Arigo files complaint vs. P6.3B water deal

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014


A COMPLAINT has been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the President against Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) in connection with the alleged irregularity in the P6.3-billion bulk water deal with Cebu Manila Water Development.

Apolinario “Jun” Arigo Jr., president of the Cebu Association of Media Practitioners Inc. (Camp), filed the complaint last Dec. 16, 2013 or three days after the bulk water contract was awarded to Manila Water by MCWD last Dec. 13, 2013.

Assistant Ombudsman Leilanie Bernadette Cabras referred Arigo’s complaint to Deputy Ombudsman Pelagio Apostol.

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In her March 14, 2014 endorsement, Cabras informed Apostol that the complaint was recorded as IC-OC-14-0292 entitled “Jun Arigo versus Concerned Officials and Employees of Metro Cebu Water District, et al.”

Arigo filed the complaint before the Ombudsman and President Benigno Aquino III in behalf of Camp, a group of radio broadcasters and newspaper columnists.

The House of Representatives leadership, which was furnished a copy of the complaint, referred it to the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability for possible congressional inquiry.

In her memorandum to Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, the committee chairman, Deputy Secretary General Grace N. Andres, said a copy of Arigo’s letter to Aquino was furnished to the office of House Speaker Jose Belmonte.

Complaint

In his complaint to Aquino, Arigo said the bulk water contract was awarded to Manila Water on Dec. 13, 2013 in violation of Republic Act 9184 because there was no proper bidding.

He said that while there were interested parties who purchased bidding documents from MCWD for P100,000, they did not participate in the actual bidding because the rules were allegedly one-sided and in favor of Manila Water.

Arigo said the contract was awarded to Manila Water because the other participating bidders were given six months to submit their terms of reference to the project when Manila Water completed it in two years.

He told Aquino and the Ombudsman that a multi-billion-peso government project should go through the scrutiny and approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), but the MCWD did not submit it to the said agency.

Arigo told Sun.Star Cebu that he has all the evidences of irregularities of the awarding of the project, including the video footage of the failed bidding, from technical experts of MCWD who opposed “shenanigans” in public office.

Confirmed

When asked to comment, MCWD Corporate Communications manager Charmaine Rodriguez confirmed the letter of Arigo to President Aquino.

She said the paper trail showed that Arigo’s letter to Aquino was dated Dec. 16, 2013.

Rodriguez said that Assistant Secretary Jess Anthony Yu of the Presidential
Communications Operations Office referred it to Engineer Eduardo Santos, acting administrator of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

Rodriguez added that lawyer Arnaldo Espinas of the LWUA Corporate Legal Counsel sent a letter to MCWD beneral manager Armando Paredes for him to enlighten LWUA on various issues raised by Arigo.

She said Paredes submitted an answer to Arigo’s allegations.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 03, 2014.

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