Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center (AFPMC) commander Brig. Gen. Normando Sta. Ana Jr. and and three military officers on his staff are under investigation by military authorities for the purchase of P80-million worth of medicine and medical equipment without having gone through the required process of bidding.
The probe was ordered by Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr. after a man identified as Renato Villafuerte made the allegations against Sta. Ana and his staff members, Lt. Col. Florencio Capulong, special disbursing officer; Maj. Neil Bugarin, chief of the management and fiscal office; and Col. Rogelio del Rio, acting assistant chief of staff for logistics.
Villafuerte filed a complaint, in which he claimed that Sta. Ana, Capulong, Bugarin and Rio were in violation of Republic Act 9184, which stipulates laws governing procurement of goods. Villafuerte explained that the four men failed to practice legitimate procurement procedures in the purchase of the medicine and medical equipment, and that Capulong – with the blessing of Sta. Ana – purchased the goods from suppliers in their favor.
The complaint also states that the four AFPMC officials sought the realignment of funds in the amount ofP40-million to settle Capulong’s cash advance, as well as debts incurred from ordering supplies without money given up front.
Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said that they are hopeful that the investigation would reveal the truth, in the aim of creating a greater degree of transparency within the military.
“We do not tolerate wrongdoing in our ranks because we believe that public office is a public trust. Reforms are being undertaken in order to establish a more transparent and accountable military organization,” Cabunoc said.