They can’t prove lamps overprice --- ‘WHA!’-A A +A
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
THE national government bought 1,800 streetlamps worth P403 million for Metro Cebu when it hosted the 2007 Asean summit. Soon enough, it was exposed that the lamps were overpriced "by as much as 2,000 percent."
The scandal's stink has been so foul that officials of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu cities asked DPWH to remove and store the lampposts, away from public sight.
A near-total waste, the fixtures are now rotting in government bodegas.
Since the summit, no one has been fired or jailed as the cases moved at snail-pace.
Last Jan. 17, the Sandiganbayan dismissed the complaint against then Lapu-Lapu City mayor Arturo Radaza and 12 other officials "for lack of evidence."
What dismays is not as much acquittal of the accused (since not all may be guilty) as failure of ombudsman to prosecute efficiently.
People must be appalled that prosecutors:
 failed to compute add-on costs to the basic price and admitted they needed to investigate further;
 failed or refused to supply court-ordered documents to the accused.
As one woman senator would shriek, WHA!
They couldn't have missed the extra costs. From export papers of manufacturer Zhongshan Guzhen of Guandong, China to Manila supplier Fabmik Construction & Equipment Co., the public learned that, for example, a P3,999.22 lamp that should cost not more than P6,737.79 (with expenses, duties, and fees) was priced P50,000.
Those freaking lamps were hugely overpriced but the prosecutors just couldn't or didn't prove it.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 29, 2013.