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Yolanda housing contractor faces plunder, perjury charges

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By Ben Rosario

 The contractor of the P892 million housing project for “Yolanda” victims faces plunder and a string of criminal cases after lawmakers confirmed that the houses he built could jeopardize the lives of people for containing substandard construction materials.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said an inspection team sent by the House panel to verify the contractor’s denials to the said accusations confirmed that he had perjured himself.

Benitez said the adverse findings gave the House panel substantial reason to determine whether or not inferior construction materials were also used for housing units for all other super-typhoon Yolanda victims funded by the government amounting to P60 billion.

During a House hearing early this month, JC Tayag of the construction firm bearing his name vehemently denied accusations by subcontractor Camilo Salazar that he used substandard steel and bars for the construction of over 2,000 houses in Balangiga, Hernani and Guiuan towns, Eastern Samar.

 Immediately after the hearing, the House panel dispatched a team of construction experts to determine who between the contractor and whistleblower Salazar was telling the truth.

“Itong contractor na ito, niloko na mga tao sa Eastern Samar, niloko pa rin ang committee,” Benitez concluded as he revealed that charges of perjury, contract violations and plunder are being prepared against Tayag. (This contractor fooled both Eastern Samar folk and the committee.)

Together with Reps. Ben Evardone (LP, Eastern Samar) and Deogracias Victor Savellano (PDP-Laban, Ilocos Sur), Benitez said the team discovered that Salazar was telling the truth when he said that steel bars used in the houses were below the standard set by the National Housing Authority for the construction.

The team, composed of engineers from the NHA and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), found out that instead of 12 mm steel enforcement bars and 20 mm horizontal bars, the constructed houses were undersized by 6 mm and 12  mm, respectively.

“There is a possibility that similar houses for Yolanda victims are being built in Leyte, Biliran and other provinces that suffered the super-typhoon’s wrath,” he said.

Further, Benitez warned the DPWH and other government agencies involved in infrastructure construction to inspect the structural integrity of JC Tayag’s construction projects.

Benitez said he had asked the House Committee on Good Government to jointly conduct the next hearing with his panel to determine whether JC Tayag Builders colluded with government men, particularly the NHA, in committing fraud by constructing and delivering housing units made of substandard and inferior construction materials.

 For his part, Evardone asked the NHA to suspend work on all JC Tayag constructions while an investigation is being conducted.

Both Benitez and Savellano agreed that the demolition of all houses built with inferior materials has become necessary in the light of the discovery made by the House panel.

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  • txslim55

    an they will say (thats the way we always do it)

  • MANX

    How can the contractor be paid unless inspected by DPWH and NHA engineers? Also COA engineers also inspect and audit these buildings to ensure compliance to plans and specifications. .

    • Mind Hack

      How? they only inspected the money they got from the contractor if it’s all there. lol

  • leomar101

    These animal contractors were doing these already from the start with the conivance of the government agency people. how many hundreds of milliond they got already from these criminal acts? Attention President Duterte shot this person infront of the Yolanda victims.

  • bechay64

    Can this contractor be made to demolish all these houses and have him reconstruct these using the correct specs of the materials and make him pay for everything including the cost of the delay of this these projects? Para madala naman.

    • judeanbob

      In our dreams LOL. He will be locked up for plunder and spend a few months before being set free until his case is heard, the judges pockets have been lined then pardoned by the yellowtards after they hand out more sardines and rice than the reds.

  • ItosiErmino

    Sa wakas medyo may action na, sana pati yung mga padrino niya masabit din.

  • wally

    BS Penoy Aquino, Mar Roxas and Dilawans,

    The greatest of sins is when you oppress the poor, the needy and those devastated by natural and manmade calamities.

    That’s exactly what you did to your countrymen.

    Bad Karma is fast catching up on you.

  • Paul Michael Roperos

    hindi lng contractor ang may kasalanan dyan, kasi sa malamang dyan bidding pa lng may gulangan na. knowing goverment bidding, sa malamang ang naging hatian dyan 30 – 70, 30 sa contractor 70 sa goverment official. kung ikaw contactor kakayanin mo bang magtayo ng bahay na hindi substandard kung ang pera mo ayan 30% lng ng actual budget. dapat lahat ng sangkot dyan kasuhan hindi lng yung contractor….

  • Edward

    The contractor should also be facing charges for wilfully endangering life. Salazar doesn’t come out of this very well either. He knew the kit was substandard and yet they still built the buildings. :-(
    The contractor obviously doesn’t care about the fact that his buildings could well have killed the occupants. The actual award of the contract needs to be investigated too.
    This is the joy of corruption.

  • angrycitizen

    It’s really obvious why they went with substandard construction, so they can have more kickbacks and others, more election campaign funds.

  • RicaKintana

    Another blackeye for the previous administration. I really don’t know how Noynoy made it as president for 6 years. The first testimony to his incapacity would be the hostage crisis in Luneta at the beginning of his term. Then Yolanda in 2013. I really feel sorry to the people of Leyte and Samar that Noynoy was politically AGAINST the crop of politicians in Leyte at that time, which as we all know NOW, really worked to their disadvantage. Remember Mar Roxas’ comment? Bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo … And that is what literally happened. Even in the the guise of building new homes for the people of Samar and Leyte, the previous administration STILL opted for people with their OWN welfare in mind. I would rather laud Manny Pacquiao for his own contribution to the housing of the peoples of Leyte and Samar, albeit not in the SUPPOSED scale of the governments, at the least, Pacquiao dug into his own pockets for the funding of these houses, and without that much of a fanfare. It is about time these people are brought to Justice for taking advantage of people’s ill luck. I still can’t imagine how these people can sleep at night, much less use their ill-gotten money to feed their families. But as they say, Karma moves in two directions. If we act virtuously, the seed we plant will result in happiness. If we act non-virtuously, suffering results.

    • Edward

      I think it is a tad unfair to solely blame the previous administration for corruption. Corruption has been endemic since before independence. The first president of the Philippines condemned it. Corruption prospered under Marcos, and since then nothing has been done to effectively combat it. To put it in prospective, 2 of the top 10 mowst corrupt leaders are Filipinos, Marcos and Estrada. GMA would have made it too but was kicked out. As long as people tolerate it and reelect those with proven corrupt practices, then the Philippines will never properly develop.
      Get rid of corrupt politicians, PNP, AFP and judiciary, then and just then, progress may be made. However, given the way the electoral system works here, the ease with which totally unsuited people are elected, I reckon that there’s more chance of seeing snow in Manila in April than that happening. :-(

      • RicaKintana

        Really? Since I was referring to the housing contracted by the previous administration and not anything else, you even went back in history to make a comparison?

  • Ner Escuadro

    It is a well known secret that when a contractor is awarded a public project (especially worth hundreds of millions), politicians get the big bite on it. Now let us see, who are those politicians who get rich from these projects…these politicians Im sure are now getting not enough sleep at night.

  • Mr_Boombastic

    Bakit ang tagal ginawa ang inbestigastion? So now by physical inspection and the materials were used in the housing ay napatunayan na mali. Then do inspect na by documents, kung ano ang inaproved na materials at kung sino ang nagaproved at ung inspection report tsaka ung audit report ng COA. Lahat nung nagaproved sa mga documents na mga concerned parties sa construction dapat managot para lumitaw din ung ibang nakinabang sa nakurakot.

  • Batz61

    Reaction/decision – (possible) demolition of the inferior construction houses… Sinong tunay na LUGI? Maganda sana at the middle of the construction process, these inferior constructions were evaluated already and immediately stopped when they saw the contractor was using inferior materials. Many projects have already been finished and almost finished tapos ngayon lang nag-action. Imagine what avoidable losses would have been prevented if proper monitoring was being done DURING THE PROCESS of construction not at the end or end-phase of the project. GISING NAMAN PLEASE GOBYERNO… tapos pa-pogi points na naman ang politico.