Integrity Philippines --------Pinoy Solutions to Corruption

NEWS MAY 25 - 31, 2011

Pinoy Solutions to Corruption
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MILITANT GROUPS ASK OMBUDSMAN TO CHARGE GMA OVER FERTILIZER SCAM - Stressing that former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo no longer enjoys immunity from suit, complainants in the 2004 fertilizer fund scam are now asking the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate and charge her with plunder before the Sandiganbayan

DOJ PANEL UNEARTHS MORE JAIL ANOMALIES - The discovery of former Batangas Gov. Antonio Levistes unauthorized trip from jail has opened a can of worms regarding the systemic irregularities in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

PALACE DEFENDS EO ABOLISHING PAGC - Malacañang yesterday defended the legality of Executive Order 13 that abolished the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC). Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs told the Supreme Court (SC) that the executive order that transferred PAGCs functions to a new investigative and adjudicatory division (IAD) did not violate the Constitution.

PNOY ORDERS DND TO UNCOVER LIABILITIES OF GARCIA ET AL - President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the Department of National Defense to come up with a comprehensive framework to reform the defense and military, starting with unraveling the liabilities of former military comptroller Carlos Garcia and others supposedly involved in corruption.

5 PRISONS EXEC FACE RAPS OVER EX-GOV'S CAPER - Five officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) will face charges for allowing the out-of-prison trip of former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste two weeks ago, the Justice secretary said Tuesday. Four of the five officials will face administrative charges, while the remaining one will face both criminal and administrative complaints.

AQUINO LETS GO OF DIOKNO - Twelve days after a television camera caught a high-profile convicted killer moving around in the Makati City business district, President Benigno Aquino III on Monday announced the resignation of his longtime friend, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Ernesto Diokno, praising him for heeding his conscience.

ARROYO OFFICIALS TAGGED IN PCSO SCAM - Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares has tagged Arroyo administration officials in other alleged scams, this time with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

SC BACK TO WORK WITH HIGH-PROFILE CASES - The Supreme Court (SC) resumes sessions today after over a month-long break that allowed justices to pen decisions. SC spokesman and concurrent Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez yesterday said the three divisions of the high court, comprised of five justices each, resume session today, while the full court will start session tomorrow.

PINEDA CLEARED OF PLUNDER - The Office of the Ombudsman has cleared Rodolfo 'Bong' Pineda from plunder charges stemming from his alleged connivance with former President Joseph Erap Estrada who previously faced suit for the same offense for receiving payola from the proceeds of an illegal numbers game.

HOUSE TO PROBE ILLEGAL HACIENDA LUISITA TOLL -The House is considering to conduct a probe into the Hacienda Luisita Inc.s (HLIs) collection of tolls for the use of a private road linking the sugar land owned by the family of President Aquino to a major expressway and which are collected supposedly without even the issuance of receipts.

P-NOY SEES NO-WIN SITUATION FOR DIOKNO - President Aquino has indicated that Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director-on-leave Ernesto Diokno is in a no-win situation, even as the report of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on convicted murderer Jose Antonio Levistes unauthorized vacation in Makati City is expected to reach Malacañang today.

Commissioner Angelito A. Alvarez was in fighting form as he reacted Sunday to rumors of his imminent ouster from the Bureau of Customs and vowed to keep battling corruption and smuggling until his time in the bureau is up.

DE LIMA WANTS MALVERSE RAPS FILED VS EX-DOJ CHIEF - Where once he had the power to have charges filed against perceived political foes of the regime, today, former Department of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez stands accused in a malversation complaint filed against him before the DoJ that appears to also be going after the Noynoy administrations political foes.

MULTI-BILLION DRUG TRADE ENTRENCHED IN NBP - Illegal drugs is a well-entrenched multi-billion trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City with millions in drug money slathering its taint on some officials of the Bureau of Corrections and the Department of Justice, a reliable source told The Manila Times on Saturday.

DOJ SUMMONS GMA OVER PLUNDER CASE - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has summoned former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and three of her former officials to appear before investigators on June 6 to answer charges of plunder involving over P550 million of the funds of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

DOJ EYES TOTAL PRISON OVERHAUL - The Department of Justice is considering a total overhaul of the penal system as a result of the controversy concerning the special privileges enjoyed by former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste and other VIP inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

DE LIMA SEEKS PROBE INTO BILIBID FOOD SCAM: Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima wants an investigation into the alleged food budget anomaly at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). De Lima said she is ready to sack any DOJ official who will be found guilty of involvement in the anomaly. She has met with an informant of ABS-CBN News to get more details about the allegation. The informant, "William," revealed that out of the P50 budgeted for an inmate's food daily, NBP officials supposedly get at least P5 in kickbacks. With 40,000 inmates, the kickbacks amount to P6 million a month, or P72 million a year. William narrated how NBP officials manipulate the bidding system to accommodate the suppliers they favor. Worse, some of these underhanded multi-million deals allegedly have the blessings of DOJ officials who favor certain food suppliers.

SOLGEN SEEKS REVERSALOF SANDIGAN RULING: The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on Tuesday sought the reversal of the Sandiganbayan's approval of the plea bargain on the plunder case of former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, saying that there was more than enough evidence to convict him. The OSG also said the court was wrong in saying that the deal was the most advantageous for the people, adding that the deal seemed more like a compromise agreement for Garcia's convenience. It also insisted that it has the legal personality to intervene in the plunder case on behalf of the Republic, and that the deal was void because it did not have the consent of the Republic or of the military.

NEA BILIBID PRISON EXECS GET "WELCOME" BRIBES FROM SUPPLIERS: If the military allegedly has "pabaon" for outgoing Armed Forces chiefs of staff, food suppliers of the New Bilibid Prison also have their own version of alleged "pa-welcome na lagay" to incoming/newly-appointed NBP directors. Informant "William" told ABS-CBN the bribes range from P500,000 to P2 million. Food suppliers do this to ensure that their existing contracts with NBP will be renewed by the new NBP director. William laments that because of the deeply-rooted "rackets" in NBP, well-meaning directors are tempted to accept bribes and just "join them instead of beating them." Worse, their underlings who have long been serving the NBP are the ones who "orient" their new bosses on ways to make money in the institution.

DOJ SUBPOENAS ARROYO OVER PLUNDER COMPLAINT: The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued subpoenas to former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her 3 co-respondents in connection with a plunder complaint filed by former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez for alleged misuse of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds. This formally starts the preliminary investigation on the case to determine whether there is probable cause to file the charges in court.

POLITICIANS, DA EXECS PASS BLAME OVER FERTILIZER SCAM - Politicians and Department of Agriculture (DA) officials are now playing a blame game over the alleged P728-million fertilizer fund scam. Politicians charged with graft and technical malversation before the Sandiganbayan over the case accused DA officials as the ones responsible for mishandling the money.

LWUA CHAIRMAN BUCKS OMBUDSMAN SUSPENSION: Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Chairman Prospero Pichay asked the Court of Appeals to stop the implementation of the six months preventive suspension imposed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman. In his petition for certiorari, Pichay said the acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro committed grave abuse of discretion when he approved the suspension imposed against him. Pichay said Casimiro approved the recommendation when former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez twice denied the recommendation to suspend him. Pichay has been preventively suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman to make sure that he will not be able to interfere with the investigation in connection with a case of grave misconduct filed against him.




More IntegriNews


The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) expects to give President Benigno Aquino III its short list of nominees for the next ombudsman by July 4, the Senate's representative to the council said Thursday. At a press forum at the Senate, Senator Francis Escudero said the JBC has already published a list of 26 qualified nominees to the post vacated by former ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez last month.

The Department of National Defense (DND) will form an oversight body that would monitor the military's investigative units to promote checks and balances to curb corruption. DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the body would supervise the activities of the militarys inspector-general (IG), provost marshal, internal audit, and ethical standards and public accountability offices.

The Sugar Anti-Smuggling Organization (SASO) and Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Cebu have teamed up to form a joint anti-smuggling task force, aiming to put an end to the perennial sugar smuggling problem in Cebu once and for all.

An incumbent municipal mayor, two provincial governors and five others were charged with graft and corruption, the Ombudsman said. In a resolution, Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro gave the go-signal to file the criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan against former Nueva Ecija Gov. Tomas Joson III; Amelia Gamilla, incumbent mayor of Bongabon town; Eduardo Basilio Joson, former municipal mayor of Quezon, and Nueva Ecija.

Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro has ordered criminal charges filed against a former Sulu governor over irregularities in his livelihood and infrastructure projects. Former Sulu governor Benjamin Loong has been accused of graft for building an ice plant and cassava production facility inside a coconut oil mill that he owne.

Five officials of the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City have been recommended for preventive suspension by the Department of Justice (DoJ) fact-finding committee in connection with the escape of former Batangas Gov. Antonio Leviste.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed criminal charges against former governors of Nueva Ecija and Camarines Norte and other ranking provincial officials before Sandiganbayan. In separate resolutions approved by Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, former governor Tomas N. Joson III, incumbent Bongabon Mayor Amelia Gamilla and former Mayor Eduardo Basilio Joson were charged with criminal case for two counts of violation of Section 3 of Anti-Graft and Corrupt and Practice Act or Republic Act (RA) 3019.

At least P7.2 billion of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Offices (PCSO) charity fund from 2001 to 2010 was spent for the agencys advertising and public relations, according to a lawmaker.

Malacañang said yesterday that President Aquinos prompt acceptance of the resignation of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Ernesto Diokno should serve as a warning to Cabinet members and other government officials who might be accused of negligence, abuse or incompetence.

When it comes to President Aquinos political foes who are being leveled with allegations, politics is never involved; only the Noynoy way of treading the straight path. But when it comes to allegations involving Aquino and his relatives, such as the issue of Hacienda Luisita, the Palace screams 'politics'.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed graft charges against a former local prosecutor and seven other government employees, a lawyer said in a statement Tuesday.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is proposing that the smuggling case against car dealer Lynard Allan Bigcas be transferred from the Cagayan de Oro City court to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila.

Customs chief Angelito Alvarez on Monday appealed to Malacañang to give him more time to curb smuggling activities in the country amid reports that President Aquino is not satisfied with his performance.

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed charges of perjury and violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials against an official of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in connection with his purchase of land.

A ranking member of the House of Representatives yesterday refuted claims of President Aquinos uncle, Jose Peping Cojuangco, Jr. who said that the P20 toll fee being collected by the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) on motorists passing through the Luisita Parkway Road linking the sugar estate to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) is legal and being beyond the authority of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) as the road stands on private land.

Former Surigao del Sur Representative Prospero Pichay, Jr. has failed to convince the Court of Appeals (CA) to grant him a temporary restraining order (TRO) or injunctive relief on the preventive suspension meted out by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with a case filed against him by employees of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) where he sits as member of the Board of Trustees.

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez on Sunday said the alleged smuggling of luxury cars and motorcycles at the Mindanao Container Terminal did not happen under his watch, and blamed the previous administration for tolerating the smugglers.

No special treatment was being extended to members of the Ampatuan clan implicated in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao in 2009, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said yesterday.

The Bureau of Customs has seized 10 containers of smuggled onions with retail value of P16 million in a storage facility in Bulacan. The onions, which weighed a total of 260,000 kilograms, came from China and India, Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said. The seizure was on top of the eight other containers of white and red onions that were confiscated by bureau authorities in Davao on Sunday.

The Palace reiterated today the Bureau of Customs chief Angelito Alvarez will remain in service at the pleasure of the President. This after reports circulated that the BOC chief may lose his post for his failure in curbing smuggling activities especially in the entry of smuggled vehicles in Mindanao.

The United States, with apparent anxiety, has called on the Aquino government to use transparently its $434-million anti-poverty reduction assistance to the Philippines and ensure that it will go to its intended programs and beneficiaries.

Pay now or face the consequences. Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares issued this warning to former and current executives of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCC) who have not been paying their proper taxes.

The fact-finding panel created to investigate the unauthorized vacation outside prison of convict Jose Antonio Leviste would be naming several personalities involved in the former governors caper. Department of Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, chairman of the investigating panel, said they would include several names in their report that would be submitted to President Aquino tomorrow.

Former Rep. Nanette Castelo-Daza of Quezon City wanted to temporarily suspend the proceedings in her malversation and graft cases because the Office of the Ombudsman, she accused, denied her of statutory right.

ACTING Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro has ordered the filing of criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan against Tuguegarao City Mayor Delfin Ting and four former mayors of other towns for various offenses ranging from falsification of public documents to graft.

Former military comptroller Jacinto Ligot and his wife Erlinda yesterday denied allegations they evaded payment of P428 million in taxes. The Ligot couple maintained they filed the proper amount of taxes before the preliminary investigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in a hearing presided over by Assistant State Prosecutor Stewart Mariano.

EIGHT 40-foot container vans containing smuggled onions were seized by the Bureau of Customs at the Davao Port on May 6 and May 13. Davao acting district collector Edmundo B. Magdaraog disclosed that the shipment was seized due to the lack of an import permit from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), making it illegal.

Legal advisers of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo described yesterday the P550-million plunder case against her as ridiculous and said the move by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to summon her for investigation was part of the continuing political harassment of the Aquino administration.

Unless they can finish the job in 10 working days, the Sandiganbayan justices handling the case of accused plunderer and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia may have to relinquish the task to a new set of magistrates

Army personnel may soon be deployed to supplement guard duties at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), a senior justice official announced yesterday.

Powerful politicians pressure prison officials to grant privileges for some influential detainees at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), according to a former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief.

THE Sandiganbayan is poised to pounce on the pieces of property of Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. of Dinagat Island in a move to transfer his wealth under the name of the state. Sandiganbayan spokesman Renato Bocar on Thursday said that the anti-graft court was set to seize the assets of the fugitive lawmaker in order to execute what was stated in a resolution dated April 12.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Thursday filed tax-evasion cases against former trustees of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the pension fund for government workers, after failing to file income-tax returns (ITRs) for several years.

The House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms has approved a bill seeking to consider elected public officials, including the President and Vice President, resigned from office upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy (CoCs) for the election.

Mikey, wife still no shows at DOJ tax evasion hearing

Powerful politicians allegedly pressure prison officials to grant privileges for some influential detainees at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), according to a former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief.

The Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (PIATCO) is set to appeal the decision of the Pasay regional trial court (RTC) that set the just compensation for the expropriation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 at $175.7 million or way below its compensation claim of more than $846 million.

Family of slain Palawan broadcaster Dr. Gerardo Ortega urges Senate to open inquiry into alleged misuse of Malampaya funds Ortega exposed

Malacañang reminded all public officials to put public interest first before their own.

DILG pushes full disclosure policy by LGUs in Central Visayas

Policeman arrested for trying to bribe five colleagues with five handguns found in his possession

Instead of focusing on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, the government should exert more effort in fighting poverty through anti-corruption measures, world boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao said Sunday.




FINANCIAL TIMES: CORRUPTION IN THE PHILIPPINES AND THE COST OF FIGHTING IT >>> If there's a cost to corruption, there's also a price to pay for fighting it. That is one way of looking at why the Philippine economy grew by a modest 4.9 per cent in the first quarter from a year ago...the deceleration was made worse by sharp cuts in government spending as the 11-month old administration of President Benigno Aquino III froze many big infrastructure projects for review...Government statisticians calculated that if the new administration had allowed public spending to grow at the same pace as last year, GDP growth in the first quarter could have been a much higher 5.4 per cent...Is the price worth paying? Benjamin Diokno, a former budget secretary, says running after crooks should be left to a select group of investigators, leaving other top officials free to implement government programmes. If corruption must be controlled, the arguement goes, so must be the struggle against it.

Given the Presidents campaign promise of change, the Aquino administration seems hellbent on obliterating all vestiges of the previous leadership. It is one thing, however, to lead a lynch mob to hound a constitutional officer from her post before her term is over, and something else completely to disregard legal contracts that were signed by the previous administration. - Editorial at The Manila Standard Today

A good friend recently came home after spending 10 long years in the United States. Three days later, she was pulled over by traffic cops for swerving. After failing to logically explain that she had violated no traffic rules, she ended up giving snack money to the police. - Kurt Fang at The Philippine Daily Inquirer

The commentaries on the presidency of Noynoy Aquino have range from praise for economic gains and his determined campaign against graft and corruption, to allegations of laziness, incompetence, and inaction over official abuses and inefficiency. This has left the public confused. Which portrayal is true? Unfortunately, when in doubt, people choose to believe the worst. This is probably what has eroded the approval rating of Aquino. - Greg Macabenta at BusinessWorld

Whatever the final recommendations of the DOJ toward prison reform, they will probably not be enough to improve a penal system that for decades has been lubricated by the foulest form of sleaze that the Philippine bureaucracy is capable of spewing out. Perhaps the answer lies in taking the penal system away from the grips of slimy civil servants and even shadier presidential appointees. - Dan Mariano at The Manila Times

Amid the latest scandals (involving the Bureau of Corrections), President Aquino has called for reforms in the prison system. This should not be a knee-jerk, flash-in-the pan commitment. The problems besetting the countrys national prisons and local jails have been around for a long time. Local jails in particular are so congested that incarceration in these facilities is punishment enough for the guilty, and a human rights violation for the innocent. - Editorial at The Philippine Star

It pays to have a relative as president in Malacañang.Not only is there a bill being crafted in the House that would circumvent the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, which would benefit the Cojuangco-Aquino owned Hacienda Luisita, but also even a government built for free Luisita private interchange is still making oodles of money collecting toll fees from motorists and with no receipts given, to boot. - Editorial at The Daily Tribune

The US Millennium Challenge Corp (MCC) decided it that it was more prudent to wait for President Benigno Aquino 3rd to assume office. MCC apparently wanted to make sure that the Aquino administration would be as committed to the MCC goals and methods as the Macapagal administration had beenas proved by its performance in the threshold program. - Editorial at The Manila Times

Unlike the anti-corruption units of Hong Kong and Singapore, the Ombudsman doesn't see much use for crime investigators, money-laundering analysts, computer forensic specialists, psychologists, medical professionals, or media experts. Non-lawyers are treated as second-class citizens. - Jarius Bondoc at The Philippine Star

For the first time in a long, long while, there is a semblance of integrity in government. The Aquino 3rd presidency is about to be one year in office. And, in a development that surprisedand gladdened us allno major case of official thievery has been reported. - Marlen Ronquillo at The Manila Times

On Dec. 2, 2010, Bureau of Corrections chief Ernesto Diokno fired off a memo to superintendents .. (who) headed Metro Manilas problematic National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and Womens Correctional. Diokno wanted them to report all movements of high-profile inmates from places of confinement to outside prison facilities. Immediately, strictly, the reasons for the movement and the period were to be specified. - Jarius Bondoc at The Philippine Star

Did Tony Leviste evade sentence? He had the chance to flee, repeatedly, but returned to Munti, repeatedly. There is language in the law that such a one might in fact be rewarded. No, Virginia, it isnt true everything can be resisted except temptation. And GMA, to her credit, did order: be kind to septuagenarians. Service evasion may not be the criminal offense, if any. - Rene Saguisag at The Manila Times

Admonishments against bribe-giving are off target because these fail to recognize that the bribe-giver is historically the victim who is forced to pay tong to receive a needed service. It is the bribe-taker who is historically the predator, the bandido. And the chief bandidos -- where corruption exists (as it certainly does here) -- are those at the top of the government totem pole because it is they -- and their cronies and factotums -- who effectively decide what is permissible and what is not. An honest-to-goodness campaign against corruption must necessarily begin with fixing what appears to be a purposely ineffective justice system. It is ineffective because laws are not enforced and the dispensation of justice is not fair and quick. Sadly, those who administer the justice system in this (ironically) lawyer-ridden society seem to act as if a strict adherence to legal procedures constitutes justice. That is a narrow, mistaken view. Following procedures is important, but it is not enough. Only the consistent production of fast and just outcomes constitutes a working justice system. Those whove had brushes with the justice system in this country are painfully aware of how cases can be made to drag on interminably and how decisions are often sold to the highest bidder. Naturally, this means that the so-called rule of law effectively exempts the wealthy and the powerful. Our justice system's inability to rein in the plundering tendencies of ruling elites is the reason why any "values education program" that brands corruption as evil and urges compliance with society's laws against it would be ignored. If privileged elites routinely prosper by being corrupt and violating laws while the unprivileged classes are punished for non-compliance, there is no rational reason for the unprivileged majority to continue to follow the laws and, beyond that, stay committed to the welfare of the society as a whole. An uneven application of the rule of law is thus fatal to a society's development and progress. The late Mancur Olson, an economist noted for delving into root causes, concluded that the two root factors that differentiated more progressive economies from less progressive ones were the presence of an effectively enforced set of property rights and the absence of what he termed "predation" (by which he meant the predatory practice of those with power using it to appropriate what belongs to others, e.g., by demanding bribes or protection money). Obviously, both these factors have to do with how well or how badly the justice system works in a country. In ours, unfortunately, it works badly because justice and law enforcement in this country are also largely under the control of the same gangs that rule. What campaigns against corruption must be directed at is the kind of reform that limits the power inherent in government and that builds up the power of counterbalancing influences in society -- like the judiciary, the law enforcement system, the media, the religious and academic institutions, the professional associations, and the organized citizens' groups -- so that these can effectively call to account even the highest government officials for misgovernment and corruption. Barring that, campaigns against corruption will just be exercises in inutility and the Filipino people will just continue to be exploited by bandidos pretending to be public servants. -- Rene Azurin in Business World

Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada, the former CEO of the Philippine Forest Corporation who later disclosed explosive information on the anomalous USD 329 million NBN-ZTE deal that nearly brought down the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Said the Aquino administration "has lost momentum" in the fight against corruption, the platform it used to win last year's elections. "The new administration had the biggest window of capital for expectations, but these are time-bound," he said. "It seemed we're going back to the status quo. The downslide of public expectation now continues." Lozada observed that the current administration has no over-all strategy to fight corruption, but only to "demonize" the previous administration. He also said President Noynoy Aquino's campaign promise not to steal does not necessarily mean corruption would no longer happen, because the new administration may also be guilty of omission. "Non-action to corrupt practices is already a form of corruption," he said. Lozada said more than corruption, the more serious problem is injustice, adding that no particular case involving "big fishes" in corruption has ever been resolved. He encouraged anti-corruption and transparency groups to focus on one particular graft case and make sure that it is brought to its end. When asked what the Aquino administration could still do to bring back the momentum against corruption, Lozada said the President must stay true to his campaign promises to uphold freedom of information and to reduce if not totally eradicate the pork barrel.-- Interview by Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project

WHEN the former governor of Batangas, serving 12 years for homicide inside the New Bilibid Prison, was arrested coming out of his Makati condominium last week, it was a clear sign that something was seriously wrong with our corrections system. - Editorial at The ManilaStandardToday



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