Press Release
June 6, 2008


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said he is in favor of a proposal to call Congress to a special session after the June 13 sine die adjournment.

Pimentel said this will give the Arroyo administration and the Department of Agrarian Reform additional time to explain how billions of pesos in public funds were spent on the comprehensive agrarian reform - a condition imposed by the Senate minority bloc for supporting a bill extending the implementation of the program after it expires on June 10.

He said the extra session days may perhaps also enable the Senate to inquire anew into the fertilizer fund scam in view of the impending deportation of its suspected principal perpetrator - former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc Joc" Bolante - from the United States.

"We welcome a long special session so we have time to dissect corruption of DAR officials and also to investigate - Bolante's alleged connection with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regarding the fertilizer money worth over P1 billion," he said.

The fertilizer fund was allegedly diverted to Mrs. Arroyo's election campaign in the 2004 presidential election.

Pimentel said he is still awaiting the full disclosure and accounting by the DAR, under Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, on how it utilized the P50 billion funding for the CARP, over the last 10 years of its implementation (from 1998 to 2008).

The funds disbursed for CARP includes the P30 billion share of the Marcos bank deposits recovered from Switzerland.

He also asked the DAR to explain a report that a huge amount of CARP money was siphoned off to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao - a disbursement which is highly questionable because the ARMM is supposedly not under the CARP coverage.

"If they cannot account for these funds, I am very sorry, you lose one more vote in this bill. And that's me. I will not support the extension of the CARP."

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