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PACC to probe infra funds use

Panfilo Lacson
Senator Panfilo Lacson

FOLLOWING Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s expose that each congressman can get about P650 million up to P15 billion worth of infrastructure funds from the 2021 national budget the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) warned it will press on with its investigation into the anomalous use of the infrastructure outlay.

The PACC will look into the collusion between some congressmen with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to receive kickbacks from infrastructure projects and the results of the investigation will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte.

PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said they will ask Senator Lacson for the list of infrastructure projects in the districts of the lawmakers and they will be on the lookout for any irregularities in the implementation especially of the big ticket projects funded with billions of pesos in government money.

“We will scrutinize the DPWH budget, we will investigate the anomalous transactions. Our jurisdiction covers presidential appointees, but it was during the course of investigation that some congressmen were implicated. Not all but some. Trabaho lang po kami. Kung ano po ang lumabas sa aming imbestigasyon ‘yun lang ang aming ire-report. Walang pilian, walang diinan, sa totoo lang. Tama po ang Pangulo na wala kaming jurisdiction sa congressmen kaya kung may makuha kaming involvement ng mga congressman sa aming imbestigasyon ay ipapasa namin sa Ombudsman at sa Task Force for proper investigation,” explained Belgica.

In their initial report to President Duterte, Belgica said they pinpointed the erring lawmakers and this is still what they will do.

He added that the PACC will cooperate with the office of the Ombudsman if necessary to prosecute the corrupt congressmen.

President Duterte earlier said he will not name the congressmen in the PACC report because they are not within his jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, he will pass on the PACC report to the Department of Justice and Office of the Ombudsman for the laying of strong charges against the errant government officials.

The PACC confirmed that the congressmen receive from 10% to 15% commission from infra projects being implemented by the DPWH.

With some congressmen getting huge commissions and corrupt contractors and district engineers getting their own share, Belgica said only almost 50% is left for the project resulting in many substandard projects.

Lacson also has said that many contractors are complaining of pressure from lawmakers demanding their kickbacks.

Meanwhile Lacson said he is pursuing his effort to stop the astronomical infrastructure budgets of the lawmakers.

Although the Senate has wrapped up the period of debates on the P4.5 trillion 2021 national budget, Lacson said this does not mean that the insertions made by the leadership of the House of Representatives have slipped through.

He said it is still possible to amend and he will continue to question at the bicameral committee meeting the insertions in the budget.

Lacson earlier revealed that they spotted the huge infrastructure budget of the House when Speaker Lord Allan Velasco assumed his post, citing as example one district whose original P9 billion fund ballooned to P15 billion with the change in leadership of the House of Representatives.