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David vs. Goliath Part 2

The “David versus Goliath” battle that started four years ago hasn’t ended yet.

The “victory” that Goliath achieved in his own turf at the Senate was hollow. While I was ganged up upon by his ilk in the Liberal Party, I wasn’t pulverized. Yes, I was beaten black and blue, especially with the black propaganda machinery thrown against me. But my integrity was not shattered. It stayed intact.
Now David is coming back into the arena, better armed, and no longer a lonely warrior.
David has got the machinery of the Digong administration behind him.
He is now equipped with a larger arsenal of documents to prove the plunder of Goliath. And he’s got the lawyers of Digong help him and his lawyer with the case.
The link between Drilon and DAP in the ICC project is now established with competent proof.
And David can show the evil scheme that Goliath employed to plunder no less than half a billion pesos — 500,000,000 pesos — from this project.
Goliath thought he could hide the evidence.
But truth has a way of coming to the surface.
And it is the truth that will slay Goliath, like a well-aimed pebble hitting his forehead.
David and Goliath is a story that happened thousands of years ago.
It is being reincarnated in modern Philippine history.

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Drilon is a big liar

In all his statements about his share from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) for his anomalous Iloilo Convention Center project in Iloilo City, Senator Franklin M. Drilon has consistently claimed that he got only P100,000,000 for the project.  On July 8, 2014, Drilon issued a press release entitled, “Drilon releases details of his P100-M DAP funds, invites public to scrutinize his DAP availment,” he said the amount was just P100-million. He said the same thing in a press release much earlier, on October 13, 2013, which is entitled, “DAP creation based on President’s power to realign funds.

But this claim is a big lie. And Drilon knew he was lying. That’s because when he first had to make such claim, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had already issued three (3) SAROs, or the Special Allocation Release Order, with a total amount of P300 million that went into the Iloilo Convention Center project. This is confirmed by no less than the DPWH Regional Director, Engr. Wenceslao Leano, in a matrix of fund disbursements for the ICC, a digital copy of which is shown below:

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That these funds covered by the SAROs listed in the matrix were part of the DAP in 2012-2013 are confirmed by no less than Secretary Benjamin Diokno in his letter dated July 23, 2018, shown below:

letter-from-diokno.jpg

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This proves me assertion four years ago that Drilon had designed an evil scheme to steal public funds by the hundreds of millions of pesos from the ICC. The design of the ICC as specified by the Megaworld’s architect, W. Coscolluela and Associates, had a budgeted cost of only P200 million. During the Blue Ribbon committee investigation on November 13, 2014, Drilon admitted that the design and specifications for the building were part of the donation made by Megaworld. And the terms and conditions of the Deed of Donation spelled out how much the government was required to put up to fund the construction of the convention center. It was P200 million, no more, no less.

Drilon’s insatiable greed became runaway. He tried to get as much money from DAP. He wasn’t contented with P100-million under SARO No. A-12-01294 dated December 12, 2012. He got another chunk of P50-million under SARO No. A-13-00079 dated January 15, 2013. It only whetted his appetite; he got another P150-million on July 5, 2013 under SARO No. A-13-01134. He attempted to get more and spend more. But the heat became unbearable for the DPWH because of my exposes, and the faucet was shut down.

Drilon had announced during the Dinagyang festival in January 2014 that the ICC was going to cost P1-billion. Apparently, he had programmed the DAP releases to ultimately reach P1-billion. This is the reason why when the DAP faucet was shut down, the ICC was not 100% complete, which is the state it is now in. After spending nearly P750-million for the project, Drilon’s ICC lacks a number of components to truly make it world-class.

Now I am asking Drilon to ask the Filipino people for forgiveness. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He tried to grab more than his share of the DAP. He put up deceptive ploys to hide the fact that he got more — much more — than his fellow senators. He should also apologize to his colleagues in the Senate for this deception.

This shouldn’t be unfamiliar territory for Drilon. In June 2005, he goaded and coached then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to face the nation and say, “I am sorry”, in the wake of the “Hello, Garci” scandal. Maybe he can rise on a question of personal and collective privilege on Monday and deliver his own “I am sorry” speech for being a liar and a thief.

The Iloilo City slaughterhouse: a corruption scandal

The City Council discussed last Tuesday the deteriorated state of the Iloilo City Abattoir. I produced this video last year to document the substandard construction of the meat processing facility, a DAP funded project of Senator Franklin Drilon only four years ago. About a hundred million pesos were spent on this project. There should be an investigation into the anomalous implementation of the project.

CSR? Nope, more like corporate arrogance

I was told that residents along the road in Barangay Baldoza, Lapaz have started a signature campaign to voice their complaints about the disturbance caused by heavy trucks of La Filipina Uygongco Corp. in hauling raw materials from its private port in Barangay Ingore.
Baldoza becomes the second barangay to complain about the noise.
I asked former Punong Barangay Ernie Poral whether the flour manufacturer has made any efforts to mitigate the rumbling noise of their heavy trucks and shaking of the ground. He said there is no such effort.
I had hoped that after the public hearing conducted by the Committee of the Whole of the Sangguniang Panlungsod two weeks ago, La Filipina Uygongco would take steps to address the complaints.
But it appears the company is oblivious to the disturbance to the community. Last July 24, the hauling operations went on the whole night, and many residents were unable to sleep.
Is this a case of corporate arrogance? I learned the company has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. However, its behavior points the other way about its social responsibility.
I hope our City Councilors can schedule a second public hearing so that it can obtain more information about these issues.
Right now, I am waiting for the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in Manila to release the documents relative to the company’s application for a permit to build and operate this private port.

Digong gets a medical check-up before his 3rd SONA

Less than 24 hours before he was to deliver his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) before Congress this afternoon, July 23, President Rodrigo R. Duterte underwent a one-and-a-half hour medical check-up at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.

But Spokesman Harry Roque said there was nothing to worry about, and that President Duterte went back to Malacanang after the check up to continue rehearsing his SONA. It was a routine check-up, Roque said.

Special Assistant Christopher Go said the prepared speech for the SONA consists of 16 pages.

The speech would not exceed 35 minutes for the President to deliver, according to Atty. Roque.PRRD_PUBHEALTH4-768x512

Cynthia Patag’s fake news

The news about Cynthia Patag filing a letter with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) supposedly signed by 5,500 Ilonggos urging its esteemed members to adopt the 25% threshold for ballot shading in the poll protest filed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos was met with ridicule and contempt in her own city.

In the first place, there was no organized campaign to raise those 5,500 signatures in Iloilo City and Province. It just came out from nowhere, another of the magic tricks that the Liberal Party had mastered in obtaining electoral victory through fraud and deception. Not a single word has been heard about it; had it been real, it should have created so much noise here and the media would have gotten wind of it.

Secondly, Ilonggos are convinced there was massive cheating for the vice presidential race in the city and province. Leni Robredo was an unknown commodity in Iloilo in the May 9, 2016 elections. Bongbong Marcos was a one-term senator, and enjoyed high popularity and support among Ilonggos. His wife has many relatives in Iloilo province. There is quite a number of politicians who were once part of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) of his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Add to that is the fact that Bongbong ran as vice president in tandem with the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. That fact alone boosted the popularity and credibility of Bongbong in the eyes of Ilonggos.

In my radio commentary last Friday, July 20, 2018, I described this antic of Ms. Patag as “fake news”. It insults the intelligence of Ilonggos. The first insult happened when the Liberal Party made it appear that Robredo won over Bongbong by a landslide in the elections. Based on conversations I had with political leaders after the 2016 national and local elections, the results was the other way around: Bongbong had trounced Leni in Iloilo.

Aksyon Radyo picks up issue on Uygongco private port

I am flattered to know that Aksyon Radyo station manager and anchorman John Paul Tia has picked up the issue on the construction of a private port by La Filipina Uygongco Corp. in Barangay Ingore, Lapaz, Iloilo City.
This is a matter of supreme importance, because as discussed last night by urban development and planner Francis Gentoral, good port facilities are a must for Iloilo City to be competitive.
Uygongco private port

This is the private port built and operated by the La Filipina Uygongco Corp. offshore in Barangay Ingore, Lapaz, Iloilo City.

As it is, the existing Iloilo Commercial Port Complex is congested. On any given day, three or four foreign vessels lay at anchor in the Guimaras Strait to wait for their turn to dock and unload their cargo. Every day of delay is costly; shippers have to pay demurrage (penalty charged by ship owners) an estimated $2,500-3,000 per day of delay.
The reputation of the Iloilo Port is now close to being ruined in the shipping industry. According to my sources, owners of foreign vessels are starting to impose higher than usual demurrage. That means only one thing: Iloilo Port could be treated like a leper by international shipping companies.
This is the core of my expose on the Uygongco Port.
By building a private port near the existing ICPC, it has effectively blocked the room for expansion. This is detrimental to Iloilo’s economy. Also, it gave Uygongco unfair advantage over other companies who depend on the ICPC for their shipping requirements.
Right now, what is highlighted is the complaint of residents of Barangay Ingore about the noise and disturbance of the heavy equipment hauling soya, sorghum and wheat that are unloaded at the private port.
These are the raw materials for the manufacture of flour.
I am waiting for the Philippine Ports Authority to furnish me with all the records and documents relative to the grant of the permit to construct and operate to Uygongco.
There have been short-cuts made, and violations of the law may have been committed.
I think the business community should be interested in this issue.
Again, just for the record, I have nothing against Uygongco building its private port. It can build one twice or thrice the size of this one. My point is that such private port must be situated outside of the port development area for the ICPC.