Press Release
October 22, 2013

Privilege Speech of Senator Koko Pimentel

I rise on a matter of personal privilege and concern. And after hearing me, I am sure that some, if not all of you, will be concerned and make this matter your concern too. Because if it can happen to me, then it can happen to you. And if it could happen to us Senators, then it can happen to anyone. Because if the perpetrators of this crime are not afraid of Senators, who can denounce them in privilege speeches and committee hearings without fear of any sanction, then who can they possibly be afraid of?

So, what happened? This is my story.

Last September 24, 2013, during a lull in the bicameral conference for the differing provisions of the SK elections postponement bills, Kabataan Party List Representative Terry Ridon told me that he saw during a House hearing on the Department of Agriculture budget, a Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Agriculture and my senate office. I categorically told him that I do not have any MOA with the DA. Hence I asked him to give me a copy of the said MOA.

The following day, after our session, I was able to see a copy of the MOA mentioned by Congressman Ridon. It was not between the Department of Agriculture and my senate office. It was between the Department of Agriculture and the Province of Surigao del Sur. However, my attention was drawn to two Whereas-paragraphs in the said MOA which mentioned my name.

One paragraph mentioned that my office was allocated funds amounting to P10M.

The second one stated that my office has identified the Province of Surigao del Sur as the recipient of the funds.

The said MOA by the way mentioned SARO Number ABM-BMB-E-12-000-1306 dated January 2, 2012 chargeable against the Organic Agriculture Fund which is a fund under a program implemented by the DA.

My office has no copy of this MOA.

Hence, we immediately wrote the DA official who signed the MOA, Undersecretary Antonio A. Fleta (Usec for Admin and Finance), on Sept. 26, 2013 asking for the documents on which they based the MOA and several other questions, such as:

1. What was the SARO involved in this matter?

2. How was "the office of Aquilino 'Koko' L. Pimentel, III" chosen to be allocated funds amounting to Php10M?

3. Who chose the said office?

4. Who determined the amount?

5. Was your choice ever relayed to the said office? How? In writing? When?

6. How did my office identify the Province of Surigao del Sur as the recipient of the amount of Php10M? In writing? When?

7. Why did my office have this power or authority to identify the said recipient?

8. Has the amount been liquidated?

On October 1, 2013, the DA through Usec. Antonio A. Fleta answered our letter and sent to us photocopies of documents, among which are:

Annex "2" - alleged request letter from my office dated Oct. 29, 2012

Annex "3"- alleged request letter from the Governor of

Usec. Fleta's reply-letter immediately shows the following inconsistency: was there a SARO or not?

Usec. Fleta also indirectly blames DBM Usec. Relampagos. He says--

"First, no SARO is involved in this matter. It came from the Agency Budget Matrix (ABM) approved by DBM through Undersecretary Relampagos. It is part of the appropriated funds for DA in the prosecution of Livelihood Projects nation-wide."

On my alleged letter to the DA dated Oct. 29, 2012, here is what I can say: IT IS AN OUTRIGHT FALSIFICATION! In short, it is a forgery!

(1) My office does not have a record of the said letter dated Oct. 29, 2012;

(2) The letterhead used in the falsified letter is not the letterhead my office uses;

(3) My purported signature in the falsified letter is NOT MY SIGNATURE. Even to the naked eye it is obvious that the signature is very far or dissimilar from my real and genuine signature;

By the way, we wish to put on record that my office DID NOT RECEIVE and a copy of the alleged letter request of the Province of Surigao del Sur dated Oct. 22, 2012 for it to be made a beneficiary of the said fund or program. Neither did we receive nor do we have copies of the letter requests of the Provinces of Abra and Camarines Norte, which are also mentioned as fund beneficiaries in my falsified Oct. 29, 2012 letter.

Where has common courtesy gone? Why did the DA not validate or confirm the letter dated Oct. 29, 2012 with my office?

If the DA truly believed that this was a legitimate and not a fake request, then how come the DA never acknowledged to us their receipt of the said letter? And when the purported request was granted through the MOA dated Nov. 28, 2012, then why did the DA not proudly announce that fact to my office via a letter informing me that my alleged request had been granted? That would have made me very happy as a public servant and their standing in my eyes would also have improved and I may even have praised them before the President for a job well done.

Hence, all this secrecy bolsters the suspicion that this falsification was the handiwork of a syndicate. The syndicate may be operating within the DA, because Benhur Luy during the Blue Ribbon Hearing on Sept. 26, 2013 volunteered the information that they did these MOAs in the office of Usec. Fleta. (See page 82, TSN dated September 26, 2013 of the Blue Ribbon Committee Hearing)

Who is DA Usec. Antonio A. Fleta? Who brought him to the DA? How long has he been in government service and when is he retiring?

Please take note that what is involved here is NOT PDAF. Hence this fraud involves non-PDAF funds. Also please take note of the pertinent dates: October and November 2012. Year 2012 na po ito, hindi na maaaring i-sisi sa nakalipas na administrasyon.

The acts I have mentioned earlier amount to the crime of falsification of public documents, at the very least. I therefore will no longer wait for the formal Senate Blue Ribbon Committee finding before I file my complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman.

But I urge the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to dig deeper into this matter as I believe the shenanigans in the DA involve more than the P10M subject of the MOA that I am questioning.

The NBI should also be called into the picture to unearth more cases of forgeries and falsifications because I feel that there are more falsified documents out there, given that this syndicate apparently fears no one.


I am sure the syndicate will fight back. But we have to do this and continue the cleansing in government because this is the right thing to do.

As I always say: Pag Nasa Tama Ka, Never Give Up.

Hence, let us get to the bottom of this. Let us expose and dismantle this fearless syndicate. Panahon na na maramdaman at malaman nila na meron pang batas sa Pilipinas!

Salamat po Ginoong Pangulo at mga kasama sa panahon na ibinigay ninyo sa akin.

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