SEN. Risa Hontiveros yesterday asked the Development Bank of the Philippines to present relevant documents that will clearly explain why it released P9.5 billion for the construction of facilities in last year’s Southeast Asian Games.
In a virtual press conference, Hontiveros said she wants the DBP to explain why Malaysian firm MTD Berhad secured a loan from the government bank “in record time” that she said was irregular.
Hontiveros has filed a resolution urging the appropriate Senate panel to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the alleged anomalous construction of the SEA Games facilities.
A similar resolution has been filed by detained Sen. Leila de Lima.
Among the documents asked by Hontiveros were the loan or credit agreement, signing authority, minutes of the meeting in which the loan was approved, legal opinion of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, and all pertinent presentations, among others.
She said the loan was granted to MTD Berhad three weeks after the Malaysian firm agreed to enter into a joint venture with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the reason why public bidding for the project was waived.
She said according to the Commission on Audit and the OGCC, the project appeared to be more of a “Build, Operate, and Transfer” program that needed to undergo public bidding.
“Dahil pinagmukhang joint venture agreement, hindi na kailangan ng bidding. So hindi natin alam kung nakatipid ang gobyerno o hindi, kasi hindi dumaan sa public bidding (Because they made it look like a joint venture agreement, bidding was no longer necessary. So we don’t know if the government saved funds or not, because public bidding was not done),” she explained.
She said the joint venture agreement may have been used to evade the legal requirements of a public bidding and manipulate the grant of the project to a favored contractor.
She said the loan was later paid by the BCDA with interest using funds from the 2019 national budget.
Hontiveros said she also wants to know if the DBP and BCDA sought a legal opinion from the OGCC before they proceeded with the loan agreement.