P15-B pocketed from President's Bridge Program - Osmeña

By Henry Omaga Diaz. ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 22 2012 05:19 PM | Updated as of Oct 23 2012 04:25 PM

Steel bridges don’t make sense - DPWH

MANILA - Senator Sergio Osmeña III believes that various heads of concerned agencies, including the Office of the President under its then chief Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, pocketed more than P15 billion from the President’s Bridge Program.

After a Senate hearing on Monday, Osmeña told the media that these officials should be charged for violating the anti-graft law.

During the hearing, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said that having short steel bridges on a rice field "doesn’t make any sense.”

Out of 1,500 bridges under the program, 90% are short-span or under 35 meters long.

Osmeña earlier claimed the bridge program was the “grandmother of all scams” that can rival other scandals during Arroyo’s term. http://rp2.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/09/17/12/osme%C3%B1-links-gma-%E2%80%98grandmother-all-scams%E2%80%99

He said, “these P111 billion serial scams are 8 times the [NBN] ZTE contract and 5 times the North Rail contract.”

He said Arroyo and other officials formulated a complex scheme pushed up the costs of the bridges beyond fair market prices.

These were disguised as “local expenses,” which averaged 16% to 21% of the total project cost amounting to around P20 billion, he alleged.

Mrs. Arroyo's spokesperson, Elena Bautista Horn, earlier belied Osmeña's accusations, saying the bridge program "spans four administrations."

"Tandaan po natin na dumaan sa masusing proseso ang lahat ng kontratang ito. Kaya di lamang ang dating pangulo ang pinaparatangan ni Sen. Osmeña, kundi ang mga nakaraan at kasalukuyang pangulo, ang mga ibang gobyerno gaya ng Britanya at Pransia, pati ang daan-daang mga tapat at marangal na kawani na nagaral ng mga proyekto," she said.