Press Release
October 9, 2012


Serge: There were no valid computations and due diligence done. They were pointing at each other. DPWH should do that. DPWH said, 'Oh, we passed it to NEDA. They are supposed to check what we put up.'

Q: NEDA, DPWH... meron pang iba dib a?

Serge: Meron pang Department of Finance. Pero 'yung DOF, tsine-check lang ang loan agreement. But they didn't check the loan agreement properly.

Q: In checking the loan agreement, they found out that it was not ODA?

Serge: Hindi, sinabi nila ODA because they compared it to Philippine bonds. It's not ODA in the sense that ODA implies government to government . Eh walang government involved dito. Hindi nagbigay ng grant ang UK government

Q: So parang ganun lang 'yun, it confirmed your initial impression that it was just used, it was just depicted as an ODA to go around the bidding...

Serge: Go around the bidding, na sinasabi nila na ang British government ang pumili ng Mabey. Kaya nandyan ang sulat ng British government na ang Mabey is the only bridge manufacturer. Hindi na chineck. Eh 3 'yun ay because the year before they recommended, the Cleaveland bridge, they recommended Balfour Beatty.

Q: So the magnitude is still P111 billion?

Serge: Well, the P111 billion i-minus mo dyan yung P12.7B ng RORO kasi kinansel yun ni PNoy but nakapasok yun, they signed that. So that is part of the scam except, mabuti inabutan pa ni Pnoy at kinansel nya, so they only delivered about 20%, mostly steel pilings and then PNoy said we're cancelling that. Unang una, umangal na ang Matiere, after nakita nila na taob sila dito so nag ok na sila. But there's still 2 contracts by Matier also signed in the same yr 2008 that are just as onerous and fraudulent and we're going to investigate that

Q: Ano liability ng misrepresenting the ODA?

Serge: That's a violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act. No. 1 giving undue advantage and No. 2 signing a grossly disadvantageous contract to government . Dalawang violation 'yan. Maski walang nakinabang, maski hindi na close basta may binigyan kita ng undue advantage, that's already anti graft and the second one is entering into a contract that is grossly disadvantageous. Entering, it does not even have to be consummated. The mere fact that you signed it, you entered into it is already a violation.

Q: Grossly disadvantageous, the entire deal? Sabi nila yung bridge daw at the level of ODA rates, yung pinautang...

Serge: Alam mo 'yung ginawa nila lahat ng loan dito Yen. Pag kin-compute mo 'yung Yen, talagang mababa 'yung rates nila kasi it is a currency that the public expects to appreciate over the years. So you borrow in Yen.

So when they signed the first contract with Mabey & Johnson in 2000, a Yen was about 120 to the dollar. Today the Yen is 80=$1 so it appreciated already by 15% over the past 12 years. You compute that into 2 ½% interest rate and you'll see that you'll be paying higher than what should be...

Q: In giving undue advantage who could be held liable there?

Serge: The ones who signed the contract, all of the officers... I don't know that would be up to the courts to decide. But definitely the secretaries who signed, the undersecretaries who made the studies...the secretaries of the implementing agencies - there's the DILG one contract; the DAR 2 contracts; DPWH in 10 contracts; DOTC in 1 contract, the RORO and then I don't know who signed for the ZOPAD, I think it was the Office of the Pres. Kay Ramos 'yan eh. That was the deal with Nur Misuari, the Zone of Peace and Development ni Ramos - ZOPAD

Q: Scope from FVR to Arroyo?

Serge: Yes. The first two years were signed under Ramos. But under Ramos, these were legitimate grants. These governments gave us, 30%, 40%, 45% yung gratis et amore so pag combine mo, talagang mababa yung interest rate. Pagkatapos, last 2 months of Erap's term, they were distracted also kasi pinakasuhan na si Erap ng impeachment. So yun, Sec. Medalla, Sec. Zamora and Sec. Pardo came to the first hearing...sabi nga nila nakalusot nga yun! Pagkatapos tuloy tuloy na. Walang grant yan. Pero everytime pine presintana na grant. Grabe itong mga loko na ito. hanggang ngayon, they're trying to run two more contracts pa.

Q: Dun sa second case, sa grossly disadvantegous, same characters...

Serge: Yeah overpricing and all that...

Q: On privilege speech of Haresco, accusing you of protecting a British firm that the COA has accused of padding P10B to its bridge project in the country...

Serge: Well I think he's talking about Balfour. Pero tsine-change nya yung subject dito sapagkat, I was not in the Senate from 2007-10. Alam naman ninyo na I had to rest for abt 3 yrs. So i started investigating this now. The first project that my attention was called to was the RORO. Yan ay talagang napaka one-sided bec we ordered 72 RORO ports without knowing where we will put it, walang site identification. After that, when we did the site identifcation, it was already Pres. PNoy's time, we found out that 70 out of the 72 sites could not take a RORO, either its too big...or there's no place. Wala eh. Walang mapuntahan talaga.

So yung kinansel ni PNoy yun, Matiere yung nag contract ng RORO ports, so i looked into other Matiere contracts, nasilip ko ngayon itong mga bridges nila, tapos sinilip ko na lang lahat ng mga bridges, yung mga scam. Nakita ko. It was a very sophisticated scam but it's a very big scam nonetheless.

Pagkatapos about 3 weeks ago, pinitik ako ni Haresco na bat hindi ko raw iniimbistiga yung Balfour na nag price overrun, bec I did not look into it, nobody called my attention. And then when I checked, nag file na pala sya ng resolution sa House in 2010 to investigate. So sila dapat ang mag imbestiga. They filed in 2010 sponsored by Haresco and he has not done anything up to now. I delivered my speech 2 weeks and we're already having a hearing. Now, ang ni request ni Sen. Koko Pimentel, can I include Balfour? I said with pleasure. I will include that is a scam. So we will include Balfour, if they are part of the cost overrun sapagkat wala pa akong report kay Sec. Singson, I only asked him that last week. We will include the Spanish companies Centurion, the Australian companies...para kumpleto.

Q: Meron pong sinasabi si Haresco that you were supporting daw 'yung mga kalaban niya sa Aklan, si Ms. Bettina Garcia?

Serge: Girlfriend ko daw 'yun! Tawa ng tawa ang asawa ko. I want to save the people of Aklan from a scam artist. I am sorry, but this guy has gone to town earning billions. As a matter of fact, I think he accused me yesterday of asking him for P1 billion. Sabi ko, 'he made that much money that I can ask him for P1 billion?' Sabagay, I investigated Bobby Ongpin, he is already a dollar billionaire, and I am not being accused of making money. I have investigated Marubeni. I have investigated other bigger fish. Not even Mike Arroyo can say that, not even Gloria Arroyo. So, that accusation is ridiculous. People will just laugh at it.

Q: Kilala niyo po 'yung Bettina na sinasabi niya?

Serge: Yes, I know Bettina Garcia. She's a leader there. She ran for governor in 2007 under the United Opposition, and she was double-crossed by Haresco. That's why she lost. Yes, I know Bettina. We call her Mabeth. Kaya hindi ko alam kung sino itong Bettina na sinasabi niya. But just 2 weeks ago, may nagtext na humihingi daw ako ng P10 billion pagkatapos, girlfriend ko 'yung isang bangkera, 'yung si Bettina, pangalan ng asawa ko. 'Yun pala si Mabeth 'yung sinasabi niya.

Q: Meron din siyang hindi pinangalanan na DPWH official na nakakasama niyo daw po sa mga foreign trips?

Serge: I don't know. I rarely go on foreign trips, once a year. I am the least travelled senator in the Senate. I have no DPWH official with me when I go on foreign trips. Sabihin mo sa kanya mag-name names siya para ma-dig up natin ang records sa Immigration, ang dalil-dali lang naman mag=dig up ng records dun.

Q: Bakit po nilalagyan niya ng malisya 'yung ugnayan niyo kay Bettina?

Serge: Because he is always to engage in squid tactics. He wants people to forget these problems that he has. Hindi ko siya kilala eh. I have never met the guy. Siguro over the past 1 year since he heard that I was investigating him, he tried to see me through many mutual friends: mga kaklase ko noon sa St. Clement, Iloilo. Sa La Salle. Sabi ko, 'No, I don't want to talk to him. Tell him he can defend himself before the committee.' Tapos nun inimbitahan naming dito, hindi naman sumipot. I only met him I think 2x, just hello and goodbye, in weddings.

Q: Sa investigation niyo, ano ba talaga ang involvement ni Haresco?

Serge: Si Congressman Haresco? In our investigation, we saw that he was the common denominator in all the deals. He was the fixer.

Ngayon, I dug up the records of the Mabey Johnson case sa London. May isang seniopr official sila, the sales manager for the Middle East, na kinwento kung anong style, kung anong modus operandi ng Mabey Johnson. They assign a local agent because under British laws, they may not be accused of bribery because foreign bribery is a serious crime. Now, since 2010, it's even ten times more serious. Takagang hahabulin ka. So, in order to get around that, they will hire a local agent, which is the one who does the payoffs.

Q: And this is Haresco, sir, itong local agent?

Serge: Yeah, Haresco was the local agent. He admitted openly that he was the local partner of Matiere. Ang tawag partner ha, that's his title. And then he was the Development Director in Asia and the Pacific for Mabey Johnson. That's on his Website.

Q: Ano naman po ang link ni Haresco sa Malacanang?

Serge: May link kay Gloria. He has very strong links with Gloria. You cannot do this thing without not only the approval, but also the connivance, of President Gloria. And we will show in the succeeding hearings how Gloria manipulated this.

Q: Kanina hindi pa lumabas 'yung GMA link?

Serge: Hindi pa. This was so complicated I only wanted to explain, with a high degree of clarity, kung paano nangyari ito. So, 'yung mgva resource persons natin, well, lumapit sakin after the hearing, saying 'Hindi naming alam....' They were Secretary Pardo, Secretary Zamora, Secretary Gary Teves... 'Hindi namin alam...' Hehe. Ang ganda kasi 5 agencies nagtuturuan pa eh. 'Hindi po kami.' 'Sila ang mag-a-approve diyan.' 'Sabi nila okay eh.'... Eh, teka muna. Nakasulat sa batas ganito, bakit mo sasabihin na kasalanan ng DOF kung kasalanan naman ninyo.

So, we made that clear. Then we will go to other parts later. We will go to the contracts themselves. We will show even in the contracts kung saan nagkaroon ng overpricing. At kung sino ang nakinabang. And then we will also go much deeper into the foreign exchange scam. Meron pong scam dun. We paid more than we should have. In other words, if the yen was more than P185 to the pound, we were paying P225. Sabi ko, sobra naman 'yun.

Q: Padding ba 'yun sir?

Serge: Of course, sobrang padded 'yun. Biro mo, it's like saying, the dollar now is P42 to the dollar. O, I will sell you at P55. Bakit ko naman pipirmahan iyan If I can buy it naman at P42? Why will I sign at P55? That's what I say is grossly disadvantageous.

Q: May nakinabang din ditto?

Serge: Well, I wonder where the money went. I want to ask Mabey pero walang sumipot eh. Maybe in the next hearing I will send them a subpoena already.

Q: Sir ngayon, ano ang malinaw na na-establish? 'Yung pagkukulang ng mga agencies involved?

Serge: Yes. What was established is that they were very loose with exercising their due diligence to protect the people of the Philippines. The people of the Philippines give you authority to sign contracts. In this case, P111 billion worth of contracts. It's also in the law that you should exerciswe due diligence to find out if we are also getting the best deal. Hindi naman ganito ang nangyari. Ang nangyari, kung sino-sino na lang ang mag-presinta diyan, bilhin mo na kaagad. Wala ng due diligence. But there was also a reason for that.

Q: How much did we lose in the padded forex deal?

Serge: Just on the one contract... the P225 to a pound...the first Mabey contract's 24% of 15% downpayment. We paid a down payment of 15%, so it's about 23 million pounds, and they overpriced that by 24%.

Q: pesos?

Serge: Times 70, or times 80 at the time, 2000...remember the peso was P55 to the dollar. And the dollar was $1.70 to the pounds. Malaki nun....we have since appreciated to the peso.... converted to pesos, it would be about P500 million....

Q: P500 million just in this forex deal?

Serge: P500 million just on this 15% down payment. In three months, it was paid out in three months. Kasi every contract had a 15% down payment. Ngayon, nag-a-adjust 'yung foreign exchange at the execution of the contract. But before the execution of the contract, there was still a 15% down payment. Kaya masyadong mataas 'yung initial rate. But the following rate, fixed at market na.

Let's say, when I sign the contract with you, it was 185 yen to 1 pound sterling, but when we initially drafted the contract, it was 225 yen. That's your first down payment of 15%. Ang sabi ko, bakit ang taas naman? It was already at P185 when they typed the contract, why was it given a rate of P225?

Q: Wala pa ring nakapagsabi kung sino ang nag-decide?

Serge: They cannot explain it because either they were being blissfully blind, you know, see no evil, hear no evil. Nakikita niyo naman nagtuturuan sila the whole hearing. 'Ang NEDA kasi.' 'Ang DWPH kasi...'

Q: Nasagot ba nila kung bakit dun sa mga napiling locations, lalo na 'yung mga bridges leading to nowhere?

Serge: Hindi. Kasi ang sabi nila galing sa mayors 'yan, na dumadadaan sa regional ng DPWH. Pagkatapos, pinapadala sa NEDA. But I said 15,000 bridge sites?! Who inspected it? 'Wala po, nagsa-sample lang po kami...' sabi nila. Sample? Ano 'yun, 1 out of every 50? Hindi naman masagot ng NEDA. In other words, wala talaga. Nag-order lang sila, tapos sige itapon mo na lang diyan.

In the next hearing, you will see na merong nagtuturo lang diyan, ilagay mo diyan, ilagay mo diyan, ilagay mo dun.

Q: Total of 1,000 plus bridges lahat-lahat?

Serge: total of 1,589 actually. Since 1999. But you know, the contract signed in 1999, they were not delivered until 1-1 ½ years until later. Hindi naman naka-inventory 'yan sa London eh. So, if I ordered from you now, and I say I want you to deliver 500 bridges over the next 4 years, then you will start manufacturing and you give me a delivery schedule.

Q: Only 1 supplier? 'Yung Mabey Johnson lang?

Serge: Isang supplier lang! Yeah. Hindi chinallenge...Ang sulat ng ambassador, there was only 1 supplier of this kind of bridge. Gusto ko nga sanang tawagin 'yung British Ambassador eh, kaya lang meron tayong diplomatic 'niceties.' Pero meron nga, there is a British guy here, Stephen Laissage.

Q: 'Yung 1,589 bridges, lahat sa Mabey & Johnson 'yun?

Serge: No....they have to give me that. Alam niyo, it's very hard to measure exactly how many bridges. Because ang pag-deliver nila, 'span.' So, parang Lego 'yan. So, if you deliver to me 2 spans and I make it to only 1 bridge, I count it as 1 bridge, but they count it 2 spans. Minsan tatlo pa 'yan. So, it's very hard to ask for an exact number because they will say, 'Sir, ano hong ibig sabihin ng bridge? Maski 'yung mega-bridge, 'yung tinatawag nilang overpass, minsan maikli lang ang overpass, good for 2 spans, minsan 4 spans, but that's counted as 1 bridge only.

Q: Talaga bang nauuna ang span bago ang ramp?

Serge: Yeah, that one's the approach, the ramp.

Q: Kasi 'yung ibang bridges walang ganun eh...

Serge: Tulad will the car go up kung walang ramp?

Q: Will you also look into the status of these bridges now?

Serge: We cannot. That's more than 1,000 bridges. They have probably installed close to 1,000. Ang nakatiwangwang diyan about 500 bridges. It's useless for me to look into the status because first, sa pag-order lang, fraudulent na, may misrepresentation na. Sa overpricing, corruption na 'yan. Sa pagsabi nila na British ODA ito, walang bidding, crime iyon. Walang bidding, misrepresentation, ang dami eh...

Q: 'Yung anomaly ba nagli-link lang kay PGMA o pati kay Erap meron?

Serge: Under the principle of command responsibility, people might say Erap should also be sued. But I believe Felipe Medalla when he said, dumaan kay Philip 'yan eh...I asked him, paano nakalusot ito sayo? And he said, 'we were really distracted and I am sorry. It's my fault. I should have checked these things, but at the time, September, October of 2000, bumabanat na si Gov. Chavit, so we were already distracted....'

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