Arroyo allies defend her bridgesBy Karen Boncocan, Leila B. Salaverria
INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Allies of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Wednesday rallied behind the former President and defended her from allegations made by Sen. Sergio Osmeña III that her bridge program was riddled with irregularities.
Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong said the bridge program was above board and went through the proper process.
The projects were carried out through loan mechanisms with Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Austria, and South Korea which conducted their own respective checks, according to Datumanong.
“The process had to pass their own tests of transparency and credibility, otherwise, nor bridge project would be approved for implementation,” he said in a statement.
“It is unfair to accuse former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of perpetrating a so-called scam on the bridge program when the same has been carried out through partnership with other countries,” he added.
He further said every bridge passed through a “rigorous screening process” by the National Economic Development Authority.
In a press briefing, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez also noted that the bridge program was conceptualized by previous presidents, and has continued through several administrations.
Suarez said there should have been a more thorough investigation of the bridge program before making allegations against Arroyo.
Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros Magsaysay also said the construction of the bridges would not have pushed through if there were irregularities, since the foreign partners also audited the projects.
“If you want to develop a country there should be infrastructure in place. There should be infrastructure first before investments come in,” said Magsaysay.
Arroyo’s spokesperson, Elena Bautista Horn, earlier pointed out that the bridge program underwent the proper processes during the past administration. Horn also noted that the program had spanned four administrations.
Originally posted at 4:47 pm | September 19, 2012