DPWH-SBDEO officials charged for grave abuse of authority

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BUGUIAS, Benguet  – Some officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways – Second Benguet District Engineering Office (DPWH-SBDEO) were charged before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged awarding a multi-million public works infrastructure project amounting to P56.7 million amidst defects in the contractor’s previous projects in violation of pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.

In a 5-page affidavit complaint, Juniper Dominguez, an anti-corruption advocate, prayed to the Office of the Ombudsman to subpoena numerous documents to safeguard their sanctity because the concerned public works officials are reportedly known to allegedly manipulate the same that will favour their defense on the said case.

He also prayed that the Office of the Ombudsman issue a preventive suspension against the concerned DPWH-SBDEO, particularly the head and members of the technical working group (TWG) and the chairman and members of the agency’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) so that they could not influence the ongoing investigation of the complaint that was filed against them.

Section 34.3 of RA 9184 provided that if any of the on-going contracts shows a reported negative slippage of at least 15 percent, or substandard quality of work as per contract, plans and specifications, or unsatisfactory performance of the contractors obligations as per contract terms and conditions, at the time of inspection, and if the BAC verifies any of the deficiencies to be due to the contractor’s fault or negligence, the agency shall disqualify the contractor from the award, for the procurement of infrastructure projects.

Dominguez questioned the DPWH-SBDEO for awarding the multi-million contract for the rehabilitation of a portion of the Halsema highway, particularly in the sinking area in Cattubo, Atok, Benguet, to JOMARCANN General Construction despite the pendency of inquiries on the alleged substandard implementation of the company’s earlier warded projects, particularly the reblocking of portions of the same road specifically in the Natubleng, Buguias area.

On June 25, 2018, Salvador Liked, Secretary-General of the Citizens Crime Watch – Cordillera Chapter, started questioning how the construction company was being awarded a multi-million peso project in the provincial government of Benguet despite alleged slippages in his on-going projects based on a list that was obtained from concerned government agencies.

According to the complaint, the DPWH-SBDEO was informed of the assailed projects of JOMARCANN General Construction supposedly to serve as an advance information tug ide the TWG and the BAC in selecting the contractor who will be awarded with the programmed project in the sinking area but the same was not actually considered as the agency proceeded to award the project to the same company despite the existence of slippages in his previous prosecuted projects.

He alleged that the concerned DPWH-SBDEO officials headed by District Engineer Romelda Bangasan were allegedly deaf, mute and blind on the alleged substandard accomplishments of the construction company that was furnished the said office and that it seems that they are alleged in cahoots with the project implementer. By HENT

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