Chairman Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) supported the stance of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that plunder should be punishable by death.
“Plunder should be meted with death penalty. Anti-death penalty groups claim that the death penalty is anti-poor. Well, a lot of people are poor because of corruption. Corruption breeds poverty. If VACC would have its way, we even want to reduce the threshold amount of plunder to P10 million,” Jimenez told The Manila Times.
Alvarez on Monday said those convicted of plunder should be sentenced to death.
The Speaker berated former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) officials and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) during a congressional probe over the alleged anomalous P234-million contract between Pagcor and Vanderwood Management Corp.
The P234 million was for Pagcor’s rental payment for Vanderwood’s facilities — a payment made in advance even if the construction of Vanderwood’s facility is yet to be finished.
“What has been said in this inquiry strengthens the case we filed against Pagcor because the House [of Representatives]has also expressed its intent to file a similar case. It is clear that Pagcor’s contract with Vanderwood should have been voided a long time ago due to the notice of disallowance issued by COA,” Jimenez said.
Alvarez said he will work to include plunder in the list of heinous crimes that should be meted capital punishment.
“Definitely [plunder will be included in crimes punishable by death penalty]. As I have said, I will insist that plunder should be included and we have more reasons to do this, just like this case [on Pagcor and Vanderwood]. I can’t even imagine why this contract was allowed,” Alvarez said after coming out of the House Committee on Good Government inquiry into the Pagcor-Vanderwood deal.
The Speaker scolded Vanderwood for leasing property in Museo ng Maynila to Pagcor even if the legitimate owner of the property is the Manila city government.
“No less than the COA [Commission on Audit] has disallowed this contract, which is really highly disadvantageous to the government. Definitely, this is plunder because they wasted a lot of government money,” Alvarez said.
“[Former Pagcor] Chairman [Cristino] Naguiat and the members of the board are liable, including the OGCC because all government contracts are subject to the review of OGCC and they said they allowed this contract in the first place,” he added, referring to former Government Corporate Counsel Raoul Creencia.