Ombudsman suspends DA exec in CDO

THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman Mindanao suspended for a month the regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Cagayan De Oro City.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, in a decision, has ordered the suspension of Lealyn Ramos as she was found guilty of simple neglect of duty for anomalies that attended the multi-million peso bio-organic fertilizer program.

In case of separation from the service, the penalty of suspension is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondent’s salary for one month and one day.

The records showed that from 2009 to 2012, the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) purchased thousands of bags/liters of organic fertilizers worth over P17.6 million.

However, upon validation, it was found that the procurement was highly irregular as the suppliers were not qualified to supply the fertilizers and pesticides; the deliveries failed to meet the required product specifications and quality standards; procurement was made without conducting public bidding; bidders failed to pass the eligibility check; and suppliers did not have the capacity to meet the required volume and were mere dealers instead of manufacturers.

Morales, in her ruling, said that “respondent was required to oversee and monitor the implementation of the projects to make sure that they are successful.  If it were really true that [Ramos], through her subordinates, conducted monitoring and actual inspection of the fertilizers and pesticides when they were delivered to NIA Regional Office X, the defects on their quality and specifications could have been discovered at that time.”

The investigation of the Ombudsman also showed that Regina Salazar, the wife of the former NIA administrator Carlos Salazar, was one of the suppliers of the fertilizers.  The secretary of the Department of Agriculture was directed to implement the suspension order.

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