Angara belies graft rap, hits Palafox

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2011 08:10 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2011 07:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senator Edgardo Angara lambasted architect Felino Palafox Jr. after the latter accused him of graft in connection with a freeport zone project in Aurora province in northeastern Philippines.

In a statement, Angara said he did not benefit from the planning of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone as alleged by Palafox.

In fact, “if there was anybody that benefitted from the project, it was Felino Palafox Jr.,” he said.

In a 5-page complaint filed before the Ombudsman, Palafox filed a graft and corruption complaint against Angara for allowing the creation of Apeco even if the area was prone to floods and landslides. Included in the complaint are 4 board directors of the freeport zone.

Angara said Palafox asked for a fee of P32 million for the design contract. However, the Philippine Ports Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel later deemed the plan sloppy, the senator said.

“It was a sloppy piece of design work that proposed a seaport very near an airport. That shabby piece of architecture would endanger the whole project, according to the agencies that evaluated the technical and environmental soundness of the Palafox master plan,” Angara said.

Instead of correcting the design, Palafox “engaged in an accusing binge after the rejection of his master plan. He called the ecozone project—that was initiated to lift underdeveloped areas on the coastal areas of Central Luzon into the 21st century—a scam,” Angara said.

Administrators of the freeport zone have already taken action against Palafox, he said.

Angara said the architect is now facing charges for supposedly violating the code of ethics of architects before the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and violating the code of ethics of environmental planners before the Environmental Planning Board under the commission.

“The two charges seek to strip him of his license, which, hopefully, would strip of him of the moral perch he has been using as platform for his professional bankruptcy and phoniness,” Angara said.