Ex-Aquino Cabinet member, 33 others charged with plunder
The National Bureau of investigation (NBI) on Wednesday filed before the Office of the Ombudsman a plunder complaint against former public works secretary Rogelio Singson and 33 others in connection with an alleged right of way scam in General Santos City.
“This Bureau respectfully recommends that the erring government officials and their cohorts be charged of Plunder with a recommendation of forfeiture proceedings; violation of Section 3(e) of RA (Republic Act) 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and administratively be charged for Grave Misconduct and Dishonesty,” NBI Director Dante A. Gierran said in his letter dated March 20, 2018, to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
Based on the complaint, Singson allegedly requested payments for the claimants based on spurious documents submitted by the regional office of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
He also allegedly authorized the payment in favor of the claimants who turned out to be bogus.
When sought for comment, Singson, who is currently out of the country, said he would first have to get details of the complaint.
Aside from Singson, named respondents were David L. Padlan, OIC-Chief Planning and Design Division of DPWH Region 12; Hadji Ibrahim A. Marohom, (retired) Chief Finance Division of DPWH Region 12; Atty. Faisal A. Padate, (retired) Chief Legal Unit of DPWH; Tomas M. Rodriguez, (retired) Assistant Regional Director of DPWH Region 12; Siniloan T. Macarambon, (retired) Regional Director of DPWH Region 12; Engr. Rodel L. Unos, former Special Agent II of the DPWH’s Technical Working Group (TWG); Ansare M. Busran, Legal Officer III of DPWH 12; Reynaldo S. Tamayo, former Regional Director (retired) in Poblacio, Tupi, South Cotabato; Noraisa U. Abdullah, Accountant IV of DPWH 12; Julieta P. Marundan, Chief Finance Division of DPWH 12; Nassef A. Papandayan, Accountant III of DPWH 12; Laurean B. Suan Jr., former Assistant Regional Director (retired); Subair S. Diron, Former Regional Director of DPWH 12; Israel L. Balolong, Engineer II of DPWH 12; Roger A. Oducayen, Engineer III of DPWH 12, Ser John Pastrana, Chief Micrographings Division from the Land Registration Authority (LRA); Edgar G. Pampanga, OIC-Register of Deeds in General Santos City.
Also included in the complaint are resident auditors from the Commission on Audit (CoA) at the DPWH Region 12 namely Carmencita Eden T. Talub and Elmina P. Buenbrazo. The NBI also included in the complaint private individuals namely Atty. Jose Emilio Valentin, Atty. Bonifacio Doria, Paul Michael P. Bagio, Marisa Tiongson Seguirre, William P. Uy, Marie Faye Villamarin, Mary Ann Joyce, Nelson Ti, Wilma Olarte Mamburam, Col. Chino Mamburam, Mercedita Dumlao, Evelyn Paloso, Rudy Haji Ong and Roberto Catapang.
Last year, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered the NBI to investigate the claims of Catapang who admitted that he was part of a syndicate that fabricated and submitted fake documents such as land titles, special power of attorney, tax declarations, and appraisal reports to claim “just compensation” from the government through the DPWH.
Just compensation is the fair value of the property between one who receives and one who desires to sell, fixed at the time of the actual taking by the government.
Catapang, who has been admitted to the government’s Witness Protection Program, said that once the claims were cleared by the concerned government agencies, the claims for just compensation were processed by the DPWH for a fee exclusive of their share in the proceeds of the bogus claims.
According to Aguirre, the modus operandi of the syndicate was to claim compensation for the road right of way intended for land owners affected by the construction of a highway in General Santos City.
During a Senate hearing, Singson denied involvement in the alleged scam which reportedly defrauded the government of P8.7 billion during previous administrations.
Singson said many of the claims were made in 2007 and 2009 when he was not yet public works secretary.
However, he acknowledged that he authorized the payment of P2 billion for claims despite his misgivings that the amounts seemed too much.
He said he authorized the payments based on documents submitted by the Department of Public Works and Highways based in Region 12.
Nevertheless, he said he ordered a stop to the payments in 2012 if these were without the validation by the Land Registration Authority. /cbb
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