DPWH officials charged with misconduct

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Several officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Iloilo City District Engineering Office face dismissal from service in connection with anomalies surrounding the Iloilo-Jaro Diversion Road project.

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The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas ordered the dismissal of Officer-in-Charge District Engineer Teodoro Castillo, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Chairman Ruby Lagoc as well as BAC members Construction Section Chief Joemar Nepomuceno, Maintenance Section Chief Nestor Molato and Planning and Design Section Chief Jonathan Dublas for grave misconduct.

Deputy Ombudsman Paul Elmer Clemente approved the decision, which stated that “it is doubtful if a bidding was actually conducted because the supporting documents of the project do not show that there was a publication of the bidding with the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) and there are no copies of the bidding documents of the purported bidders.”

The respondents also face cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and barred from taking the civil service examination.

Upon investigation, the office found that “several irregularities marred” the 2006 bidding of the P9-million project which had a project duration of 60 days.

“(The) DPWH executives made it appear that bidding was conducted prior to awarding the project to JSG Construction Co., Inc.,” the Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

The office noted that the project was finished within 14 days after a Notice to Proceed was issued, and was reported as 100 percent completed three days after the contractor submitted its first and final billing “with the disbursement voucher to process payment that was prepared on the same day.”

Meanwhile, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas threw out the case against Accountant III Condrado Sorongon Jr. for lack of substantial evidence.

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