June 28, 2009 in national
By ARTHUR ALLAD-IW
QUEZON CITY – Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño welcomed the filing of formal charges against the Department of Education (DepEd) officials and others involved in the controversial P427 million noodle feeding program.
Casiño, however, expressed fears that efforts are underway to revive the anomalous contract.
DepEd earlier canceled their contract with Jeverps Manufacturing Corp. after the Senate investigation revealed an overprice of up to P15 for each of the 19,418,880 packs of 100g instant noodles.
The June 26 complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman included several DepEd officials led by Sec. Jesli Lapus as respondents.
Casiño said, however, that formal charges notwithstanding, efforts are apparently underway to revive the contract.
“Sec. Lapus’ statements reveal that he still considers the P427 million contract with Jeverps regular and legal and that it was merely canceled to avoid a possible temporary restraining order from the courts. In other words, it was just a tactical retreat,” said Casiño, author of House Bill 1126 directing the House Committee on Good Government to investigate the anomaly.
Casiño said he was greatly bothered by paid advertisements that appeared in various newspapers last week showing Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III endorsing DepEd’s noodle feeding program even after the contract had been canceled.
The third paragraph of the ad, entitled “Noodles For A Healthy Start,” states that “prolonging the noodle controversy will only compromise the health and nutrition of school children especially the malnourished.”
“I wonder why Malacañang and DOH would bother to come out with paid advertisement endorsing a canceled DepEd program. Are they preparing the public for a revival of the overpriced project? Are they also interested in the potential multi-million kickback the project offers? Is the apparent ‘tongpats’ (padded) part of their 2010 campaign kitty?” he asked.
Casiño’s informants reportedly said Jeverps is planning to sue DepEd for canceling the contract and DepEd is just waiting to enter into an amicable settlement with the company. This news is indeed distressing,” he said.
“If you truly believe that instant noodles are the solution to malnutrition among our school children, then immediately rebid the project and make sure the more reputable companies participate in the bidding,” Casiño advised Lapus. # nordis.net