The Office of the Ombudsman has won another case after the Sandiganbayan sentenced a former mayor in Southern Philippines to suffer the penalty of six to ten years of imprisonment for each violation, stemming from overpriced medicines in 2004.
Found guilty for violations of Section 3 (e) and (g) of the Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) was Salvador S. Jauod, Sr., past municipal mayor of Montevista, Compostella Valley.
In a 40-page decision penned by Associate Justice Jose R. Hernandez, the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division ruled that Jauod also has to suffer perpetual disqualification from holding any public office.
Associate Justices Gregory S. Ong and Maria Cristina J. Cornejo concurred with Hernandez’s ponencia.
Jauod was likewise directed to pay the local government of Montevista the amount of P6,356,763.44.
The case stemmed from a complaint which revealed that Jauod gave unwarranted benefit to DMI Medical Supply, owned by one Gina Marie Mendoza-Espejo, by procuring medicines worth P9,999,973.40.
The complaint revealed that the medicines were overpriced by P6,356,763.44 after considering a price variance of 10% which caused too much damage and prejudiced to the local government.
Records showed that from October 2003 to March 2004, two purchases were made and the money used in the acquisitions was taken from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Senator Ramon Revilla for the town’s ‘Botika ng Barangay’project.
It was noted in the complaint that both purchases was made through direct contract because the members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) did not conduct any public bidding for the said procurement.
Witnesses presented by the Office of the Ombudsman’s prosecution panel led by Dir. Ireneo M. Paldeng testified that the first batch of medicines include two boxes containing 144 bottles of vitamins which were already expired upon delivery, while the second batch includes medicines which were to expire within six months from the time of delivery.
It was further revealed that some medicines had expiry dates of less than 2 years from the time of distribution, in violation of the Revised Manual on Inspection under Commission on Audit (COA) Memo No. 98-023 which mandates that “the expiry date of medicines should not be earlier than two years from the date of delivery.”
A price comparison also showed that the prices offered by the DMI to the Montevista town were much higher than the prices of medicines submitted to the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC).
The ruling said that Jauod “should have acted immediately when he was informed of the medicines that have expired and those that were about to expire upon delivery.”
“Judging from the manner he discharged his duties, he omitted to act in a situation where there is duty to act, not inadvertently, but willfully and intentionally with a conscious indifference to the consequences,” the decision held.
It also stressed that Jauod’s repeated failure to exercise his functions as required from public officers amounted to gross inexcusable negligence. HON. JESUS A. MICAEL, Deputy Special Prosecutor