Press Release
September 20, 2011


Mr. President:

Before the body acts on the referral of PSR 600, I wish to manifest that the Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures (OCPE) has been making a quiet investigation on the P7.4 billon farm-to-market projects of the Department of Agriculture in 2010. The funds were released months preceding the May 2010 elections, specifically from January, February, and then on March, and then after that, after the election, on June 30.

This issue cropped up earlier in the course of the hearing on the DA budget last year, and in view of the magnitude of the fund involved, we ordered an investigation in the committee on public expenditures as to how the funds were allocated and disbursed, and we also directed an ocular inspection of representative projects to ascertain if indeed they are there.

We are now in the process of making a final evaluation of the evidence we have gathered. The initial finding of your oversight committee is that there are, in fact, anomalies.

Because of the magnitude of the amount involved, which impacts on the other programs of the Department of Agriculture, there is need to find out if public money was well-spent or just wasted, as well as to fix responsibility and accountability for any irregularities attendant thereto, Mr. President, we will file the appropriate resolution and avail of the privilege hour next week to ask for an investigation in aid of legislation on this anomalous transaction. We do not want a duplication of the investigation as a consequence of PSR 600 and the resolution and privilege speech that we will file next week. We are therefore asking the Majority Leader with his permission and with the permission of the principal author of PSR 600, Senator Pangilinan to consider two options: first we can refer PSR 600 jointly to the Committees on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, Agriculture and Finance or a second option is that when we file a resolution on the same issue, which will be within the jurisdiction of the Blue Ribbon, that a joint investigation be conducted by the Blue Ribbon and agriculture committees. That is our submission insofar as this is concerned.

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