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Dec 05th
Home Community RP Government Updates Senate Panel Inching Closure to Fertilizer-Scam Probe
Senate Panel Inching Closure to Fertilizer-Scam Probe PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - RP Government Updates
Saturday, 24 January 2009 04:08

T he Senate committee on accountability of public officers and investigations (Blue Ribbon) probing the P728-million fertilizer-fund scam is nearing the end of the probe. "We can now trace the paper trail... foundations were used to launder money," Sen. Richard J. Gordon, committee chairman, said in a statement that was released to the media.


"We are now nearing the end of the investigation. We only need the other names mentioned to surface but what we have will already suffice."

The Blue Ribbon panel has conducted seven hearings on the issue.

Mr. Gordon had wanted that key personalities implicated in the scandal be summoned to shed light on the extent of their participation in the program’s implementation, which had been the subject of a Senate inquiry when the issue broke out in 2005.
During the last hearing, Jaime "Jimmy" Paule, who has been tagged as the alleged "Palace link" in the scam, denied having been involved in the program, which was implemented in 2004, an election year.

He also denied having known former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc Joc" I. Bolante, who has been implicated as the mastermind in the alleged misuse of the funds, and other witnesses – Leonicia Marco-Llarena, Marilyn Araos, Jose "Boy" B. Barredo, Jr. and Agriculture Undersecretary for Finance Belinda A. Gonzales.

Ms. Llarena said Mr. Paule had sought "financial assistance" from her regarding the project, adding she issued ten personal checks from March 25, 2004, to Sept. 30, 2004,  totalling P12.695 million to enable Mr. Paule to get fertilizers from Feshan Philippines, Inc., the largest supplier of the alleged diluted-and-overpriced liquid fertilizers.

Ms. Araos testified that Paule ordered her to open a bank account for Feshan at Land Bank-Elliptical Road Branch in Quezon City. Mr. Barredo had tagged Mr. Paule as having close ties with the Palace.

Ms. Gonzales had testified that Mr. Paule was present during a meeting at the New World Hotel in Makati City in 2002 with Mr. Bolante to discuss the project.

While admitting that he had known Maritess Aytona, the runner of the scam, Mr. Paule denied the latter’s claim that it was him who introduced her to the National Organization for Agricultural Enhancement and Productivity, Inc., the foundation used as the proponent in the project.

Mr. Gordon said there are "overwhelming" pieces of evidence that point to the participation of Mr. Paule in the scam, even if Mr. Paule expressed outright denial of the circumstances.

A hearing has been scheduled on Monday. # # #

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Last Updated on Saturday, 24 January 2009 04:22

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