Graft cases hound new QCGH head

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DR. Josephine Sabando, newly appointed officer-in-charge of Quezon City General Hospital has a lot of explaining to do after several employees revealed over the weekend that she has several pending cases at the Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

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In an exclusive interview with The Manila Times, a source who requested anonymity said Sabando’s designation by Mayor Herbert Bautista smacks of favoritism and total disregard of existing civil service rules on the appointment of government officials and employees.

Sabando, a known protégé of city administrator Adrin Cuna, was named to the post by Bautista after former hospital director Dr. Antonio Cabigas retired earlier this year.

Because of her perceived closeness to Cuna, the source said Sabando bypassed some senior and eligible doctors at the hospital.

The source said Sabando is facing charges for violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and violation of RA 3019 for graft and corruption as budget officer and vice chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology.

The graft complaint, filed last year by her colleague Dr. Amelia Manzon, is pending at the Office of the Ombudsman while her ethical standards case at the CSC has been referred to the office of the city mayor.

Documents obtained by The Manila Times showed that on March 7, 2013, Assistant Ombudsman Leilanie Cabras wrote Mayor Bautista informing him of the graft case filed by Manzon against Sabando.

Cabras even recommended to Bautista” to exercise your administrative disciplinary authority over the local government official complained in accordance with the Local Government Code.”

On the separate case before the CSC, Manzon said in her affidavit that Sabando’s violation arose from a conflict of interest for assuming her dual posts as medical planning officer and chief of the planning development of the hospital.

Manzon noted that Sabando was supposed to be doing administrative functions as a full-time job, holding office eight hours a day basis but it was learned that she was also practicing her profession as anesthesiologist for the same hospital, which is a violation of civil service rules and in conflict with her sworn duties.

Some hospital insiders also expressed fear that Sabando’s wide discretion in spending hospital fund up to P5 million per transaction could result in more questionable and anomalous transactions.

It was learned that the hospital’s P249.461 million budget for 2014 has been approved by the city council on second reading last September 15.

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