Budget ‘scam’ probe starts

Rolando Andaya Jr.
Rolando Andaya Jr.

THE House Committee on Rules chaired by Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. will begin today its congressional inquiry into the cash-based budgeting system as well as alleged budget insertion.

The hearing is set at Avenue Plaza Hotel in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

In a statement, Andaya said the hearing will focus on the questionable budget practices of the Department of Budget and Management under the leadership of Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

Andaya had claimed insertions amounting to billions in the budget for 2019, including funding for some flood control projects, , were given to a favored province.

Aside from Andaya, among the House Members who are expected to attend are Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Rodante Marcoleta, Reps. Anthony Bravo and Alfredo Garbin, Jr.

Resource persons from C.T. Leoncio Construction and Trading, DPWH Region V and other district officials were subpoenaed by the Andaya panel.

The resource persons were expected to shed light on the so-called flood control scam and other anomalous transactions involving multi-billion-peso infrastructure projects in Sorsogon province.

Among those subpoenaed were Ms. Consolacion Leoncio, owner of C.T. Leoncio; and DPWH officials Engrs. Virgilio Eduarte, Danilo Verzola, Ignacio Odiaman, Wilfredo Flores, Larry Reyes, Merla Raveche, Jorge Gorimbao, Victor Azupardo, Gil Augustus Balmadrid, Noland Claro Guerrero; Ms. Malou Lacuna, Mr. Renato de Vera, and Dr. Elenita Tan.

“We expect the attendance and full cooperation of these people in the House investigation. The House will not hesitate to issue arrest orders should those subpoenaed refuse to appear in our congressional hearings,” Andaya said.

“We also expect Ms. Leoncio and the DPWH officials to bring with them copies of transaction documents involving the infrastructure projects in question,” he added.

These projects were included in the P75 billion inserted by the DBM in the NEP submitted to Congress.