PDU30 BACKS PACQUIAO’s PROBE ON P8.7 BILLION RROW PAYMENTS SCAM
By Aquiles Z. Zonio
Sat, 17 Mar 2018
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Senator Manny Pacquiao revealed on Friday here that Pres. Duterte had personally asked him to continue the Senate probe on the P8.7-billion road rights-of-way payments scam.
“No less than Pres. Duterte who pushed me to continue the investigation on the road rights-of-way payments scam. The Committee is doing this not only in aid of legislation but also to protect the interest of the government and to help the President curb corruption in the agencies involved,” Pacquiao said.
The President vowed to address the drug problem, criminalities and rampant corruption in government under his term.
The Senate Committee on Public Works chaired by Pacquiao conducted a consultative meeting here on Friday to gather more information from the ground.
The closed-door meeting with several complainants was held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Sangguniang Panlungsod session hall here.
This is in preparation for the upcoming committee investigation to be conducted by the Public Works Committee on March 22 and 23 here.
The Public Works Committee secretariat led by Ethel Grace Dignadice and the legislative staff of Sen. Pacquiao’s office headed by Atty. Jojo Bondoc came over here to document the proceedings.
Out of the total P8.7 billion amount, P2.8 billion were paid to RROW claimants in General Santos City alone.
“P1.9 billion was due for release to RROW claimants here but this was withheld by the DPWH after my committee launched the investigation late last year,” Pacquiao bared.
Pacquiao personally listened to the complaints of several land claimants Friday afternoon here.
Pacquiao vowed to help them, adding that “May makukulong at may madidiin sa kalokohang ito.”
It was found out during the consultative meeting that members of land syndicate in cahoots with some personnel of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Land Registration Authority and the local courts approached the landowners asking for the issuance of an special power of attorney (SPA).
Some landowners even claimed they were made to sign a black document. They were not given a copy of the documents.
The syndicate pledged to do all the works in processing the papers and in following-up the payments for the landowners’ road rights-of-way claims.
The syndicate got the biggest chunk of the pie, usually 70 percent share of the total amount being claimed.
The landowners received just a measly 30 percent share.
Some landowners, out of necessity and despair, bit the bullet.
Landowners who did not cooperate were warned by the syndicate their papers will not “move.”
One land claimant narrated her experience with a DPWH employee who refused to entertain her.
“When I approached a DPWH employee to follow up my papers, I was advised to seek the help of a fixer in processing my claim,” she said.
Pacquiao said he is hellbent on finding the truth to give justice to the victims and hail the culprits to courts.
“Our primary aim is to come up with a law that would address whatever flaw in our current system. But I feel, it is also our moral responsibility as public servant to seek justice for the victims and obtain punishment for the culprits,” Pacquiao said.
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