Press Release
February 14, 2009

Probe on other fertilizer fund scam personalities is police's duty - Gordon

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today said that the investigation on other personalities involved in the P728-million fertilizer project should now be the duty of the police and other government agencies concerned.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said the Senate's investigations are done in aid of legislation and to see loopholes in current laws which might have allowed the controversy under probe to happen.

He added that other investigations, particularly on those who were implicated in the issue, is the primary responsibility of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police, and the National Bureau of Investigation.

"The Senate conducts inquiries in aid of legislation. The Senate was not made to investigate all controversies and everything in it, otherwise, all we have to do here is to make investigations left and right," Gordon said.

"If ever there are personalities who still have to be investigated, that would be stated in the recommendations under the committee report," he added.

Gordon explained that the committee had not pushed through with its investigation on other people implicated in the fertilizer project, including fertilizer supplier Janet Napoles, because they have already unraveled the modus operandi used to orchestrate the anomalous project.

He said that the modus operandi was revealed when Feshan Philippines president Julie Gregorio decided to reveal important pieces of evidence, such as bank documents and checks related to the fertilizer project.

"Because of the Senate's investigation, the police now know, more or less, the modus operandi. If Napoles and others have to be investigated, that is no longer the job of the Senate since we have already done our part," Gordon said.

He added that the committee has included in its recommendations the investigation of all the other key personalities involved in the fertilizer fund mess and that he would call for another hearing only if there are new evidence and witnesses that would come out.

During the eight hearings on the said controversy, the committee was able to compel, through the issuance of arrest orders, witnesses Jaime Paule, Marites Aytona, Leonicia Llarena, Marilyn Araos, Feshan vice president Redentor Antolin and Gregorio to come out and testify before the panel.

The committee was also able to establish that former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante, despite arguing that he merely "downloaded" the funds, was at the helm of implementing the project as attested by Department of Agriculture regional directors and the other witnesses.

Bolante was once detained at the Senate premises when he was cited for contempt due to evasive and false testimonies. Cases for false testimony and disobedience to summons filed by the committee against Bolante are already pending before the DOJ.

After the investigation was temporarily concluded last Jan. 26, Gordon is now poised to issue a preliminary report on the findings and recommendations of the committee.

The report includes proposed legislative remedial measures aimed at plugging loopholes in the country's laws. Among them are the Anti-Money Laundering Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act, the Government Procurement Act, and the Omnibus Election Code.

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