The National Irrigation Administration has filed a criminal and administrative complaint against its own chief legal officer and another agency lawyer before the Office of the Ombudsman after the Court of Appeals ordered NIA to pay a private contractor nearly P206 million.
At a briefing in Quezon City, NIA Administrator Benny Antiporda said Legal Services acting manager Lloyd Allain Cudal and lawyer Mary Annabelle Domingo are now facing a consolidated complaint of gross inexcusable negligence under Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
They were also accused of inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of function under Executive Order No. 292 of the Administrative Code of 1987, and violation of the standards of professionalism under RA 7613 of the Code of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees.
According to Antiporda, Cudal and Domingo filed a wrong legal remedy to save NIA from paying Green Asia Construction & Development Corp. P205,958,119.77.
“The contractor was at fault for failure to deliver the project (completely) for P296,930,340.07. It questioned the (contract) termination. Instead of NIA filing a case against (Green Asia), it only ended its contract,” he told reporters.
“Worst, the contractor was the one that filed the case against us. What hurts us most was that we have to pay P205.9 million,” Antiporda added.
NIA, under its previous administrator Ricardo Visaya, tapped Green Asia for the rehabilitation of structures associated with the Casecnan multipurpose irrigation and power project located in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, and San Miguel and San Ildefonso, Bulacan in 2016.
It rescinded its contract with Green Asia for a negative slippage on its work schedule of at least 15 percent, “a sufficient basis for contract termination under Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.”
The contractor sued NIA before the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission, which ruled NIA was liable to pay it with a 6 percent legal interest from the time of award until full payment thereof.
Cudal was prompted to file a motion for reconsideration with the appellate court to seek the reversal of CIAC’s decision.
Antiporda said Cudal “insistently refused to accept the assignment to take on the case and even refused the request for him to testify as witness…”
Moreover, he said Cudal did not give attention to the case filed by Green Asia against NIA, and filed a motion for reconsideration that was denied for being a prohibited pleading that caused the lapse of the period to file a plea.
On the other hand, the NIA chief said Domingo “used the wrong remedy of filing a petition for certiorari, instead of a petition for review, thus the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition outright and NIA was effectively deprived of its legal remedy and now stands to pay Green Asia the P205-million award.”
He appealed to Ombudsman Samuel Martires to “conduct further investigation” against Cudal and Domingo, and file appropriate charges against them.