The Undersecretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for Regional Operations has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to resolve the criminal charges filed against him and several others in connection with the alleged anomalous Masbate project, in view of a desistance filed by the complainants.
In a February 16, 2016 letter addressed to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales through Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang, DPWH Undersecretary engineer Romeo Momo sought for an update of the case entitled “Romeo Perez Esplana and Evaristo A. Buenaflor, Jr. vs. [Momo], et al.” where he said the complainant unduly hurled baseless and malicious accusations.
“This incident besmirched my reputation, caused me and my family serious anxiety, wounded feelings, and sleepless nights, honestly knowing that I have done nothing wrong to be a victim of such unfair acts,” Momo’s letter read.
Besides plunder, Momo and other respondents are also facing criminal charges that include graft and corruption, violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Government Officials and Employees under Republic Act 6713, and violation of RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Act.
Also charged was Violeta Codilla, the private contractor and managing officer of Yakal Construction and Supply Inc.
The other DPWH officials named in the complaint were accountant Ma. Teresa Armario, engineers Godofredo Beltran and Alex Lacuna, Region 5 Director Danilo Desquito, Flocerpida Azotea, Fe Longoria and the Commission on Audit resident auditor who was not named in the complaint affidavit.
The case pertains to the rehabilitation, improvement and re-asphalting and concreting of a 27-kilometer road in southern Masbate.
Momo and another DPWH undersecretary, Jaime Pacanan, allegedly used their respective positions to help the contractor to collect P426.54 million, or the total budget for the full completion of the road project.
It was found out, however, that less than 17 percent of the 27-kilometer road was actually completed.
But Momo said the complainants had already sent a letter to President Benigno Aquino 3rd clearing him of the charges.
According to Esplana and Buenaflor, Momo stated, “after further verification, evaluation and investigations by the herein complainants, they are convinced that Undersecretary Momo cannot be charged as respondent as records show that he has nothing to do with this Masbate project.”
“Also, should the disposition of your good Office is to my favor, I intend to publish the same in order for me and my family, especially my children, to regain our good name, reputation and honor which was maliciously tarnished by the complainants,” Momo explained.