Saturday, September 21, 2019

House panel probes DBM 'favored contractor'

THE House committee on rules will hold a hearing on the supposed favored contractor of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the billions of pesos worth of government projects for Sorsogon.

The hearing will be conducted on Thursday, January 3, in Naga, Camarines Sur.

The House committee earlier issued a subpoena against the owner of CT Leoncio Construction and Trading, the supposed favored contractor of the DBM.

Also invited to the hearing are Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) engineers Virgilio Eduarte, Danilo Verzola, Ignacio Odiaman, Wilfredo Flores, Larry Reyes, Merla Raveche, Jorge Gorimbao, Victor Azupardo, Gil Augustus Balmadrid, Noland Claro Guerrero; Malou Lacuna, Renato de Vera, and Dr. Elenita Tan.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., chair of the rules committee, earlier said his committee will not hesitate to issue arrest orders should the invited resource persons refuse to attend the hearing.

The invited personalities are expected to shed light on the so-called flood control scam and other anomalous transactions involving multi-billion-peso infrastructure projects in Sorsogon, particularly the P10 billion worth of infrastructure projects allocated by the DBM for Sorsogon in the 2018 budget and the supposed P325 million worth of flood control projects in Sorsogon in the 2019 budget.

The funds for the flood control projects will allegedly be sourced from the P75-billion budget inserted by the DBM in the National Expenditures Program (NEP).

The issues in the infrastructure projects in Sorsogon came to light after the House of Representatives quizzed Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno last December over the anomalous projects involving CT Leoncio Construction and Trading.

During the hearing, Diokno denied that he had influenced the DPWH to allocate huge funds for Sorsogon even as he admitted that his daughter is married to to the son of Casiguran Mayor Edwin Hamor and Sorsogon Vice Governor Ester Hamor.

Mayor Edwin earlier admitted in a television interview that his children entered into a joint venture with CT Leoncio Construction and Trading. (SunStar Philippines)


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