"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

The Road to Nowhere is not the same as Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere

Contrary to what some people claim that Philippine senator Panfilo Lacson’s expose’ was a copy cat of the bridge to nowhere of the VP candidate Sarah Palin fame is not the same. The Alaska Bridge to nowhere is more of a misplaced budget priority rejected by the US legislators while the Road to Nowhere if proven is all about outright thievery of taxpayers’ money allocating a budget that has already been budgeted.

Some see the event as a soap opera while Marichu A. Villanueva sees it as a comedy of errors posted in Dan Remoto’s blog:
The funny part of this brouhaha was that the camp of Villar even issued a press statement Monday after that Senate budget hearing. In that statement, the Senate president vowed to scrutinize the proposed P1.4 trillion budget for next year to ensure that no dubious funds will be sneaked into the approval of the GAA. As guardians of public funds, Villar committed the Senate to see to it that the proposed P1.4 trillion national budget for 2009 will pass through “a fine-toothed comb to make sure that no public money will go to wasteful and questionable projects that will only fatten the pockets of grafters in government.”
Is this an honest mistake that Erap Jr., errr Jinggoy Estrada a senator who I suspect is not following mama dearest advice to read the newspaper, thinks it is when he said this:
These insertions are not necessarily illegal. Sometimes, it’s just an honest mistake. I don’t think this is enough to unseat him, he continues to enjoy solid backing in the Senate.
Or maybe he is reading too much newspaper and since the Philippine papers are filled with nonsense his take on solid backing as if the senate is like congress where mob rule prevails shows the “depth” of his “political genius.” On the other hand maybe Erap jr. really has a good grasp of the Mafiosi style politics as seen on Peter Laviña’s frustration on the state of politics in this blog post:
Senator Ping Lacson exposed the double funding of the controversial road in the 2008 and 2009 budgets. Korina Sanchez, gf of Senator Mar Roxas, thrash it in her popular radio program. There were insinuations it was a pet project of Senate President Manny Villar to benefit his housing projects. A Senate Resolution to probe the anomaly was signed by a number of senators, including Senator Roxas, Senator Chiz Escudero and Senator Dick Gordon.

I am sure this gang fight would not be amongst just these five “presidentiables.” Soon, others would join the fray.

But would probing this issue lead the nation to somewhere? I doubt very much.

Have you not heard the joke dating back from the old days of martial law about the road around Lake Lanao? Well, it has been paved several times over! But nowhere can one see it or set foot on it.

Oh, nothing new really in Pinoy politics when trapos can promise bridges even where there are no rivers.

The road to nowhere if it was not frozen would have lead to someone’s pocket, whose pocket is what they should look into and they should welcome an honest to goodness senate probe to clear their names.

The P400 million C-5 road extension project from Parañaque City to the South Luzon Expressway definitely benefits realty firms that owns development projects along the route. The project according to an Inquirer report has proved to be real manna not from heaven but from the government for Amvel Land Corp. and Brittany Corp. that stands to obtain a windfall selling the right of way over its Parañaque property. Amvel Land Corp. is owned by Bro. Mike Velarde, the leader of the El Shaddai charismatic group While Brittany Corp. is owned by Senate President Manny Villar known allies of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The two realty firms had not been paid as the price is being contested in court that is the good news. The bad news is that while the double allocation did not push through the report by Gil C. Cabacungan Jr. of Inquirer reveals some disturbing details on the deal:
Brittany spokesperson Nalen Galang Thursday denied that the company had received “P92 million or any other amount from the Toll Regulatory Board or any other state body affected by the C-5 extension project.”

In a statement, Galang said that in 1999, the TRB had offered to purchase a portion of Brittany’s property in Parañaque.

He said the company got “repeated assurances” from the TRB, supported by an opinion from the Department of Justice, that the acquisition was legal and would not violate any law.

“Considering that the TRB would in any case have expropriated the property had Brittany refused to sell [it], Brittany eventually agreed to convey the property to the government. Brittany, however, never ever received, much less claimed, any payment for the [property],” said Galang.

More questions

Francisco Thursday said the Brittany statement was an “admission that the sale transactions seemed to have pushed through but that Brittany has not been paid.”

He said the statement raised a further question: “If there was a donation, where is the deed of donation?”

Francisco stumbled on the Brittany documents while doing research for the plunder case he filed against Estrada and Velarde in 2001. Francisco alleged that Amvel was paid P1.22 billion for its 79,568-square-meter property in Parañaque, or P15,355 per square meter, more than seven times the property’s assessed value of P2,000 per square meter.

Francisco claimed that the right-of-way compensation for Amvel had bloated the cost of the project so much that it ate up nearly half of the P2.65-billion loan that the government took out to pay for right-of-way acquisitions for the C-5 Link Expressway and the R-1 Extension Expressway

Overpriced rights-of-way

“As things stand now, the national government is amortizing the payment of the $68.6-million loan, which did not serve any purpose other than that it enriched respondent Mike Velarde and Amvel,” said Francisco in the case he filed with the Supreme Court.

This road improvement project is costing the government an arm and a leg and then we hear of double insertion which according to the Joker with an Arroyo last name was making a mountain out of a mole hill. I don't know what Joker Arroyo is smoking but his perception of wrong doings lately is definitely out of whack. What a shame that people seem to take billions of peso worth of projects this lightly to the point of double insertion only shows no one is paying attention in their squandering habits. The discovery of the “mistake” and the money that was not released does not erase the responsibility of whoever is the culprit. People indeed have short memory, the same mentality that allowed Gloria Arroyo to weasel herself out of the ZTE-NBN fiasco because it did not materialize………….. it is the criminal intent that needs to be determined and had it not been discovered someone stands to gain from looted riches at the expense of depleted plundered government coffers.

Instead of dismissing this as a "demolition job" on a presidential aspirant, people should question if there was undue political position and influence exerted that played a part in this project. A project that will definitely benefit owners of the realty developments that will boost property values while getting paid for a right-of-way instead of donating it as huge profit is to be gained by the road that actually leads to their housing developments.

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