DPWH to release audit report on allegedly anomalous projects soon

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2019 11:38 AM

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MANILA - The Department of Public Works and Highways will soon release its audit report on allegedly anomalous projects, including one where the budget chief supposedly favored his in-laws, Secretary Mark Villar said Wednesday.

Asked about the accusation of former House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr that Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno favored his in-laws in certain projects in Sorsogon, where they are local officials, Villar said his agency has an "internal audit system" and it has looked into this along with other complaints.

The report will be out in "the next few weeks," he told ANC's Headstart. The DPWH audits all projects that receive complaints to make sure all are acted upon, he said.

Villar said he does not have yet any evidence that would lead him to believe there were irregularities in the bidding of projects in Sorsogon or of any other project bid out by his agency.

"The procurement process is mandated by law. Obviously, there should be no collusion at any stage. So if there’s any evidence of any kind of collusion, I would welcome…At this point, these are all accusations," he said.

"To be fair to everyone involved, we have to substantiate everything. If I see evidence that would lead me to one way or another, I will act on it," he said in the interview.

Andaya, who has since stepped down from being the majority leader at the House of Representatives, led investigations as chairman of the Committee on Rules into supposed anomalies in how construction firm Aremar bagged big-ticket projects in Sorsogon.

Aremar Construction’s incorporators are Diokno’s son-in-law Romeo Sicat Jr. and the latter's stepfather, Casiguran Mayor Jose Edwin Hamor, according to letters from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) presented by Andaya.

He also accused the company of using triple A contractors as “dummies” in government biddings. In his estimate, the firm of Diokno’s in-laws got infrastructure projects worth P10 billion in Sorsogon last year, through 8 contractors.

Andaya presented a deposit slip showing the payment of P11.4 million supposedly made by a winning bidder to Aremar Construction.

These allegations, along with accusations of insertions by the executive and legislative branches, have stalled the approval of the 2019 budget before the close of last year. Lawmakers are beginning to reconcile their versions this week.