Graft charges filed against 9 BSU officials

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet  – Nine officials of the State-run Benguet State University (BSU) were charged for graft, gross misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for allegedly failing to pay a contractor that completed the construction of the institution’s College of Teacher Education right wing.

In a 7-page affidavit complaint filed before the Ombudsman, the management of Tadian General Construction prayed that the alleged erring BSU officials led by its president Feliciano G. Calora, Jr., vice president for administration and Finance Estrellita M. Daclan, budget officer Veronica Reina E. Aromin, accountant Imelda B. Galinato, chief administrative officer Matias C. Angiwan, Jr., architect Hazeline N. Tibangay, chairperson of the monitoring and inspection committee Canuto S. Paran, MIC member Feliciano R. delos Santos and MIC member Melvin John M. Aromin be placed under preventive suspension pending investigation of the case filed against them to prevent them from prejudicing the investigation.

The complaint stated that the BSU officials caused injury to TGC in allegedly failing to process or cause the payment of the firm’s final billing in the amount of P1.38 million which has not yet been paid while the building that was constructed by the company was already completed and now actually being occupied and used as classrooms and for other officials functions of the university.

Records show that on September 21, 2015, BSU conducted public bidding for the construction of its College of Teachers Education building – right wining that subsequently resulted to the award of the project to TGC on October 30, 2015 after the company submitted the lowest calculated and responsive bid of P9.73 million.

Based on progress billing, TGC claimed the university paid the company three separate partial payments without any unnecessary delay.

On November 5, 2016, TGC requested BSU administration for the final inspection of the completed building and the subsequent payment of the final billing that subsequently resulted to the issuance of a certification dated December 9, 2016 by the institution’s Monitoring and Inspection Committee (MIC) that the project was completed and also recommended for the payment of the final billing of the contractor in the amount of P1.38 million.

However, TGC alleged that the concerned BSU officials failed to process or cause the payment of the demanded final billing despite the required final inspection of the completed building and the recommendation by the MIC to pay the unpaid project amount to the contractor.

TGC sent three demand letters to BSU on February 1, 14 and March 16, 2017 requesting the university to process the payment of the final billing of its completed project but the same notices allegedly fell on deaf ears.

TGC argued that the concerned BSU officials did not only fail to act or reply promptly and expeditiously on its repeated follow-ups and demands but also failed to process  or cause the payment of the final billing of the completed project without any compelling reason that resulted to the company’s damage and prejudice.

The company stated in its complaint that the BSU officials grossly violated Section 3€ of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which could be committed in two ways, causing undue injury to any party, including the government and giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference, thus, the first aspect of the law is committed in the present case.

Further, TGC stipulated that BSU’s unjustified failure to process or cause the payment of the final billing in favour of the company puts the university at risk for possible civil action.

The company claimed the BSU officials perpetrated the prohibited acts through manifest partiality, evident bad faith, and gross inexcusable negligence by disregarding or failing to promptly reply to the repeated followups and demand letters of the company, disregarding the certification by the university MIC which certified the 100 percent completion of the subject building and recommended the payment of the final billing of the project and violation of the contract between the university and the TGC which provides that BSU covenants to pay the contractor in consideration of the execution and completion of the works and the remedying of defects therein, the contract price or such other sum that may become payable under the provisions of the contract at the times and in the manner prescribed by the agreement.

The BSU officials were also charged for violation of Section 5(a) of Republic Act (RA) 6713 and Section 11(a) of RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act in failing to act and reply promptly and expeditiously to the repeated follow-ups and demand letters of TGC for reasons only known to them.

By HENT

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