BIGGER CROCODILES STILL ON THE LOOSE

JGL Eye

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2011 Journal Group Link International)

Joseph Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – I applaud the residents of Agusan del Sur in the Philippines for snaring and trapping alive last week a huge prehistoric crocodile touted as the longest and heaviest of its kind in captivity. While the reptile might have consumed humans, who might have crossed his path, this crocodile should not be faulted for attacking humans because he was doing it only for survival. Now that the reptile which took its nickname “Lolong” after one of its ill-fated hunters, we should now turn on capturing the two-legged crocodiles that roam the Philippine Congress and the government, who never tire on stealing the pork barrels.

Many politicians have been raiding the national treasury for nearly a decade and stashed those ill-gotten wealth secretly in big investment houses. But still, they would insist on holding onto some elective positions, pretending to be serving the people. But what these very few rich people want to accomplish is to preserve their wealth so that more people will seek their help and be indebted to them. This insatiable desire to amass more wealth is a throwback to the feudal times when nobility would thrive by exploiting illiterates and turning them into beasts of burden. So they would be untouchable like drug lords, these rich people would have to put up private security agencies or private armies.They don’t realize it that the more they linger in government service, the more they are liable to committing more mistakes.
 
LAWYERS THRIVE ON MISTAKES OF POLITICIANS
 
 But like the black hole in the outer space, where nothing escapes, these crocodiles in the government will be ceding a great part of their wealth to the lawyers, who will be representing them in various courts of law. If they are unlucky with their choice, these lawyers will prolong the litigation of the case so they earn more attorneys’ fees.
 
 In the case of my native Sorsogon province, it is pity that my province mates have been governed alternately by husband-and-wife tandems, who are not even natives of Sorsogon. Incumbent Gov. Raul R. Lee is said to be originally surnamed “Rodrigueza” from Albay while his wife, former Gov. Sally Lee, is from Vigan, Ilocus Sur, who does not even speak Sorsogon Bikol. Since both of them are carpetbaggers, how sincere are they really in helping Sorsoguenos?
 

When she was governor of the southern most province of Luzon, Governor Sally Lee obtained a 260-million pesos (U$6-M) loan for the province. When Sorsogon’s provincial board member Vladimir Frivaldo sought for an accounting of the loan, Frivaldo did not get any response. I told Vladi to direct his inquiry to the Commission on Audit so it can conduct an accounting of the loan money. Despite the refusal of Governor Sally Lee to explain the whereabouts of the 260-million pesos, her successor and husband, Gov. Raul R. Lee, had the gall to secure another loan, this time, a bigger 350-M peso (US$8.3-M) loan.

 Vladi Frivaldo opposed the P350-M loan but the rest of the members of the Sorsogon provincial board approved the loan request. Vladi wrote a letter to the two banks – Philippine National Bank and Land Bank of the Philippines – to reject the Governor Raul Lee’s loan application by virtue of two criminal graft information filed against Lee by the Ombudsman. Vladi also wrote Congress to investigate the loan request. Vladi is still waiting for the response of his letters.

  LIQUIDATE FIRST THE P260-M LOAN BEFORE P350-M LOAN IS APPROVED

If COA finds out that Gov. Sally Lee cannot liquidate the P260-M, Sally Lee should be charged with malversation of public funds before the Ombudsman. If Sally Lee could not even account for the P260-M loan, why would PNB or the LBP even entertain granting the P350-M loan to her husband?

Court Information furnished to me by Mr. Fulton Baylon, an anti-graft fighter in Sorsogon, shows that Gov. Raul R. Lee, Raul G. Hernandez, Sorsogon Provincial Chief Accountant, and Ofelia D. Velasco, Sorsogon Provincial Treasurer, have been charged with violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. 3019) by Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro after a preliminary investigation for buying P2,640,000.00 (US$62,857.00) Bio Nature Liquid Fertilizer from Feshan Phil. Inc. without public bidding.

The overpriced liquid fertilizer, according to former DA (Dept. of Agriculture) Regional Executive Director Fe Laysa, is “not appropriate for rice and corn, the principal crops in the region” but it is good for “hanging plants like orchids and other ornamental plants, which however, are not among the priority commodities for development and support.”

In another case supplied to me by Mr. Baylon, the Ombudsman also charged Gov. Raul R. Lee, Atty. Cesar J. Balmaceda, Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Antonio R. Huab, Provincial Engineer’s Office Engr. Arnie de Vera, Assistant Provincial Budget Officer Rosie D. Agnis, Provincial Assessor Florenco C. Dino II, Provincial General Services Officer Teresita D. Paladin, Accounting Clerk III Felicisimo D. Brondial, Inspection Officer Manuel S. Laurora and Enrico T. Velasco, Presidential and CEO of First Education & Training Ventures, Inc. of San Juan City, Metro Manila with accepting P12, 000,000.00 (US$285,714.00) satellite and office equipments and a recurrent fee of US$24,000 on March 29, 2004 from FETVI before FETVI was awarded the contract on March 30, 2004 without public bidding.

The same respondents are also accused of obtaining 300 sets of computer hardware and software in the amount P10,000,000.00 (US$238,095) from a loan with the Philippine National Bank. The only problem with these computers is that they are all “reconditioned/slightly used” instead of the “brand new fresh commercial stock supplies or property” required by the COA Circular.

Oh, well the accused in Sorsogon are not as large as the crocodiles in the Philippine Congress and Malacanang but they can grow as big if they will be left in the wild (or go unpunished).With these charging information, Secretary Jesse Robredo has now every reason to ask Governor Lee to cede his office to the Vice Governor, unless Mr. Lee can quash the information.

(lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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7 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Graft and Corruption, Joseph Lariosa, The Matnog Environmental Advocates Organization (MEAO), Views and Concern

7 responses to “BIGGER CROCODILES STILL ON THE LOOSE

  1. The same reason why the Pawa Hospital Bulan remains sick and dying for it was never getting its alloted funds. I once wrote a letter about Pawa Hospital to Sally Lee but it was ignored.

    It’s about time to capture the crocodiles in Sorsogon, too. Yesterday they arrested Garcia, perhaps a much bigger crocodile. I have read that his case was long overdue because the decision of the military tribunal at that time was ignored by the mother crocodile, Gloria Arroyo, so he remained on the loose for years. Now he’s not much better than Lolong, that giant Agusan crocodile for Lolong is now an attraction, a superstar and is already generating additional income to the Ecopark, his new home. Garcia’s new home is the NBP, the New Bilibid Prison, where he must stay for two years with all other hoodlums, generating no income to the Prison for no one would come to see him even if admission were free. Greed and shame are twin sisters.

    Sally Lee was several times in Bulan for a visit. I hope she had seen the Ecopark in Calomagon and had not encountered or met with local crocodiles.

  2. Anonymous

    wala na mababago sa Pilipinas, kahit ano pa ang gawin, dahil kinakain naman ng mga buwaya ang pera ng bayan, wala na, kahit ano pa ang sabihin.

    • ” In a country well- governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of. ”
      Confucius

      Now we are ashame of our poverty- but soon we’ll be proud of our wealth! Just never give up.

      jun asuncion

  3. I still believe that these people, the governor and his cohorts will face the music one of these days. I cant wait for Raul Lee to be jailed. It will be the day Sorsoganons can start again to dream.

  4. It will be a very unpleasant kind of music, I guess, full of distortions and broken harmonies.
    You’re right, dreaming comes later for now action is priority.
    Voracious crocodiles in Sorsogon must be cornered first and put to jail for as long as they’re on the loose, our children’s future is in danger.
    Be patient.

  5. vladimir ramon b. frivaldo

    FRIVALDO: CONTROVERSIAL P350.0 MILLION LOAN OF
    THE LEE ADMINISTRATION IS STILL
    IN THE PURGATORY

    After almost nine months the Sorsogon loan is still in purgatory.

    The continued delay in the release of the controversial P350.0 million loan with Land Bank of the Philippine is giving the Lee administration a big headache. This is due to the strong and determined opposition of the lone fiscalizer in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan by the grandson of late 8-term Gov. Juan Frivaldo.

    The determined stand of neophyte Board Member Vladimir Ramon Frivldo regarding the gargantuan loan application was due mainly on the propriety and morality issue hounding Gov. Raul Lee and his wife Sally.

    “Are the poor people of Sorsogon still willing to trust the P350.0 million to a governor who is charged by 2 graft cases by the Ombudsman?” Frivaldo told to the organizers of the Bulusan Kontra sa Geothermal.

    Last April 14, 2011, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and other national newspapers published and announced that Sorsogon Gov. Raul Lee was charged with graft by Office of the Ombudsman and filed with the Sandiganbayan for his direct involvement in the very controversial P728.0 million fertilizer fund scam.

    After a month, the Office of the Ombudsman has approved the filing of second graft charges against Gov. Raul Lee and eight others in connection with the alleged anomalous implementation eight years ago of the province’s Distance Learning Center Program (DLCP) that involved a total amount of P22 million pesos in funds sourced thru LBP and PNB loans.

    The May 23, 2011 Resolution of Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro paved the way for the filing with the Sandiganbayan of the charges that was made to wait for more than five years after the original complaint was filed with the Ombudsman in 2006 by SPM Rebecca Aquino.

    Frivaldo has been pleading and begging the governor to submit to the people of any report, findings, financial report/status whatsoever of the P260.0 million loan of former Gov. Sally Lee but he fell on deaf ears. He is also urging the poor taxpayer to ask also their governor to inform them what and how the said loan was ever realized – and much more-, used and spent.

    “Lastly, I have learned that Gov. Raul R. Lee and his cohorts will continue to harass me and concentrating their efforts to expel me from office because I am a vocal fiscalizer of his administration. Even I am the lone opposition in this chamber, I will stand my ground against bullies of Sorsogon. I will continue the legacy of our old man Tata Owan fighting for the right and for the sake of our poor constituents. Dahil sa mga kasaradayan kamo talaga ang tunay na lakas ng familia Frivaldo. Hindi naming kayo malilimutan” Frivaldo or Blady to his relatives and friends in his parting words.

    • Well, this is expected from a greedy crocodile- to continue preying on good people around him because they’re a danger to him. Let him act as crocodile to the fullest for this will speed up his appointment with the prison warden. These harassing tactics are the lessons he learned from his mentor, the unsurpassed mother crocodile Gloria Arroyo. It seems though that he pales beside Arroyo, making him appear like a helpless, hungry little mouse waiting for a piece of cheese (or even a few drops of liquid fertilizer) to fall under Gloria’s table.

      We should stop from calling him governor for he doesn’t deserve this title even when elected because, like Gloria Arroyo, he insulted the Bicolano Mind several times by cheating the people who placed him to that office. He has lost any sense of moral integrity and credibility that he doesn’t deserve to receive any further loan from any bank. For how can he pay back his debts if he cannot even respect the people? He is a persona non grata in Sorsogon and Sosoganons should not identify with him, they should avoid him, distance from him, be ashamed of him. We don’t need corrupt and vicious people in Sorsogon because they’re a danger to the community, hence they must be tried and put behind bars for indefinite period till these crocodiles are old and grey and have lost their jaws and claws, and should they survive imprisonment, they should not be allowed the re-entry to Sorsogon territory and must be sent back to the places they belong to. Carpetbaggers are only after wealth, they don’t care about their duties to the people they are beholden to.

      We will focus on Raul Lee’s criminal case and ask the people of Sorsogon to update us on this issue and to stay behind Mr. Frivaldo as he fights for their rights and for a clean and honest Sorsogon government.

      Post here any article with photos and videos that you have that are related to Raul Lee’s corruption scandals, harassments, etc.

      —————————

      Noy wants corrupt convicted by 2012
      By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) Updated September 26, 2011 12:00 AMComments (43)

      President Aquino arrives at the Haneda Airport in Japan, where he is scheduled to meet with the Filipino community in Tokyo, visit an evacuation center in Ishinomaki City, attend a series of business meetings, deliver the keynote statement at the Philippine Economic Forum, and meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiko Noda and Emperor Akihito. AP
      | Zoom

      TOKYO – President Aquino yesterday expressed hope that some corrupt officials in the past administration would be convicted by next year.

      “With a little cooperation from the judiciary, we may be able to jail those people by next year. We will make those who committed sins responsible so they would not be emulated,” Aquino told the Filipino community here at the start of his four-day official working visit in Japan.

      An upbeat Aquino told the Filipinos here that his administration would start filing cases “before the end of the year” against the people that he said had robbed the country.

      Aquino said that if in the past the anomalies were swept under the rug, now everything was coming out in the open.

      He said this was evident when an anomaly was uncovered in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. He was referring to PAGCOR’s billion-peso coffee supply contract.

      Aquino also mentioned the anomalous sale of secondhand helicopters to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2009 that linked the former president’s husband to the sale.

      “From the sea of coffee where they allowed P1 billion in government coffers to evaporate, to the helicopters overly used first before delivery to the PNP, we are now unearthing everything,” Aquino said.

      “We will make sure that this will not just end up in exposés but with strong evidence, the suspects will not be able to get away,” he said.

      Aquino said his desire is to leave office with his head held up high after fulfilling his campaign promises.

      “We will reverse the situation that we had to face when we came in. My desire is simple: that June 30, 2016, I will step down with head held high and I won’t be ashamed to face the millions of Filipinos who put their trust in me because they will see that changes have really been widespread,” he said.

      He also said many Filipinos were being forced to leave the country because of the culture of “wang- wang” (siren), or abuse among those in government when they were supposed to serve the people.

      “When you leave the country, what we want is that it is because of choice and not because you are forced because you cannot find any job in our country,” Aquino said.

      Proud to be Pinoy

      Aquino, however, was taken by surprise after hearing from Filipinos working here that the remittance fees they were paying were still high, prompting him to joke that the president of the Land Bank of the Philippines (Land Bank) might have to be replaced.

      Though he was quick to add that the head of Land Bank at present was competent, he was surprised after asking the crowd if they were already benefiting from the government program to lower remittance fees.

      Collectively, the Filipinos shouted “no” during the gathering at the Japanese Education Center.

      The last time Aquino joked about his problem with some Cabinet members was when he said in a speech at the Department of Public Works and Highways in Manila that three of them were his “headaches.”

      Aquino said the lower remittance fee was one of his good news to the Filipinos as this had been worked since his first visit to this country last year for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Yokohama.

      He said that last January, the Land Bank and Japan Post Bank had a tie-up to offer more affordable remittance fees for Filipinos sending money to their families and relatives.

      “It seems you’re not aware. Maybe it lacks advertising,” Aquino remarked.

      Aquino said he was told that the charges for remittances became lower since there were 200 branches of Japan Post Bank and 7,500 post offices in Japan.

      “Tama po ba ‘yon? (Is that correct?)” he asked the audience, who answered yes.

      “Wait… it seems only a few said yes,” Aquino said to the responsive crowd that gave a rousing and warm welcome.

      Aquino said he would like people to benefit from the system since they work hard and send money to pay for tuition of their children and construct their “dream house,” among others.

      “Was that correct or not?” again Aquino asked the crowd.

      “If not, then I will have to fire the Land Bank president when I get home… but then he is doing a good job,” Aquino remarked.

      “But of course you have to remit bigger so as to avail of lower charges,” he added.

      Aquino appealed to the Filipinos here to always think and act as citizens of the Philippines wherever they are.

      “Each and everyone of you are ambassadors of the Philippines so I trust that you will be responsible representatives of the country here in Japan,” Aquino said as the audience shouted “tama,” or right again.

      The audience’s response perked up Aquino, who was obviously in high spirits as he spoke in Filipino and laughed with the audience.

      “I am very glad that you have been responsible citizens and respectful of their (Japanese) laws. You should be proud and tell the world what it feels to be a Filipino,” he said.

      Not a second longer

      Aquino also told the gathering that he would not stay a second longer in office after his term expires on June 30, 2016.

      In fact, according to Aquino, he would be out of Malacañang before 12 noon of June 30, 2016 because the new president would already have to be sworn in.

      “Let me just reiterate, if there is anything that we want once we step down – sorry if I’m already looking at the date I will be stepping down: June 30, 2016 before 12 (noon)…I want to look back, if you want to know the exact time – four years, nine months— we can all look back together and say there really has been a big change in the Philippines,” he said.

      Aquino said he had been trying to fix the system for the welfare of the Filipinos all over the world.

      He said the government had created jobs and that he has been inviting foreign investors to come to the Philippines.

      Aquino cited the Japanese investments in the Philippines, one of which was Japan Gas Corp. that he said was employing Filipino engineers for its operations in the Middle East.

      He said the talents and potentials of the Filipinos must be fully explored and exposed to the world.

      The President also boasted of the P9-billion budget surplus of the government that could be used for better social services.

      Aquino said the times of being “just tiis” (lack of justice) among government agencies as they had been lacking money will be a thing of the past.

      He also said the budget surplus was still recorded despite increased spending.

      There was improved collection and savings from proper budgeting that the government could now afford to build more schools, roads and provide better health services, Aquino said.

      He also revealed that he had not been resting to be able to deal with all the country’s needs fast and had to attend to so many appointments even abroad.

      He said during his trip here, he has up to 20 appointments in one day.

      “So if anyone is complaining over my salary, just look at the duties and responsibilities of this office,” Aquino said.

      At the same time, Aquino defended the appointment of Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez as he had been criticized for giving positions to classmates, friends and shooting buddies.

      He said Lopez was a long time family friend and he performed his duties as ambassador especially when tragedies hit this country last March.
      ——————–

      Sorsogon gov wants fertilizer fund scam case junked

      abs-cbnNEWS.com

      Posted at 05/05/2011 9:32 PM | Updated as of 05/05/2011 9:32 PM

      MANILA, Philippines – Sorsogon Provincial Governor Raul Lee has invoked “inordinate delay” in 2 graft charges filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman last April 7, saying the same ground has been upheld by the Supreme Court as sufficient basis for the dismissal of a criminal case.

      In an 8-page motion filed May 4, Lee said that the complaint was filed with the Ombudsman on March 30, 2006 and he and his co-defendants submitted their counter-affidavits on May 18, 2006.

      Two and a half years passed before the resolution for their indictment on graft charges was drafted on November 24, 2008 by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Judy Anne Doctor-Escalona.

      Another 2 years and 4 months passed before Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro approved Escalona’s recommendation for the filing of criminal informations.

      “(T)he inordinate delay of more than 5 years by the Office of the Ombudsman in resolving the criminal complaints against the herein accused Lee is violative of his constitutionally guaranteed right to due process and to a speedy disposition of the cases filed against him,” defense lawyer Restituto J. Vejerano said.

      The defense noted that in the 1988 case of Tatad vs. Sandiganbayan, the Supreme Court ordered 5 criminal cases against the former Senator dismissed because the Ombudsman took three years to terminate its investigation and come up with indictments.

      In the 1997 case of Anchangco Jr. vs. Ombudsman, the High Court likewise threw out criminal complaints against the petitioner because of “inordinate delay of more than six years” wherein the Ombudsman failed to resolve the case.

      A 1998 decision in the case of Duterte vs. Sandiganbayan was also invoked wherein the SC ordered dismissed charges filed against the accused saying the Ombudsman was guilty of “inordinate delay” in conducting its preliminary investigation for a period of four and a half years from the filing of the complaint in August 1991.

      Vejerano also questioned the validity of the cases against Lee because it was Casimiro who approved the resolution for indictment instead of Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez.

      “(A)t the time Overall Deputy Ombudsman Casimiro approved the filing of the instant informations, Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez was not on a temporary absence or disabled to perform her duties. Hence, we respectfully submit that the Overall Deputy Ombudsman cannot perform the duties of Ombudsman such as approving the filing of the instant informations before this Honorable Court,” the defense lawyer said.

      Lee was charged for allegedly causing undue injury to the government along with provincial accountant Raul G. Hernandez and provincial treasurer Ofelia D. Velasco in connection with the purchase of 2,133 liters of overpriced fertilizer from supplier Feshan Philippines Inc. in 2004.

      Investigators said the defendants allowed the procurement of Bio Nature Liquid Fertilizer at P1,500 per liter even if there were comparable liquid fertilizers in the market at only P180 per liter.

      The cases against Lee and co-defendants stemmed from a complaint filed by Sorsogon provincial board member Rebecca de leon Aquino

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