Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said she has sought the help of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in the hopes of getting relevant documents that would shed light on the P9.5-billion loan the agency released for the construction of the facilities for last year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Hontiveros, who earlier called for an investigation into the loan agreement entered into by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and MTD Berhad, said it is necessary to find out who were the specific personalities involved in the project.
She also said it is imperative to know the decision-making process that allowed a private Malaysian company like MTD Berhad to secure a loan from a government bank “in record time.”
“Umaasa kami na diringgin ng DBP ang aming request letter—in the spirit of transparency—upang hindi na kelangan pang ipa-subpoena sa kumite (We are hopeful that the DBP will accede to our request letter—in the spirit of transparency—so that the committee that will investigate won’t have to subpoena the documents),” Hontiveros said.
The senator insisted that after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved the 2019 budget, BCDA was able to obtain the P9.5-billion fund for the construction of the SEA Games facilities.
This was also the money they paid for MTD Berhad’s debt to DBP. “Ang ibinayad ng BCDA sa utang ng MTD Berhad sa DBP ay mula sa national budget. Mula sa kaban ng bayan (the funds the BCDA used to pay MTD’s debt to DBP came fro the national budget. It came from national coffers),” she pointed out.
Hontiveros, likewise, pushed for a Senate probe into the controversial joint venture.
She said a congressional inquiry on the status of the joint venture is important to ascertain whether the amount BCDA paid for was actually Filipino taxpayers’ money.
“Sa huli, ito ay tungkol sa accountability…na sa huli ang perang ipinambayad sa inutang ng pribadong kumpanya mula sa isang government bank ay mula pala sa pera ng taumbayan (In the end, this is about accountability… that in the end, the money used to pay for the loan of a private company was from a government bank and are considered taxpayers’ money),” she pointed out.