Duterte names lawmakers under probe for graft
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night disclosed the names of lawmakers under probe for alleged involvement in corruption, although he was quick to say that their inclusion in the list did not mean they were guilty or that there was hard evidence against them.
Duterte said he had to disclose the names given to him by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission or else he would look “stupid,” and added that it was his duty to do so.
The names have become public record, Duterte said.
“It has come to me officially recorded, received, recorded in the books so it becomes a public document. Whether I read it or not, this will come out because they have the right to have access to information, anybody,” he said.
He also assured the lawmakers that his disclosing their names was not meant to indict or destroy them.
“I just want to assure everybody that my reading of the names is not a condemnation or an indictment that you are guilty of something. In the same manner that I would tell the people that do not take it as gospel truth,” he said.
There could be somebody using the lawmakers’ names or doing something they do not know about, he added.
The lawmakers the President named were:
• Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato, who was on the list for alleged ghost projects and using the district engineer as her alleged bag man.
• Former Ifugao congressman Teodoro Baguilat, who allegedly received kickbacks from construction projects in connivance with former district engineer Lorna Ricardo.
• Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, who allegedly demanded a onetime P1-million enrollment fee in addition to the 10 and 12 percent “SOP” that has to be paid before the project could be awarded to the contractor
• Misamis Occidental Rep. Henry Oaminal, who allegedly owned a construction company and who has several construction projects in the province.
• Isabela Rep. Alyssa Sheena Tan, who allegedly owns a construction company that has several construction projects in Isabela.
• Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, who allegedly determines all the winning bidders in his district and receives 20 to 25 percent kickback from contractors.
• Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, who was allegedly linked to an irregular national road project in Quezon province, which was supposedly damaged during a storm even if it had not yet opened for public use.
• Benguet caretaker and ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap, who allegedly rigged biddings through his agent and exerted influence in choosing his district engineer to be able to control the awarding of projects.
Yap also allegedly intervened in an investigation by calling up PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica and asking him to drop the case against district engineer Ricardo.
• Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, who allegedly asked for 10 percent kickback for all Department of Public Works and Highways projects in her district.
Duterte also read the names of several district engineers allegedly working with the lawmakers and said he was not condemning them and was giving them the presumption of innocence.
He asked Public Works Secretary Mark Villar to give him the list of district engineers and their assignments all over the country and said he would reshuffle them and give them new assignments.
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