Misuari charged with graft

Posted on September 29, 2016

THE Office of the Ombudsman has approved the filing of graft and malversation charges against former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Nur Misuari in connection with the “anomalous” bidding of educational materials in 2000-2001 amounting to P137.5 million.

“Based on the findings of the Commission on Audit (CoA), it was found that the payment to five suppliers of textbooks and educational materials totalling P137,511,108.14 were irregular and made without public bidding,” the Ombudsman said in a statement.

Mr. Misuari faces three counts of malversation of public funds through falsification and three counts of violation of Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Sandiganbayan.

The Ombudsman said “flagrant red flags” were noticed in the procurement process such as “lack of public bidding, undated and unnumbered 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 Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charges against Department of Education-ARMM executives Director Leovigilda Cinches, Supply Officer Sittie Aisa Usman, Accountant Alladin Usi, Chief Accountant Pangalian Maniri, Education Program Specialist Bai Sherilyn Mustapha, and Auditor Nader Macagaan.

Also included in the complaint are: Lolita Sambeli of White Orchids; Cristeta Ramirez of CPR Publishing; Mario Barria of Esteem Enterprises and Ma. Lourdes Mendoza of Dunong Publishing.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said “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.”

Mr. Misuari and the Moro National Liberation Front rebel group were among the fiercest opponents of the Marcos dictatorship. They entered into a peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996, but were again displaced from the political mainstream following a siege in Zamboanga City in 2013. -- Raynan F. Javil