I wonder if the President is really bothered by reports that despite his strict policy against corruption, millions of pesos are still lost in ghost projects these days.
A farmer from Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija wrote this columnist to inform me about a ghost project in the area worth P30 million.
The farmer, who begged not to be identified, was one of the supposed beneficiaries of the livelihood fund that was allegedly used in cattle and goat raising.
He said they were asked to sign a document before the May 2013 elections to show that they belong to a cooperative and that they have received several heads of livestock under the town’s livelihood program.
A certain Evelyn Miranda was said to have facilitated the release of the fund from the Department of Agriculture (DA) but the money did not reach poor the farmers of Cuyapo.
The farmers also blame Mayor Amado “Jhong” Corpus for telling them to sign the document and assuring them that they will receive the promised livestock after the election.
To cut the story short, the election came and went but the poor farmers did not receive the promise livelihood from Mayor Corpus nor from the non-government organization (NGO) of Miranda. They were duped!
Miranda is a known contractor not only at the Department of Agriculture (DA) but also at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). She allegedly has strong ties with several lawmakers, local officials and Janet Lim-Napoles.
She is said to work in funding livelihood and reforestation projects in the countryside using the various agencies’ funds and the pork barrel of some senators and congressmen.
Sources at the House of Representatives and the Senate claim that Mrs. Miranda has more contacts at the legislature compared to Napoles. But she and Napoles reportedly use the same modus operandi — offering fat commissions to lawmakers who gave part of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to fake non-government organizations (NGOs).
DA Undersecretary Antonio Fleta vowed to investigate the matter. He assured the farmers in Nueva Ecija that charges will be filed against those who are involved in this ghost project.
The government should run after these scrupulous contractors. Politicians and government officials are lured into corrupt practices because of the bribe, “tongpat,” or “lagay” that they offer.
Senator Nancy Binay, who is a member of the Blue Ribbon and Agriculture committees, agrees that after the PDAF scam inquiry, other NGOs and foundations must be investigated to end such anomalies.
The likes of Miranda and Napoles should be banned indefinitely from doing business with any government agencies. After all, they are one of the sources of corruption.
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Trillanes wants bir, doj to go after Enrile crony
Sen. Antonio Trillanes will ask the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to go after Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile’s cronies who are said to have built their fortune during his Senate presidency.
The former navy officer turned lawmaker wants the two agencies to look at the business dealings, assets and liabilities, and tax payments of Alice Eduardo, the owner of Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation, where Enrile is said to be a part owner.
I can’t blame Sen. Trillanes if he really wants to have Eduardo investigated. After all, Eduardo, who used to make hundreds of thousands a year in her small garments business, now earns several billions from her construction firm.
Eduardo, who is believed to have earned hundreds of millions a year, surprisingly is not one of the country’s top 100 taxpayers in 2011 and 2012. Neither is her company.
An accountant friend of mine believes that there may be inconsistencies in the income statement of Eduardo, resulting in her alleged low tax payments.
My friend wonders if Eduardo declared correctly her house and lot in the United States and her mansion at the Tagaytay Highlands, including several condo units in Taguig and Makati.
Well, your guess is as good as mine, my friend.