A document released on Thursday, December 20 named at least 41 members of the Philippine Congress as proponents of projects under the allegedly graft-ridden Road Board.
According to House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara were allegedly identified by Road Board Executive Director Luisito “Chito” Clavano as having endorsed lighting and road projects in 2017 and 2018 ranging from P16 million to P86 million and PBA party-list Jericho Nograles with appropriations over P405 million.
A P16 million national road lighting program of the Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue or the Iloilo Diversion Road in Region 6 was listed under Drilon’s name.
Meanwhile, Angara as well as his aunt, Aurora Rep. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, were listed as proponents of a P70-million asphalt overlay project for the Baler-Casiguran Road, P9 million for its guardrails, and a separate P9 million for the guardrails of A. Castaneda-Ma. Aurora San Luis Road.
Nograles acquired P50 million for the Isabela 4th District, P89 million for the Northern Samar 2nd District, P116 million for asphalt overlay and road signs in various roads under the 1st and 2nd Districts of Ifugao, and P150 million for the similar type of project for Cagayan de Oro Airport Bukidnon Road-Bayanga Section with Region 10 as its implementing office.
Many projects nationwide, including the Road Board, have been referred by Nograles himself. He said he left it entirely up to the agencies concerned to act on “my referred projects.”
He also said he was not aware if there were approvals or disapprovals, claiming it was his “first time” to see the list that had his name.
“The Road Board has to authenticate this,” he said.
A total of P277.44 million for slope protection, road signs, and asphalt overlay projects had been under Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas’ district, but said neither his office nor his district received the money after checking with Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region 1 Director Ronnel Tan.
Despite their calls not to abolish the agency, Andaya, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez nor Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo could not be found in the list of Road Board project requestors.
Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo, Surigao del Sur 1st District Rep. Prospero Pichay, and Cotabato 2nd District Rep. Nancy Catamco were some of the other lawmakers on the list.
Davao Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, then Speaker, filed House Bill 7436 seeking for the abolition of the Road Board, which supposedly was for overseeing funds from the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) appropriated for road maintenance and improvement of road drainage, installation of traffic lights and road safety devices, and air pollution control.
Duterte to sign bill abolishing Road Board
Malacañang on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte is planning to sign the bill abolishing the Road Board despite the clash of the House and the Senate on the fate of the graft-ridden entity.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Duterte will sign the bill abolishing the Road Board if it reaches his desk. He also said that the president was against the release of the P45 billion road user’s tax.
“Yes, that’s what is needed. We want that the fund be returned to the treasury and then let the Congress appropriate again for specific purpose,” said Panelo in a palace briefing.
Lawmakers insist that the road user’s tax has been a huge source of corruption.
“We’re against it, the release,” Panelo said.
Duterte would sign the bill “as soon as it is given to him,” the Palace official added.