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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Tomas to sue contractor of city condominium

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña plans to file charges against Allan Dino, whom he identified as an affiliate of the contractor who built the City-owned condominium on N. Bacalso Ave.

The condo, or the Hilly Land Dormitory, was built in the late ‘90s as a medium-rise socialized housing project. It was later converted to house city scholars from mountain barangays.

However, engineers from the General Services Office and the Office of the Building Official (OBO) inspected the condo in June 2016 and found out that the building had many signs of damage.

A year later, the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) and OBO recommended the condemnation of the structure. It was also found that the building stands on top of a sinkhole.

In his news conference, Osmeña alleged that the contractor did not conduct a soil test prior to the construction of the building. The contractor Octa Builders was reportedly connected with Allan.

Allan is the brother of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino.

“Dino was behind it, the brother Allan, but that’s the same family. That’s why I blacklisted from City Hall the Dino family a long time ago. They did not do the soil test, and it’s (condo) overpriced,” Osmeña said.

Questions on the integrity of the structure were raised last week by opposition Councilors Joel Garganera and Pastor Alcover Jr.

After making Dr. Jose Rizal Public Library 24/7 in response to a student’s request, Osmeña announced his plans to convert some city buildings into study centers, including the condo.

Earlier, Osmeña said that certain remedial measures can be made to save the structure. He wants to make the first two floors into a study center. Because of this, the opposition officials called the mayor “inconsistent”.

Osmeña, though, lamented that he is just “paying for the sins of the previous administration.”

“That condo was built by Dino (Allan) during the time of (former mayor) Alvin Garcia. I’m now going to bring up and build up a case on why they did not do a soil test before building the building. I would like to remind the public that there was a case filed against Garcia because DPWH said that that building was overpriced,” he said.

In 2001, Garcia and 10 city officials, and Octa Builders were told by the Commission on Audit to refund the City Government the P23.9 million they spent to build the condo in 1997.

Apart from defects cited by state auditors in their fact-finding inquiry and the value-for-money audit, the five-story building was found to be overpriced by P8 million.

Osmeña said the case, however, was dismissed by the Sandiganbayan.

“The case we’re going to file against Dino (Allan) now is why did he build that building without a soil test that would show a sinkhole. The overpricing, we can’t file anymore.”

SunStar Cebu tried to reach City Attorney Joseph Bernaldez on the prescription period for the case the mayor is planning, but got no response.

The mayor said he wants to save the structure of the condo since it would cost the City a lot of money to construct a new building for the study center.
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