Lopez, 3 others charged


Environment Secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez and three others are facing criminal and administrative complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman which in connection with the procurement of Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) stations that allegedly failed to deliver reliable air quality data.

Also charged were former DENR Undersecretary Leo Jasareno, Jean Rosete and Teresita Peralta of the Environmental Management Bureau, and several John and Jane Does.

The complaint was filed on Tuesday by Rodolfo Javellana Jr., President of the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters and Manuel Galvez who identified himself as the managing partner of Airboard Company.

They alleged that “[i]n 2006, without any market research or study, Environmental Management Bureau — Air Quality Monitoring Section (EMB-AQMS), [then-]headed by respondents Rosete and Peralta…procured four (4) Open Path Diffential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) stations from Electrobyte, the exclusive distributor of DOAS in the Philippines. These acquisitions failed to deliver consistent and reliable air quality data.”

“In 2010…four (4) more DOAS were procured with no performance report (of how the first acquisition performed) and, again, without market research,” the complainants further alleged.

In 2013, they added, Electrobyte received full payment for the delivery of 10 more DOAS.

“These machines would not function, or could not be utilized for the purposes they were acquired…if these machines do indeed provide us with data, that data would always be inaccurate or cannot be relied upon,” the complainants said.

“So if we do not have this accurate data, what would the Department of Health and other agencies rely on to check whether the air is dirty or clean?” Javellana said.

He said the Coalition of Clean Air Advocates of the Philippines and other organizations brought the matter to Lopez several months ago but she did not act on it. REINA TOLENTINO


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