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House committee to start probe into DBM, Sorsogon contracts

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Benjamin E. Diokno
Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno

THE House Rules Committee will start on Thursday its investigation into the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in relation to the award of certain infrastructure contracts in Sorsogon.

House Majority Leader Rolando G. Andaya, Jr. said the probe is expected to also uncover the involvement of other government offices and agencies.

“A lot will be revealed tomorrow. C. T. Leoncio is just a starting point,” Mr. Andaya told BusinessWorld in a phone message, Wednesday, referring to a construction firm that allegedly won many contracts improperly.

“This will spill over to other departments and other funding sources; in all of which DBM plays a key role.”

The investigation centers on the P325 million worth of flood mitigation projects in the proposed 2019 National Budget which were allocated to Casiguran, Sorsogon.

They include the Himaoyon Flood Control project (P75 million); the Lungib Seawall and Embankment (P80 million); the Somal-ot Seawall and Embankment (P100 million); the Cagpagol River Control project (P45 million); and the Suji River Control project (P25 million).




Mr. Andaya questioned the propriety of awarding the projects in light of Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno’s family connections to the province’s Hamor family, a member of which is Mayor of Casiguran.

Mr. Diokno, meanwhile, said he will not be attending the investigation. “As far as I know, I have not received an invitation. I’m still abroad. DBM’s regional director was invited,” he told BusinessWorld in a phone message Wednesday.

The Committee will also look into the infrastructure projects awarded to Bulacan-based sole proprietorship C. T. Leoncio Construction and Trading.

Mr. Andaya said the panel has identified joint venture agreements between C. T. Leoncio and Hamor-owned Aremar Construction Corp. — Charmaine A. Tadalan

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