Lozada to Aquino: ‘Scrap the mother of all forest scams’
MANILA, Philippines — Whistle-blower Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada wants nothing but for President Benigno Aquino III to scrap the “mother of all forest scams.”
“What we are demanding for is the cancellation of the proclamation, not the deal,” Lozada said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990 AM Wednesday.
This was his response to Malacanang’s statement on Tuesday that the contract between Philippine Forest Corp. (Philforest) and New San Jose Builders Inc. (NSJBI) on the lease of a 2,000 hectare-land in Busuanga, Palawan province was already scuttled in Dec. 9, 2011.
Lozada had insinuated that the Aquino administration had retained the deal because Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. was “benefiting” from it through his brother-in-law, Jerry Acuzar, who owns NSJBI.
“This proclamation [number] 2057 is the source of all [anomalous] contracts. Similar to what Janet Lim-Napoles did, she created and created fake NGOs [to steal from public funds]. This should be canceled,” Lozada said.
Presidential Proclamation No. 2057 (gov.ph proclamation link) was signed by former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on May 7, 2010, or three days before the general election.
The said proclamation gave Philforest President Erwin Santos an administrative control to develop and distribute Busuanga forest lands to contractors.
Involved in the widespread scam, Philforest was allegedly one of the state entities used as conduits by lawmakers to channel their graft-ridden Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to bogus nongovernment organizations.
“I have no desire for any quarrel. We wanted to hold on to that myth that we have a family who would defend us from the wrong and from tormentors. If the myth can continue by simply recalling the proclamation, then I am happy.” Lozada said.
“You will not hear from Jun Lozada again. Siguro sa conviction ko na lang ninyo ako maririnig ulit (Perhaps you will hear from me again after my conviction),” he added.
Lozada, former Philforest president, has pending graft charges filed by Santos.
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