• Probe of DA fund ‘miracles’ sought

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    MILITANT peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Thursday insisted for an independent body that will investigate what it described as the “massive plunder of agricultural funds” inside the Department of Agriculture (DA).

    The KMP said that the so-called probe teams created by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala will move to whitewash the investigation.

    According to KMP secretary general Antonio Flores, the Agriculture chief has created another team that will investigate lawyer Irene Alogoc, director of the DA’s internal audit service, on her alleged participation in the plunder of agricultural funds.

    “It appears that Alcala is scrambling to cover up his mess. Alcala’s creation of fake probe teams is a desperate attempt to exonerate himself and escape accountability from plunder,” Flores said.

    “The DA never runs out of fakes. From fake NGOs, fake probers, up to the fake agricultural programs purposely designed to make public funds vulnerable to plunder,” Flores said.

    Alogoc is one of 12 public and private individuals, including President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Janet Lim-Napoles and Alcala, who were charged with plunder by the KMP in the Office of the Ombudsman last October 2.

    “We don’t trust Alcala. We do not want a repeat of the 2008 fertilizer fund scam probe,” Flores said, referring to the 2008 Blue Ribbon committee investigation that failed to pin down Janet Lim-Napoles because she was cleared, according to former senator Richard Gordon, at the DA level by then agriculture assistant secretary Catherine Mae Santos.

    “In light of the lack of credibility of institutions like Congress and the Judiciary, both hounded by allegations of corruption, and Alcala’s fake probers, we call for the creation of an independent body that will investigate the massive plunder of public funds in the DA,” the peasant leader added.

    NEIL A. ALCOBER

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