SEN. Leila de Lima has filed a resolution urging the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the P8.51 billion sports facilities for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games that reportedly entailed additional government spending.
In Senate Resolution 555, De Lima wants to look into the irregularities that allegedly marred the joint venture agreement (JVA) entered into by the Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) with Malaysian construction firm MTD Capital Berhad for the construction of the sports facilities.
“A thorough probe is warranted in the billion-peso project in order to understand the choices made by the BCDA that culminated in the deal which not only failed to comply with laws, but likewise cost the government significant public funds, considering that there are other arrangements that could promote better transparency, competitiveness, equity, efficiency and economy for the government infrastructure projects,” De Lima said.
De Lima cited a report by the Citizens Crime Watch Association, through its president Diego Magpantay, which recently filed graft and malversation raps before the Ombudsman against BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon and several others over the supposed irregular deal made with MTD.
In a 2019 audit report released last October 14, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the BCDA gave “undue advantage” to MTD Capital Berhad, which won the contract to develop the facilities in the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) in New Clark City in 2018.
According to the report, BCDA and MTD Capital Berhad initially agreed on a project involving government buildings, commercial centers and residential housing with a total cost of P4.185 billion. But they eventually agreed to incorporate in the project the sports facilities that raised the project cost to P8.51 billion.
“It is incumbent upon the BCDA to justify the choice of developing the Sports Facilities under the Joint Venture which is contrary to Contract Review No. 068 issued by the OGCC on 30 January 2018 which said that, it is, as a rule, ‘subject to public bidding,’” De Lima said.
“The BCDA is thus obliged to disclose the factors and circumstances that surrounded the negotiations that preceded the execution of the JVA now under scrutiny,” she said.