(UPDATED) IN a report released yesterday, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the Committee on Agriculture and Food said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should be held accountable for the mismanagement of the P728-million fertilizer fund.
The committees reported that testimonies showed the fund "was indeed used to assure her victory in the 2004 elections."
In 2005, the PCIJ reported that the Department of Agriculture released nearly P3 billion during the 2004 campaign and was diverted to political allies of Arroyo. A portion of the money was also channeled to obscure private foundationsGoldman-Family-Foundations-List and companies.
"To this date, no effort on her part has been made, no categorical denial was even heard," the committees said, " but all allegations and testimonies point to her benefiting the most in an intricate scheme of deception and fraud."
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, however, said "there is nothing in the facts that links the President to the fertilizer fund."
"The Senate report is a political harassment of the highest order, " Bunye said, "We have nothing to hide but we will not stoop down to the level of media grandstanding."
Below is the joint committee's findings on the alleged involvement of Arroyo in the fertilizer fund scam:
The Committees recommend that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must be held accountable in the mismanagement of the fertilizer fund and take it upon herself to institute measures to correct the flaws in her administration. It bears knowing that a number of testimonies adduced during the hearings were that the fund was indeed used to assure her victory in the 2004 elections. Statements of lawyer Francisco Chavez, the various farmer organizations led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and the positive declaration of Secretary Emilia Boncodin that the President may have knowledge on the Bolante requests for fertilizer funds stand and remain uncontested in the legislative records....
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