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East Avenue hospital officials axed for multi-million peso bid anomalies
11 April 2017

Top officials from the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) were ordered dismissed from the service after they were found guilty of Grave Misconduct.  Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the dismissal of Medical Chief Rolando Cortez, Finance Management Officer Marietta Cruz and Chief Administrative Officer Jose Calixtro after they were found liable for the anomalous procurement of medical supplies and equipment undertaken in 2006. 

 The Ombudsman uncovered that in 2006, EAMC procured medical supplies in the total amount of P10,353,276.75 without public bidding.  The procurement was broken down and split into 47 small purchases with an amount not exceeding P250,000.00 each and awarded only to two suppliers.   In addition, EAMC, procured 20 air-conditioners, 13 exhaust fans totaling P450,950.00 in January 2006.  This time, the procurement was split into two small purchases in an amount not exceeding P250,000.00 each and awarded to only one supplier.

 In its Decision, the Ombudsman stated that “respondents Cortez, Calixtro and Ramos’ actions reflect grave misconduct.  Their acts were blatantly irregular and outside the bounds of established rules and principles as they opted to split the contracts even though the same should have been subject of a single transaction; there was lack of compelling or justifiable reason for them to split the contract; and that respondents failed to show that they obtained three price quotations from bona fide suppliers.”

                 According to Ombudsman Morales, the transactions would not have been consummated had it not been for the concerted action of the respondents, as Cortez approved all the purchase requests, purchase orders, disbursement vouchers and checks; Cruz certified the availability of funds and completeness of supporting documents; and Calixtro signed the purchase requests and counter-signed the checks.

 In 2006, the prevailing threshold amount for procurement projects undertaken through the alternative method of Shopping was pegged at P250,000.00.  In excess of this amount, a procuring entity must conduct public bidding.  “Splitting of contracts” is defined as the act of breaking up contracts into smaller quantities and amounts, or dividing contract implementation into artificial phases or subcontracts, for the purpose of making it fall below the threshold for Shopping or Small Value Procurement, or evading or circumventing the requirement of public bidding.

                 Grave Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer, attended with the elements of corruption, clear intent to violate the law or flagrant disregard of established rule.

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The offence was committed in 2006.

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