Barzaga slams smuggling, vows probe on agri scam Created on February 10, 2014, 9:54 am Posted by nup

The committee on good governance and public accountability of the House of Representatives is set to conduct an investigation into the alleged “Janet Lim-Napoles of the Bureau of Plant Industry”  in response to a resolution filed by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. seeking a probe on the issue.

Barzaga, the vice president for external affairs of the National Unity Party, said the committee chaired by Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez assumed jurisdiction over the House resolution he filed, which named a certain “Leah Cruz” as having operated a P200-million scam in the BPI, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture.

In House Resolution No. 341, Barzaga said Leah Cruz used dummy companies to monopolize the importation of garlic and onion into the country. The BPI grants the import permits for these food items.

Quoting Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) counsel lawyer Ariel Genaro Jawid, the lawmaker said these dummy firms included officers that turned out to be the drivers, clerks and other household workers of Leah Cruz.

“The use of dummy companies allegedly controlled by Leah Cruz resulted virtually in a monopoly on the importation of garlic and onion in the Philippines and consequently enabled Cruz to profit through fraudulent means in the amount of almost P200 million,” Barzaga said.

“Leah Cruz is the Janet Lim-Napoles of the BPI who used dummy drivers and companies for the importation of garlic and onion,” Barzaga said.

He said that if the allegations are true, “then an agency of the government is being used and public offices are collaborating with unscrupulous persons who use fake organizations to perpetrate fraud similar to the recent pork barrel scam wherein fake nongovernment organizations (NGOs) were being used to funnel pork barrel funds for their own use,” Barzaga said.

Email to: