Ex-Tesda chief indicted for graft

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Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of graft charges against former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Augusto Syjuco, Jr. and several others over the alleged anomalous purchase of books for school children.

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Also to be charged at the Sandiganbayan are Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Santiago Yabut Jr., BAC vice chairman Clifford Paragua, BAC members Marjorie Docdocil, Brenda Furagganan, Ma. Lourdes Villanueva, Procurement and Supply Division Chief Juanito Belda and Senior Administrative Assistant III Glynis June Capoquian-Sionosa, and representatives of Grand C Graphics, Inc. (Grand C) Alfredo Ching, Jr., Nelson Ching, Rene Rufino and Fahmi Asuncion.

The criminal complaints stemmed from the procurement of 250,000 copies of SALABAT for the Filipino Soul, a career guidance book for school children, totaling P9.25 million which allegedly did not undergo public bidding.

The alternative mode of limited source bidding was resorted to when Syjuco and the BAC awarded the project to Grand C. The Ombudsman said the Commission on Audit (COA) found the expenditure irregular.

State auditors said the limited source bidding cannot be resorted to “since the printing of books is neither a highly specialized type of goods” and that “the requirement for resorting to limited source bidding was not complied with.”

The commission also questioned the processing of payment, delivery and inspection of goods which were completed only in one day.

In August last year, Morales approved the filing of graft charges against Syjuco and his wife, former Iloilo representative Judy Syjuco, over the alleged anomalous disbursement and use of P20 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) coursed through Tesda and implemented by the Tagipusuon Cooperative, a Syjuco-founded NGO.

In April 2013, graft charges were also filed against Syjuco, Jr. and several Tesda officials over alleged irregularities in the implementation and disbursement of funds for the Ladderized Education Program (LEPTES) and the Nordic Development Fund-TESDA (NDFTES) projects.

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