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Ex-Duterte Cabinet official behind P300M ‘parking scam’ in Bicol, Andaya says

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House Majority Floor Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. on Sunday hinted that a former cabinet of official of the Duterte administration was behind the alleged “parking” of at least P300-million worth of infrastructure project in the Bicol Region under the proposed 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP).

In a statement, Andaya said that a local mayor approached him over the weekend and intimated that “a former cabinet official now seeking an elective seat” was responsible for placing the said multi-million worth of government projects under the next year’s national budget which Congress has yet to approve.

According to Andaya, the local chief executive who requested not to be named in the meantime, disclosed that the former cabinet member parked the allocation in flood-mitigation projects for the region.

“Anytime ire-release na raw ang pondo. Nag site visitation na (according to the mayor),” said Andaya.

Andaya disclosed that more local government executives want to seek an audience with him to shed light on the so-called “parking scam” in the budget allocations in the region.”

“Lumapit sa akin ang mayor dahil ngayon lang daw nila naiintindihan ang mga nangyayari. Pumayag sila sa parking scheme dahil para rin naman daw sa benepisyo ng mga constituents ang mga proyekto. Nililinaw lang nila na hindi daw sila kumita sa mga proyektong ito,” said Andaya.

Andaya who chairs the powerful House committee on rules will begin its investigation on the budget anomalies and anomalous allocations in the 2019 NEP on January 3. We will include these allegations in our investigation.

He stressed that the parking scheme, facilitated by the DBM, may eventually explain the huge spike allocated to flood mitigation projects from 2017 to 2018.

“From P79 billion in 2017, the budget for flood mitigation projects ballooned to a whooping P133 billion. Ibig sabihin, P54 billion ang nadagdag sa mga pondong ito,” said Andaya.

Several of these flood-control projects according to Andaya have been given to C.T. Leoncio Constructions and Trading—in which, its owner is reportedly a close confidante of Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno’s in-laws, the Hamor Family of Sorsogon.

On Saturday, Andaya revealed that Maria Minez Hamor, owner Aremar Construction Corporation has at least four joint ventures with C.T. Leoncio.

These projects according o the House official include the P49-million highway improvement for Aruman-Casiguran Road; P96-million construction of Barcelona-Casiguran diversion road; P115-million tourism road leading to Bulusan National Park; and the P289-million Daang Maharlika Section in the first district of Sorsogon.

“These projects alone cost the taxpayers a total of P550 million. Nag-uumpisa pa lamang ang aming imbestigasyon. Ito pa lamang ang mga paunang datos na nakukuha namin,” said Andaya.