White elephant: P60-M new Hall of Justice building remains unused
By Danny P. Aureus
The P60-million new Hall of Justice building inside the Provincial Capitol Complex in Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur, that will house four Regional Trial Court (RTC) branches, prosecutors office and Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) remains unused after more than three years after its completion, USec. Marvel Clavecilla, Presidential Adviser for Bicol Affairs told Bicol Mail in an interview recently.
Calling it a white elephant, Clavecilla already informed the Supreme Court (SC) of the status of the idle building, the ceiling of which is already in a state of disrepair and its location surrounded by overgrown grass.
Clavecilla said the Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated the construction of the building through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Once completed, DOJ will turn it over to the SC, which will be responsible for its maintenance.
In an interview with Executive Judge Vivencio Gregorio G. Atutubo of RTC in Pili, Camarines Sur, he said the delay in the use of the Hall of Justice building was due to lack of electricity connection, the procurement of which was further delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Atutubo said that he was informed that the procurement for the installation of the main electric line was already awarded to the winning contractor. He said the installation of power poles that will be used to connect the power supply of the building to the primary line of Casureco II is expected to start soon.
The executive judge also told Bicol Mail that another reason why the building was not used is due to the fact that some portions of the building need repair especially damage on the building brought about by several typhoons such as leaking roof and other defects.
The Hall of Justice building inside the Provincial Capitol Complex in Cadlan, Pili, Camarines Sur.
Atutubo further said that even if the building is ready for occupancy, it needs furniture and fixtures, air-conditioning and office equipment for the court branches and offices to operate smoothly.
He said that he was informed by the SC that the contract for the procurement of those items was already approved but the contract requires revision.
Atutubo is optimistic that after the completion of rectification works on the building and once the furniture and fixtures, air-conditioning and electric connection are installed, the Hall of Justice building will be ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2022.
The site where the Hall of Justice is erected was donated by the provincial government of Camarines Sur through the efforts of Clavecilla and the generosity of Gov. Migz Villafuerte and his father, Rep. LRay Villafuerte.
The original budget for the construction of the building was P50 million, however, it was later on revised and increased to P60 million.