Lopez faces complaint for 'whitewash' of air quality monitor deal | Inquirer News
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Lopez faces complaint for ‘whitewash’ of air quality monitor deal

/ 05:51 PM January 10, 2017
United Filipino Consumers and Commuters president RJ Javellana and Airboard Company managing partner Manuel Galvez file a complaint against Environment Secretary Gina Lopez at the Office of the Ombudsman on Jan. 10, 2017, for allegedly whitewashing irregularities in the government's air quality monitoring contract. (PHOTO BY VINCE NONATO / INQUIRER)

United Filipino Consumers and Commuters president RJ Javellana and Airboard Company managing partner Manuel Galvez file a complaint against Environment Secretary Gina Lopez at the Office of the Ombudsman on Jan. 10, 2017, for allegedly whitewashing irregularities in the government’s air quality monitoring contract. (PHOTO BY VINCE NONATO / INQUIRER)

MANILA — Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez is facing a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman over her supposed inaction on the alleged irregularities in the air quality monitoring system in place since 2006.

Citing their “educated guess and reliable information,” the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters and Airboard Company asked the Ombudsman to probe Lopez for unspecified criminal and administrative charges over the alleged “whitewash” of the contract  with the supplier Electrobyte Environmental Concerns Corp.

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Instead of directing an investigation, Lopez allegedly referred the matter back to the very people involved in the alleged anomalies, according to the complaint filed by UFCC president Rodolfo Javellana, Jr., and Airboard managing partner Manuel Galvez.

Named as “nominal parties” were resigned Undersecretary Leo Jasareno, and Environmental Management Bureau officers Jean Rosete and Teresita Peralta. The complainants said they were only made respondents to allow them to “give their say on the matter.”

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The complaint claimed that the Open Path Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) stations, exclusively distributed by Electrobyte, have “failed to deliver consistent and reliable air quality data.”

It claimed that more DOAS units were later procured in 2010, without requiring a performance report of the previous acquisition, as well as market research.

The complaint also claimed that the terms of reference were phrased and formulated so that only Electrobyte would hurdle prequalification.

On Aug. 2, 2016, the complainants said they showed Lopez a PowerPoint presentation to bring “the evil and the devil” to her attention.

At the time, they recounted that she showed alarm and was very receptive. The complainants quoted Lopez as saying “I will not tolerate” and “heads will roll.”

Later on Sept. 9, 2016, they wrote Lopez a letter to detail “the evil that exists in the management of air control, air pollution and air monitoring.”

But, the complaint said Lopez ended up referring the case to the EMB, “the very persons who were being complained of.” It citing two reply-letters dated Sept. 27 and signed by Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh.

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The complainants said Lopez should have ordered an investigation or referred the case for preliminary assessment by an independent examiner, instead of referring the case to the EMB.

“Of late, educated guess and reliable information… will confirm the point that the usual thing happened: a whitewash had succeeded,” the complaint read.

It added that Lopez was even “overheard commending the very persons not only for what they are doing, but also for their competence.”

Accusing Lopez of joining the “bandwagon,” the complaint wailed about the “death penalty to the Clean Air Act and slow death to the Filipino people.”

It raised possible consequences in the case of nuclear disaster.

“Sudden death, and massive at that, can—of course—occur, such as if there happen to be a nuclear fallout, and that might not be detected by our faulty machine,” the complaint read.

The complaint also compared the alleged air quality anomalies to the Duterte government’s bloody war on drugs.

“And when the drive against drug-addition [sic] and drug-related problems has started, with unrelentless ‘killings,’ herein respondent Secretary Regina Paz Lopez must have been given the feel, that everybody, in the Duterte Administration must be ready ‘for the kill,’ so to speak (but here it is only being used figuratively),” it read.  SFM

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TAGS: air quality monitoring system, Airboard Company, complaint, corruption, Crime, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Electrobyte Environmental Concerns Corp., environmental management bureau, Graft, irregularities in government contracts, Jean Rosete, Justice, law, Leo Jasareno, Manuel Galvez, negligence, Office of the Ombudsman, Open Path Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy, Regina Paz Lopez, Rodolfo Javellana Jr., Teresita Peralta, United Filipino Consumers and Commuters, whitewashing
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