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News extracts are presented on this website. To read the full original article at its source click on the underlined text below




The Economist July 7, 2011 (EXTRACT)

The Philippine economy

Benigno Aquino’s first year has been good for the state coffers

...Mr Aquino campaigned for office on the slogan, “If no one is corrupt, no one will be poor”. He has governed on the assumption that unless everyone is seen to pay taxes, no one will. Since his term began, the BIR has pursued 51 cases of tax evasion, one a week. A website and Facebook page invite Filipinos to snitch on tax cheats, smugglers and officials guilty of graft or a suspiciously lavish lifestyle. The site names and shames people under investigation, including one of the bureau’s own lawyers, who acquired five lots of land, a flat and two cars on a monthly salary of under 23,000 pesos ($540)...

...The government has made it easier to file tax returns online and is teaching its taxmen to see taxpayers as clients to be respected, not birds to be plucked. In the past officials would avert their eyes if taxpayers greased their palms. The customs official in charge of the government’s Run-After-The-Smugglers (RATS) campaign is himself being chased by a steel company, which alleges that he demanded a bribe to release shipments.

The government’s efforts have met with some early success. Revenues increased by 18% in the first four months of 2011, compared with a year earlier, almost twice the pace of nominal GDP growth... 

Ex-PCSO chief says intel fund misused
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) had misused hundreds of millions of pesos, mostly for dubious intelligence activities, in a span of three years during the previous Arroyo administration, its former chief told the Senate...former PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte said former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved her request on Jan. 4, 2010 to divert 20 percent of the agency’s public relations budget or a minimum of P150 million to intelligence funds/confidential funds...

She also admitted that Arroyo knew about the use of the intelligence funds because they would discuss it during their meetings...

Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III said that public opinion about the issue as well as the ongoing inquiry should prompt the former president to come out with an explanation about the use of the PCSO’s intelligence funds.

“This is very serious and this amounts to plunder and if it’s not properly explained, this can also go to the courts and there she has to explain,” Guingona said.


BIR files P18-M tax evasion raps vs ex-PCSO ad manager Manuel Garcia

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Thursday sued the former promotions manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) who allegedly pocketed P1.5 billion in kickbacks from the charity agency’s ad placements during the Arroyo administration.

BIR Commissioner Kim Henares said ex-PCSO public relations manager Manuel Garcia owed the government P18.91 million in taxes for “understating” his real taxable income from 2006 to 2010...

The case, the BIR’s 55th tax evasion complaint since President Aquino was sworn into office a year ago, was filed a day after advertising executives Alexander Quisumbing and Ludovico Yuseco told a Senate inquiry that Garcia had received kickbacks representing 40 percent of advertising contracts approved by the PCSO board.

DOJ ASKED TO SACK RABUSA AS WITNESS: WHISTLEBLOWER Col. George Rabusa of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should be kicked out from the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) because he was equally liable for plunder as the military generals whom he had accused of massive corruption. Or so said retired former state auditor Arturo Besana in an open memorandum, stressing that "the cloak of witness protection over Rabusa be removed and that he (Rabusa) himself be placed under the bar of justice just like the rest whom he unjustly accused."

OMBUDSMAN FILES CRIMINAL CASE VS "EURO-GENERAL": Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro ordered the filing of criminal charges against former Philippine National Police (PNP) director for comptrollership Eliseo dela Paz and his wife in connection with the "Euro-generals" case. The case involves several ex-PNP officials who attended a seminar in Russia in 2008. Dela Paz was later detained for carrying an undeclared cash in excess of allowable limits.

SENATORS: PCSO's intel funds bigger than AFP's
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office used an intelligence fund worth P150 million in the first 6 months of 2010, an election year.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III noted this is even bigger than the intelligence fund of the Armed Forces of the Philippines “and used only in 6 months’ time.”

He noted the disbursements were made during the months toward and immediately after the election period.

Meanwhile, instead of providing ambulances and financial assistance to provinces where poverty incidence is high, the current leadership of the PCSO said the previous administration preferred the more affluent ones.

PCSO fund turned into Palace 'pork'
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is being used as a source of pork barrel funds by sitting presidents, Sen. Francis Escudero declared yesterday.

He said the PCSO had become the milking cow of the past administration to favor “a selected few” of its allies, notwithstanding the mandate of the agency to service all Filipinos in need.

“Based on these discoveries mostly culled from Commission on Audit (COA) reports, the PCSO is used somewhat as a pork barrel by the past sitting president, favoring only a selected few,” Escudero said.

He explained the PCSO was meant to service the health and medical needs of all indigent Filipinos, but the agency was being used instead to reward “those who fall on the good side of the sitting president.”


Bishops say donated vehicles not luxurious
Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal yesterday said that none of the vehicles donated by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to certain Catholic bishops were luxurious and all of them, as well as other donations from the state-run firm, were used for projects for the poor.

Vidal lamented that the PCSO and the Commission on Audit (COA) did not even bother to check first with the bishops concerned before announcing to the media the supposedly immoral and illegal donations.

“They (PCSO and COA) should have had the fairness to inquire with us first or ask us what this is all about,” Vidal told The STAR

Bishops Conference denies fault in SUV controversy
In a letter addressed to Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, CBCP president Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar said that there was no violation of any law when the PCSO extended financial assistance to the Catholic Church.

Odchimar was reacting to the Constitutional provision being cited by incumbent PCSO officials that says, "No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher, or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium."

"We believe that where the aim and purpose of the grant or use of public funds is for public purpose which the government has the duty to undertake, then the religious character or channel is only incidental," Odchimar said.

Bishop's SUV a birthday gift from then-President Arroyo
"I really need a brand-new car, possibly a 4x4 which I can use to reach the far-flung areas of Caraga (region)," Pueblos wrote in his February 8, 2009 letter to Arroyo. "I hope you will not fail to give a brand-new car which will serve as your birthday gift to me."

In the same letter, Pueblos assured Arroyo of his "constant support" for the former president...


Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos received a 4x4 Montero Sport worth P1.7 million from PCSO in 2009 after requesting one from then-President Arroyo. Photo from Mitsubishi Motors Philippines website
 Bishop who got SUV as Arroyo ‘gift’ also told PNoy to resign
Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, who allegedly requested and received a luxury vehicle from the Arroyo administration, was the same bishop who told President Benigno Aquino III to resign less than a year in office.

In his statement against Aquino...last month, Pueblos said he knew dissatisfied personalities who are already plotting an attempt to remove Aquino from the presidency.

"I'll just be waiting for them to share the result of their output and see ano ba talaga ang the best for the Philippines without bloodshed and without violence," the bishop was quoted in a report as saying.

Pueblos also criticized the President for appointing friends and allies to government positions, and supposedly treating with a kid glove those who get embroiled in controversies...
Senator Franklin Drilon said he was "appalled" by the gall of Pueblos for calling on Aquino to resign. "Being an avid supporter of former President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, Bishop Pueblos is the least credible person to ask for President Aquino’s resignation over unfounded allegations of cronyism," Drilon said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson implicated yesterday former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Juan Miguel Arroyo in the anomalous purchase of three helicopters of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2009.

The senator said he obtained documents indicating that the Arroyos were the former owners of the helicopters “forcibly” sold and priced as brand-new to the PNP for P105 million.

“The First Couple were so powerful at that time that ramming the used helicopters down the throat of the police was easy and effortless,” Lacson said.

Lacson said the couple and other officials who may be involved can be made liable for plunder.

“And since the proceeds could exceed the P50-million threshold in a series of acts, those liable are candidate for a plunder case under our existing laws,” he said.

Bolstering Lacson’s claims, an independent source told The STAR that one of the choppers had logged 500 flying hours in 2008 alone or a year before the supposed purchase.

“If it was brand new (in 2009) why would its batteries conk out barely a year while the PNP was using it?” the source said...

In a statement, Lacson revealed that initial findings would indicate that the previous and original owners of the pre-owned – yet sold as brand-new – light police operational helicopters are the Arroyos.

“While it’s bad enough that the two units were overpriced and therefore grossly disadvantageous to the government, passing them off as brand-new smacks of brazen deceit and utmost bad faith,” the former police chief added.

Pressure on Palace mounts to indict, prosecute Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

The pressure on the Palace is going full blast to prosecute former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Catholic Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani said it would be a "big thing" if the Aquino administration made its predecessor liable for offenses. "It will become a landmark decision in President Aquino's campaign against corruption," Bacani said...while various Church groups welcomed the government move to make the previous administration accountable for certain cases, they said they would continue to doubt Mr. Aquino's political will until Arroyo and her allies had been prosecuted...Nardy Sabino, secretary general of the ecumenical group Promotion for Church People's Response, said other groups had already made the first move to make Arroyo accountable for wrongdoing because the incumbent administration was "slow to take legal action." Sabino was referring to the case the United Church of Christ in the Philippines filed last month against Arroyo for alleged human-rights abuses committed against six of its leaders and pastors.

CARITAS MANILA: DONATIONS FROM PGSO GO TO POOR >>> The charity arm of the Archdiocese of Manila defended bishops and Church institutions that have received sports utility vehicles from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, saying that such have been part of the long "critical collaboration" between the Church and the government. Fr. Anton Pascual, Caritas Manila's executive director, said the Catholic Church had clean intentions when it received funds and vehicles from the PCSO as they formed part of its "material and spiritual" services to the poor, particularly in areas hardly accessed by the government.

PAPANGA AMBULANCE DONITIONS EXPLAINED: Former Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio said the five ambulances received by the provincial government in September 2007 were among the eight ambulances requested by former Governor Mark Lapid for the nine district hospitals and the provincial hospital. "The other three were no longer given due to [my] falling out with PGMA (former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo)," Panlilio said, referring to his disclosure of receiving P500,000 after he joined a meeting of local officials with Arroyo - who was then facing a threat of impeachment - in Malacañang. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), he said, required him to personally receive the ambulances for "photo-op (photo opportunity) only." "In fact, the photo-op was supposed to be with then Representative Mikey Arroyo (a son of Mrs. Arroyo) but he was not able to come"...

Nominees for Ombudsman are

  • Former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales,
  • Justice Undersecretary Leah Armamento,
  • Former Justice Secretary Artemio Tuquero and
  • Presidential Commission on Good Government Commissioner Gerard Mosquera

GMA faces probe on fertilizer scam

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered an investigation into former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s alleged involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam in 2004.

Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro announced yesterday that a fact-finding probe will be conducted on Arroyo, who now represents the second congressional district of Pampanga.

Plunder and graft cases filed against Arroyo were not investigated when the ombudsman was Merceditas Gutierrez even after Arroyo had lost her presidential immunity from lawsuits.


Ombudsman orders Pichay dismissed

The Ombudsman orders dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public office of Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Chair Prospero Pichay over agency’s unauthorized investment in a rural bank two years ago


New DoTC Chief Roxas vows graft-free deals, efficient transport systems

“If we find that that these projects are anomalous and are not in the best interest of the Filipino people, I have no problem canceling or renegotiating them.”

Among the projects to be reviewed are the Greater Maritime Access (GMA) Ports and the NorthRail projects...The European Chamber of Commerce earlier this week called on the government to honor these contracts, despite the reported anomalies. Scrapping the projects, the group said, would scare away potential foreign investors.

Roxas said the DoTC would file graft charges against government officials who approved projects proven to have anomalous provisions.


PCSO ambulances given to 29 solons

Allies of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo were showered not only with endowments for their constituents’ hospital and medical expenses but were also given ambulances by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

PCSO documents showed that 314 ambulances were given to Arroyo’s son, Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Macapagal-Arroyo of Camarines Sur, 28 other members of the House of Representatives, and 65 governors during the last four-and-a-half years of the administration. Each ambulance cost about P1 million.

The PCSO said 73 percent of the ambulances were awarded at no cost to Gloria Arroyo’s allies despite the charity agency’s policy that beneficiaries must shoulder at least 40 percent of the vehicles’ price.

All the 29 members of the House got ambulances without giving their 40-percent share.

PCSO General Manager Ferdinand Rojas II on Sunday said the politicians emblazoned the ambulances with their images and names, and used them for nonmedical purposes—another violation of the agency’s policy.

Rojas said the ambulance data showed the same pattern of using PCSO funds to reward allies of Arroyo in the second half of her nine-year administration.

4 new cases eyed vs Gloria Macapagal Arroyo


Ex-"Good Governance" chief faces graft raps 

The Office of the Ombudsman yesterday ordered the filing of graft charges against former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chairman Camilo Sabio before the Sandiganbayan.

Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro said Sabio was accused of misappropriating almost P12 million worth of government funds.

In a 20-page resolution, he said two cases for malversation of public funds would also be lodged against Sabio before the anti-graft court.

Sabio allegedly embezzled PCGG funds by diverting the funds to his personal use when he made a cash advance worth P1,555,862.03 supposedly for accommodation, contingency funds, litigation fees and other related expenses in connection with a trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

He also allegedly misused government money in the amount of P10,350,000 that was received by the PCGG as remittances by sequestered companies like the Mid-Pasig Land Development Corp. and from the sale of A. Soriano Corp. shares which form part of the ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Lawyers are being invited to join the Office of the Ombudsman as prosecutors to handle cases before the Sandiganbayan...only 59 prosecutors are actually handling cases in the Sandiganbayan...As of June 15, records show that he has already disposed of 4,500 pending cases as evidenced by how he has been ordering the filing of graft and other cases at the Sandiganbayan almost on a daily basis

"ABSENCE OF FOI ACT HAMPERS INVESTIGATION": Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano reiterated his call for the administration to support the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill in order to unearth the alleged scams of the previous administration more effectively. Cayetano lamented that the administration has failed to investigate the anomalies of the previous administration and file the appropriate charges against the personalities involved because of the absence of an FOI law. "In all of these scams, what we need first is fact-finding. Let the truth be made known to everyone and reveal the documents. The problem is there is no FOI act to make this an easy task"... Cayetano reiterated that President Aquino, who has made the battle against corruption his key advocacy, should understand that the passage of the FOI Act is critical for the success of his agenda. He said the FOI would improve the state of press freedom and transparency in government, "the two things that shall empower our citizenry to collaborate with the government in aiming for a unified goal of national development."

CoA RECOMMENDS USE OF IDLE FUNDS: The Commission on Audit (CoA) has recommended that Congress be allowed to appropriate the government's share from the Malampaya natural gas project so the funds could be included in the national budget or be used to pay the country's debts. The CoA made the proposal after finding that P77.2 billion of the Malampaya funds had been lying idle for eight years, while P19.4 billion went mostly to projects unrelated to energy development. While this was not illegal, the CoA said the projects could have been funded with the budgets of the departments implementing them

CoA bares more Charity Sweepstakes scams

The Commission on Audit (CoA) said the PCSO was shortchanged in the Instant Scratch Ticket (IST) project since it only received part of its mandated share. In turn, the PCSO's beneficiariesthe sick and the pooralso got the short end of the stick. The CoA also questioned the donation of most of its ambulances to richer local governments instead of the poorer ones, and said the PCSOs anniversary draw was a dud because it ended up losing P77 million, instead of earning money. In its 2009 report on the PCSO, the CoA said the charity agency was, under the law, supposed to receive 30 percent of the net receipts from the IST project. But under the short-term agreement with its distributors, it only received 15 percent of the ticket selling price.

Napolcom legal chief hits transfer over anti-corruption manifesto

For supporting a manifesto that denounces the alleged unchecked corruption and irregularities in the Philippine National Police (PNP), a National Police Commission (Napolcom) official said he has been transferred to a post away from the agency's Makati City main office. Lawyer Owen de Luna, who has been serving as chief legal officer and head prosecutor of the Napolcom, told reporters he "was reassigned" to his former unit at the Napolcoms Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) office...De Luna said the four-page manifesto is "the product of all the ideas and issues raised by whistleblowers and complainants concerning the PNP." He said he and other Napolcom prosecutors "want to address the problems of the PNP that are the sources of corruption." De Luna added that the manifesto also called for the passage of a law that would give more protection to whistleblowers and strengthen the grievance machinery of the PNP...

3 CUSTOMS EXECS ACCUSED OF P179m EXTORT TRY: Three ranking officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and four private individuals were charged with graft before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly trying to extort P179 million from a steel firm. Deputy Commissioner Gregorio Chavez, who heads the Run After The Smugglers (RATS) unit; his chief of staff, Jet Maronilla; and collection officer Lucila Medina, chief of the customs bonded warehouse unit, are respondents in the case. All three are accused of allegedly acting in conspiracy with spouses Godofredo and Anabel Mozo, both customs brokers; Leo Peter Paul Gonzales, a former chief operating officer of the steel firm; and Marlene Jong, who claims to be Chavezs wife. Gregory Uy Chan, president of Sanyo Seiki Steel Corp., an international company engaged in the business of supplying stainless steel, said the BOC officials and their cohorts reportedly tried to extort more than P179 million from their firm in exchange for not accusing the company of engaging in smuggling. "This is nothing but a scandalous shakedown The corrupt BOC officers in power are using the BOC as an instrumentality to their illegal activities," Chan, accompanied by his lawyer, former solicitor general Frank Chavez, said in his complaint filed before the anti-graft agency.

MALACAÑANG LOOKING FOR STRONG EVIDENCE VS ARROYO: Aside from cleaning the mess left by the previous administration, the Aquino administration's bigger challenge is connecting discovered anomalous projects to former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a government official said today. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the Aquino administration has discovered that millions of public funds went to waste or nearly went to waste due to anomalous projects entered into by the previous administration. Abad said that President Aquino is still focused on accomplishing one of his promises when he assumed the position last year: making previous officials accountable for the anomalous projects... The budget secretary said the current administration is gathering solid evidence that would link the contracts to President Arroyo and other officials of the past administration.

PET FOODS IMPORTER,CUSTOMS BROKER ACCUSED OF SMUGGLING: The Bureau of Customs filed a P474-million smuggling complaint against a pet foods importer and a customs broker at the Justice Department. Honey Drops Marketing owner Leoby Castillo Leonidas and customs broker Isabelita Galera were found by the Customs investigators to have made "grossly undervalued" claims on the price of the pet foods the company imported during the last 15 months. Customs investigators claimed the shipments were undervalued by more than 80 percent.



by Joseph Wardy

    Corrupt is the system...
    When the bureaucracy reigns supreme.

    Corrupt is the spoken word...
    When we give the word away but don't keep it.

    Corrupt is the word of gossip...
    When the here say of the rumor overrules the facts.

    Corrupt is the mind...
    When we live in the past or the mystery of the future.

    Corrupt is the character...
    When we respect only those people who can help us.

    Corrupt is anger...
    When we respond with a victim mentality.

    Corrupt is love...
    When we impose boundaries and conditions

    More IntegriNews


    2 ex-PCSO officials placed on immigration watch list

    Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office chairman accuses current board members of "doctoring" the financial report submitted to Commission on Audit

    Bishops divided over "Pajero" gifts from PCSO

    BIR may probe tax liabilities of "Pajero bishops"

    House wants probe of Merci's midnight appointments

    Probe on missing 600 container vans underway

    Muslim community dismayed over ambulance disparity

    Binay: Nothing wrong with bishops receiving PCSO funds

    Facing growing scandal, bishops to return SUVs

    Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office resident auditor, Maria Gracia Tan of the Commission on Audit, said funds earmarked for intelligence operations were not audited but checked by a special audit from the Audit Commission's central office.

    Clear-cut PCSO disbursement rules pressed

    Steel firm seeks Palace probe of Customs team's illegal raids

    Caloocan mayor faces graft raps anew

    Ex-auditor junks whistleblower's tale

    2 suppliers blame each other for chopper deal

    One "Euro general" & wife to face trial, charges against 12 other police officials dismissed by Ombudsman

    Bishop Cruz refused cash offer not once but twice

    Ex-Pres. Arroyo asked to explain PCSO intel funds mess

    Senators vowed to amend the charter of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and limit fund disbursements to health and charitable activities according to its original mandate

    Arroyo OKd PCSO's P150M intel fund for Small-Town Lottery

    BIR files tax evasion complaint vs former PCSO exec

    PCSO: Ambulances were given to "rich" provinces

    Commission on Audit discloses non-performing and newly created attached agency of controversial Local Water Utilities Administration executives enjoyed millions of pesos in perks while firm incurred losses of more than P18.59 million last year

    Environment Secretary Ramon Paje yesterday warned officials and employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources against contracting applicants for expeditious processing of their land titles in exchange for a fee

    AFP officer cleared in time for retirement

    CBCP: We'll face the consequences

    RED TAPE CUT: DTI Secretary Domingo >>> It now takes only 15 minutes to secure business name

    Ten year old graft charges filed vs Makati officials; Mrs. Binay cleared

    Tacloban operations officer faces raps

    ASSOCIATED PRESS WORLDWIDE: Philippine president sells Porsche after 6 months

    Bishop says senators "unprofessional, lack courtesy"

    DOJ starts probe on AFP plunder case

    Bishops to answer as group: Our conscience is clear

    Butuan bishop admits getting P1.7-million SUV as birthdat gift

    Mike Arroyo: Used choppers sold to private firm, not PNP

    Palace to let bishops decide whether to return or keep PCSO-donated SUVs

    Senate subpoenas ex-PCSO officials with alleged kickbacks

    A Bureau of Customs (BoC) official expressed confidence that the bureau's computerized system will support his claim that the Port of Batangas is clear of any responsibility over the reported loss of 600 containers that supposedly arrived last month.

    Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro dismissed Board of Nursing members Anesia Buenafe-Dionesio and Virginia Diolola-Madeja in connection with the 2006 nursing board examination scandal based on the complaint of the National Bureau of Investigation

    Dumaguete inks agreement with Ateneo G-Watch for transparent delivery of health services

    NEWSBREAK: PNoy's P37-M excess campaign funds: Curious, puzzling details

    Brother-in-law of former President describes plan to revive "Jose Pidal" bank account controversy as "a shameless and monumental waste of time and resources"

    Customs executive calls for investigation of alleged disappearance of nearly 600 containers carrying dutiable goods supposed to be forwarded to port of Batangas

    EX-SENATOR: Don't blame bishops but PCSO execs

    Officials and employees of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) want the Express Savings Bank Inc. (ESBI) to return the P780 million that former LWUA chair Prospero Pichay illegally used to purchase the majority of the bank's shares in 2009

    Former Philippine National Police Director Reynaldo Acop and 8 other police officials cleared by Sandiganbayan on 1998 bribery charge

    TRANSPORT groups...protest rallies over plan of Land Transportation Office chief to revert to manual operations

    Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano reiterates his call for government to provide more incentives for whistleblowers as part of anti-corruption efforts

    PNoy returned excess donations to donors: Palace

    Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano supports the Senate's probe into alleged anomalies in the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) during the previous administration, saying it is part of a larger scheme of corruption during the Arroyo years that the Aquino administration must run after... even the "Hello, Garci" election cheating scandal...

    Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said her vote for the Ombudsman post was only for former Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio Morales because "she was the best choice..." there was no order from Malacañang to vote for the supposed front-runner for the position

    Bolante petition seen as "moot"

    Lacson: Only the guilty would stop corruption probe

    Bishop asked GMA for new car as birthday gift

    House Minority Leader: "Pajero bishops committed a sin, not a crime"

    Manila bishop backs Senate probe of "Pajero 7"

    Solon: Ombudsman probe vs GMA came too late

    Palace welcomes reopening of fertilizer scam case

    After being charged with plunder, former Agriculture officials Luis Lorenzo Jr. and Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante will be placed on the Bureau of Immigration's watch list to ensure that they will not leave the country while the case against them is being tried

    NBI investigator denies negotiating with suspect

    Sen. Panfilo Lacson vows to revive investigation into controversial Jose Pidal account...said to be an alias of Mrs. Arroyo's husband...who allegedly opened the bank account to launder money

    The power rate increases the state power corporation is seeking will partly cover perks for officials of the agency, including expensive cars and watches, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said

    Sen. Panfilo Lacson urges Philippine National Police to cooperate in investigation of police procurement of P105-million worth of supposed brand new light helicopters that turned out to be secondhand aircraft

    Philippine National Police leadership warns personnel against seeking endorsements from influential personalities, such as politicians and religious leaders, for promotion in service

    Former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-joc" Bolante and Assistant Secretary Ibarra Poliquit ask Supreme Court to stop their indictment for plunder in connection with P728-million fertilizer fund scam

    Son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assailS new management of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office for portraying recipients of ambulances and endowment funds as "villains"

    Sen. Ralph Recto says government should first account for P77.2-billion Malampaya gas project fund, reportedly "idle" for many years, before including it in 2012 national budget...Department of Energy should disclose to Senate "where the account is and which bank is playing baby-sitter"

    Ambulances went directly to state hospitals, say Arroyo, Nograles

    Arroyo close ally fired for illegal bank purchase

    Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman Manuel "Manoling" Morato believes there is nothing wrong with giving away sports utility vehicles (SUVs) to Catholic bishops and ambulances to local officials especially if they have no funds to buy them

    Arroyo son, allies deny wrongdoing on PCSO donations

    A Coast Guard rear admiral who was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the detention of a barge with a cargo of iron ore has aired his side on the case

    Malacañang has taken over the case of a suspended official of the Land Transportation Office, ordering the Transportation and Communication department to submit to the Office of the President the documents on the incomplete probe of the case

    The government, through the Land Transportation Office, has been providing millions of pesos in annual subsidies to a private company, which produces driver's licenses and yet drivers are made to pay for these licenses

    ILOILO City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog denies getting kickback from aborted Green Zone project

    Governor Enrique "Tet" Garcia not surprised about Ombudsman's filing of graft charges against him

    Senate to call bishops, not congressmen to hearings

    Alleged "big time financier" at Mactan casino files complaint before Ombudsman-Visayas against three agents of National Bureau of Investigation for extortion

    Ombudsman orders filing of charges against ex-chief of National Power Corporation and 4 others

    2 PCSO execs have criminal raps, charges Rep. Suarez

    Cotabato Gov laments uneven allocation of PCSO funds

    Legislator denies pocketing PCSO funds

    Enrile backs PCSO fund mess probe

    Ombudsman Visayas indicts two officials of Office of Muslim Affair for failing to liquidate their cash advances

    Baler movie, tip of the iceberg

    Bishops liable for SUVs, say 2 senators

    Bishops: Why single us out?

    "PCSO not singling out Catholic Church"

    8 lawmakers got PCSO funds

    Commission on Audit asks National Electrification Administration to return P37.5 million excess subsidy funds withheld by several electric cooperatives

    Ombudsman files criminal cases against former assistant commissioner of Bureau of Internal Revenue and eight others for fraudulent issuance and sale of Tax Credit Certificates

    COA questions ex-Palace official's P566,300 unliquidated cash advances

    PCSO uncovers checks issued directly to bishops

    Malacañang: President Aquino to continue exposing the anomalies of past administration

    Cruz wants Vatican to censure "Pajero bishops"

    A group is monitoring the budget of the Department of Agrarian Reforma to help it implement the country's agrarian reform in the next three years...from 2002 to 2006, audit opinion for the DAR has been adverse...monitoring the land acquisition and distribution and support services from DAR in Compostela Valley the group found out that there were "ghost" projects and agrarian reform beneficiaries in the province

    DILG putting measures in place to promote transparency in ARMM

    Church open to Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office probe

    Retired Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz outraged over granting of sport utility vehicles to three bishops and a priest by Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office

    Ombudsman slaps Bataan governor with anti-graft case

    Ombudsman to pursue plunder case vs agriculture chief Lorenzo, Bolante et al

    Department of Justice creates panel to handle preliminary investigation of complaint for malversation against former officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation for disbursement of P26.7-million for production of movie "Baler" in 2008.

    BIR, Visayas Ombudsman looking into P3-million "ghost payments" in Balamban land deals

    Cash refunds are being offered to some of the victims in the Balamban land tax scam

    Palace rebuts "barely passing" mark from business leader




    The Filipino nation deserves to know exactly where P-Noy would like to take us other than "Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap" campaign -- Marichu A. Villanueva in The Philippine Star


    ANOTHER PORK BARREL: The PCSO has worked for a long time with the Catholic Church in charity activities. The current controversy should lead to a review of any rules or procedures related to this collaboration. It could be tricky to draw the line between the interests of parishioners and individual members of the clergy in the utilization of PCSO donations. But even the Church should welcome efforts to draw up clear rules. These are public funds, subject to official audit, and cannot be used by any public official for personal or partisan purposes. The new team at the PCSO told the Senate that the agency's funds were turned into a virtual presidential pork barrel, with no auditing. The Senate probe should lead to reforms and a better PCSO. -- Editorial in The Philippine Star

    INFLUENCE PEDDLERS: The chief of the Philippine National Police is correct in warning PNP members that their rules on professional conduct prohibit them from soliciting the endorsement of influential individuals or organizations for purposes of promotion or assignment. Director General Raul Bacalzo warned that cops who violate the rules face sanctions. It would be good to see the PNP chief carry out his warning, and to see the consequences. Politicians, religious groups and big businessmen who are major contributors to political campaigns endorse police officers for promotion and assignment not only when asked; a number of them actively interfere and demand a say in the system. This meddling is done not only in the police but also in the military, the prosecution service, the judiciary and almost all agencies of government. This has been one of the biggest hindrances to the development of a merit-based society, and one of the biggest sources of corruption as debts of gratitude are repaid with dirty deals. -- Editorial in The Philippine Star

    CONSTITUTION BUILDING: "In reality, a constitution acting alone may not accomplish desired goals such as peace, democracy or economic growth. Constitutions are not self-executing: to achieve desired outcomes, interest groups must vigilantly press for, bargain for and demand nearly all the positions already agreed in the constitution. A constitution will set out a framework for accomplishing particular objectives. Institutions matter, but it also matters when leaders and citizens engage as the constitution contemplates." -- Quoted from son-to-be-published book, "Handbook for Constitution Building Practitioners" by René B. Azurin in Business World

    CORRUPTION AT CUSTOMS: Collector Juan N. Tan of the Port of Batangas reported to Commissioner Angelito Alvarez that 595 containers of dutiable goods supposed to be transshipped to his port disappeared and did not arrive. This is a long standing practice by big time smugglers. Hundreds of containers of dutiable goods marked for transshipment to Subic, Clark or even to another foreign post disappear or the containers arrive empty, containing stones or old newspapers... At the going rate of P180,000 tara or bribe per container, some Customs officials made P1 billion on the missing transshipment of 595 containers to Batangas. -- Ernesto M. Maceda in The Philippine Star

    BISHOPS & SUVS: The illegal use of government (PCSO) funds for religious purposes (pay for car purchases of bishops) is bad enough already. It is worse when the purchases are for expensive SUVs. What the heck do bishops need SUVs for?...It is not just bishops who have SUVs. Many priests do. And most of these SUVs are not even paid for illegally by the PCSO or any other government entity. Bishops and priests acquired them themselves. What this tells us is two things: One, members of the clergy have been seized by a great passion for material things (they are vying with each other on who has the latest SUV); Two, they have acquired great resourcefulness in satisfying their great material longings...Editorial in The Philippine Star

    FOR SHAME: ...the gratuities were an obvious bribe...Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who was one of the most favored recipients of the honest-to-goodness assistance, found absolutely nothing wrong with Arroyo stealing the presidency. "Everybody cheats anyway," he famously said. Archbishop Fernando Capalla, the most favored of those recipients, steered the CBCP, while it was under him, into rejecting any and all calls for Arroyo to resign. He became Arroyo's staunchest defender...the Church is supposed to be a paragon of virtue and not a repository of vice...bishops are supposed to profess the highest standards of excellence and not resort to the lowest claim to innocence. -- Conrado de Quiros in Philippine Daily Inquirer

    THE LONG WAIT: Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro has ordered resident prosecutors to act fast on all pending cases. This order is subject to limitation: Divisions of Sandiganbayan cannot decide cases just as fast. We keep reading decisions of this court referring to charges filed 10 to 15 years ago. In malversation cases, most RTC judges have no definite timetable for trying them or rendering decisions fast enough to scare the wits out of government crooks. The two layers of appeal may be decided within several years more added to the first day of filing the cases or a time frame of 10 to 15 years plus. People v. Webb, et. al can be cited as a model of criminal cases decided with finality after 15 years. So what's new, amigo? And who's scared to death if anti-graft and plunder cases are filed today...? -- ATTY. ROMEO V. PEFIANCO in Manila Bulletin

    ...ironically, whereas our peoples struggles before were against foreign domination, our modern-day "Noli Me Tangere" is about the Filipinos' struggle against fellow Filipinos entrusted with the role to lead and serve the nation. This is our cancer today: Filipinos are against fellow Filipinos. -- Ruby Ann Tagoan in Journal Online

    SHOULD OFFICIALS FACING CHARGES BE REAPPOINTED? Some legal experts say that the power of appointment vested in the President is not absolute, and one of the limitations to its exercise, for which the President can be held accountable, is the appointment of qualified, responsible and honest public servants. -- Neal H. Cruz in Philippine Daily Inquirer

    DEAL?: The government paid a price for getting Merceditas Gutierrez to resign as Ombudsman, a deal one official justified by saying that subjecting her to a drawn-out impeachment trial would have been an emotional and divisive political exercise. A highly reliable source said President Benigno Aquino III agreed to the two conditions Gutierrez set in exchange for her resignation. One, she would get her full retirement benefits. Two, government would not file charges against her. The deal, however, does not preclude private individuals from filing cases against the former Ombudsman, who had also served as acting justice secretary during the Arroyo administration, the source said. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda denied that any deal was forged with Gutierrez. "There was no deal," he said. -- Ellen Tordesillas, ABS-CBN NEWS, VERA Files

    JAIL THEM: The therapeutic "housecleaning" happening at the PCSO shouldn't stop at that agency. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. is another government office ripe for turning over, its transactions exposed to the light of public scrutiny. The latest to report suspicious transactions in its records under the previous watch is the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Not even the state agency mandated to help the poorest of poor Filipinos gain livelihood skills escaped plunder, it seems. These agencies' books should be turned inside out, and the people who defiled them should be charged in courtpronto. -- Editorial in The Philippine Inquirer

    UNDERSTANDING CORRUPTION: the most prevalent (form), and is so commonplace people hardly notice that they themselves are engaged in it. This definition of corruption leans heavily on economic concepts. Simply stated, corruption occurs when there is an undersupply of publicly funded goods and services that are supposed to be for all, and a heavy demand for such services. Obviously, when demand exceeds supply, the cost of these services goes up. Services that are usually given free but urgently needed can be obtained by paying for them. This is especially true of medical services, enrollment in public schools, rooms in hospitals, licenses, clearances and so on...The Philippine public-administration system is like a huge Divisoria where public goods are bought and soldfrom food to drugs, medical and hospital services, court decisions, licenses, clearances, admission to public schools, free housing, multibillion-peso infrastructure and, mostly likely, election returns. Because the demand for public goods and services is higher than the available supply, these have been turned into commodities for sale...everything has a price, but it is not a fixed price and must be negotiated. In such a situation, corruption is inevitable...corruption is enhanced because of the drive to negotiate for lesser costs, lower penalties, bigger shares, more favors and more power. Thus, the universal market-driven model is exacerbated by the Pinoy bargain-driven culture. -- Liling Magtolis Briones in Business Mirror


    Pera Natin 'to!
    Read more in-depth corruption articles
    The Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project and website aim to put under the public spotlight important issues such as control and management of the nation’s public wealth (click below to read full articles)

    Engaging Citizens – The Government’s Record One Year On

    Launched last August in a fanfare of publicity as part of the new administration’s campaign to combat corruption, the crowd-sourcing Pera ng Bayan (Money of the People) website set up by the Department of Finance (DOF) generated an initial and immediate flood of reports filed by concerned citizens...yet almost one year on and with almost 2,000 public reports now having been filed, it is still not clear how many people are reporting claims in support – or against -- government officials and how many are querying the tax returns of private individuals or companies. As of July 5 2011, the site points out that 109 cases have been filed – seemingly as a direct consequence of the reports people have sent in.


    Anti-Corruption Employees' Unions Claim Victory As LWUA Chief is Dismissed and Disqualified


    DepEd ‘Whistleblower’ in Taguig Alleges Serial Corruption in School Building Program

    The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), the country’s online procurement portal that is widely touted and cited as a model for other countries to follow, has apparently failed to protect the bidding process from corruption within the Department of Education (DepEd) and other public agencies in Taguig City.

    A ‘whistleblower’ and rank-and-file employee of DepEd in Taguig City says that she was part of an illegal consortium that fixed contracts and that the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) members of the local government’s procurement department, along with several local DepEd officials have been in collusion with favored contractors in the construction of school buildings in exchange for large kickbacks.

    She claims that far from being short of money, the DepEd is awash with public funds –but they are being lost to well-organized corruption.

    Employees in a constitutionally-mandated agency established to monitor and check on departmental spending are also said to be involved.

    DepEd officials in Taguig are counter-charging that the informant has actually been extorting money from contractors and blackening the reputation of colleagues through her claims.

    Part 2: DepEd in Taguig Counter-Charges Against "Whistleblower" >>> In a six-page comment addressed to the DepEd Central Office and dated April 18, the Division Office in Taguig City insisted there were no irregularities in the procurement process. The comment written by Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Superintendent Dr. Meleda Polita maintained that the division's accuser was actually the one responsible for corruption.


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