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Senate probers uncover P8.7-billion road racket in General Santos City.

SENATE Blue Ribbon probers on Tuesday bared an P8.7-billion road right-of-way (ROW) racket in General Santos City, unmasking members of the syndicate behind the multibillion-peso racket.

Sen. Richard J. Gordon, who spearheaded the inquiry, also uncovered the modus operandi of the group that perpetrated the road scam in General Santos City, bailiwick of Sen. Manuel Pacquiao.

At Pacquiao's behest, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Gordon conducted a joint investigation with the Committee on Public Works chaired by Pacquiao, resulting in exposure of ROW scam.

Conducting an on-site public hearing in General Santos City on March 23, and attended by Senate President Aquilino L. Pimentel III, Senate probers grilled witnesses to uncover the modus operandi and identified members of the syndicate, giving senators 'a clearer picture' of how the syndicate pulled the scam off, Gordon reported.

'We are happy with the way the investigation is progressing. The Blue Ribbon Committee, at the request of Sen. Pacquiao, went to GenSan, the Senate President was there, too, because it was important enough to investigate a long, simpering racket involving right of way payments and a long, long racket of fake titles being issued right under our noses,' Gordon said.

The senator noted that officials of other government agencies, such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Commission on Audit (COA) were 'listening avidly and taking notes of the admissions' concerning the payment for ROW claims that were already made.

'We were able to pinpoint with accuracy who are the people involved like the people with SPA [Special Power of Attorney] who admitted under cross examination that they are the ones being used to fleece the government and act as conduit for the money,' Gordon said, adding: 'The BIR was there listening. All these money flying around and the BIR said they were taking notes. The COA was there. The BIR and the COA can now go after these people.'

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Mar 27, 2018
Words:371
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