House panel to probe IBC-13 property sale
MANILA, Philippines - The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability is set to to summon executives of state-run broadcast network IBC-13 for the allegedly anomalous sale of a 4.4 hectare prime property in Quezon City.
The probe, scheduled on February 14 at 9:30 am, will look into the joint venture agreement entered into by the officials of the Intercontinental Broadcasting Company (IBC-13) with the RII Builders Inc. and Primestate Ventures Inc.
The Commission on Audit (COA) has previously questioned the deal, which guarantees government some P728 million in exchange for the right to dispose of a 3.6 hectare land that RII/Primestate will convert into a first-class residential and commercial enclave.
The agreement was finalized in March 2010.
Palace welcomes probe
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda welcomed the House probe.
He said Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, who supervises over government media agencies, told that he will welcome any investigation. "It will again provide him an opportunity to explain the situation between the IBC-13 and the R2 Builders’ JVA."
"The issue of the R2 Builders and the IBC-13 has been raised before during the budget hearings. And I think Secretary [Sonny] Coloma has already explained his position here," he told reporters.
Lacierda said Coloma has written a legal memo to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa on the issue. He added that the Executive Secretary will be convening a meeting between officials concerned with the project and will meet with the President concerning the matter.
"For the record, Secretary Coloma is willing to appear before any investigation before the Congress to explain his side or explain the situation and he has done this."
Lacierda added that this won’t be the first time that Coloma has been asked about the issue of the R2 Builders. "I think this is the second or the third time that he will be asked."
The matter has also been raised in the budget hearings, he pointed out.
The new probe is based on resolutions filed by opposition lawmaker Maria Milagros ‘Mitos’ Magsaysay (1st District - Zambales) and Partylist Rep Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon). - Rappler.com