Basis of allegation vs Drilon: Data from Wikipedia
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - November 13, 2014 - 3:59pm

MANILA, Philippines - Former provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada admitted on Thursday that he has no evidence on the alleged overpricing of the P747-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC).

During the first Senate Blue Ribbon hearing on the controversy, Mejorada said he has no evidence proving that Senate President Franklin Drilon conspired with other officials to make the ICC overpriced and earn kickbacks from it.

"I have to admit that right now, there is no evidence because I have no subpoena powers," Mejorada told the Senate panel.

Mejorada said he based his overpricing claim on Drilon's statements regarding the project.

He added that as an investigative journalist, he also relied on published records and online sources such as Wikipedia.

Mejorada admitted that he used data from Wikipedia to compute for the ideal cost of the ICC.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson said the agency could have given relevant data to Mejorada if he asked for it so that he won't rely on Wikipedia.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez also criticized Mejorada for using Wikipedia, a user-generated source.

"Because this is a forum of professionals and very serious people, I would urge everyone, please, do not use Wikipedia as an argument," he said.

The hearing on the ICC stemmed from Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago's resolution seeking a probe on the alleged anomalous transactions between certain local government units and Hilmarc's Construction Corp.

Hilmarc's is the contractor of the ICC and the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall II parking building.

Santiago's resolution cited reports that the ICC is overpriced by P531 million with a cost of P109,375 per square meter based on a floor area of 6,400 square meters.

Drilon's pork barrel funds in 2012 and the Disbursement Acceleration Program allegedly funded the ICC.

Mejorada, who claimed that the project's bidding was rigged, had filed plunder complaints against Drilon, Singson and Jimenez, who all denied the corruption allegations.

CONSTRUCTION CORP DISBURSEMENT ACCELERATION PROGRAM DRILON HILMARC ICC ILOILO CONVENTION CENTER MAKATI CITY HALL MANUEL MEJORADA MEJORADA MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO WIKIPEDIA
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