Sen. Alan commits to factual, independent review of new Senate building, urges public not to speculate

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano emphasized on Wednesday that the recent budgetary concerns surrounding the new Senate building (NSB) are part of an ongoing factual and independent review and should not give rise to unwarranted speculation.

“The goal is to have the best functional and iconic Senate building that will be a symbol of our democratic process of the will of the Filipino people, at the best quality at the right cost,”  Cayetano said in a Facebook Live session on June 12, 2024.

This came after the recent order of  Senate President Francis “Chiz” Escudero to suspend the construction work on the NSB in Taguig City, citing concerns over escalating costs and the need for a comprehensive review.

The decision to suspend construction came after a report from the Senate Committee on Accounts (CA), which Cayetano currently chairs, highlighted the rising costs of the NSB project, with projections indicating an additional P10 billion would be needed to complete the building.

Cayetano said a series of briefings with relevant stakeholders, including teams from former CA chairpersons Senator Nancy Binay and former Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, were conducted to provide a “clear view” on the matter.

This resulted in an executive summary of the initial review and recommendations which were presented to Escudero. “Hindi po ito haka-haka, lahat po ito ay official. May mga reports at may documents,” Cayetano said.

“Maganda naman po ang start pero lahat po ng nakakita ng costs ay medyo nagulat,” he added.

Despite the concerns raised, Cayetano argued that the construction of the current phase of NSB should continue during the review process, and the third phase, which has not yet undergone procurement, may be delayed if necessary.

“Pwede naman po na tuloy ang construction habang nirereview namin. Wala pong conflict iyon. We’re just looking at the documentation, y’ung mga ‘why’ at ‘what,’ pero tuloy-tuloy po ‘yan para walang delay,” he said.

“Bilang chairperson ng Committee on Accounts na may mandate na sound fiscal management at y’ung pag-audit ng pondo na may kinalaman ang Senado, ito rin po ang isa sa mga unang sinabi ng ating Senate President — let’s review, let’s make sure that we do what is right,” he added.

Cayetano, however, urged the public not to speculate and gave assurance that his committee, along with a high-level coordination team, will independently continue their thorough review of the project.

“Let’s not speculate. Nagre-review lang po tayo. Hindi po pwede rito ang assumption at akala,” he said.

He ended his Facebook Live by emphasizing that the Senate must uphold its mandate with integrity, set a standard by leading with transparency, and commit to making morally right decisions.

“In fulfilling that mandate, kailangan we lead by example… Iba ang puwede, iba ang dapat,” he said.

“We have to have the ascendancy and the credibility. When we exercise oversight powers over other projects of the government, we have to start with ourselves,” he added.


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