Sen. Manny Pacquiao threatened yesterday to issue an order for the arrest of Nelson Ti, said to be a close friend of former President Benigno Aquino’s brother-in-law, if he continues to snub the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the P8.7-billion road right of way (RRoW) scam in General Santos City.
Pacquiao, who filed the resolution that prompted the Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry, stressed that Ti has been invited several times and, in fact, was issued a subpoena but he continued to ignore the Senate.
Ti is a close friend of Eldon Cruz and wife Ballsy Aquino-Cruz based on field investigations that the committee held in relation to the RRoW probe.
“Definitely,” replied Pacquiao when asked by Daily Tribune if he is considering the arrest of Ti, adding “he has to answer some questions that need to be clarified regarding this issue, in aid of legislation.”
“We have already subpoenaed him several times,” he said. The committee is set to conduct another hearing next week.
Pacman reso prompts probe
Pacquiao’s Senate Resolution 561 prompted the inquiry now being conducted by blue ribbon panel headed by Sen. Richard Gordon.
So far, Pacquiao said he is satisfied with the way Gordon had handled the inquiry.
“I am satisfied because we identified the numerous people involved,” Pacquiao said.
Two former Cabinet secretaries of Aquino were implicated in the anomaly who are former Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and ex-Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
The scam involved the manufacture of bogus land titles that are used to collect RRoW compensations from government.
During the hearings, Gordon had established the culpability of Ser John Pastrana of the Land Registration Administration (LRA) in General Santos City.
Whistle-blower Roberto Catapang Jr. mentioned Ti in his affidavit, along with Wilma Mamburam, a certain Col. Chino Mamburan and Merceditas Dumlao who were also named among those involved in the P8.7-billion scam.
Ti was tagged as the financier of the syndicate –providing cash for the advance payments in the processing of the documents to be used in claiming fees from government.
Catapang claimed to be a member of a syndicate involved in the fund scam but later on turned state witness due to fear for his life. He was placed under the Witness Protection Program of the Department of Justice.