By Alex P. Vidal
“The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.”— Georges Bernanos
ASIDE from the protest or condemnation rally—or whatever type of rally or street noise the taxpayers have undertaken and are still planning to stage—a formal complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman must be lodged soon against the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the International Builders Corporation (IBC) in relation to the P680-million Iloilo flyover project or Ungka Flyover (UFO) in Ungka, Pavia.
Both the DPWH and the contractor appear to be unfazed by what have been reported, so far, in the mainstream and social media.
They think the brickbats and flak from the press are mere mosquito bites that can never bring the wrongdoers down on all four.
They probably suspect that aside from the “mere” media fanfare, no one is really interested to file formal charges in the proper court; and the ruckus will just be forgotten by the passing of time, thus the guilty parties will be off the hook.
It’s time to halt the Russian Roulette. If no one will initiate the filing of case, the Ombudsman should motu proprio conduct a preliminary investigation based on the “smoking gun”—the result of structural engineer Adam Abinales’ findings that several piers of the flyover’s 16 piers had sunk even after the flyover was supposed to open for vehicular traffic last year.
Abinales is the managing partner of the Pasig-based Abinales Associates Engineers + Consultants.
Abinales submitted the report to the Regional Development Council-Western Visayas’ Infrastructure Development Committee (RDC-IDC) on May 15.
He estimated that at least P250 million is needed to repair the defects.
Abinales confirmed that Pier Nos. 4, 5, and 6 of the flyover’s 16 piers had sunk by more than one foot between May 2022 and April 14, 2023; and among the piers, Pier 5 had the deepest settlement, with a depth of 583 millimeters or 22.9 inches. Pier 6 settled by 488 mm or 19.21 inches, while Pier 4 settled by 431 mm or 16 inches.
Based on this development, there’s a strong possibility that the DPWH and IBC may have neglected the project and did not judiciously and strictly exercise full professional measures to ensure that the expensive project would be done according to specifications and budget.
It appears there’s an iota of evidence of carelessness and dereliction of duty on the part of those responsible to erect the project and properly discharge the taxpayers money.
A protest or condemnation rally is good. A formal case in the proper court is better.
WOULD MVP HAVE CALLED LA LAKERS’ 0-4 LOSS TO NUGGETS A DISGRACE? I still maintain that Manny Pangilinan’s over reaction when he tagged as “disgraceful” Gilas Pilipinas’ 79-68 loss to Cambodia in the group stage in the recent 2023 SEA Games men’s basketball was uncalled for.
He tried to redeem himself by saying he was “happy to be proven wrong” after Gilas finally collared the gold medal by avenging the embarrassing loss to the host country in the battle for the gold medal, 80-69.
Nine years ago in 2014, Manny Pangilinan, popularly known as MVP, expressed interest in owning a stake in the Los Angeles Clippers.
MVP was interested in acquiring a minority stake in the NBA ballclub, which was rumored to be put up for sale after the lifetime ban meted by NBA commissioner Adam Silver on owner Donald Sterling over racist comments.
“Well, yeah (I’m interested in buying a stake in the Clippers). I mean, it’s a good team, I’m sure there will be many interested buyers in the (United) States,” MVP was reported as saying after his team, Talk ‘N Text’s Game Two win over Rain or Shine at the Astrodome back in April 2014.
He said the Clippers’ market value in that year was pegged at US$575 million (P25.3 billion), but he intended to buy only a minority share if the opportunity arose to be able to experience what it is like to partly own an NBA team.
His plans fizzled out. The Clippers have not been doing well. What if he was able to acquire a stake in the NBA ball club and that team happened to be LA—not the Clippers—but LA Lakers?
And the seventh-seeded Lakers were swept by the top-seeded Denver Nuggets with a 113-111 defeat in Game 4 on May 22 night, ending Lebron James’ attempt to win his fifth career championship in his 20th NBA season. Would MVP run berserk and call the Lakers’ 0-4 shutout loss a disgrace too?
Los Angeles was one of the NBA’s best teams after making several moves at the trade deadline, going 18-8 to end the regular season even without James. The Lakers then made an impressive run to the conference finals, knocking off second-seeded Memphis and defending champion Golden State, but ran out of steam against the powerhouse Nuggets.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)