Palace to probe alleged ‘favored’ contractor
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday said it would investigate the allegation of House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. that a single contractor bagged 30 government projects worth billions of pesos even before Congress could approve the national budget for 2019.
“Yes, of course. We will go to the bottom of this,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Andaya, in a privilege speech on Tuesday, said the Bulacan-based construction firm, CT Leoncio Construction and Trading, allegedly “favored” by the Palace, cornered contracts from even the farthest areas in the country.
Asked if the Palace sees irregularity in the award of billion-peso contracts to a single firm, Panelo said there should be an invetigation first.
“We have to investigate first. We do not even know if it’s true or nor because there have been denials,” he said.
Andaya also alleged that Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno was behind the P75-billion “insertion” in the proposed P3.8-trillion national budget for 2019 without President Rodrigo Duterte’s consent.
Diokno, however, clarified that it should not be called “insertions” because “it’s part of the budget process.”
“Of course, we have to know exactly whether the charges or allegations of corruption are true or not or favoring certain particular persons or firms,” Panelo said.
Despite allegations of insertions, Panelo said Diokno still enjoys the trust and confidence of President Duterte.
“Mr. Diokno is known to be Mr. No, meaning he is a man of integrity. So when he says he is not involved, I believe him unless you show me, as a lawyer, a competent evidence to the contrary. The presumption he is a man of competence and integrity,” he said.
“The Palace believes in the competence and integrity of Secretary Diokno. Unless those who allege can show us competent proof to the country, the presumption of competence and integrity in the part of Secretary Diokno prevails,” he added. /ee
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