MANILA - Malacañang on Sunday expressed hope that a proposed Senate inquiry into 2 "Build, Build, Build" projects would not serve "political grandstanding purposes" ahead of the midterm elections.
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima called for the investigation, saying some 180,000 families in Manila could be displaced by the construction of the P171-billion North-South Commuter Railway Project, and a P23-billion road that will connect the North and South Luzon expressways.
"We only hope that this inquiry initiated by the lady senator is truly in aid of legislation and not for political grandstanding purposes only, as she has the habit of doing," Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
"Election season has arrived and with the President's ratings remaining high, the political opposition's recourse is to score political brownie points by foisting demolition and relocation, both gut issues on the part of the urban poor, to attack the President," he added.
Feasibility studies have been conducted on the projects' impact on the economy and the living conditions of affected residents, said Panelo.
Even so, relevant agency heads will attend the Senate inquiry if they are called as resource persons, "not only as a courtesy to a co-equal branch of the government but also to inform the public that these projects are definitely in order," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers laid out the P8-trillion Build, Build, Build plan to bring Philippine infrastructure to a "golden age."
The Duterte government spent P352.7 billion on infrastructure in the January to June period, up 42 percent from the same period in 2017 and 4 percent above target.