AS far as Malacañang is concerned, there is no “issue” between Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson regarding alleged irregularities in the construction of bunkhouses for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) in Eastern Visayas.
Also, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the controversy on the supposed “overpricing” of these temporary shelters is now a police matter.
“There is no issue between Sec Lacson and Sec. Singson. Claims regarding pricing and specs of bunkhouses are being investigated by PNP-CIDG [Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group],” Coloma told The Manila Times.
“[The] DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] has already modified and enlarged [the]size of bunkhouse units,” he added.
Lacson earlier revealed that the government bunkhouses being set up in Leyte and Samar were overpriced and subpar. The project is being undertaken by the DPWH under Singson.
Last Monday, Singson maintained that there was no anomaly in the construction also later he admitted that some “modifications” should be done. He even vowed to resign if it would be proved that the bunkhouses were overpriced.
As proof that the matter does not require Cabinet attention, Coloma said no such issue was discussed during the last Cabinet meeting on Thursday, where Lacson and Singson even sat with each other and talked for hours.
In his press briefing after the Cabinet meeting, Coloma stressed that based on their assessment, the commentaries and observations made over the bunkhouses were “baseless.”
“In our assessment, many of the commentaries and obervations were not backed up by data. They lack factual basis,” he pointed out.
“These are allegations. These are assertions that are being made here and there but lack empirical validation,” he added.
Coloma, however, did not say what would happen if indeed police investigators would establish that the bunkhouses were overpriced.
“The Cabinet moves as a united and determined group that wants nothing but to serve the people in the best way we could,” he emphasized.
Asked why the allegations of collusion with regard to the construction of the temporary shelters was not tackled during the meeting, Coloma said it was because Lacson immediately tossed it to the PNP.
“As soon as he received the report, he referred it to the CIDG, and the CIDG continues to conduct its own inquiry into the report. So that is where we are at,” the Palace official averred.