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Roces, 3 engineers face graft charges

FALSIFIED DOCUMENT. Works still ongoing at DPWH CamSur 3rd Engineering District Office after it was reported completed as early as October 2018. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

NAGA CITY --- The Citizens Crime Watch (CCW) National Secretariat filed before the Office of the Ombudsman criminal and administrative charges against officials of the DPWH 3rd Engineering District of Camarines Sur, citing irregularities in the acceptance of the new three-storey administration building of the said engineering district.

During a press conference, Diego Magpantay, president of CCW, said the Ombudsman received their complaint on August 16, 2019 for violation of Section 3(a) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act; and Falsification of Public Documents under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code.

Magpantay explained that the target date of completion for the new administration building was May of 2018, but it was declared completed by the District Engineer only last October 2018 with actual delay or slippage of 5 months.

The contractor was compelled to pay a fine for the construction delay plus liquidating damages to the District Engineering Office, amounting to at least, P350,000.00.

An Audit Observation Report of the Commission on Audit shows that the building was far from being completed by October 2018. In fact, the building was reportedly formally occupied only in May of this year. “If it was already completed last October, 2018, then why did they not occupy it last year and transferred there only recently?” Magpantay asked the newsmen.“If you visit the building today, there is still construction being done, so it is not physically finished and completed,” he continued.

The CCW stated that the fine or liquidating damages for the delay should have been extended until May of this year, and that the collection for the remaining awarded contract amount for the completion of the project should not have been awarded October of last year. Magpantay also speculated that the supposed completion of the project was suspiciously concocted during the start of the election period.

Included in those indicted are: District Engineer Rebecca Roces; Engr. Eduardo Alejo, District Chief for Constructions; Engr. Nenita Francia Saez, and Engr. Debbie Escuro, Project Engineer. Charges were also filed against Neil Harvey Salazar, Managing Officer of CHA Construction, the project contractor.

The DPWH 3rd Engineering District, through Assistant District Engineer Ric Ragrario, told the newsmen that they have yet to receive their copy of the complaint from the Ombudsman, and cannot comment as of the moment. Ragragio commented, however, that the workers in the building are doing some back jobs and minor revisions.

The new administration building of the 3rd Engineering District in Camarines Sur was approved for construction in 2017 in the amount of P46M. The contractor was given one year to complete the construction. aegma

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