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Escudero stops work on new Senate building

(UPDATE) SENATE President Francis Escudero raised the need to review the budget for the construction of the new Senate building in Taguig City, which has ballooned to P23 billion from P8.9 billion.

Escudero said on Monday he has ordered construction work on the building in Bonifacio Global City suspended, citing concerns over escalating costs.

«It is not true that we will be able to transfer to the new building in September,» said Escudero in Filipino during his first flag-raising ceremony as Senate chief. He informed the Senate officials and employees that the transfer will be delayed.

Senate President Francis Escudero (Joseph Vidal/Senate Social Media Unit)

It is also impossible to transfer to the new building at the end of 2024 and «even in 2025,» Escudero said. He said the would-be new home for the Senate has serious parking space problems.

The Senate rents the building housing its offices in Pasay City from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and its parking lot from the Social Security System.

It pays over P127 million yearly to the GSIS. From May 1, 1996 to Dec. 31, 2017, the Senate had paid P2.24 billion in rent.


Initially budgeted at P8.9 billion, the cost of the project for the new Senate site has reached P13 billion, with an additional P10 billion required for completion, bringing the total to P23 billion, Escudero said.

He said he has instructed Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, the new chairman of the Committee on Accounts, to ensure the smooth transfer of the Senate to its new site. Sen. Nancy Binay used to head the panel.

Escudero said he decided to suspend the construction after receiving a detailed report and recommendations last Friday from Cayetano concerning escalating costs, quality issues, and management inefficiencies surrounding the project.

Binay said in a statement she wondered where Escudero got his information about the construction cost. She said she could have suggested how to save funds had he asked her.


«Back in 2019, [the] SP (Senate president) was an incumbent senator and part of 17th Congress, and I believe he has been made aware of the project costs,» the senator said. She described the lack of