Senate President Sotto leads the first concrete pouring of the New Senate building

Senate President Vicente Sotto III signs a concrete slab at the first concrete pouring ceremony marking the start of construction of the new Senate building in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. The new Senate building is expected to be completed in July 2021. (File photo by HENZBERG AUSTRIA / Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau)

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte questioned on Monday the Senate’s choice of contractor for its new building, pointing out that it had previously been investigated for being involved in rigged bidding.

“May I ask the senators if it is true that the Hilmarc’s… is the contractor of the new Senate building being constructed?” Duterte said in his weekly taped briefing that aired late on Monday.

“Is this the same Hilmarc contractor that built the Iloilo Convention Center and the Makati City Hall building that the Senate also investigated during the last administration?” he added.

The contract to build the new Senate building in Taguig was awarded to Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. which was embroiled in the allegedly overpriced construction of the P2.3-billion Makati City Hall Building II.

READ: Controversial contractor to build new Senate home

In 2014, the Senate almost held the firms’ officials in contempt for snubbing the investigation on the Makati building.

READ: Hilmarc’s execs face contempt citation for repeated Senate probe snub

The firm was also involved in the allegedly overpriced construction of the Iloilo Convention Center.

READ: Hilmarc’s bags Iloilo center contract

This was Duterte’s latest attempt to “find what’s wrong” with senators as they continued their probe into the alleged anomalies in the government procurement of COVID-19-related items from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

READ: Duterte threatens to find ‘what’s wrong’ with senators, starting with Gordon

The Senate, particularly its blue ribbon committee chair, Sen. Richard Gordon, earned Duterte’s ire when it started its Pharmally probe and have since been the subject of the president’s tirades in his public addresses.

ATM

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