Drilon assails PNCC exec for peddling lies, demands remittance of toll fee collection to gov’t

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 16, 2010- Senate President Franklin Drilon yesterday assailed the Philippine National Construction Corp. for allegedly peddling lies as he disputed the PNCC’s claim that the toll fee it was collecting was part of a “commercial agreement” between the state firm and private tollway operators since the share granted to PNCC is clearly a “royalty fee.”


“It is a brazen lie,” Drilon said, recalling that when senators were hearing the proposed extension of franchise of PNCC in 2007, PNCC officials “clearly stated that this was a royalty fee by virtue of PNCC being the holder of the franchise.”


Drilon made the accusations as he called on the PNCC to remit its toll collection to the national government after its franchise expired in April 2007 and which Congress did not extend.


“Since PNCC’s franchise has expired, the 6% and 1.75% already pertain to the national government and PNCC has no business appropriating it for themselves,” added Drilon.


Earlier, the Senate demanded the PNCC to remit the toll fee collection to the national government with the expiration of its franchise.


Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, on Monday said that earnings obtained by PNCC from the operations of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) should have been remitted to state coffers, as PNCC is entitled to a 6% cut in the gross revenues in NLEX while 1.75% in SLEX, which could go higher by 3% eventually.


“Our position is that the PNCC, since it no longer has a franchise, has no business appropriating for itself the 6% which is part of the toll collection in the NLEX and 1.75% in SLEX,” Drilon said.


Maria Theresa Defensor, PNCC president and chief executive officer, said that they are entitled to about P300-400 million annually in NLEX operations and P60 million yearly in SLEX.


After being acquired from the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines, the renamed PNCC was granted a 30-year franchise in 1977 under Presidential Decree 113, later amended by Presidential Decree 1894. That franchise expired on April 30, 2007. (Jason de Asis)