February 4, 2006
CONGRESSMEN CAUTIONED AGAINST RESORTING TO SQUID
TACTICS TO HIDE THEIR ROLE IN FERTILIZER FUND SCAM
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today
advised members of the House of Representatives not to muddle the
ongoing investigation into the P728 million fertilizer fund scam by
accusing members of the Senate of unleashing a smear campaign
Pimentel said congressmen who have been implicated in the anomaly by
witnesses during the Senate hearings should present credible
explanation or counter-evidence if their hands indeed are clean.
Some of those whose names were dragged into the scandal have dared
their accusers to charge them in court. If it can really be proven
that they asked and received commissions from the release of the
fertilizer money, that is a criminal offense for which they should
be penalized, he said.
The minority leader said it is unfair to say that inter-chamber
courtesy is being violated by the Senate just because damaging
information against certain congressmen surfaced in the course of
the testimonies of witnesses and resource persons during the Senate
Pimentel said the senators have no other motive behind the
investigation of the fertilizer fund scam but to unearth the truth.
He said the congressmen will not be contributing to the quest for
truth if they will try to cover up the anomaly through squid
As shown by the records of the Commission on Audit, more than 100
congressmen, 53 governors and 26 town mayors received between P3
million and P10 million each in fertilizer funds from the Department
of Agriculture shortly before the May 10, 2004 elections.
The release of the fertilizer funds, according to the testimonies of
DA officials, was controlled and managed by then Agriculture
Undersecretary Jocelyn Joc Joc Bolante, since the time opposition
leaders exposed the scam in February, 2004 to opposition leaders
have charged that the funds were diverted to ensure the victory of
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Pimentel dared the congressmen and local chief executives linked to
the scandal to disprove the allegation, particularly by witness Jose
Barredo, Jr., that they received a commission of not less than 30
percent euphemistically called SOP or standard operating procedure
and that the fertilizer supplies that were purchased were grossly
Barredo served as a broker between the supplier of liquid
fertilizer, Fesham Philippines, Inc., and the congressmen/local
COA officials confirmed during the Senate hearings that the
fertilizer used in the DAs Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) program
was overpriced by at least P127 million.
Commenting on the irate congressmens grumbling that they are
victims of Senates bashing to retaliate for the Houses move to
abolish the Senate, Pimentel said the reaction is completely
That is the defense of persons whose fingers were caught inside the
cookie jar, he said.
Stressing that the Senate probe into the fertilizer fund must be
pursued up to its logical end, Pimentel said there should be
parallel action on the part of the COA and Ombudsman to pursue the
investigation and prosecute the graft charges against the culprits.