BCDA chief Dizon, 3 others sued over SEA Games
In a complaint-affidavit filed yesterday, anti-corruption watchdog Citizens Crime Watch (CCW), represented by its president Diego Magpantay, urged the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate Dizon, BCDA senior vice president of legal services Elvira Estanislao, lawyer Elpidio Vega of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and Isaac David, director and representative of Malaysian construction firm MTD Capital Berhad for the SEA Games facilities at New Clark City (NCC) in Tarlac.
The STAR/Mong Pintolo, file
BCDA chief Dizon, 3 others sued over SEA Games
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - October 27, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and chief executive officer Vince Dizon and three others are facing criminal and administrative charges in connection with the alleged anomalous P8.51-billion contract for the construction of the sports facilities in Tarlac that were used during the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

In a complaint-affidavit filed yesterday, anti-corruption watchdog Citizens Crime Watch (CCW), represented by its president Diego Magpantay, urged the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate Dizon, BCDA senior vice president of legal services Elvira Estanislao, lawyer Elpidio Vega of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and Isaac David, director and representative of Malaysian construction firm MTD Capital Berhad for the SEA Games facilities at New Clark City (NCC) in Tarlac.

The CCW said Dizon and the three other respondents must be held liable for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and for malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.

The CCW said Dizon, Estanislao and Vega must also be held liable for administrative offenses of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The group said the three public officials conspired in awarding to MTD Capital Berhad an P8.51-billion Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) for the construction of the sports facilities despite several supposed irregularities such as lack of public bidding, lack of budget appropriation and unauthorized “insertions and modifications” of the original contract.

The facilities include an aquatic center, an athletic stadium with warm-up track and an athletes’ village that could accommodate 1,000 persons.

In a statement issued yesterday, the BCDA maintained that the JVA was aboveboard and was compliant with existing laws, rules and regulations.

“BCDA stands by its position that the process undertaken for the construction of internationally certified sports facilities in New Clark City is completely legal and aboveboard. This is supported by the advice of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the favorable opinion issued by the OGCC as early as October 2018,” the BCDA said.

“We welcome this opportunity to explain and we are confident to present our side to the Office of the Ombudsman. Rest assured that BCDA will comply with the process in our duty to serve the best interest of the public,” it added.

The CCW claimed the respondents “unlawfully” included a Build-Transfer scheme within the JVA, placing the government at a disadvantageous position.

“The parties hid Build Transfer Scheme for the development of the sports facilities within the JVA for the purpose of, among other things, avoiding the public bidding requirement and unlawfully appropriate or take government funds,” the complaint read.

The CCW pointed out that in a regular JVA, ownership is usually transferred to the government corporation upon the expiration of the agreed joint venture period.

The CCW said that in the case of the JVA between BCDA and MTD Berhad, it was stated that the ownership of the sports facilities shall be transferred to BCDA upon its payment to MTD Berhard of a total of P11 billion in five installments of P2.2 billion each.

The CCW said the JVA was entered into without prior recommendation or legal opinion from the OGCC.

Furthermore, the CCW said Dizon and the other respondents inserted a paragraph in the JVA to increase the amount to be paid to MTD Berhad from the orginal P8.51 billion to P11 billion.

The CCW said aside from paying to MTD Berhand its advance contribution to the joint venture amounting P8.51 billion, a paragraph was also inserted in the agreement stating that an additional P2.49 billion shall be paid to the Malaysian firm as supposed “reasonable cost and returns.”

The revised JVA states that the entire P11 billion shall be paid in five installments, the CCW noted.

“Worse, BCDA did not only return MTD’s so-called P8.51-billion contribution to the JVA, BCDA also gave an additional P2.490-billion premium to MTD, practically allowing the latter to earn double profits since the P8.510 billion already includes MTD’s computed profit,” the complaint read.

Lastly, the group cited the Commission on Audit’s recent findings in its 2019 annual audit report on BCDA that the joint venture project was deemed “void” as it was executed without prior fund appropriation, in violation of Presidential Decree 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.

The COA, in its report, noted that the JVA was entered into in 2017 while funding for the construction of the sports facilities in New Clark City was only approved on April 15, 2019 with the enactment of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“All these circumstances uniformly proves that respondents committed grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service when they pursued the unlawful signing and execution of the JVA; tried to conceal their illegal actions and mislead the public and release public funds without authority as such release is based on a void contract,” the CCW said.

The COA’s record showed that a total of P5.488 billion was already paid by BCDA to MTD Capital as of Dec. 31, 2019.

BCDA SEA GAMES
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