“CONCERNED” groups have lauded the initiative of Sen. Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao for the Senate to
conduct an investigation into the so-called, “P8.7 billion RROW (road right of way) Scam” saying the
probe should be able to “ferret out the truth once and for all” on the issue.
“We understand and empathize with Sen. Pacquiao and fully support his proposal to have this
scandal examined thoroughly as from what has come thus far, it was his home province of General Santos
City, that has been the biggest victim of this alleged multi-billion scam,” said one of the sources
who declined to be named for the moment.
In his privilege speech last December 5 at the Senate plenary in moving for the adoption by
the chamber of Senate Resolution 561, the 8-time boxing division champion described as “scammers” and
“thieves’ those behind the scandal.
Sources noted that, the “main witness,” Gregorio ‘Boboy’ Catapang, “by his own admission,” is
part of the “syndicate” that conspired to produce fake land titles especially in GenSan and which
their group then submitted for payment by the government as “just compensation.”
“Mr. President, I’m very disappointed with these public officials, who are nothing more than
mere scammers, magnanakaw, kurakot…
“To be frank, I’m furious. If there is something that really causes my dismay, it is their
intentional misuse of public funds,” said the lawmaker famous the world over as ‘Pacman.’
Prior to his election as senator, Pacquiao was also the city’s representative in Congress and
as chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Public Works, he is also expected to lead the probe into the
issue tentatively scheduled on Monday, December 11.
Pacquiao said he would be inviting to the hearing former public works secretary Rogelio
Singson, former budget secretary Florencio Abad and, Eldon Cruz, the brother-in-law of former
president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino, all of whom have been implicated by Catapang.
“As this probe unfolds, we hope that the credibility, if any, of the scandal’s main witness,
Mr. Catapang, should also be examined thoroughly as it is on his credibility that this entire issue
stands,” one of the sources added.
Based on documents that have been gathered by the media, Catapang had already been denounced
as early as two years ago to the DPWH, the Land Registration Authority (LRA) and to the Philippine
National Police (PNP), by former Armed Forces (AFP) chief of staff, Gen. Gregorio Catapang.
In his letter dated November 13, 2015, the bemedaled and highly respected military official
described the activities of his namesake for personal financial gain as “certainly repulsive.”
Two sworn affidavits executed in General Santos City last year by those familiar with the
personality of Roberto also described him as “an extortionist, unscrupulous and a crooked person”
engaged in “malicious transactions.”
In August 2016, Roberto’s name was included in the list of illegal drug personalities under
surveillance and close monitoring by the GenSan City Police Office and by the Region 12 office of the
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Sources said they are also verifying court records showing that his wife, Cheryl, has been
accused of “swindling/estafa” in GenSan dating back to 1997 and that one “Roberto Catapang” has also
been accused of attempted homicide in Quezon province in 1994.