Guingona: Let's start probe into Iloilo building next week
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III said he wants to start next week hearings on the allegedly overpriced Iloilo Convention Center (ICC), he told reporters on Tuesday, November 4.
"Gusto ko sana by next week na. (I want to do it next week.) We gave them until this week to submit the documents," Guingona said. (READ: Senate Blue Ribbon to probe Drilon's 'pet project')
Senate President and Liberal Party (LP) stalwart Franklin Drilon is facing corruption allegations in relation to the allegedly overpriced P679.8-million ($15.20 million)* infrastructure project in his home province.
A criminal complaint on the same allegation was also filed before the Office of the Ombudsman. The Department of Public Works and Highways led by Secretary Rogelio Singson, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr, and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) chief Mark Lapid are also co-respondents in the complaint.
The Blue Ribbon committee on Tuesday morning sent letters to concerned government agencies to submit documents pertaining to the infrastructure project within the week.
"We’re asking them to submit the documents that they have which we will read and evaluate so we can form the proper questions. Once we have the proper questions, then we could start the hearings," Guingona explained.
Guingona said the probe will likely start with Singson.
The LP released a statement dismissing the allegations against Drilon as a diversionary tactic by the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Both Guingona and Drilon are partymates in the LP. Guingona vowed that the probe will be fair to all parties.
There is no need to invite Drilon to the probe because he's a member of the Blue Ribbon committee, he added.
"He is a member of the committee, he doesn’t have to be invited. Just like in the PDAF cases, the 3 senators were members of the committee and they could’ve participated anytime. But they chose to inhibit. Senator Drilon being a member of the Blue Ribbon Committee and being the Senate President can participate anytime," said Guingona.
The project was partially funded under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), where certain executive acts had been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. – Rappler.com