Ex-DPWH chief charged for anomalous road right-of-way claims

admin   •   March 22, 2018   •   6502

FILE PHOTO: DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — 
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday recommended the filing of plunder and graft charges against former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Sec. Rogelio Singson, and 20 former and current DPWH officials for the alleged anomalous road right-of-way claims in General Santos City way back in 2013.

Investigation showed that the government paid P255-million as compensation for nine lots supposedly affected by road construction.

But it was discovered that the claims were fake and all its supporting documents including land titles, tax declarations, and the identity of the claimants.

“Ang ating verification with the Registry of Deeds, lumalabas na lahat itong siyam na transfer certificate of titles na ginamit as basis for the claim, lahat ito ay spurious,” said NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operations Service Atty. Antonio Pagatpat.

(In our verification with the Registry of Deeds, it appears all these nine transfer certificates of titles which were used as the basis for the claim, were all spurious.)

The claimants were paid nonetheless.

Singson himself wrote the letter requesting the release of funds from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

But NBI officials admitted that there is no evidence yet that Singson benefited from the scam.

Fourteen private individuals who also participated in the commission of the scam were charged as well.

They are Wilma Mamburam and Mercedita Dumlao, the alleged leaders of the syndicate, and whistleblower Roberto Catapang Jr. who is now under the custody of the witness protection program.

In his statement last November, Catapang said that the syndicate had amassed about P8.7-billion from the government.

The NBI is also looking into the possible liability of former budget secretary Butch Abad.

“It’s not necessarily na you incur a criminal act kung mag-approve ka ng request ng isang ng isang department. So we have to come up with an evidence that he is in collusion with the subjects at dito sa nine vouchers. Wanting pa yung evidence na yun,” said the NBI regional director.

(It’s not necessarily that you incur a criminal act if you approve a request from one department. So, we have to come up with an evidence that he is in collusion with the subjects and in these nine vouchers, that evidence is still wanting.)

Singson said that he wants to see the complaint first before making any comment on the allegations.

The NBI is further investigating the scam. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

DPWH: 2 road sections in Batangas still on lockdown

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 23, 2020

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said there are two road sections in Batangas that are still on lockdown following the advice of local government units (LGUs).

As of January 22 at 8:00 a.m., the Tanauan–Talisay–Tagaytay Road and Talisay–Laurel–Agoncillo Road remain closed due to the Taal eruption.

“As a safety precaution for personnel, clearing of ashfall, hauling of ashes, and pruning of trees on road sections are being implemented outside the 14-kilometer radius danger zone while clearing operations in areas within the danger zone were temporarily suspended,” the DPWH said in a statement.

All road sections in NCR, Regions III, and IV-B were reported to be passable to all types of vehicles.

Meanwhile, around 500 personnel and 103 equipment are deployed in Region 4-A to provide necessary assistance, including transportation of relief goods to evacuation centers of areas affected.—AAC

DPWH: EDSA traffic congestion to be reduced by 20-30% in 2020

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the traffic congestion on EDSA might be reduced by 20-30% as several infrastructure projects are set to be completed by 2020.

The DPWH said that once the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 is completed by April, there would be a reduction of around 100,000 vehicles on EDSA.

This is apart from the 30,000 trucks set to be reduced once the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link Segment 10 opens in March.

“With the second half of this year, we will relieve EDSA of 20-30 percent. Malaki po ang (There is a lot of) improvement in EDSA and for the first year, starting this year and in subsequent years, we will see continued improvement along EDSA,” according to DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.

The department official also believes that once all the infrastructure projects are completed, EDSA’s vehicle capacity might return to 280,000 vehicles. At present, there are around 400,000 vehicles plying along EDSA everyday.

“I can say at this point, we will deliver in the promise to bring back EDSA to its original capacity,” Villar said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte wants NBI to probe lambanog poisoning incident in Laguna, Quezon – DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   December 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the reported incidents on lambanog poisoning in Laguna and Quezon over the holidays, a government official said Friday.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed this is in a message to reporters.

The NBI was ordered to submit its findings immediately.

Around 16 people were killed and hundreds of others were hospitalized after ingesting lambanog or distilled coconut wine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier revealed that five of the seven samples of lambanog tested positive for high levels of methanol.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said that lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans.

Methanol is a naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter, the DOH added.

The symptoms of methanol poisoning include vomiting, stomach pain and dimming eyesight.

The FDA has repeatedly issued warnings to lambanog brewers over its high methanol content, and urged the public to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming the alcohol beverage.

It also advised the public to only buy lambanog brews that are registered with the FDA.

The sale of lambanog has been ordered suspended in the town of Rizal in Laguna where most of poisoning incidents were reported.


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