Press Release
January 19, 2009

Senate calls on Paule and other key witnesses

The Senate blue ribbon committee is set to hear tomorrow (Jan. 20) the testimony of businessman Jaime Paule and other key witnesses implicated in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon, committee chairman, said Paule will finally have his chance to answer accusations hurled against him that he controlled the fertilizer project from the ground, taking cue from former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante, the alleged architect of the anomaly.

"Mr. Paule has assured me that he will attend the next hearing and will testify about what he knows about the project. He will now have the chance to refute the testimonies of the other witnesses who have implicated him," he said.

"The committee will not tolerate any evasive answers from him and the other witnesses. I do hope that Paule will take this chance to come clean and tell the whole truth," he added.

Maritess Aytona has earlier alleged that Paule identified the foundation that will be used as proponent for the Department of Agriculture (DA) project and hired her as consultant for the said foundation.

Witnesses Julie Gregorio; Redentor Antolin, executives of Feshan Philippines; Leonicia Llarena; and Jose Barredo also pinpointed Paule as the one who talked Llarena into providing some of the checks that were used as payment for the project.

It may be recalled that with the threat of a warrant of arrest hanging over his head, Paule and his lawyer went to Gordon's office before Christmas to signify his plan to attend the Senate hearing scheduled at 10 am, Jan. 20.

Aside from Paule, Bolante and Aytona, also expected to attend are Marilyn Araos, alleged signatory of Feshan's Land Bank account; Malaine Baui and Racquel Paz, manager and former manager of Land Bank - Elliptical Road Branch, respectively.

Janet Lim Napoles, owner of Jo-chris Trading, the second biggest supplier of fertilizer for the Department of Agriculture (DA) project; and witnesses Gregorio; Antolin; Llarena; and Barredo are also set to attend the hearing.

Also expected to attend are Gilbert Coronel, incorporator of National Organization for Agricultural Enhancement and Productivity, Inc., which Paule named.

Anti-Money Laundering Council Executive Director Vicente Aquino and Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera were also invited to explain what action AMLC took on the freeze order against Bolante's questioned accounts.

Though Paule and the other witnesses had already been mentioned in the investigation of the 13th Congress on the scam, it was only when Gordon assumed chairmanship of the Blue Ribbon committee that they finally came out to testify.

News Latest News Feed