TWELVE incumbent administrative officers of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Davao Region are facing charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged graft and corruption.

Charged with violation of section 3 (e and g) of the Republic Act (R.A.) 3019 or The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act are DA regional executive director Constancio Maghanoy Jr. and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chair Isagani Basco.

Also charged with R.A. 3019 are Alma Mahinay, Alfredo Cayabyab, Rosalinda Mediano, Rafael Mercado, Larry Pineda, Herna Palma, Melani Provido, Isabelita Buduan, Lelisa Lascuña and Marie Ann Constantino, all BAC officials under DA.

In a report issued by the Ombudsman dated February 9, it was stated that the procurement irregularities attended the agency's acquisition of 38 drums of disinfectant in 2012.

The documents showed that undue preference was given to supplier FKA Agri-Chemical Corporation (FKA) which was awarded the project despite the fact that it was not the lowest bidder.

Investigators uncovered that FKA was favored due to its "freebie" consisting of additional protective gears given at no extra price to the government, the Ombudsman said.

Based on the resolution, the inclusion of freebies should be discouraged, if not prohibited during biddings as this may result to another form of graft and corruption in awarding bids as this serves as an enticement or added flavor to the BAC to favor another bidder.

The Ombudsman said the Sanitation Concepts, Incorporation (SCI) - the lowest bidder that offered P2,647,308 - did not provide any additional freebies in its bid offer.

"FKA's offer which was P3.04 million was considered by the accused despite finding that FKA's bid is much higher and despite being grossly damaging to the recipients of the goods because it is detrimental to people's health," it added.

A post-evaluation report found that the FKA's offer had a 40 percent concentration of the benzalkonium chloride (BC) as compared to SCI's five percent.

The Ombudsman explained that had the BAC conducted due diligence and further research on the effects of increase solution of the BC to health, it would have known that BC is effective at exceptionally low concentration.

Under R.A. 3019, public servants are prohibited from entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited.

Public officials are also prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.