BY ROGER M. BALANZA
The bid of Congressman Rommel ‘Bobong’ Amatong to become governor of Compostela Valley in 2016 has crashed, suffering premature death after the First District representative surfaced as among legislators reported to have impregnated their pockets with fat kickbacks for ghost projects from scam queen Janet Lim Napoles.
Napoles is at the core of the P10 Billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) racket, where members of Congress are alleged to have received commissions from ghost projects awarded to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) of Napoles.
The fatal blow dealt on the political future of Amatong, who is winding up his three consecutive terms, comes ahead of the 2016 elections where he plans to run for governor.
Governor Arturo ‘Chiongkee’ Uy is bowing out after three
terms and his Uswag ComVal bloc have picked Provincial Board member and former vice governor Ramil Gentugaya to fill in his shoes.
With his link to the PDAF scam, karma could be overtaking Amatong, who also belongs to Uswag ComVal but has reportedly aligned himself with the opposition to run for governor against Gentugaya.
Accordingly, Amatong was expected to be expelled from Uswag ComVal if he pushes his plan to run against Gentugaya in 2016.
Several lists of congressmen alleged by Napoles to have received the kickbacks have surfaced as the Department of Justice, the Ombudsman, the Commission on Audit and Senate blue ribbon committee continue their probe into the biggest scandal in Philippine political history.
The name of Amatong was persistently present in the lists as reported by media, among them from former Senator Panfilo Lacson that he submitted to the Senate blue ribbon and another from the Department of Justice submitted by Napoles to Sec. Leila de Lima.
Amatong joins other legislators from the Davao Region
alleged to have amassed kickbacks from PDAF that include former House Speaker Davao City congressman Prospero Nograles, House appropriations committee chairman Davao City congressman Isidro ungab, former congresswoman now Davao Oriental governor Corazon Malanyaon, former congressmen Douglas Cagas and his son Marc Cagas of Davao del Sur, and former congressman Arel Olano of Davao del Norte.