Lacson Resolution Seeks Probe of Swine Scam

Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Tuesday filed a resolution seeking a Senate investigation into the multibillion-peso swine scam, which involved alleged irregularities in the Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp. (Quedancor). 

Lacson filed Senate Resolution 340, which sought to find the status of the funds that went to the program amid claims that they ended up in the administration’s campaign kitty.

“It seems that multi-billion anomalies are becoming the hallmark of this administration to the detriment of our people … Like the fertilizer scam, there are allegations that the fund for the Swine program were diverted to the 2004 campaign fund of the administration to ensure the re-election bid of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,” he said in his resolution.

He also noted the scam brought “memories” of a P1.3-billion textbook scam, where the bidding process was “tailor-fit” for a select group of favored bidders with interlocking sets of officers.

Quedancor launched a swine program in 2003 to assist farmers venturing into hog-raising. Some P5 billion in funds went to the project, with P3 billion coming from the Land Bank of the Philippines and P2 billion from Equitable-PCI Bank, and government bonds issued as collateral.

But the Commission on Audit’s 2005 Annual Report found that P755.62 million in outstanding loan balance and P663.77 million in receivables was doubtful.

The COA findings also said the procurement of input supplies for Quedancor swine program amounting to P1.67 billion during the year was not in accordance with government procurement procedures, and the high cost of credit was not beneficial to farmer beneficiaries.

COA also said some borrowers denied borrowing from Quedancor, and that the team leader or input suppliers sought their signatures in exchange for amounts ranging from P200 to P300.

Management also did not provide equal opportunity to contractors, leading to a monopoly by a group of input suppliers with interlocking sets of officers.

Records of the COA showed that a certain Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of Metro Livestock Inc., is also a member of the Board of Directors of the BIRKS Agri-Livestock Corporation and a partner of the New Gold Agri-Vet Company.

His name and that of a director of BIRKS Corporation, also appear as former directors of the Silver Rock Resources Corporation.

Yet as of Dec. 31, 2005, Quedancor procured some P1.67 billion worth of input supplies under the swine program. Of this amount, BIRKS, SRC and Metro Livestock got the biggest share of 35%, 29% and 23% respectively. Including the New Gold Rock, the four Input Suppliers acquired 87.53% or P1.46 billion of the total procurements.

Tabulation from the regional office also showed that procurement was concentrated from the three Input Suppliers in the following regions: Silver Stock in Regions I and III; BIRKS in Regions VI, VII and VIII and Metro Livestock in Regions IV, VI and NCR.

Records showed the major suppliers have only P1 million authorized capital stock each and despite their minimal paid up capital they were given huge amounts of purchase orders.

“No track record was required from the Input Suppliers per QSP accreditation process. Even newly organized suppliers were able to participate in the program,” Lacson said.

He added verification showed Quedancor accredited input suppliers who were not among those accredited by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) under its Swine Breeder Farm Accreditation Program (SBFAP).

On the other hand, Lacson noted Malacañang in July 2004 transferred Quedancor from the Department of Agriculture to the Office of the President.

“Considering the said findings, the COA stated that the recoverability of said outstanding loans is deemed remote and that there is a likelihood that the government will lose from the said program,” Lacson said.

He also noted the COA, in its 2006 report, said some P176.40 million cannot be properly accounted for.