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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Friday said he is disappointed by the “negligent attitude” of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez toward the Philippine International Trading Center (PITC) and its “devious and shady schemes” that allowed the agency to hold back billions of pesos in public funds.

“In the face of the recommendation of the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management secretaries, the continued defense of Secretary Lopez of PITC reminds us of the saying ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’,” Drilon said in a statement on Friday.

As chairman of the board of the PITC, Lopez has taken no steps to revert over P33 billion “parked” funds to the national coffers, he lamented.

“It is sad that in the face of COA findings, amid calls of the Senate, and in light of the DBM and DOF secretaries’ recommendations, here we have a DTI secretary who continuously refuses to do the right thing,” Drilon said.

“Sec. Lopez turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to a practice that is legally and morally wrong. It is willful ignorance,” he said.

Upon Drilon’s prodding, the DOF and DBM will recommend to the President the issuance of a directive for the immediate return of over P33 billion “parked” funds to provide funding to the cash-strapped government.

This is after COA found out that PITC is holding billions of government funds for various agencies.

The former justice secretary warned Lopez and PITC that there could be a violation of the anti-graft law.

“The PITC management may be held liable for technical malversation for using the funds of the agencies for a different purpose from which these were originally appropriated by law,” Drilon said.

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