Posts Tagged ‘corruption’
By Carla Gomez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:36:00 12/06/2008
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—A key witness in the Senate investigation of alleged misuse of a government fertilizer fund has claimed that a legislator, an undersecretary and three barangay officials received commissions from fund allocations.
Witness Jose Barredo disclosed that he had personally delivered to an aide of Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella 1,000 liters of liquid fertilizer representing 25 percent of the P5-million fund allotted to the lawmaker.
He said he did not know where the rest of the congressman’s fertilizer fund allocation went.
But, Barredo claimed over private radio station dyEZ here on Wednesday, “it was standard operating procedure that all who received fertilizer got a 30-percent commission.”
He said P3 million was also allocated for Himamaylan City, which, he further claimed, Mayor Carmenia Bascon forwarded to three barangay chairs.
He said the three barangay chairs and Undersecretary Antonio Gatuslao of the Office of the President for Political Coalitions received “commissions” from the fund intended for Himamaylan.
Barredo is a Senate witness in its investigation of former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante, who has been accused of diverting monies from the fertilizer fund to allies of President Macapagal-Arroyo for the 2004 elections. Bolante has denied the charge.
Gatuslao on Friday dismissed Barredo’s claim as malicious.
“I vehemently deny the malicious and reckless insinuations of Jose Barredo. I have never met, talked to, nor even heard of him until his appearance in the Senate on previous hearings on the Bolante case during the term of former senator and agriculture committee chair Ramon Magsaysay Jr., where my name was never brought up,” Gatuslao said.
“I am perplexed by his possible agenda for implicating me in this matter. I assure him, however, that he will have his chance to prove his accusations in court when I file the necessary charges against him which is a redress open to any citizen whose name has been maligned as in this case,” Gatuslao said.
Puentevella for his part called Barredo a liar.
“He (Barredo) does not even know the deliveries made and this so-called witness is a criminal, a liar, a swindler and an estafa (fraud) expert,” he said.
Puentevella said he would prove his innocence in the next congressional hearing on the fertilizer fund scandal where Barredo had been summoned to appear.
“The Department of Agriculture has all the records and our district was among the first to liquidate. All the papers are in order,” Puentevella said.
Barredo claimed he personally delivered to Monet Lastima, an aide of Puentevella, 1,000 liters of foliar fertilizer, representing a portion of the 3,333 liters that should have been covered by the P5-million allocation.
Barredo claimed that Lastima requested him to have a technician from Feshan Philippines Inc., which supplied the fertilizer, train farmers in Barangay Alangilan in Bacolod on how to use the fertilizer.