CELEBRATING THE SENATE’S 97th ANNIVERSARY. Senate President Franklin M. Drilon addresses Senate officials and employees during the Senate’s flag raising ceremony Monday, October 21. Drilon took the opportunity to thank everyone for what he calls a “selfless act” in deciding to forego plans to celebrate the annual Christmas Party in favor of donating the funds to the victims of recent calamities that struck Visayas and Mindanao. The Senate, which is also celebrating its 97th Anniversary, has also decided to allocate the budget for the anniversary to the victims of the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu. (MNS photo)

CELEBRATING THE SENATE’S 97th ANNIVERSARY. Senate President Franklin M. Drilon addresses Senate officials and employees during the Senate’s flag raising ceremony Monday, October 21. Drilon took the opportunity to thank everyone for what he calls a “selfless act” in deciding to forego plans to celebrate the annual Christmas Party in favor of donating the funds to the victims of recent calamities that struck Visayas and Mindanao. The Senate, which is also celebrating its 97th Anniversary, has also decided to allocate the budget for the anniversary to the victims of the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — The Senate blue ribbon committee has started gathering documents in connection with its planned investigation into the allegedly overpriced pet project of Senate President Franklin Drilon in Iloilo City.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the committee, sent separate letters dated November 3, 2014 to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, and former Iloilo Provincial Administrator Manuel Mejorada, asking them to furnish the committee documents relevant to the issue.

“Among the allegations in the said resolution is that the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) is overpriced by P531 million,” Guingona said in his letter, referring to the resolution filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago seeking a Senate inquiry into the alleged overpricing of the ICC.

“In relation thereto, may we be furnished documents relevant to this allegation. We will appreciate it very much if the documents are submitted to us before the endif this week,” he added.

The committee though has not scheduled yet the first hearing on the issue.

The ICC is the subject of a plunder and graft complaint filed by Mejorada at the Office of the Ombudsman against Drilon and other personalities. Drilon has denied Mejorada’s allegation that the project was overpriced.

In a statement on Monday, the Senate leader expressed confidence that the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) would be able to defend the regularity of the project.

“The DPWH, which supervised the ICC, can easily disprove the malicious allegations made against the implementation of the project,” Drilon said.

“I have no involvement in any way in the bidding process for the project. I was nowhere near that process to intervene, let alone nominate anyone to be the contractor of the project,” he added. (MNS)