Ermita Maripipi
Ermita Maripipi

By JOSEPH TRISTAN ROXAS, GMA News

The former mayor of Maripipi, Biliran has been charged with graft before the Sandiganbayan over the alleged unlawful purchase of P8 million worth of medicines and medical supplies in 2010.

Ombudsman prosecutors filed one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Noel Mejarito Albelda.

Based on the information of the case, Albelda and his co-accused conspired in favoring SUREMEDS Marketing for the supply of various medicines and medical supplies despite irregularities in the procurement process.

SUREMEDS allegedly had prior knowledge of the contract’s bidding due to its submission of bidding documents on March 18 and the quantities involved in the project as contained in the purchase request on June 15.

The purchase request was also made after the opening of bids.

The Ombudsman futher found that the preparation of the purchase request, the awarding of the contract to SUREMEDS, and the issuance of the purchase order all “dubiously” took place on June 15.

Other respondents named in the case are then-Bids and Awards Committee chair Wilma Ongue Elairon, BAC vice chair Marietta Cairo Campollo; and BAC members Amelia Aguilar Bacolod, and Sonia Sermo Alavera.

The prosecution also included BAC-Technical Working Group members Julio Muralla Cairo Jr., Sergio Gaviola Mejarito, and Tito Gaviola Cairo. Other public respondents are Michelle Radam Quinte, Mary Grace Raypan Llever, and Genelito Paghubasan Balila in the charge sheet.

SUREMEDS representatives Jerome Erejer Capuyan and Cherel Serato were named as private respondents in the case.

The Ombudsman said all the accused public respondents “altered the deadline of the submission and opening of bids without required notice/posting” and “approved the payment of the medicines” without the signatures of officials who would accept the supply.

A bail bond of P30,000 has been recommended for each of the respondents in the case. — MDM, GMA News

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