The Senate leadership is being pilloried once again. At the receiving end this time is Senate President Frank Drilon. He was charged with plunder before the office of the Ombudsman in connection with the construction of the alleged overpriced P700 million Iloilo Convention Center.
Drilon’s co-accused are Tourism Secretary Ramon Jiminez Jr and DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson and two others. It was reported that Drilon conceived and arranged the project as early as 2012 and pumped P200 million from his PDAF allocations given by the DBM.
The ongoing construction of the convention center is being done by Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation, the same company that built the controversial and overpriced Makati carpark building, which is the subject of a current senate inquiry.
The plunder charges against Drilon and the two cabinet secretaries of President Noynoy was filed by Manuel Mejorada, former Iloilo provincial administrator. The complainant said he has documents to show proof that the bidding was rigged and that the rules on public bidding were not followed.
Drilon however denied as usual any wrongdoings, claiming that the complainant used erroneous data to make false charges against the Iloilo Convention Center Project. This is not the first time that Drilon was accused of corruption. Although he was not charged in court, he could not prove how his stepdaughter was able to purchase a multimillion property at North Forbes Park.
By the way, Drilon’s stepdaughter works as an employee at Starbucks somewhere in Metro Manila. She was getting paid in dollars. But whether her salary is enough to buy the expensive property is still a $64,000 question.
It is very interesting to find out if Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the powerful Blue Ribbon Committee, will initiate an investigation on Drilon. Guingona and Drilon are both members of the Liberal Pary (LP). Same with Senators Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano and Sonny Trillanes. These three senators are spearheading the senate inquiry on allegations of corruption committed by Vice President Jojo Binay and his family during his tenure as Makati Mayor.
We will see how righteous the pro-administration dominated senate is and if they will initiate an aggressive investigation on Drilon the same way they’re doing it on VP Binay and his family as well as to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jingoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.
The Senate leadership has been accused of being biased to those who do not belong to their party. Take the case of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who was also charged with plunder together with his wife Lani, mayor Taguig city for alleged misuse of his PDAF and the procurement of overpriced multi-cabs.
Despite the filing of graft charges against Senator Cayetano and his wife, the Guingona-led Blue Ribbon Committee did not initiate any inquiries as to the alleged wrongdoings of the senator and his mayor wife.
The same is true in the case of PNP Chief Alan Purisima, a close friend of President NoyNoy, who is likewise facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman. For a while, General Purisima was summoned and was testifying in the Senate to shed light on his supposed multi million peso mansion in Nueva Ecija and for accepting donations for the construction of his official residence in Camp Crame. For still unknown reason, the Senate inquiry on allegations of corruptions against Purisima suddenly stopped. Instead, the Senate leadership turned their attention to VP Binay and his family.
This is the “daang matuwid” of President Noynoy.