This news report is a stark contrast to the deafening silence of media regarding the probe initiated by House Resolution No. 1559. Sponsored a year ago by cause-oriented representatives from various party-list sectors, House Resolution No. ...1559 reads:
Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Third Regular Session
HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 1559 (filed January 18, 2010)
Introduced by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur C. Ocampo, Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Liza L. Maza, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael V. Mariano, Kabataan Rep. Raymond V. Palatino, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro A. Casiño, Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Luzviminda C. Ilagan, Anakpawis Rep. Joel B. Maglunsod, and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri J. Colmenares
A RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON GOOD GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY TO CONDUCT AN IMMEDIATE INQUIRY ON THE SPECIFIC MEASURES, AND INADEQUACIES THEREOF, TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT, THE PRESIDENTIAL ANTI-GRAFT COMMISSION, THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, AND THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF ILOCOS SUR IN RESPONSE TO THE ALLEGED TAX EVASION AND FOUL PRACTICES OF MULTI-BILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN LUCIO TAN AS EXPOSED BY WHISTLEBLOWER ELPIDIO QUE
Whereas, a concerned citizen named Elpidio Que, who is a resident of Vigan, Ilocos Sur and a former regional sales manager of one of the companies owned by businessman Lucio Tan, has repeatedly called the attention of the Department of Justice (DoJ), the Office of the Ombudsman, the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC), the local government of Ilocos Sur, members of the press and members of Congress, among others, to the allegedly atrocious tax evasion schemes, amounting to hundreds of billions of pesos, and other foul business practices allegedly committed by Tan;
Whereas, Que also reported to the said bodies certain instances wherein he observed key government officials acting inappropriately or not responding at all to his complaints;
Whereas, Que claims to have personal knowledge, documentary proof, as well as several colleagues who are likewise willing to testify under oath, revealing details of the tax evasion and foul practices allegedly committed by Tan;
Whereas, Solita Collas-Monsod, former Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), has rigorously tackled in her columns in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and BusinessWorld Que's exposes, the intricate details surrounding Sandiganbayan Case No. 0005 or the government's case against Lucio Tan and the estate of Ferdinand Marcos, and the apparent hesitation of government agencies such as the PCGG, the Sandiganbayan, the Ombudsman and the DoJ to win the said case by rejecting a possible state witness, among many other instances of incompetence, plain inaction or even treason;
Whereas, Sandiganbayan Case No. 0005 involves the alleged illicit business relationship exclusively entered into by Ferdinand Marcos and Lucio Tan and involves an estimated P220 billion to P330 billion of assets which, in principle, now belongs to the government and the Filipino people;
Whereas, the offer of Mariano Tanenglian, Lucio Tan's younger brother, alleged right hand man for over 40 years and treasurer of Tan's corporations, to serve as state witness in exchange for criminal and civil immunity has been mysteriously rejected by the DoJ, OSG, and PCGG thereby casting doubt on the integrity of the said government bodies;
Whereas, Catalino Generillo, former PCGG lawyer who has documentary evidence and expertise on Sandiganbayan Case No. 0005, appears to have been wrongfully removed from the case due to his diligent performance of his duties;
Whereas, the Bureau of Internal Revenue appears to have failed in its role of collecting taxes and going after tax evaders, in this case, as alleged by Que, the biggest fish of all;
Whereas, in a time of worsening economic crisis, the said billions of pesos worth of assets, if indeed it belongs to government, must be recovered and allocated generously to provide for the Filipino people's basic needs and build the foundations for the country's genuine development;
Whereas, the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability has jurisdiction over "all matters directly and principally relating to malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance in office committed by officers and employees of the government and its political subdivisions and instrumentalities inclusive of investigations of any matter of public interest on its own initiative or upon order of the House";
Now therefore, be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved, that the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability conduct an immediate inquiry on the specific measures, and inadequacies thereof, taken by the Department of Justice, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the local government of Ilocos Sur in response to the alleged tax evasion and foul practices of multi-billionaire businessman Lucio Tan as exposed by whistleblower Elpidio Que.
TO PARAPHRASE CHARLES LAMB, MONEY TALKS, BIG MONEY DOESN'T - IT HIRES A STAFF OF PR MEN.
QUO VADIS PINOY!