MANILA - The Senate is set to investigate the illegal occupation of housing units in Pandi, Bulacan despite President Rodrigo Duterte's order to hand them over to members of urban poor group Kadamay, Sen. JV Ejercito said Wednesday.
Ejercito, chair of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing, and Resettlement, said the Kadamay takeover of the Bulacan housing project must not set a precedent, where a group may just occupy government housing units meant for other beneficiaries.
The Pandi project was built to house families of police officers and soldiers, and residents resettled from perilous waterways.
"While I appreciate President Duterte's heart for the poor and the homeless... Government projects should not be held hostage in order to justify anyone's need for shelter, unless in times of calamity," Ejercito said in a statement.
The Senate inquiry set on April 18 seeks to "know those accountable for the neglect of the housing projects and where the funds were funneled," Ejercito said.
Officials will also be asked to explain why a number of housing projects by the National Housing Authority remain substandard, and are unoccupied and fragmented, he said.
In an interview meanwhile, Sen. Richard Gordon also slammed the President for giving protesters a "ticket to anarchy."
"Kinukuha yung bahay na ginagawa ng NHA, ibibigay mo dun sa mga nanggugulo. (They are taking homes built by the NHA and give them to those sowing chaos). Bad signal, Mr. President... That’s a ticket to what you call anarchy... These people are not above the law, and we should not do that," Gordon said in an interview on ANC's Headstart Wednesday.
--- with reports from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News.