A former party-list lawmaker faces a civil case for his failure to pay for the construction of 684 housing units for surviving victims of the deadly Typhoon “Yolanda” which cut a swathe of destruction in 2013.
Businesswoman Divina Bunales filed the complaint against former An Waray Rep. Florencio Bam Noel before the Tacloban Regional Trial Court.
It was not clear when the court would start hearing the case.
Bunales and Noel were former business partners.
In her complaint dated Nov. 12, 2018, Bunales filed a civil case for collection of sum of money with damages against Noel as authorized representative of Performance Builders and Developers Corp. and co-subcontractor Mary Ann Camulte.
Bunales is asking payment amounting to P7.06 million from Noel and Camulte for her proportionate share in the Knightsridge housing project and Camansihay Covered Court.
She also wants the court to order Noel and Camulte to pay damages amounting to P200,000 for wrongfully excluding her in the partnership, according to the complaint filed in court.
The Tacloban RTC Office of the Clerk of Court received Bunales’ complaint on Nov. 23 last year.
In her complaint, Bunales said she was subcontracted by PBDC for the construction of 684 units in 2016 in the National Housing Authority’s housing project at Knightsbridge Residences in Barangay Camansihay, Tacloban City.
This also included the construction of a basketball court for a compensation of P300,000.
PBDC contracted Bunales through Noel who was the authorized representative of the company for the Knightsbridge Project.
He also had authorization from NHA.
The former lawmaker and Camulte agreed to pay Bunales a profit share of P10.56 million for the complete construction of the housing units and covered court.
However, the complaint said, Noel failed to pay Bunales on time.
From the total of P10.56 million, they managed to pay only P3.5 million, leaving a balance of P7.06 million.
Bunales said she requested for a meeting with Noel several times to demand for her payment but to no avail, forcing her to file a case in court.
The development permit for housing project in Knightridge Village was temporarily suspended on April 16, 2018.
This came after heavy rains and flooding caused a landslide in December 2017 that destroyed a row of unoccupied housing units, pending the compliance by PBDC of the construction of a storm water drainage, slope protection structure, and green infrastructure.
Construction resumed when An Waray Party-list, through Rep. Victoria Noel, informed the Tacloban City government in a letter dated April 23, 2018, that it had requested for soil/slope protection, reforestation and drainage for the same housing project, the same conditions imposed on PBDC.
In a statement, Yolanda housing advocate Andres Go indicated that one major cause in the delay of the housing projects was the alleged “illegal hiring of sub-contractors” in the housing projects, resulting in “sub-standard construction work.”
Despite assurances made by the NHA that no sub-contracting permits were allowed in Yolanda housing projects, documents obtained by their association indicated that Noel allegedly applied for the development permit, signed the constructor’s affidavit and received payment for the construction of the same construction project.
“Illegal subcontracting has resulted in higher inefficiency and the poor quality of housing being constructed. This reflects the sorry state of the post-Yolanda reconstruction, which is creating more problems than solutions,” said Go.