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Frat brods and bonds don’t make illegal contracts, says Kiko

A report on the Commission on Audit 2014 findings on the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) suggested that fraternal relations influenced the awarding of a P38-million cocolisap (coconut scale insect) pesticides contract to a Mandaluyong-based agrochemical company owned by Fernando B. Malveda (“P688M in coco rehab deals given sans bidding–COA,” News, 9/20/15).

The report stated: “One of the companies that obtained a P38-million project from the PCA is owned by a fraternity brother of the now resigned presidential assistant for food security and agricultural modernization, Francis Pangilinan, who exercised administrative supervision over the PCA.”

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We may point out that the COA report did not cite fraternity ties in questioning the contract. And being members of the same fraternity does not make the contract illegal. Having said this, we categorically state that while it is true Secretary Pangilinan and Malveda both belong to the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity, the secretary does not know Malveda personally. He has never been in contact with and has never met Malveda.

Malveda joined the Los Baños chapter of the fraternity in the 1960s while Secretary Pangilinan joined the Diliman chapter in the 1980s.

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The contract in question was obtained through a negotiated bidding process, with LEADS Agricultural Products Corp. giving the most responsive offer. The procurement was done after President Aquino signed Executive Order No. 169 in June 2014 declaring a state of emergency in Calabarzon and Basilan due to the devastation caused by the cocolisap infestation.

In his 12 years in the Senate, Secretary Pangilinan and his office supervised billions of pesos-worth of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) contracts; he never took advantage of it. The secretary vehemently opposed and shunned corrupt acts—the main reason his name has never appeared in any PDAF scam list.

Why will he allow his good name to be tarnished by a contract worth P38 million only?

Secretary Pangilinan has painstakingly kept a clean record of his many years of service to that nation. At every step and turn, he protected his good name by shunning illegal acts. The least that Inquirer reporter could have done was to get the side of the secretary, which he did not. In turn, the Philippine Daily Inquirer could have reached out to us for clarification which we would have extended.

The COA report is available to the public, and the PCA has yet to reply within the period set by the COA. In the interest of fairness, the Inquirer reporter, Marlon Ramos, could have mentioned this but he did not. It is indeed unfortunate that premature or malicious statements are given space in your newspaper.

—RACHEL G. GILLEGO, chief of staff, Office of Francis Pangilinan

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TAGS: Francis Pangilinan, fraternities, Philippine Coconut Authority
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