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With contractors ‘upset,’ Diokno having ‘sleepless nights’ over P75B insertion — Andaya

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House committee on appropriations chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. on Monday said Budget Secretary Ben Diokno is troubled by upset contractors “who already paid ‘commissions’ for the P75-billion infrastructure projects inserted by the DBM in the NEP (National Expenditure Program).”

He said in a statement that this was the reason Diokno was pushing for a presidential veto allowing the restoration of the P75 billion insertion in the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019 after Congress realigned the amount for other purposes.

Now, contractors with whom the DBM already arranged the unfunded infrastructure projects were upset about their “cash advances” going to nothing, Andaya said.

“Ang problema rito, malabo nang makuha ng mga nanalong bidders ang mga proyektong kasama sa P75-billion insertion. Nauwi sa bula ang mga proyektong binayaran nila through cash advance,” he said.

“What I heard, these favored contractors have two choices: renegotiate for new batch of infrastructure projects or compel the project proponents to return the cash advance in full. Kung hindi isasauli ang pera, puwedeng manganib ang buhay ng suwapang na project proponent,” Andaya said.

This, he said, is “the problem that gives Sec. Ben Diokno and his co-conspirators in the P75-billion insertion sleepless nights.”

“They had to appease favored contractors who advanced billions of pesos in commissions even before winning the bidding of the DPWH projects. Their only choice: restore the P75-billion insertion through a veto message,” Andaya said.

He earlier said Diokno and Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles were orchestrating the restoration of the P75-billion through President Rodrigo Duterte’s expected veto message on the 2019 budget.

Congress ratified the budget last Friday.

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