Solons to COA: Name contractors in housing scam

September 14, 2018

AT least three lawmakers yesterday urged the Commission on Audit (CoA) to name the contractors involved in the alleged P1.5 billion  anomalies discovered under the Yolanda Permanent Housing Program (YPHP) implemented by the National Housing Authority (NHA).

Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, and Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez underscored the importance for CoA to identify the contractors for the sake of transparency and accountability. 

“We appeal to CoA to identify the contractors and hold accountable the parties involved in the alleged anomalies uncovered by their auditors and even the results of a House congressional investigation conducted by the Benitez panel (House committee on housing and urban development). Since it involves people’s money. We really need to get to the bottom of these controversies,” said Romualdez, who represents Tacloban City or the so-called Yolanda Ground Zero, after CoA claimed that it has found evidence of alleged various irregularities in 18 housing projects in Eastern Samar. 

Romualdez, who chairs the House committee on accounts, said the controversies seemed to have “victimized the survivors once again by another typhoon with a magnitude similar to Yolanda.” 

Evardone, who earlier sought investigations into alleged anomalies in the implementation of government resettlement projects in his district, said all involved public officials and contractors should be held liable.

“I welcome the CoA report on Yolanda housing projects which showed irregularities and anomalies. However, I cannot understand why the contractors and the NHA officials involved were not named in the report,” said Evardone. “It is really totally lamentable and unacceptable that these anomalies happened to the detriment of the typhoon victims. We can only give justice to the victims if those responsible are put behind bars.”

Benitez, the chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development that also uncovered alleged Yolanda housing anomalies during their investigation, urged state prosecutors to explore the possibility of filing plunder charges against contractors and NHA personnel involved in the alleged anomalous housing development program for Yolanda victims.

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