NIA lawyers probe over lost case sought

Former National Irrigation Administration acting administrator Benny Antiporda
Former National Irrigation Administration acting administrator Benny Antiporda

National Irrigation Administration Administrator Benny D. Antiporda is asking the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate and file appropriate criminal and administrative charges against the agency's lawyers who lost a P205-million case this year.

At a press conference on Monday, Antiporda disclosed that he asked Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires, through a letter dated 15 September, to investigate the criminal and administrative liabilities of lawyers Lloyd Allain A. Cudal and Mary Annabelle F. Cruz-Domingo.

Cudal is currently the acting manager of Legal Services. On the other hand, Cruz-Domingo is the lawyer handling the case.

According to Antiporda, NIA stands to lose the Green Asia Case with a total amount of P205 million due to the officials' "lackadaisical attitude and cavalier handling of the case."

"Such case could have been avoided if they performed their tasks and duties with devotion, utmost diligence and good faith. The said damage is unduly suffered by the government and, ultimately, by the taxpayers — an injustice to the Filipino people," Antiporda said.

The NIA administrator likewise pointed out that the agency seeks to strengthen its Public-Private Partnership with 50 potential irrigation projects nationwide.

Majority of these are big-ticket multipurpose projects with hydropower components and Small River Irrigation Projects with reservoirs that can be utilized for floating solar power farms and/or mini-hydroelectric power plants.

Currently, NIA has received investment pledges of more than P1 trillion through Letters of Intent from different investors.

The agency likewise vowed to regularize its 72 officials nationwide with acting appointments.

Moreover, a total of 564 vacant plantilla positions nationwide will be filled up to strengthen the Agency's social capital.

Daily Tribune