Saturday, February 18, 2012

News Update 11 DPWH officials face raps in another lamppost scam

MANILA, Philippines - Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales yesterday ordered the filing of graft charges against 11 officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Region 7 for their alleged involvement in another lamppost scam in Cebu.
Those ordered indicted before the Sandiganbayan were DPWH regional director Robert Lala; assistant regional director Gloria Dindin; assistant regional director and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairperson Marlina Alvizo; and maintenance division OIC-chief Pureza Fernandez.
Also included as respondents were BAC members Cresencio Bagolor, Agustinito Hermoso, Luis Galang and Restituto Diano; Technical Working Group (TWG) members Ayaon Manggis, Marilyn Ojeda, and Teresa Bernido; and private respondent Gerardo Surla.
Some of those being charged now are the same DPWH officials already being tried for another alleged scam in the purchase of Cebu lampposts worth P365 million in 2006, along with two mayors and a number of local government officials. Former ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez ordered the filing of the case in May 2009.
In this latest case, the Ombudsman said the DPWH officials should also be held liable for the questionable and overpriced purchase of street-lighting equipment and supplies for Lapu-Lapu City in March 2007.
The contract was covered by four projects which involved the supply and installation of testing and commissioning of LED bulbs, traffic signal lantern and other traffic control devices at the junctions of M.L. Quezon Avenue and Terminal building access road and the M.L. Quezon and Patalinghug avenues, and the supply and installation of street-lighting facilities along the Punta Engaño road network.
The same transaction also covered the supply and installation of street-lighting facilities like decorative lamps along Patalinghug and Patalinghug avenues.
Records show that the contract, costing P35,634,401.25, was signed between Dindin and Surla, board chairman of Gampik Construction and Development Inc.
In awarding the contract to Gampik, the DPWH officials allegedly resorted to negotiated bidding and not competitive bidding in violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act.
Based on the Ombudsman’s investigation, the contract price for the project was overpriced by P12,629,816 as against the anti-graft agency’s computation of only P23,004,584.
Morales said the respondents violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Commission on Audit Circular No. 85-55A, which only allows a 10 percent price variance in project costs. - By Michael Punongbayan