Philippine Corruption And The World Bank Blacklist
Senator Miriam Santiago was at her vitriolic best this morning at the just-concluding hearing into how three Filipino construction firms have been shamefully blacklisted by the World Bank for collusion in landing contracts for WB-funded projects.
Maid Miriam blasted the Department of Finance, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Office of the Ombudsman “for sitting on the World Bank Findings even as practically all of us know that these corrupt activities have been exposed.”
Santiago, usually perceived as an ally of the administration, was obviously flabbergasted by the revelation of Sen. Panfilo Lacson that one of the contractors, Eduardo C. De Luna had links with First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.
Lacson cited at least 17 occasions when De Luna allegedly met with Mr. Arroyo, accompanied by a former journalist, Resty De Quiros (who sits in the board of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office).
Lacson detailed how De Luna himself allegedly hand-carried PhP-70-M in cash to the known office in Makati of Mr. Arroyo with the money accidentally spilling from its container as De Luna was goiing up the stairs of the LTA (Lourdes T. Arroyo) Building on Perea Street.
Senator Santiago was almost shouting at the top of her voice as she subjected DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane (a retired police general and one-time national security adviser) to a tongue-lashing .
She angrily adjourned the hearing saying she already knew what punitive recommendations to make, not least of them leveling contempt charges against the Ombudsman and Finance officials who snubbed the proceedings.
We need to see just how far Santiago will push the envelope and if anything really comes out of this absolutely scandalous episode that has reached Malacanang’s doorstep yet again.