Tag Archives: Sandiganbayan

[Statement] PERSONALAN NA! Isang daang araw na ang nagdaan, pangatawanan ang tuwid na daan, panagutin lahat ng kawatan! -#ScrapPorkNetwork

PERSONALAN NA! Isang daang araw na ang nagdaan, pangatawanan ang tuwid na daan, panagutin lahat ng kawatan!

100-day-protest. Extracted from http://scrapporknetwork.com/

100-day-protest. Extracted from http://scrapporknetwork.com/

Source: scrapporknetwork.com

A year of unprecedented natural and man-made disasters, a display of unparalleled corruption are what most Filipinos will remember of the year 2013.

On the one hand, reports of massive corruption, of people toying around with billions of pesos of our money — and a government preoccupied with defending the infrastructure that props up these wrongs. On the other, millions of survivors of disasters reeling from their loss and the balance of the population struggling to fill the vacuum in government services.

scrap pork network

The deaths, injuries and scale of destruction highlight the gaps in disaster reduction and management that an efficient budget process and exercise of fiscal responsibility could have plugged.

What we have, however, is a system that diverts too much public funds to Pork: the whole-scale award of state monies to institutions and official positions and the assigning of vast discretionary powers that often place them beyond the pale of accountability.

‘Walang personalan?’ Hindi po. No Filipino has been spared the direct impact of the corruption bred by pork. Personalan na! Walang Pilipino na ligtas sa epekto ng korupsyon.

The Scrap Pork Network believes there can be no piecemeal approach to the eradication of pork. Thus, our three main calls (1) Scrap the pork barrel system. 2) Account for all funds spent. 3) Investigate and punish ALL who misuse pork.

December 6 marks 100 days since the surrender of Janet Napoles, a major conduit for diverted pork funds. No case has yet reached the Sandiganbayan. Very few from the huge cast detailed in special PDAF audit have been charged for the loss of public funds. Nor has the public been shown detailed accounting of pork spending outside of 2007 to 2009.

The Supreme Court has recently declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as illegal; a move which we certainly welcome. However, this only comprises a small fraction of “pork”, which plagues our nation.

Year after year, grassroots calls for improvement in government service have been met with one excuse: lack of funds. The billions of pesos that are just the tip of the pork iceberg show the real story: Pork and its accompanying corruption steal funds that could have improved people’s lives.

We, the #ScrapPork Network, a network composed of many different groups, as well as many unaffiliated individuals—students, activists, economists, faith-based leaders, young workers, artists, businesspeople, educators, together with other groups and individuals, are calling on all Filipinos to join us on at 4pm on December 6 to point to the failure of the Ombudsman to file cases within 100 days of Napoles’ surrender. And to call the government to account for its inadequate response to the disaster brought about by typhoon Yolanda.

We are also calling for concerned citizens all over the Philippines and even in different parts of the globe to join us at 5:00pm on December 6th in giving voice to our call to demand for systemic change.

4:00pm— Assembly and program at the Office of the Ombudsman
5:00pm— Noise barrage and united raising of the Philippine Flag
5:15pm— Torchlight Walk from the Office of the Ombudsman to Quezon City Memorial Circle
6:15pm— Program for Yolanda survivors at Quezon City Memorial Circle

[In the news] Former President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo arrested for plunder | Sun.Star

Former President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo arrested for plunder | Sun.Star.

Arroyo arrested for plunder
October 4, 2012

MANILA (Updated) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) served an arrest warrant Thursday on former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for a charge of plunder

Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, PNP Criminal Investigation Group National Capital Region chief, said they served the warrant on Arroyo at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon around 4 p.m.

The Pampanga representative was admitted Thursday morning at the VMMC after complaining of numbness of her hands. She returned to the VMMC, prior to the service of the arrest order, for a regular therapy for a neck injury.

Her attending doctors said she is suffering from dehydration and had to be confined.

The warrant was issued Wednesday by the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan over the alleged misuse of P365 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds during her presidency.

Arroyo was previously put under arrest at the VMMC on a charge of electoral sabotage, but she jumped bail.

Coronel said Arroyo was with her lawyer, Anacleto Diaz, and her spokesperson, Elena Bautista Horn, during the service of the warrant.

He said Arroyo underwent medical check-up and other standard procedures like finger-printing upon the service of the warrant.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

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[In the news] Sandigan orders Arroyos’ arrest over NBN-ZTE deal -INQUIRER.net

Sandigan orders Arroyos’ arrest over NBN-ZTE deal.

By Tetch Torres
March 13, 2012

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan issued a warrant for the arrest of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo in connection with the botched NBN-ZTE telecommunications agreement.

Aside from the Arroyos, the fourth division also ordered the arrest of former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos and former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

The warrant was released Tuesday.

This is the second criminal case filed against Mrs. Arroyo. The first was on electoral sabotage pending before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court where she had pleaded not guilty.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[In the news] Gloria Arroyo, naghain ng not guilty plea sa electoral sabotage charge -GMA News

Gloria Arroyo, naghain ng not guilty plea sa electoral sabotage charge
February 23, 2012

Naghain ng “not guilty plea” si dating Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sa kanyang pagharap sa Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 112 nitong Huwebes para sa kanyang arraignment sa electoral sabotage charge na kanyang kinakaharap.

Ayon sa kanyang abugadong si Ferdinand Topacio, “very firmly” na itinanggi ng dating pangulo ang mga paratang sa kanya.

“Wala naman po siya talagang kasalanan. Para sa amin, ang arraignment na ito ang first step towards acquittal sapagkat napakanipis naman po talaga nitong mga paratang laban sa ating dating Pangulo,” ani Topacio.

“Despite the continuous and massive vilification campaign against me and my family, I have always said that I will dispute all charges in the proper forum. I am submitting myself to this process not only to clear my name but also as part of my commitment to respect and abide by the rules and orders of our courts,” pahayag ni Gng. Arroyo, kasalakuyang kinatawan ng second legislative district ng Pampanga sa House of Representatives.

Dagdag pa niya, umaasa ako na “our leaders uphold and our people have faith in the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[In the news] Supreme Court affirms ruling on coco levy: SMC’s 24% goes to government- INQUIRER.net

Supreme Court affirms ruling on coco levy: SMC’s 24% goes to government
By Jerome Aning, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 25, 2012

  The Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed a 2004 ruling of the Sandiganbayan antigraft court that awarded a 24-percent block of shares in San Miguel Corp. registered in the name of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) and its holding companies, to the government, which holds it in trust for the country’s coconut farmers.

The public information office of the Supreme Court has yet to release a hard copy of the decision, penned by Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., as of press time.
However, reliable sources in the high tribunal said the voting went 11 to nil, with Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Diosdado Peralta inhibiting and Justice Arturo Brion on official leave.

Carpio was one of the petitioners in the case to declare the coconut levy funds as public funds. De Castro and Peralta were members of the Sandiganbayan division that decided the case.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[In the news] Court junks P51-B suit vs Marcoses – PhilStar.com

Court junks P51-B suit vs Marcoses
By Michael Punongbayan, The Philippine Star
January 21, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines – As the government prepared for month-long activities commemorating the 1986 people power revolt, the Sandiganbayan junked yesterday a P51-billion damage suit filed 25 years ago against deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his widow Imelda, two other former officials, and several others accused of dollar salting.

In a 69-page decision, the anti-graft court’s Special Second Division cleared the Marcos couple, former trade minister Roberto Ongpin, former military chief Fabian Ver, and several other government and private individuals of involvement in the operations of the so-called “Binondo Central Bank,” which sold US dollars in the black market from 1984 to 1986.

The Sandiganbayan, in a ruling penned by Associate Justice Samuel Martires, cited the “absence of evidence” and said the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) failed to prove that the Marcoses and their co-accused had enriched themselves by stealing government money.

The case, filed on July 23, 1987, held that the Marcoses and their officials conspired with private individuals – including eight Chinese businessmen who acted as operators, financiers, couriers and agents – in managing and operating the Binondo Central Bank.

The operation allegedly involved the buying of US dollars in the black market and the direct shipment of dollar stocks to Hong Kong where they were sold and traded at higher prices without prior clearance and authority from the Central Bank of the Philippines and without payment of fees, charges, and taxes to the government.

The complaint accused the respondents of “misappropriation and theft of public funds, plunder of the nation’s wealth, extortion, blackmail, bribery, embezzlement and other acts of corruption, betrayal of public trust, and brazen abuse of power, at the expense and to the grave and irreparable damage of plaintiff and the Filipino people.”

Read full article @ www.philstar.com


[in the news] Group wants plunder raps vs Arroyo, et al over broadband deal -SunStar.com.ph

Group wants plunder raps vs Arroyo, et al over broadband deal
January 9, 2012

 MANILA — Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should face plunder instead of graft charges in connection with the botched National Broadband Network (NBN) deal of the government with China’s ZTE Corporation, a party-list lawmaker said Monday.

Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño, along with two other progressive individuals, will file a partial motion for reconsideration to elevate to plunder the case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against Arroyo before the Sandiganbayan.

“We hope that our motion for reconsideration would be granted by the Ombudsman so that GMA and her cohorts would be punished to the full extent of their sins against the people on this case,” Casiño said.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Gloria Arroyo, three others facing graft charges barred from travel – www.gmanetwork.com

Gloria Arroyo, three others facing graft charges barred from travel
January 3, 2012

 The Sandiganbayan 4th Division has issued a hold departure order (HDO) against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her husband Jose Miguel, and two former officials of her administration in connection with graft charges filed against them.

Former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, and former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos were also named in the HDO, GMA News TV’s “Balitanghali” reported Tuesday.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Sandiganbayan Fourth Division executive clerk of court Atty. Joffre Gil Zapata told GMA News Online the one-page HDO was issued Monday afternoon by Associate Justices Gregory Ong, Jose Hernandez, and Maria Cristina Cornejo.

Mrs. Arroyo, now a congresswoman, is facing two counts of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and one count of violating RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the botched $329-million national broadband network (NBN) deal with the Chinese firm ZTE Corp.

She is currently under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in connection with electoral sabotage case filed against her by the Commission on Elections on Dec. 7.

Mr. Arroyo, Mendoza, and Abalos are also facing one count each of violating RA 3019 in connection with the NBN deal.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

[In the news] Arroyo charged before Sandiganbayan for NBN deal – InterAksyon.com

Arroyo charged before Sandiganbayan for NBN deal
by Lorenz Niel Santos and Chichi Conde, InterAksyon.com | News5

  MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has filed graft charges against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over the allegedly anomalous $329-million national broadband network contract with China‘s ZTE Corp. before the Sandiganbayan.

Malacanang welcomed the filing of the case, saying it would bring closure to the NBN scandal.

“The Filipino people have long been waiting for closure and this is the process by which we as a people can get closure,” Palace deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

The case is officially the first graft complaint against Arroyo, now second district representative of Pampanga, to be brought before the anti-graft court and stems from a complaint filed by the party-list group Bayan Muna in September.

The case will be raffled off on January 2, Renato Bocar, Sandiganbayan spokesman said.

Once assigned, Bocar said the court would determine if there is probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest.

Arroyo faces two counts for violating the Anti-Graft Law and one count for violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

[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] Protesters denounce approval of plea bargain deal with Garcia – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News

Protesters denounce approval of plea bargain deal with Garcia – Nation – GMA News Online – Latest Philippine News.

Riza Baraquiel flickr com

Riza Baraquiel. File photo flickr.com

Militants rushed to the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City Tuesday morning to protest its affirmation of the plea bargain deal between former Armed Forces comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia and the Office of the Ombudsman.

But the protesters, who included members of Akbayan, could not get near the area as security was tight for a presidential engagement at the nearby Commission on Audit, radio dzBB reported.

“Kung nagnakaw kayo pero nakipag-plea bargaining kayo, makakatakas kayo sa hustisya. Isa itong sampal sa mamamayan (If you steal from the nation but you enter into a plea bargaining agreement, you escape from justice. This is a slap to the people),” former party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel said.

Read full article and video @ GMAnews.tv

[In the news] Aquino urged to act on media killings | The Philippine Star News Headlines

Aquino urged to act on media killings | The Philippine Star News Headlines.

By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines –  A former Sandiganbayan justice urged yesterday President Aquino to work on ending the killings of journalists and activists in the country instead of blaming the judiciary for the violence.

Former Sandiganbayan justice Raoul Victorino was commenting on the statement of presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda that the judiciary was to be blamed for the unresolved cases of killings of journalists in the country.

He said as a retired justice, he felt that it was his obligation “to defend the judiciary from baseless and uncalled-for criticisms, especially those coming from persons who are expected to protect and respect the institution.”

“The statement of spokesman Edwin Lacierda shifting the blame over the media killings to the judiciary does not, to my mind, help anyone. It gives no assurance whatsoever to our citizens, especially the families and loved ones of the slain journalists, that our government is doing something to address their concerns,” Victorino said.

Read full article at Philstar.com

Towards a Full and Just Closure in the Jonas Burgos Case- Commission on Human Rights

Source: http://www.chr.gov.ph


File photo source: Jess M. Escaros Jr. balita.ph

Nearly four years ago, a group of armed men and women abducted Jonas Burgos from a restaurant in Ever Gotesco, along Commonwealth Avenue. That someone can be forcibly disappeared in broad delight a few hundred meters from the offices of the House of Representatives, the Sandiganbayan and the Commission on Human Rights, attests to the climate of impunity prevalent under the former regime. Even the judicial process, at first instance, failed to recognize the link between Jonas’ disappearance and the GMA administration’s draconian counter-insurgency policy. In its order issued in the waning days of the former administration, the Supreme Court found the investigative procedures conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Grup (CIDG) and the National Bureau od Investigation (NBI) woefully short of the honest-to-goodness standards required by the circumstances of the case.

It was in this context that the Court ordered CHR to investigate Jonas Burgos’ disappearance. In the same vein, the Court ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to cooperate with the investigating agency. Unfortunately, the level of cooperation extended by these agencies, particularly the AFP, fell far short of the investigation’s requirements in gross defiance of the Court’s order.

Nevertheless, the CHR proceeded with its investigation with diligence, thoroughness and dispatch, notwithstanding its limited financial resources and the various stonewalling of the agencies supposed to have been cooperating with it. The CHR team of human rights lawyers and investigators, headed by Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamauag, made sure that the ends of justice would be served by its report to the Court. That report had been submitted to the Court last March 15. We trust our esteemed magistrates to give full credence to our report as they deliberate on Mrs. Burgos’ petition to hold the AFP institutionally responsible for her son’s disappearance.

We would like to emphasize three key points —

1. The AFP’s failure to cooperate in the investigation has raised suspicions that the military had been involved in the abduction of Jonas Burgos to the level of legal presumption. Under the Rules of Court, evidence deliberately withheld is presumed prejudicial to the interests of the one who withholds it.

2. The abduction of Jonas Burgos is not a simple case of kidnapping done by some individuals in the military, but in fact a part of the entire counter-insurgency program of the past administration wherein both military and police forces played a crucial role in its enforcement. Hence, assignment of criminal responsibility must not be confined to the few soldiers who purportedly executed the crime. If ever, they are mere henchmen of the hierarchy of fear that held sway in the past. What is more fundamental is how the principle of command responsibility may be made to bear against the higher-ups who ordered the disappearance of Jonas Burgos, an activist and critic of the former regime. Command responsibility, as explained by the Supreme Court in the cases of In Re Yamashita and Kuroda v Styer, allows courts to exact accountability from persons exercising policy, strategic, operational and tactical control over the systematic criminal acts of foot soldiers. A judicial determination in line with the facts as found by the CHR investigation can only lead to the conclusion that personalities bigger and more powerful personalities than LtCol Baliaga were responsible for Jonas Burgos’ disappearance, and, in all probability, for the many other cases of enforced disappearance and extra-legal killings in the past administration.

3. A just and full closure can only come when Jonas Burgos is reunited with his family, and his whereabouts in the meantime explained. This is only possible if the new administration’s paradigm shift towards a human rights-based internal peace and security is pursued in a steadfast and sincere manner, beginning with the AFP’s commitment to expose all service personnel complicit in these violations to the full range of administrative and criminal sanctions. Shedding off the obstructionist mindset of the past, the AFP must now work in tandem with the CHR and the DOJ in recovering all documentary, testimonial and object evidence necessary to put a final stop to the culture of impunity that has claimed Jonas Burgos and countless others.

We welcome the AFP’s initiatives, towards a human rights-based paradigm shift from militarist solutions, toward this direction, including its willingness to submit to the writ of amparo and the CHR’s investigative jurisdiction. We also expect it to abide by all lawful writs and orders emanating from the investigative bodies and the Court. We are confident that our partnership with the defense establishment will be intensified so that state security reform may be more firmly anchored on the inalienability, inviolability and universality of human rights.

Chairperson Commission on Human Rights – Philippines (CHRP)