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DTI legal team notified about graft and admin cases filed vs its officials: Usec


THE OFFICE of Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual already endorsed the graft allegation against an undersecretary and other Department of Trade and Industry officials to its legal department. 

DTI Undersecretary for Communications Maria Blanca Kim B. Lokin revealed during a phone interview on Aug. 11 that their legal team will review the graft and administrative cases filed against the government officials to make the appropriate recommendation.

“The Office of the Secretary has referred the matter to our legal services, and they will study and we will give [the] necessary statements,” she said.

However, as to the facts surrounding the complaint, Lokin said that they cannot comment on the matter since the case has already been filed. The Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao received the complaint last Aug. 2.

It was reported last Aug. 10 that TYT Lucky Steel Corp., represented by its president and manager Jennifer Wingki F. Qua, filed graft and administrative cases before the Ombudsman against five ranking Department of Trade and Industry officials for alleged selective enforcement in the government’s campaign against substandard fence tubes in Mindanao.

The DTI officials facing the raps are Usec. Ruth B. Castelo, DTI’s Consumer Protection Group head; Neil P. Catajay, director of the DTI-Bureau of Product Standards; Ferdinand L. Manfoste, officer-in-charge of DTI-BPS; Engr. John Steven M. Magboo, team leader of DTI-BPS Enforcement Team; and lawyer Fhillip D. Sawali, director of DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau.

Also named in the charge sheet are Engr. Sarah Jane A. Arella, member of DTI-BPS Enforcement Team; Alyssa Marie Frayre, observer of the DTI-BPS Enforcement Team; and DTI-FTEB Enforcement Team members Ranielle P. Velasquez, Frando H. Morales, Jan-Luther A. Santiago, Mark Carlo L. Desamito, and Jochelle Mae M. Duran.

On June 23, 2023, the BPS and FTEB enforcement teams, reportedly led by Castelo and Catajay, raided the company’s warehouse in Barangay San Isidro, Bunawan District, Davao City due to a violation of Clause 5.2.1 of PNS 2145:2020, which stipulates that the tube ends must be plain and unthreaded.

Qua stated that there was no deception regarding the presence of threads in their tubes and DTI has failed to provide any documentation of their actions, like a notice of violation, incident report, preliminary preventive order, etc. to hide the illegality of their action. The company also asked the Ombudsman to immediately place the respondents under preventive suspension.

Section 3(e) of RA 3019 penalizes any public officer for corrupt practices for “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.”


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