Presidential kin should not be spared in MRT extort inquiry

Erwin Tulfo
Erwin Tulfo

Malacañang on Monday announced a thorough investigation on the $30 million extortion try by Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) officials on a Czechoslovakian company, Inekon, which was interested in supplying coaches for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3.

President Aquino, perhaps pressured by some quarters, directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the complaint by no less than Czech Ambassador Josef Rychter.

Surprisingly, after Rychter’s expose came out in the press, Malacañang immediately cleared presidential sister and brother-in-law Ballsy and Eldon Cruz and Jorge Aquino Licauco, first cousin of PNoy. Their names were mentioned in earlier reports but no official investigation has been conducted yet by any agency at that time.

Ambassador Rychter also cleared the couple a few days later, saying they were not involved in the extortion attempt even as they were reported to have gone to Prague.

Only MRTA Administrator Al Vitangcol 3rd has so far went on leave to make way for the investigation.

Ironically, my source at the NBI said that it seems that the names of the Cruz couple and Licauco are not on the list of persons allegedly involved in the extort try.

My source said since they are not on the list, then they cannot be considered as “persons of interests.” Therefore, they are off the hook.

However, if they are not really involved in this anomaly, then they should not be afraid or ashamed. They should voluntarily subject themselves to the investigation to clear their names. Right madam Ballsy?

But as one old Filipino saying goes “iba na ang malakas” :)

Scam after scam
First there was the alleged P10-billion pork barrel anomaly wherein lawmakers from both houses of Congress reportedly diverted their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus foundations and non-existent non-government organizations.

Then came the shocking report that presidential sister and brother-in-law Ballsy and Eldon Cruz, together with PNoy’s first cousin, Jorge Aquino Licauco, are part of the group asking $30 million from Inekon, a Czech company, as a commission to gain the right to sell trains to MRT.

A week or two later, PNoy lambasted the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in his State of the Nation Address for not meeting its tax collection target and for smuggling in the piers.

But BOC Commissioner Ruffy Biazon blamed politicians acting as padrinos to non-performing personnel of the bureau who facilitate the release of cargoes at the south harbor.

And last Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala was also implicated in the pork barrel scam for reportedly allowing the lawmakers’ PDAF to go to fictitious NGOs.

Alcala quickly said he has ordered an investigation if these NGOs are real, claiming he just relies on the evaluation report of his men over the authenticity of these foundations.

A lot of people are wondering these days and are asking why the sudden exposes of numerous anomalies? Could this be a cover-up of a bigger scam by the administration or by a group?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Questionable insertion of an LP ally
The opposition is crying foul over the very suspicious insertion of former DILG Undersecretary Rafael Santos’ name in the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council’s (JBC) five nominees to the top Sandiganbayan post.

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general Toby Tiangco said “his (Santos) name was slipped in like a thief in the night notwithstanding the many objections from the civil society groups yet still managed to get the most number of votes.”

Tiangco claims that Santos is the right hand man of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas and obviously has an agenda at the aspired post. It is up to the President now to choose the replacement of Presiding Justice Francisco Villaruz Jr. who retired in June.

Should we now congratulate Rafael Santos as the next Sandiganbayan justice?

But isn’t this part of the “wang-wang” mentality? Tsk tsk tsk.


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