Ex-DPWH chief Singson denies hand in ROW scam

MANILA — Former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson on Monday denied any involvement in the alleged PHP8.7 billion right-of-way (ROW) scam in General Santos City.

Facing the Senate, Singson, in his opening statement, said that it was not true that he profited from fake land titles under the name of nonexistent people.

It may be recalled that it was Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre who first revealed information about alleged misuse of public funds during the Aquino administration from a whistleblower named Roberto Catapang Jr.

Singson was sitting next to Aguirre during the hearing into the PHP8.7-billion ROW scam.

“I did not profit nor gain anything from any of these land claims as accused by Secretary Aguirre. There is no PHP8.7 billion paid in General Santos,” Singson said in his statement.

“I was not a corrupt secretary and definitely not a plunderer,” he added.

Aside from Singson, also implicated were former Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad, and former President Benigno Aquino III’s brother-in-law Eldon Cruz.

Singson also went against Catapang’s claim that a syndicate used Cruz’s name to obtain funds for the ROW road project calling them “fake.”

“We don’t have anything to do with syndicates,” Singson said.

He, meanwhile, clarified that most of the claims or payments took place between 2007 and 2009 before he became DPWH Secretary in July 2010.
The former DPWH chief also said that funds released for Region 12, including General Santos, only amounted to PHP2.209 billion contrary to Catapang’s claim.

He also assured that under his term, the agency strictly followed the procedure for validation and valuation of ROW claims and only paid on the basis of validated, verified land titles. PNA-northboundasia