By Leonel Abasola

Philippine Senate, Pasay City (PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – The ongoing factual and independent review of the budget of the New Senate Building (NSB) will be transparent to ensure high quality at a reduced cost, assured Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday.

Senate President Francis Escudero earlier announced that the construction of the NSB in Taguig City will be stopped pending reviews of increasing cost.

Cayetano, the new chairperson of Committee on Accounts, said that two concurrent reviews are ongoing.

One is focused on the first and second phases of the project while the other scrutinizes the third phase, which requires an additional PHP10 billion.

“Eventually, magkakaroon ng (there will be) face-to-face briefings and question-and-answer para maging klaro lahat ‘yan (to clear all issues),” he said in a statement.

Currently the Senate in Pasay City is renting its building from the Government Service Insurance System for PHP7.8 million and the parking lot from the Social Security System for PHP500,000 monthly.

Cayetano said the Department of Public Works and Highways and a Senate coordinating group, including former Committee on Accounts chairpersons Senator Nancy Binay and former senator Panfilo Lacson, have been briefing him and Escudero.

“I gave them additional instructions na gumawa sila ng (to create a) timeline at ibigay nila lahat (and provide all details). That way, we can be transparent to you. At least ma-ibigay namin sa inyo ‘yung (we can provide the public the timeline, inventory, or table of contents,” he said. (PNA)