Firm sues DPWH-A A +A
Sunday, September 29, 2013
CEBU -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is facing a lawsuit for allegedly failing to pay a Cebu City-based contractor about P15.336 million for a project in Lapu-Lapu City in 2011.
Gonzalodo Enterprises filed the civil suit for collection of money with interest before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) against DPWH. It handled the concreting of the Mactan circumferential road.
“If the plaintiff will not be paid on the basis that it worked without a contract, it would result to unjust enrichment on the part of the government at the expense of Gonzalodo Enterprises,” read the case prepared by lawyer Marie Velle Abella.
Gonzalodo Enterprises is represented by its owner, Mary Ann Gonzalodo, in the case.
Named defendants were DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, the DPWH-Central Visayas director and the district engineer of Cebu’s Sixth District Office.
In the case filed in court last September 23, lawyer Abella said her client joined the public bidding for the concreting of the Mactan circumferential road last September 20, 2011.
The project was worth P18,786,943.26.
Gonzalodo Enterprises offered the lowest bid and won.
Santiago Suico, officer-in-charge of Cebu’s Sixth Engineering District, then requested the contractor to start the project, although the Special Allotment Release Order (Saro) had not yet been released, according to the case documents.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza also reportedly requested the contractor to begin working on the project.
Due to the assurance of the DPWH officials, Abella said, the contractor began working on the project on December 12, 2011.
When the project was 30 percent complete, Abella said the contractor asked about the payment and was only told that it was being processed.
Worried about the delay, the contractor informed the DPWH-Central Visayas that it could not continue working on the project until the Saro is released; however, the DPWH’s Sixth Engineering District and Mayor Radaza reportedly appealed to the contractor to continue working on the project “due to the public demand.”
“Recognizing the urgency of the work, the complaints of the public and the strong assurance of the DPWH-Central Visayas that the plaintiff will be paid, (contractor) continued its work, pending the release of Saro,” the civil suit read.
In March 2012, the contractor reported that the project was 84.07 complete and said that the labor, materials and equipment used in the project amounted to P15,336,291.34.
The contractor later decided to put off the work on the project until it gets paid by the DPWH. The company also sent various demands to Secretary Singson for payment and the latter merely noted “ok to pay based on actual bid price.”
“The public in general, specifically the constituents of Lapu-Lapu City and tourists of the place, are currently enjoying the benefits of using the cemented Mactan circumferential road,” the case read.
But the contractor said it has not yet received payment from the DPWH, two years after it began the work.
It also asked the court to order the DPWH to pay them P15.33 million plus interest since March 2012.
Jonji Gonzales, a consultant of Mayor Radaza, said the mayor wrote DPWH-Central Visayas last year to complain about the unfinished concreting project on the Mactan circumferential road.
“In fact, the mayor threatened to bring the matter to Malacañang,” Gonzales told Sun.Star in a phone interview on Saturday.
Gonzales said the unfinished road project has caused inconvenience to the public. He said Radaza only learned later that the contractor stopped the project because of the absence of a Saro.
Interviewed separately, Engr. Renault Ricardo of the Sixth Engineering District said that Gonzalodo Enterprises undertook the project at their own risk.
He said there was no notice of award and no notice to proceed with the project because there was no Saro, which would guarantee the availability of funds from the Department of Budget and Management.
Ricardo said the DPWH will pay Gonzalodo Enterprises, but that the lawful processes should be followed.
First, he said, Gonzalodo should submit to DPWH the documents for all the expenses the company spent for the project, including the receipts for the purchase of cement, sand and gravel, and the salaries of workers.
Ricardo said the DPWH will then forward the documents to the Commission on Audit, which will inspect the project and recommend payments. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 29, 2013.