Ex-DPWH chief charged for anomalous road right-of-way claims

UNTV

FILE PHOTO: DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson (UNTV News)


MANILA, Philippines — 
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday recommended the filing of plunder and graft charges against former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Sec. Rogelio Singson, and 20 former and current DPWH officials for the alleged anomalous road right-of-way claims in General Santos City way back in 2013.

Investigation showed that the government paid P255-million as compensation for nine lots supposedly affected by road construction.

But it was discovered that the claims were fake and all its supporting documents including land titles, tax declarations, and the identity of the claimants.

“Ang ating verification with the Registry of Deeds, lumalabas na lahat itong siyam na transfer certificate of titles na ginamit as basis for the claim, lahat ito ay spurious,” said NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operations Service Atty. Antonio Pagatpat.

(In our verification with the Registry of Deeds, it appears all these nine transfer certificates of titles which were used as the basis for the claim, were all spurious.)

The claimants were paid nonetheless.

Singson himself wrote the letter requesting the release of funds from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

But NBI officials admitted that there is no evidence yet that Singson benefited from the scam.

Fourteen private individuals who also participated in the commission of the scam were charged as well.

They are Wilma Mamburam and Mercedita Dumlao, the alleged leaders of the syndicate, and whistleblower Roberto Catapang Jr. who is now under the custody of the witness protection program.

In his statement last November, Catapang said that the syndicate had amassed about P8.7-billion from the government.

The NBI is also looking into the possible liability of former budget secretary Butch Abad.

“It’s not necessarily na you incur a criminal act kung mag-approve ka ng request ng isang ng isang department. So we have to come up with an evidence that he is in collusion with the subjects at dito sa nine vouchers. Wanting pa yung evidence na yun,” said the NBI regional director.

(It’s not necessarily that you incur a criminal act if you approve a request from one department. So, we have to come up with an evidence that he is in collusion with the subjects and in these nine vouchers, that evidence is still wanting.)

Singson said that he wants to see the complaint first before making any comment on the allegations.

The NBI is further investigating the scam. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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