Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has survived many challenges in her presidency.
This time Arroyo’s husband , Jose Miguel Arroyo, is involved together with a group of private companies and the World Bank.
The World Bank blacklisted three Philippine and four Chinese construction companies that from participating in future World Bank-funded infrastructure projects due to alleged collusion in bidding for recent projects.
US$33 million loan scheduled for these road projects was canceled even before funds were disbursed.
The firms were accused of working with a major cartel to rig bids in their favor for the National Roads Improvement and Management Program, or NRIMP-1, construction and rehabilitation of 1,400 kilometers of roads, worth some $150 million World Bank money.
Cavite Ideal International Construction and Development Corp and C M Pancho Construction Inc were banned from future World Bank projects for four years, while EC de Luna Construction and its sole proprietor, Eduardo de Luna, were both barred indefinitely.
This is a new record as it represents the first permanent ban on a contractor that the bank has issued since 2004.
Barred Chinese firms included China Road and Bridge Corp, China State Construction Corp, China Wu Yi Company Ltd and China Geo-Engineering Corp. These companies are known to be cozy to the government, snapping up 17.2 billion pesos (US$366 million) worth of state road, bridges and irrigation contracts from July 2005 to June 2008.
Other project firms that had been blacklisted included South Korea's Dongsung Construction Company Ltd.
Because the First Gentleman is involved, Filipino legislators and the ombudsman have launched full-scale inquiries into the World Bank allegations.
Opponents of President Arroyo argue that the reason scandals have not brought Arroyo's government down is because of her appointment of several senior former military and police officials to the bureaucracy.
Adriano, Joel, "Another day, another scandal for Arroyo" dated 5 Feb 2009 in the Asia Times website [downloaded on 9 Feb 2009], available athttp://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/KB05Ae01.html
See, Balagtas, "Witnesses tag Arroyo hubby in bribery for road projects" dated 5 Feb 2009 in the GMANews website [downloaded on 9 Feb 2009], available athttp://www9.gmanews.tv/story/147372/Witnesses-tag-Arroyo-hubby-in-briber...