De Lima urges Congress to look into suspicious contracts awarded to Bong Go’s kin


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged Congress to investigate the allegations of conflicts of interest in the reported awarding of government contracts to the kin of government officials to identify and eliminate corruption in the implementation of infrastructure projects.

In filing Senate Resolution (SR) No. 809, De Lima underscored the need to look into the suspicious contracts awarded to firms owned by Senator Bong Go’s family members, to wit: CLTG Builders and Alfrego Builders, owned by Go’s father Desiderio Go and half-brother Alfredo Amero Go, respectively.

“It is imperative to verify whether acts that amount to taking undue advantage of one’s official position, authority, relationships, connections, and influence to the damage and prejudice of the people, have been committed in the Desiderio Go and Alfredo Go contracts with government,” she said.

“Close family relations were involved in possibly accessing influence from the highest office of the land, further considering that both contractors’ son and brother, respectively, is known to be the closest political associate of the Chief Executive who has direct control and supervision over the DPWH as implementor of the contracted projects,” she added.

In 2018, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) reported that among the top contractors for government infrastructure projects in the Davao region is CLTG Builders, noting that “CLTG Builders is among the firms with the most projects with the government in the region, and part of those with delayed projects under its watch” at that time.

Recently, the firm’s activities were once again brought to the public attention as former Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, in a video posted on social media, revealed that CLTG Builders was reportedly awarded 125 road-widening projects from March to May 2018, worth a total of ₱4.89 billion, purportedly according to the Department of Trade and Industry and Commission on Audit documents.

Trillanes likewise mentioned Alfrego Builders was awarded 59 projects from June 2007 to July 2018, totalling ₱1.74 billion.

Taken together, CLTG’s and Alfrego’s road projects were worth ₱6.6 billion. Of the amount, ₱5.1 billion worth of projects were reportedly awarded in the first two years of Mr. Duterte’s presidency while ₱1.5 billion was awarded when he was Davao Mayor.

“The Senate should inquire into the circumstances surrounding these controversial transactions to determine whether any of the acts prohibited by the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Plunder Law have been committed,” said De Lima.

“It behooves the Senate [t]o perform one of its key functions as legislative oversight and investigate such claims so as to ensure that these contracts were awarded to the CLTG Builders and Alfrego without the undue interference of close relatives in public office who have direct access to, and exercise unquestioned influence over the Chief Executive, the latter having the final say in said contracts,” she added.

In SR. No. 809, De Lima likewise stressed the need to investigate the problems arising from simulated joint ventures (JV), saying that there is presently no procedure in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as to the monitoring of the actual participation of parties in a JV.

“While the parties are allowed to agree upon the terms of JVs, the law should ensure that the credentials that qualified the JV are indeed present during the implementation of the project. Legislation must be introduced to ensure that all members of JVs are held responsible for the delays and any shortcomings in the implementation of the infrastructure projects,” she said.

“It is vital for public accountability to ascertain whether gaps in the law as they are presently written have been used to circumvent the policies behind them to the detriment of the public,” said De Lima. (30)

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