By Ben Rosario
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur – A number of contractors have volunteered evidence and information that could build a case of plunder against a construction firm and its joint venture partners in the implementation of billions of pesos in flood control projects in Bicol, particularly in Sorsogon.
This was disclosed by Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, who also claimed that the evidence gathered so far has reached “plunder point.”
Andaya was referring to the Aremar Construction that is allegedly owned by the family of Casiguran Mayor Edwin Hamor and his wife, Esther, who are reportedly the in-laws of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s daugher, Charlot.
“The public hearing conducted by the House Rules Committee in Naga City has attracted more whistleblowers willing to spill the beans on anomalous budget practices and allocations by the DBM,” said Andaya.
“They voluntarily offered to provide solid evidence confirming our initial findings that contractors related to Sec. Diokno are using dummies to get multi-million government contracts,” he said.
Andaya disclosed that the House panel is now “in possession of bank transaction receipts showing that Aremar Construction received more than P50 million as share in the flood control scam.”
During the congressional hearing held here Thursday, businesswoman Consolacion Leoncio, president of the C.T. Leoncio Construction Company, admitted that her firm had entered into joint venture agreements with Aremar in pursuing flood control contracts in Sorsogon and other parts of Bicol.
Despite her pledge of cooperation in the on-going investigation, Leoncio will still be implicated in criminal cases should there be evidence linking her to the flood control scam, Andaya said.
Leoncio’s firm bagged 36 infrastructure contracts, mostly flood mitigation projects in Sorsogon and Catanduanges, costing some P1.3 billion in 2018 alone.
“We found out that C.T. Leoncio’s major partners for its Bicol projects is Aremar construction. Four of its blue chip projects are in partnership with Aremar,” revealed Andaya.
According to him, the evidence compiled against Aremar has reached “plunder point.”
Among the evidence gathered were transaction receipts that included a deposit slip for P11 million for the Land Bank account of Aremar last October.
More bank transaction receives will be presented soon, said Andaya.
“With these pieces of evidence, we will ask the Bureau of Internal Revenue for official documents related to tax payments made by Aremar Construction and its incorporators,” the Bicolano solon said.
“If this income will not reflect in their tax payments, Aremar will have another problem. Not only the possibility of plunder but also tax evasion,’ he stated.