GSIS sacks IT head over 'irregular' software deals

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2009 04:11 PM | Updated as of Aug 25 2009 12:11 AM

MANILA - State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) on Monday said it has fired the senior vice president of the agency's Information Technology Services Group (ITSG) for allegedly entering into illegal and questionable deals with Questronix Corp. and IBM Philippines.

In two separate decisions as concurred by the GSIS Board of Trustees, the GSIS sacked Edilberto P. Ocampo, ITSG Senior VP, from his post due to “dishonesty, grave misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”

The GSIS said Ocampo was dismissed after being found liable for entering into multi-million peso contracts with IBM without authority, and into anomalous contracts with Questronix.

During the course of the investigation of the two anomalous contracts he entered into, Ocampo abandoned his GSIS post and was believed to have surreptitiously left the country and went into hiding somewhere in the United States.

A check with the Bureau of Immigration confirmed this, as Mr. Ocampo did indeed leave the Philippines on January 17, 2009 aboard Philippine Airlines flight 104.
 
His present whereabouts remain unknown.
 
In its Administrative Case No. 09-001, the GSIS said Ocampo signed an agreement dated June 30, 2008 that bound the GSIS to pay IBM the monthly license charge of P4.9 million for the supply of OS/390 software licenses for the GSIS mainframe covering the period April 1-June 30, 2008.
 
Ocampo and IBM entered into this agreement without authority and in violation of the provisions of Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement Act, on the conduct of procurement proceedings prior to award of contracts.
 
Worse, the GSIS said Ocampo, sometime in September 2008, even agreed to extend the contract with IBM Philippines for the supply of the same software for the period July 1-December 31, 2008 again without authority and in violation of the same provisions of the Government Procurement Act.
 
 The GSIS said in its decision that the agreement  Ocampo had signed with IBM did not contain the required certification by the GSIS General Accounting and Budget Office as to the availability of the funds.
 
The GSIS also said the Ocampo-IBM agreement did not contain a confirmation by the GSIS Bids and Awards Committee that funds were included in the Annual Procurement Plan for 2008 and that Ocampo did not possess the authority to enter into said agreements which also did not pass through the required procurement process.
 
Meanwhile, in Administrative Case No. 09-002, the GSIS said Ocampo, then project manager of the Executive Information System (EIS) of the pension fund, entered into a contract with Questronix Corp., in a joint venture with SAS Institute (Philippines), Inc., for the acquisition and implementation of the EIS.
 
The EIS is a data information management system that provides GSIS executives with real-time data about key GSIS transactions.
 
The pension fund noted that the contract violated the requirement of the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the Invitation to Apply for Eligibility and to Bid for the EIS project that the software license should be perpetual.
 
The GSIS said the contract Ocampo entered into went below the requirements of the project’s terms because instead of a perpetual license, it required, for a fee, the annual renewal of software license.
 
The GSIS explained that during the pre-bid conference on February 27, 2006 of the GSIS Information Technology-Bids and Awards Committee (IT-BAC), it was even Mr. Ocampo himself who clarified to the bidders including Questronix/SAS that the software license should be perpetual.
 
The GSIS pointed out that the mere fact Mr. Ocampo admitted to have signed the contract meant that he was able to evaluate and have full knowledge of the requirements of the TOR, including the requirement of a perpetual software license.
 
“Signing the two instruments binding the GSIS to pay annual license renewal fees contrary to the TOR of the GSIS EIS project is undoubtedly a grave misconduct,” said the GSIS in its decision.
 
Aside from his dismissal from the GSIS, Mr. Ocampo’s eligibility for retirement benefits was forfeited and he was also disqualified from re-employment in the government service.