DENR blames asec for building fiasco | Inquirer News

DENR blames asec for building fiasco

/ 11:45 PM June 17, 2016

FACING Commission on Audit (COA) sanctions for demolishing in 2014 a building that was supposed to be only renovated, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) pointed responsibility to one of its officials who changed the work contract.

According to the March 14, 2016, audit observation memorandum, DENR told state auditors that Environment Secretary Ramon Paje had authorized Assistant Secretary Rommel Abesamis to transact with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on the project.

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Under a Dec. 9, 2013, memorandum of agreement, the DENR contracted the DPWH Quezon City First Engineering District (QCFED) to repair and renovate the old Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Office (Faspo) building.

The two-story building was valued in 1997 at P20.4 million. It used to stand adjacent to the main administration building at the DENR compound in Quezon City.

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About two weeks after another DENR official signed the MOA, Paje reportedly issued a Special Order (SO) on Dec. 20, 2013, this time giving Abesamis blanket authority “to transact, confer and sign the MOA and contract with the DPWH engaged to construct/renovate the Faspo building.”

Abesamis reportedly changed the contract on Dec. 19, 2013,  a day before the date of the SO—from renovation to construction.

“The SO gave Assistant Secretary Abesamis full responsibility in the implementation of the project,”  the COA memorandum said.

“It appears that Assistant Secretary Abesamis modified the MOA without proper coordination with the DENR officials concerned,” it added.

COA said based on Abesamis’ instruction to QCFED district engineer Roseller Tolentino, the contractor “totally demolished” the Faspo building beginning January 2014.

After the demolition, no construction followed and dirty stagnant water has since accumulated in the excavated pit where the building used to stand.  Dona Z. Pazzibugan

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TAGS: Commission On Audit, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Nation, News, Secretary Ramon Paje
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