"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fear for the safety of Araos and other witnesses

Mallyn Araos is said to be the sole signatory of a bank account she purportedly opened for Feshan Philippines, the biggest supplier in the P728-million fertilizer project of the Department of Agriculture (DA)as such independent Senator Richard J. Gordon today expressed fear for her safety.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said he feared for Araos' safety since she holds vital information on the extent of the fertilizer fund scam allegedly engineered by former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante.

"We are trying to communicate with Mallyn Araos to convince her to face and testify at the Senate as soon as possible. We need to get her in the witness stand because she is the only one who knows where the money went," he said.

At the last Senate hearing, Feshan president Julie Gregorio earlier told that while the company declared a P105-million sales of fertilizer from the government, the amount actually paid to the company was only a little more than P50 million.

Gregorio added that the payment was deposited to an account opened at the LandBank Philippines branch in Elliptical Circle in Quezon City under the name of Araos.

Gordon expressed fear for the safety of Araos and of the other witnesses who have yet to come forward, considering that two deaths - that of Marleen Esperat and Teofisto Mojica - were feared to be connected to the fertilizer fund scam.

"I worry for Ms. Araos. It would be better for Ms. Araos and other witnesses to come out so we can provide them protection," he said.

Gordon earlier vowed to initiate a Senate investigation not only on the murder of former agriculture resident Ombudsman Marlene Esperat but also of a former agriculture employee Teofilo Mojica as he expressed suspicion that their murders may have been tied to the fertilizer fund scam.

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