10 Navy officers suspended for questionable deals

By Tetch Torres
Last updated 06:32pm (Mla time) 06/22/2007

QUEZON City, Philippines — Ten officers, including a read admiral, and personnel of the Philippine Navy were slapped with six-month preventive suspensions by Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez for their alleged involvement in the questionable disbursement of public funds and procurement of medical supplies.


In a 10-page order, Gutierrez approved the recommendation to suspend without pay Rear Admiral Constantino Jardiniano, commander of the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), Naval Station San Miguel in San Antonio, Zambales; Lieutenant Commander Manuel Gimena, head of the Headquarters Support Command; Victoria Buhia; Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel Labrador, procurement officer; Ensign Annaleen Magdaraog; Rosemarie Siquinia, supply accountable officer; Edmundo Baluca, MFO inspector; Lieutenant Joel Tamayo, chief, pre-audit; Staff Sergeant G.M. Labaguis, supply PO.


The investigation conducted by the Ombudsman for the military and law enforcement offices said the “respondents conspired and confederated in making the above-mentioned transactions and liquidations.”


The case stemmed from a letter sent to the Office of the Ombudsman by the Concerned Officers and Men of NETC Zambales denouncing the alleged irregular and anomalous conduct of Jardiniano.

In 2005, the investigation showed, Gimena received a total of P4,334,052.67 in cash advances and the liquidation submitted by the NETC to the Commission on Audit (COA) in December that year reflected the amount.


But in her statement of liquidation and balances, Buhia reported that the amount liquidated for the same year was only P4,812, 439.67 or a discrepancy of P478,837. It was also discovered that the documents submitted in support of the liquidation were allegedly spurious.

The next year, “the COA and NETC had reported the same amount of cash advances but there was still an unliquidated amount of P512,587.20,” the investigation showed. It was also discovered by the investigating panel that the liquidations of cash advances were again supported by spurious official receipts and cash and sales invoices, and there were no attached supporting documents.

Further investigation also showed that the proceeds of the checks were received by Jardiniano or Magdaraog while the medicines purchased by NETC from Calman Trading, Farmacia Callo, R.T. Franco Pharmacy and F.R. Estrada Pharmacy were not delivered to the Naval Station San Miguel NSSM Hospital.


Another purchase from Farmacia Pascasio was also not delivered to the NSSM Dental Dispensary.


Gutierrez said the conditions to merit the preventive suspension of respondents have been met and ordered Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. to immediately implement the order.


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