Vizcaya gov faces charges over P149-m project delay

Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Carlos Padilla is facing a criminal and administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for delayed and unfinished infrastructure projects worth P149 million.

Justice  Secretary Menardo Guevarra, in a May 21 letter received by the Ombudsman on June 13, endorsed the complaint to Ombudsman Samuel Martires for appropriate action.

“The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, together with the Special Action Unit of the National Bureau of Investigation, conducted a fact-finding investigation on the  delayed and unfinished infrastructure projects, specifically the Nueva Ecija Convention Center, the improvement and expansion of the provincial capital building phases 1 and 2, and the Conference Hall at Lower Magat Eco-Tourism Park, Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya,” the letter read.

Others to face the charges included Padilla’s wife, ex-governor Ruth Padilla; lawyer Voltaire Garcia, bids and awards committee legal officer; engineer Manolo Norial; treasurer Rhoda Moreno; budget officer Alejandra Dacumos; agriculturist Alexander Domingo; technical working group chairman Honorio Sierra Jr., and several others.

After a probe, the NBI-SAU issued a report with the recommendation to file criminal and administrative charges against the accused for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The complaint was anchored on the Commission on Audit’s Jan. 30, 2017 report citing that “the three flagship projects totaling P149 million were not accomplished within the respective time duration, hence, early utilization thereof was not possible, and a basis for the termination of the contracts as provided under Item No. 8(4) Annex E of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9184 known as the Government Procurement Reform Act.”

“Completion of the three projects were delayed by more than 10 percent when reconciled from the agreed time duration to complete the respective projects. Although the extension was approved for the completion of the Convention Center, still 30.5 percent accomplishment as of 31 December 2016 indicates that the project lagged from the revised target completion date last August 2016,” the complaint read.

“The improvement of the Capitol Building and the construction of the Conference Hall were only 47 percent and 46 percent completed, respectively, as of 31 December 2016. This shows that the contractors did not comply with the contract duration so that use of these facilities have to be postponed for several months or even a year. The opportunity to have earned rental fees from perspective users of the Conference Hall and Convention Center are also foregone,” it further stated.

The Department of Justice cited a certification issued by the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board, Sharysu Builders & Marketing, the infrastructure contractor, had been delisted since 2007 due to non-renewal of its license.

The private contractor Sharysu Builders could be held criminally liable, it said.

The PACC urged the Ombudsman to place Padilla and the other accused under a preventive suspension.

Topics: Nueva Vizcaya , Gov. Carlos Padilla , Office of the Ombudsman , unfinished infrastructure projects , Justice  Secretary Menardo Guevarra
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