Diokno, Aremar incorporators invited to House hearing on budget ‘anomalies’
MANILA, Philippines — Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and the incorporators of Aremar Construction Corporation will be invited as “resource persons” to appear in the House public hearing on the alleged “anomalies” in the 2019 budget, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said on Saturday.
“Now that Sec. Diokno and the people behind Aremar Construction have begun talking to the media to address the issues raised during the House public hearing in Naga City, I deem it my duty to give them the proper forum,” Andaya said in a statement.
“I have instructed the House rules committee to send formal invitation to Sec. Diokno and the incorporators of Aremar Construction Corp. so they can appear as resource persons in our next hearing.”
Andaya’s statement stemmed from when he showed on Thursday’s House probe that a “flood-control scam” is existing in the Bicol region which involved millions of pesos in projects that lacked a master plan.
Andaya also showed transaction receipts from Aremar Construction which allegedly received more than P50 million from the flood control scam, adding that it has reached “plunder point.”
With this, Andaya said those involved must not be afraid to appear in the hearing as the probe would determine their innocence.
“Walang dapat ikatakot ang mga pamilyang ito. Malalaman natin ang katotohanan, kung talagang inosente sila, batay sa mga dokumentong isa-submit nila sa committee,” he said.
The lawmaker also appealed to the incorporators of Aremar Construction Corp. to “stop hiding the truth by using technicalities and general ideas.”
Among the Aremar incorporators to be invited are Casiguran, Sorsogon Mayor Jose Edwin Hamor, the company’s president; Maria Minez Hamor, Martin Aber Sicat, Maria Charisma Sicat, Romeo “Jojo” Sicat Jr. and Edman Bautista.
Andaya is also expecting Romeo Sicat’s wife, Charlotte Justin, who is Diokno’s daughter and Mayor Hamor’s wife, Ester Hamor.
Andaya added that the House probe will also be “greatly aided” if the resource persons could provide copies of their “tax payments, incorporation papers, divestment documents and Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), among others.”
Specifically, Andaya wantsto know if Charlotte Justin Diokno-Sicat’s SALN includes her husband’s share in Aremar Construction. Diokno’s daughter is a professor at the University of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Diokno said Andaya’s allegations were “illusory” as he also denied that the Department of Budget and Management allocated funds for flood control projects in the proposed national budget.
The camp of Casiguran Mayor Jose Edwin Hamor also refuted the accusations against his daughter’s firm, saying Andaya “employed scare tactics.” /muf
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