Widow withdraws graft suit vs. DPWH

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LEGAZPI CITY: An old widow has decided to withdraw the case she filed before the Ombudsman against five top executives of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Bicol and two wealthy contractors who converted a portion of her small titled farm into a part of a national road without her knowledge and consent.

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The 62-year-old Evelyn Cordial Alim said that because of stress and fear, she finally allowed the DPWH last December to push through with the suspended construction of the P46-million road that traversed a portion of her property to straighten and shorten the Banuang Gurang national road in Donsol, Sorsogon. The original route according to the DPWH sketch plan showed the existing national road in a U-shape form passing by the other side of the Alim property.

The P46-million road-widening project allegedly had a powerful senator behind it.

On August 8, Alim wrote a letter to President Aquino complaining about road short cut forced on her farm and called for an investigation.

Fruit-bearing and coconut trees in her 1,500-square meter farm were reportedly felled and taken by the road builders.

On September 30 last year, Alim sued for trespassing, damage to property, abuse of authority, including robbery for the taking of cut down trees DPWH regional director Danilo Dequito, his construction division chief Godofredo Beltran, regional planning officer Rosy Cantara Azupardo, project engineer Evangeline Padilla Gomez, brothers Mark and Joy Clemente of the contractor CTC Builders and Supply. Dequito, Beltran, Azupardo and Gomez were charged as signatories in the yet to be approved sketch plan showing the road project intrusion into the complainant’s property.

According to documents, the perpetrators allegedly offered the complainant through the contractor the sum of P100,000 when she complained before the barangay on June 27 and caused a suspension of the construction works. Rejecting the offer, complainant wrote the President and filed the graft complaint. manny t. ugalde

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