Press Release
December 14, 2008

Gordon urges Paule to come out: "I worry about his safety"

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today urged Mr. Jimmy Paule, one of the key witnesses in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, to come out and submit himself to the Senate's protection so that he can clear his name of any involvement in the project.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said he worries about the safety of Paule who has been implicated to have a direct hand in the alleged anomalous Department of Agriculture's (DA) Farm Inputs-Farm Implements (FIFI) project.

"I worry for Mr. Paule," he said succinctly, after receiving preliminary reports from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that there are at least five or seven "Jimmy Paule" in its database.

"There are several Jimmy Paules in the NBI's records. It would be better if they would come forward and clear their names, otherwise they will remain suspects, and worse, put the lives of the innocents on the line," he added.

Among all the names implicated in the fertilizer fund mess, Gordon explained that it is only Paule who has yet to reveal himself in public nor has made any contact with the Senate even during its first investigation during the 13th Congress.

Maritess Aytona and Leonicia Llarena have expressed intention to testify about their roles in the controversial project. Aytona has been implicated as Bolante's runner, while Llarena was the financier. Paule was said to be the link between Aytona and Llarena.

Gordon added that if Paule has information in the alleged irregular FIFI project, that could be enough reason to fear that someone powerful - or a well-oiled syndicate - might be out to silence him as what happened to Marlene Esperat and Teofilo Mojica.

According to him, the assassinations of both Esperat and Mojica, who were former employees of the DA, were widely believed to be not only carried out by powerful people but also connected with their knowledge about anomalies in the department.

"If Mr. Paule is hiding or on the run, I think that would even be more dangerous for him. If he comes out and testifies, we can offer him the protection he desperately needs at this time of his life. That is the prudent act he could do, or history will be unkind," he said.

The senator said he is determined to find out exactly what was Paule's role in the implementation of the FIFI project - whether he was a runner, financier, or the link to Malacanang - if and when he decides to submit himself to the Senate protection.

Gordon said that since Paule's and his family's safety might be at risk, he strongly urges the witness to come out in the open and reveal everything that he knows about the fertilizer fund scam before time runs out for him.

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