Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong filed another graft complaint against the chief of the Baguio City District Engineering Office-Department of Public Works and Highways alleging graft practices over a bridge project in the city. It will be the fourth such case filed against officials of the BCDEO-DPWH with the first three filed last year. In his 11-page affidavit before the Office of the Ombudsman, Magalong complained that BCDEODPWH District Engineer Rene Zarate violated Section 3 of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) pointing out alleged irregularities in the construction of a road bridge from Parapad Village, North Sanitary Camp
Barangay going to Magsaysay Avenue.

The project “Network Development – Construction of By-pass and Diversion Roads: Magsaysay Ave. to Rimando Road – Ambiong By-pass, Including Bridge and Row, Baguio City” with a contract amount of P88,099,659.56 was given a notice to proceed on April 29, 2018 and completed on August 21, 2019. But Magalong claimed “there was improper construction and/or use of substandard materials and this was clearly made known and was brought to the attention of the respondent (Zarate),” based on his site inspection with the personnel of the City Engineering Office on January 2021.

Another inspection was conducted on January 6, 2023 by the City Engineering Office (CEO) noticing the same alleged “improper construction and/or use of substandard materials”. The CEO noted poor workmanship in its memorandum report dated January 7, 2023, with observations such as: transverse cracks along the sidewalk; inconsistent sidewalk finish presentation; peeled off-road curb painting and pavement markings; uneven concrete barrier surface; water ponding along the pavement and sidewalk; cracks along the pavement; concrete corner alignment and finish; unpresentable wall opening; no proper drainage catchment for the drains; exposed rebar; leftover
plywood forms; unpresentable concrete manhole cover; gaps between the concrete cover siding and the manhole; short length of stiffener; and, lost street light.

Magalong said that “from the results of the investigations/inspection, and assessment, it was evident that there was improper construction and/or use of substandard materials.” “Worst, despite the knowledge of these improper construction and/or use of substandard materials, this was simply brushed aside by the public respondent up to date.

The improper construction and/or use of substandard materials were never corrected, was tolerated, and was accepted,” the complaint stated which caused “undue injury to any party, including the government…” Magalong said administrative disciplinary action must be instituted and without prejudice to criminal and civil liabilities such as disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines and to the Filipino people.

Artemio A. Dumlao/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon