Fertilizer scam paper trail leads to Arroyo
In their 10-page joint complaint-affidavit, the complainants led by KMP secretary-general Danilo Ramos and Pamalakaya chairman Fernando Hicap said that Gutierrez did not act on any of the recommendations of Task Force Abono made in the report it submitted to her office on June 20, 2006. Among the recommendations they made were the filing of criminal complaints against public officials among them Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante and congressional representatives Nanette Daza, Federico Sandoval, Oscar Gozos and Governor Carmencita Reyes.
In the complaint, the groups said that for Gutierrez not to act promptly on the complaints is inexcusable because (1) a period of more than five (5) years already constitutes inordinate delay in the administration of justice; (2) the reports and evidence gathered by the Task Force Abono, the Senate, and the Commission on Audit finding high-ranking government officials and private individuals culpable have long been submitted and known to Ombudsman Gutierrez as early as during the first quarter of 2006; and (3) the said failure is contrary to the Ombudsman’s duty to give priority to complaints filed against high ranking government officials and/or those occupying supervisory positions and to complaints involving grave offenses and large sums of money.
Ramos said it was apparent from the beginning that Gutierrez was determined to squash the investigations on the fertilizer scam because the paper trail led directly to Malacañang and former president Arroyo.
“Gutierrez had no intention of addressing the corruption charges against high-ranking government officials connected to the fertilizer scam,” he said.
Pamalakaya’s Hicap said that from February to March 2007, Task Force Abono issued subpoena duces tecum to the the Land Bank Department of Agriculture Extension Branch office in Quezon city to provide records of a particular bank account where the money disbursed through checks in the fertilizer fund scam were allegedly deposited. Gutierrez, however, issued a memorandum order stating that all requests or referrals to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for documents, information or bank account examination of subjects of investigation must go through her office first.
According to Hicap, all of Task Force Abono’s reports and findings were not acted upon during the height of the controversy. Instead, Gutierrez took action only on March 11, 2011 when her office issued a joint resolution for the filing of plunder ad other criminal and administrative cases against several government officials involved in the fertilizer fund scam.
“Gutierrez is directly responsible for the failure of Task Force Abono. She moved heaven and earth to protect Arroyo and other corrupt government officials,” he said.
He added that Pamalakaya intends to file criminal and administrative charges against Gutierrez for neglecting and abandoning other cases his group had filed before Office of the Ombudsman under Gutierrez stewardship.
In the meantime, Olalia said that Gutierrez should be held accountable for other cases as well.
“Her inaction even covered cases filed against government officials and state agents involved in human rights violations,” he said. He cited the case of Raymond Manalo, the witness to the abduction of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño which remains pending before the the Office of the Ombudsman.
Lawyer Jobert Pahilga of the Sentra Foundation said his clients in KMP are also determined to file plunder charges against Macapagal-Arroyo in the coming days.
“The farmers who were deprived of the fertilizer funds in 2004 want this issue resolved. They want those behind the massive corruption scam prosecuted and the funds that were intended for them to be returned, he said.
KMP’s Ramos also said that farmers want justice to be served for those who were killed and silenced when investigations were conducted by other government agencies regarding the scam involving bogus agricultural inputs. He was referring to to KMP-Panay leader Nilo Arado and KMP-Pampanga leader Ofelia “Nanay Perla” Rodriguez who were abducted and killed, respectively.