Drilon says plunder rap was part of demolition job against him

Senator Franklin M. Drilon described today the plunder case filed against him by political rival and former Iloilo Rep. Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco Jr. as nothing but part of the demolition job to malign his reputation as Senate President.

“This was part of efforts to dishonor me and make me appear crooked and morally incapable to handle the pork barrel scam issue as Senate President,” stressed Drilon.

“First, there was this Montblanc pen which I did not receive from Napoles. Second, a graft case was filed against me by a former consultant who I fired for unauthorized postings using my Twitter account. Now, there is this unfounded plunder case that involved the construction of the Iloilo Hall of Justice which happened two decades ago,” said Drilon.

“They are all political harassments invented by certain quarters that are out to implicate my name in corruption and malfeasance,” he said.

“Evidently, the plunder case filed against me before the Ombudsman is malicious and baseless invented by Syjuco and his cohorts who are riding on the wave of controversy on the pork barrel scam,” said Drilon.

Drilon added that Syjuco held grudges against him because he thought it was Drilon who caused his defeat in the last election when the senator supported his rival, now Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta.

The case filed by Syjuco was in connection to the construction of the Iloilo Hall of Justice in 1992 when Drilon was the secretary of the Department of Justice.

“To set the record straight, I had no involvement in the construction of the Iloilo Hall of Justice because the fund was coursed through the Department of Public Works and Highways Central Office. I was told the project was aboveboard, there was proper bidding, and there was nothing illegal and anomalous about the project which was completed in 1992,” said Drilon.

The Iloilo Hall of Justice, explained Drilon, had to undergo an extensive evaluation a devastating 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Visayas region including Iloilo in 2002. But the analysis made by the experts hired by the DPWH Central Office says that the building is structurally sound and only needs retrofitting works and minor repairs.

The P50 million budget for retrofitting was not sourced from the 2012 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Drilon. It was the DPWH who funded the retrofitting.

“The arguments raised by Syjuco in his complaints are mere speculations and hearsays. The Ombudsman should act on his complaints as soon as possible so as to clear my name before the public,” he said.

Drilon said Syjuco himself has been facing a number of graft cases before the Sandiganbayan for overpricing supplies when he was director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Syjuco is masquerading as an anti-graft crusader when, on the contrary, he himself had been involved in various anomalous activities both as former TESDA director general and congressman, which were the main reason why the Ilonggos rejected him last election.#