Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ombudsman dismisses case against former Gov. Carrion et al on Day Care Computer Packages


The Hon. Conchita Carpio Morales, Ombudsman


The Ombudsman did not find any irregularity in the purchase of Day Care Computer Packages from Pisces, the exclusive distributor of the educational packages in question that were goods of proprietary character, produced by A-Star Learning World Pte Ltd in Singapore and sold exclusively in the Philippines by Pisces. Read.

The Ombudsman also stated in its decision that the collective acts of the respondent public officials in the purchase of the computer packages “do not embody the very acts punished under Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 – which is the causing of undue injury or the giving of any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”

“In this particular case, the acts of the respondents in the procurement of the questioned Day Care Computer packages do not demonstrate bad faith, bias and giving of unwarranted benefit or preference in favor of Pisces because the purchase from Pisces… is authorized under Section 48.1.”, the decision stated.


The Ombudsman also stated that “The complainant failed to present sufficient evidence to show that the respondents entered into a contract or transaction which is manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government in as much as the allegation of overpricing in the purchase of fifty-six (56) units of Day Care Computer Packages was not proven.”

On the charge of illegal use of public funds commonly known as technical malversation, the Ombudsman stated that “for technical malversation to exist, it is necessary that public funds or properties have  been diverted to any public use other than that provided for by law or ordinance… the second and third elements to constitute the crime of Technical malversation are absent”. The Ombudsman also stated that “evidence is wanting to show that the respondents are probably guilty” of the charges of Fraud against the Public Treasury.


Day-Care workers.

Private respondents composed of persons representing Pisces stressed in their arguments that the erroneous conclusion of overpricing claimed by the complainant “is more glaring from the FIO’s theory that what the Province of Marinduque bought were nothing more than desktop computers with necessary peripherals, rather than learning packages which consisted of CD ROMs containing copyrighted software educational materials, instructional workbooks, and free one-day training seminar for day care workers, with the desktop computer and day care personnel merely added as freebies.” Read

Observers following the case recall that upon assumption into office of Gov. Carmencita Reyes in July 2010, continued hearings “in aid of legislation” were conducted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan throughout the first hundred days of the new administration. Board Member Eleuterio Raza, Jr. acted as chief interrogator during the hearings, and referred the case to the Blue-Ribbon Committee which he also chaired. With authority from the governor to issue memos to department heads of the provincial government for the conduct of further investigation, apparently breaching protocol, Raza was chiefly responsible for the preparation of the case eventually filed by the Field Investigation Office (FIO) of the Office of the Ombudsman, that acted as nominal complainant. 
Marinduque Capitol Building

It will be recalled that Board Member Raza and former Board Member Leticia Monte originally sponsored the resolutions in 2007, for the consolidation of unused funds into a single fund to be used “for priority development projects of the Office of the Governor and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan”. Specified in the same resolution that year was Php 5-million for Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs “for purchase of instructional materials and other teaching aids” among others. It was implemented from that year, 2007 and continued until 2010.  Read

Part of court ruling

Decision: Clear, concise, complete and correct.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales signed the Approval to Dismiss
on June 15, 2012 with copies sent to all Respondents.

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