Senate of the Philippines

Congressmen call for review of Senate building costs

Kaycee Valmonte

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Congressmen call for review of Senate building costs

EMPTY CHAIRS. Nearly all lawmakers are present in Wednesday’s plenary session, albeit virtually, resulting in a House floor that lacks physical quorum. Dwight de Leon/Rappler

Dwight de Leon/Rappler

The construction project has already incurred P4.1 billion more than the budget. Another P10 billion will be needed to finish the building.

MANILA, Philippines – Months after the rift caused by the push and pull over charter change between lawmakers of both chambers of Congress, House members are now going after the Senate for the latter’s “wasteful spending” on the new Senate building under construction in Taguig City.

In a statement on Wednesday, June 12, congressmen called for a comprehensive review of how initial funds were spent on the project.

“It is crucial that we uphold public trust in all our infrastructure projects,” said Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Raul Angelo Bongalon, who is also House majority leader. “Every centavo must be accounted for to prevent misuse of funds.”

This comes just days after newly-minted Senate President Francis Escudero ordered a suspension of construction work after costs went over the P8.9 billion budget. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who chairs the upper chamber’s committee on accounts, flagged the “dramatic increase” in the budget needed for the new Senate building.

The construction project has already incurred P4.1 billion more than the budget. To finish the building, another P10 billion will be needed.

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The project was awarded to Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation, the same firm involved in the overpriced P2.3-billion Makati City Hall Building II.

“This project is a prime example of why stringent checks and balances are essential,” said 1-RIDER Partylist Representative Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez.

The project is located within the Philippine Navy Village in Fort Bonifacio. Senators were hoping to move there from their building in Pasay this September, although even that goal was hit by Escudero himself, as he does not see the project ready for occupancy by then.

Escudero has halted the release of funds, pending a review of what has been done so far. Zambales 1st District Representative Jay Khonghun said it was a good idea.

“Delaying the project for a comprehensive review is a responsible decision,” Khonghun said. “We must address any concerns and ensure the project aligns with the best interests of the Filipino people.” – Rappler.com

1 comment

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  1. EJ

    HAHAHA. After going after the Binay red flags aka Hilmarcs’ why did the Senate employ the services of this company? Magkano?

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Kaycee Valmonte

Kaycee Valmonte is a multimedia reporter who covers politics in the House of Representatives and public health.