BY JP LOPEZ
Ang Pahayagang Malaya
SEN. Mar Roxas yesterday lashed at President Arroyo for "bringing international shame to the country" for her deliberate disregard of the corruption that pervades her administration.
"Nakakahiya na talaga. This administration should be ashamed of itself. Si Joc-Joc Bolante, nahuli sa US; si General Carlos Garcia, nahuli sa US; itong mga euro generals, nahuli sa Russia; mga ilang contractors, nabuking ng World Bank," Roxas said.
Bolante, a former agriculture undersecretary, has been tagged as mastermind of the P728-million fertilizer mess.
Garcia, a former AFP comptroller, was convicted by a general court martial over undeclared wealth. Former PNP police general Eliseo dela Paz was involved in 105,000 euro money scandal.
"The entire world knows how corrupt our government is, even arrested these Filipino grafters when caught with their loot, but we cannot put them to justice," Roxas said.
Roxas also cited the decision the World Bank Thursday to blacklist seven firms – three from the Philippines and four from China – and an individual for allegedly "engaging in collusive practices" during the biddings for the first phase of the National Road Improvement and Management Program.
"The world is seeing through the corruption of the Gloria administration and she is doing nothing about it. Nasaan ba si Gloria?" he added.
E.C. de Luna Construction Corp. and its proprietor Eduardo C. de Luna were permanently barred from participating in any bidding for World Bank-funded projects. China Road and Bridge Corp. was banned for eight years; China State Construction Corp. and China Wu Yi Co. Ltd. for six years; China Geo-Engineering Corp, for five years; and Cavite Ideal International Construction and Development Corp. and CM Pancho Construction for four years.
The World Bank said it rejected two large road contracts worth $33 million between 2003 and 2006 because of excessive pricing in three rounds of bidding.
Roxas said Arroyo should now drop her political manipulations to extend her term beyond 2010 through a constituent assembly and instead clamp down on corrupt officials.
He said President Arroyo can begin her government’s cleanup by ordering Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to immediately file cases against ranking public officials accused of stealing money from the government.
He said the Ombudsman should file graft charges against Bolante for the fertilizer scam, Dela Paz for the euro money scandal, and former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos for the botched Mega-Pacific poll modernization program and the NBN-ZTE controversy, among others.
"Our Ombudsman has one of the worst track records in the world. Merceditas Gutierrez should shape up or leave," he said.
Sen. Pia Cayetano urged the World Bank to identify "high-ranking officials" involved in the "road contracts cartel."
"An investigation was initiated by Malacañang, or so they announced to the media. But did anything come out of it? We never heard about any official being questioned, sanctioned or charged in court in relation to World Bank’s 2007 complaint," she said.