By Nancy Carvajal
The road right of way scandal mentioned recently by President Rodrigo Duterte lasted from 2008 until a whistleblower exposed it in 2017, according to an account given to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The NBI has since filed four complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against members of a syndicate, including its financiers and government officials from various agencies such as the city assessor’s office, Land registration Authority, Department of Natural Resources (DENR) City Assessors Office and Department of Public Ways and Highways.
“But we have yet to receive resolution to our complaint.” an investigator of the case told Politiko but asked not to be identified for lack of authority to speak to reporters.
The government officials that were recommended to be charged with violations of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act; RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; Revised Penal Code Article 210 on Direct Bribery; Revised Penal Code Article 210 on Indirect Bribery:
While civilians including the alleged syndicate’s financier identified as Nelson Ti were also charged with violations of the Anti-graft and Corruption Act; Revised Penal Code Article 72 Falsification by private individual and use of falsified documents, Revised Penal Code Article 212 Corruption of public officials.
In their complaints, the NBI detailed how the road right of way scam was carried out that the syndicate was able to receive payment from DPWH.
According to the NBI report, the syndicate could not have operated unnoticed without the cooperation and assistance by government workers in the position to facilitate the approval of the documents.
Among the noteworthy NBI findings that could have red flagged in an honest transactions were : although the appropriated land is located in General Santos, all 24 claimants home address were from Metro Manila, but a check with the addresses showed all of them were fake.
The Special Power of Attorney was also notarized by the same lawyer, although the 24 claimants do not belong to a certain group. The Deed of Sale were honored by the DPWH despite absence of proper documents.