OMB Indicts Syjuco For Graft

Iloilo Representative and former Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Augusto "Boboy" Syjuco has been indicted by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) for graft and corruption arising from alleged irregularities in various TESDA projects in 2007, it was announced yesterday.

Also indicted for the same offense were former Deputy Director General Rogelio Peyuan, Director IV Antonio Del Rosario, Director IV Ernesto Beltran, Director IV Teodoro Sanico, Regional Director IV Buen Mondejar, Atty. Marjorie Docdocil, Chief Administrative Officer Juanito Belda, Administrative Officer Maximiano Montemayor, Senior Administrative Assistant I Francisco Fang, and Vicente Roxas, president and chairman of V.G. Roxas Company.

The case stemmed from alleged irregularities in the disbursement of public funds relating to the Ladderized Education Program of the TESDA (LEPTES).

The 52-page consolidated resolution signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales cited the report of the Commission on Audit (COA) that the training equipment and testing tools delivered by V.G. Roxas Co. were of "low quality and overpriced by more than P60 million," which amount constituted 20 percent of the total purchase price of P302.1 million.

State auditors cited examples of overpriced items such as an incubator jar that was priced at P15,375 but carried an actual price tag of P149 only; a hatching bucket at P43,750 that costs P900 only; and a dough cutter was priced at P48,500 but available in the market at P120.

The COA report also declared that various supplies under the projects remained unutilized.

The COA noted that the unused tools had been mostly gathering dust, while some were destroyed by rodents, and stored in disarray in stock rooms.

The anti-graft agency held that irregularities marred the procurement of the tools and equipment under the TESDA projects even prior to the bidding since there were three resolutions issued on the basis of the recommendations of the TESDA-Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).

"Despite the vague technical specifications of the various training and testing tools and equipment, the respondents still proceeded with the bidding, procurement, and delivery of the items," the ruling stated.

It ruled that "respondents' acts preceding the execution of the contracts with V.G. Roxas Co., as well as their succeeding acts, which culminated in the issuance of the checks by way of partial payments for the delivery for the tools and equipment, clearly indicate the conspiratorial scheme of the respondents."

Morales also found Syjuco Jr., Peyuan, Beltran, Sanico, Mondejar, Belda, Fang, and Montemayor "guilty of serious dishonesty, grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and accordingly meted upon them the penalty of dismissal from the service which shall carry with it the cancellation of their eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office."

The ruling added that if dismissal from the service can no longer be implemented due to retirement, or separation from the service, the alternative penalty equivalent to one year salary of each of respondent shall be imposed."

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