Former DOH chief receives graft charges

Former DOH chief receives graft charges

- The Ombudsman named three former DOH officials who violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act by giving undue advantage to a contractor for the R1MC modernization program

- Ex-DOH Secretary Enrique Ona and two of his former subordinates were charged with graft by the Ombudsman

- The charged officials were dismissed from government service, perpetually banned from holding public office, and disqualified for retirement benefits

Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona and two of his former subordinates were charged by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio for graft due to their connection to the alleged anomalous modernization program for the Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC) which cost P392.2 million.

The Ombudsman said on Monday that they found a probable cause to indict Ona, former Undersecretary Teodoro Herbosa and former Assistant Secretary Nicolas Lutero III for violating Republic Act No. 3019, also known as Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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Carpio explained that Ona and his subordinates illegally gave an unjustified advantage to Specified Contractors and Development Inc. (SCDI) who had lost the bidding for the R1MC modernization project.

Former DOH chief receives graft charges

FORMER Health Secretary Enrique Ona. (Photo credit: Inquirer)

The three former DOH officials were also found guilty of grave administrative misconduct for which they were dismissed from service, permanently disqualified from holding government posts, and their retirement benefits.

The three were also found guilty of the administrative offense of grave misconduct for which they were dismissed from the government service, perpetually disqualified from holding public office, and deprived of their retirement benefits. They were also given a penalty fine equivalent to their respective annual salary.

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Lutero has expressed his shock of being included in the graft charges, pointing out that he was the one who conducted an investigation based on a directive from Malacañang. After the investigation, Lutero said that he gave his recommendation to Ona who took action on the report.

“I did the investigation properly. I was surprised at what happened. I was surprised that the complaint against us by one of the bidders was the one given weight and not our investigation,” Lutero said.

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