Mindanao business leader denies pay-off money for Congress to ensure BBL passage

By , on March 20, 2015

Photo by Robert Viñas / PCOO
Photo by Robert Viñas / PCOO

DAVAO CITY –The chair of the Mindanao Business Council (MBC) on Wednesday denied receiving Malaysian money to pay off members of Congress at Php 200 million each senator and Php 50 million each member of the House of Representatives to ensure approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

MBC chair Vicente Lao, who was identified in a text message circulating among business leaders as the “money bag man” for Malaysia to buy off members of Congress, said he came to know about the accusations after it was brought to his attention by his well-meaning friends.

“Although the claim is not only false but incredible to believe on its face, I am constrained to make this public denial to put to rest to this ridiculous imputation,” Lao said in a text message on Thursday.

Lao was referring to text messages circulating the past days.

The text message states: “Wag natin payagan mapasa ang Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Ang Mindanao ay para sa buong bansa at sa lahat ng Pilipino. May balitang magkakabayaran sa Congress. P200 milyon sa bawat senador at P50 milyon sa bawat congressman ipasa lang ang BBL. Galing ang pera sa Malaysia na pinadaan kay Vicente Lao, isang AAA contractor sa Mindanao at vice chairman ng Mindanao Dev Council. Pls pass.”

(We should not allow the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Mindanao is for the whole country and for all Filipinos. There is an information of a payoff in Congress — Php 200 million for each senator and Php 50 million for each Congressman for the passage of the BBL. The money comes from Malaysia through Vicente Lao, an AAA contractor in Mindanao and vice chairman of the Mindanao Dev Council. Please pass.)

Lao said he was already taking steps to trace the source of the “scurrilous text message” circulating especially in the business circle.

Lao said he was always for the approval of the BBL as it would pave the way for peace in Mindanao and encourage more investors to come in. He pointed out that the Bangsamoro area is a huge part of Mindanao and it is very rich in natural resources including its fertile lands.