House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. has said at least four infrastructure projects amounting to P550 million have been traced to have links to the in-laws of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
Andaya said in a statement: “We have identified at least four joint ventures between Aremar and CT Leoncio in Sorsogon.
“These projects include the P49-million highway improvement for Aruman-Casiguran Road; P96-million construction of Barcelona-Casiguran diversion road; P115-million tourism road leading to Bulusan National Park; and the P289-million Daang Maharlika Section in the 1st District of Sorsogon. “These projects alone cost the taxpayers a total of P550 million.”
Andaya said the House leadership was able to get hold of evidence showing “links between Diokno’s in-laws and the beneficiaries of the infrastructure projects.”
He said his committee would conduct the congressional inquiry into the P10-billion 2018 budget allocated by Diokno’s department to Sorsogon.
Andaya said Jojo Sicat, the son of Casiguran, Sorsogon Mayor Edwin Hamor, is married to Diokno’s daughter. Mayor Edwin’s wife Ester is Sorsogon vice governor.
Andaya, quoting documents they obtained, said Maria Minez Hamor, daughter of Mayor Edwin, owns Aremar Construction Corp. which entered into the above-mentioned four joint ventures with CT Leoncio Construction and Trading, said to be an alleged “favored contractor.”
Andaya earlier disclosed in a privilege speech that CT Leoncio Construction and Trading bagged 30 infrastructure projects in various districts under the 2018 national budget.
He said the said national expenditures also allocated P123 billion for flood control projects or a P50 billion increase from 2017 level.
“Just because it was approved by Congress does not erase the fact that it was Secretary Diokno who approved the allocations for Sorsogon and included them in the NEP [National Expenditure Program]. The DBM secretary has the final say on what projects will be submitted to Congress. Implementing agencies can only recommend to him. That is why each year it is the DBM secretary who personally submits it to Congress,” he added.
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“After trying to hide his scheme with congressional imprimatur, he now goes against the very people he has duped all along,” Andaya said.
Andaya maintained that President Rodrigo Duterte had nothing to do with the controversy involving Diokno.
Andaya added: “Secretary Diokno must not drag President Duterte into this mess. The President has already spoken
“He has no hand in the identification of infrastructure projects inserted by the DBM in the national budget.
“The identification of projects and disbursement of budget allocations is the work of his Cabinet. We in Congress believe that the President is not, in any way, involved in this process.”
A total P6 billion has been allotted for Sorsogon in the proposed budget for 2019.
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