presidentiable bayani fernando admits he received P1.6M in cash gifts for his birthday. fernando also said he will do it again, receive the gift in the future as he thought “Wala akong makitang kalabisan.”
we now have a presidentiable who admits he takes bribe or money he did not work for, is not part of his duties and something he did not earn, but money for his birthday gift.
it’s hard to decide what is more wrong here – the fact that he received the money, or that he admitted it or that he says he will do it again in the future. on the last one alone, fernando does not deserve to be president of this country.
if fernando becomes president — how many more P1.6M cash gift will he receive as he sees nothing wrong with it?
what in that makes it acceptable? we think fernando should be jailed!
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando on Wednesday admitted that the P1.6 million he received as birthday “gifts” for four years were sourced from the funds of Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
Testifying before the Senate blue ribbon committee, Fernando said the giving of the cash was an initiative of the MMFF executive committee “in recognition for a job well done of all those who have contributed to the success of the project.”
“The gift, which I do not agree to be called a gift, is not isolated because all sectors responsible for the success of the festival for the aforesaid year were likewise accordingly rewarded,” he said.
MMFF is under the management of the MMDA.
Fernando admitted receiving cash gifts in the amount of P500,000 in 2003; P500,000 in 2004; P100,000 in 2005; and P500,000 in 2006.
Lawyer Espiridion Laxa, chairman of the Film Academy of the Philippines, confirmed that the giving of cash gifts was initiated by the MMFF executive committee.
Citing records, Fernando said MMFF only earned P147.7 million in 2001, or before his term as chairman of the body. In 2002, the first year of his term, the organization earned P315.3 million, or more than double that what it earned the previous year.
According to Fernando, the act of giving recognition has been a tradition of the MMFF since its inception more than three decades ago.
Fernando also denied that these cash gifts caused the diminution of the MMFF fund for its beneficiaries, including the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation Inc (Mowelfund), as alleged by Senate Pro-Tempore Jose Estrada in a privilege speech last May.
“The accusations against me were brought about because the good senator (Estrada) could have been misinformed of the circumstances behind these monies,” Fernando said.
The admission however did not sit well with several senators, including Estrada who had filed Senate Bill 2041 seeking the transfer of the management of MMFF to Mowelfund to prevent similar incidents.
Estrada said Fernando is liable of technical malversation and had violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act despite the MMDA chief’s claim that the money involved was not public funds.
“It’s not only unethical, it’s anomalous because these are public funds. We will submit our findings to the Office of the Ombudsman,” Estrada said.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said Fernando’s statement is a public confession of liability for a crime. “In effect, that is an admission against interest of probative value if you were to be sued in court,” she said.
She said under the code of conduct, public officials are not allowed to receive any gifts at all whether in cash or anything of monetary value.
“Liability is accepting a gift. We are not allowed to accept a gift unless of nominal or of insignificant value,” Santiago said.