News Briefs: Basilan treasurer charged
State prosecutors have formally charged the provincial treasurer of Basilan for allegedly failing to remit P3.69 million in employee contributions to state insurance and housing agencies in October 2008. Mukim Abdulkadil faces four criminal cases before the Sandiganbayan for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Act of 1997, the National Health Insurance Act of 1995, and the Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009. He allegedly failed to remit P2.74 million in premium contributions to the GSIS, and P112,273.11 to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. within 10 days following the end of the month. He was also accused of failing to remit P832,987.28 in premium contributions to the Home Development Mutual Fund within the required 15 days from collection. The Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao recommended that bail be fixed at P48,000 for the four charges. —VINCE F. NONATO
N. Samar mayor cleared
The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the case against a former Northern Samar mayor accused of nepotism for appointing his sister to a government position, citing prosecution delays on the part of the Office of the Ombudsman. In a 10-page resolution, the court’s First Division granted the motion to dismiss filed by former Gamay Mayor (and now Vice Mayor) Timoteo Capoquian Jr. on the ground of inordinate delay. The court said the Ombudsman’s preliminary investigation took six years and 10 months from receipt of the complaint on Sept. 10, 2009, until the case was finally brought to the Sandiganbayan on June 27 last year. It found the delay to be “inordinate, oppressive, capricious and vexatious,” violating Capoquian’s right to the speedy disposition of his case. The court said the Ombudsman devoted an “unreasonably long period of time” to conclude that there was probable cause to indict Capoquian. The resolution noted that the issue revolved only on the degree of relationship that Capoquian had with his sister Racquel Tilbe Capoquian, whom he appointed to the board of directors of the Gamay Water District in 2008. —VINCE F. NONATO
Iloilo airport builder paid
Nearly 10 years after the completion of the Iloilo International Airport, the Commission on Audit (COA) has finally granted the builder’s claim to be compensated for yet unpaid work. However, the Taisei-Shimizu Joint Venture (TSJV) will not receive the entire P216.07 million that it sought, as the COA held that the contractor was only owed P104.66 million, or less than half the claim. The COA said it was not bound by the final arbitral decision awarded by the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) in February 2015, which TSJV invoked in its claim. Because of this, the COA decided to disapprove a total of P111.41 million comprising several items from TSJV’s claim. The amounts concerned the P37.08-million compensation due to the unforeseen rise in the price of materials, P61.07-million interest on delayed payments, P6.03-million compensation for the costs arising from the project timetable’s extension, and P7.23 million in attorney’s fees and litigation costs. The New Iloilo Airport Project was originally scheduled for completion on Oct. 18, 2006, but the contract was extended to March 18, 2007. —VINCE F. NONATO
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