Top gov’t execs, Palawan officials summoned to Senate probe of Malampaya project funds

THE Senate Blue Ribbon Committee summoned top government and Palawan officials for the continuance of the inquiry on the P3.9 billion worth of anomalous public works projects linked to the death of Dr. Jerry Ortega, two years ago.

In a media advisory, Senator Teofisto Guingona III said, the panel has sent “invitations” to the following:
– Commission on Audit Chairman Atty. Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan
– Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla
– Justice Secretary Leila de Lima
– National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Atty. Nonnatus Caesar Rojas
– Budget Secretary Florencio Abad
– Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson
– Ricardo Balbido, Jr., president of the Philippines Veterans Bank.

Also included in the “guests list” were:
– Palawan Governor Abraham Kahlil Mitra
– Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn
– former DPWH Secretaries Hermogenes Ebdane, Manuel Bonoan and Victor Domingo
– representatives of Manila and Palawan based non-government organizations
– members of the Bids and Awards Committee of the Province of Palawan
– members of the BAC for 2nd District of Palawan
– members of the Kaakbay Partylist

Recently, Guingona said that there is a clear basis that the death of Dr. Jerry Ortega two years ago was linked to the staggering misuse of P3.9 billion provincial royalties from the Malampaya Gas project in Palawan.

“What we see on the finding of COA, Doc Gerry is right na may kalokohan. Even to quote Secretary Singson, hao shao ang lahat ng projects,” Guingona said in an impromptu interview after the hearing.

“From the utterances of (DPWH) Sec.(Rogelio) Singson, there is clear basis for the cause of his death. Beside from the COA, a person was murdered because of his advocacy. So now it is clear that the anomalies in the Malampaya funds was the cause of his death, and from the opinion of secretary Singson, there is a basis that there are anomalies,” he further said.

Guingona said the Malampaya project has remitted around P3.9 billion for the provincial government of Palawan which was divided into four parts: One for the provincial government, one for the city of Puerto Princesa and one each for two congressional districts.

Based on the COA report, Guingona said, the provincial government of Palawan received P966 million from the Malampaya funds under the leadership of fugitive Gov. Joel Reyes; P816 million to Congressman Antonio Alvarez of the first district of Palawan; P520 million to Congressman and now Gov. Abraham Kahlil Mitra and the City of Puero Princesa received P270 million from the share of Mitra.

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