More and more details are emerging about ERC Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar’s suspension, with the latest discovery being connected with his lavish spending on renovations to his office at the Pacific Center Building in Ortigas.
Salazar, who was appointed head of the ERC by former president Noynoy Aquino, was placed on preventive suspension by the current administration for charges including serious dishonesty and grave misconduct.
Concerned individuals have given Mindanation a copy of ERC’s Working Paper Post Audit 2015-2016, which shows that the controversial Chairman spent a mindboggling total of P 1,558,489.11 on his office’s renovations from September 2015 to April 2016.
First to cater to Salazar’s expensive tastes was Maison and Smith, Inc., which provided materials and labor for the installation of wood planks and laminated flooring in September 2015, to the tune of P177,183.76.
The second group to benefit was R3B Trading, Inc., whose repainting job of the mere 51-square meter Chairman’s office in October 2015 netted P 70,390.60, and whose electrical repairs at the same office added P 44,000.00 more in March and April 2016.
Contract Design & Systems Furniture Specialist, Inc. got a large slice of the pie to close the year out, receiving P 297,411.75 from the ERC in December 2015, although there was no indication of exactly what work or materials were delivered to the agency.
The biggest winner by far, however, was contractor PrimeArt Builders, Inc., which received two checks dated March 31, 2016 worth P 421,817.76 and P 383,590.52, respectively. This total amount of P 827,408.38 was for the “renovation of the Chairman’s office” according to PrimeArt’s official receipts no less.
What makes this excessive spending by the suspended ERC Chairman truly anomalous is the fact that right next door to his now fully-laminated room is a 43.26-square meter Commissioner’s office whose renovation was also completed in March 2016, but for a glaring one-fifth of the cost!
To recap, Salazar’s 51.6-square meter office cost around P 1.5 million to renovate, while a 43.26-square meter Commissioner’s office cost only P 268,217.00 to do so. Now who can blame the President for suspending the ERC Chairman for his alleged corrupt practices, with the promise of firing him eventually.