MANILA, Philippines – A House of Representatives panel has summoned several persons, including the owner of a supposedly “favored” contractor, for the probe into alleged anomalies involving infrastructure projects in Sorsogon.
In a statement on Thursday, December 27, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr said the House rules committee, which he chairs, has already issued a subpoena to Consolacion Leoncio, owner of CT Leoncio Construction.
Andaya claimed the contractor has ties with Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno and a former Cabinet official, and has cornered multiple infrastructure projects nationwide, including in Sorsogon.
Also subpoenaed are Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials in Bicol Region, such as engineers Virgilio Eduarte, Danilo Verzola, Ignacio Odiaman, Wilfredo Flores, Larry Reyes, Merla Raveche, Jorge Gorimbao, Victor Azupardo, Gil Augustus Balmadrid, and Noland Claro Guerrero, as well as individuals Malou Lacuna, Renato de Vera, and Dr Elenita Tan.
They are invited to a hearing of the House rules committee in Naga City, Camarines Sur on Thursday, January 3.
“The subpoenas, I was informed, was received by the PNP [Philippine National Police] Region 5 as early as December 20,” said Andaya.
Andaya is expecting the full cooperation of the persons invited to the probe. “The House will not hesitate to issue arrest orders should those subpoenaed refuse to appear in our congressional hearings.”
“We also expect Ms Leoncio and the DPWH officials to bring with them copies of transaction documents involving the infrastructure projects in question,” he added.
Andaya is questioning the P10-billion infrastructure projects allocated to Sorsogon in 2018, as well as the P325-million allocation for flood control projects in Casiguran town alone in the proposed 2019 budget.
The projects in Casiguran were supposedly part of the alleged DBM’s P75-billion “insertion” in DPWH’s budget for 2019, said Andaya. He also argued that the mayor of Casiguran town is the father-in-law of Diokno’s daughter.
Diokno has denied all accusations against him. Malacañang Palace also stood firmly behind Diokno, saying he is a “man of integrity.” – Rappler.com
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