MANILA, Philippines – Police officials on Tuesday, March 4, admitted it was difficult to pin down local government officials who are allegedly taking advantage of rehabilitation efforts in areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
In a press conference, Philippine National Police Crime Investigation and Detection Group (PNP CIDG) acting director Police Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong said it was “hard to find concrete evidence” in alleged corruption cases tied to Yolanda rehabilitation efforts.
“Na-acknowledge rin ni Secretary Lacson na mahirap talaga without the evidence,” said Magalong. (Secretary Lacson acknowledged it’s hard [to file charges] without evidence.)
Still, Magalong said Rehabilitation Secretary Panfilo Lacson’s earlier statements worked in deterring officials. “Nataranta rin, yung ang importante doon, na-pre-empt,” he added. (What’s important is that they panicked, they were pre-empted.)
Barely a week into assuming office as the country’s “rehabilitation czar,” Lacson said “unscrupulous lower-ranking officials” were already taking advantage of the funds being released. Lacson said he wanted to file cases against guilty officials. He requested both the PNP and the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the matter.
“Sa ngayon, hindi pa,” said Magalong when asked if any charges have been filed against erring officials, almost 3 months after Lacson’s revelation. (As of now, no cases have been filed.)
Previously, Magalong told senators during a hearing that Lacson “never mentioned any name” but said the secretary “mentioned there is a probability that there exists a collusion.”
Magalong said the CIDG would be investigating alleged cases of overpricing in the construction of bunkhouses in Yolanda-hit areas. In their previous investigations, they found that contractors didn’t overprice bunkhouses but used substandard materials.
He added that the costing of the bunkhouses would be fixed. “Hindi natalo ang gobyerno,” he added. (The government wasn’t shortchanged.) – Rappler.com
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