• SSS chief summoned over P74M NPO deal


    THE NATIONAL Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has summoned Social Security System (SSS) Chairman Dean Amado Valdez to shed light on an alleged P74-million scam in printing of “document forms” in the National Printing Office (NPO).

    The NBI clarified that Valdez is not a suspect in the alleged irregularity but considered as a resource person to get his opinion on the alleged double contract awarded to four security printers.

    Irvin Garcia Anti-Fraud Division (Afrad) chief, issued a subpoena for the SSS chairman and other personalities who could give information on the alleged NPO anomaly.

    Reports said the NPO already had a P74-million contract with Western Visayas Printing Corp. (WVPC) but it still granted work orders to three printers–Best Forms Security Printer owned by Benjamin Yam, Tri-Print Work of Ramil Tamayo and Metro Color of Celso Viray.

    In the wake of the reported transactions, NPO Bids and Awards Committee chief Sherwin Prose Castañeda quit his post, along with 10 other BAC officials.

    The Presidential Communications Operations Office, through Communications Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Enrique Tandan, has found “sufficient basis” to refer the matter to the NBI for further investigation.

    “The [PCOO] investigation uncovered several irregularities and violations of the Government Procurement Reform Act (Republic Act 9184) and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019), among others,” Tandan said.

    The NBI had also summoned current and former officials of the NPO.

    NPO Deputy Director Sherwin Castaneda, resigned BAC chairman had denied irregularities in the contract.

    Ruben Dancel, former chief of Production Planning and Control Division, confirmed that he was asked by Castañeda to cancel the contract awarded to WVPC and award it to the three other printers.

    The NBI said they are still waiting for Dancel’s affidavit and will investigate if the NPO had given due process for the cancelation of the WVPC contract.

    Investigators are also probing information that Castañeda was appointed to his post on August 18, 2016 but has received compensation from July 1 to August 31, 2016.

    It was learned that Valdea, former dean of University of the East College of Law, had requested his former professor, NBI Director Dante Gieran, to speed up its investigation. FRANCIS EARL CUETO


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