Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ebdane faces rough confirmation

Commission of appointments report shows DPWH chief has murder, graft cases

The committee on public works of the Commission on Appointments deferred on Wednesday the confirmation of Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane to give him time to answer derogatory records in his service, including charges of murder and graft, among others.

Rep. Conrado Estrella 3rd of Pangasinan, the committee chairman, said his committee would conduct another hearing on February 13 so Ebdane could prepare his defense.

The investigation conducted by the committee showed that retired police Gen. Eduardo Matillano had accused Ebdane of demanding 20 to 25 percent in commission for contracts awarded during the latter’s stint as chief of the Philippine National Police.

Ebdane swore on the grave of his father that he had never demanded any centavo, much less 25 percent, for the awarding of PNP contracts. Matillano was chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group under Ebdane.

Ebdane claimed that Matillano was only getting back at him for his getting relieved as CIDG head.

The appointments commission’s investigation report also mentioned the claim of one Rebecca Lopez that Ebdane was responsible for the murder of her husband. Ebdane, however, said Lopez had already withdrawn the case and gave Estrella a copy of her affidavit of desistance. Estrella said that his committee’s efforts to locate Lopez at her last known address proved futile.

Ebdane also has cases of murder, kidnapping, plunder, arbitrary detention, perjury, grave misconduct, graft and violation of the Solid Waste Management Law pending before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Road Users Tax Association also opposed Ebdane’s confirmation for the alleged misuse of the road users’ tax. Sen. Richard Gordon said that Ebdane’s role in the disbursement of the road users tax was not explicit. He said Ebdane might not have a hand on how to use the tax. The opposition had claimed that the tax was used in the previous elections and demanded an accounting.

Gordon said he would seek more details from Ebdane about the Lopez and Ombudsman cases at the next confirmation hearing
By Efren L. Danao - Manila Times Senior Reporter

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