Paanong nakalusot? JV Ejercito warns of plunder raps vs. DPWH officials over P400M ghost projects in Lubang

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Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito has warned about the possible filing of plunder charges against officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways in connection with P400-million worth of ghost projects in Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro.

Speaking with Abante, Ejercito urged Public Works Secretary Mark Villar to investigate the allegation made by Lubang Mayor Roberto Sanchez on the non-existent or incomplete projects in his area.

The completion reports for the questionable projects were reportedly made by DPWH District Engineer Josefino “Jose” Mergal.

“Secretary Villar should a thorough investigation on this. Mala­king pera ang inilaan, kaila­ngang malaman kung nagamit sa tama o hindi,­” Ejercito, the vice chairman of the Senate committee on public works, said.

“Kung totoo, kaila­ngang may managot… They are liable for plunder,” he added.

Sanchez said Mergal remains posted in Occidental Mindoro for five years now despite DPWH’s policy that district engineers should be reshuffled every two to three years to avoid familiarization with contractors and local government officials.

Among the big-ticket road projects which Mergal certified to have been completed include the:

– P40-million road project in Onoda Trail, which DPWH claimed to have been 96 percent complete in March 2017 even though it’s only half built

– The P39-million Tangal-Putat-Tumibo road pro­ject which DPWH said was 90 percent complete but has yet to be started and the

– P35-million Tangal-Bansalugin-Tumibo Road ng Algimar which DPWH said was 90 percent complete even though only five percent of the project has been finished

Ejercito, who used to be the mayor of San Juan City, said the allegations of irregularities in certain projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Lubang Island show how powerful a district engineer is.

“Ang mga DPWH engineer, powerful mga ‘yan, especially kapag marami ang pondo, sila ang instrumental kung anong project ang matutuloy o hindi. Puwedeng dayain ‘yan, sasabihing kumpleto o tapos na pero hindi naman or maaari partial lang ang pagkakagawa ng mga projects,” he said.

Sanchez and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. have written Villar to investigate the alleged ghost projects in Lubang Island.

Villar has yet to respond to Abante’s request for comment.

For more on this story, read:

P400M ‘ghost projects’ in Oriental Mindoro exposed: Villar probe sought on DPWH exec