Never-ending lies and corruption at DPWH & DoTC

16

Part III

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THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) are the “partners in crime” when it comes to public infrastructure. The DPWH-DOTC tandem is similar to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) when it comes to revenue collection: Corruption is as natural as the air that we breathe.

I asked a DPWH contractor if there is a District Engineer of the DPWH that he knows who is not corrupt. He smiled and said “No.” So I asked him a rhetorical question if the corrupt district engineers of the DPWH and their ilk are like the BIR and BOC examiners and their superiors who take advantage of their positions to enrich themselves? He smiled again in agreement and said “Yes.”

My past two columns on the “Never-Ending Lies & Corruption at the DPWH & DOTC” (MT, July 5 and June 28, 2015) elicited responses from readers. They appear to be knowledgeable with the workings of the DPWH, the apparent favorite government agency of President BenignoAquino 3rd in spite of the unbridled and shameless corruption there under the daang matuwid (straight path) of the Aquino administration.

There is the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) where the district engineer receives a 5-percent commission, while the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) gets 2 percent or a total of 7.0 percent. (It can go higher to a total of 10 percent.) Hence, for every P100 million worth of projects, they get P7 million spread among themselves.

The sum of P7 million may not seem much but if there is a total budget of P2 billion for the Engineering District, that would be P140 million in commission for only one year. In five years, the total commissions could easily reach P1 billion because the favorite DPWH of Pnoy has consistently received significant increased budgets.

In 2014, DPWH got P200 billion, then P300 billion for 2015. For 2016, the President announced during the 117th anniversary of the DPWH that he will double their budget to P600 billion with his 2016 annual budget of P3 trillion!

It is extremely alarming that President Aquino is giving DPWH P600 billion for 2016 when he has only six months left in his term next year. What is worse is that there will only be three months of actual work with public infrastructure projects during an election year.

For three months from March to May, there is a ban or a prohibition on public works projects during the campaign period up to the elections.

Let us not forget what President Aquino did when the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAP) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in November 2013 and July 2014, respectively.

With no more source of pork barrel, what Pnoy did was to, among others, increase the DPWH budget by 50 percent from P200 billion in 2014 to P300 billion in 2015.

Prevarications on Claims of DPWH Savings

The problem that arises when government figures are flagrantly fabricated is that they will be caught LYING. This is what has happened with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with its claims of alleged savings over the past years under the daang matuwid (straight path) of the sanctimonious Aquino administration.

Last June 27, 2015, the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) printed a letter of DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson who wrote that the total savings of the DPWH in the past five years have reached P39 million. To quote Secretary Singson:

“Through the reforms we have initiated in the department’s procurement process, allowing full transparency, competitive bidding and reduced indirect costs of projects, the government was able to realize P39 billion in savings from the biddings alone since July 2010 up to the present.”

But the Inquirer reported a month earlier on May 25, 2015 that the alleged P39 billion savings for the past four and a half years. This is different from what the DPWH secretary wrote in his letter of past five years as in “since July 2010 up to the present.” To quote the first sentence of Jerry Esplanada’s report last May 25, 2015:

“… The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has saved more than P39 million in cost for infrastructure projects during the past four and a half years… Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said.” Not five years as contained in his letter!

As if the inconsistency in their alleged savings is not enough, DPWH fed another BIGGER figure of P48.5 billion to the President that he proudly announced during the 117th anniversary celebration of the DPWH that was reported in the Inquirer the next day on June 23, 2015.

“During the last four and a half years, the agency [DPWH] saved more than P48.5 billion through ‘full transparency in operations, including the conduct of competitive bidding for billions of pesos worth of infrastructure projects nationwide.”

Lies and corruption at DOTC

After more than two years since the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) started its probe of the MRT 3 extortion attempt in May 2013, the Office of the Ombudsman finally recommended the filing of criminal charges on June 27 against those involved with the alleged anomalies surrounding the maintenance contract of the MRT Line 3 along EDSA.

What is interesting to note here is the delay of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in its filing of complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman. When Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was asked by the press more than a year ago when the DOJ would release the findings of the investigation, she said they need of the approval of the Office of the President before releasing the findings of the NBI!

(This is similar to what happened with the DOJ’s delayed filing of charges against administration allies linked to the P10-billion PDAF scam. It took them two years to do so!)

The statement of Secretary de Lima made it so obvious that the NBI probe would implicate the DOTC officials involved. Why? Because the DOJ does not need the approval of the Office of the President if none of the DOTC officials were involved in corruption!

So what happened was that Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 General Manager Al Vitangco 3rd, reportedly a close friend of President Aquino 3rd, was simply allowed by Malacañang to resign. It was a funny situation when Vitangcol first went on leave and then his resignation was suddenly accepted on the same day by the Office of the President. It seemed that there was no script that was followed by those involved.

The former MRT 3 top official is now complaining that he has been singled out by the Office of the Ombudsman. Indeed, Vitangcol was the only one among the DOTC officials investigated who was charged by the Ombudsman in connection with the awarding of the questionable service maintenance contract of MRT 3.

The service contract was given by the MRT-DOTC to the Philippine Trans Rail Management & Service Corp. (PH Trams) on October 20, 2012 and renewed three times until September 4, 2013. At P1.15 million per month for the MRT 3 maintenance, the total bill came up to P115.0 million for ten months.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla should have been included in the charge sheet by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. The service maintenance contract would not have been awarded to PH Trams if both Abaya and Lotilla did not approve the ontract. It is as simple as that!

As Vitangcol said in his motion for reconsideration with the Office of the Ombudsman: The award of the contract was “a product of collegial determination” among the DOTC officials like Secretary Abaya and Undersecretary Lotilla. They are the ones with the authority to discuss and decide on projects that need procurement. Indeed, it is the DOTC top officials that “decided on procuring the services of a maintenance provider in the interim period…”

Ombudsman Morales should look very closely at DOTC Underscretary Lotilla who was involved with the bidding and award of the P3.8-billion contract with the controversial license plates project of the Land Transportation Office (LTO). There is already an ongoing Senate investigation of the license plate scam by the LTO that started last month.

I completely agree with Sen. Ralph Recto that these new plates are not needed and the money paid for them should be returned to the vehicle owners. In the first place, the LTO cannot even deliver the new license plates that have been paid for since January 2015. This is simple and plain estafa committed by the government of President Aquino.
Question: When will all the lies and corruption at DPWH and DOTC end?

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16 Comments

    • As I have written in a previous article in my column, if President Aquino and Secretary Singson are both HONEST MEN, then why is all the corruption happening at the DPWH with projects that are not needed, obscene overpricing and substandard materials. These can be seen with the NOTORIOUS REBLOCKING, road-widening and double asphalt overlay. We at InfraWatch have worked on the ground for the past five years exposing the anomalies in the DPWH.

  1. I stand corrected, para malinis at balnce ang commens ko: the DPWH was saying the ndireccos and not the direct cost. They can sill make money kahit na babaan pa ang mark-up, all they have to is to bloat the cost of the direct cost…pareho din yun (ang kinalabasan para patunugin na may savings). Alam konh gawin yan kasi dati akong consultant ng department. Ano kayo? Ang bababa ng suweldo ninyo, ang lalaki ng bahay ninyo, may magara pa kayong kotse! Ano kayo, nagtatrabaho ng libre? Kasama na si Singson dito! Ano siya aalis sa napakalaking suweldo sa private at magpapakabayani sa DPWH na kakarampot na suweldo, paano na ang marangyang buhay niya prior to DPWH? Come on….lokohin ninyo ang lelong ninyong panot! Si Noynoy puwede mong lokohin, dahil tatanga-tanga yun at walang utak, at uto-uto! But not us…Engineers! Umiiling na lang kami sa mga pakulo ninyo.

  2. Speaking about what the DPWH was saying: “We reduced the indirect cost.” para ma-realized nila ang savings. Tanga! How can you reduce the cost of a particular item if you buy it from a certain manufacturer OR fabricator, OR supllier? How? How can you reduce the cost of labor? If the salary of a carpenter for example is 500 pesos per day, and you begin deriving the cost to construct (as an example) a curb’s form, which the carpenter installed? There is what we called a “Time and Motion” study for a carpenter to build the form wth a standard time to do it that correlate with the amount of the carpenter’s salary. Puwede ba ano, lokohin ninyo ang mga tao…patuloy ninyong lokohin but not us who are technically capable to analyze this matter. Mga gago! Ugok!
    Niloloko nyo naman sila eh! There was an instance (i’m sure marami pa) na may lagayan sa metro manila flood project/s because of the delay in project completion. Instead of implementing the liquidated damages, pinag-usapan na lang! Tatanungin ang bobong D.E. or Region IV Director kung ano ang status ng project and sagot ba naman sa interviewer, titignan namin kung kailan matatapos at ano ang dahilanng delay. Gunggong! Inutil! Wala kang alam sa mga ongoing projects ninyo? Di ba dapat on a daily basis you have ALL the data from your field supervisor, and consultants? Tina-tanga ninyo kami ah! Mga hayop na ito!

  3. Tama ka dyan. Yang mga reblockings na yan ay source of corruption. There is no end to that reblockings kasi na disturb yung foundation ng road. The following year magcrack na naman yan; reblocking uli. This happens sa probinsya also.
    Suggestion kay Sec. Singson(wag sa underlings ng DPWH)- overlay na lang nyan bitumen. Mas madali pang erehabilitate yan later.

    • Kapansin-pansin nga na madaling masira yung mga kalsada at hindi pinag-isipan. Dito sa lugar namin, isang major road ang ni-rehabilitate ng DPWH. Una, gumawa ng sidewalk na may imburnal. Tapos, bago magsimula ang tag-ulan, nilapatan ng aspalto yung kalsada. May mga entry sa imburnal na halos natakpan ng aspalto. At dahil hindi naman naabot ng pison yung aspalto sa bandang sidewalk, nung nagsimula ang buhos ng malakas na ulan, bumara ang maraming piraso ng aspalto sa entrace ng imburnal. Isang linggong nababad sa baha ang bagong aspalto. Kaya ayun, malalalim na pothole ang naging resulta. Ang siste eh, tinapalan uli ng aspalto. Gastos na naman sa loob lang ng ilang buwan.

  4. Your 7-10% figure for what you called SOP is still minimal para lang yan sa mga medyo me konsyensya pa. Sa mga garapal umaabot yan ng 30% at sa mga gahaman 50-100% parang mga projects under DAP/PDAP, malimit pictures na lang ang makikita mo (bilang patunay na ginawa para mabayaran) dahil ang totoo either kapiraso lang ang ginawa o wala namang ginawa. District Engineers like City Engineers are usually under the payroll of their District Congressman/Mayors.

    • Yes, the 7-10% commission for the BAC and District Engineer is Conservative or even Nominal. Mababa iyon. This is what they charge contractors who are their friends or “brods” in a fraternity and alike. This kapag “hindi talo.” The same rates applies to the commission of members of Congress with DPWH projects . However, the commission can really go as high as 30% or HIGHER. Maramin mga ghost projects na retrato (Photographs) na lang.

  5. If Pnoy pardons her, she should not accept it. Throw it back to his face let his conscience eat him up. the courts will absolve her. Treat the bastard with the contempt he deserves, the animal ..can’t wait to see him in jail.

  6. the corruption in dpwh has been going on for the longest time, cory, ramos, arroyo, erap administrations. your statement that you asked one contractor without any basis or evidence is heresay. as far as the dotc that is a different story. i believe that there is corruption there including their attached agencies. give credit where credit is due. singson has done a good job…umaaray ngayon mga contractors kz mahigpit c singson

  7. Ito ng LEGACY na iiwan ni PNOY ang siguraduhin na busog at matataba ang bulsa ng mga bataan niya..ito ang DAANG MATUWID..BOW

  8. There are many ways to fight corruption. Reward and provide protection to whistle blowers? Name and shame the people who are corrupt. In China, the corrupt officials are put to death. In ME, the corrupt officials are beheaded. In Japan, they commit hara-kiri. In PH, they’re in prison in Muntinglupa Jail with room full of amenities including air-condition, TV, massage, etc. The prisoners can even bring inside entertainers. They can even continue to manufacture drugs. Come on let’s be serious. bring back the death penalty.

  9. Vic Penetrante on

    ‘To steal and not to serve’ is the government officials function. For the rich, philanthropy is the better word for restitution.

    • Their way of singing last line of the national anthem is as follows: “ANG YUMAMAN NG DAHIL SA IYO!” MABUHAY!!!

  10. With regards to the huge money budgeted for DPWH for 2016, come now Rick, give PNoy and his Liberal party friends a break will you? They somehow need to make opportunities so they can pad their bank accounts for when they leave public office! After all no high ranking public was EVER made to return the moneys they stole while in office. Not the Marcos’es, not the Estrada’s, not the Arroyo’s and certainly not the Aquino’s. One might argue that Erap was briefly imprisoned but he was promptly pardoned by GMA. Now GMA is supposed to be under hospital arrest. Some arrest that is – compared to the other Filipino inmates, she is a in very cozy and comfortable place. I’m betting that if PNoy does not pardon her, the next president will surely pardon her.

    • harry tambuatco on

      to give a “break” in the strict sense if to allow graft you are either corrupt or your not. make money out of your own business not government because this is the peoples money. Ric is correct you are tolerating graft