Thursday, July 08, 2010

Cito Lorenzo and the P728 Million Fertilizer Fund Scam

There was actually a time when former Department of Agriculture Secretary Cito Lorenzo entertained thoughts of running as Senator in the 2007 elections.

After getting out of the DA and heading up the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Jobs Generation (a position that was created through the powers the Office of the President) and made chairman of both the Land Bank of the Philippines as well as Quedancor, Mr. Lorenzo had actually started going around the country.  Of course, he had been going around the country as DA Secretary but this time around, he was being introduced in circles that usually backed national candidates -- or so it was claimed.

Anyway, people had a tough time trying to figure out what the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Jobs Generation really was and whether it could really generate 1 million jobs a year -- a target set under the BEAT THE ODDS program of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Well, there was the OYSTER program (originally a program of the Philippine National Police).  

Then there was this rather strange attempt to INTERPRET loan releases made by Land Bank and Quedancor as JOBS GENERATED.

Anyway, while people at OPAJG were struggling to make it seem that the Office was actually creating jobs and even after he had left the DA, smaller controversies hounded him -- as in the case of the enormous cellphone bills and aviation fuel he was accused of charging the government.

Perhaps it wasn't apparent or at least not admitted to those that worked with him, that the road from the DA to the OPAJG was putting him closer and closer to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.  Holding office at the Land Bank of the Philippines Corporate Headquarters, the view from Mr. Lorenzo's Office had the NAIA in the horizon.

About four or five months into the job, he announced that he was resigning from the post and after a few weeks, he just upped and left.

All through out, he maintained that his function or involvement (if any can be admitted at all) in the P728 Million Fertilizer Fund Scam was "ministerial".  Or as some lawyers put it, "He signed the papers as a mere dispensation of his function but did not have anything to do with the transaction."  

Or in the immortal words of Hugh Grant in Notting Hill, "Whoospie daisies."

His name figures on the paper trail between Malacanang, the Department of Budget and Management, and Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante.

I am not sure right now if Senator Richard J. Gordon or Senator Alan Peter Cayetano glossed over this and I guess I have to review the actual Blue Ribbon Committee Report.

In anycase, the Philippine Star ran a story where Mr. Lorenzo seems to be making a commitment to spill the beans on something. 
Lorenzo: I will testify
In a separate interview with a television channel, Lorenzo confirmed that he will testify in any government investigation to ferret out the truth about the fertilizer fund scam.
He also denied that he fled at the height of the investigation, but only wanted to give time to his family.
“Money never passed through me and I was not involved (in the scam). I really wanted to serve, unfortunately the dynamics did not agree with my interest to serve,” the former agriculture chief said.
Lorenzo admitted that he arrived in the country on Saturday and went to the party later in the day where he met the President.
He vowed “to perform his duty at the appropriate time” and made it clear that he has nothing to hide.

Oh, then all seems fine then... Hmmmm...

Saying that actual money didn't pass through his hands is some other matter completely, because, if such a thing were ever to occur among Cabinet Secretaries, I think that would be a whole other order of misbehavior.

Nevertheless, what it is being said, for certain is that "THEY made me do it."

To which, THEY would probably respond, "HE did it on his own."

And right there, you'll probably see that the CLOSURE on the Fertilizer Fund Scam will have a number of people getting confined (yet again) at the St. Luke's hospital... or perhaps, just to do it differently, at the Makati Medical Center.

1 comment:

Dern said...

Buti pa si Lorenzo na may bahid naalala ni Pnoy eh yung mga unang nagendorso sa kanya .. ang tawag niya dating mga ka-alyado lamang...

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