2 officers face abuse raps-A A +A
Monday, August 6, 2012
A GROUP of taxpayers filed a complaint before the Ombudsman-Visayas last Friday against two officials of the Office of the Building Official (OBO) in Cebu City Hall.
They wanted the anti-graft office to investigate Building Official Kenneth Carmelita Enriquez and Assistant Building Official Florante Catalan.
The complainants can no longer bear the alleged delay in their transactions in the said office.
They were upset when they learned that Catalan applied for a building permit for his house in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City last July 9, 2012 and it was approved and released in just two days.
“As far as we know, this is the fastest the OBO has ever made to approve for building permit application,” the complaint said.
The complainants learned that Catalan personally reviewed his application and recommended the approval to Enriquez who also signed it.
Aside from conflict of interest, they also questioned the act of Catalan, since folders and building plans have allegedly been on his table long before his application and weren’t acted upon.
They also cited a developer who applied for a building permit and his application was recommended by Catalan and approved by Enriquez even if the applicant had yet to pay the assessed building permit fees.
The complainants later found that the former applicant is allegedly a close friend of a high-ranking City Hall official.
They also learned that a property developer in the South Road Properties (SRP) was issued a building permit through the recommendation of Catalan and the approval of Enriquez even if it didn’t have the fire clearance, which is one of the pre-requisites.
The complainants disclosed that the OBO is also selective in dealing with people who transact business since the assumption of Enriquez two months ago.
“You cannot enter at OBO without displaying your I.D. but if one is wearing a semiformal attire, an I.D. is no longer required,” the complaint stated.
The complainants believed that Enriquez and Catalan acted with grave abuse of authority, in violation of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
At least 16 signatures and some documents were affixed to the letter-complaint asking the anti-graft office to conduct an impartial investigation against the two OBO officials.
Enriquez and Catalan have yet to receive a copy of the complaint, but they said they will definitely answer the allegations once they will be summoned.
Catalan admitted he personally reviewed his own application for a building permit and recommended it for approval because it’s his job.
“Naa na man ko diri, I know the law, kahibawo ko kung unsay angayan nga i-comply, nasuya ra gyud nang mga tawhana nako,” Catalan said.
Enriquez, in a separate interview, said the complaint didn’t surprise her as she considers it part of her job.
The building official, who is also the city engineer, said it cannot stop her from implementing changes in the office to improve the system.
“Kontrolado na man gud nato ang makasud sa office to improve our system. I don’t know, kung naay makapandol-pandol basta we’re going towards improvement,” Enriquez said.
She assured that a building permit will be released within 10 days if the application has no deficiencies or discrepancies.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 06, 2012.