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Misuari faces graft, malversation raps

  • Written by Joel dela Torre
  • Published in Provincial
  • Read: 225

MORO National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder and leader Nur Misuari is facing charges for the anomalous procurement of educational materials worth P137.5 million when he was still governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has approved the filing of three counts of malversation of public funds through falsification and three counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Misuari before the Sandiganbayan.
   
The cases stemmed from a procurement undertaken in year 2000 to 2001.
   
Misuari’s co-accused were former DepEd ARMM executives Director Leovigilda Cinches, supply officer Sittie Aisa Usman, accountant Alladin Usi, chief accountant Pangalian Maniri, Education Program specialist Bai Sherilyn Mustapha and Commission on Audit auditor Nader Macagaan. 
   
The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charges against suppliers Lolita Sambeli of White Orchids, Cristeta Ramirez of CPR Publishing, Mario Barria of Esteem Enterprises and Ma. Lourdes Mendoza of Dunong Publishing.
   
Based on the CoA findings, the payment to the five suppliers of textbooks and educational materials worth P137,511,108.14 was irregular since the procurement was done without public bidding.
   
An investigation showed that Misuari approved the payment of various educational materials with White Orchids Printing and Publishing House worth P37,959,204; 170 sets of multi-media information technology package worth P46,261,250 from CPR Publishing House of Caloocan City and from Esteem Enterprises of Quezon City 6,000 copies of Demokrasyang Pambarangay;  22,000 copies of Malakas ang Batang Pilipino; 5,000 copies of Fight Drug Dependency and 8,500 copies of multi-color coated map of the Philippines worth P12,030,000.
   
Payment was also made for another 6,857 sets of Easy Learn Day Care Chart with Teacher’s guide book and 25,238 copies of Easy Learn Day Care Workbook from Dunong Publishing of Paranaque City worth P21,999,848.
   
Misuari also approved P19,260,806.14 for the payment of 124 sets of information technology package for elementary and high school students from MBJ Learning Tools in Caloocan City.
   
Anomalies were noted in the procurement such as lack of public bidding; undated and unnumbered procurement documents; absence of contracts, inventory and distribution lists; undue haste in the purchase of goods showing the rigged bidding; and non-compliance with eligibility requirements by the suppliers.
   
“The Office finds probable cause that Misuari and respondents conspired with one another while discharging their official functions, acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence when they conspired to rig the procurement,” Morales said.