Tag Archives: Corruption

[Statement] FOI advocates to join Luneta indignation on budget scam -The Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition

FOI advocates to join Luneta indignation on budget scam

FOI now

The Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition heeds the spontaneous call for a people’s march to Luneta on August 26. We join the people in expressing collective indignation over the large-scale budget scam reported by various media outfits and by the Commission on Audit, and currently under investigation by the Department of Justice.

While we are still far from knowing the complete facts of this controversy, it is already established that corrupt individuals have systematically created bogus non-government organizations or foundations for the purpose of plundering hard-earned taxpayers’ money through ghost projects, under-deliveries, or overpricing.

Equally repugnant is the breakdown in government check and accountability mechanisms, with the plunder prospering under the very noses of the Department of Budget and Management and the various implementing line agencies of the Executive, the legislators in their PDAF allocations, the Commission on Audit, and the Ombudsman.

Now more than ever we are convinced of the urgency to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. While the COA special audit covered expenditures made prior to 2010, we are deluding ourselves if we think that similar schemes would just magically disappear with the change of administration. Limited proactive transparency in the release of aggregate allocations and spending is not enough to allow citizens to get to the bottom of scams. While it provides leads, we need request-based access to information to be able to dig deeper. The People’s FOI Bill seeks to address this, but it is also the reason why it has been facing determined resistance across government administrations.

We reiterate our resolve to fight, alongside legislators who are showing the independence and similar commitment, for the passage of an effective and empowering FOI law. This is our contribution to the various citizens’ initiatives to push for the accountability of all those involved in the plunder, and to finally put a stop to the budget scams that have bled our public resources.

In relation to the FOI legislative process, we are happy to note that Senator Grace Poe, Chairperson of the Committee on Public Information at the Senate, set the first committee hearing on the FOI Bills on August 27, 10 a.m. We hope for a prompt passage of the bill in the Senate, to allow everyone to focus on overcoming the roadblocks that historically characterize the legislative process on FOI at the House of Representatives.

For the August 26 march, we come in solidarity with citizens who choose to take action, and encourage others to do the same. Our contingent will assemble at Liwasang Bonifacio at 9:00 a.m., and we will then march by 10:00 a.m. to Luneta to join the people’s gathering.

Stop the budget scams!

Deepen, expand and promptly complete the investigation, and prosecute those found to be culpable!

Pass the People’s FOI Act!

PRESS STATEMENT OF
THE RIGHT TO KNOW, RIGHT NOW! COALITION
22 August 2013

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[Blog] Fat-free Philippine Legislative Agenda by Rod Rivera

Fat-free Philippine Legislative Agenda
August 17, 2013

Rod Rivera

Rod Rivera

The fat politician is a metaphorical portrait, of greed and corruption. Pork-barrel creates such politicians.

Infrastructures, livelihood, social-welfare, scholarships and other developmental projects for a district or for the country are not to be expected from congressmen/women and senators of any democratic country. The primary function of legislators is to strengthen the country’s legal system by reviewing, filing and passing pertinent laws that will ensure the nation’s growth and stability. With those premises there is no need to allocate priority development funds or country-wide development funds that disguise as pork barrel to any member of the Philippine Congress.

The executive government has in itself the institutions to provide the basic services, build the needed infrastructures, and extend assistance for community development. However, the needed budget is not adequate, because those who pass the national budget will have to scour for means to sustain their perks from the pork that they allot for themselves. Such breeds corruption.

Read full article @rodrigo75.wordpress.com

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[In the news] TARA NA! | Angry citizens call for march against ‘pork barrel’ on August 26 -InterAksyon.com

TARA NA! | Angry citizens call for march against ‘pork barrel’ on August 26
By: Likha Cuevas-Miel, InterAksyon.com
August 17, 2013

InterAksyon logo2

MANILA – As billions and billions of pesos are now being discovered to have been misused by lawmakers, enraged Filipinos on social media are asking everybody who would care to join the “Million People March to Luneta” on August 26, Araw ng mga Bayani, to express their rage against the ‘pork barrel’ scam.

Read full article @www.interaksyon.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] What Went Before: The NBN-ZTE deal – INQUIRER.net

What Went Before: The NBN-ZTE deal
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 30th, 2011

  On April 21, 2007, the government signed the $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp.

The project, which called for the installation of a telecommunications network linking government offices throughout the country, was signed in China by then Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza and ZTE vice president Yu Yong. It was witnessed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

ZTE initially offered $130 million for the project.

On Sept. 18, 2007, Jose de Venecia III, cofounder of Amsterdam Holdings Inc., which was bypassed in the project’s bidding, testified in the Senate blue ribbon committee that Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of the President, had intervened to get the ZTE deal approved, a charge the latter denied.

What Went Before: The NBN-ZTE deal

[From the web] All-out war will divert attention from war on corruption – Akbayan

Akbayan: All-out war will divert attention from war on corruption

Source: http://www.akbayan.org.ph/news/12-press-releases-press-releases/141-akbayan-all-out-war-will-divert-attention-from-war-on-corruption

Akbayan Party today branded the call for an all-out war in Mindanao as a distraction in the government’s “war against corruption”. The group made the statement even as it called on the public to exercise sobriety over the Basilan clash that resulted in the death of 19 soldiers.

According to Akbayan Spokesperson Risa Hontiveros, calls for an all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will only serve to divert attention from the Aquino government’s current war on corruption.

“An all-out war strategy in Mindanao will only distract the public from its current war on corruption, something which we cannot afford at this juncture. Such a strategy is the perfect excuse for corrupt officials and plunderers, particularly those of the previous administration to drape themselves in the mantle of fake patriotism and whitewash their crimes,” Hontiveros said.

“If there is a war that the people must resolutely wage, it must be a war against corruption. We must not lose focus,” Hontiveros added.

Hontiveros who is also a long-time peace advocate added that should peace talks be scrapped in favor of an all-out war, government spending would be diverted from more important social spending and services.

“We have to be mindful of the fact that during the Estrada presidency a similar all-out war strategy was implemented. However, peace was not realized. Millions of pesos were wasted, huge casualties on both sides, and thousands of civilians suffered. We’re still dealing with the same MILF the government unsuccessfully fought with an all-out war strategy more than ten years ago,” Hontiveros said.

Akbayan also urged the military to shy away from rumors of a coup plot against the Aquino government.

“It is obvious that some groups are agitating the military to take the path of war. These are the same groups trying to split the military by spreading rumors of a coup against President Aquino. It is understandable that many of our soldiers are emotional over the issue. However, our soldiers must see this obvious plot to derail the peace process and drive a wedge between the military and the Aquino government. They must not fall for this devious ploy,” according to Hontiveros.

Hontiveros also added that with the Basilan incident the necessity of the peace talks becomes more apparent.

According to Hontiveros, justice must be brought to those responsible for the deaths of 19 soldiers.  She said the peace process is one of the best avenues to bring justice to the victims of the Basilan incident.

“Hustisya para sa mga nasawi sa Basilan at kapayapaan sa buong Mindanao,” Hontiveros stressed. ###

[People] Comparative Study of the WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAMMES of Canada, South Africa and the Philippines – by Dr. Renato Mabunga

(This is a shortened version of the research commissioned by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) to provide guidance and make better its Sanctuary Program. This is an exposé of selected countries Witness Protection Programmes (WPP) in an attempt to draw some lessons to further protection of witnesses and their families from eventual retaliation of antagonistic elements of society.)

Introduction:

As the term suggests “witness protection programme” is a security mechanism provided for threatened witnesses and their families or other related persons or any person involved in the justice system whose lives are endangered due to testimonies they are willing to divulge to shed light to a crime in order to propel the rule of law. The idea behind being in this program is to protect vital informants and to ensure fair and successful prosecution. This is propelled by the assumption that “person who committed the crime is usually the type of person who will take retribution against the party who is willing to tell what they seen” (Lopez, 2008). This means provision of protection before, during and to some extent after a trial.

Usually, witness protection is required in cases against organized crime. This is so after law enforcement’s or professional evaluation that witnesses are more likely at risks of intimidation or threats by supporters of a defendant or accused. However, there is much likely to see when the accused of a crime is part of the law enforcement institution. There is a need to establish effective protection mechanisms alongside building the capacity and ensuring the integrity of those who implement the programme.

In the Consolidated Response (07-008) of the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law or INROL (Toomey, 2007), it classified protection measures as Short-term Measures and Longer-term Measures to Protect Witnesses. Both measures detail out legislative and regulatory requirements in determining who and when to protect; strategies on how to protect; the use of procedural and formal witness protection. Short-term measures are those that need temporary protection while the case is under investigation. Long-term measures are those that need total relocation and change of identity even as the trial has ended because of the gravity of the case and its repercussions to the witnesses and their families or other related persons.

Among the many features of witness protection range from protection of witness’ identity during investigation and trial, assigning security detail, court injunctions and retraining orders, provision of safe houses, allotment of monthly allowances, provision of new identity and the other covert plans and made-up stories for protection. All these necessitate the effective functioning of the all the pillars of justice system. These also require persons under the program to prepare from temporary to total dislocation both physically and economically; emotional and psychological detachments from members of the family and friends; trauma and distrust – which are all detrimental if not handled properly not only to the witnesses but more so to their families especially the children.

International Framework and Standards on Witness Protection:

There are a number of international standards pertaining to protection of witnesses which serve as basis in the drafting of national or local witness protection program of various countries. Among them are:

* The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime – adopted by the General Assembly thru resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000. In its Article 24, it mandated all parties to the convention to “take appropriate measures within its means to provide effective protection from potential retaliation or intimidation for witnesses in criminal proceedings who give testimony concerning offences… [including], as appropriate, their relatives and other persons close to them.” This “includes without prejudice to the rights of the accused, including the right to due process.” Specifically, it calls for the establishment of procedures “for the physical protection of such persons, such as, to the extent necessary and feasible, relocating them and permitting, where appropriate, non-disclosure or limitations on the disclosure of information concerning the identity and whereabouts of such persons”; provision of “evidentiary rules to permit witness testimony to be given in a manner that ensures the safety of the witness, such as permitting testimony to be given through the use of communications technology such as video links or other adequate means.” In so far as the case is a transnational crime, the convention recommends that the “States Parties shall consider entering into agreements or arrangements with other States for the relocation of persons” referred to as witnesses under witness-protection programme.

In Article 25 of the same document, the convention states that such appropriate measures for the protection of witness covers assistance such as compensation and restitution for victims of offenses.

* The Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power – adopted by the UN General Assembly thru resolution 40/34, annex on November 29, 1985. The assembly approved the said declaration “based on the conviction that victims should be treated with compassion and respect for their dignity and that they are entitled to prompt redress for the harm that they have suffered, through access to the criminal justice system, reparation and services to assist their recovery. The Declaration recommends measures to be taken on behalf of victims of crime at the international, regional and national levels to improve access to justice and fair treatment, restitution, compensation and assistance. It also outlines the main steps to be taken to prevent victimization linked to abuse of pow er and to provide remedies for the victims.” (UNOCCDP, 1999).

“Victims” are defined in the declaration as those who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are violations of national criminal laws or of internationally recognized human rights instruments (UN general Assembly, 1985; UNOCCDP, 1999). The term “victim” also includes, where appropriate, the immediate family or dependants of the direct victim and persons who have suffered harm in intervening to assist victims in distress or to prevent victimization regardless of sex, religion, race color, language, nationality, political or other opinion, cultural beliefs or practices, property, birth or family status, ethnic or social origin, and disability.

It mandates the State Parties to the declaration to ensure judicial and administrative mechanisms through formal or informal procedures to enable expeditious and fair disposition of cases and execution of orders or decrees granting awards to victims. The responsiveness of these processes to the needs of victims should be facilitated by “providing proper assistance to victims throughout the legal process”; and, “taking measures to minimize inconvenience to victims, protect their privacy, when necessary, and ensure their safety, as well as that of their families and witnesses on their behalf, from intimidation and retaliation” (Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power #6 C & D, 1985).

* The UN Convention against Corruption – In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the need for an effective legal instrument against corruption and thus adopted resolution 58/4 after a series of negotiation on October 31, 2003 which was entered into force in December 2005 in accordance with Article 68 of the Convention.

The Convention against Corruption mandates all State Parties to “take appropriate measures in accordance with their domestic legal system and within their means to provide effective protection from potential retaliation or intimidation for witnesses and experts who give testimony concerning offences established in accordance with the Convention and, as appropriate, for their relatives and other persons close to them” (Article 32). These measures for protecting witnesses shall not prejudice the rights of the defendants including the right to due process; and shall be considered mutatis mutandis. These include the physical protection of person, relocation, secrecy of information, provision of evidentiary rules to ensure the safety of witnesses and the granting of immunity from prosecution in accordance w ith the fundamental principles of domestic laws. (Article 32 (2 &5); Article 37).

* The UN Economic and Social Council Resolution 2005/20 – Adopted by the Council during its 36th Plenary meeting in July 2005, the resolution pertains to the Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime as a useful framework in enhancing protection of child victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system and in developing legislation, procedures, policies, and practices relating to children who are victims of crime or witnesses in criminal proceedings.

Among the rights sought to be protected and established by this guidelines include among others are:

the right to be treated with dignity and compassion;
the right to be protected from discrimination;
the right to be informed;
the right to be heard and to express views and concerns;
the right to effective assistance;
the right to privacy;
the right to be protected from hardship during the justice process;
the right to safety;
the right to reparation; and,
the right to special preventive measures (UN Res. 2005/20, 2005).

Various International Tribunals or Courts also have ensured that legal provisions on witness protection are incorporated in their statutes.

* Article 22 and Article 21 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Statute of the International Tribunal for Rwanda, respectively state that, “the International Tribunal shall provide in its rules of procedure and evidence for the protection of victims and witnesses. Such protection measures shall include, but shall not be limited to, the conduct of in camera proceedings and the protection of the victim’s identity.”

* Articles 43(6) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court states that “the Registrar shall set up a Victims and Witnesses Unit within the Registry. This Unit shall provide, in consultation with the Office of the Prosecutor, protective measures and security arrangements, counseling and other appropriate assistance for witnesses, victims who appear before the Court and others who are at risk on account of testimony given by such witnesses. The Unit shall include staff with expertise in trauma, including trauma related to crimes of sexual violence.”

Article 68 of the same statute states:

1. The Court shall take appropriate measures to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses. In so doing, the Court shall have regard to all relevant factors, including age, gender as defined in article 7, paragraph 3, and health, and the nature of the crime, in particular, but not limited to, where the crime involves sexual or gender violence or violence against children. The Prosecutor shall take such measures particularly during the investigation and prosecution of such crimes. These measures shall not be prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and a fair and impartial trial.

2. As an exception to the principle of public hearings provided for in article 67, the Chambers of the Court may, to protect victims and witnesses or an accused, conduct any part of the proceedings in camera or allow the presentation of evidence by electronic or other special means. In particular, such measures shall be implemented in the case of a victim of sexual violence or a child who is a victim or a witness, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, having regard to all the circumstances, particularly the views of the victim or witness.

3. Where the personal interests of the victims are affected, the Court shall permit their views and concerns to be presented and considered at stages of the proceedings determined to be appropriate by the Court and in a manner which is not prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and a fair and impartial trial. Such views and concerns may be presented by the legal representatives of the victims where the Court considers it appropriate, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

4. The Victims and Witnesses Unit may advise the Prosecutor and the Court on appropriate protective measures, security arrangements, counseling and assistance as referred to in article 43, paragraph 6.

5. Where the disclosure of evidence or information pursuant to this Statute may lead to the grave endangerment of the security of a witness or his or her family, the Prosecutor may, for the purposes of any proceedings conducted prior to the commencement of the trial, withhold such evidence or information and instead submit a summary thereof. Such measures shall be exercised in a manner which is not prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and a fair and impartial trial.

6. A State may make an application for necessary measures to be taken in respect of the protection of its servants or agents and the protection of confidential or sensitive information.

* Article 16(4) of the Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone provides that: “the Registrar shall set up a Victims and Witnesses Unit within the Registry. This Unit shall provide, in consultation with the Office of the Prosecutor, protective measures and security arrangements, counseling and other appropriate assistance for witnesses, victims who appear before the Court and others who are at risk on account of testimony given by such witnesses. The Unit personnel shall include experts in trauma, including trauma related to crimes of sexual violence and violence against children.”

* The Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea also provides that:

The Extraordinary Chambers of the trial court shall ensure that trials are fair and expeditious and are conducted in accordance with existing procedures in force, with full respect for the rights of the accused and for the protection of victims and witnesses. If necessary, and if there are lacunae in these existing procedures, guidance may be sought in procedural rules established at the international level.

Suspects who have been indicted and arrested shall be brought to the trial court according to existing procedures in force. The Royal Government of Cambodia shall guarantee the security of the Suspects who appear voluntarily before the court and is responsible in taking measures for the arrest of the Suspects prosecuted under this law. Justice police shall be assisted by other law enforcement elements of the Royal Government of Cambodia, including its armed forces, in order to ensure that accused persons are brought into custody immediately.

Conditions for the arrest and the custody of the accused shall conform to existing law in force.

The Court shall provide for the protection of victims and witnesses. Such protection measures shall include, but shall be not limited to, the conduct of in camera proceedings and the protection of the victim’s identity. (Art. 33)

Read full article @ renatomabunga.wordpress.com

[In the news] Local water chief, 3 others suspended | Sun.Star

Local water chief, 3 others suspended | Sun.Star.

Prospero Pichay - File photo source: pia.gov.ph

Prospero Pichay - File photo source: pia.gov.ph

MANILA (Updated) — The Office of the Ombudsman on Friday ordered the suspension of Prospero Pichay, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Board of Trustees chair, over alleged misuse of the agency’s funds in 2008.

Pichay was ordered suspended for six months without pay while the accusation of grave misconduct and violation of Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officers and Employees against him is being resolved.

The Ombudsman said Pichay’s suspension is necessary to keep him from “manipulating evidence” in a plunder case he is facing.

It said letting Pichay stay as LWUA board chairman would let him intimidate witnesses or destroy records “that might be vital to the case against him.”

Noting that evidence of Pichay’s guilt was strong, and that he will be removed from service if found guilty, the Ombudsman said it was “very likely” that he would tamper with that evidence.

The order signed by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro is immediately executory.

Pichay, a former member of the House of Representatives, is in trouble over alleged unlawful investment of P480 million in LWUA funds in the Express Savings Bank Inc. (EXSBI), a private thrift bank based in Laguna.

The Ombudsman said the creation or purchase of a “specialized banking institution” like the EXSBI should have been approved by President Benigno Aquino III.

LWUA acting administrator Daniel Landingin, deputy administrator Wilfredo Feleo, and lawyer Arnaldo Espinas were spared from the preventive suspension order.

Former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez earlier denied a petition from LWUA employees to have Pichay placed on preventive suspension. The move was seen as an effort to shield Pichay, an ally of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, from the case.

Also on Friday, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. announced the 90-day preventive suspension order against LWUA trustees Bonifacio Mario Peña, Susana Dumlao Vargas and Renato Velasco over a separate complaint filed April 6 with the Office of the President by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

The complaint is in relation to the LWUA’s misappropriation of at least P480 million in LWUA funds to acquire the EXSBI.

Ochoa said Purisima sought the preventive suspension of the three LWUA officials for alleged “grave misconduct arising from their direct and willful participation in facilitating the highly irregular and anomalous takeover” of the EXSBI.

In their defense, Vargas, Velasco, and Peña contended that LWUA’s majority stake in EXSBI was never taken up in any of their board meetings from the time they assumed office.

However, the suspension order pointed out that “at the very least, the inaction of respondents…constitutes neglect in the performance of duty, if not grave misconduct.”

Former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros welcomed Casimiro’s decision on Pichay, saying it is the victory of the “forces of reforms” inside LWUA.

“Together with the rank-and-file workers of LWUA, we welcome this positive development. The wind of change has finally arrived at the institution. Nabunot na rin si Pichay sa kanyang pagkakatanim sa pwestong kanyang inabuso,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Hontiveros added the suspension of Pichay who is an established ally of Arroyo contributes in the initiative to rid the government of “landmines and booby traps” left behind the previous administration.

“We all know that before Arroyo stepped down as president, she placed people in very strategic government offices to protect her from prosecution while maintaining substantial power and influence even under the new administration,” Hontiveros said.

LWUA is a government-owned-and-controlled corporation as a specialized lending institution for the promotion, development and financing of local water utilities, and as depository of the reserves for capital improvement of local water utilities.

EXSBI, on the other hand, is a Laguna-based thrift bank with an authorized capital stock of P100-million divided into one million common shares.

The bank has allegedly been suffering deficiencies since 2005 that by end of 2009, it has posted a capital deficiency of more than P51-million. The bank is originally 86.7 percent controlled by the family group of Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian.

The complainant said that without obtaining the requisite approvals from the Department of Finance, the Office of the President, and the Monetary Board, LWUA pushed through with the acquisition of the 485,337 shares of stock constituting approximately 60 percent of the outstanding capital stock of EXSBI worth P80-million. (Jill Beltran/Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)

[Statement] IKULONG at PARUSAHAN ang mga MANDARAMBONG sa NFA! – Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

File photo source: allvoices.com

File photo source: allvoices.com

IKULONG at PARUSAHAN ang mga MANDARAMBONG sa NFA!
WAKASAN ang Pagpapahirap sa Masa’t Magsasaka!

Nitong mga nakaraang araw ay ginimbal tayo ng balitang mahigit sa P100 B ang nanakaw sa kaban ng bayan dahil sa problema ng korupsyon at pandarambong sa loob ng National Food Authority (NFA) sa nakalipas na 10-taon. Kagimbal-gimbal at kakundi-kundena ang ganitong paglalantad. Habang pinagkakaitan ng sapat na suporta ang mahigit na limang milyong magsasaka sa palayan ay lumalangoy naman sa bilyung-bilyong piso ang mga tiwaling opisyal NFA at nagpipiyesta ang mga kasangkot nitong mga negosyante’t kartel sa industriya ng bigas sa bansa.

Hindi bago ito sa mata ng mga magsasaka sa palayan. Pinatunayan lamang ng pagbubunyag ang matagal nang sinasabi ng mga magsasaka hinggil sa importasyon ng bigas at transaksyon ng mga pribadong  sektor sa NFA. Hindi ang taumbayan at mga magsasaka ang tunay na nakikinabang sa mga programa kundi ang mga tiwaling opisyal ng ahensya at mga kakutsaba nitong malalaking negosyante sa bigas at palayan.

PARUSAHAN ang BURIKI GANG sa NFA.

Mistulang operasyon ng BURIKI GANG ang nalantad na katiwalian at anomalya sa NFA. Ang kutsabahan ng mga tiwaling opisyal at mga kasosyo nitong kartel sa bigas ay operasyon ng isang gangster na sistematikong pinagpipyestahan ang kahirapan at kakulangan ng ating bansa.

Isang dekadang binuburiki ng mga bwitreng ito ang pondong laan para sa importasyon at operasyon ng NFA. P 100.92B piso ang kinulimbat ng BURIKI GANG sa pondo ng bayan.  Ang nasabing pagpapasobra  sa inaangkat na bigas ng bansa at diumano’y milyun-milyong kilong pagkawala ng bigas sa mga imbakan bunga kuno ng landing spillage pati na ang pagsasauli sa milyon pisong bond sa mga pribadong sektor ay larawan ng sistematikong pandarambong ng BURIKI GANG sa loob ng NFA.

Kaya’t hindi kataka-kataka ang kabiguang makamit ang inaasam-asam na kasapatan sa pangunahing pagkain sa bansa. Dahil sa halip na tumagas ang pondo sa lokal na produksyon at mga magsasaka ay sa bulsa ng mga tiwali at iilang mayayaman ito pumupunta.
Hindi lamang PANDARAMBONG kundi TREASON ding matatawag ang operasyong ito ng BURIKI GANG. Sinabotahe nito ang ekonomiya para sa interes ng pagkakamal ng limpak-limpak na maibubulsa sa kaban ng bayan. Sinamantala at lalong pinalala ang kakulangan natin sa pangunahing pagkain at kahirapan ng mamamayan upang maibulsa ang pondo ng gobyerno at makapagbenta ng mahal na presyo ng bigas sa ating bansa. Sa ganitong kasalanan, hindi sapat na patalsikin lamang  ang mga responsable sa anomalya bagkus dapat silang ARESTUHIN at BITAYIN sa kanilang KRIMEN sa taumbayan.

LIBERALISASYON at  PRIBATISASYON ng BIGASAN: Ugat ng Kawalan ng Kasapatan sa Bigas

Ang Palpak at anti-magsasakang programa ng liberalisasyon at pribatisasyon ng bigasan at NFA ang tunay na ugat sa patuloy na kakulangan ng bansa sa ating pangunahing pagkain.

Ang pagsandig sa importasyon o pag-aangkat ng imported na bigas upang punan ang ating kakulangan ay bunga ng pagpapatupad ng liberalisasyon sa agrikultura at industriya ng bigasan sa bansa. Mahigit na P 10 Bilyong piso kada taon ang ginagastos sa pag-aangkat. Habang kalahati lamang nito ang inilaan para sa lokal na pagbili sa ating magsasaka. Kapos na nga sa pondo inilalaan pa sa mga dayuhan sa halip na sa ating lokal na industriya.

Sa liberalisayon, taun-taong pwesahan tayong pinag-aangkat ng tone-toneladang bigas sa ilalim ng MINIMUM ACCESS VOLUME (MAV). May kakulangan man o wala obligado tayong kunin ang nasabing kota sa ngalan ng pagtangkilik sa malayang kumpetisyon at pamilihan. Kaya’t sa halip na kontrolin at proteksyunan ang lokal na industriya ay ibinuyayang at tinalikuran ito ng ating gobyerno at inoobliga ang sariling tangkilikin ang imported na bigas at ilagay sa kamay ng pribadong sektor ang  kinabukasan ng ating pangunahing pagkain. Ito ang ugat ng ating kawalan ng sapat na pagkain sa bansa.

Ang kasalukuyang direksyon ng pagrereporma sa NFA ay pribatisasyon ng ahensya upang lubusin ang liberalisasyon ng industriya ng bigasan sa bansa. Ang DECOUPLING o paghihiwalay ng mga tungkulin at papel ng NFA at pagdidiin na lamang sa pag-iimbak o buffer stocking ay nasa direksyon ng paglalagay sa kinabukasan ng mamamayan at ng bigas sa bansa sa kamay ng malalaking pribadong negosyante at korporasyon.

Ito’y pagtalikod ng gobyerno sa obligasyon nitong tiyakin ang karaparatan sa pagkain ng bansa at pagbitaw nito sa tungkuling proteksyunan ang maliliit magsasaka at mahihirap na mamamayan laban sa mapagsamantalang interes ng kapital at tubo sa bansa.

Sa liberalisasyon at pribatisasyon walang tanging nakikinabang kundi mga negosyante’t kapitalista at mga kakutsaba nitong tiwaling opisyal ng gobyerno habang ang mamamayan at maliliit na magsasaka ay patuloy na malulugmok sa kumunoy ng kahirapan at pagsasamantala. Ang inilantad  sa NFA ay malinaw na patotoo na walang katotohanan na mas magiging maayos at mura ang pagkain sa kamay ng pribadong sektor at mga negosyante.

Ang tunay na solusyon sa ating agrikultura ay nasa pagpapalakas ng suporta’t subsidyo sa ating mga mahihirap na magsasaka, pagwasak sa monopolyo sa pagmamay-ari ng lupa at modernisasyon ng agrikultura at hindi liberalisasyon at pribatisasyon.

Hamon kay Pnoy

Kung tunay at seryoso si Pnoy sa landas nang makabuluhang pagbabago agrikultura at ekonomiya dapat nitong ibasura ang  landas ng ibayong liberalisasyon ng ekonomiya at pribatisasyon ng mga ahensya’t serbisyo ng gobyerno tulad ng NFA. Sapat na ang mahigit  tatlong dekadang mapanirang epekto nito sa ekonomiya at kabuhayan ng mamamayan.

At sa halip, isulong nito ang industriyalisasyon at modernisasyon ng agrikultura. Ibayong palakasin ang suporta’t proteksyon ng gobyerno sa mahihirap. At huli, ipatupad nito ang demokratikong pagsasakapangyarihan at partisipasyon ng mamamayan sa pamamahala’t pagpapatakbo ng gobyerno kung nais nitong tunay na masawata ang lumalalang korapsyon at katiwalian sa pamahalaan.

IBASURA ang PRIBATISASYON ng NFA!
LITISIN at IKULONG ang MANDARAMBONG sa NFA
BUWAGIN ang KARTEL ng BIGAS

Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA) at Makabayan Pilipinas
May 19, 2011

[In the news] De Lima: Heads will roll in Leviste incident | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features

De Lima: Heads will roll in Leviste incident | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features.

Former governor made to believe he can go out, claims lawyer

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) will axe all officials supposedly in connivance with former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste, who was caught on Wednesday far away from the New Bilibid Prisons without proper authorization.

In an interview with ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda (UKG), Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said a team of state prosecutors has been created to investigate those involved, including Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Ernesto Diokno.

While BuCor has been tasked to immediately relieve the person directly monitoring Leviste’s case, Diokno is not off the hook yet, she said.

De Lima said the bureau chief will be asked to explain but “giving a fair warning will not be enough.”

Based on an order issued by de Lima, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested Leviste outside LPL building in Makati on Wednesday afternoon.

Leviste owns the building, and is also where he admitted to killing his aide, Rafael de las Alas, on January 12, 2007.

He was subsequently convicted by the Makati Regional Trial Court of homicide, which the Court of Appeals upheld in a ruling last year.

De Lima said she never once gave Leviste a pass to go out of the Bilibid’s premises. Any instance he went out is, therefore, illegal, she added.

‘Evasion of sentence’

In an interview also on UKG, BuCor administrative division chief Teodora Diaz said Leviste is considered a “living out under minimum security status,” which means a prisoner is free to go out unescorted, but only within the premises of the reservation.

Such prisoner is only allowed to leave temporarily if “one, a family member dies; two, he or she is being subpoenaed; three, he or she needs hospitalization.” All 3 needs proper authorization from the DoJ, she stressed.

Leviste’s numerous trips outside the Bilibid would thus make him liable for “evasion of sentence,” she said. If a prisoner is found guilty of evading his sentence, he or she is liable for another 6 to 12 years in prison. He or she will also be stricken out of the list for the commutation of service.

‘Mistake of facts’

Henry Capela, Leviste’s counsel, said his client is not liable for evasion of service. For the latter to apply, “the felony should be committed by deceit, there has to be malice,” he explained.

The governor never had any intention to escape, as proven by the fact that he always returns after every trip to the doctor, Capela said. He himself accompanied Leviste at least four times to the doctor or dentist in the past.

Capela added if there was anyone at fault, it should be “the system that made him believe it is okay to leave prison.” He said the issue is about “error of judgment or a mistake of facts” on the part of the governor.

No less than the courts gave the jail warden and other officials the discretion to allow Leviste to leave “during emergency cases.”

He said Leviste is already 71 years old and needs constant medical attention, having had several strokes in the past. “There was a time he fell from his bunk bed because he had a stroke.”

He said the governor needs those trips. “He is not a hardened criminal. He was just involved in an incident.”

[In the news] Palace welcomes initial list of Ombudsman nominees – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Palace welcomes initial list of Ombudsman nominees – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

Malacañang on Wednesday welcomed the initial list of nominees for the Ombudsman post but refused to name its preference, saying the Judicial and Bar Council still has to go through the list.

“The names of the nominees, candidates po sa posisyon ng Ombudsman ay pawang magagaling po. So magaganda po ang mga nominado ngayon but we still have to wait po for the JBC to interview the applicants,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in an interview.

“I can name a few na talagang magagaling po —sina (De La Salle University law school dean Jose Manuel) Chel Diokno, (public interest lawyer) Marlon Manuel, Frank Chavez, Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales,” he added.

After interviewing the candidates, the JBC will submit to President Benigno Aquino III a shortlist from which the latter will choose the new Ombudsman.

Lacierda believed the public now realizes the need for a very strong Ombudsman, “one who will really police the ranks of the government officials.”

“So we welcome, again, the names of the nominees po. We have no preference one way or the other yet because nga dadaan po ‘yan sa JBC,” he said.

Asked if it will be hard for the President to choose the next Ombudsman because of the highly-qualified candidates, Lacierda said Aquino will make his decision once the JBC gives him the shortlist.

Those who have declined their nominations were former Chief Justice Reynato Puno; Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who also happens to be a member of the JBC; and University of the Philippines law professor Harry Roque.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the President has 90 days to fill up the vacancy. Former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez’s resignation took effect on May 6.

In this case, President Aquino must appoint a new Ombudsman by Aug. 4, 2011. The new Ombudsman will get a full seven-year term, pursuant to the Ombudsman Act of 1989. — Amita Legaspi/RSJ, GMA News

[In the news] Impeach complaint vs SC justice sufficient in form — House body – Interaksyon.com

Impeach complaint vs SC justice sufficient in form — House body – Interaksyon.com.

MANILA, Philippines — In a close vote, a House of Representatives body on Wednesday declared sufficient in form the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.

Voting 11 for, 10 against, with one abstention, members of the House committee on justice said the complaint met the requirements of the impeachment rules as to the submission of the verified complaint.

The committee will next determine if the complaint is sufficient in substance.

The complaint charged Del Castillo with betrayal of public trust for plagiarizing a decision he wrote about the case of comfort women last year.

It was filed in December by five members of the organization Malaya Lola and 15 lawmakers, who also served as endorsers.

Before the voting, Isabela Representative Giorgidi Aggabao objected to the motion to declare it sufficient in form, saying the complaint was defective because the complainants, particularly the Malaya Lola members, engaged in forum-shopping.

Aggabao said the verification procedure requires complainants to certify that no other cases have commenced about the same issue and if there are, they should notify the court.

Aggabao said that at the time the Malaya Lola filed the impeachment complaint, the organization had a pending appeal before the Supreme Court on the dismissal of their case.

“There is falsehood, lie on their verification. This would have merited an outright dismissal,” he said.

Oriental Mindoro Representative Amelita Villarosa and CIBAC party-list Representative Sherwin Tugna echoed Aggabao’s view.

“My fear is if someone does not obtain a favorable judgment from a different agency of goverment, my fear is the House of Representatives might be used to secure reversal of the judgment. That I don’t want to happen,” Tugna said.

Turning emotional, Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Farinas crumpled the verification sheet in protest of Aggabao’s statement.

“Forum-shopping does not apply here, it applies only in the rules of court. When it comes to impeachment, there’s only one body and this is the House of Representatives,” Farinas said.

Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tanada III, the deputy speaker, said Rule 14, Section 13 of the Rules on Impeachment only requires the complainant to verify that the one filed was her complaint.

“Their need to state the pending case in the Supreme Court is not necessary. As to form, we have passed the test,” Tanada said.

Marikina Representative Romero Federico Quimbo and Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali stressed that aside from the five members of the Malaya Lola, 14 lawmakers also acted as complainants.

Quimbo said that only one complainant is needed to verify the complaint to pass sufficiency in form.

[In the news] 25 nominated for Ombudsman—JBC – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

25 nominated for Ombudsman—JBC – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

By Tetch Torres
INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Twenty-five aspirants to the top post at the Office of the Ombudsman have accepted their nominations, according to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Among the nominees are Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, who is set to retire in June, Justice Undersecretary Leah Armamento, former Justice Undersecretary Jose Calida, former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, Alternative Law Group head Marlon Manuel and Free Legal Assistance Group Chairman Jose Manuel Diokno.

Overall Deputy Ombudsman, now acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, is also among the nominees. He was nominated by evangelist Mike Velarde.

But of the 25, Morales has been reported to be President Benigno Aquino III’s top choice for the post. She swore in Aquino as president during his inauguration in June 2010.

The JBC said Morales was nominated by retired judge and head of the Transparency International Philippines Dolores Español, retired judge Leticia Sablan of the Women Lawyers’ Association of the Philippines Inc. and University of the Philippines Law Alumni Association Class of 1968 President Beda Fajardo.

Those who declined their nomination were retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Maria Theresa Acosta, Pedro Aquino, Wilberto Candelaria, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Lawyer Arno Sanidad.

The 25 are hoping to replace Merceditas Gutierrez who resigned last May 6.

RA 6770 (Ombudsman law) requires the Ombudsman to be “natural-born citizen of the Philippines, at least 40 years old, of recognized probity and independence, member of the Philippine Bar, and must not have been candidate for any elective national or local office in the immediately preceding election whether regular or special.”

The Ombudsman, who has a fixed term of seven years, must also have at least 10 years of experience as a judge or law practitioner in the Philippines.

The country only had four since the 1987 Constitution was drafted. They are the late Conrado Vasquez Sr., Aniano Desierto, Simeon Marcelo, and Gutierrez.

The JBC, who screens applicants to the judiciary and the office of the Ombudsman, will convene on May 23.

[In the news] ‘Sandiganbayan justices should resign’ | The Philippine Star News Headlines

‘Sandiganbayan justices should resign’ | The Philippine Star News Headlines.

By Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – A party-list lawmaker will file a resolution at the House of Representatives today, calling for the resignation of all justices of the Sandiganbayan in the wake of its approval of the plea bargaining agreement between government prosecutors and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said he will file the resolution to condemn the move of the justices of the anti-graft body.

“We want Congress to support this because of the strong evidence against Garcia,” Casiño said in a media forum in San Juan City this morning.

He also warned concerned justices that they would likely suffer the fate of Ombudsman Merciditas Gutierrez, who was forced to resign from her post late last month.

“We started with the Ombudsman, probably we can also start with the Sandibayan justices,” he pointed out.

He said Sandiganbayan’s decision upholding the plea deal was expected as it had allowed Garcia to post bail.

“We we’re not totally surprised because Sandiganbayan earlier has allowed Garcia to post bail,” he said.

Casiño added that the move of the Sandiganbayan justices preempts the legal remedies on the Garcia case that should have been used by the next Ombudsman.

Read full article @ Philstar.com

[In the news] EDITORIAL – Growth without development | The Philippine Star News Opinion

EDITORIAL – Growth without development | The Philippine Star News Opinion.

philstar.com

Economic managers of the previous administration, who took pride in the country’s economic performance despite unending political turbulence, acknowledged that the fruits of growth did not trickle down to the masses. They also acknowledged what many quarters have often pointed out: economic growth could not keep pace with population growth.

Last week a study prepared by the United Nations Development Program projected moderate economic growth of 5.2 percent this year for the Philippines — a slowdown from last year’s 7.3 percent that was pushed up in part by election spending. That 5.2 percent is nothing to sneeze at in this period of soaring food and fuel prices and continuing financial woes for other countries. But the UNDP said economic growth would not translate into development and could increase poverty.

Unveiling the results of the 2011 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, the director of UNDP in the Philippines, Renaud Meyer, said fairly stable economic growth in the country for the past decade has failed to make a significant dent in alleviating poverty. He attributed this in part to population growth, and called on the government to “immediately” implement a “rational population management policy.” Renaud also said Philippine economic growth has not been inclusive and, at worst, “increases poverty, benefiting few industries, few regions, and a few sectors of society.”

Read full article @ Philstar.com

[In the news] Ampatuan to be charged with plunder | The Philippine Star News Headlines

 

Zaldy Ampatuan File photo source: tunaynalalake.blogspot.com

Ampatuan to be charged with plunder | The Philippine Star News Headlines.

By Edu Punay, Source: Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines –  Detained former governor Zaldy Ampatuan and other former officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be charged with plunder for the alleged misallocation of ARMM funds worth at least P2.559 billion.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo met yesterday to map out the filing of charges and eventual prosecution of the case.

It was agreed during the closed-door meeting that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) would turn over to the Department of Justice (DOJ) within this week the Commission on Audit (COA) report and other documents detailing excessive disbursements of ARMM funds made during Ampatuan’s tenure from January 2008 to September 2009, including an unaccounted amount worth P1 billion.

“We will evaluate those documents so (we) can form appropriate legal strategy in pursuing that plunder case,” De Lima said.

“We have to really closely examine them so we can come up with a clean legal perspective of the case.”

Speaking to reporters, De Lima said she plans to create a special committee of state prosecutors for this purpose.

The evaluation would be done with the assistance of the Office of the Solicitor General, she added.

De Lima said they plan to determine who could be held liable for the questionable disbursement of ARMM funds uncovered during a COA special audit conducted from Feb. 1 to Dec. 20 last year.

Robredo said they are submitting 15 names to the DOJ, including Ampatuan as the highest official, for investigation.

De Lima said they would also look into possible cover-up of the anomaly.

“In the first place, why was the audit conducted only last year?” she said.

“There are supposed to be auditors assigned there – they are either scared or complicit.

“This (anomaly) should not have passed if those involved followed the processes and inspected the projects before releasing the funds.”

No hero – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

An armed forces full honor departure ceremony ...

Image via Wikipedia

No hero – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

Editorial
No hero

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:29:00 03/27/2011

Filed Under: Dictatorship, Heroism, War, Congress

Ferdinand Marcos was a fraud. He ran for every higher office as a democrat, but killed democracy when he imposed martial rule. He promised to make the nation “great again,” but burdened the country with behest loans, crony economics and epic corruption, turning it under all that weight into “the sick man of Asia.” He presented himself as a lawyer serving the law, but prostituted the legal system (defenders like the journalist Teodoro Valencia were happy to parrot the line about “constitutional authoritarianism”) to make it serve what the rest of the world remembers as a “conjugal dictatorship.”

For complete article visit http://opinion.inquirer.net

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