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The accuser of Senate President Franklin Drilon admitted Thursday that he had no evidence of personalities benefiting from the alleged overpricing of the P700-million Iloilo Convention Center.
“I have to admit that right now there is no evidence because I don’t have subpoena powers. But there was paper trail that will bring us to conclusion that there was somebody orchestrating all this,” former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada said at the hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
He made the statement during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing when asked by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara what was his evidence for saying that government officials conspired to jack up the construction price of ICC and benefited from it.
Mejorada cited a letter sent to the Department of Tourism informing the latter about the second failed bidding.
“The Bids and Awards Committee was so efficient that they were able to do a report immediately on the failed bidding. The next day, around 9:30 am, it already reached the office of (Tourism Secretary Ramon) Jimenez. Who was in a hurry to bring this document and taking shortcuts along the way,” he asked.
Angara asked him if he really thought that someone benefited from the project just because of the fast-paced procedures.
“Ang tingin ko napakabilis ng takbo ng papeles at may paglabag sa procurement law. It gives big opportunities for corruption,” he said.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV then asked him for his basis on saying there was overpricing.
“Sa Makati building, may appraiser na recognized and acknowledged expert na ginamit. Sa inyo ano?” the senator said.
Mejorada replied: “I’m an investigative journalist, I rely on public records, especially published online sources.”
He even cited a Wikipedia article when asked how much the building should cost.
Trillanes told him to provide documents to convince the committee and the public of his allegations.
“Because of the figures involved here, architects in Iloilo are afraid to speak out but they whispered to me,” Mejorada said. —NB, GMA News