By Ben Rosario
Having allegedly received huge “commissions” from contractors, state officials behind the P75 billion “insertion” in the 2019 national budget, not congressmen, are anxious about President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision on how to treat the re-aligned fund.
Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, Jr., chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said contractors who had already paid kickbacks for the P75 billion worth of infrastructure projects are already upset they might not recover their money.
The questionable allocation had been re-aligned to various programs, including the increase in the budget for congressional projects after Congress found that it was “inserted” in the proposed national expenditure program by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
“The P75-billion insertion had already been peddled to contractors across the country. The amount of commission asked by proponents, however, ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent per project, according to my sources.,” claimed Andaya.
The Bicolano solon said this is the same claim made by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
“These projects had already been bidded out and ready for awarding to the favored contractors once the President signs the 2019 national budget. This was confirmed by DPWH Usec. Ma. Catalina Cabral during her sworn testimony at the House hearing on budget irregularities,” Andaya insisted.
He said contractors who have already paid up the commissions for rigged public biddings may no longer be able to recover their money.
“What I heard, these favored contractors have two choices: renegotiate for the new batch of infrastructure projects or compel the project proponents to return the cash advance in full,” Andaya revealed.
He claimed to have received information that a high ranking government official who is allegedly part of the P75 billion racket was forced to return P200 million in cash advance to a group of Mindanao-based contractors for fear of his life.
“This is the problem that gives Sec. Ben Diokno and his co-conspirators in the P75-billion insertion sleepless nights,” he said.
According to Andaya he has decided to “make so much noise” about the issue because it will be Diokno who will be tasked to “craft the budget veto message for the President’s signature.”
“I do not want the President to get bum advice from Sec. Diokno and his fellow conspirators,” said the House official.
He revealed that the insertion of the P75 billion additional allocation for infrastructure projects was a carefully planned operation of Diokno and his staff, DBM Undersecretary Amanah Pangandaman.
“Usec. Pangandaman was named by her fellow conspirator, Engr. Glenn Degal, a senior programmer assigned at the DPWH-Planning Service,” disclosed Andaya.
He accused Pangandaman and Degal of being “directly responsible for generating and eventually encoding” the unvetted DPWH projects’ in the NEP last July 12, 2018.