Misuari faces graft, malversation raps over P137.5-M educational materials deal

Government troops take their positions as about 200 Muslim rebels, enraged by a broken peace deal with the Philippine government, held scores of hostages as human shields Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in a standoff with government forces for the second day with no solution in sight at the southern port city of Zamboanga, in southern Philippines. More battle-ready troops and police were flown to the southern port city of Zamboanga in a bid to end the crisis. (MNS photo)

Government troops take their positions as about 200 Muslim rebels, enraged by a broken peace deal with the Philippine government, held scores of hostages as human shields Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in a standoff with government forces for the second day with no solution in sight at the southern port city of Zamboanga, in southern Philippines. More battle-ready troops and police were flown to the southern port city of Zamboanga in a bid to end the crisis. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Sept 28 (Mabuhay) –Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of graft and malversation charges against former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional governor and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari in connection with the alleged anomalous procurement of educational materials worth P137.5 million from 2000 to 2001.

Misuari is facing three counts of malversation of public funds through falsification and three counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) over the deal.

Also charged were five officials from the Department of Education (DepEd), an official from the Commission on Audit, and the suppliers of the textbooks whose purchase was approved by Misuari.

Morales said her office “finds probable cause that Misuari [and respondents] conspired with one another while discharging their official functions, [acting] with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence when they conspired to rig the procurement.”

Based on the COA’s findings, the former governor approved the payment totaling P137,511,108.14 to five suppliers of textbooks and educational materials without public bidding.

Those who received payment were:

White Orchids Printing and Publishing House: P37,959,204.00

CPR Publishing House of Caloocan City: P46,261,250.00

Esteem Enterprises of Quezon City: P12,030,000.00

Dunong Publishing of Parañaque City: P21,999,848.00

MBJ Learning Tools of Caloocan City: P19,260,806.14

Aside from the lack of public bidding, the other red flags noted by the COA regarding the purchase were the lack of dates and numbers in the procurement documents; the absence of contracts, inventory and distribution lists; undue haste in the purchase of goods showing the rigged bidding; and non-compliance with eligibility requirements by the suppliers.

Also included as co-accused are former DepEd ARMM executives Director Leovigilda Cinches, Supply Officer Sittie Aisa Usman, Accountant Alladin Usi, Chief Accountant Pangalian Maniri, Education Program Specialist Bai Sherilyn Mustapha; and COA Auditor Nader Macagaan.

The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charges against suppliers Lolita Sambeli of White Orchids, Cristeta Ramirez of CPR Publishing, Mario Barria of Esteem Enterprises and Ma. Lourdes Mendoza of Dunong Publishing.

Meanwhile, the charges against former Undersecretary Abdurajul Alpha and Regional Secretary Mahid Mutilan were dismissed in view of their death prior to the filing of the complaint.(MNS)

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