Cagayan de Oro DA exec suspended for neglect

MANILA — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has ordered the suspension for one month and one day of Lealyn Ramos, the Regional Executive Director of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Cagayan de Oro City.

Ramos was found guilty of simple neglect of duty for anomalies that attended the multi-million peso Bio-Organic Fertilizer Program.

Probe found that from 2009 to 2012, the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) purchased thousands of bags/liters of organic fertilizers worth over PHP17.6 million.

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.

The Ombudsman also learned that Regina Salazar, the wife of the former NIA administrator Carlos Salazar, was one of the suppliers of the fertilizers.

In its ruling, the Ombudsman said that the “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.”

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 Ombudsman also ordered DA Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Pinol to implement the suspension order. PTR/