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Solon denies hand in Ceza gov’t deals

By: Melvin Gascon
Correspondent – @melvingasconINQ

Philippine Daily Inquirer A Cagayan lawmaker on Thursday dismissed allegations that he has used his influence to favor his family’s construction company in the awarding of public works contracts at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP).

Cagayan Rep. Joseph “Jojo” Lara denied accusations that Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) management had favored Pulsar Construction Inc. to corner government contracts, even as he clarified that he had divested ownership in the company.

“How can Pulsar be a favored contractor when it has only won a few of the contracts, compared to the total number of projects awarded by Ceza,” he told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

Newspaper columnist Ramon Tulfo had accused Ceza administrator Raul Lambino of alleged corrupt practices, including favoring Pulsar Construction in the public works projects at the CSEZFP.Ceza is a government-owned and -controlled corporation tasked with running the CSEZFP, a 54,000-hectare economic zone located in the Cagayan towns of Aparri and Sta. Ana in the northeastern tip of the Luzon mainland.

Citing “intelligence reports,” Tulfo questioned the alleged conflict of interest confronting Lara, the incumbent Cagayan representative, and his son, Joseph Lara II, who was recently appointed member of Ceza’s board.

Lara said Pulsar has been in the construction business for the past 27 years, even before he became a member of Congress, and that his son was appointed Ceza director only in February.

In his official statement posted on the Ceza website, Lambino defended Pulsar which, he admitted, belonged to Lara.


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