A certain Erwin Esteban has reportedly duped a dozen contractors, having pocketed over P300 million in cash advances or “goodwill” in exchange for big juicy projects allegedly from the departments of agriculture and public works and highways.
According to several complaints, Erwin Esteban would introduce himself as someone who had contacts in the two agencies, as well as in the Department of Budget.
He would usually assure an unsuspecting contractor that he could bag contracts worth millions of pesos if he is willing to shell out “goodwill money.”
Once the contractor releases the cash, Esteban would vanish.
Agriculture and Public Works officials had denied having Erwin Esteban in their roster.
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Let’s not forget the other areas too
While the government’s relief efforts have started rolling in Leyte and Samar, Typhoon Yolanda victims in Palawan and Antique have yet to see a single pack of relief goods since the super storm made landfall on November 8.
Hundreds of victims in several towns in Antique and in Coron, Palawan, who have had no food or water for days, have been appealing for help.
However, government spokesmen took turns in explaining on national TV last week that the devastation was so enormous and extensive that authorities, particularly the Department of Social Welfare and Development, are having a hard time reaching the victims.
On Thursday, Malacanang apologized for the delay of the distribution of relief goods in Leyte and Samar. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman are saying that their people are working almost round the clock now to make sure that food and essential items will reach Palawan and Antique the soonest possible time.
For the meantime, the victims in the two provinces will have to wait a little bit more.
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Politics in relief efforts?
What’s this I heard all the way from Tacloban City that the reason why the government’s help came in several days late was due to politics?
According to the grapevine, Leyte is an opposition bailiwick, particularly Tacloban City which is considered as the Romualdez’s turf, thus their appeal for help fell on deaf ears.
However, this rumor was immediately quashed by the President’s men on the ground, who maintained that the widespread destruction in the province was the only reason for the delay in the relief operation.
Some observers believe the rumor could be true as they pointed out that residents of Zamboanga and Bohol did not starve for days when the war and strong quake hit their respective areas last month.
They claim that the local chief executives of the two cities are allies of the Palace.
Geeez, I hope this isn’t true. Or could it be? Just wondering.