• Ex-Zamboanga mayor charged with graft

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    Former mayor Flavio Saniel Jr. of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur was charged with graft by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged questionable purchase of medicines worth P1.8 million in 2009.

    Also charged were members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC)—Marcos Bahinting, Melita delos Santos, Gasmelba Felicitas, Nikki Omboy, Jerry Delos Santos, Martin Blanco Jr., Lina Lou Gitalan and Eleuterio Galleto.

    The charges stemmed from the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) that Saniel and his co-accused approved the purchase of the medicines through a fraudulent public bidding.

    It was found that the bidding invitation did not contain details of Approved Budget for the Contract; date of opening of bids and list of eligibility requirements. As a result of the flawed bidding, the supplier allegedly delivered expired medicines worth P587,068.40 and overpriced by P997,193.60.

    The COA noted that Vitamin A capsules bought at P645,620 were actually distributed free of charge by the Department of Health.

    The scheme, it said, resulted in ghost deliveries of medicines amounting to P1,292,254.80.
    According to the Ombudsman, “what is even more significant is the apparent haste in which the supposed biddings were conducted” as “the medicines were paid for, delivered and inspected immediately the day after the bidding although bidders are from Parañaque City, Quezon City and Pasay City.”

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