Raps filed vs. NHA officials in Ombudsman over Marawi rehab mess

By Czarina Nicole Ong-Ki

A complaint has been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against officials of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and National Housing Authority (NHA) due to the rehabilitation mess in Marawi City.

Office of the Ombudsman (MANILA BULLETIN)
Office of the Ombudsman (MANILA BULLETIN)

Datu Meno Manabilang, representative of the Voice of Marawi Internally Displaced Persons Association (IDPs), filed the complaint against NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr., NHA SBAC Chair Victor Balba, and HUDCC Chair Eduardo Del Rosario.

He likewise included CJI General Services Inc. directors Jimmy Francis Hinch, Barry Jim Hinch, Julius Joseph Beredo, Noel Mendoza, and Harry Cuevas as well as Eddmari Construction and Trading representative Engr. Edgardo Sagum in the complaint.

Manabilang said in the complaint that the NHA had “bungled the full rehabilitation of Marawi City” since it has not yet awarded a proper and valid contract for demolition nearly two years after the war has ended.

“To make matters worse, NHA and the persons impleaded in this complaint have colluded and conspired to cover up their crimes by committing more violations of the procurement law by giving undue advantage to favored contractors,” the complaint read.

Initially, the demolition for Section 1 of the Most Affected Area (MAA) in Marawi contract was awarded to Finmat International Resources Inc. But the NHA opened a new round of selection and invited submission of proposals for Sections 2 to 9 of the MAA. For this round, three contractors were invited to submit proposals on December 11, 2018: Finmat, Marawi Progress and Development Consortium (MPDC), and ERC.

All of them were eventually disqualified on December 17. Surprisingly, Manabilang said the NHA accepted a revised proposal of the joint venture consisting of CJI General Services Inc., Mamsar Construction and Industrial Corporation, and Green Asia Construction and Development. They are all former members of MPDC.

Despite the “glaring violations” of the procurement law, Manabilang wrote in the complaint that the NHA issued a Notice of Award to the joint venture of CJI, MAMSAR, and Green Asia.

Because of this, CJI began to mobilize and move its equipment to work on the MAA of Marawi City even though it still could not obtain a joint venture Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB) license.

“These circumstances leave me wondering how NHA could turn a blind eye in the face of these missing requirements. The only plausible explanation is a criminal conspiracy, collusion and corruption to corner and profit from the Demolition Project,” Manabilang said in his complaint.

“Undoubtedly, this equates to unduly favoring the CJI Group and unduly prejudicing the stakeholders, not to mention the more qualified proponents and bidders,” he added.

Since the joint venture has no PCAB license, Manabilang is concerned that all persons residing in the affected areas would be in grave danger.

“All of this, without any obligation to answer for any damage or injury resulting from their operations. It is imperative that these illicit operations are halted immediately and the rehabilitation of Marawi City should be put back on track in confirmity with the law,” the complaint stated.

Manabilang hopes the Ombudsman would look into these transactions and take action so that the residents of Marawi would be given a “new beginning after experiencing the complete destruction of their lives from the effects of war.”