Ombudsman asked to probe 4 city engineers

THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas was asked to investigate four personnel of the Cebu City Engineer’s Office for allegedly falsifying public documents in favor of a private contractor for a government project last year.

Architect Florante Catalan filed criminal and administrative complaints before the ombudsman accusing the city engineer’s personnel of five counts of falsification of public documents, oppression, grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct.

“These acts of the respondents clearly show the propensity to favor the contractor and such favor must be reciprocated, against the provision of the Anti-Graft Law,” the complaint read.

Named respondents were Josefa Ylanan, office-in-charge of the City Engineer’s Office; Nilo Igot, acting assistant city engineer; and Ma. Lilibeth del Mar and Vilma Tonacao, the engineering assistants.

Catalan is also the City Engineer’s Office Construction Division chief.

Ylanan, in a separate interview, said she will reserve her comment until she receives a copy of the complaint.

In his complaint-affidavit, Catalan said he recommended extending the completion of the road concreting and improvement of drainage system in Barangays Agsungot and Cambinocot, Cebu City in August 2016.

The contractor, JO Builders, handled the barangay projects.

The original contract duration is 120 calendar days and with time extension of 30 days. But the respondents allegedly conspired revise the contract duration from 120 days to 150 days.

The completion date was also changed from Aug. 11, 2016 to Sept. 9, 2017.

Catalan said that the respondents “maliciously” changed the completion date in favor of the contractor, which prejudiced the City Government.

He said that Tonacao countersigned the changed dates of the revised time extension.

Catalan said he informed Ylanan about the issue, but to no avail. “Quite frustrating is the fact that these people were tinkering with public documents and taking for granted public transactions involving the interest of the City Government,” said Catalan in his affidavit.

He also asked the ombudsman to place the respondents under preventive suspension, pending the conduct of preliminary investigation. (GMD)
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