THE JR Borja Memorial Hospital has been in the news lateIy. I thought it may be apt to reminisce what it was 10 years ago.
In 2007, some brave men and women came out to file before the Ombudsman a case against then then mayor Dongkoy Emano, city administrator Criscelda Joson, city treasurer Lino Daral, city accountant Wilma Rugay and city auditor Olivia Flores for allegedly overpriced medicines, medical equipment and apparatus amounting to tens of millions of pesos.
Ten years after, we ask what happened to the case?
For the rest of my column, I am giving space to excerpts of the Dec. 23, 2007 blog, entitled “A wasted gift (or the emaciation of a hospital,” written by my friend and former boss lawyer Maning Ravanera on the case that fell asleep at the Ombudsman.
“Consider the following anomalous purchases found in the affidavits of Rhodora Christine B. Patana, Judyflor D. Daculiat, Nicomedes Bactong, Lorna Monterola, Esmeralda Tejada, Artesia Zenaida Latar, Malou Villamor, Quennie Lynn Abrogar, Sharon Rose Damolo, Judith Lim, Chona Pepania and Floramae Ortega:
“In several instances, the city hospital bought from ECE Marketing antibiotics particularly, Tazocin (4.5 gm) that was nearing its expiry date at a price P3,058.00 per vial. The same antibiotic was also bought from Mckline Enterprises at P3,057.00 per vial. But upon inquiry from Mercury Drugs, the drugstore sells the same antibiotic at P2,571.00 per vial. Worse, the hospital pharmacy sells the said antibiotic to poor patients at a price of P3,363.80, almost P800.00 more than the selling price of Mercury Drugs.
“The hospital also bought Dopamine HCL at a price of P949.00. Yet, this kind of medicine was bought by the hospital from a different company at only
P110.00 per vial. This reveals the overprice of more than 800%.
“There were also medicines that were already paid for by the hospital and yet were not delivered after one year.
“The purchases of some medicines were also so voluminous that they merely file up in the inventories in the stock room of the hospital.
“On Medical Supplies:
“There is only one supplier that provides about 80% of purchases for medical supplies. The procurement of medical supplies from February 2006 to July 2007 from Berovan Marketing has reached a staggering amount of P3,472,285.85.
“The supplies, comprise among others, alcohol which was bought at P80.00 per bottle but could be bought at about P50.00 per bottle in any drugstore. There was a purchase of forceps in the amount of P3,600.00 per pair which could be bought from the ordinary pharmacy at P1,200.00. Again, this exposes an overprice of 200%.
“The hospital also bought from Berovan Marketing a Food Conveyor that could contain only 36 trays at a price of P110,000.00 but the invoice showed that the hospital paid P119,500.00 (about the price of a multicab). The food conveyor easily rusted and did not even command a price of P50,000.00.
“Moreover, the purchases were clearly in violation of RA 9184 known as ‘Government Procurement Reform Act’. There were practically no quotations submitted by at least three (3) various suppliers and did not undergo the required procedure for purchasing.
“On Hospital Supplies:
“The City Hospital through Dr. Jerie Calingasan made ‘Emergency Purchases’ which are not emergency in character. Among the hospital ‘purchases’ was a repair of a Toyota Tamaraw FX and a Kia Besta Ambulance which costs P131,200.00. The money for the ‘purchases’ allegedly came from the pocket of Dr. Calingasan and the vouchers show that he was reimbursed of the amount he supposedly ‘advanced’.
“There were also purchases of hospital supplies, among others, eight (8) kilos of detergent powder at a price of P11,500.00 or an outrageous amount of P1,437.50 per kilo. A detergent powder like Tide could only be purchased at P70.00 per kilo. Meaning, the said detergent powder was purchased 2,000% more than its ordinary price.
“For the year 2006 and part of 2007, Dr. Calingasan was reimbursed the amount P855,939.17 purportedly due to the ‘advances’ he made to the hospital. Where did he get his money? It surely is a lot more than his salary for the entire year.
“On Hospital Equipment and Apparatus:
“From February 2006 to July 2007, the hospital purchased Medical Equipment and Apparatus in the overwhelming amount of P14,025,000.00. An X-ray machine was purchased at P6,500,000.00, the capabilities of which is so limited that in the market, it did not even command a price of P3,000,00.00.
“The surgical table which is unbranded or the so-called universal type barely costing P400,000.00 was purchased at P1,240,000.00. The price is clearly tripled at the expense of the taxpayers’ money.
“The hospital also purchased an Anesthesia Machine in the amount of P1,985,000.00 which had since been malfunctioning and did not perform the desired function as expected, thereby endangering the lives of the patients. Upon proper scrutiny, it would show that this anesthesia machine was also highly overpriced.
“So many anomalous transactions were entered into by the hospital prejudicing the coffers of the city. All these transactions, however, are shown in the vouchers appended in the Affidavit-Complaints. Payments were made through the approving officers of the City Hall namely: City Administrator Criscelda Joson, City Treasurer Lino Daral, City Accountant Wilma Rugay, City Auditor Olivia Flores and the highest approving officer then, City Mayor Vicente Y. Emano.”