The Office of the Ombudsman should now start looking into reports that almost a dozen constructors from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) became filthy rich after cornering several billions of pesos in government projects through the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of several lawmakers from 2000 to 2008.
A ranking DPWH official who asked for anonymity said 10 construction firms could not account for the billions of pesos in government projects awarded to them during that period.
The same source however said three of the builders—JSG Const. Co. Inc., Sunwest Const. and Dev. Corp., and the E. Gardiola Const. —have reportedly furnished the agency of their reports, which will still be reviewed by DPWH.
The eight other firms namely Meditechtrade and Development, who got P4.6 billion in contracts; Hi-tone Construction and Development Corp., which was awarded a P3.9 billion contract; GCI Const., P3.5 billion; LR Tiqui Builders, P2.3 billion;Northern Builders, P2.1 billion; Ulticon Builders P2 billion, and Grace Const., P1.7 billion, have not replied to the repeated calls of the DPWH for a summary or accounting of their expenses.
DPWH insiders believe these construction firms will really never be able to account for all the funds given to them.
“Probably, a big chunk of the amount went to the politicians and officials, while a bigger portion of it went to the constructor’s pocket and only a minuscule portion ended up in the project,” the DPWH official said.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has admitted that these construction companies are being investigated on the suspicion that the funds given them were never used for any road project but were pocketed instead.
DPWH documents also show that all of these supposed constructors are not licensed to handle billion-peso projects since companies for huge projects are required to have “AAA” license. All of the contractors being investigated only have “A” license.
Singson also questioned the legitimacy of these contractors since they do not have offices. He said these firms use residential addresses for their business operations.
My informant at the DPWH suggests that if these companies continue to ignore the accounting requests of the agency, plunder charges will be filed against the owners or top officials of these firms namely Murphy Tansipek of Medictechtrade, now known as Filbest Const. and Dev. Corp., Edgar Acosta of Hi-tone, Gigi Ibasco of GCI, Luisito Tiqui of LR Tiqui, Victor Angeles of Northern Builders, Raul Gonzales of Ulticon, and David Chiong of Grace Construction.
The DPWH should immediately file plunder charges against these people. After all, they had four years to explain yet they disregarded the agency’s requests.
Their failure to explain the whereabouts of the funds clearly shows that the money went somewhere else rather than to infrastructure projects.
The Pnoy administration should start building more jail facilities for these unscrupulous businessmen.
* * *
Gambling lords summit in camp crame
Oh my, what’s this buzz I heard inside Camp Crame that several gambling lords from around the country met on the first week of March in a building just a few meters away from the main office of PNP Chief Gen. Allan Purisima?
My spy from the police headquarters says a certain “Col. Rasco” reportedly invited the gambling operators and financiers through their unit’s regional commanders and provincial directors for a general assembly.
The gambling bosses complied right away thinking it is an official invitation, and anticipated that they will just be ordered to immediately cease from their illegal operations as part of Purisima’s strict policy against illegal gambling.
But lo and behold, after their names were listed and their illegal gambling operation identified, “Col. Rasco” allegedly demanded that they have to remit a certain percentage of their income to his unit every week as protection money, otherwise they will be arrested and their operations indefinitely shut down.
My informant said the meeting took place while “Col. Rasco’s” boss was on an out-of-town trip but definitely had the blessing of the deputies and other senior commanders of this unit.
Tsk, tsk, tsk…I am sure the newly installed commander’s days in his post are numbered once PNP Chief Allan Purisima hears this.
One thing for sure, Gen. Purisima does not need the services of the CIDG to investigate this incident. He has his own ways of knowing.