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Blue Ribbon urged to probe Malampaya scam.

Manila, Philippines --- Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday urged the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to move on from its inquiry into the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam to the alleged misuse of P900-million worth of government funds from the Malampaya gas project in Palawan.

Cayetano said he is hoping Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, chair of the committee investigating the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers, to start scheduling hearings for the Malampaya probe.

"I really think there ought to be a partial report on the pork barrel fund probe, then the Malampaya probe should follow," Cayetano said.

The majority leader stressed there is a need for the Senate to dig deeper into the purported scam which businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles allegedly masterminded.

The Malampaya gas funds were supposed to aid farmers affected by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in 2009 but were reportedly funneled to bogus organizations.

"The public has the right to know what happened to the Malampaya funds supposed to help farmers who were affected by calamities and why these money went to corrupt people who have no conscience," the majority leader said.

He said the misuse of Malampaya funds "is another atrocity" that has been committed against the Filipino people who are still in outrage over the pork barrel scandal.

"We should know who are the people behind and prosecute them," he said.

That is why, he said, he has asked Guingona to start its probe into the Malampaya fund scam.

"I asked him to start hearings into the Malampaya scam so that all issues would be threshed out and investigated in order to provide the public information where the funds ended up," he said.

Cayetano earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 271 urging the Senate to start looking into the Malampaya funds scam following the testimonies of the whistleblowers that Napoles' bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) also cashed in on these government funds.

The resolution also directs the committee to determine the alleged involvement of some government officials, particularly from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), in the controversy.

Given the magnitude of the corruption, the senator emphasized the need for government to shed light into the issue, stressing that there is "no viler form of corruption than stealing from those who were devastated by calamities."

"We already know the extent of the damage to lives and livelihood that typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy created especially to our farmers. The P900-million could have been enough to help them start again and rebuild their lives," he said.


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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Mar 19, 2014
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