently confined.
The memorandum dated Dec. 1, 2016 for Andanar from Atty. Enrique Tandan III who made the investigation at the NPO said, “The equipment Lease agreements entered into by the NPO with the Lessor-Printers are not in order and are highly irregular.”
The NBI also discovered that in this type of arrangement with work orders split, the NPO gets 15% of the income and 85% goes to the lessor-printers.
“This highly disadvantageous sharing was confirmed by us when we secured copies of disbursement vouchers for the payment of lease rentals to one of the lessor printers in relation to work order no 003390 dated Feb 15, 2016,” said the NBI.
It added, “While the NPO was paid P2.5million for the project, the NPO had to pay the rental fee to the lessor printer in the amount of P2.1 million which is more or less equivalent to eighty five percent of the printing project. This is clearly disadvantageous to the government and punishable under RA 3019 also known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
Similar to the Equipment Lease Agreements, the work orders issued by the NPO to the private printers are highly irregular.
“When the NPO was awarded by the SSS of the Bulk Purchase of 870,000 pads of SSS contributions payment form, and the NPO issued the corresponding work orders to the four private printers, there was clearly subcontracting of the printing services, which is clearly prohibited by law,” said the NBI in its letter to Ombudsman.
Contrary to a proper contact of lease, the NPO was supposed to simply rent the printing machines and use it for its printing jobs. The printing machine, owing to the security nature of the printing jobs, should also be within the control of the NPO and operated by its personnel.
“According to the NPO and the Lessor-Printers themselves, the printing equipment are not in the NPO premises and are operated exclusively by the Lessor-Printers. The NPO only occasionally sends a representative to the Lessor-Printers plat who inspects the machine,” the letter stated.
Through this, the NPO could not ensure that the printing by private printers are strictly controlled and there can be no possibility of over printing.
At the same time, the NBI found out that the work orders issued by the NPO to private printers are also highly irregular as it was done through the issuance of a form called “Printing and Binding W.O. Envelope” where the description and instruction are contained.
“Upon perusal of the work orders, the name of the NPO employee who prepared it and the NPO approving authority was not indicated…The lacking vital information appears to be purposely done in order to conceal the fact that the printing job is being subcontracted to private printers, which is strictly prohibited,” it added.