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Feb 03rd
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Senator Pimentel Praises Resigned BIR Chief for Delicadeza
Senator Pimentel Praises Resigned BIR Chief for Delicadeza PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Monday, 20 October 2008 01:54


S enate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today commended outgoing Internal Revenue Commissioner Lilian Hefti for having the decency to resign after the Bureau of Internal Revenue failed to meet its collection target for the last quarter.


“Congratulations to Commissioner Hefti. She has delicadeza – a virtue not found in many public officials,” he said.


Senator Pimentel however criticized Malacañang for apparently trying to camouflage the circumstances behind Ms. Hefti’s resignation, referring to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita’s statement that the BIR chief cited health reasons for it.


He noted a contrary report from the Department of Finance that Ms. Hefti was under investigation on how she was able to raise the money for her schooling in the United States.


What is disturbing, the minority leader said, is that the careers of professional executives like Commissioner Hefti are needlessly sacrificed because of the propensity of the Arroyo government for imposing tax collection goals that may be unrealistic because of the condition of the economy and corruption in the bureaucracy.


On the resignation of another Palace official, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol, Senator Pimentel said he does not buy the former’s claim that he has decided to quit to prepare for the 2010 congressional election.


“Maybe he might have been giving bum legal advice to the President and his advice was not being followed anymore,” he said.


Senator Pimentel also expressed surprise over the appointment of former Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor as chairman of the Philippine National Railways.


“Mike Defensor is very influential with President Arroyo, and any government post is his for the asking. He knows too much about the wrongdoing of this administration. They could not afford to displease him,” he said.


Senator Pimentel said it is safe to presume that the PNR chairmanship is just a temporary assignment for Mr. Defensor. He said it is not coincidence that the appointment came while the government is considering the demand of the China National Machinery and Equipment Corporation for an additional $299 million funding for the North Rail Project.


He said the additional $299-million for the first phase of the project (from Caloocan to Malolos) would be too difficult to justify given the fact that actual construction of the North Rail has not even begun despite the infusion of an initial amount of $500-million for the project.


Senator Pimentel said that in all likelihood, Mr. Defensor will do a lot of trouble-shooting to get the North Rail Project moving. He recalled that Mr. Defensor had earlier headed a Malacañang Task Force on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport-Terminal 3 but quit just as the new airport was about to open. # # #

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Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2008 02:11

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