Diokno snubs probe again

Benjamin Diokno
Benjamin Diokno

BUDGET Secretary Benjamin Diokno again snubbed the House Committee on Rules probe into the alleged budget insertions and questionable flood control projects purportedly given by the budget chief to a favored province.

Diokno was subpoenaed together with his daughter Charlotte and husband Jojo Sicat but all were absent at yesterday’s hearing.

The Sicat couple were said to be incorporators of  Aremar Construction Company, the firm that bagged the flood control projects in Casiguran, Sorsogon and other parts of Bicol region. Aremar is owned by the family of Casiguran Mayor Edwin Hamor.

At the continuation of the hearing, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. showed P81.1-million worth of deposit slips from winning contractors of government infrastructure projects, which he said found their way to the bank account of Aremar.

The deposit slips, according to Andaya, were voluntarily given by several Bicol region-based contractors who have attested that some contractors, like the CT Leoncio, were just dummies for Aremar Construction Corp.

The contractors have cornered billions in pesos of infrastructure projects, Andaya said.

During the hearing, Mayor Hamor said he is no longer connected with the Aremar firm and had turned it over to his daughter Maria Minez Hamor.

Mayor Hamor is the second husband of Sorsogon Vice Gov. Ester Hamor, who is Romeo Sicat Jr.’s mother.  Sicat is married to Charlotte Justin, Diokno’s daughter.

In a previous hearing in Naga City, Andaya asked the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for all the bank transactions of CT Leoncio and Aremar.

However, AMLC Officer-in-charge Mel Georgie Racela said they could not comply with the request since bank transactions are kept and maintained by banks. In this case it is the Land Bank of the Philippines.