LUCENA CITY – A former Quezon provincial board member asked the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation into the controversial P700 million Quezon Medical Center (QMC) here and sought the preventive suspension of Gov. Wilfrido Enverga in connection with its anomalous construction.
“The amount of P700 million is not paltry. In a rigged bidding, the beneficiaries to the fraud stood to earn P300 million from the scam. Someone is laughing all the way to the bank,” lawyer Sonny Pulgar of Sentro ng Gabay Legal sa Quezon said in his verified complaint submitted to Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on July 26.
According to Pulgar, there was no open and honest bidding to the project which was awarded to the governor’s favorite contractor, CJ Construction which also bagged the construction of the P500 million Quezon Convention Center at the Quezon provincial capitol here.
The construction of the QMC, formerly called Quezon Memorial Hospital, was started in 2002 and was inaugurated last July 12.
Quezon 2nd District provincial board member Vicente “Kulit” Alcala supported Pulgar’s accusation against the irregularities surrounding the construction of QMC.
Alcala had met with Pulgar on Saturday here to map out plans in strengthening their case against those involved in what they described as plunder involving hundreds of millions of public money.
Alcala, the most vocal critic against Enverga at the Sangguniang Panglalawigan (SP) here, claimed that the QMC has no building permit, and some P55 million which was initially used for QMC construction, has been surreptitiously added to the loan applied by the provincial government from the Land Bank without the approval of the SP.
Alcala said last month, another P45 million was appropriated for the supplemental budget and passed by the SP for additional funding of the QMC.
“Last month, QMC was flooded with water when its drainage system overflowed from continuous rains. It is very obvious that despite the excessive budget a chunk of it did not go to the construction. Malinaw na tinipid ang proyekto,” Alcala told The Phil. Courier.
In his complaint to the Ombudsman, Pulgar also called for the investigation of the provincial government’s general services office, particularly its records on the alleged newspaper that published the Invitation to Bid of the project.
“Where the publication of the invitation to the public bidding is a sham, the award to the winning contractor is likewise fraudulent. The winning bidder perforce did not submit the best bid and therefore the government is defrauded,” the complaint said.
To forestall suspicion of doctoring documents, Pulgar said he is asking for the preventive suspension of Enverga. (JOHN BELLO)