Laptop bought for P99,000 leads to graft raps –

ILOILO CITY—The Ombudsman has indicted former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada and four provincial government officials for alleged irregularities in the purchase of a laptop.

In a 10-page resolution approved on July 2, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales recommending the filing of complaints against Mejorada, Ramie Salcedo (head of general services office), Danny Baldemor (administrative officer), Patricia Grace Trabado (provincial health officer) and Edgar Piansay (retired).

The case revolves around the purchase of a laptop for the provincial government at a cost of P99,000 in February 2008.

A 2008 annual audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA) stated that the laptop delivered to the provincial government was not the one allowed by a purchase order and was cheaper by P39,100.

Different units

The purchase order was for an Acer Aspire unit worth P99,000 which was intended for the provincial health office. But what was delivered and accepted by the respondents was an Acer Travel Mate unit that was worth only P59,900, according to the COA report.

Electroworld Inc., the computer store where the laptop was purchased, explained that the Acer Aspire model that was specified by the purchase order had already been phased out.

On Oct. 13, 2011, the company that acted as middleman in the deal, Seven-Seven Trading, refunded P83,796, the amount that was disallowed by the COA.

No public bidding

The audit report also noted that there was no public bidding for the purchase and had reminded the bids and awards committee to stop the practice of tapping middlemen for government purchase contracts.

The transaction gave “undue benefit, preference or undue advantage” to the computer store, according to the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office.

Mejorada declined to issue a statement, saying he had not received a copy of the order and complaint.

The Ombudsman said the return of the funds does not absolve the accused from criminal liability.


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