DE Roces, et al. face graft rap

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NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard)—A complaint for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Falsification of Public Documents under the Revised Penal Code was filed with the Office of the Ombudsman on August 16, 2019 against officials and employees of the Department of Public Works and Highways, 3rd engineering district of Camarines Sur.

Diego L. Magpantay, National President of Citizens Crime Watch, complainant, identified the respondents as Engr. Rebecca Roces (District Engineer), Engr. Eduardo A. Alejo, Jr. (Chief of Construction), Engr. Nenita Francia R. Saez (Engineer II), Engr. Debbie Escuro (Project Engineer) and the private contractor Neil Harby S. Salazar, Managing Officer of CHA Construction and Supply/Edison Development and Construction Corp.)

The complaint, Magpantay said, is in relation to the construction of a two-storey DPWH building at Baras, Canaman, Camarines Sur, with a revised contract amount of P48,216,586.90 which was reported as 100% completed as of October 29, 2018 despite the fact that the project was still on-going as of May 20, 2019.

Magpantay added that said project undertaken by the DPWH 3rd Engineering District of Camarines Sur was awarded to CHA Construction Corp. represented by the authorized Managing Officer Neil Harby S. Salazar.

The period of construction commenced on May 21, 2017, and was to be finished March 16, 2018, with an allowable extension until June 29, 2018.
However, as of May 20, 2019, or more than a year after the target completion date, the project remained unfinished, Magpantay stated.

The inaccurate reporting of the actual status of the project, and the ensuing difficulty to properly compute the liquidated damages, and lack of inefficient usage of the structure were reflected in COA’s Audit Observation Memorandum No. 2019-008-101 which was attached to the complaint.

Meantime, District Engr. Roces in her Letter Reply explained that the project was assessed as physically complete when it was declared 100% completed on October 31, 2018.

To this, the COA in its Rejoinder said the building was never in the appearance of the 100% completion, as of October 31, 2018.

Magpantay in the same complaint said the DPWH officials and the private contractor “acted in conspiracy, with evident bad paith, gross inexcusable negligence, and manifest partiality.”

Along with the complaint, he prayed for the preventive suspension of the DPWH officials during the investigation of the case to avoid the possibility of their tampering with evidence that may be used against them, or that they exert undue influence or pressure on the witnesses against them.

Roces and the rest of the respondents have yet to air their side following the filing of the complaint.