The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to charge former Regional Director Walter Albos of the Department of Education Region IX (DepEd Region IX) before the Sandiganbayan for violation of the anti-graft law in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of computers in 2008.
Albos was found to have approved the purchase of information technology equipment and software worth P2,998,100, the office said in a statement. He can still appeal the matter.
The Commission on Audit (COA) issued a Notice of Suspension after it found that the procurement lacked public bidding and that the delivered equipment did not conform with the quantity and specifications indicated in the purchase order.
But even as COA lifted the suspension on the payments on August 8, 2012, the Ombudsman found probable cause saying that, “the interest of the COA is solely administrative, and its investigation does not foreclose the Ombudsman’s authority to investigate and determine whether there is a crime to be prosecuted for which a public official is answerable.”
The graft charge must be pursued, it further said, because “there is nothing in the records that would prove that the Bids and Awards Committee participated in the procurement [as]the procurement was only upon the direction of respondent Albos.”
The office found “insufficient justification” for the use of the alternative method of negotiated procurement and also found that equipment were delivered even before an abstract of bids was issued.
Meanwhile, it dismissed the charge against then Chief Administrative Officer Elizabeth Tatel of DepEd Region IX for insufficiency of evidence.