Tag Archives: ice making machine scandal

Fishers fear Ombudsman’s junking of plunder case filed vs. GMA, Yap

By Sarsi Pimentel, Lollipop delos Reyes and Pepsi La Loma

MANILA, Philippines-Fisherfolk leaders who filed a plunder complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Agriculture secretary Arthur Yap and other public and private officials in connection with the P 455 million overpriced ice-making machine on January 6, 2010 fear possible dismissal by the Ombudsman of their case against GMA, Yap and other agriculture officials and private individuals before the anti-graft body.

“We have this strong gut feel, our plunder case and other criminal and administrative complaints filed against the GMA-Yap tandem will be either junked or archived by the Office of the Ombudsman under an Arroyo protégé in the person of Ombudswoman Atty. Merceditas Gutierrez,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Pamalakaya Vice-Chair Salvador France.

“The Office of the Ombudsman has been prostituted, cannibalized and rendered inutile by the Arroyo administration over the last 9 years since GMA assumed the presidency in 2001. The Ombudsman has been effectively used by the corrupt government of Mrs. Arroyo to cover up the triple platinum crimes of corruption committed by the Arroyo mafia,” the Pamalakaya leaders said.

They added: “The rule and dictum of the ruling gangland might be applied to our case to save Arroyo and company. If the Ombudsman dismissed our plunder complaint, we have no option but to seek motion for reconsideration or re-file the same case in the next administration.”

Pamalakaya challenged Ombudswoman Gutierrez to come true to form in the name of national interest and the people’s collective quest for truth, justice and accountability. The group reminded Atty. Gutierrez that President Arroyo is a lame duck President, and such situation provides her an opportunity to make up for her past blunders and allow the wheels of justice to take its normal course.

“This is an opportunity for Ombudswoman Gutierrez and she should grab it since opportunity only knocks once. This is the time to redeem herself and prove to the people that she is no puppet of the Arroyos,” the group said.

On January 6, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis leaders led by 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.

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.

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. #

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Yap’s wait and see attitude puzzles militant group

By Billy Javier Reyes and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-Leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally Anakpawis party list wondered why up to now Agriculture secretary Arthur Yap refuses to vacate the Department of Agriculture (DA) post despite the Supreme Court announcement this week that all appointed government officials running in the May 2010 elections were deemed resigned when they filed their certificates of candidacy.

Secretary Yap had filed his certificate of candidacy and is running unopposed in his bid to represent the 3rd district of Bohol province this May 2010 polls. But Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Yap’s continued stay in the agriculture department revealed that the controversial Cabinet official has some “monkey business” to finish before the leaves office.

On Feb.23, the high tribunal issued decision directing all appointed government officials who are running for elective posts in May 2010 elections to quit public office. SC spokesperson Atty. Midas Marquez said the ruling was immediately executor, but the parties involved can file a motion for reconsideration.

“Is Secretary Yap over and above the Supreme Court? It is really mind-boggling and super puzzling why up to now; the agriculture secretary never said anything about the high court’s direct order for him to relinquish his post. Perhaps he has still some unfinished monkey business in DA. Just to remind the public, Yap steered DA into one of the top grossing corrupt offices in the Macapagal-Arroyo administration,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

“Secretary Yap has been very silent since the SC made its ruling on appointed government officials seeking elective posts in May 2010 elections. It will just take an hour for him to write and tender his resignation,” added Hicap.

Last week, Anakpawis party list and Pamalakaya dared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Agriculture Secretary Yap to account a total of P 7.14 billion in taxpayers’ money, which the Commission on Audit (COA) found missing or diverted to other purposes in 2008.

Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said President Arroyo and Sec. Yap did not disclose the public the report and findings of COA about the disbursement of more than 7 billion pesos, which the state-run auditing body said was lost to “wasteful operation, bungled project implementation or missing and diverted funds.

“Mrs. Arroyo and Mr. Yap concealed the COA report to the public for obvious reason—first rate crimes of corruption were committed involving billions of public funds courtesy of the Office of the President and the Office of the secretary of Agriculture,” she said.

Quoting the COA 2008 report, the Anakpawis official said a total of P 5.19 billion intended for farm-to-market road project were either missing or incomplete. She said the DA only spent P 1.3 billion or 38.99 percent of the total project allotment for 2008. Another big item, the P 1.3 billion fertilizer fund project under the GMA Rice Program was also bungled because local government units refused to participate in the implementation.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list took note COA’s other findings like printing of P 2.2 million fertilizer discount coupons which were rendered useless, the construction of mini-dams in Regions VIII, IX and XI built at a cost of P 7.35 million but were rendered useless due to inferior construction, the construction of 11 Barangay Food Terminals worth P 1.55 million but only one was functional, and the remaining 10 were condemned due to operational deficiencies.

The same COA report described DA as notorious in purchasing equipment which are overpriced, not really needed or cannot be utilized or run by intended beneficiaries, adding that many of the equipment bought are unutilized, undelivered and now rusting in storage.

Pamalakaya said the earth shaking COA report should stop the national government and the agriculture department from buying 300 new ice-making machines to the amount of P 1.5 billion on top of the 98 ice-making machines which DA purchased in 2009 at an overpriced rate of P 4.6 million, 100 percent more of the prevailing industry price.

On January 6, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis led complainants to the plunder case filed against President Arroyo and Agriculture secretary Yap and officials of National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) in connection with the controversial P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines project said the government through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor). #

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