Oledan: Syndicated Corruption

HEAR no evil. See no evil.

One would think that with the high profile case of the P728 million fertilizer scam in 2004, the government would be moved to action. It did not.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Instead, the Executive branch opted not to touch the issue.

Last year, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee found no direct evidence linking former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the fertilizer scam but inferred that she "acquiesced" to the the acts of former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Jocjoc" Bolante and other government officials implicated in the scandal by her inaction.

In a 130-page report, the committee concluded: "Since there was no reprobation or disapproval coming from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regarding their actions, it can easily be inferred that President Arroyo acquiesced to such acts."

The Blue Ribbon committee wrapped up the fertilizer fund scam probe at the Senate with the 130-page report citing only 10 personalities, including Bolante, who face charges ranging from plunder to money laundering.

The doctrine of qualified political agency provides that all executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts of the executive department. "The President is the chief administration office of the government. While the Constitution is not explicit about this position, by reason of her being the chief executive and the head of government, she exercises and wields all administrative powers inherent in her position," said a portion of the executive summary of the committee report.

President Benigno Aquino III said that he would call the attention of former Agriculture Secretary Luis "Cito" Lorenzo to shed light on the fertilizer fund scam. He also assured that no "kid-glove" treatment would be given to Lorenzo despite the P20M contribution of Lorenzo's brother, Martin, to his campaign in the May 10 elections.

In the 12-page executive summary of the committee report, the Blue Ribbon panel recommended the filing of plunder charges against former DA assistant secretary Poliquit, Leonicia Llarena, Feshan Philippines president Julie Gregorio, Feshan Philippines vice president Redentor Antolin, Marilyn Araos, Marites Aytona, Jaime Paule and DA Usec. Gonzales.

The Blue Ribbon report cited evidence which allegedly showed that the personalities personally took part in the execution of the act acquiring ill-gotten wealth. Until now, no action has been taken against them. It was speculated that the funds were used to help those who run under the administration party in the 2004 elections.

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee report on the P728-million fertilizer fund scam illustrates the system of syndicated corruption within the government that flourished under the former administration.

With the pronouncement of President Noy, hopes are high that the culture of corruption and impunity would end. The administration could start by prosecuting those who are behind the crime. Remember journalist Marlene Esperat who was killed in 2003 for blowing the whistle in this syndicated corruption.
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