The Manila Standard Today
Feb. 26, 2008
By Romie A. Evangelista
Senate witness Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. has illegally awarded leasehold rights to at least 10 of his close relatives on 95 hectares of land in Antipolo City under the Philippine Forest Corp.’s 200-hectare “Lupang Hinirang” project, documents showed.
The documents were prepared by a group of “PhilForest employees” led by Erwin Santos, former director and in charge of the Lupang Hinirang project. Santos, who revealed the irregularities committed by Lozada in a televised interview Thursday last week, said his group would submit the documents to the Senate today at the resumption of the inquiry into the $329-million national broadband deal.
The documents showed at least six other irregularities committed by Lozada while head of PhilForest, Santos said.
Lozada also granted leasehold rights on the same property to his friends as well as certain favored employees of the PhilForest, including members of the bids and awards committee, without observing proper procedures, the documents showed.
Under the Lupang Hinirang project, leasehold rights are supposed to be bidded out to qualified bidders with a price of P500 per hectare per annum and those granted notice of award with leasehold rights mandated to develop their area, including the planting of jatropha, which is being developed as alternative source of bio-fuel.
Based on the document, the 10 Lozada relatives and the size of their awarded PFC leasehold rights include Teresa Lozada Vargas, 2 hectares; Erwin Lozada, 2 hectares; Ma. Clavel Vergara Lozada, 5 hectares; Arturo Imperial Lozada, 5 hectares; Victor Emmanuel Imperial Lozada, 5 hectares; Teodora Salvacion Lozada Chua, 5 hectares; Jose Orlando Imperial Lozada, 6.59 hectares; Rouel Stephen Lozada Dones, 5.217 hectares; and Transforma Quinta Inc., 55.11 hectares.
The documents said Transforma Quinta Inc., which was awarded the largest land leasehold rights, is a company controlled by the Lozada family.
The “PhilForest employees” also narrated six other irregularities committed by Lozada which were properly documented, and they include laundering of PFC funds through insurance worth P15 million; conflict of interest, unliquidated cash advances, awarding of “overpriced” contracts to a “favored” contractor, scandalous and extravagant use of PFC funds, and violation of the civil service law.
“In the light of the ongoing NBN probe being conducted by the Philippine Senate, we the employees of PFC are in a state of shock and disbelief watching live on TV our resigned president, Jun Lozada, being revered by media as a new national hero,” the PhilForest employees said.
They said that while they are also interested in the Senate’s probe to ferret out the truth, they would also like to unravel before the public who Lozada really is.
Lozada, they said, was engaged in a “new way of” laundering PhilForest funds via a P15 million worth of insurance which he admitted readily when interrogated by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago during one of the hearings.
Lozada, based on the documents, got himself insured using PFC funds worth P15 million with himself as beneficiary. His wife, Violeta, brokered the insurance contract and got commissions from the deal in the firm that she is working for, the Insular Life Assurance Co. Ltd-Wealth Builder.
On the issue of awarding of overpriced contracts to favored contractors, the PhilForest employees said Orlando “Owe” Lozada, Jun’s brother, brokered several deals with the contractor Gabriel Multi-media service, without the benefit of bidding.
The deals include the PhilForest Pinoy Komiks worth P528,640 for 20,000 copies; Auction Kits worth P320,000; and Oil Expeller Shade worth P500,000.
Apart from the irregular purchase of 35 pure-bred Australian Boer goats worth P325,000 which he admitted during a Senate hearing, Lozada also made extravagant use of PFC funds for the purchase of P1.9-million Toyota Camry 3.5Q and a P1.4-million Toyota Hi-Lux, for his and his brother Orlando’s personal use.
“Due to the wanton spending of government funds by Jun Lozada, PFC is practically bankrupt or has very little money left for salaries and operations of its employees,” the employees said.
Erwin Krishna Santos, who was appointed PFC officer-in-charge after Lozada resigned from his post late last year, said the Senate whistle-blower also had an attitude problem in dealing with PFC employees. He frequently badmouthed them when he was in foul mood, Santos said.
Santos, who resigned as officer-in-charge, has been replaced by Environment Undersecretary Eli Quinto.
Meanwhile, the Senate has summoned Angelito Banayo, consultant of Senator Panfilo Lacson, and a certain Gary Jimenez to testify on the broadband scandal. Banayo and Jimenez are expected to collaborate Lozada’s statements alleging bribery in the abortive broadband deal. With Fel V. Maragay
True or not, all of these are speculations if not proven by the court. I hope everything will be put into a proper forum so that all of this mess will be put at bay. Our country is now in difficult situation, we are no longer moving, investigation here and there, different people surface and said many things, pros and cons, so much rumors noise and accusations, bottom line the one that suffers much is the common tao. kawawa tayo. para tayong isang pamilya si tatay at nanay laging nag aaway ang kawawa ay ang mga anak, kaya magka watakwatak. Lets wait for 2010 dun tayo papalit ng asawa.
Last edited by Jeff; 02-26-2008 at 01:05 PM.
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