LEGAZPI CITY: Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson urged the Citizens Crime Watch to prove allegations of corruption in Bicol.
Saying there are no sacred cows in his department, Singson thanked his former Bicol public affairs chief Romeo Esplana in a letter but dared him to prove his letter-complaints of corruptions in the regional office led by regional director Danilo Dequito.
The latest scandal that rocked DPWH Bicol is the P100-million alleged ghost barangay road concreting project in the once rebel infested villages in Daraga town in Albay known as the Mayon-Bigao-San Ramon-Gogon section even as DPWH regional director Danilo Dequito and Albay provincial engineer Dante Baclao denied owning the project in their letters dated May 30 and May 13 respectively.
A former DPWH executive and now Citizens Crime Watch local chief investigator, Esplana said he was reminded by another case some years back when the DPWH also denied a P7-million undocumented barangay projects in Polangui, Albay to evade prosecution when a case was filed before the Ombudsman against involved engineers.
In a number of letters sent to Singson and President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Esplana complained that despite the charges filed with the Ombudsman for plunder and other violations of the anti-graft law against 42 officials and employees, no one from the accused has been relieve. Esplana cited Singson for acting fast in the case against four district engineers who were ordered relieved during the past year found to have violated minor issues in the conduct of bidding absence of official complaints in the Ombudsman.
At least 42 DPWH officials and employees were charged with plunder in 2012 before the Ombudsman including top regional officials led by Dequito involving P150 million in equipment and parts. The scam was ordered investigated by Dequito in 2011 after a complaint by DPWH equipment operator Robert Canezal with Esplana as the team investigator. For turning himself as a whistleblower, Canezal was suspended for 90 days as a retaliation, said Esplana.
According to documents, a year after the investigation report came out, Dequito had the equipment parts declared scraps through a bidding conducted in April 24, 2012. Esplana said the scraps sourced from operational heavy equipment should have been preserved as evidences. Is this not a grave offense as contained in the plunder complaint, Esplana wrote the President and Singson.