14 DPWH district engineers relieved from post due to alleged corruption
Aileen Cerrudo • January 7, 2021 • 227
MANILA, Philippines — Fourteen engineers of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have been relieved from their posts due to their alleged involvement in corruption, according to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.
Villar said this is following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte after he named several DPWH officials allegedly involved in corruption.
“Actually iyong binanggit po ni Presidente na-relieve na and mayroon kaming ongoing complaints sa aming task force against corruption (Those mentioned by the President had already been relieved from their posts and we have ongoing complaints reported in our task force against corruption),“ he said.
Duterte mentioned the names last December during his public address. This was after the investigation conducted by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on the alleged corruption in the DPWH. —AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines — Skyway Stage 3, the 14.8-kilometer elevated tollway project connecting Skyway/SLEx Buendia to NLEx Balintawak is set to open in full operation beginning Friday (January 15).
On Wednesday (January 13), Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar conducted a final inspection to ensure that everything is in place.
Although the road project is expected to shift to full operation, only seven ramps will be opened to motorists including entry and exit ramps in Buendia, Quezon Avenue and Balintawak.
However, in Plaza Dilao, only the south bound ramp will be opened to motorist for the meantime, as there are still nine ramps that are under construction and yet to be delivered to DPWH.
Nevertheless, six lanes will be open to motorists starting Friday.
Since the project began on December 29 last year, around 60,000 to 70,000 motorists were able to ply daily in the said Skyway section, the DPWH said.
“Qualitatively we can see na maraming natutuwa dahil sa ngayon kapag rush hour minsan sa Edsa makikita natin di naman gaano kagrabe ang traffic and the numbers would show this dahil ito naman talaga ang expectations namin ito yung target namin na mabawasan ang Edsa ng at least 100,000 cars para bumalik siya sa original capacity,” explained Villar.
Meanwhile, the DPWH and San Miguel Corporation earlier announced that Sky Way Stage 3 will be toll-free until January 29.
But since the contractor has yet to complete the entire construction, Secretary Villar said the free toll may be extended. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco urged the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to submit to the Office of the Ombudsman their report on the alleged involvement of several lawmakers in anomalies at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“Pursuant to due process, we believe that the matter should be brought before the Ombudsman, given the limited jurisdiction of the PACC over officials in the Executive Branch, and not those in the legislature,” he said.
In a statement on Tuesday (December 29), Velasco said the President made it clear that there is a presumption of innocence and such announcement was not an indictment. He also remind the public “not take it as gospel truth that it’s true.”
Based on reports, Velasco said the House members included in the PACC list claimed that none of the representatives from PACC have invited them for questioning.
“It appears that the PACC has not made any investigation as to the veracity of the accusations against them since they belong to another branch of government, which is not within the authority of the Commission,” Velasco said. AAC
The eight current and former lawmakers named by President Rodrigo Duterte to have been involved in the corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have denied the said allegation.
Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Sato, in a statement, said her inclusion in the list is to out malign her credibility especially with the upcoming elections.
“The report made by Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica which impinges on my credentials as a public servant is clearly calculated to sow intrigues and disruption in the local politics of Occidental Mindoro,” she said.
Sato said Belgica is a known ally of her possible opponent in the 2022 elections.
Former Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. said he is currently not facing any investigations involving corruption.
Baguilat reiterated that he will not go through the lengths of promoting Cordillera products had he been accepting kickbacks from the DPWH projects.
Misamis Occidental Representative Henry Oaminal also released a statement welcoming the investigations to be conducted on the issue to prove his innocence.
Bataan Representative Geraldine Roman also expressed her willingness to cooperate in any investigation to clear her name.
“I am open to any investigation to establish the truth on this matter and I am sure that my honor will be vindicated. My conscience is clear,” she said in a statement.
Quezon City 5th District Representative Alfred Vargas, meanwhile, has insisted that his 12 years in public service has been unblemished.
“I am ready to submit myself to an investigation by the proper authority. Mere allegations are not proof,” he said.
Quezon Province Representative Angelina Helen Tan, meanwhile, challenge the PACC to visit the project in Gumaca and not base their allegations on anonymous tips and reports.
Northern Samar Representative Paul Daza said there might be former DPWH contractors who might have put his name on the list especially after his office exposed alleged anomalies in the department’s projects.
“Records and history will show that it was my office who exposed former elected officials and contractors for abandoning projects. Because of my call for an investigation, I believe no less than six (6) of them have already been blacklisted by the DPWH recently,” he said.
ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Eric Yap reiterated he was not involved in any DPWH bidding in Benguet. He is also willing to resign if proven guilty of the allegations against him.
Once the session resumes at the House of Representatives, Yap said he will file a motion to investigate Belgica regarding alleged anomalies in the Duty-Free Philippines. -AAC (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
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