Friday, September 14, 2007

130 Million Peso Question

Now that the plunder case against Erap is over, there is still a question of where the P 130million Tobacco Excise Tax went. If we recall, this is the main allegation that the plunder case was built on. In the end, Erap was nowhere near the said amount. What the prosecution found and threw in the case is the kickback on the purchase by the SSS and GSIS of BW shares. The court found no evidence to link Erap to the tax scam.

So where did the excise tax go? The findings of the court says that it ended up with Atong Ang and whistle blower Chavit Singson. I also found highly peculiar is how Erap only ended up with only P 200million in jueteng protection collection when Chavit himself referred to Erap as the Lord Of All Jueteng Lords. Statements by withnesses all end up with Chavit as the main "keeper" of the loot.

Prosecutors and the courts quickly accommodated Chavit as its main witness and as I suspect, did not even give due diligence in investigation Chavit's allegations. This I found odd as Singson himself is a self-admitted jueteng operator. Chavit even mentioned Bong Pineda's name who is a known ally of GMA. It was highly irregular not to call Pineda to the stand to corroborate Singson's allegations.

If Erap was cleared of the Tobacco Excise Tax scam, then Singson should now be asked to explain. Obviously there was a conspiracy to nail Erap in whatever means. Why should Singson now enjoy immunity and freedom when he is as guilty as Erap. Was Chavit quickly embraced because GMA's legitimacy is at stake? Or this was the plot all along, to conjure up a story so they can rile up the people and finally kick Erap out.

I accept the Sandigan's verdict but I am not contented nor fully convinced with it. So many questions were left unanswered and the decision now open to speculation. The administration was never vindicated, instead it clearly shows now that political considerations were really made. Erap's properties and money are now being forfeited but what about the missing 130 million? Is this part of Chavit's reward for helping nail Erap?

In this case, there indeed seems to be honor among thieves. GMA and her cohorts are hailing Chavit as a hero but why not ask the tobacco farmers whose livelihood was compromised? Where is the 130 million, Chavit? The Ombudsman must now ask Chacit this question. I too ask this question.

Jueteng is still operating and only the names had changed. Chavit continues to live in style and is not ashamed to even flaunt his wealth. Where does he derive his income from? Is the BIR checking this? Amassing such wealth is highly questionable. If indeed our courts are blind then they should start asking questions. The lawyers who vigorously worked for Erap's conviction if they are true to their conviction should initiate investigations on Chavit.

Its sad that Chavit's secretary who was privy to the tax scam was killed. She was the only link to the crime. Even if testified against Erap, evidence corroborated by BSP's actual demonstration will not prove Chavit's allegations. The only one who will benefit from her death is Singson and nobody else. The 130 million is no joke and COA and the Ombudsman should ask Chavit to explain this.

If Singson cannot clear this mess, then he should join his former friend. He is guilty as well and should suffer the same fate.