Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Minority bloc eyes own fertilizer scam report.

MANILA, Philippines - The minority bloc in the Senate is set to come up with its own report on the multimillion fertilizer fund scam following the blue ribbon’s findings exonerating President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from the said anomaly.

“We are preparing the minority report kung saan makikita na napakarami pang leads, witnesses na puwede pang ipatawag including the other contractors and suppliers and local government officials,” Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said Tuesday.

[“We are preparing the minority report wherein we’ll show that there are still leads to follow and witnesses to summon including other contractors and suppliers and local government officials.”]

“Though we empathize with the blue ribbon committee, the keyword is not submitting the whole report but exhausting all leads,” Cayetano added.

Cayetano described the blue ribbon report, which was signed by 12 senators, as "hinog sa pilit (raw)" after it found no direct evidence linking President Arroyo to the P728-million scam.

“This is premature to say that there is no evidence against President Arroyo,” Cayetano said.

The blue ribbon report, which was released Monday, recommended the filing of a string of charges including plunder against former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante and several other individuals.

Bolante was the alleged mastermind of the scam wherein some P728 million worth of fertilizer funds intended for poor farmers were allegedly diverted to President Arroyo’s campaign kitty in the 2004 elections.

Blue ribbon committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon admitted that President Arroyo, by an act of omission, committed the same crimes of her underlings but said his committee did not find sufficient evidence that would directly link her to the anomaly.

Gordon said President Arroyo is liable under the "doctrine of qualified political agency," which provides that all executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts of the executive department.

Gordon made the recommendation as he formally submitted the panel’s 130-page preliminary report after eight public hearings.

Cayetano said Gordon’s panel should have invited to the hearing former Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin who was then responsible for releasing the fund.

He also said the report “diverted” from the original purpose of the investigation, which is to find out if the money was used by the Arroyo administration to its campaign kitty during the 2004 elections.

“I’m saying that it (report) was rushed, and it doesn’t give justice to the intent of the investigations which is to find out the whole truth,” Cayetano said. - GMANews.TV

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