Sacked DPWH director reassumes Bicol post

LEGAZPI CITY --- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bicol regional director Virgilio Eduarte, who was relieved of his post early this year to serve the six-month suspension order imposed upon him by the Ombudsman, is back in office pursuant to Special Order No. 60 issued by Sec. Mark Villar on Friday, Aug. 14.

To recall, the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) suspended Eduarte and four other officials for six months in February 2019 for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service. The complaint against Eduarte was filed when he was then the assistant regional director of DPWH Region 8.

On Wednesday (Aug. 12) last week, Villar issued Special Order No. 55 designating district engineer Gerald Pacanan of the Leyte 2nd District Engineering Office as DPWH Bicol assistant regional director vice Esmeraldo Sarmiento who retired from the service at age 59.

During Eduarte’s six month suspension from office, Villar named Melvin Navarro as DPWH Bicol chief.

Eduarte and Pacanan are reportedly set to assume their posts anytime his week.

The returning regional director and newly designated assistant regional director, however, would be welcomed by a new controversy involving multimillion payments allegedly made by the regional office for unfinished contracts during the months of March, April, and May while Bicol region was under lockdown due to the enhance community quarantine (ECQ).

The allegation of irregular payment of P 138.9 million to RKX Construction was contained in a two-page complaint submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, OMB and Presidential Anti Corruption Commission. The complaint was signed Romeo Esplana, a former DPWH Bicol spokesman, who is now retired.