By Lollipop delos Reyes and Bombshell Moran
Manila, Philippines-Leftwing militants belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) which filed the plunder complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and 13 others in connection with the P 455 million ice making scandal slammed Yap over his allegations that a shadowy group was behind what the agriculture chief dismissed as nuisance or harassment suit.
“Look who’s talking. What shadowy group Mr. Yap and his associates in the Department of Agriculture are talking about? As far as we are concerned the higher ups in Malacanang and DA composed the shadowy group behind all scandals of corruption inside agriculture department. This department which is frequented by controversies of first-rate crimes of corruption in the name of the ruling gangland in Malacanang is now going all out to harass groups and people exposing and opposing their round-the-clock raid of taxpayers’ money,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.
The Pamalakaya leader said: “Let the facts, the documents, the series of unfortunate events that transpired during the commencement and process of the P 455 million ice making contract speak for itself. Secretary Yap and his backers in Malacanang and apologists in DA should face the issue fair and square and quit from talking like reactionary parrots of the ruling Macapagal-Arroyo gangland.”
“We have given Arroyo and Sec. Yap the proper forum for them to answer the plunder suit and other criminal and administrative charges against them. As public officials they are legally, politically and morally obliged to reply to issues raised against them in the name of national interest and public trust,” added Hicap.
The Pamalakaya leader said the way things are going, Malacanang spokespersons and Sec. Yap are now engaged in political persecution and the traditional and Jurassic red baiting campaign against groups and persons behind the plunder complaint.
Yesterday, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list Reps. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod and Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente charged President Arroyo, Sec. Yap and 13 others with plunder and criminal and administrative suits before the Office of the Ombudsman.
In their 16-page plunder complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, complainants said President Arroyo, Sec. Yap and officials of National Agribusiness Council (NABCOR), members of Awards and Bids Committee and owners and operators of Integrated Refrigeration Service System (IRRS) violated Republic Act 7080 or the Anti-Violation Plunder Law, Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act for grave misconduct.
Aside from President Arroyo and Sec. Yap included in the charge sheet were Allan Javellana President, NABCOR, Romulo Relevo, Chairman, Bids and Awards Committee (BAC-NABCOR), Dennis Lozada, Winston Azucena, Melody de Guzman , and Encarnita-Cristina Munsod, Members of Bids and Awards Committee (BAC-NABCOR), Alexander Leung , Chairman, Integrated Refrigeration Systems and Services, Inc. (IRSSI) (Formerly Triple 8 Agro Trading, Inc.), Chen Lien Ta, Vice President/Research and Development-IRSSI, Lawrence Tan Son, Manager-IRSSI, Yao Ching Hsun, Director-IRSSI, Stephen Vehemente, Corporate Secretary-IRSSI, Marites Soriano, Assistant Corporate Secretary-IRSSI and Jason Paz, Treasurer-IRSSI.
The complainants said the agriculture department through NABCOR awarded the government contract to a lone bidder—the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) on September 2, 2009, which will provide the ice-making unit at P 4,650,000 per unit, or about P 2.3 million higher compared to prevailing industry price for the ice-making machine.
“We will not allow this icing on the cake ice making machines scam to proceed. We will pursue this case in the Office of the Ombudsman, we will write lawmakers to investigate this latest raiding of taxpayers’ money, we will ask the Supreme Court to stop this plunder adventure of Arroyo and Yap and will aggressively explore the parliament of the street to demand truth, justice and accountability,” they said.
“We will even ask and appeal to the Chinese community in Ongpin and Binondo to denounce and disown this Chinese bureaucrat capitalist in the person of Secretary Yap for tarnishing the names of the Filipino-Chinese businessmen who want fair play and conduct honest-to-goodness business in the country,” said Pamalakaya.
Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list asserted that the P 455- million ice making machine scam is chiefly authored by President Arroyo and members of the syndicate operating in and out of Malacanang and in and out of the agriculture department and that Secretary Yap performed his role to the hilt as the lead actor in this newest high crime of corruption orchestrated by the ruling Mafia in the Palace.
As agreed by parties to contract, the government will pay IRSS the sum of P 455,700,000 for 98 units of ice-making machines with liquid freeze capability which will be supplied to selected municipal fish ports nationwide. But the complainants said the government can obtain 98 units of ice-making machines for P 225 million to P 230 million, or half of the quoted and agreed price with IRSS.
According to information gathered by Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list, NABCOR conducted a preliminary bidding last August 26, and IRSS which won the bidding, was only incorporated on August 25, a day before the preliminary bidding was conducted.
The groups said under Republic Act 9184 (Procuring Law), Section 37.1, the bidder must submit a copy of its single largest completed contract over the past 3 years, and such condition is impossible for IRSS, which was only incorporated on August 25, this year, a day before the preliminary bidding. The contract was finally awarded last Sept.2.
Prior to the filing of the plunder complaint, businessman Allan V. Ragasa, a complainant had filed charges against Sec. Yap and officials of NABCOR and officers of IRSS headed by its chairman Alexander Leung before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the questionable awarding of contract to IRSS. The complaint in violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 9184 was filed on Nov.18, 2009. #