MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday tagged former budget and public works secretaries over a supposed multi-billion scam over road right of way in General Santos City.
In a press conference on Friday, Aguirre said that a witness, a private citizen, has come forward to reveal the government may have been duped into paying P8.7 billion for a road right of way (RROW) scam in Mindanao. The National Bureau of Investigation was also tapped to conduct a case build up on the information.
The justice chief said that the NBI is looking into the “potential” liability of former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and former Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson for “approving” the payment of the dubious RROW.
Singson declined to comment on the allegation, saying that he has yet to read the case.
Abad, for his part, asserted that the “accusation is baseless and therefore not true.”
He added: “I and the [Department of Budget and Management] were never part of the negotiations for that transaction. The [Department of Public Works and Highways] will be in the best position to shed light on the issue.”
Singson and Abad served as cabinet secretaries under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Earlier on Friday, Aguirre revealed that the NBI is also conducting a case build-up on the former president’s involvement over the Disbursement Acceleration Program and pork barrel scam.
Aguirre, in a statement, said that the group’s scheme involves submitting “fake titles in the name of non-existent persons to allow them to claim from the DPWH the just compensation from the expropriation of land which will be supposedly occupied by government projects.”
Also tagged in the allegation are Wilma Mamburan, Col. Chino Mamburan, Merceditas Dumlao and Nelson Ti, who is said to be the group’s financier.
The justice chief said that the witness is already given provisional government protection.
He declined to provide more details on the allegations and said that he will ask permission to reveal the contents of the affidavit submitted by the witness next week.
By Kristine Joy Patag (philstar.com) November 24, 2017