Arroyo ally to Osmeña: Prove your allegations-A A +A
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
AN OPPOSITION lawmaker on Wednesday took the cudgels for her colleague, former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is being linked to an alleged overpriced bridge project undertaken during her administration.
"You cannot just come out and say a statement in public and then you don't substantiate your claim," Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay said in the minority bloc's weekly briefing, referring to Arroyo's accuser Senator Sergio Osmeña III.
Osmeña earlier sought a Senate blue ribbon committee investigation on the alleged anomalous President's Bridge Program of the Arroyo government.
The senator accused the former President of orchestrating a "serial plunder" that allowed her and her cohorts to overprice by tens of billions the P111-billion bridge program.
The P111 billion is the total amount of 14 bridge contracts that were supposedly misrepresented as having been funded through Official Development Assistance (ODA) concessional financing from such countries like the United Kingdom and France.
"All these projects are audited even by the foreign funders," Magsaysay said.
Arroyo's spokesperson, Elena Bautista-Horn, earlier criticized Osmeña for singling out the former President even if the bridge program spans our administrations, starting from that of former President Fidel Ramos.
Maguindanao Representative Simeon Datumanong, who served as Public Works secretary under Arroyo's term, said it was "disheartening" that a noble project was "maligned and subjected to unfair criticism."
Datumanong said the system of implementation of the bridge program was already in place when he assumed the post.
As far as the Arroyo administration is concerned, Datumanong said every bridge built passed through a process.
"These bridges improved their lives and contributed immensely to the economy. PBP is still being implemented under the Aquino administration," he said, noting that more than 1,200 bridges have been built under the program.
"It is unfair to accuse former President Gloria Arroyo of perpetrating a so-called a scam on the bridge program when the same has been carried out through partnership with foreign countries," the lawmaker added. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)