âUp to Duterte to identify lawmakers in DPWH graftâ
President Duterte goes through a document before presiding over a recent Cabinet meeting at Malacañang.
STAR/File
‘Up to Duterte to identify lawmakers in DPWH graft’
Jose Rodel Clapano, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 27, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It would be up to President Duterte to decide whether he would reveal the names of lawmakers involved in anomalies surrounding some public works projects, Malacañang said yesterday.

“Let’s leave that decision to the President,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing. “To my knowledge, the PACC has not submitted anything to the President as of now.”

Roque was referring to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, whose commissioner Greco Belgica last week claimed that some lawmakers are exerting influence on the implementation of DPWH projects and the designation of district engineers.

A report containing details of the irregularities and the names of lawmakers who may be involved in them would be submitted to Duterte, Belgica said.

Earlier this month, Duterte, who had disclosed the names of politicians, police and military officials tagged in the illegal drug trade, said corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was “grave.”

The agency has created a task force that would look into the alleged corrupt practices but Malacañang prefers an independent panel to conduct the investigation.?Senate President Vicente Sotto III has urged the PACC to disclose the identities of lawmakers and other individuals who are benefiting from the alleged corruption in DPWH. Belgica, however, has said the commission is not authorized to do so.

Meanwhile, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar has created a task force against graft and corruption to look into alleged anomalies involving DPWH officials and employees.

In Department Order No. 101 dated Oct. 17, 2020, Villar designated Assistant Secretary Mel John Verzosa as task force chairman; director Gliricida Tumaliuan-Ali as vice-chair; with director Michael Villafrance, OIC Andrea Santiago and lawyer Ken Edward Sta. Rita as members.

Villar said the task force shall investigate anomalies allegedly perpetrated by officials and/or employees of the department, based on valid complaints.

“The TAG upon observing due process, shall recommend to the Office of the Secretary through a resolution, the appropriate actions to take concerning the erring officials and/or employees,” he said.

State auditors earlier flagged over P100 billion worth of delayed and unimplemented projects of the agency in 2019.

In its 2019 annual audit report on DPWH, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the department had some P101 billion worth of delayed and unimplemented projects, the second straight year it violated the Procurement Law after some P118 billion in projects were recorded the previous year.

COA noted that records for 2019 cover 2,411 infrastructure projects, school buildings and farm-to-market road projects broken down as follows:

• P65.9 billion worth of projects unfinished or uncompleted within the specific contract time or required completion date;

• P31 billion worth of suspended projects;

• P1.44 billion worth of terminated projects and

• P3.2 billion worth of projects which have not been started at all during the year.

Duterte on Monday defended Villar, saying the secretary has a lot of money and does not need to be corrupt.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE
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