Senator Alan to focus on review of New Senate Building amidst ethics complaint

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday said he will remain focused on conducting a factual and independent review of the New Senate Building (NSB) project amidst the ethics complaint filed against him by Senator Nancy Binay.

“Eyes on the ball tayong lahat. Ang ginagawa ni Senator Nancy Binay from the start, nililito tayong lahat, eh,” Cayetano said in a media interview on July 8, 2024.

Earlier in the day, Binay had formally filed an ethics complaint against Cayetano for allegedly resorting to name-calling and behaving in a disorderly manner during the tail end of the Accounts Committee’s first hearing on the matter on July 3, 2024.

Cayateno, who chairs the committee, emphasized that while he will eventually address the complaint, his priority remains the significant issue of the rising costs of the building project.

“Ang issue ay y’ung P23 billion. Ano ba ang mas importante sa tao: ang tingin niya sa akin at ano ang tingin ko sa kanya? Or kung ano talaga ang nangyayari diyan sa building?” he said.

Cayetano criticized Binay for not conducting a thorough review of the project during her tenure as the chair of the Senate Committee on Accounts for two years while being quick to file an ethics complaint now.

“For 15 months, hindi gumalaw sa mesa mo [ang mga dokumento]. Isang taon at tatlong buwan na [ang lumipas pero] hindi ninyo kayang tingnan kung magkano ang ginagastos na para sa building?” he said.

As the current chair of the Committee, Cayetano stressed his responsibility to ensure a thorough and factual review of the project to deliver an “iconic and functional” building of high quality and justified cost.

“Sa akin napunta [itong project], eh. Kaya ire-recommend ko talaga sa 24 senators na ayusin natin ang tamang pondo,” he said.

“Ako, gusto kong ilabas ang tamang pondo kasi kung hindi, we will not get to the conclusion kung magkano ba talaga,” he added.

The senator also expressed his concerns over certain aspects of the project which he believes are overpriced. He said the funds could be better allocated to other projects such as classrooms.

“‘Yang facade na ‘yan na P1.6 billion, ‘yang broadcast at security systems na ‘pag pinagsama mo ay P2 billion, at ‘yang landscape na P663 million, hindi pwede sa akin ‘yan,” he said.

When asked how he and Binay could reconcile their differences to move the project forward, Cayetano advised they should “stick to the issue” and discuss matters calmly and factually.

“She can correct it anytime. Senator Nancy, linawin na lang natin itong lahat [nang] mahinahon, sa tama,” he said.

“Himayin natin ‘yang P23 billion na ‘yan o kung tingin niya P21.7 billion [lang] nang mahinahon at sundin natin ang tamang rules at ilabas natin ang tama, then mag-desisyon tayo [kung] paano matatapos ang building at kung ano ang tamang presyo nu’ng building,” he added.


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