Two officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the 3rd Negros Occidental Engineering District were found guilty of grave abuse of misconduct by the Office of the Ombudsman with the anomalies discovered in the rehabilitation of two bridges in Cauayan, Negros Occidental.
The officials were identified as Officer-In-Charge (OIC) District Engineer Haydee Alunan and OIC-Assistant District Engineer Elsie Sabay. Alunan and Sabay were ordered to be dismissed from their posts with penalties that include forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from holding public office or taking the civil service examination.
Based on the Ombudsman’s investigation, it showed that the rehabilitation of the bridges, which started on February 10, 2014, was supposed to be complete in June 24, 2014. Yet during the ocular inspection on December 3, 2015, the Field Investigation Office discovered that both projects were still unfinished. Alunan justified that the delay in the completion of the projects was due to the intervening factors such as the removal of the water pipelines attached to the bridge railings, the relocation of the electrical post, and heavy rains and flooding.
This is also a cause to charge Alunan and Sabay with violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Art under Republic Act No. 3019. Also, during the implementation stage, the respondents allowed the contractor to continue working on the project despite poor performance and unreasonable delay of the contractor in the projects, said in the Ombusdman’s resolution.
In addition, the officials allowed the contractor to collect full payment with an understated penalty.”As shown in the Disbursement Vouchers, the contractor was not made to pay for the unreasonable delay of each project for at least 562 days. Thus, the number of liquidated damages was apparently understated and respondents clearly gave unwarranted benefits. advantage or preference to the contractor in violation of law”, it added.