Andaya scolds auditor over ‘mind-boggling’ deals of construction firm
MANILA, Philippines — House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. on Tuesday grilled a local state auditor for allegedly failing to scrutinize the “humanly impossible” presence of a Bulacan-based construction firm’s equipment in different places and projects all at the same time.
At the resumption of the committee investigation on the so-called “flood control scam” and other budget anomalies supposedly under Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s watch, the Camarines Sur congressman presented overlapping projects being undertaken by CT Leoncio.
Andaya assailed CT Leoncio’s “mind-boggling” transactions.
“What C.T. Leoncio is trying to accomplish in its infrastructure projects is humanly impossible. Does C.T. Leoncio use teleportation technology for its equipment? Kayang trabahuhin ng isang backhoe, dump truck at pay-loader nang sabay-sabay ang higit-kumulang na 20 proyekto na nasa iba’t-ibang parte ng Bicol? Partida, nasa Bulacan pa ang mga equipment sa lagay na iyan,” he said.
This only proves that CT Leoncio is a dummy and was just getting commissions before funneling the funds to Aremar, according to Andaya.
“Several contractors had approached me after the Naga hearing and admitted to me how the system really works. Royalty fee lang daw ang napupunta sa mga ‘triple A’ contractors na nananalo sa mga bidding. Usually, 3 to 5 percent lang daw ito ng total project cost. Karamihan daw sa mga malalaking kontraktor, dummy at namomorsyento na lang sa mga projects,” Andaya explained.
Lorenzo Malasa, resident auditor of Sorsogon-Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), pointed out that reviewing contracts and verifying equipment are not part of his job. He said this is the responsibility of the bids and awards committee technical working group (BAC-TWG).
“Our job is to ensure that the BAC-TWG has done the required procedures in the procurement law. So we rely on (their) post-qualification report,” Malasa said.
“We don’t have the chance to review the same contracts awarded to contractors… We presume the regularity of the documents (being submitted to us by the BAC),” he added.
The House rules panel chair expressed regret over this and maintained Lorenzo was at fault.
“Kaya nakakalusot ‘yung ganito dahil sa kapabayaan mo,” Andaya said.
Unfinished, weak flood-control projects in Sorsogon
Andaya also criticized several unfinished and weak flood-control projects in Sorsogon, which he said was due to the dummy system.
“Ang bulto talaga ng mga proyekto, napupunta sa mga kontraktor sa ibaba na may kapit sa itaas. Kahit hindi kaya, ipinipilit na ipasa sa kanila ang mga proyekto para mapunta ang bulto ng pondo sa kanila. Ang resulta: hindi natatapos sa oras ang mga proyekto. Kung matapos man, minadali at sira agad makalipas ang ilang buwan. Ang ilan, sadyang ginawan ng remedyo para magmukhang flood control project kahit hindi bahain ang lugar,” he said.
(Photos from the slide presentation of Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.)
Andaya has been claiming that several contractors — which cornered billions in pesos of infrastructure projects — are being used as dummies of Aremar Construction Corp., a company owned by Diokno’s in-laws.
Aremar is owned by Maria Minez Hamor, daughter of Casiguran Mayor Jose Edwin Hamor. Edward is the second husband of Sorsogon Vice Gov. Ester Hamor, who is Romeo Sicat Jr.’s mother. Sicat, meanwhile, is married to Charlotte Justin, Diokno’s daughter.
Diokno and Mayor Hamor have dismissed the accusations. The budget chief said the allegations were a mere diversion from the pork barrel issue, while Hamor slammed it as a “scare tactic.”
Andaya started his exposés after Senator Panfilo Lacson alleged that Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got P2.4 billion in “pork barrel” funds while the Camarines Sur congressman got P1.9 billion. Both have denied Lacson’s allegations. /kga
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