Tiangco decries ‘double standard’ in Malampaya fund scam probe
MANILA, Philippines—A leader of the opposition party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) slammed the “double standard” reportedly being adopted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on its probe on the P900-million Malampaya fund scam.
In a statement released Tuesday, UNA Interim President and Navotas City Representative Toby Tiangco hit the panel’s chair Teofisto Guingona III for being “so protective” in granting requests for subpoena and slow in granting requests for documents.
“Hindi po katanggap-tanggap na parang may double standard na ini-implement ang Senate Blue Ribbon committee pagdating sa mga requests for subpoena ng mga kaalyado at hindi. Ganu’n din ang kabagalan nito sa mga document requests (It is unacceptable that double standards are being implemented in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee with regard to requests for subpoena of allies and critics. The same goes with the (Senate panel’s) slow response on document requests (by members of the opposition)),” Tiangco said.
Tiangco said that during the Senate probe on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2, the blue ribbon committee was able to force the Comission on Audit to release its preliminary findings. Yet, during the Malampaya fund scam probe, the Senate panel has become reluctant in prodding the COA to divulge the audit highlights of government agencies involved in the alleged scam.
“Is it because the Malampaya audit could implicate, not just the former Arroyo allies who transferred to Liberal Party (LP) with the promise of protection from cases, but also the ‘Tuwid na Daan’ pretenders who are officials and allies of the LP-led Aquino administration?” asked Tiangco. “Hindi po ba double standard ‘yan? Pag kaalyado ang nagrequest pagbibigyan pero kapag hindi, pag-aaralan pa (Isn’t this a double standard? If an administration ally files a request, it is granted. But if someone belonging to the opposition makes a request, the request is still subjected to further consideration),” the lawmaker added.
The UNA interim president said that COA should accede to the request of Senator Nancy Binay to have an advanced copy of the “red flags” on executive agencies which received Malampaya funds citing that it is of “public interest.”
During the hearing on Monday, COA chair Maria Grace Pulido Tan maintained that the state auditing agency will not release the audit highlights of government agencies linked to the said scam.
Tan said that until the state auditors could get the side of the executive agencies involved, the findings of COA’s reports remain confidential.
Guingona has yet to act on Binay’s request, stating that he still has to study the lady senator’s proposal.
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