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Don’t ‘freeze’ plunder case vs GMA, Ombudsman told

MANILA, March 6, 2012—The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the Ombudsman not to allow the plunder case against former president and currently Pampanga (2nd District) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, get “frozen”.

In a statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales should make Arroyo and her former Agriculture Secretary, now Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap, accountable for the overpriced ice-making machines, amounting to P455 million (US$10,584,960.61).

“How long it would take Ombudswoman Carpio-Morales for her to officially act on a case which is waiting a politically and legally correct closure? She has enough powers under her disposal and she was given enough time to put an end [to] this truth and justice seeking undertaking, but still nothing substantial has been done,” Hicap said.

On December 7, 2011, Hicap and Pamalakaya vice chair Salvador France wrote a letter to the Office of the Ombudsman urging the former Supreme Court justice to speed up the investigation of the Arroyo-Yap case.

The alleged overpriced ice-making machines were purchased in 2009, for P2.3 million ($58,089.41) per unit. However, the bidding process is said to be “rigged”, that the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) had obtained the bid, illegally.

“The bidding process for the contract was allegedly rigged in favor of IRSS. The government at that time also promised the delivery of the 98 ice-making machines would be completed by June 2010. As far as we are concerned, we were only able to monitor 1 ice making machine unit which was placed in the district of Secretary Proceso Alcala in Sampaloc Village 2 in Sariaya, Quezon,” a portion of the letter of Pamalakaya, to the Ombudsman, read.

Pamalakaya also revealed that the IRSS had only become a duly registered company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a day before the bidding happened—that was on August 25, 2009.

Pamalakaya had charged Arroyo and Yap due to their alleged violation of Republic Act 9184. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]