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Overpriced Philippine South Rail papers missing

The memorandum of agreement between the Philippine and Chinese corporations on the $932-million SouthRail project is missing just like that on the aborted broadband project with China’s ZTE Corp., Sen. Jamby Madrigal said Wednesday.

She said Jose Sarasola 2nd, the general manager of the Philippine National Railways, had told her that they could not locate the copy of the memorandum between the rail agency and China National Technical Import-Export Corp. on the construction of the SouthRail project.

Madrigal added that Sarasola’s failure to produce a copy of the memorandum could be another case of a cover-up of an “anomalous” contract entered into by the Arroyo administration.

She noted that the memorandum of agreement on the national broadband project awarded to ZTE Corp. was also reported missing when the Senate was inquiring about it.

Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada Jr., a witness to alleged brokering for kickbacks from the broadband project, had told the Senate blue-ribbon committee that the SouthRail project is one of the “overpriced” projects that had escaped public notice. He claimed that the first phase of the project was overpriced by $70 million.

Lozada also claimed that a certain Anthony Hwang and one Mr. Mallari were MalacaƱang’s intermediaries for the implementation of the SouthRail project.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson has filed a resolution calling for a Senate inquiry into the SouthRail project.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the blue ribbon, said he will start the investigation as soon as he is through with that on the broadband deal probe. He added that his committee had identified only one witness for the project.

Source: By Efren L. Danao Senior Reporter