Manila, Philippines – The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee conducts its first hearing on the allegedly overpriced Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) on Thursday and Senate President Franklin Drilon would be part of the probe.
With all the eyes on the Makati City Parking Building in the past three months, the P700 million ICC, a pet project of Drillon, will be at the heart of the investigation headed by Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III.
Drillon and other government officials face plunder charges before the Ombudsman on the alleged overpriced of the construction costs of the ICC, which will host the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in 2015.
Publick Work and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. are some of the big names who are expected to show up on the hearing.
“I will appear only to manifest my inhibition. But will answer any and all questions not only in the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing, but in any forum. I welcome the investigation, and I support the investigation, ” Drillon told reporters on Monday.
According to Philstar, other resource speakers invited in by the Blue Ribbon Committee are 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.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was the one who sought for an investigation into the alleged anomalous ICC building. In Senate Resolution 906, Santiago noted the ICC was funded partly out of Senate President Franklin Drilon’s P200 million allocation from PDAF in 2012 and P100 million from DAP in 2013.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing live stream is available here, which starts at 10:00 AM.