Miriam wants Drilon critic invited to Senate probe
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - November 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate Blue Ribbon committee will hold its first hearing on the allegedly overpriced Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) today and one of the political enemies of Senate President Franklin Drilon has expressed desire to testify.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago gave notice to Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, Blue Ribbon chairman, about the desire of former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco Jr. to attend the hearing so he could testify against Drilon.

Santiago cited a handwritten letter that Syjuco sent, requesting for her help to enable him to participate in the hearing.

“In an open letter to all senators, Mr. Syjuco charges Senate President Franklin Drilon with the overprice by some P5 billion of certain Iloilo public works projects and with beneficial ownership of a Forbes Park home since 2004,” Santiago said in her letter to Guingona.

“I trust your discretion on whether Mr. Syjuco should be invited and allowed to participate in tomorrow’s hearing,” she added.

As of yesterday afternoon, the Blue Ribbon committee has only invited Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada, Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. president Robert Henson, Hilmarc’s chairman Efren Canlas, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority COO Mark Lapid, Government Procurement Policy Board executive director Dennis Santiago, Commission on Audit commissioner Jose Fabia, and Rodulfo Ariesga of the COA Technical Services Office.

In the letter that Syjuco sent Santiago, he alleged that Drilon was involved in graft and corruption for several decades with regard to some projects in Iloilo.

Syjuco accused Drilon of using his position to direct local government units and government offices on which projects would be implemented, who would win the bidding and who would get kickbacks.

Syjuco noted that he has filed 11 cases against Drilon, 10 of which were for plunder.

He said Drilon should face his accusers during the hearing so that he could answer the charges raised against him.

Drilon has stated that he would inhibit from the hearings but if needed, he would answer any questions that may be asked regarding the ICC project.

AUGUSTO SYJUCO JR. BLUE RIBBON CONSTRUCTION CORP DENNIS SANTIAGO DRILON EFREN CANLAS FORBES PARK ILOILO MR. SYJUCO SYJUCO
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