MALACAÑANG has warned municipal mayors about a new strain of the pernicious “budol-budol” scam that is now victimizing mayors, with members of the syndicate promising hundreds of millions of pesos worth of projects from Malacañang in exchange for advance commissions.
Undersecretary Danilo de Austria Consumido of the Office of External Affairs (OEA), Office of the President said: “The modus operandi of the group is to inform the mayors that there is an available P150-million fund per municipality for farm-to-market road projects from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), which can be availed of if requested from DAR and the President.”
Consumido said the syndicate has also prepared and distributed a sample letter the mayors can adopt. The sample letter is addressed to DAR Secretary Nasser Pangandaman through OEA Secretary Edgardo D. Pamintuan.
To create an aura of credibility, he said, the syndicate would let the mayors sign a “confirmation letter” addressed to a certain Flerida E. Guerrero, authorizing the group to negotiate on their behalf for a fee of five percent (5%) of the total amount that will be given to the group upon release of the funds requested.
“Later, however, the syndicate would ask for advances to facilitate the release of the funds,” Consumido said, adding that aside from Guerero, a certain George dela Piedra has introduced himself as a Malacañang employee, while a Roger Ferrer claims he is with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Consumido expressed disappointment that some mayors have allowed themselves to be duped by the group.
“A little arithmetic would have revealed that the scheme is a scam. At the promised P150 million per mayor, we would need P15 billion for 100 mayors. If 1,000 mayors were given P150 million each, that would be P1.5 trillion, which is more than our national budget,” he explained.
Consumido also said the scheme could actually be a “political hatchet job” to destroy the administration as the syndicate may tell the mayors they would receive only half of the P150 million because the other half will have to be retained by Malacañang “to push for the charter change campaign.”
He disclosed that the syndicate has met at least 50 mayors recently in a restaurant somewhere in Manila.
The Office of External Affairs has asked the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the scam. PNA