MANILA – Twelve incumbent congressmen allegedly received kickbacks from the government’s public works projects, with some receiving up to 15 percent of the budget for infra projects, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission bared Wednesday.
PACC commissioner Greco Belgica, in an interview with Teleradyo, revealed that a lawmaker allegedly received a P10-million payola after a project contractor came to their office to report the incident.
“May isang proyekto na P100 million. Hinihingan daw siya. Hindi daw siya papasukin sa distrito na ‘yun pagka hindi siya nakipag-ayos,” he said.
(There was a project worth P100 million. He was asked for bribe. He was told he would not be allowed to enter the district if there’s no kickback.)
Meanwhile, some congressmen are allegedly pocketing from 5 to 15 percent of the budget of government infrastructure projects, Belgica added. The PACC was also able to gather evidence that could implicate the involved lawmakers.
“Meron tayong mga hawak pero kailangan itong imbestigahan at patibayan... Trabaho namin is to put a solid case that will stand in court,” he said.
(We have evidence but it still needs to be investigated and strengthened… Our work is to put a solid case that will stand in court.)
Belgica said the list had been submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte, which would be forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman.
The PACC is tasked to investigate and hear cases primarily involving graft and corruption against all presidential appointees and not elected officials.
“Ang heads up ko lang, hindi pa tapos. We will formally investigate, do this properly, correctly, professionally, na walang diinan, walang sisiraan. ‘Yung totoo lang,” he said.
(The investigation is not yet finished. We will formally investigate, do this properly, correctly, professionally, without maligning anyone. Just seeking for truth.)
Asked if some of the lawmakers accused are close to Duterte, Belgica had this to say.
“I'm not privy to their relationships to the President and it is immaterial to me... when you get into corruption, hiwalay tayo (let’s separate it). Ganun ‘yung standard namin (It’s our standard),” he said.
SHOULD LAWMAKERS BE NAMED?
Justice Usec. Adrian Sugay said it would be up to the president to reveal the identities of the 12 congressmen.
Sugay said that, like every taxpayer, he would like to know who these lawmakers were.
"Gusto ko ring malaman, kasi ang pinag-uusapan riyan ay bilyon bilyon lalo na sa DPWH," he said in an interview on Teleradyo Wednesday.
(I'd like to know who there are because we are talking about billions of pesos here especially when concerning about DPWH projects.)
Sugay said the president was disturbed by the involvement of the congressmen, whose identities would eventually be revealed if Duterte were to forward the case to the Office of the Ombudsman.
"What the president can do, he can really endorse it directly to the Ombudsman para maibestigahan itong allegation sa 12 congressmen," the undersecretary said.
"Once na idiniretso sa Ombudman 'yan this will be a matter of public record yan. Kasi iisyuhan ng subpoena ang mga iyan para sumagot."
(What the president can do is endorse it to the Office of the Ombudsman for investigation. Once it is forwarded it will be a matter of public record since the Ombudsman will issue subpoena.)
Belgica earlier said public works projects were either substandard or incomplete because only 50 percent of the funds remain due to corruption.
In his weekly briefing with Cabinet secretaries Monday, Duterte clarified he had no authority to investigate lawmakers accused of corruption because they belonged to the legislature. He has directed PACC to submit the list to the Ombudsman.
In October, the President issued a memorandum directing the Department of Justice to look into anomalies in state agencies until the end of his term in 2022.