Yolanda housing firm faces raps
LAWMAKERS will recommend the filing of criminal and civil liabilities charges against the contractor of an P892-million housing project for the victims of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” after they confirmed that the houses built for the typhoon victims were substandard and could endanger their lives.
Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development, said Tuesday an inspection team sent by his panel confirmed that JC Tayag, the contractor, lied before lawmakers when he denied earlier at a congressional hearing that the construction materials he used were below par.
“This contractor fooled the people of Eastern Samar and the lawmakers when he denied the allegations hurled against him that turned out to be true,” Benitez said in a press conference.
He said his committee will then recommend the filing of perjury, contract violations and plunder charges against Tayag and his associates.
Benitez’s panel earlier conducted a hearing on the matter, with Tayag as one of the resource persons, to answer the accusation against him by subcontractor Camilo Salazar.
Salazar said Tayag used substandard steel bars to build more than 2,000 houses in Balangiga, Hernani and Guiuan towns in Eastern Samar, but Tayag denied his charge.
Immediately after the hearing, Benitez said, his panel dispatched a team of construction experts to determine who between the contractor and whistleblower Salazar was telling the truth.
The team then confirmed that Tayag had perjured himself, Benitez said.
He said the team confirmed Salazar’s revelations that Tayag used steel bars that were below the standard set by the National Housing Authority.
“There is a possibility that similar houses for the Yolanda victims are being built in Leyte, Biliran and other provinces that suffered the wrath of the super typhoon,” Benitez said.
He warned Public Works and other government agencies involved in infrastructure construction to inspect the structural integrity of JC Tayag works.
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone asked the NHA to suspend work on all JC Tayag construction projects while an investigation was being conducted.