The Office of the Ombudsman has formally charged officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Unit XI (Davao City) of violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act at the Sandiganbayan.
The Ombudsman indicted DA executives Constancio Maghanoy, Jr. (Regional Executive Director); Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) officials Isagani Basco (Chairman), Alma Mahinay (vice-chairperson), Alfredo Cayabyab, Rafael Mercado, Larry Pineda, Herna Palma, Rosalinda Mediano, Melani Provido, Isabelita Buduan, Lelisa Lascuña and Marie Ann Constantino.
The case stemmed from the procurement of 38 drums of disinfectant in 2012 which were not only disadvantageous to the government but were also harmful to people's health.
The Ombudsman said undue preference was given to supplier FKA Agri-Chemical Corporation (FKA) which was awarded the project despite the fact that it was not the lowest bidder.
Investigators uncovered that FKA was favored due to its "freebie" consisting of additional protective gear given at no extra price to the government.
The Ombudsman said that "inclusion of freebies should be discouraged, if not prohibited during biddings as this may result to another form of graft and corruption in awarding bids as this serves as an enticement or added flavor to the BAC to favor another bidder."
The Ombudsman also said the products of FKA were harmful to the public as a post-evaluation report found that FKA's offer had a concentration of 40 percent of benzalkonium chloride (BC) as compared to SCI's 5 percent.