DWPH inspectorate team, contractor charged

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BAGUIO CITY  – Members of the Cordillera office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) inspectorate team and a contractor are now facing charges of dishonesty, deception, grave abuse of authority, conduct unbecoming of public officials, violation of the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and violation of the Code of Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees before the Office of the Ombudsman after having allegedly allowed the payment of some P93 million worth of alleged sub-standard projects along the Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya road amidst repeated protests from anti-graft and corruption advocates.

In his 3-day affidavit complaint, Salvador Liked prayed for the Ombudsman to issue an order for the preventive suspension of all the members of the DPWH-CAR inspectorate team, including DPWH-CAR regional director Nerie D. Bueno and Engr. Angelita Mabitasan, chief of the agency’s construction division, and for the construction firm of Eusebio K. Cupido (EKC), specifically EKC Construction and Aggregates, not to be awarded any contract by the agency until the resolution of his complaint.

To protect the integrity of the pertinent documents relevant to the alleged anomalous multi-million infrastructure project, the complainant requested the Ombudsman to subpoena the pertinent documents such as the approved program of work for the project, bidding documents, minutes of the bidding process, resolution of award, contract of the project, notice to proceed and other documents relevant to the project, disbursement voucher of the 15 percent mobilization, first partial payment with pictures before showing the collapsed slope and landslides at the project stations and pictures during the work, second partial payment with pictures before showing the collapsed slope and landslides at the project stations and pictures during the work and final payment with pictures before, during and after accomplishment of the project.

The complaint alleged that the slope protection walls or grouted ripraps were constructed not in the collapsed slopes but rather unstable slopes in gross violation to the purpose of the earmarked funds.

Further, the complaint claimed that the sloe protection walls are obviously not allegedly grouted ripraps as per DPWH approved plans and specifications and the same were a dry wall riprap then plastered with cement to look like it is grouted riprap and within the minimum standards of the DPWH for such kind of project.

Ironically, the complaint averred that the slope protection walls that were not obviously grouted ripraps were allegedly paid by the DPWH-CAR thereby shortchanging the government and the people for the funds that were utilized for such project.

According to the complaint, EKC Construction and Aggregates allegedly conspired with DPWH-CAR officials and members of the inspectorate team that the obviously sub-standard accomplishments of its projects be paid as accomplishments within the minimum standards of the DPWH-CAR contrary to public norms, morals and standards.

Liked claimed despite his letter dated August 5, 2016, pinpointing the defects of the project, DPWH-CAR officials allegedly willfully decided to allow the payment of the anomalous and questionable project.

By HENT

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