Sen. Koko should inhibit from Senate probe

MY OLD chap in Congress is curious to know how Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel would conduct himself in the impending Senate investigation into the alleged anomalous P111-billion bridge construction project entered into during the past Arroyo administration.

This is so because, according to Kontra Daya, Pimentel’s sister and chief of staff, Gwendolyn, is said to be the second nominee of Ang Kasangga Partylist which seeks to represent, really, the lowly micro-entrepreneurs in Congress for the upcoming May 2013 elections.

Ang Kasangga Partylist Rep. Ted Haresco, who is seeking his second term for the next elections, is reportedly responsible for “conceptualizing and bringing to fruition” the President’s Bridge Program that Sen. Serge Osmena claimed to be laden with anomalies.

By the way, Gwen Pimentel is not marginalized and much less, underrepresented as his father was a former senator and his brother is an incumbent senator.  But that would be another story to tell later on.

For now, let us give due credit to Haresco, the “Bridge Master,” for erecting more than 1,589 modular steel bridges all over the country under the multi-billion contract cornered by British Mabey & Johnson where he sits as its director for business development in Asia Pacific.

Being a member of the Senate blue ribbon committee, Sen. Pimentel should be well-advised that his attendance –  much less his participation – during the Senate probe jeopardizes his impartiality to decide on the issue and undermines his fight against corruption in the government.

In fairness to Sen. Pimentel, he also asked that other foreign bridge contractors be investigated as well, namely French consortium Eiffel Matierre and British Balfour Beatty which he claimed has also a “checkered background” in its dealings abroad.

According to news reports, British Balfour Beatty had purportedly been involved in a bribery scandal while working on a dam project in Lesotho, South Africa and was held responsible for a railway crash in Hatfield, England.

Incidentally, our source intimated that Eiffel Matierre which has threatened to sue the Aquino administration for rescinding 66 of the 72 roll-on, roll-off port projects is also manned by Haresco’s business associates.

Pimentel runs the risk of being perceived as having a conflict of interest unless he would inhibit himself from the Senate investigation.  Let us watch whether Sen. TG Guingona will convene a Senate investigation into this so-called “grandmother of all scams.”

This old chap says he would closely watch the Senate proceedings, and would make a judgment whether to give Sen. Pimentel a fresh mandate come election day.

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