THE board of regents of the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines dismissed arrested architect Rey Galua from the government service in December 2016 for gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The board then filed an administrative case for revocation of Galua’s license and registration with the Professional Regulation Commission in September 2017.
The board also filed a complaint for violation of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct of Government Employees), RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and the Revised Penal Code with the Office of the Ombudsman against Galua and the president of the construction firm behind the unfinished P200-million building construction project in the USTP campus.
Reason: Galua was the architect of the USTP project contracted to Wing-An Construction and Development Corp. that began in January 2016, and in the course of his supervision of the project, he was found to have partnered with the firm as its design and supervising architect in its construction project in Don Carlos, Bukidnon.
Police arrested Galua in his uptown Cagayan de Oro home this Jan. 9 following a raid that resulted in the discovery and seizure of firearms, ammunition and grenades. Authorities called him a “person of interest” in the Dec. 2, 2017 shooting death of slain university president Dr. Ricardo Rotoras.
USTP’s disclosure was made in a statement released to deny that the controversial construction project was marred by corruption. The USTP also strongly condemned the allegations of corruption against Rotoras that were attributed to Wing-An president Selwyn Lao in a news report (not in this paper) yesterday.
“We strongly condemn this malicious tactic to malign the memory of a good and honorable man,” reads part of the USTP statement, pointing out that the accusation was made “at a time when Dr. Rotoras cannot defend himself anymore.”
It added: “The University, under the leadership of Dr. Rotoras, has implemented various construction projects in the past. In his eleven (11) years as President, he completed these projects successfully, with not a single allegation of corruption.”
The USTP said its board of regents terminated the project because Engr. Lao allegedly violated some of the provisions in his firm’s contract with USTP. By the time the decision was made, USTP said, Lao’s firm accomplished only 39 percent of the project.
The alleged violations:
- subcontracting a portion of the works to a third party without authority;
- unauthorized substitution of key personnel; and
- failure to deploy key personnel committed under the contract.
USTP said the termination proceedings were done in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Government Procurement Policy Board on termination of government contracts.
Lao, it said, filed a motion for reconsideration that was denied by the board of regents in February 2017. It said Lao did not bring his case to the courts or any other tribunal.
In the report, Engr. Lao allegedly claimed that there were “under the table transactions” brokered by Galua on behalf of Rotoras, that Lao was supposedly asked P20 million, and that the then USTP president made things difficult for him because the contractor did not give in to the alleged demand for a 10-percent share. The claim that Engr. Lao made these allegations could not be validated by this paper at presstime.
USTP however stated that it “vehemently denies these malicious and unfounded allegations, conveniently made not while Dr. Rotoras was still alive but at this time, after his brutal murder, when he can no longer refute the allegations and defend himself.”
It added: “What was not disclosed by Engr. Lao is the fact that he had implicated all the other members of the Board of Regents in these allegations of corruption who were supposed to share the 10% among themselves. The fact that the allegations only came out after the Board of Regents terminated the project casts considerable doubt on the credibility of these accusations by Engr. Lao.”