Press Release
February 2, 2009


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, chair of the economic affairs committee, requested justice secretary Raul Gonzalez to direct the NBI to conduct a "confidential investigation" to help identify the politicians and other officials mentioned in the World Bank report as facilitators of collusion in rigged biddings.

"The NBI should activate its assets and confidential informants to find out who in the public works department is helping private contractors to corner public biddings of World Bank-funded projects," Santiago said.

Santiago said her committee needs documentary and testimonial evidence of collusion, before it can recommend prosecution to the Ombudsman.

"The World Bank report, coming from a respected world agency, should be taken at face value. Under our Rules of Court, we have to presume that it has performed its official duty in the regular manner," Santiago said.

Santiago disagreed with certain representatives that the contractors blacklisted by the World Bank should be exonerated.

"If there is any evidence on either side, then the presumption of innocence has been overturned by the World Bank report. We have no access to the Bank's documents, but we have to take their report at face value," she said.

Santiago said that the Senate, on its own, is not authorized to conduct field investigations because that is a function given to the NBI.

"Because the NBI belongs to the executive branch, I cannot order it to investigate. I have to make a request through the justice secretary who has control and supervision over the NBI," she said..

Santiago said that she gave a copy of her letter to Gonzalez to NBI Director Nestor Mantaring.

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