Osmeña calls P111-B building of bridges, ports as ‘grandmother of all scams’By Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Sergio Osmeña III on Monday disclosed what he called the “grandmother of all scams” that involved the building of a number of bridges and ports in the country.
He said in a privileged speech that it had cost P111 billion to the country despite these being “bridges to nowhere [and] Roro ports to nowhere”
He said the bridges were built throughout the country in places where “there were no roads or rivers.”
Of the Roro ports, only two out of 72 were actually of any use to the government, Osmeña said.
He said these contracts were entered into by the government during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Osmeña described the scam as a concerted effort between government officials and foreign companies to pass the contracts as Official Development Assistance that was exempt from bidding.
Osmeña said the projects were begun in the administration of Fidel Ramos.
He identified some of the foreign companies as French company Eiffel Mattier and United Kingdom company Mayvie & Johnson.
Owners and senior officials of Mayvie and Johnson were already serving time in prison on charges of fraud and corruption from several countries, Osmeña confirmed after asked by Senator Teofisto Guingona III.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who had previously disclosed the scam, said he realized he only “barely scratched the surface.”
Lacson added that the matter will be referred to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee for further investigation.
Senator Alan Cayetano lamented that the intended Truth Commission that was supposed to investigate government scams was struck down by the Supreme Court.
He said those who were behind the scams were sometime only moving from department to department and repackaging their scams.