MANILA - Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Grace Pulido Tan questioned why over P1 billion was still appropriated for the Makati City Hall Building 2 project even after it was already deemed ready for use after the third phase of its construction.
During Tuesday's Senate hearing on the P2.7-billion Makati City office and parking building, Tan said an inspection conducted by the COA's technical audit specialists and engineers in 2011 showed that the building was already "habitable and ready for use."
But after the third phase, more than P1 billion was still appropriated for the project's fourth and fifth phases, she said.
"Pagkakumpleto ng phase 3, and this was after spending about P1.5 billion, [the] project [was] habitable na and ready for use," she said.
"And yet nagkaroon ng phase 4 and phase 5, na kung saan nag-appropriate ang city of Makati ng more than P1 billion pa rin," she added.
According to Tan, at that time, only general cleaning of the building premises was needed.
"Magkano na lang kaya dapat ang naidagdag? Bakit may P1-point-something billion pa na na-appropriate pa after this phase?" she said.
'WORK IN EACH PHASE UNCLEAR'
The COA chief also pointed out that the nature of work done in every phase was not clearly defined.
"Ano ba yang phase 1 na yan, structural ba yan? Ano yung phase 2, outfitting ba yan? Ano yung phase 3, finishing ba yan? I don't know. We don't know."
But based on the inspection of the commission's technical audit specialists, she said phase 2 included the structural work on all floors of the 11-storey building.
However, she later found this questionable since structural work was also still conducted in all the other phases.
"We have to note that in all of the five phases, merong component na structural work. So ilang ulit ba tayong nag-structural work?" she said.
Tan also noted that despite various deletions from the items of work in phase 2, such as the elevator machine room, structural steel works and architectural works, there was no change in the contract price.
She said a team is now being formed to conduct a special audit on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2, which is the subject of a plunder complaint against Vice President Jejomar Binay, his son Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and several other Makati officials.
But she said the COA is having a hard time getting experts outside the commission.
"Because not many people want to get involved sa usaping ito, and at the same time we need...professionals of integrity and credibility to be able to do this kind of work," Tan said.