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Palace doubts WB ‘excerpts’ authentic

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:39:00 02/05/2009

Filed Under: World bank road mess

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang doubted the authenticity of supposed excerpts from a World Bank report released by Senator Panfilo Lacson’s office that linked First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo and several government officials to the alleged bidding for road projects.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita also said the Palace would ask the Departments of Finance, Public Works, and Budget to secure a copy of the report from the World Bank.

“The theory is that what they are peddling as [the] World Bank report is not really a report of the investigation, but the copy of the allegations made by the losing contractors that was given to [the] respondent contractors,” Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said.

“It’s like the investigation in the fiscal[‘s office] when you are a respondent. That’s why I think kailangan tingnan ng mabuti [it should be studied closely],” Remonde said.

The World Bank has blacklisted three Filipino firms for alleged collusion in the bidding for a major road rehabilitation project. The owner of one of the barred firms, Eduardo de Luna of E.C. De Luna Corp., is a reported associate of Mr. Arroyo.

On Wednesday night, Senator Panfilo Lacson released documents he said were excerpts from the World Bank report, which supposedly show Mr. Arroyo got a five-percent commission.

Ermita said Mr. Arroyo is a “private citizen” and should be able to address the allegations lodged against him.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2009-02-05T09:43:10+00:00UTC02bUTCThu, 05 Feb 2009 09:43:10 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am02

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