"I will not interfere with ongoing investigations on alleged rigged DPWH projects," Domingo says

October 27, 2009 11:13 pm 

By Lynda B. Valencia

MANILA, Oct. 28 — Acting Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Victor Domingo on Wednesday said that he will not interfere with the ongoing investigations of the rigging scam earlier made public by the World Bank (WB).

“I will not interfere with the investigation process. I will just let the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit (COA) finish their job and forward their reports to the proper agencies,” Domingo said.

He also added that he cannot afford to embroil himself in the investigation as he has a lot of things to do with only 248 days left in his term.

“I am focusing all my energies on rehabilitation and rebuilding works ordered by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. I cannot afford to waste my time on matters where I have no control of,” Domingo further stressed.

A WB report earlier claimed that top ranking officials of the DPWH and local politicians tried to manipulate the bidding in three WB-National Roads Improvement and Management Program (NRIMP) phase 1 projects worth US$ 33 million.

The failed WB biddings reportedly happened two years ago, for projects located in Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Surigao.

Aside from the WB issue, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, head of the economic affairs committee, said the department allegedly misused P56.5 billion in road users’ tax between 2001 and 2009.

In response to these issues, former Public Works Secretary Hermogenes E. Ebdane Jr. appealed to the Senate and Congress to give Domingo a chance to work and not harass him with ceaseless graft and corruption hearings.

“I hope that the work ahead (rehabilitation efforts) will not be derailed by any further controversies and inquiries such as the WB and Road Board issues. We have responded to these with full cooperation and sincerity,” Ebdane said, adding:

“I hope they let the DPWH focus on building roads and bridges on the ground, instead of sitting for long hours on endless inquiry sessions.” (PNA)

DCT/LBV

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