Dec 032014
A dud. 

This was how Senate President Franklin Drilon described on Wednesday described his accuser, former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada, claiming the latter was misinformed about the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center.

“Gagamitin ko po yung sinabi ng aming kasamang si Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, ‘he’s a dud’. He’s a dud, because the P200 million is the contribution of TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority) in the building, and in fact, the P200 million has not been used,” Drilon told Senate reporters. 

He said the P200 million will be used for the second phase of the construction of the ICC. He said the Department of Public Works and Highways is set to bid out the second phase.

“That is not the total cost of the building. Nothing in the Deed of Donation says that that is the total cost of the building. Iyon ba ay bibigyan pa natin ng pansin? He’s a dud,” Drilon reiterated.

Earlier in the day, Mejorada submitted documents, including the deed of donation, to the Senate blue ribbon committee, to supposedly prove his claim that the construction of the ICC was overpriced.

A part of the document states that the Department of Tourism accepts the donation of Megaworld Corporation and it should “earmark, raise, and/or appropriate through the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and/or available government funding, and in accordance with applicable Philippine laws, P200 million for the construction and development of the Iloilo Convention Center within two years from the time this Deed takes effect.”

On the claim of Mejorada that Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez has no authority to sign the deed of donation on behalf of the government, Drilon said there is a presumption of validity in the act of the DOT chief.

“It is valid. Let him (Mejorada) question it before the court,” the Senate President said.

He added Mejorada’s accusation proves that there is a need to check first the testimony of the resource persons in the hearings before allowing them to testify. 

“This gives credence to the views of a number of senators that we should vet naman the testimony. Like this one, this is so obvious that it is based on a misunderstanding,” he said. Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News

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