Monday, November 21, 2005

NR1121: Fertilizer fund probe no big deal if only Lawmakers will make an honest public accounting

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release November 21, 2005

Fertilizer fund probe no big deal if only Lawmakers will make an honest public accounting of how they disbursed their respective allocations; grudge match between the Senate and the House serves to deflect issue away from Malacanang

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that investigations into the P152 M fertilizer scam involving influential members of the House of Representatives should be pursued up to its logical conclusion and the masterminds behind it brought to light.

He said that it was most suspicious that up to now, former undersecretary Jocelyn ‘Jocjoc’ Bolante is still missing and has yet to make a statement on the issue. "Bolante, like her equally controversial fellow official Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcilliano, has mysteriously disappeared. She’s a key witness to this fertilizer scam and her testimony will without doubt clear the issue once and for all. Her testimony could also land a lot of influential personalities in the doghouse.”

“Bolante’s mysterious disappearance all the more strengthens the allegations that this fertilizer issue is not all black and white and aboveboard. It’s not unlikely that Malacanang is also behind her disappearance, the same way the Palace has also orchestrated Garcilliano’s disappearance,” he said.

The veteran labor leader turned legislator said that Malacanang’s attempts to wash its hands of responsibility for the fertilizer scam should be thwarted. “This is so like Malacanang to try and weasel itself out of a sticky situation. The funds released supposedly for the purchase and distribution of fertilizer to congressman clearly constitute a massive bribe considering they were given out only a few short months before the 2004 elections. Macapagal-Arroyo and her various spokespersons cannot just wave away their responsibility to account for the funds, the motives behind their release and the suspicious timing behind all of it,” he said.

“The still unresolved issue of electoral fraud perpetrated by Macapagal-Arroyo could also be connected to the fertilizer scam. There are already allegations that the fertilizer funds were actually funneled into the election campaign of the incumbent executive, including the dirty tricks department. If all of this were aboveboard, Malacanang should lose no time to call on its allies in Congress to make a public accounting of their utilization of the fertilizer find funds,” he said.

Beltran said that it was not likely that congressmen will willingly volunteer information regarding their receipt of their fertilizer fund allocations and how these were disbursed to their respective constituencies. He said, however, that solons who have nothing to hide should come forward and make a public accounting of how they utilized the funds and present proof. “There really is no need to be defensive about this issue. It is only a matter of auditing and honest release of accounts.”

“This is the duty of lawmakers – to explain to the public and their constituencies how they make use of public funds done to the last centavo. Even without the prodding of the senate, it is still incumbent among congressmen to account for their expenditures and disbursement of public funds,” he said. “The fact that this has all developed into a grudge match between the senate and the congress with members of both houses trading accusations against each other serves to deflect the attention from those mainly responsible for the scam – Malacanang and its operators,” he concluded.#


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