Drilon pooh-poohs Syjuco’s latest ‘frivolous,’ ‘malicious’ raps
MANILA, Philippines—Senate President Franklin Drilon shrugged off on Tuesday the new charges filed against him by his nemesis, former Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr., whom he described as someone who has a “penchant for filing frivolous, malicious, and baseless allegations” against him.
“This is not new to me. Mr. Syjuco has a penchant for filing frivolous, malicious, and baseless allegations against me. In fact, only a few days ago the Commission on Elections junked his vote-buying case against me for lack of evidence,” Drilon said in a statement.
“As far as the COA (Commission on Audit) report is concerned, all funds are accounted for. The school buildings have been constructed at half the cost of government school building program,” he said.
“In fact, these 1,600 classrooms I have built since 2002 in partnership with the Federation of Chinese and Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) are now being used in various parts of the country,” Drilon added.
Drilon was referring to the COA’s recent finding that P75 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) remains unaccounted for. The COA report was used by Syjuco in filing plunder and graft charges against Drilon at the Office of the Ombudsman.
But Drilon said the matter raised in the COA report only pertained to the validation of the liquidation report submitted by the FFCCCII.
“As early as April 2014, the FFCCCII has been in constant coordination with the COA and the Department of Public Works and Highway to address the matter,” said the Senate leader.
Drilon’s office then released a statement from the Dr. Fernando Gan, secretary-general of the FFCCCII, saying that the funds were “properly and judiciously used” and went to the construction of various school building around the country.
Gan clarified that the issue only pertained to the delay in the submission of additional documents being required by the COA.
“What is important is the fact that the funds were not missing, nor misused. Every centavo of the Priority Development Assistance Fund requested for by Senator Drilon was all accounted for. The classrooms have been constructed, and now are being used in various parts of the country,” said Gan.
He pointed out that Drilon and the FFCCCII have been in partnership since 2002 to address classroom shortage in the country. The partnership, he said, resulted in the construction of 1,600 classrooms all over the country, which were built at half the cost of the ones being built by the government.
Gan explained that the delay in the submission of the required documents was due to a change in the COA policy, wherein it asked for the submission of additional supporting documents which previously were not part of the requirements.
As early as April 2014, Gan said, the FFCCCII had written a letter to the COA inviting them to do a joint inspection of the school building which were constructed through Drilon’s PDAF.
“We will settle the matter and we will continue in our advocacy of building classrooms nationwide in order to our share in solving the classroom shortages in the country,” he said.
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