Saturday, November 15, 2014

LP: No more reason to pursue ICC Senate probe

MANILA-Liberal Party Secretary General and Samar Congressman Mel Senen Sarmiento today said that there nothing more to investigate on the alleged overpricing of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) after the alleged whistle-blower could only present the “wikipedia” as the basis of his claim.
Sarmiento said that when the supposed explosive revelations former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada Jr. turned out to be nothing but baseless innuendos, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee has no more reason to continue its probe on the ICC which would be one of the main venues of next year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
He added that it is also too obvious that the alleged conspiracy among Senate President Franklin Drilon, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez purportedly to jack up the actual cost of the building was a conclusion made by Mejorada based on mere assumptions and faulty calculations.
“The only basis of Mejorada in claiming that there was overpricing on the construction of the ICC is the wikipedia and flawed mathematical formula. It would be a real waste of time and money for the Senate to continue investigating this kind of an allegation, “ Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento added that it is also wrong to draw a comparison between the allegations of corruption in ICC and the Makati Parking Building because unlike Mejorada’s claims, the allegations made by former Makati Vice-Mayor Ernesto Mercado was supported not only by witnesses but also by documentary evidence and evaluation by engineering and architectural experts.
“ Even at the beginning of the Senate probe, the allegations made against Vice-president Binay and his family are based on testimonies, documents that even include pictures and the expert opinion of third-part experts. The ICC case on the other hand was only based on the say-so of a disgruntled former provincial government employee who can only present the wikipedia as an evidence,” Sarmiento said.
“Clearly, the Senate must continue the probe on the allegations of corruption in Makati but there’s no reason to do the same in the case of the ICC,” he added.
Iloilo City congressman Jerry Treñas on other hand said that the ploy of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to use the allegations of overpricing of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC)  as a diversion for their top official  has “completely backfired,” when the political operator behind the charges admitted to the Senate that he had no evidence to back his claims.
Treñas said that UNA’s support of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probe had instead “just showed the public the stark contrast between the actions of Senate President Drilon and Vice President Binay in response to the accusations against them.”
“Mejorada, in his attempt to peddle fabrications, has tagged  Iloilo City in all sorts of vile and malicious controversies,  and yet is empty-handed when asked for material evidence. Mejorada and his political backers, ought to be ashamed of dragging our hometown and its people, just so they could further their own selfish motives,” Treñas stressed.
Treñas also cited  “the display of professionalism and integrity under intense scrutiny” by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, who were invited in the hearing along with Drilon, shows “the true-meaning of the tuwid na daan” politics of the current administration.
“Both Secretaries Singson and Jimenez explained every question that was asked from them by the senators in a manner that was respectable, enlightening and easily understood by the public. It is clear that these are reputable people who are working with the President in his platforms, and they have nothing to hide, and have no reason to fear and evade public scrutiny.”  Treñas said.


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