THE investigating body tasked to probe the 20 foreign funded flood control packages worth P934 million is leaving the decision to Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson in filing charges against officials and personnel who are involved in the suspended projects.

"We would rather leave the decision to the secretary, being the 'disciplining authority' to decide if there was a need for sanctions," said Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Undersecretary Jaime Pacanan.

The panel is still finalizing the committee report and they are looking to submit it to Singson Friday afternoon.

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Pacanan said their investigation centered on the seeming procedural lapses that were allegedly committed by some DPWH personnel, during the 10-day period given to them to probe the matter.

With this, Pacanan said there were "unintentional procedural lapses" in the signing of the projects, which were given a go signal days after the Arroyo government turned over the leadership to the new government.

They also found out that the signatories of the flood control projects affixed their signatures on the document even there was no date specifying when the contracts were made and entered into.

"They signed the contract ahead of the SARO (special allotment release order), that could be one of the procedural lapses because the required allotment should be there before the contract is signed by the officials of government," said Pacanan.

The flood control contacts were funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). They were reportedly signed on June 18 but the SARO, which was dated on June 25, and was only received by the DPWH on June 29 or the day before President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's inauguration.

They learned that almost all the signatories, except for then DPWH secretary Victor Domingo, signed without the June 18 machine stamp on the contract, which gave a specific date on when the contract was supposed to have been made and entered into by the parties.

"According to those we interviewed, they signed the contract in the absence of the date," the DPWH official added.

Among the signatories were: Project Manager Philip Menez of the Project Management Office (PMO) for Major Flood Control and Drainage Project (MFCDP)-Cluster II, and the DPWH Accountant Marichu Palafox and the different witnesses such as the contractors depending on who won the project. (FP/Sunnex)