PACC WANTS PROBE ON DPWH ENGR ASKING FOR P20-M BRIBE
MANILA — The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Tuesday asked the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) to investigate its Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) district engineer for allegedly asking at least PHP20 million kickback from a contractor.
In a press conference held at Manila Yacht Club, the PACC played a video showing DPWH District Engineer Lorna Ricardo allegedly asking an initial PHP10 million as ‘payment/reimbursement fee’ from one of the bidders of a special project worth PHP100 million.
Ricardo claimed the amount will be used to facilitate the release of the PHP100-million development fund from Department of Budget and Management (DBM) considering the Lagawe-Caba-Ponghal Road is not a regular but a ‘special project’.
PACC Commissioner and spokesperson Greco Belgica said Ricardo had also demanded 1 percent of the 10-percent mobilization fund as SOP (standard operation procedure) for DPWH Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Ifugao District and 5-percent SOP on every progress billing.
He said Ricardo had also asked PHP20,000 payment for processing fee for the issuance of statement of work accomplished (SWA); 1 percent of PHP100 million; and, PHP1 million for purported vehicle rental for the use of the DPWH project engineer.
“The total amount being negotiated is between PHP16 million to PHP20 million,” Belgica said.
Belgica clarified that no amount has been released but Ricardo still violated Section 9 of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
He said RA 3019 prohibits public officials from “directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the government and any other part”.
After watching the video which was taken between July and August this year, newly-appointed DPWH Director for Legal Services Rodil Millado said they will immediately investigate Ricardo ‘based on evidence’, including the video presented by PACC.
“As you know we have due process but I’m sure our DPWH Secretary Mark Villar will not tolerate any act of corruption in his office,” Millado said.
Millado said “preventive suspension pending investigation” might be slapped against Ricardo.
Belgica said PACC will file criminal charges against Ricardo before the Office of the Ombudsman.
For his part, PACC Chairman Dante Jimenez said PACC will continue to go after corrupt public officials since other DPWH district engineers in other parts of the country are allegedly involved in corruption.
“Sa buong bansa, ang kalakaran dyan ang yumayaman ang mga district engineers (Across the country, it is given that district engineers get rich),” Jimenez said.
Belgica said President Rodrigo Duterte has already been informed about Ricardo’s alleged attempt to ask kickback from contractor.
“All these, the legal processes, are upon the instruction of the President,” he said. (PNA)