By Mar S. Arguelles
LEGAZPI CITY --- Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Chairman Dante Jimenez on Tuesday tagged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as the Number One corrupt agency in government.
Jimenez said that DPWH has been leading in the list of the PACC graft-ridden agencies followed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs.
Jimenez in a conference attended by DPWH officials, including various District Engineers across Bicol, has warned that the PACC is closely checking on reports about the
widespread corruption committed in the implementation of public works projects.
Jimenez during the dialogue meeting on Tuesday at the DPWH regional office here cautioned the various district engineers across Bicol about their alleged “loyalty” to their respective Congressman in carrying out projects in their respective areas.
“I am working closely with Secretary Mark Villar and I told him about our findings that his district engineers are more loyal to their congressman than to the President or the agency,” he said.
Jimenez with Undersecretary Marvel Clavecilla of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Bicol Affairs (OPAB) held a dialogue with DPWH officials in discussing public works projects and addressing various issues and concerns about the project.
Jimenez in an ambush interview said the relationship of the engineers to their Congressman is a rotten system that breeds the widespread corruption in the DPWH. “Ang bulok na kalakaran (rotten practice) between the engineers and congressman has been unabated which has been made as a fundraising drive by politicians for their election campaign, ” Jimenez said.
The agency’s rotten system has produced substandard roads, bridges, including ghost public works projects. “We should now stop the involvement of the legislators in the implementation of projects; this is the job of the executive, that’s why under the Constitution there are three branches of government the executive, legislative and the judiciary,” he pointed out.
Jimenez said at least four district engineers in other regions are facing graft charges filed recently by the PACC with the Office of the Ombudsman. “This serves as a warning to our Bicol district engineers; I don’t want to see fellow Bicolanos being charged with corruption,” he said.
Secretary Villar, according to Jimenez, is serious in filing administrative and criminal charges, against these erring district engineers. “I want to see Bicol region as a model of the government anti-corruption drive.”
Jimenez stressed that the level of corruption in the country has so far remaines the same.