MANILA - The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability has started looking into the alleged excessive and irregular procurement of P1.15 billion worth of Marine Enviromental Equipment and Lighthouse spare parts purchased during the Arroyo administration.
These purchases were made for the Philippine Coast Guard by then-Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Leandro Mendoza.
However, during Tuesday's hearing, DOTC Assistant Secretary Dante Lantin, said that the department is still waiting for the results of the fraud audit of the Commission on Audit (COA).
But based on their initial study, the transactions made were aboveboard, and that there were no irregularities found.
He said that the purchases of the equipment were needed, and that the lighthouse spare parts left in the warehouse of the DOTC will soon be used as replacement parts for lighthouses all over the country.
Rear Admiral Lino Dabi, Vice Commandant for administration of the Philippine Coast Guard, said they were just the recipients of the parts and had nothing to do with the purchase.
He said that they agree with the position taken by the DOTC.
The statements made by the DOTC and PCG, however, did not satisfy Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño who called for the investigation.
He insisted that the DOTC, during the time of Mendoza, committed irregularities by using a 2-year-old expired Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the purchase of more than P319 million worth of oil spill equipment in 2009, and buying more than 500 million worth of lighthouse parts that the PCG does not need.
He said that the COA and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) already made their findings and that it is up to the present DOTC officials to act on it.
Casiño wants Mendoza and other former officials of the DOTC to be invited to the next hearing to explain their side.