DPWH ASec in a spot over 2% infra share
REGION 10 head Zenaida Tan of the Department of Public Works and Highways has pinned down DPWH Assistant Secretary Tingagun Ampaso Umpa for demanding a “two-percent share” from infrastructure projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Cagayan de Oro.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque had been prompted to release a two-page confidential report when Umpa refused to vacate his position and claimed he was a victim of the “demolition job” of some politicians he had supposedly angered.
Based from the letter addressed to DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain, DPWH Region 10 Director Zenaida Tan detailed instances of what took place during Umpa’s inspection to her region.
On April 25, Umpa called up Tan, requesting her to book him and three other individuals—ticket and hotel accommodations, specifically at Limketkai Lux Hotel, with a total P117,452 expenses.
“These, however could not be reimbursed in our office due to strict government accounting and regulating rules,” Tan lamented.
“He also allegedly knew fully well the ‘kalakaran’ of the office being a contractor himself before entering the government service,” she added.
Tan then told Umpa to spare her from the said “kalakaran” issue.
“Because I am just weeks old in my new directorial post. Nevertheless, I told him I will be hospitable enough to cater [to] his office-related requests,” she added.
When Umpa arrived, Tan alleged that he was being accompanied by eight Philippine National Police officers and other close-in escorts.
During the emergency meeting presided by Umpa on May 2 in her office, attended by Division chiefs and Task Force Bangon Marawi members, he “emphasized that he was sent by Malacañang to stop corruption in DPWH.”
“He said there were demolition moves against him, but quoted Malacañang as saying ‘hindi ka nila mapapatanggal, sila ang tatanggalin mo’ (they cannot remove you, you remove them (the corrupt),” Tan related.
After the meeting, Umpa requested for a closed-door meeting with Tan, giving her several instructions, some of which are “insinuating to earn extra money.”
“Everytime Asec. Umpa gives ‘unusual’ instructions, I readily inform him that I do give updates to the higher-ups and that delicate management matters...should not be a secret to the top management,” she said.
But Umpa said that “he will work it out” in the Central Office.
On May 4, Umpa advised Tan to wait for him in her office to get some documents and discuss with her his findings on four projects at Lanao del Sur directly implemented by Region X under the supervision of Project Engineer Micunug Macabantog.
“When Asec. Umpa arrived,he immediately informed me that he will remove Engr. Macabantog from TFBM because he wants a new set-up,” she said.
“I was puzzled when he [Umpa] instructed me to let other engineers supervise our regional projects in Lanao del Sur as a replacement of Engr. Macabantog because according to him the latter should learn his lesson for not following his instruction and for not giving him full attention during his field inspection,” Tan said.
After informing her about Macabantog, Umpad then asked for a two-percent project share, she said.
“Asec Umpa instructed me to tell the contractors of our projects located within ARMM to deliver to him one to two percent project share,” she said.
She refused to follow Umpa’s instructions for fear of destroying her image and the DPWH organization.
“As to his alleged bloated billings for the projects, we furnished him the financial report and copy of vouchers showing that the contractors for subject projects only collected 15 percent mobilization,” she said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has asked two assistant secretaries to resign over their alleged involvement in corruption.
“The President has advised Justice Assistant Secretary Moslemen Macarambon Sr. and Public Works Assistant Secretary Tingagun Ampaso Umpa to resign or face termination for corruption,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.
Umpa, however, denied the accusations in his post on his Facebook account.