Cordillerans worldwide denounce ‘anomalous’ P700M Mt Data-Bontoc road project DPWH, DBM directors, contractor sued for graft
>> Tuesday, October 30, 2007
BONTOC, Mountain Province – Graft charges were filed at the Office of the Ombudsman against Cordillera regional directors of the departments of Budget and Management and Public Works and Highways over “anomalous’ implementation of the Mt. Data-Bontoc road and alleged release of multi-million government funds for the projects.
This, as Cordillerans worldwide denounced the “irregular” implementation of the road in emails to the Northern Philippine Times. (See letters in page 3).
Subject of separate complaints were Liza Fangsilat and Mariano Alquiza, regional DBM and DPWH directors respectively.
Also respondents were Mountain Province DPWH chief Leonardo Leyaley and contractor Victoriano Balaodan, owner of KVC Construction among several John Does.
Complainant Juniper Dominguez also urged the Ombudsman to put under “preventive suspension” Alquiza for “brazen dishonesty,” saying the latter had been denying there was no corruption in implementation of the projects.
Dominguez told the Northern Philippine Times he was the recipient of death threats sent to his cell phone but he brushed these off saying “If it is anybody’s time to die, he will die, but if not, he won’t.”
He said the text messages started after the series of exposes on the project were printed in newspapers.
Dominguez said Ramon P. Aquino, DPWH assistant secretary revealed that coring tests on 17 previous core samples failed while 15 sets of core samples from the second recoring also failed.
In Dominguez’s complaint against Fangsilat, Leyaley, Balaodan and several John Does, he said the Mountain Province DPWH “discreetly processed the billing for the partial payment of KVC Construction along the Sabangan panorama section.”
Dominguez added he submitted to the regional DBM a letter to defer payments on the projects until investigations (being conducted by a team from the central office of the DPWH) would have been finished but despite this, the regional DBM office released P2, 297,173 to the Land Bank of the Philippines, Bontoc branch under the account of KVC Construction under Balaodan.
“Had Leyaley and Fangsilat heeded the information officially relayed to them, they could have easily deferred payment for further verification and validation to protect the interest of people’s money going to waste as they have done in past complaints,” he said.
DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane had ordered regional highways officials and contractors to “remove and replace” defective portions of the defective projects giving them deadline to finish the work third week of October.
But to date, work was reportedly not finished. Dominguez wrote Ebdane and Cerge Remonde, director general of the Presidential Management Staff on Oct 18 saying contractors removed only a fraction or 250 meters of the substandard road.
In his letter, Dominguez urged Ebdane and Remonde to “investigate this brazen ‘consuelo de bobo’ in the making as it was putting further shame and eroding the trust and confidence of the people of Mountain Province in the government’s fight against corruption.”
Dominguez told the Northern Philippine Times that officials named in his complaint should be relieved or suspended from their offices as part of government standard operating procedures pending an investigation so they won’t influence its outcome.
In his complaint, Dominguez said among others that contracts of the road projects were split in violation of Republic Act 9184. “There was brazen subcontracting.”
He said bid documents were falsified and that the 15 percent mobilization fund was paid to contractors despite an ongoing investigation on the matter. – By Alfred Dizon