Former OIC Chief, Dr. Aileen Espina, of Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) has some explaining to do after an anonymous letter came out accusing her of using some P13-million as a Christmas bonus for the staff and employees of the said hospital.
In a letter sent to the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas dated May 24, 2016 by a concerned employee of EVRMC, the P13 million was taken under the Medical Health Care Assistance Program (MHCAP) supposedly allotted for the indigenous patients of EVRMC.
Espina however allegedly used the fund as a 2014 Christmas bonus where each employee received P15,000 cash and a gift certificate amounting to P10,000 from Robinsons Tacloban.
The anonymous sender disclosed that P5.2 million was spent for the gift certificates. It however did not undergo public bidding as required under RA 9184 http://www.gppb.gov.ph/laws/laws/RA_9184.pdf
In an investigation conducted by the Department of Health Central Office, it was confirmed on the financial records of EVRMC that “a total P13, 207, 450.00 has been obligated and disbursed in year 2014 for the payment of both non-monetary and monetary benefits to both management and rank and file employees relative to the implementation of PRAISE (Program in Awards and Incentive for Service Excellence) program.”
The said amount was sourced out from MHCAP and other various sub-allotted funds from the Central Office for the implementation of various programs.
MHCAP was part of the DOH appropriation in FY 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA) http://www.dbm.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/GAA/GAA2014/DOH/DOH.pdf and “shall be utilized to assist patients seeking consultation or admitted in the government hospital… It shall be used to provide drugs and medicines, medical supplies, laboratory examinations, diagnostic procedures, therapeutic and rehabilitative procedures and hospital expenses of indigent patients.”
It was not however indicated in FY 2014 GAA that the said fund can be used for personnel benefits.
Moreover, the grant of the 2014 Christmas bonus to the employees of EVRMC was not in accordance to the Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 1, series of 2001 http://www.coa.gov.ph/phocadownload/userupload/issuances/accounting-issuances/Rules/csc/CSC-R010112.htm which provides the policies and guidelines on the implementation of PRAISE program.
If proven guilty of the said accusations, Espina may face charges on Technical Malversation of Public Funds.
Espina assumed into office as OIC Chief of EVRMC on 2014 and was transferred to DOH Regional Office VIII sometime last year.