PLUNDER  RAPS  VS  GMA & YAP  PURE  HARASSMENT - PALACE
 

[PHOTO AT LEFT - GMA's 'gesture of generosity and kindness' President Arroyo leads a belated Christmas gift-giving activity at Malacañang yesterday, handing out rice and canned goods to an estimated 5,500 residents from 22 barangays in Sta. Mesa, Pandacan and San Miguel in Manila. Critics say the activity is meant to boost her popularity, but Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar said it is a ‘simple gesture of generosity and kindness.’ WILLY PEREZ]

MANILA, JANUARY 5, 2010 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - Malacañang dismissed yesterday moves by a militant group to file plunder charges against President Arroyo and Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap in connection with the alleged purchase of overpriced ice-making machines.

Presidential economic spokesman Gary Olivar said Mrs. Arroyo has confidence in Yap and she is optimistic that he can easily defend himself.

He pointed out that Yap maintained that he was not even part of the bidding for the 98 ice-making machines allegedly overpriced by P2.3 million each and had challenged the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) to present evidence.

“There seems to be a threat to drag the President into this through the dubious application of the principle of command responsibility. When we’re talking about this threat, we really do see here a clear action of ideologically driven harassment, considering the source of this particular accusation,” Olivar told reporters.

“We’re confident that Secretary Yap will be able to clear himself of the charges, assuming it reaches that point,” he said.

Pamalakaya accused Yap of defrauding the Filipino people of P225.4 million in taxpayer’s money in overpricing the machines.

The group said Yap had engaged in an “anomalous transaction” with officials of the National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), which facilitated the procurement of the ice-making machines with the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS).

Pamalakaya also accused the officials of NABCOR and IRSS over what it describes as a “corruption tainted” acquisition of the ice-making machines.

Pamalakaya identified the NABCOR officials led by its president Alan Javellana; Romulo Relevo, chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee; Dennis Lozada, Winston Azucena, Melody de Guzman and Encarnita Cristina Monsod, members of the Bids and Awards Committee.

“This anomalous transaction has the seal of approval of Malacañang,” Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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