Press Release
March 28, 2006

Drilon surprised over Nograles reaction on COA report

Senate President and Liberal Party head Franklin M. Drilon is surprised with the reaction of House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles claiming that the report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the P100 million fertilizer scam in the Department of Agriculture (DA) damaged the "reputation of several lawmakers".

"Congressmen were not even mentioned in the COA report. The COA audited disbursement of the Marcos funds by the DA, local government units and non-government organizations. What we can conclude from the report is the emergence of another scam of grand scale, which presumably occurred right before the May 2004 elections, that needs to be explained by the government, again," Drilon said.

He also added that the special audit of the Marcos ill-gotten wealth is sought primarily to determine whether there was any violation of law when part of the Marcos Swiss deposits was transferred from the Department of Agrarian Reform to finance the controversial farm inputs program of the agriculture department and not intended to audit congressmen.

In newspaper reports the other day, Nograles said the findings of the COA that part of the recovered Marcos wealth was used to purchase allegedly overpriced liquid fertilizer were not yet final but had already damaged the "reputations" of several lawmakers.

"I cannot understand why the House Majority Leader should express alarm on the alleged overpricing when it is the Executive who should be explaining what really happened to the whole P100 Million of the Marcos wealth," Drilon pointed out.

In the COA report prepared by Ms. Flerida Jimenez, Supervising Auditor of the DA, of the total P48 million used for the purchase of fertilizers, overpricing amounted to more than P42 million. The P48 million is part of the P100 million transferred from the Agrarian Reform Fund (ARF) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to the DA. The P100 million, on the other hand, is part of the P544 million of Marcos funds which was released weeks before the May 2004 elections to buy seeds and fertilizer for the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) Program of the government.

The report also disclosed that three (3) non-governmental organizations (NGOs) received a total of P29 Million in Marcos funds to buy farm inputs under the GMA Program.

"Also, the COA report has a presumption of finality considering that the DA was only given ten (10) days to submit their comments. The document showed that the DA received the report on 23 February 2006. My office was furnished a copy of the report on 13 March 2006, thats more than ten (10) days," Drilon reported.

"The fertilizer scam and the plunder of the Marcos funds is not a fight between the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is not even a fight at all. What we need is a clear and credible explanation on where these funds went, did the agrarian reform beneficiaries benefit from it? Or only one person benefited from it?" Drilon stressed.

Drilon added that the anomalous P100 Million Marcos fund is a separate scam from the P728-million Fertilizer scam purportedly committed by the DA.

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