3 engineers accused of accepting cash, asking for contracts-A A +A
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
THREE personnel of the Cebu City Engineer’s Office allegedly received incentives and cash from a contractor of various City Government-funded projects.
They also allegedly asked for a new computer, a high-tech camera and sub-contracts in the firm’s projects.
Saying he could no longer stomach the acts of the City engineers, businessman Robert Montenegro went to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas and filed graft charges against the three.
Accused of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct are Juanito Pua, Jr., head of the construction division of the City’s Department of Engineering and Public Works; Joel Pasatiempo, project inspector; and June Nadine Sison, assistant city engineer.
The three denied asking for or receiving cash, a computer unit or a high-end camera from Montenegro.
Sison also denied harassing Montenegro by suspending his projects in Barangay Pahina Central.
She said Montenegro held a grudge against Pua and Pasatiempo after the latter came up with a report on the poor quality of the contractor’s projects.
Montenegro owns Fe & A Construction Services that handles, among others, the construction of stone masonry in Sitio Riverside, Sanciangko St. and Barangay Pahina Central.
The contractor alleged that the three engineers asked him for a computer and a camera that, they claimed, will be used by the City Engineer’s Office. They also asked him to allow them to sub-contract one of his projects by using a dummy.
“This is something I could no longer swallow after I have given them some incentives and monetary dole outs and the like,” Montenegro said.
Although he expected that the engineers would retaliate, Montenegro said he turned down their demands.
Montenegro’s firm received a Jan. 23, 2012 order suspending all of the company’s construction activities under the City’s Project Cluster 4.
The businessman said the engineers also refused to release P150,000 retention money for a road concreting project, even though he submitted a project completion report on June 11, 2012.
Montenegro said he wrote Bids and Awards Committee Chairperson Evangeline Abatayo to ask that the three be replaced.
“The three wanted us to feel the heat … some of our requests addressed to their office almost always got turned down or (were) long delayed,” read Montenegro’s affidavit.
The contractor asked the anti-graft office to investigate the three engineers and order their immediate suspension.
Two workers of Fe & A Construction, Dionisio Parba and Mark Khem Aguilella, executed a joint affidavit supporting Montenegro’s complaint.
But Sison told Sun.Star Cebu that Montenegro got angry at Pasatiempo and Pua for an unfavorable report on the contractor’s projects.
“His projects are really not acceptable. Bati gyud kaayo pagkatrabaho (The quality is just bad), that is why his retention money has not been released yet. That’s the reason he got so mad and threatened us (with filing the graft complaint),” said Sison.
The retention money represents 10 percent of the total cost of a project. Its release may be deferred by City Hall to ensure that contractors rectify their projects when needed.
She vouched for the integrity of Pua and Pasatiempo and denied that they asked the contractor for sub-contracts.
“I will deny this to my grave because we have never asked or received anything from him. We will answer his complaint as soon as we receive a copy,” she said in a phone interview.
Pua alleged that he has evidence that it was Montenegro’s camp that offered him money, which he did not accept.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 19, 2012.