OsMak equipment overpriced by P61M: COA

by Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Oct 02 2014 05:21 PM | Updated as of Oct 03 2014 12:53 PM

Commissioner Heidi Mendoza bares threats, break-in

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Commission on Audit (COA) on Thursday revealed that several medical equipment purchased by the local government of Makati for the Ospital ng Makati (OsMak) back in 2000 and 2001 were overpriced.

Speaking before the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee, COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza said a special task force created in 2001 discovered that medical equipment at the OsMak were overpriced by P61,249,492.72.

She said the medical equipment were purchased under the leadership of then Mayor Elenita Binay for P70,561,700 when their actual worth was only P9,312,207.28.

Elenita Binay, wife of Vice President Jejomar Binay, was mayor of Makati from 1998 to 2001.

Mendoza, who was still an auditor at that time, said it was made to appear that the supplier, a certain Apollo, was an exclusive distributor of the brand purchased by Makati. Therefore, no public bidding was conducted, she said.

However, after buying the same equipment as the ones purchased by Makati, they found out that the machines were overpriced by as much as 9,056 percent.

Mendoza said they also discovered other irregularities, such as the tampering of the brand name of the equipment.

AUTOCLAVES (STERILIZERS)

Makati purchase price: P1,465,000
COA audit price: P16,000
Overprice amount per unit: P1,449,000
9,056% overpriced

Mendoza said three units of sterilizer, amounting to a total of P10,339,500, were purchased by the local government of Makati.

The brand name provided by supplier Apollo was Sicoa, which, Mendoza stressed, was "gawa-gawa lang" to make it appear that it was the only distributor of the said brand, thus justifying the high price.

"The supplier falsely claimed that he is the exclusive distributor. Bakit po kailangang magsinungaling, para sa exclusive distributorship? Para po maiwasan ang public bidding," she added.

FETAL MONITORING SYSTEM

Makati purchase price: P2,680,000
COA audit price: P538,000
Overprice amount per unit: P2,142,000
398% overpriced

In this case, Mendoza said the supplier "perpetrated the deception through the manipulation of the features of existing models of fetal monitoring system by making it appear that such features are present in a non-existent model branded as Sicoa Benson."

Meanwhile, the COA commissioner said they were able to trace the source of the hospital beds purchased by the Makati government.

She said Mabuhay 2000 Enterprises, Inc. confirmed to COA that it supplied the beds for the OsMak. However, it did not provide the price of the beds.

But with the help of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) importation documents, Mendoza said they were able to get the price of the beds.

She said they also discovered that the regular beds, which were claimed to be manufactured in New Jersey in the United States, were only manufactured in Taiwan.

REGULAR HOSPITAL BEDS

Makati purchase price: P148,000
COA audit price: P9,032.76
Overprice amount per unit: P138,867.24
1,537% overpriced

A total of 172 units of hospital beds, amounting to P23,902,000, were purchased by Makati, Mendoza said.

ICU BEDS

Makati purchase price: P545,000
COA audit price: P34,123.76
Overprice amount per unit: P510,876.24
1,497% overpriced

ORTHOPAEDICS BEDS

Makati purchase price: P480,000
COA audit price: P24,087.36
Overprice amount per unit: P455,912.64
1,893% overpriced

Mendoza pointed out, "Nakakapagtaka lang ho dito sa hospital beds. Napuntahan po namin yung company, nagpa-picture pa kami dun sa mga beds. Kinabukasan po nung bumalik kami, sarado na po ang kumpanya, at tinanggal na po nila ang kanilang website sa Internet. Kaya wala na po kaming nakuhang kahit ano."

ULTRASOUND MACHINES

Makati purchase price: P7,980,000
COA audit price: P1,299,750
Overprice amount per unit: P6,680,250
514% overpriced

According to Mendoza, the brochure presented by Makati showing the photo of the ultrasound machine also had the brand name Sicoa.

However, she said it was only tampered, and the brand of the machine was Aloka.

"Kapag ho ginawang Sicoa, lalabas ho na walang ibang ultrasound sa market na ang pangalan ay Sicoa. Kaya ho justified ang exclusive distributorship, and with that, justified ang presyo," she noted.

Mendoza, however, said that they discovered yet another irregularity when they inspected the ultrasound machines in the hospital.

She said they saw that the brand of the machines was again a different name, GERT 3200.

She said when she asked GERT 3200 to provide the price of the machines, it only said that the machines had long been pulled out from the market.

"So hindi lamang po nag-commit ng overpricing. Ang ibig sabihin po luma at hindi brand new and binili ng city government," the COA commissioner said.

Hospital cabinets as well as other office equipment, meanwhile, were also found to be overpriced.

HOSPITAL CABINETS

Makati purchase price: P17,850
COA audit price: P2,258.19
Overprice amount per unit: P15,591.81
690% overpriced

DESKTOP EQUIPMENT

Makati purchase price: P129,960
COA audit price: P46,500
Overprice amount per unit: P83,460
179% overpriced

AIRCONDITIONERS

Makati purchase price: P139,300
COA audit price: P36,450
Overprice amount per unit: P102,850
265% overpriced

According to Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano, the special audit report presented by Mendoza was relevant to the hearing on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 since it showed a pattern of corruption in Makati.

The 11-storey Makati City office and parking building is the subject of a plunder complaint against the vice president, his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and several other city government officials.

BREAK-IN AT HOME

Meanwhile, the COA commissioner told the Senate that there was a break-in at her home earlier this year.

"Pinasok po yung bahay tapos nilaglag lahat ng cabinets tapos yung lahat ng papel tinaktak sa sahig. Pero wala naman pong nawalang importante," she said.

She said she does not want to point fingers at anyone, but noted that the timing of the incident was suspicious.

She said the incident came as she was testifying before the Sandiganbayan against Elenita Binay and other former Makati City officials in connection with the purchase of the allegedly overpriced medical equipment.

Before she testified at the Senate, Mendoza said she received a call in the morning from a person threatening her. She did not give details, however.

Mendoza said COA officials and personnel frequently face threats for doing their job.

"Tinatakot kami, kami po'y pine-pressure... Sana po makita ng publiko kung gaano kahirap ang buhay ng isang auditor," she said.