The Office of the Ombusman has asked anew Public Works Secretary Mark Villar to relieve the officer in charge of the department’s Region 5 office and four other officials who were slapped with preventive suspensions a year ago, an order that was not implemented by the agency.
On Feb. 1, 2019, Ombudsman Samuel Martires had approved the six-month suspension without pay of Department of Public Works and Highways Bicol Region officer in charge Virgilio Eduarte.
Also ordered suspended were DPWH-5’s lawyer Eulogio Laboga, quality assurance and hydrology chief; Brenilda Mendoza, equipment management division chief; Romy Gumban and Serafin Lago, heads of the Road Heightening and Tide Embankment sections, respectively.
But with the orders unenforced, Assistant Ombudsman Pilarita Lapitan wrote to Villar on Jan. 2, urging him to relieve the regional director and implement the preventive suspensions.
According to lawyer Mikhail Lenin Bueno, who represents construction owner Edgar Tiu, they appealed again to Villar to implement the suspensions.
“It is unbelievable that they did not receive copy of the suspension order on Feb. 1, 2019 because they managed to file an appeal to lift the order against them,” Bueno said.
The suspension order is rooted on the complaint of Tiu, owner of B. M. Marketing construction company, after his firm was disqualified by Eduarte, who served as chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee in the region.
Eduarte reasoned that the construction firm failed in the technical requirements for the bid.
But Bueno said Tiu’s firm had passed the BAC’s qualification requirements for the construction of a storm surge protector, road heightening and tide embankment project with an approved budget contract of over P264 million.