Late last week, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) announced that it is suspending some P5 billion worth of flood control projects funded by the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson said his department would have to comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court after it declared DAP illegal, so the said flood control in Metro Manila will have to be put on hold until another form of government funding is available for the project.
The flood control project is part of the ten-point agenda of the PNoy administration to eradicate the flooding problem once and for all not only in Metro Manila but also in nearby provinces such as in Bulacan and Pampanga.
Earlier, at least two bills were filed in the House of Representatives by the administration’s allies proposing the abolition of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).
Surprisingly, the bills were filed few days after the Supreme Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) illegal.
The JDF is a fund collected from legal fees paid to the court, and is used to augment the allowances of its personnel, and to finance the acquisition, maintenance, and repair of office equipment and facility of the various courts in the country.
If the suspension of the flood control project and the bills to abolish the JDF is not a form of blackmail, what can you call it then?
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Gov. Degamo and 6 constructors continue to defy COA order
Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and six private constructors reportedly continue to defy the Commission on Audit’s (COA) order to immediately return nearly half a billion in government funds since 2012.
In its July 10, 2012 memorandum, COA demanded that Degamo immediately return the sum of P480.775 million to the National Treasury after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) recalled the sub-allotment release order (SARO) for the said amount intended for the repair and rehabilitation of the province after it was hit by Typhoon Sendong in 2011 and a major earthquake in 2012.
The DBM erroneously allowed the provincial government headed by Degamo to implement the said calamity project instead of the Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH).
However, instead of reimbursing the said amount to the national government, Degamo contended that he already made an advanced payment to several construction firms namely: Fiat Construction Services of Iligan City; Richmark Construction & Supply in Catbalogan, Samar; Legaspi Premium Development Corporation in Legaspi, Albay; Lim General Contractor Corp. in Masbate City, CTC Builders and Supplies in Sorsogon City, Ajan Jeada Incorporated, in Legaspi, Albay; and Bigfoot Construction and Supply, in Daunin, Negros Oriental.
The auditing agency then issued Notices of Disallowances to the said construction firms ordering them to immediately return the money to the government claiming the absence of allotment and certificate of availability of funds after the SARO was recalled earlier by DBM.
An official of COA, who requested anonymity, said Degamo and the construction companies have not returned the money to this day as the Negros Oriental chief executive contends that the funds have been used to pay the contractors in advance.
The same official said that cases have been filed against Degamo for malversation and violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices by a private individual before the Ombudsman.
The source also said that if these constructors continue to refuse to reimburse the government, COA would then file cases in court against these firms and their owners.
Aside from filing civil cases, the agency will also ask the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB) to suspend the license of each company, and will also ask the DPWH to ban them from joining in the biddings of infrastructure projects until they return the money to the government, said my source.
But nasty rumors at the Negros Oriental Provincial Capitol say the contractors will never return the money since they have already given fat commissions or “kickbacks” allegedly to Degamo and several other officials.
No wonder they continue to defy the COA order.