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NEWS - JUNE 1 - 10, 2011

Pinoy Solutions to Corruption
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STOP CODDLING KKKs, ESTRADA ADVISES PNOY - Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada advised President Aquino to act decisively and avoid giving his allies caught dipping their fingers into irregularities a kid gloves treatment to get through a hail of criticisms over the KKK or his favored Kaibigan (crony), Kaklase (classmates) and Kabarilan (target range shooting buddies).

PALACE BOUND BY JBC OMBUDSMAN LIST - President Aquino's choice for the next ombudsman will be limited to names in the shortlist provided by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

MINORITY HITS PALACE EXCUSES ON PROBE - THE minority bloc in the House of Representatives on Friday lambasted allies of Malacañang for rejecting outright calls for a congressional probe on close friends of President Benigno C. Aquino III presently serving in his administration.

NOY REBUFFS DOJ ANEW, WON'T DISMISS LTO'S TORRES - Land Transportation Office chief Virginia Torres, who is a presidential 'Kabarilan', is set to return to her position after a 60 day leave of absence... For the Department of Justice chief Leila de Lima, the case of the recommended dismissal of Torres is out of her hands, as it will have to be Aquino who has to decide whether to set aside or adopt the DoJ's recommendations.

JAIL BOSSES DECEIVE DE LIMA - It was not true that the 12,000 inmates at New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City threatened to stage deadly riots inside the maximum security compound if Justice Secretary Leila de Lima would not halt demolition of kubols or huts inside NBP, the national penitentiary.

PALACE REBUFFS GMA ON CARPIO-MORALES - Malacañang yesterday rebuffed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for claiming Supreme Court (SC) Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales does not have the independence needed to be the ombudsman.

PCSO BARES GHOST BENEFICIARIES - Nearly P320 million in charity funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office have reportedly been allocated by the past PCSO officials for medical expenses of ghost patients.

AQUINO BUDDIES UNDER FIRE - Opposition lawmakers are training their guns on the kakampi, kaklase and kabarilan of President Benigno Aquino III whom Malacañang has purportedly been coddling.

GMA OPPOSES CARPIO-MORALES' OMBUDSMAN BID - Former President and now Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo does not want to face possible graft charges before an Office of the Ombudsman under retiring Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales.

'PORK' GREASES POLLS RESET - Sen. Manuel Lito Lapid on Wednesday wished that there was truth to supposed rumor that he and his colleagues in the Senate each received an additional P100 million in pork barrel in exchange for favoring postponement of scheduled elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

COURT FREEZES CLAN'S BILLIONS - THE Court of Appeals has frozen billions of pesos worth of assets of the Ampatuan political clan covering 743 bank accounts, 132 motor vehicles, 113 houses and lots and 140 firearms.

10 GANGS HOLD KEY TO GOOD LIFE IN PRISON - Gangs lording it over at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) control a series of kubol (cubicles) occupied by wealthy inmates, including Chinese drug lords. 'The guards themselves dont have the keys. The inmates hold the keys,' Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr.

MORE GMA EXECS CHARGED WITH PLUNDER - Former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez on Monday included Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and seven other ex-officials of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) in the plunder case he had filed against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

DOJ SEC LAUDS SIGNING OF GOCC REFORM ACT - The enactment of the GOCC (government owned and controlled corporations) Reform Act of 2011 will help the Aquino administration stem corruption and prevent abuses in the GOCCs, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday said.

GRAFT CASE HALTED: The Supreme Court has temporarily barred the Sandiganbayan from hearing a graft case against former Iloilo Governor Niel Tupas...directing the Sandiganbayans First Division to suspend hearing the criminal charges against the former governor and several others related to alleged irregularities in the issuance of a quarry permit during the construction of the P8-billion Iloilo airport... On April 15, 2010, the Ombudsman issued a resolution finding probable cause against Tupas for alleged administrative and criminal liabilities in issuing an Industrial Sand and Gravel (Isag) permit to a quarrying firm involved in the construction...

GMA NO-SHOWS IN PLUNDER INQUIRY - Former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and 3 former Arroyo officials failed to show up during Monday's plunder complaint hearing over the alleged misuse of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds.

GENERALS OWN BIG LAGUNA FISH PENS - Active and retired generals as well as politicians are among the biggest operators of giant fish pens in Laguna de Bay, hence the difficulty authorities face in having the structures dismantled, a senior lawmaker said yesterday.

PNOY SETS CUSTOMS REVAMP - A revamp is set to sweep the Bureau of Customs very soon with President Aquino declaring his wish for a leadership that is knowledgeable about the system but untainted.

DEVANADERA CHARGED WITH GRAFT - Criminal charges have been filed against former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera in the Sandiganbayan stemming from the unlawful grant of allowances for herself and her staff in 2007 during her term as head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.

DE LIMA SUSPENDS 5 CORRECTIONS OFFICIALS - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has approved the recommendation of her departments fact-finding committee to suspend five officials of the Bureau of Corrections pending resolution of the administrative charges to be filed against them for their failure to address the systemic problems at the national penitentiary.

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.



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Retiring Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice and constitutional law expert Eduardo Antonio Nachura defended the high court against what he called as organized efforts to discredit it while denying President Aquinos allies branding members of the tribunal as an Arroyo court, referring to the former President.

In its bid to prevent other policemen from doing a 'Mendoza', the Eastern Police District launched on Friday a program offering legal assistance to policemen facing administrative and criminal charges in the performance of their duties.

Malacañang yesterday took a hands-off stance as its initial reaction to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetanos recent disclosure that some poll officials who were incriminated in the infamous 'Hello Garci' controversy are still holding key positions at the Commission on Elections.

Malacañang said it was aware of the extortion complaints against Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) general manager Rodrigo Cabrera and would take appropriate action.

Senators yesterday vehemently denied charges that additional P100 million appropriation was promised by Malacanang to those who voted for the approval of the law postponing this years Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Justice Sec. Leila de Lima has formed three panels that will handle three high-profile cases lodged before her department by designating prosecutors who will compose each of the panels.

DOTC Assistant Secretary Virginia Torres, chief of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), is not yet off the hook in the Stradcom takeover case because Malacañang is still reviewing a fact-finding report of the Department of Justice on the matter.

In the wake of reports of illicit drug activities behind bars, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) announced Saturday the renewal of its partnership with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to curb the drug trade in prisons.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday created a panel that would investigate the charges against former ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez for her alleged inaction on corruption controversies that hounded the term of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Eighteen personnel of the Bureau of Immigration were dismissed from service by the Department of Justice for alleged involvement in human trafficking and other irregularities at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.

An anti-graft organization accredited by the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao yesterday said it was studying its options over reports the members of the board of directors of the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) have been enjoying honoraria and other perks that are allegedly way above the approved limits.

Resigned Transportation and Communications secretary Jose P. de Jesus is facing plunder, graft, and other criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman after he was included in a complaint filed by a group calling itself the Road Users Protection Advocates on Friday.

The Aquino administration has yet to stop gathering evidence on the supposed anomalies committed by the past government, and is just waiting for the next Ombudsman to be appointed to file the necessary complaints.

Lawyer Francisco Chavez lambasted former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, on Thursday, for purportedly peddling 'brazen lies' and maligning his name in blocking his nomination to the vacant Ombudsman post.

House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II on Thursday said the opposition lawmakers who wanted some of President Benigno Aquino IIIs 'kakampi, kaklase and kabarilan' (party mates, classmates and shooting buddies) investigated by Congress were themselves 'KKK'.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has asked the Hongkong government to investigate the consignee of shipments of endangered marine species that were intercepted and seized last May 1.

Armed with a truckload of documents ... retired military budget officer George Rabusa on Wednesday returned to the Department of Justice to make good on his promise to pursue criminal cases against the other persons involved in the misuse of military funds

While saying he would give newly appointed Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas a free hand in the management of his agency, members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives yesterday said Aquino might have contradicted himself when he personally confirmed the reinstatement of Land Transportation Office Chief Virginia Torres.

President Aquino ordered yesterday incoming Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II to investigate the alleged anomalies in the roll-on roll-off (RoRo) projects of the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Office of the Ombudsman has filed graft charges against former officials of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) for supposedly defrauding funds earmarked for monthly pensions of veterans worth P26.33 million.

Daanbantayan Mayor Maria Luisa Loot and several other municipal and barangay officials have been charged administratively before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for closing the waterworks system in Barangay Tapilon, Daanbantayan last April 25.

Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Rodrigo Cabrera denied on Wednesday allegations of a fishpen operator that Cabrera and two others had extorted P300,000 from him.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has ordered New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Superintendent Ramon Reyes to dismantle within the day the kubol (house) of suspected drug lords inside the National Penitentiary compound.

Corrupt officials at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) have been receiving as much as P5 million from convicted drug lords to order the transfer of their rival drug dealers to penal colonies, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has asked the Sandiganbayan to allow it to include the Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) and its officials as defendants in the ongoing forfeiture case against tycoon Lucio Tan. Tans Fortune Tobacco Co. (FTC), which is part of the forfeiture case, earlier merged with Philip Morris to form PMFTC.

The Office of the Ombudsman yesterday ordered the filing of criminal charges against a former mayor and a municipal engineer in Rizal province for illegal possession of forest products worth more than P9 million.

The government of Silay City, Negros Occidental has been ordered charged with graft over the P18 million IT project that did not go through public bidding.

Anti-corruption advocates in North Cotabato hailed Senator Teofisto Guingona's proposal to include representatives from the non-government organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups in open budget process.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has given former President and now Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and three former key officials more time to answer charges of misuse of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds worth over P550 million in 2004.

ACTING Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro has ordered the filing of criminal charges against Sara, Iloilo Mayor Neptali Salcedo and seven other local officials for various offenses.

Human rights laywer Jose Manuel Diokno, one of the 27 aspirants to the position of Ombudsman, has responded to the allegations of a party-list group that he lacked "independence."

ENVIRONMENT Secretary Ramon Paje yesterday told the joint Senate inquiry on marine life poaching that some local officials may have connived with big-time syndicates in the smuggling of black coral reefs.

The Office of the Ombudsman yesterday ordered the filing of multiple graft and malversation cases against an Iloilo mayor before the Sandiganbayan

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has endorsed a bill in the Senate that would give the Office of the Ombudsman the power to issue a freeze order in order to prevent the dissipation of assets that are subject of a forfeiture case.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered a probe into alleged bribery involving officials of the BuCor and the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) on the transfer of inmates from the NBP to penal colonies and penal farms managed by the bureau

After a year and following the resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, a graft case against two top officials of the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) finally moves forward at the Office of the Ombudsman.

Proving how serious they are in improving the system, the Commission on Audit (COA) conducts a monthly monitoring on gasoline expenses, disbursement and other expenses among various government agencies in Northern Mindanao.

The municipal mayor of Sara in Iloilo is facing charges of malversation and falsification of public documents over P1.8 million in payroll payments 'of doubtful validity'.

Judicial and Bar Council expected to submit to President Aquino its shortlist of candidates for Office of the Ombudsman by July 4

Even if she was entitled to attorneys fees as the then government corporate counsel, former Justice Secretary Agnes VST Devanadera said she opted to waive a big chunk for her employees. Devanadera (said) the remaining amount of the 60% was waived by me in favor of the [Office of the Government Corporate Counsel] for the use of the office for expenses like improvement, acquisition of supplies and equipment, benefits and incentives of the lawyers and employees.




That Mar Roxas will succeed Ping de Jesus as DoTC secretary cannot in any way soften or disguise the fact that a man of tested integrity and competence, not to mention personal loyalty, has resigned from the Aquino administration. And De Jesus definitely does not deserve the demolition job that he is being subjected to by the administration spin masters. - Solita Monsod at The Philippine Daily Inquirer

And there the problem lies - the Office of the Ombudsman should always maintain its ascendancy. It should always be above suspicion and reproach. Here and now, it is evidently easier to investigate former regimes than current ones. - Editorial at The Manila Standard Today

Noynoy's mouthpiece went ballistic but at the same time contradicted his own statements on Rep. Gloria Arroyos bid to block the application of soon to retire Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales at the Judicial and Bar Council for the post of Ombudsman - Editorial at The Daily Tribune

Proof that "pork" wags the congressional dog and makes it happily fetch for its presidential master cannot be clearer than the Senates decision to postpone the ARMM elections as Malacañang ardently wished. One senator, who said recently that postponement "violated" the Constitution, morphed into a rabid defender of it after a meeting with the President. - Rene Azurin at BusinessWorld

For many years board seats in certain government-owned or controlled corporations were used by the appointing power as sinecures rewarded to political supporters. For simply showing up at board meetings a few times a year, GOCC directors could earn several times more than the president of the Philippines. - Editorial at The Philippine Star

Now, its officially reconfirmed. Noynoy does protect his buddies from being sanctioned and held accountable and responsible for their actions something that Noynoy keeps on denying despite the many times and instances such conduct has been proved. - Ninez Cacho-Olivares at The Daily Tribune

While it is the JBC that prepares the list of at least three candidates from which Noynoy will have to choose, it is also almost certain that Carpio-Morales name will definitely be included on the JBC list. For one, the JBC today is peppered with Noynoys appointees, along with two members of Congress who are Noynoys allies: Sen. Francis Escudero and Rep. Niel Tupas. - Editorial at The Daily Tribune

Reforms at BuCor, short of total/complete, wont work especially for personnel with 10 to 30 years of continuous service in Munti. The so-called reforms should also apply to all wardens/personnel of all jails provincial, city, and municipal. We are referring to prisoners, convicts, and detainees by the thousands. - Romeo Pefianco at The Manila Bulletin

The percentage of local government units that actually passed the mark (that rates LGU performance under DILG's Seal of Good Housekeeping) was nowhere near ten percent. However, if viewed from a positive side, there is much room for growth. Active participation is the key to all of these. - Marisa Lerias at the Manila Times

A report last Sunday revealed that retired generals and politicians are among the biggest operators of giant fishpens in Laguna de Bay, which is the reason why the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) could not dismantle these (fishpen) structures. This smells like unbridled corruption happening at the LLDA. - Bobit Avila at he Philippine Star

It has been many months since former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. exposed the existence of ghost employees at the Quezon City Council. Each councilor has in the city payroll about 130 employees, the senator said, but only less than 30 of them are real flesh-and-blood workers. The rest are ghost employees. Somebody collects their salaries every forthnight. - Neil Cruz at The Philippine Daily Inquirer

BECAUSE of the greed and insensitivity of many of the lucky few Filipinos who have been made officers and board members of government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), the public pressured their lawmakers to pass a law to prevent GOCCs from being made a milking cow by their officials. - Editorial at The Manila Times

The impeachment complaint against a Supreme Court (SC) justice on a plagiarism issue just wont fly in the House of Representatives unless of course, Noynoy gets into the picture and again bribes the congressmen to ensure the impeachment and trial of the high court justice. - Ninez Cacho-Olivarez at The Daily Tribune

... The government's efforts to clean up the public project pipeline has wittingly or unwittingly slowed down the economy.It seems the current administrations efforts to give back more state resources to the poor by minimizing, if not eradicating corruption, has resulted in growing the overall resource piei.e., the economyless faster. - Editorial at The Manila Times

At long last, there is a chance for the government to recover some P55 million worth of unexplained wealth of former military comptroller Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and his family after acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro ordered the holding of forfeiture proceedings against the former. - Elinando Cinco at The Manila Bulletin

To win the war on corruption, President Aquino needs the help of six other government entities. Two are in the Executive Department and are thus subject to his direct control: the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General. Four are constitutionally independent and are not subject to his control, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission on Audit, the Sandiganbayan and, most important, the Supreme Court. The heads of these agencies are the essential generals of the anti-graft war. - Artemio Panganiban in ThePhilippine Daily Inquirer

No matter the denials and the reasons being given today by Noynoy and his boys, what is clear is that he, who always claims that the top man must be held responsible, and accountable, goes to the extent of overruling his Cabinet men and refusing to even have another of his target-shooting buddy sacked, among other decisions and recommendations made by (DOTC secretary) De Jesus - Ninez Cacho-Olivarez at The Daily Tribune

The fight against corruption is laudable and perhaps the slogan that swung the votes in the May 10 elections. But today those who voted for no-corruption are finding it has a cost just as detrimental if not worse to the public weal. - Carmen Pedrosa at The Philippine Star

So important is the 'speedy disposition of cases' that the same is a right guaranteed to all persons, under our Bill of Rights... A reading of the law, however, would reveal that the litany enumerated in the same law covers a wide range of instances representing periods of delay to be excluded in computing the time within which trial must commence. - Dean Andy Bautista at The Philippine Star

Scrapping (prisoner's live-out) privilege is the right thing to do. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima should be supported in her plan to demolish the huts and strip rich inmates of their perks and gadgets, as these only highlight how money and social status continue to subvert basic justice even in the supposedly classless confines of the penitentiary. - Editorial at The Philippine Daily Inquirer

It is to be noted that the most notoriously corrupt line agencies and state firms are invariably those with fat appropriations, and recipients or conduits for foreign loans, grants, joint ventures, and donations. - Hector Villanueva at The Manila Bulletin



Campaigners against corruption must -- if they are serious -- direct their efforts first to ending the notorious pork barrel system, that is, those huge allocations provided in the national budget for discretionary spending by representatives, senators, and the president. This, it must be made clear, is the source of complicity between the legislative and executive branches of government in deals that plunder the public purse. Such complicity makes a mockery of the check-and-balance feature of our political structure...It is commonly assumed that 30-60% of the cost of projects funded by "pork" and other such discretionary funds are routinely kicked back to the officials whose discretion made these projects possible...Corruption cannot be checked if the designated guardians of public funds and public resources are part of the plundering gang. -- Rene Asurin in Business World


Marcelo gets 2nd term as World Bank anti-corruption adviser 

During the final session of the mid-year meeting of the Independent Advisory Board (IAB) of the World Bank in Washington last Friday, World Bank president Robert Zoellick, through managing director Sri Mulyani, invited former ombudsman Simeon Marcelo to accept a second three-year-term as adviser on good governance and anti-corruption.

The IAB aims to protect the independence and strengthen the accountability of the World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) – a critical part of the Bank’s Governance and Anti-Corruption (GAC) strategy – by giving advice on policies and procedures and on the Department’k Group.

It also provides advice to World Bank president Zoellick and the World Bank Group Audit Committee on the performance of INT and the implementation of related recommendations of the Volcker panel. 

Marcelo has maintained his advocacy against corruption after leaving public office and returning to the private sector as the chief litigator of CVCLAW.

Recently, he led the widespread opposition to the controversial plea bargain deal involving retired military comptroller Carlos Garcia and parti-cipated in congressional inquiries on the matter.

Click here to read full article on World Bank/Marcelo in Manila Bulletin

Special Reports GMA NEWS


KAKISTOCRACY LAUNCHED! Click on book cover at left for more info.  Click below to see the book launch presentation


Renowned International Anti-Corruption Expert Tony Kwok spoke at nine events in Manila giving his views on what now should be done in the battle against corruption. Click on the photo for a summary of his visit to the Philippines.


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