May 27, 2017 03:00 AM PST
SINCE 2007

Don’t ignore oldie porky scam in the backburner

Dual Voice
FEDERICO A. ESPIRITU

The Filipino uprising against the pork barrel crested with the Million People March at Luneta.  Amidst the tumultuous display of protest, I fervently prayed that the nation will not forget the stench and squalor of another piggy bank that broke before this porky brouhaha- the Quedancor Swine Scam. Ask public interest lawyer Harry Roque and he can endlessly delve on this ruckus while turning pages of Commission on Audit fraud reports that served as his bases, among other evidences, in filing impeachment case against former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  Leaf through Vera Files’ published investigative reports or the book ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ and  you can derive crystal- clear insights on the magnitude of this conspiracy. Graduated, as well as sitting senators and congressmen quickly dipped their prying minds on this swine scam as knee-jerk reaction to public indignation.

 

With much disappointment, the solons’ documentary reports merely gathered dusts at the legislative archives. Inquiry must also be directed at the Ombudsman on what transpired in its bar of justice half a decade after the swine cases were filed at the watchdog office. I was then President and CEO of financially bleeding Quedancor battling internal graft since heading the moribund institution, foremost of which was the swine scam, while swaggering saber  of good governance when I filed string of complaints  against the perpetrators before the Ombudsman based on COA audit findings. My hands were full in pursuing and snaring scammers, big or small.  Faithful credit officers who, like loyal soldiers, doggedly followed what they thought were legal directives from their micro-managing former President were not spared by COA and could not be excluded from the complaints.

This singular scam, aggravated by other scheming, severely dealt severe blow to the hemorrhaging coffers of the credit and guarantee agency of the Department of Agriculture. Quedancor could not rise from the ashes no matter how our crisis management team strived to keep it afloat and redeem its lost glory through Oplan RISE. It funnelled over P48 billion of loans and credit guarantees before my predecessor carelessly transformed it into such a huge financial laboratory. That management team borrowed over P12 billion from the capital market and other fund sources, then dumped the proceeds to behest accounts, political figures, soured credit precept experimentation and greasy swine program where Quedancor was fried in its own fat. Out of P2.4 billion loan releases, only four shady companies mostly cornered the transactions, COA found out.

Queerly, the swine scam may have had its own Napoles as one name surfaced as a common director in the interlocking board of these companies. About P1 billion of P2.4 billion remained uncollected and chances of recovery became dimmer with the slow pace of justice, more so that the dubious companies folded up as soon as the fraud came out in the open. Our years of quest for financial solutions, as could be gleaned from 14 recovery plans we peddled, went to naught as the Arroyo economic managers dribbled the problem to shield their chief executive from getting infected by the Quedancor crisis. Worst, they prescribed Quedancor’s closure and terminating majority of the employees even before they shelled out rehabilitation funds thus simmering the internal conflict to aggravation. The formula was disastrous because the skeletons would remain in the closet and all the more that justice against the culprits would be rendered elusive. We fought the closure design in numerous creative ways, principally embarking on a ‘Save Quedancor Movement” to retain it even in tatters in order that it can still serve the farmers and fisherfolk in accordance with its mandate. Over P6.5 billion indebtedness were paid up despite the soaring default rate, dropping loan collection and aggressive liquidation of acquired real properties. 

Soon, Quedancor wallowed in a Catch 22 situation, no matter how it moved, it sank deeper into quagmire. Internal bickerings were racheted up by the brains of scams and scheming to their own advantage. They presented themselves as knights in shining armor to employees and even executives desperate in clinging to their jobs unmindful of blood staining the hands of quixotic redeemers. Naivette, mediocrity, and selfishness prevailed. I skirted dismissing any employee despite mounting pressures amidst the approval of a Rationalization Plan by the Deparment of Budget and Management as early as February 5, 2010. Many times, I declared that “I will never be the Quedancor President who will play god on sacrificial employees.” Despite pain of sanction and penalty, I believed it was utterly unjust to give walking papers to innocent employees especially when the culprits for financial mishap, particularly in the swine scam, still remained scot-free from the majesty of law. Instead, it was me who harvested harassment cases, death threats, hate blogs, poison letters, black propaganda and destabilization plots for being a steadfast graft warrior. My persistent nemesis employed the arrogance of money and deception. As a Marine colonel, I restrained myself many times from utilizing violent tactics in respect for the rule of law. My lawyers pursuing my anti-graft cases were cowed with disbarment. I used the power of the pen in my own art of war.

Nagdiwang ako nang mahalal si Pangulong Noynoy Aquino bilang  paniniwala sa kanyang platapormang “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”. Buong akala ko, mayroon na akong kasangga.  Nagsikap akong liwanagin sa pamahalaang PNoy, maging sa bagong Kongreso at Senado, ang katotohanang pangyayari  sa Quedancor sa maraming paraan. Subalit ang masansang na baho ng swine scam ang palagi nilang naaamoy.  Sa halip na bunuin sa sungay ang suliranin at magbigay ng bagong pag-asa sa mga magsasaka at mangingisda, higit na minabuti na ilibing na lamang nang tuluyan ang Quedancor.  Ang sama pa nito, lubhang sinaniban ng pulitika ang pagkilatis ng solusyon.  Tingin ng bagong liderato ng Department of Agriculture at Quedancor Governing Board, mas makabubuting lisanin ko ang aking tungkulin sa maling pag-aakala na mapatatahimik  nito ang kagusutan sa Quedancor na sadyang pinagsisiklab ng mga kalabang naapektuhan ng aking pakikipagtunggali sa korapsyon. Buong paniwala nila, sa pagpapaalis sa akin, natagpuan nila ang kalutasan. Sa halip na ako ay suhayan sa aking krusadang linisin ang Quedancor, hinayaan nilang lamunin  sila ng mga pakana at panlilinlang ng aking mga nagdiwang na tagausig.  Sinulat ko ang aking sanaysay na ‘Cry for Quedancor’ upang ilahad ang pawang katotohahan. Bunga nito, ako ay nahabla ng paninirang puri at libelo ng kalahating dosenang beses sa kabila ng aking maingat na paglalahad. Nagtangka pa akong personal na makausap si Pangulong Aquino upang iparating na ang isang kawal sa nagsusulong ng tuwid na landas, hindi pa man siya nahahalal, ay nanganganib na isakripisyo ng kanyang mga galamay sa pulitika at pamahalaan. Bigo ako. Mataimtin kong ipinagdasal ang susunod kong hakbang.  Sa gabay ng Panginoon, ako ay nagbakasyon upang makilatis ng aking mga tagahusgang Pontio Pilato  ang kanilang kahibangan at pagkakamali, ipagpatuloy ang pagkilos sa labas ng Quedancor at sulatin ang aking aklat na ‘Eye In The Storm’  na aking natapos dito sa Amerika noong 2011.  Inaasahan kong papasok sa butas ng karayom ang paglimbag ng aking libro sapagkat buong-buo kong isinalayasay ang aking  krusada laban sa katiwalian at matuwid na pamamahala. Ang mahalaga ay lisanin ko man ang mundong ibabaw, may masasaliksik na sulatin kung paano winasak at napariwara ang aking tanggapan na aking pinaglingkuran ng 20 taon dahil sa malagim na kababuyan ng katiwalian.

   
One chapter of ‘Eye In The Storm’ dealt at full length with the swine scam. Almost two years after my exit in late 2011 and drafting the book, I still crusade with the remaining graft warriors in Quedancor who took on my advocacies despite the oceans’ distance. They also faced the tempest. Being career executive service officer, I applied for retirement in April 14 this year. However, it will be a longer shot for me to enjoy my earned benefits after serving government for 40 years even if majority of the over dozen harassment complaints filed by moneyed persecutors against me were mostly dismissed.  Three cases are still pending before the Ombudsman that block my deserved retirement. Belatedly, I was meted 6-months suspension without pay by Ombudsman Conchita Morales for writing ‘Cry For Quedancor.’ I again have to spend my scanty dollars to petition for review at the Court of Appeals and maybe fight all the way to the Supreme Court knowing that  my antagonists really wanted me crucified for depriving them of the goose that laid golden eggs.  They even succeeded at having a warrant of arrest issued against me for concocted defamation case, after plotting on my visa cancellation with the US Embassy in Manila and issuance of hold departure order by the Bureau of Immigration.

For two years, I could not return home to visit my ailing Nanay whom I have kept uncognizant of the travails of her eldest son. What makes my heart bleed even more is whatever became of Quedancor today.  Nearly 500 employees who have logged in years of civil service got dismissed in an effort to save the continuously hemorrhaging government corporation that was once labeled ‘The Premier Credit and Guarantee Agency’. Banks have been running after it for defaulted loans. Sans fresh funds, it is nearly impotent to deliver credit. Its present preoccupation is loan collection to pay for personal services and operating expenses of its skeletally lean organization. Without clear and substantial contribution to national agricultural development agenda, it becomes even more vulnerable to extinction. Closure is exactly the hidden agenda of the lords of scams I fought so they could put one over the whole Filipino people. I just hoped a substantial segment of the sea of humanity at the Luneta peoples’ march would also shout “Oink, Oink” to Quedancor’s own swine scam that seems to have been relegated in the backburner if not in the nation’s amnesia.  Jobs were lost, lives suffered, careers sacrificed, pains ingrained, agricultural development stunted and justice miscarried, all because unconscionable people who are still free at this time made a stinky porky mess of an institution with a glorious past. The crusade continues! Are you with me?

Quo vadis, Quedancor-Philippines?


Samutsari- Hindi mahulugang karayom ang St. Mary’s Cathedral sa  San Francisco noong Agosto 17 dahil sa pagdiriwang ng “A Prayer for Marriage and Family” na pinangunahan nina Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Bishop Robert McElroy, Msgr. Mike Harriman at Father Rey Reyes.  Nakakaantig damdamin  ang pagtalakay ni Brod Rolly Fajilan ng “Seven Habits of the Faithful” na masigabong ninamnam ng kapatiran ng Couples for Christ (CFC) sa Northern California na pinangunahan ni Brod Bobbee Mella. Ang okasyon ay naging mapagpalang pahimagas sa bagong Servant of the Lord ng CFC na si Brod George Tenorio na bagong migrante dito sa Amerika noong Hulyo lamang.…Congratulations kay Sunthie at Marites Calalo sa anibersaryo ng kanilang dinarayong Dampa Restaurant sa Castro Valley. Balita ko libre ang lechon at sorbetes sa Agosto 29 bilang pasasalamat sa mga suki ng Dampa. Nakatutuwa kung mauulit  ang inyong tagumpay sa pinakabagong ninyong restaurant sa Antioch, ang ‘What The Fork’. Saludo ako sa inyong masigasig na  pagtataguyod ng masasarap ninyong putaheng Pilipino. Fork it away, kabayan!

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