As the modus operandi employed by the syndicates behind the road right-of-way payment (RROW) scam continues to unfold, Senator Dick Gordon denounced officials of concerned government agencies who knowingly or unknowingly abetted the syndicates in tarnishing the integrity of the country’s land registration and transfer system.

During the continuation of the Blue Ribbon Committee’s investigation into the P8.7-billion road right-of-way payment scam, Gordon, who heads the committee, ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to amend the charges it has filed to include government officials who are involved in the scam but were not included in the original charge sheet. He also asked for a list of those already in the charge sheets with the corresponding charges filed.

“Ilan na ang kasong nai-file ninyo? Mayroon pa bang kailangan na hindi nasali doon? In the course of these hearings, nakikita ninyo ba kung sino pa ang pa-file-an? So magdadagdag tayo,” (How many cases have you filed? Are there still those who were not included? Have you found out who else should be included in the course of these hearings? So we will add more) the seasoned legislator said, noting that some officials have not exerted sufficient due diligence which would have prevented the government from being defrauded.

The veteran lawmaker also pointed out that the whole system has collapsed because some officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Land Registration Authority (LRA), Register of Deeds, and other agencies, who put their selfish gain above integrity and love for country, give in to the syndicates’ machinations in exchange for money.

“The road to progress will be difficult if these government officials put selfish gain above integrity and love for country. The cost of governance becomes very expensive. And we cannot rely on titles that are supposed to be protected by the LRA, protected by the Register of Deeds, protected by DPWH. The whole system collapsed. Why? It collapsed because of money. Because lahat naglalagay,” (everybody pays a bribe) the senator decried.

“We cannot rely on titles that are supposed to be protected by the LRA, protected by the Register of Deeds, protected by DPWH. The whole system collapsed. Why? It collapsed because of money.”

“Government must do more than what there is. Kung may duda, hanapin. Kung magsisilbi ka–wala, eh. Ganoon ang gobyerno. Kapag lumapit ang tao. He said it was in the title. He said, and you relied on him. You didn’t bother na maghukay. Dapat hinukay ninyo because the Secretary of Public Works is already asking. May duda ako diyan. Dapat naghukay kayo. Hindi ka naghukay. Hindi ka naghukay. At hindi ka pa naghuhukay, at hindi ka naghukay,” (If there are doubts, you must search for the truth. You should have searched. You did not bother to search) he told several officials of concerned agencies.

“Government must do more than what there is.”

Earlier, Gordon recommended that the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice and the NBI should conduct a lifestyle check on officials of government agencies involved in the RROW payment scam.

The Blue Ribbon has been investigating the RROW payment scam in General Santos City. The modus operandi of the syndicate was to claim just compensation for RROW which are intended for rightful property owners who were affected by the construction of the national highway at General Santos City. The syndicates would present fake land titles that are certified as genuine by the LRA and then collect the RROW compensation.

 

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