Press Release
January 30, 2009

Gregorio as state witness up to DOJ - Gordon

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today said it is up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to determine if Feshan Philippines President Julie Gregorio would qualify as state witness against other key personalities implicated in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said the panel may recommend having Gregorio as state witness after she revealed vital information about the anomalous fertilizer project, but stressed that the decision should come from the DOJ.

"It looks like the committee will be more gentle with Julie (Gregorio) compared to the others. This is because it was through her that bank accounts were revealed," he said. "A person may turn state witness if he or she is not the most guilty. Then again, the decision is up to the DOJ," he added.

Gordon noted that Gregorio's supplemental affidavit submitted during the panel's hearing on Jan. 20, was vital in showing that a huge chunk of the funds purportedly intended for the Department of Agriculture's (DA) Farm Input-Farm Implement (FIFI) project ended up in some individuals' pockets.

Based on Gregorio's admission regarding the real cost of the fertilizers, Gordon pointed out that only a small part of the fund really went to the actual purchase of fertilizers.

Gordon also noted that Gregorio signed a waiver allowing the committee access to her bank records which supported her supplemental affidavit.

However, the senator said that Gregorio is not yet completely "out of the woods" since cases for money laundering and tax evasion could still be filed against her..

Gregorio had her company apply for a tax amnesty on the P105-million income they declared to have earned from the fertilizer project. However, Feshan only paid P500,000 for taxes, which is not even 10% of the income they stated in their books.

Gregorio, whose company was the largest supplier of fertilizer for P728-million fertilizer fund scam allegedly engineered by former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante, recanted parts of her first testimony and apologized to the blue ribbon panel for her misleading statement.

In a previous hearing, she found her earlier disclosure that the total amount deposited in Feshan's Land Bank Elliptical Road Branch account was only P105 million to be false and that total deposits actually amounted to P152.8 million. She said that she discovered this when she requested for copies of the bank statements of the account.

She also belied her earlier claim that the fertilizers cost P600 per bottle and admitted that they really cost only P150 each.

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