Drilon won’t mind further probe of Iloilo building
MANILA, Philippines–Senate President Franklin Drilon won’t mind if the Senate continues with its investigation into the alleged overpriced P700-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) but made it clear that the first hearing last week did not yield any proof of any corruption.
Interviewed on ANC, Drilon admitted Tuesday that the ICC controversy where he was facing a plunder complaint before the Ombudsman had hurt him, having no record of any graft cases filed against him before the Sandiganbayan in his 25 years in government service.
But he said it was clear from last week’s four-hour-long Senate hearing that his accuser, former Iloilo official Manuel Mejorada, had no evidence of corruption in the ICC project as he earlier alleged.
“Well, arguments are not evidence. You can allege this and that but is there proof of corruption? There is none,” Drilon said.
He likewise noted that Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, who both appeared at the Senate blue ribbon hearing last week, had stood by the ICC as being above board.
The ICC is being built inside Megaworld’s P25-billion Iloilo Business Park in Iloilo City for the senior ministerial meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) in September next year.
‘Complete waste of time’
Drilon said that the Senate hearing was a “complete waste of time” and a waste of people’s money, as he chided Mejorada for admitting he was basing his allegation from information he got from Wikepedia.
Still, he said it was up to the Senate to determine whether it will conduct another hearing on the ICC.
“But… I am willing to support to continue this investigation, to support this investigation if it continues,” the Senate President said.
Drilon also reiterated that the timing of the allegations against him was “suspect” as he noted that it came at a time not too long ago when Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay asked why the ICC was not being investigated like the Makati City parking building that was alleged to be overpriced.
“It’s up to the people to conclude,” he added.
The Binays, particularly Vice President Jejomar Binay, are at the center of controversy for several months now after former allies accused them of corruption during their watch as mayors of Makati City.
The Vice President had earlier accused Drilon’s Liberal Party of being behind the political attacks against him.