DAGUPAN CITY: Officers and members of the non-government watchdog Citizens’ Movement Against Corruption, Crime, Illegal Drugs and Gambling Inc. headed by Prof. Salvador Singson-de Guzman on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, came to the defense of Quezon Fourth District Rep. Angelina Tan, saying they are 100 percent sure and believe that Tan is not involved in any graft and corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Rep. Angelina Helen Doktora Tan - Public watchdog defends lawmaker from graft raps
Rep. Angelina Helen “Doktora” Tan. Photo from http://doktorahelentan.com/home/

The infrastructure project was designed primarily to save motorists travel time in going to and from Gumaca, decongest heavy traffic in the area, stimulate local economic growth, encourage investors to create jobs in the locality and improve the lives of Fourth District residents.

Alternate route

“While the road is yet to be paved, a section of it is already being utilized by motorists as an alternate route to avoid the heavy traffic in the town of Gumaca. I had been very optimistic that this project would be completed within the five-year timeframe, as stipulated in the contract” Tan said in a statement on the Calabarzon project.

Calabarzon groups Quezon, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal.

The accusations against Tan and a few other lawmakers were made by the Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

The citizens’ watchdog’s De Guzman, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Times at their family house here in Dagupan City, said the allegations and informations relayed to President Rodrigo Duterte by the PACC that Tan was included were inaccurate and unsubstantiated.

“Our group has conducted a separate investigation of the DPWH offices of Luzon and the DPWH officials in Quezon province did not mention to us that Tan was involved in anomalies in implementation of any government project within her jurisdiction.” he explained to The Times.

What ghost projects?

De Guzman said the Commission on Audit-Calabarzon also issued a certification that there are no ghost or overpriced projects undertaken by the DPWH in the Fourth District of Quezon province.

He, however, clarified that their investigation report was not similar to the investigation conducted by the PACC.

De Guzman said the PACC report was not also clear on how Tan committed graft at the DPWH.

“Hindi naman sinabi sa report na nangungupit siya sa pondo ng mga proyektong ginagawa sa kanyang nasasakupan (The report did not say how she supposedly stole from project funds),” he added.

But the report did mention the allegedly poor construction of the infrastructure projects in her jurisdiction that, according to De Guzman, had nothing to do with the accusations.

Contractors at fault

Tan had “no supervision over the construction of the infrastructure projects, therefore she should not be blamed by the PACC. Dapat yong mga kontratista ang sabonin nila (The PACC should go after the contractors),” he said.

De Guzman added that even the President had no legal basis in naming Tan because there were no cases filed against her.

Duterte said he chose to read the names to let the public know who are the corrupt officials in the government.

He, however, noted that congressmen’s inclusion in the list did not mean that they were guilty of corruption.

“I just want to assure everybody that yung pagbasa sa pangalan ninyo (reading your names) is not condemnation or indictment that you are guilty of something,” the President said.

Duterte admitted that there was no hard evidence to prove the guilt of the lawmakers.

He also named district engineers allegedly engaged in corrupt practices based on the PACC report.

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