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COA grants P18-million money claim to contractor

The Commission on Audit (COA) has granted the petition of businessman Armando Khong Hun of Armando U. Khong Hun General Contractor,  Inc. for a money claim worth P18 million involving the construction of  Phase II-A of a four-storey school building in Pasay City North High School.

In a decision released this month, state auditors ruled that Khong Hun is entitled to such amount because even if the project was done without public bidding and without a contract between Armando U. Khong Hun General  Contractor,  Inc. and Pasay City government, the contractor undertook the project until its completion without any objection from city officials.

“Thus, a quasi-contractual relation was created between Khong Hun and the city, pursuant to Article 2142 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, viz.: certain lawful, voluntary and unilateral acts give rise to the juridical relation of quasi-contract to the end that no one shall be unjustly enriched or benefited at the expense of another,” COA said.

Likewise, state auditors noted that Khong Hun is due the payout because the finishes and other architectural works done were justified to make the school building usable, and that the city recommended payment in favor of the contractor based on quantum meruit (what one has earned) since the public is already reaping benefits from the accomplished project.

“As to what constitutes quantum meruit, this Commission gives credence to the determination of the Turnaround Time in its Technical Evaluation Report dated February 25, 2012, that the amount of P18,277,020.30 is the reasonable amount of the works accomplished by Khong Hun," the decision said.

"The principle of quantum meruit allows recovery of the reasonable value regardless of any agreement as to value. Likewise, it entitles the party to as much as he/she reasonably deserves," it added.

“Wherefore, premises considered, the Petition for Money Claim of Armando U. Khong Hun General Contractor, Inc., represented by its President and General Manager, Mr. Armando U. Khong Hun, against the City Government of Pasay, for payment of the accomplished 'finishes and other architectural works' of Phase II-A of a four-storey school building at the Pasay City North High School, is partially based on quantum meruit in the amount of P18,277,020.30, subject to availability of funds, and the usual accounting and auditing rules and regulations,” COA said. —LDF, GMA News