Ombudsman probe of budget ‘anomaly’ seen

Rolando Andaya Jr.

Ombudsman field investigators have asked to see evidence –– Andaya.

THE Office of the Ombudsman has shown interest in investigating the alleged anomalies in the flood control projects funded by the national budget.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., said that field investigators of the Ombudsman want to start their own probe into the issue.

Andaya said investigators have started coordinating with the House of Representatives, particularly the House rules committee which initiated the inquiry on the questionable flood control projects given to Sorsogon by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

“Some of these investigators have already made contact with the House rules committee. They are requesting copies of testimonial and documentary evidence, which our committee generated during the public hearing in Naga City,” Andaya said.

The committee last week conducted a House inquiry into Diokno’s alleged giving of flood control funds amounting to billions of pesos to local executives of Casiguran, Sorsogon who happen to be his in-laws.

According to Andaya, the Office of the Ombudsman has noticed red flags of corruption in the evidence presented and the testimonies made during the hearing.

“We have seen these red flags of corruption ourselves, and we are sure that these will not evade the eagle eyes of the country’s graftbusters,” Andaya said.

The House rules committee will cooperate with the Office of the Ombudsman.

“We will provide them with all the documents requested. The evidence that keeps on piling up with the Rules committee is all public record. The testimonies of our resource persons were made under oath in a public hearing,” he added.

The committee will have another hearing when session resumes next week. Diokno and officers of the controversial contractors CT Leoncio and Aremar will be summoned.

“From the very start, we cautioned those we subpoenaed and other resource persons on the nature of our investigation. We want the truth from them, nothing more, nothing less. Some of them were even accompanied by lawyers, who assisted them when answering queries from congressmen,” Andaya said.

“We have elicited a number of candid remarks from those we subpoenaed, including the owner of C.T. Leoncio Construction and field officials of the DPWH in Bicol. May mga ilang isyu pa silang tinatago at ayaw aminin pero alam na natin ang mga ito batay sa mga dokumentong hawak namin. Alam namin kung sino ang nagsisinungaling at sino ang hindi,” Andaya stressed.

The House leader said the Ombudsman’s entry into the probe encourages the House to dig deeper into the flood control scam and other questionable budget practices under Diokno.