COA seeks return of P92 million from contractor



Floro L. Mercene Floro L. Mercene

Sometime last year, the Commission on Audit (COA) requested A. L. Dare Construction to the return more than  P92 million spent on projects in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

The auditing body said the assorted photographs submitted as evidence of the P92 million spent of the projects by the contractor “were taken from projects actually undertaken by the DPWH Pampanga 3rd Engineering District.”

The state auditors found that the four  Sapang Balen Creek and Quitangil projects “were duplication of DPWH projects of Pampanga’s 3rd Engineering District.”

These were the flood control structures, facilities, repair and rehabilitation of the Sapang Balen Creek in Barangay Mangalit, Mabalacat, Pampanga.

And also other associated activities for slope protection works along Quitangil Creek at Mabalacat and the flood control structure, repair, and rehabilitation of Quitangil Creek in Mabalacat.

The state auditor named former Mabalacat three-term Mayor Marino P. Morales and A. L. Vital Dare, who owns the construction firm—liable for the disallowed transaction.

Other respondents included:  Bernardo B. delos Reyes, former Bids and Award Committee (BAC) chairperson and former city engineer Ramil L. Canlapan, BAC vice chairperson.

COA pointed out other irregularities in the procurement process of projects like the ineligibility of the lone bidder and awardee, non-compliance with various government requirements, lack of approved plans, bill of quantities, and bids and awards committee resolution recommending the award.

In a curious twist, the Commission on Election’s first division has ousted Morales and declared Crisostomo Garbo as the legitimate winner of the 2016 mayoralty race.

The LGU code says, “All elected officials have 3-year terms, and can only serve a maximum of three consecutive terms before being ineligible for reelection. However, the same official can run again for the same position after a three-year break.