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Gwen: SC ruling proves construction was legal

Michael Vencynth H. Braga/JMO (The Freeman) - November 2, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu third district Representative Gwendolyn Garcia said the recent Supreme Court’s decision ordering the provincial government to pay what it owes to the contractor of the Cebu International Convention Center is a confirmation that the structure was built legally.

The controversial CICC was built during Garcia’s term as governor to house events of the Association of Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit here.

“The Supreme Court decision is the clearest vindication and confirmation of our long-held position that there was absolutely nothing irregular or illegal in the construction of the CICC,” Garcia said in a statement.

She said her enemies in politics have made a “political capital” from the unproven irregularities in the construction of the CICC.

She went on to say, “but the recent decision by no less than the highest court, affirming the similar decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Court, confronts them with the simple question: If there was anything irregular or illegal, why would the highest court of the land order any payment of public funds at all? Kon duna pa’y ilegal o kahiwi-an, nganong pabayran man?”

She said the court’s ruling should end the years of “painstaking” judicial scrutiny of the project, as well as the claims of the contractor, and “put to rest unfounded accusations of wrongdoing from those who wish to profit politically from the unwarranted doubt cast on the project.”

Her successor, Governor Hilario Davide III, believes otherwise. He also said Garcia is not yet free from liability.

Davide, a lawyer, said the recent ruling only involves civil liability on the part of the province. He pointed out the administrative and criminal cases against Garcia that are pending before the Office of the Ombudsman in line with alleged irregularities in CICC’s construction.

Davide said, however, that Capitol will not defy the order for the interest payment but will have to wait for a copy of the Supreme Court’s decision.

The Supreme Court said Capitol has to pay the six percent per annum on its financial obligation to WT Construction, Incorporated (WTCI), apart from the P257 million it paid to the contractor for the additional works on the CICC, including site development and additional structural, architectural, electrical, and plumbing works.

The SC affirmed the lower court’s decisions that the computation of the legal interest should reckon from the filing of the complaint on January 2, 2008.

The case was filed against the province after it refused to pay for the additional works WTCI did in constructing the CICC for lack of contract.

The province also maintained it was not liable to pay interests, as WTCI performed the additional works at its own risk, considering that there was no public bidding conducted.

The CICC has been standing idle after it suffered severe damage when the magnitude 7.2 earthquake jolted Bohol and Cebu in October and typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

The Davide administration refused to spend money for the repair of the building because the province reportedly is not earning from its operation aside from it being a “monument of corruption,” and doing so is tantamount to condoning the “mistake” done by the previous administration.

To this, Garcia said the Supreme Court’s decision should also put an end to the three years of senseless, criminal neglect of the CICC, which was “reduced to a storage house of undistributed, rotting relief goods.

She added that the facility has also become a staging ground for “cheap political gimmickry,” referring to the “NEVER AGAIN…” banner displayed there.

“Yes, never again to an administration that would allow a people’s asset to rot because of political vindictiveness and hatred. Never again to do-nothingness, negligence and idleness masquerading as prudence,” she said.

Garcia’s brother, Winston, a former board member, is running against Davide for governor in 2016.  (FREEMAN)

 

ACIRC ASSOCIATION OF ASIAN NATIONS BOHOL AND CEBU CEBU INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTER CICC COURT COURT OF APPEALS AND THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT GARCIA GOVERNOR HILARIO DAVIDE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN SUPREME COURT
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