MANILA, Philippines – The Senate blue ribbon committee will look into the allegations of corruption against Senate President Franklin Drilon in connection with the allegedly overpriced P679.8- million ($15.20 million)* Iloilo Convention Center.
“The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will formally investigate the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) and other issues related to it,” said committee chairman Senator Teofisto Guingona III in a statement on Monday, November 3.
“The Blue Ribbon Committee will initiate the probe [into] these controversies that are also partly covered by Senate Resolution No. 906 filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago,” Guingona added.
The mother committee’s investigation comes in the middle of a blue ribbon subcommittee’s probe into another allegedly overpriced infrastructure project, this one in Makati City and which Vice President Jejomar Binay initiated when he was mayor. The Senate probe has been blamed for a drop in Binay’s popularity ratings.
Binay himself accused Drilon’s party mate, Liberal Party president-on-leave Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, of masterminding the demolition job against the Vice President.
Political observers had been daring Guingona – also a member of the LP – to also investigate Drilon to prove that the administration is not being selective in its legislative probes.
Criminal and administrative complaints were filed last week against Drilon before the Office of the Ombudsman over his supposed pet project in his home province. The project was partially funded under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), where certain executive acts had been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
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.
Guingona has yet to give a date for the first hearing. He said it would be conducted as soon as the necessary preparations are made. – Rappler.com
*US$1 = P44.70