Ex-HUDCC chair to face charges amid call for NHA probe
Malacañang said on Monday that the sacked chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) would face charges even as several union officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA) said President Rodrigo Duterte should also review the NHA leadership structure following Falconi Millar’s firing.
In a statement, some officers of the NHA’s Consolidated Union of Employees (CUE) said the tenure of NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. should also be under scrutiny.
The President, shortly after returning from Papua New Guinea, announced that he had fired Millar for corruption but provided no details.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo added to the mystery, saying only that a company which had collectibles from the HUDCC was the one that had accused Millar of corruption.
Panelo did not identify the company but said it had accused Millar of demanding money in exchange for HUDCC’s release of the payments.
“There was a sworn statement and President Duterte had it investigated and there was a credible basis that validated the complaint,” Panelo said at a press briefing.
He added that the company, instead of acceding to Millar’s demand, sent an affidavit to Malacañang detailing its
accusations against him.
But the CUE officials said reviewing Escalada’s performance at the NHA should be “the logical consequence” of Millar’s case.
Among the cases they cited was the payment of P1.1 billion to a developer for a botched reclamation and housing project in Manila.
The money was meant as settlement for legal disputes arising from the termination of the Smokey Mountain reclamation and development project in Tondo, Manila, which started in 1993.
The Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) had warned against the possible fraudulent payment to the developer due to “inconsistencies.”
In a letter to Escalada last month, OGCC Chief Elpidio Vega said he was baffled that despite NHA records showing an estimated overpayment of P300 million for the project, the government was still willing to pay the P1.1 billion. —Reports from Julie Aurelio and Divina Suson
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