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‘Di ko masikmura: Pacquiao wants to lead Senate probe on P8.7B ‘ghost’ road projects in GenSan

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Senator Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday asked the Senate leadership to allow him and his committee on public works dip to look into the fake right-of-way (ROW) claims in his home province, Gen. Santos City, amounting to P8.7 billion.

The brother-in-law of former Pres. Benigno Aquino III, businessman Eldon Cruz, has been implicated in the spurious land titles and documents facilitated by a syndicate in Mindanao pushing for “ghost” road ROW claims.

In a privilege speech, Pacquiao sought to have his Senate resolution No. 561, referred to his committee to pave for the conduct of an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the issue.

“I’m very disappointed with these public officials, who are nothing more than mere scammers, magnanakaw, kurakot. Hindi ito birong pera Mr. President, napakalaking pera nito. To be frank, I’m furious. If there is something that really causes my dismay, it is their intentional misuse of public funds,” he said.

“Hindi ko maintindihan kung paano nakatutulog ang mga taong ito ng mahimbing sa gabi nang alam nila ang kalokohan ginagawa nila. These actions are done by humans with no conscience,” Pacquiao said.

“Mr. President, hindi ko masikmura ang galawang ganito. Ang perang galing sa buwis ng ordinaryong mamamayan, napunta lang sa bulsa ng iilang alagad ng gobyerno. I believe that it is our duty, as legislators, to solve these faults in our system,” he added.

This issue, he said, has brought to light some gaps relative to government budgetary, project implementation and auditing rules and practices.

There is a need to properly investigate these irregularities and faults in the system, if any, and institute corrective measures to prevent the recurrence of the same scheme in the future.

“Hindi pwedeng magwalang-kibo tayo sa isyung ito. Ang perang pinag-uusapan ay halos P9 bilyon. Ang perang ito ay sapat na para makapagpatakbo ng isang siyudad. Kailangang maitigil na ang ganitong uri ng kalakaran sa ating gobyerno. Sinisiguro ko na hindi tayo titigil hanggat hindi mananagot ang dapat managot. It is about time we fix our system for the development of our country,” he said.

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III noted that the same issue has been originally referred to the blue ribbon committee chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.

The matter, he said, would have to be consulted first with Gordon.

While this is being resolved, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, said Pacquiao’s committee would be considered temporarily as the secondary committee.