PALACE HOPES PROBE INTO 2 GOV’T INFRA PROJECTS NOT POLITICAL
MANILA — Malacañang is counting on the Senate probe into two projects under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program to be “truly in aid of legislation” and not another attempt to “attack” President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this remark on Sunday after detained Senator Leila de Lima filed Senate Resolution 927 urging investigation on the construction of the North Luzon Expressway-South Luzon Expressway (NLEX-SLEX) Connector Road Project and the North-South Commuter Railway Project.
De Lima, one of Duterte’s staunchest critics, chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.
Under her resolution, she warned that wrong displacement and relocation of these affected residents would worsen economic and social problems.
Moreover, de Lima’s resolution asked the government to ensure that “the rights and interests of the people, first and foremost, are safeguarded and protected.”
“We only hope that this inquiry initiated by the lady senator is truly in aid of legislation and not for political grandstanding purposes only, as she has the habit of doing,” Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo said he could not help but surmise that Senate probes, particularly filed by opposition lawmakers, had the intention of pulling down Duterte’s high trust and approval ratings.
“Election season has arrived and with the President’s ratings remaining high, the political opposition’s recourse is to score political brownie points by foisting demolition and relocation, both gut issues on the part of the urban poor, to attack the President,” he added.
Panelo explained that the approval of the construction of the two projects were done after feasibility studies were conducted, including the general impact on the economy and the living conditions of affected residents.
He also assured that concerned agencies will continue to coordinate to protect each and every interest subject of concerns.
Moreover, he said relevant heads will only attend the Senate probe, if and when they are called as resource persons.
Panelo said this is “not only a courtesy to a co-equal branch of the government, but also (aims) to inform the public that these projects are definitely in order.” (PNA)
Photo by Vince F. Nonato/Inquirer