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Hardballing The World Bank

February 6, 2009

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suzuka-quote-jpg1lacson-on-susukanograles-quotePhilippine officialdom is playing hardball with the World Bank over the blacklisting of at least three local construction companies who allegedly colluded to corner WB-funded road projects.

Officials like House Speaker Prospero Nograles are even dismissive and have exxential dared the World Bank to release whatever evidencxe it has.

The scandal is already at the Malacanang’s very doorstep with presidential spouse Jose Miguel Arroyo being tagged as having gottengazillions in grease money.

The First Gentlemen’s detractors are now daring Pres. Gloria Arroyo herself to order her husband’s investigation.

The latest dark twist: the identification of the Japanese contractor who supposedly had a face to face ith Mr. Arroyo and several other Filipino officials.

They included a reputed aide of now deceased Senator Robert Barbers, along with two congressmen at the time: Jerome Para of Negros Oriental and Prospero Pichay of Surigao del Norte (now head of the Local Water Utilities Administration).

Both Para sans Pichay are lambasting Sen. Panfilo Lacson for his revelation of the contents of the World Bank report which has not been released publicly by the World Bank.

It is said, however, that a copy of the WB document had been given months ago to Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

Critics of the government are loudly Asking why Gutierrez, a former classmate and perceived ally of the First Gentleman has not said anything about what action her office is taking.

Gutierrez has been widely rumoured to be eying a slot in the Supreme Court.

She continues unresponsive to public criticism that the Ombudsman has been sitting on graft complaint against personalities close to Malacanang.

A proper question to ask apart from her inaction on the World Bank report is whether her agency has become a lip-service anti graft investigative body or a white elephant altogether.

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