Various district engineering offices (DEOs) built 182 infrastructure projects costing P368.37 million on private pieces of property without adequate documents to support turnover of such properties to the government, state auditors said.
One-hundred-seventy-four of these projects were funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of lawmakers totaling P308.6 million.
In a 2013 audit report on the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Commission on Audit (COA) told the DPWH to “secure from the owner/developer of the private lots/subdivisions where the projects were constructed the TCTs [Transfer of Certificate of Titles] and Deeds of Donation in favor of the government.”
Under Presidential Decree 1445 or the State Audit Code, government funds or property shall be used solely for public purposes.
The auditors cited a 1960 Supreme Court ruling (Pascual v. Secretary of the Public Works) that “the use of government funds to develop private properties is not proper unless the lots where the properties are to be constructed were already turned over to the government.”
COA Decision 2008-127 also found that there is no legal basis in using public funds to
repair or restore multi-purpose buildings or private cooperatives, unless the land such is situated in is owned by or donated to the government.
“In the audit of the disbursements of the following DEOs, we noted that several projects of the Districts were constructed on different subdivisions and private lots,” the auditors said.
Based on the audit report, most or 171 of the projects were in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila)–121 in Las Piñas-Muntinlupa DEO (LPMDEO) and 50 in the Metro Manila II DEO (MMIIDEO) amounting to P193.66 million and P160.92 million, respectively. Four projects were in Quirino province and seven were in Bukidnon province amounting to P2.22 million and P11.56 million, respectively.
Of the total of 182 projects, 174 were PDAF funded–121 in LPMDEO, 49 in MMIIDEO and all four projects in Quirino.