Villar creates task force to probe alleged anomalies in DPWH
This undated file photo shows DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
Villar creates task force to probe alleged anomalies in DPWH
(Philstar.com) - October 20, 2020 - 11:59am

MANILA, Philippines — Public works Secretary Mark Villar has created a task force that would look into alleged anomalies committed by executives and employees after President Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly slammed reports of corruption in the agency.

Villar ordered the creation of Task Force Against Graft and Corruption, which would “investigate anomalies allegedly perpetrated by officials and/or employees of the department, based on valid complaints.”

The task force is tasked to recommend to the Office of the Secretary, through a resolution, the appropriate actions to take concerning the erring officials and/or employees. It is also directed to create a technical working group, which will serve as secretariat and will aid the task force on the exercise of its functions.

The task force is chaired by Assistant Secretary Mel John Versoza. Director Gliricidia Tumaliuan-Ali will serve as the vice chairperson, while other members of the task force are Director Michael Villafranca, Officer-in-Charge Director Andro Santiago and lawyer Ken Edward Sta. Rita.

In a press briefing Tuesday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the DPWH task force should be given a chance to probe the alleged corruption within the agency.

“Maybe, that’s the initial step that the DPWH is taking to address the problem of corruption as mentioned by the president. So let’s give them a chance because from what I know, this is one of the rare moments that we are addressing that in DPWH,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Rich government official

Duterte again criticized alleged anomalies in DPWH but cleared Villar, son of former Senate president Manny Villar and Sen. Cynthia Villar, of any involvement in illegal activities.

“Secretary Villar is rich. He has lots of money and he doesn’t need to commit corruption. The problem is in the lower ranks. It’s still rampant,” he said in a public address Monday.

Last week, Roque said Villar enjoys the full trust and confidence of the chief executive “because he is able to deliver despite reports of corruption at the DPWH.”

He added: “It helps that the family of Sec. Villar is richer than the DPWH.”

In its 2019 annual audit report, the Commission on Audit said there were 1,710 construction projects amounting to P65.9 billion implemented by DPWH offices which “were not finished nor completed within the specific contract time or required completion date.” — Gaea Katreena Cabico

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS MARK VILLAR
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