MANILA, Philippines - After being implicated in the allegedly overpriced P111 billion Philippine Bridge's Program two weeks ago, Ang Kasangga Rep. Teodorico Haresco broke his silence and hit back at principal accuser Senator Sergio Osmeña III.
In a privilege speech at the House of Representatives, Haresco said the senator has been protecting a British firm that the Commission on Audit has accused of padding P10 billion to its bridge project in the country.
He challenged Osmeña to file court cases or push the Ombudsman investigate him instead of using the Senate in allegedly persecuting him and trying to bully him.
Entitled “To Serge With Love”, the privilege speech described as a "decoy" Osmeña's personal attacks against him to hide the "criminal" intent of British Supplier, Balfour Cleveland "aka, Balfour Beatty, aka Cleveland Bridges UK" to defraud taxpayers and the Philippine government because of its poor performance that resulted in P10 billion cost overruns.
Balfour, he said, is the same firm that COA assailed in its annual audit reports on the bridge projects for incurring P10 billion cost overrun for the 242 out of 256 bridges built at the original cost of P2.48 billion.
He revealed that Balfour's per lineal meter cost soared from P555,000 to P1.088 million due to overruns.
Haresco also tagged Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Project Management Office Director Ramon Cacatian and another DPWH official for conniving with Balfour Cleveland.
He said Cacatian, now subject of a lifestyle check, has been a frequent visitor of Osmeña.
Despite its poor performance, Haresco said he is puzzled why Balfour was not investigated.
Instead, Osmeña has been targeting Mabey and Johnson, another British bridge maker, for Senate investigation.
According to Haresco, Mabey and Johnson has built many Philippine bridges without asking for additional cost from the government, thus, saving the latter over P2.2 billion "equivalent to 150 more bridges and two more flyovers."
The privilege speech also touched on Osmeña's stalking of Haresco, who has recently announced his decision to run for the lone congressional seat in Aklan.
Haresco said a certain Bettina Garcia, reportedly a close friend of Osmeña, was also eyeing the same position.