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

NEWS - JULY 9 - 15, 2011

Pinoy Solutions to Corruption
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Noy vows new phase in 
anti-corruption drive
President Aquino declared yesterday that the “final chapter” of his crusade against corruption is bearing fruit with the indictment of ranking officials of the previous administration.

“In our fight against corruption, we are approaching what we can consider the final chapter. We will file appropriate charges and will do our best to secure conviction and prison terms for the guilty,” Aquino said in Filipino before officials and members of the Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches gathered here for the group’s 29th Biennial National Assembly. “This will be complicated,” he added, referring to the filing of cases...

Aquino said earlier he was personally reviewing the credentials of two candidates for ombudsman. Sources said the two were retired Supreme Court Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales and Presidential Commission on Good Government commissioner Gerard Mosquera...

“We’re not being personal. We believe that until someone is jailed, we might as well tell them to make sure they steal big and let the good times roll. No, we will not allow that,” he said...

“...we don’t want to file a case that is half-cooked, and we prefer that there is already a permanent ombudsman in place,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

“We will file our cases when there’s evidence to do so; when evidence warrants, not based on innuendos, half-truths and propaganda. We are continuing to gather evidence, and when they are complete, we will file the necessary criminal actions against them, when so warranted,” he said.

Donations for bishops’ cars range from P1 to P200,000

“Even if I am donating a small amount, this is for the bishops. They do not deserve to be treated this way. It’s just money.”

Shaking with anger and fighting off tears, 52-year-old Rosemarie Espandones railed Friday at what she said was the insulting treatment bishops were getting in the wake of the so-called “Pajero” scandal as she dropped a P20 bill into a plastic jar in support of a campaign to raise funds for the prelates.

The campaign, aimed at buying new vehicles for seven Roman Catholic bishops who had to return what they got with help from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), has brought together the rich and the poor.

While Espandones dropped her small bill into the jar set up under a tent outside the Quiapo Church in Plaza Miranda, other donors—businessmen, politicians and institutions—sent checks amounting to thousands of pesos.

Total donations, starting Tuesday, had reached P808,250, according to organizer and lay leader Romulo Macalintal, an election lawyer.


COA finds P500-M infra anomalies in Maguindanao

The Commission on Audit (COA) has uncovered irregularities in the use of nearly half a billion pesos released by the national government for the construction of farm-to-market roads in Maguindanao province during the Arroyo administration.

The COA report obtained by ABS-CBN News showed three out of four farm-to-market roads in Maguindanao that were allotted some P500 million funds by government were hardly built or not built at all.

The report also said that most of the money was supposedly spent for gasoline purchased from a service station owned by the Ampatuans, the ruling clan in the province.

Senior members of the clan have been accused of ordering the killing of at least 57 people, including journalists, in the province two years ago.

According to Agrarian Reform Secretary Gil delos Reyes, the release of the money for the road projects in Maguindanao was suspiciously fast, and happened 2 months before the gruesome massacre...In September, the Maguindanao provincial government reported that the projects were already completed.

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano: All government officials, especially those appointed by the President, must open their bank accounts to scrutiny--or resign


CoA auditors cruise in vehicles provided by LGUs

Officials of the Commission on Audit (CoA) in the province are raising eyebrows for riding around in service vehicles issued to them by local government units (LGUs) whose finances they are supposed to be auditing.

Two CoA auditors, lawyer Marciana Maniquiz and Amelia Barongan, were each given free use of a vehicle by the Alfonso Castaņeda town government.

Maniquiz, CoA supervising auditor for Nueva Vizcaya, has been driving around in a white Nissan X-Trail (license plate SJJ 393), while Barongan, resident auditor, has been using a white Nissan Frontier Navara (SJM 321).

A brown Isuzu Crosswind Sportivo (SKL 949) was recently issued by the provincial government to Florentina Sagabaen, audit team leader for Nueva Vizcaya.

The vehicles from Alfonso Castaņeda were reportedly part of allegedly anomalous purchases of about P24 million made by the town government last year without the required prior approval of the town’s annual budget by the provincial board.

Documents also showed the purchase of new vehicles was not part of the town government’s annual investment plan, in violation of the Local Government Code. A public bidding was also not conducted for the purchases.

But Maniquiz said she saw nothing wrong with using the vehicles, saying that this was allowed by the Auditing Code of the Philippines...

The Code of Ethics for Government Auditors requires that every auditor “shall endeavor to preserve and protect his independence” by “avoid(ing) situations or actions that would tend to weaken his impartiality and objectivity.”

They are also directed to “refrain from all relations which would normally tend to arouse suspicion that such relation shall warp or bias [their] judgment or prevent [their] impartial attitude of mind in the administration of [their] duties as auditors.”...

In December 2010, the CoA drew public criticism for accepting cash gifts of P30,000 each for the six auditors in the provincial government. Maniquiz ordered the money returned in early January.

Collusion seen in over P100M in projects, bidding stopped

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has stopped the bidding for roads projects worth over P100 million in the Mimaropa region due to alleged collusion among bidders, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said on Thursday. Singson said he also ordered suspended all the other bidding processes in an entire district in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) due to the alleged collusion of bidders in six road projects. "We just suspended the bidding in one whole district because I don't believe, we don't believe, that there was no collusion," Singson said. "The differences between the bids were small so it was really suspicious. In our other bids nationwide, the difference varies from five to 15 percent from agency estimate. But in this particular district, the bids were almost the same," he added.


COA: P172M charity fund diverted

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) may have diverted more than P172 million from its other accounts to intelligence funds, an act that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said was a violation of the agency’s charter.

COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza said there were indications that charity funds in particular were used to augment disbursements for intelligence funds as authorized by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo...

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) may have diverted more than P172 million from its other accounts to intelligence funds, an act that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said was a violation of the agency’s charter.

COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza said there were indications that charity funds in particular were used to augment disbursements for intelligence funds as authorized by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo...

Mendoza said one obstruction in audit efforts was a circular issued in 2003 that required only a certification to justify a disbursement from intelligence or confidential funds.

“The problem with this circular is that the responsibility for the installation of control was shifted by the auditor to the management (of agencies in charge of liquidation). So it is now management that has the responsibility to ensure that expenses are in accordance with rules and regulations,”


Senators, COA question PCSO’s mega-PR budget

Senators and the Commission on Audit (COA) have questioned the excessive earmarking of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) budget for public relations (PR) even without necessary use for it.

During the resumption of hearings at the Blue Ribbon Committee on the so-called PCSO pork, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said “why is there a need for the [agency] to have funds for PR…everyone already knows the games.”

This was the same issue raised in the past by the Commission on Audit, which revealed that some P2.3 billion was used between 2001 and 2005, P1 billion in 2006, P687 million in 2007, P968 million in 2008, P1.65 billion in 2009 and P1.75 billion from January to November of 2010...

While the PR funds were being scrutinized, Enrile also noticed the accounting principles that the PCSO has been using to divide receipts for the three funds under it (charity, prize and operations).

State auditor Fidela Tan explained they arrived at the net receipts of PCSO by subtracting the rental expense for lotto equipment, VAT and commission of lotto operators.

“Is this authority under the PCSO charter? Under the charter, 2% should only be deducted from receipts. When did the board change the accounting system,” Enrile asked.

Appearing before the Senate blue ribbon committee for the first time since her appointment as new commissioner of the Commission on Audit, Heidi Mendoza said that in 2007 alone, over P54 million in PCSO intelligence funds were not liquidated after PCSO officials certified that there were no records on how the money was used.

“Until now, we cannot find the records. The previous chairperson certified that when they came in, the records were no longer in existence. We cannot find them. No credit advice was given,” Mendoza said.

Prior to Mendoza’s testimony, PCSO officials, led by its former chairman Sergio Valencia, and Rosario Uriarte, former general manager, said that a large portion of the PCSO funds were used to pay “blood money” for Filipino workers overseas who needed the government’s help.


Contrite bishops tell senators they will return vehicles

Appearing contrite before the Senate, bishops implicated in the PCSO fund scandal vowed to return vehicles they received from the Arroyo administration. 

Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos admitted to a "lapse in judgment" in asking ex-President Arroyo for an SUV for his birthday in 2009. 

It was the first time that bishops have appeared in the Senate to answer corruption-related charges.

"Regardless of whether the acquisition of the vehicles has been lawful or unlawful, constitutional or unconstitutional, we are returning the vehicles," Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo told the Senate blue ribbon committee on Wednesday.

He likewise expressed the Church's "sincere sadness" that many Catholics were "confused, disturbed, and even scandalized."

"We honestly failed to consider the pitfalls to which these grants could possible lead. We also express our readiness to heal this wound so we could all move forward," he added

ADB recommends modernization for tax administration
THE PHILIPPINES along with its Asian neighbors should address tax evasion to increase revenue collection, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said as part of its recommendations to reform tax administration.

The ADB publication entitled “Taxation in Asia” cited the Philippines as third in Asia with the highest shadow economy (43.4% of the gross national product...This means that a huge portion of the Filipino population and businesses do not pay taxes.

“Complicated tax systems subject to many moving parts encourages corruption and drive taxpayers to go underground,” House committee on ways and means chairman Hermilando I. Mandanas said

Commission on Audit  questions Philippine Ports Authority’s “white elephant” traditional port construction and expensive maintenance projects

“We evaluated the viability of the newly constructed ports on the basis of the revenues generated for the year and we observed that the earnings were very minimal. The summary of revenues by piers and tariff items for the year 2009 showed that the Orion and Dingalan Terminal ports generated revenues of only P689,286 and P72,251, respectively,” the COA report said.

In the 2008 audit of PPA, COA had already raised concerns on the thrust of the agency to build new ports, especially in places where they cannot reasonably be expected to be viable.

“Ports developed at a cost of P1.06 billion are unutilized or underutilized and the continuous operation and maintenance of which is disadvantageous to the PPA,” the COA said in one of their value-for-money audits in 2008.

Of the 18 ports built by the PPA during that time, the COA noted that most, if not all, ended up being idle or “counterproductive” assets, which need regular costly maintenance.

Ex-PAGCOR chief, 40 others face P186-M plunder raps
Former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chair Efraim Genuino on Monday faced plunder charges over the alleged misuse of the state-owned gaming firm's funds to support a private foundation from 2003 to 2010.

The current PAGCOR leadership filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) a plunder complaint against Genuino and 40 others for the supposed diversion of P186 million to Batang Iwas Droga (BIDA) Foundation, which also ran as a party-list group in the 2010 elections.

The group had Genuino's daughter, Sheryl Genuino-See, as its first nominee in the 2010 polls...the complaint filed...said former PAGCOR officers approved "questionable" and "anomalous" transactions that went to the pockets of BIDA Foundation, which had nothing to do with the operations of the state-owned gaming firm. The complaint alleged that multi-million PAGCOR funds were used to finance and support BIDA's anti-drug projects and advertisements.

COA: Govt bought P391m worth of unneeded oil-spill gear

Transport officials approved the purchase of oil-spill and air-navigation equipment worth P319 million that is now gathering dust in the Transport Department’s stockroom because nobody needs it and nobody requested it, an Audit Commission report says...

The equipment was supposed to be meant for the Coast Guard, but that agency did not request it, and it was not represented in the bidding because it knew nothing about it, the report says...

The Audit Commission report says the Budget Department did not approve any re-alignment of the lapsed special allotment to buy the oil-spill equipment.

SENATOR: Former COA chair may be liable in PCSO fund mess

Even then Commission on Audit (COA) Chair Reynaldo Villar could be a party to the “cover-up” of the possible misuse of funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) under the Arroyo administration, Sen. Franklin Drilon said...

Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved the request of Rosario Uriarte, the PCSO general manager at the time, for additional intelligence funds totaling P325 million from 2008 to 2010.

Quoting COA auditors, Drilon said Villar “hastily approved” the liquidation by Uriarte of P17.5 million in “intelligence fund” in June 2010.

The amount, Drilon said, was withdrawn by the PCSO from Philippine National Bank (PNB) in three installments in the last three weeks of Arroyo’s term.

Drilon said that Villar issued a credit memorandum “immediately” after Uriarte submitted documents liquidating the amount, in effect approving the liquidation.

“With haste, Villar passed this in audit in the last two weeks. Is this usual? Audit takes years or at least months in this case. Why the haste in liquidating it? This is deplorable,”

SOLON BLOWS WHISTLE ON COMMISSION SEEKER: Rep. Erico Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol) has turned the tables on a person who had sought commissions or "standard operating procedure" (SOP) from new municipal waterworks projects funded by the Department of Health (DoH) with counterpart from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Aumentado alerted Secretaries Enrique Ona of Health and Florencio Abad of Budget and Management (DBM) on the collection attempt of a certain Leo Bautista who has been moving around these towns already named beneficiaries of the Province-wide Investment Plan for Public Health (PIPH). The solon said some mayors of the beneficiary towns within and outside of his district reported to him that Bautista allegedly asked for 23% of the P10 million allocation for each town to facilitate the release of the funding for the projects.

PALACE ADVISOR: PCSO JUST TIP OF ICEBERG >>> A high-ranking Malacañang official said yesterday the unfolding scandal at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) is just the "tip of the iceberg" as more disclosures are expected in the next months. Presidential adviser on political affairs Ronald Llamas told reporters during the Weekly Rembrandt news forum in Quezon City that the PCSO scandal might be linked to other anomalies, including alleged electoral fraud committed by the previous administration.

COA: AVIATION BODY MISUSED SPECIAL FUND >>> The bulk of the Civil Aeronautics Board's gender and development funds (GAD) for 2010 went not to projects meant to uplift the condition of women, but to buy computers and pay for Internet expenses...according to the Commission on Audit, which had found the improper use of GAD funds and said that the board should use the money for its intended purpose and formulate more programs that would address gender issues...the CAB, in response, told the COA that it had participated in projects that contributed to the protection of women and gender-responsive governance...the audit agency said 83.54 percent of its P1.622 million GAD expenses went to unrelated matters, specifically the purchase of additional computers and maintenance of Internet facilities.

P-NOY SCREENS BETS FOR NEXT OMBUDSMAN: President Aquino has started vetting and "interviewing" candidates for the next ombudsman amid reports that lobbying for the post was intensifying. Highly placed sources said yesterday the President met first with former justice secretary Artemio Tuquero in Malacañang on Friday although his primary choice for the post is still retired Supreme Court associate justice Conchita Carpio-Morales. The sources disclosed Aquino was also impressed with the credentials of Presidential Commission on Good Government commissioner Gerard Mosquera but his lack of experience in litigation might not land him the job. Another candidate, Justice Undersecretary Leah Armamento, was also being subjected to background investigation, the sources said.

PROGRAM OF NEXT OMBUDSMAN: The next Ombudsman will be chosen from the short list that the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) submitted to President Aquino last week. The list has been narrowed down to four from the original 27 nominees. To get a sense of how they would reform the anticorruption agency, Talk of the Town (Inquirer)...requested all the nominees to submit a written program...[Click to read summaries]

NON-INTELLIGENCE "INTELLIGENCE FUNDS" SCRAPPED: Agencies, including the PCSO,that have nothing to do with government intelligence work shall not anymore receive allocation for intelligence funds...use of all intelligence funds now requires liquidation...Budget Secretary Florencio Abad stressed that these are among the reforms that President Aquino likes to see implemented


Palace appoints Francis Jardeleza new deputy Ombudsman for Luzon

MALACANANG announced Friday the appointment of lawyer Francis Jardeleza as deputy ombudsman for Luzon, replacing Mark Jalandoni, a deputy accused of tampering with official records...

Jardeleza graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines in 1974 after becoming a vice chairman of Philippine Law Journal in 1973.

He placed third in the 1974 bar exams.

After receiving a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School in 1977, he trained in securities, litigation and public offerings as a foreign associate in the New York City law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell.

He joined Angara Abello Concepcion Regala and Cruz ("ACCRALAW") in 1975 and made partner in 1981, being the only junior partner allowed to be a member of both the Litigation and Corporate (Special Projects) Departments.

In 1986, he became Chairman of the ACCRALAW Litigation Department.

He left ACCRALAW in 1987 and founded Jardeleza Sobreviņas Diaz Hayudini and Bodegon, where he started practicing labor law. In 1990, he established the Jardeleza Law Offices as a solo practice.

In 1992, he joined Roco Buņag Kapunan Migallos and Jardeleza, as partner, where he headed the litigation and labor law practice groups.

In 1996, he became Senior Vice President and General Counsel of San Miguel Corporation, a position he held continuously up to June 30, 2010, when he opted for early retirement.

CBCP STATEMENT ON PCSO DONATIONS: "We assure you that the bishops concerned are ready to accept responsibility for their actions and to face the consequences if it would be proven unlawful, anomalous and unconstitutional. We assure that their actions were done without malice. Out of their sincere desire to help their people they failed to consider the pitfalls to which these grants could possibly lead them. They have also expressed their readiness to do everything that is necessary to heal this wound so we can all move forward in hope." (Click to read full statement)



More IntegriNews


Senator laments "negative" publicity concerning some public officials "discredit" government leaders in eyes of Filipinos and foreign investors urges government to increase efforts improving the country's overall image to draw more foreign investments

Church to set rules on donations following PCSO vehicles scandal

Arroyo may face life imprisonment, lawmaker says

Bishop who got PCSO funds was a top Ayala stockholder

AUDIT COMMISSIONER HEIDI MENDOZA: Papers on intel funds missing

Review of PCSO execs' qualifications under GOCC law sought

Special committee probed "overpriced" boats, engines issue since March - PNP Chief Bacalzo

Bureau of Customs has filed criminal complaints against two of its senior officials for usurping authority and approving a fraudulent tax refund.

Importer slams Customs "harrassment"

COA: P2.5 billion in intelligence funds have been used and liquidated by national government, local government units, and government-owned and controlled corporations in 2010 alone. >>> SENATORS: Find more systematic way for government agencies to account for their respective intelligence funds

Ex-ambassador to Nigeria challenges malversation rap filed with anti-graft court

CBCP distances from bishops asking for gov't apology

Four Catholic bishops urge President Aquino and gaming chief Margarita Juico to make public apology for dragging Church into the so-called "Pajero" scandal

Sandiganbayan convicts former Armed ForcesChief of Staff of perjury for including false information in 1992 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth

Ombudsman files graft charges before the Sandiganbayan against Mexico, Pampanga Mayor and two others for allegedly allowing conduct of illegal quarrying activities in a private property in 2005

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will face the music and answer all charges hurled against her by political opponents "obsessed" with putting her behind bars, her legal spokesman said

Supreme Court upholds conviction of former Eastern Samar governor and provincial jail warden for unauthorized transfer of former mayor facing murder charges from jail to governor's residence in 2000


METRO MANILA CONGRESSMAN: Budget Secretary Florencio Abad should stop withholding pork barrel funds of lawmakers intended for scholarships, medical assistance and infrastructure projects

Pamalakaya wants probe on 97 missing ice-making machines worth worth P455 million

More PCSO irregularities uncovered

Palace asks SC to junk Special Prosecutor's plea

Department of Justice recommends filing charges against former Armed Forces comptroller Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot and his wife

PR manager denies getting "kickbacks" from PCSO deals

Bishops' acceptance of SUVs hypocritical, says lawmaker

Ex-PCSO exec encashed P102-M check, mum on funds' use

World Bank urges more transparency in Public-Private Partnership

Despite PCSO fund mess, Filipinos continue to place lotto bets

Zaldy: Arroyo got P200M in kickbacks from govt projects

Lacson: PCSO funds also channeled to "Run Gloria" fund in 2003

Vizconde writes PNoy: Pls don't appoint Carpio-Morales

Bishops' vehicles may be auctioned off

PCSO chief faces resign call after Pajero mistake

PCSO funds used for priests' retirement home in Cagayan

Bishops attend Senate hearing; return all PCSO cars

Tighter rules set on intel fund use

Sandiganbayan directs Ombudsman to conduct preliminary investigation of businessman Jaime Dichaves, a coaccused of deposed President Joseph Estrada in plunder case

JBC to interview 2 more bets for Sandigan presiding justice

Bishops tell Gloria Macapagal Arroyo: It's time to explain

Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymund Villafuerte fires back at Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, saying secretary twisted facts on supposed graft cases governor is facing

Religious group under probe for use of public funds

Ombudsman race down to 2

PNoy can't meet all 4 Ombudsman contenders

Interior and Local Government Secretary sees nothing wrong in giving Philippine National Police funds sourced from Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office observing transparency in how PCSO funds disbursed

GSIS director in former Pagcor board goes on leave

Presidential Spokesperson welcomes Government Service Insurance System director Danilo Gozo's filing of a leave of absence after charges filed against previous Pagcor board of which he was member

Ex-police chief charged over chopper sale

Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas II vows to look into unwarranted purchase of P319 million oil-spill and air-navigation equipment gathering dust in department's stockroom

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad: Former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office officials during Arroyo administration clearly violated existing rules on use of confidential and intelligence funds

Plunder raps filed vs GMA on "PCSO pork"

New PCSO officers favor own districts, critics charge

Presidential Commission on Good Government obtains Cabinet approval of plan to dispose of two pieces of prime real estate with total value of P138.852 million

Guingona wants GMA invited to Senate probe

Police officials behind P104.9 M "second-hand" chopper con to be charged: Sec Robredo

National Printing Office execs accuse blacklisted contractor of harassment by filing "baseless" cases before Ombudsman in revenge for NPO's blacklisting of his company suspended and later banned from participating in government printing projects after submitting "falsified, or so fictitious, documents of eligibility."

PCSO donations politicized under Arroyo: nun

6 bishops to attend PCSO fund mess probe

Philippine National Police P131 million emergency procurement of rubber boats and outboard motors overpriced, unused

Palace welcomes apology from bishops

Binay defends bishops who received cash from charity agency

Gloria Arroyo faces another plunder rap over PCSO intel funds

DOJ starts plunder hearing vs GMA

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo again a no-show today at Department of Justice inquiry on plunder case filed against her

GMA asks for more time to file answer to plunder rap

Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines files direct assault and grave misconduct charges against Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte

Lacson: Chopper "forcibly" sold to PNP landed in area restricted for presidents

Commission on Audit rejects laboratory equipment costing P2.295m delivered to Rodriguez Memorial Hospital as "non-compliant with the required (purchase order) specifications"

PCSO confirms, PNP defends sweepstakes accounts

Mitsubishi Montero registered under Bishop Pueblos' name

2nd plunder rap filed vs ex-Pagcor chief

Lawmakers from President Benigno Aquino III's Liberal Party received the most number of ambulances from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, contrary to claims that most had gone to the allies of the former administration, records show.

CBCP apologizes for bishops embroiled in PCSO mess (full statement in article)

2 ex-PCSO officials now on BI watch list

Lifestyle check on ex-PCSO GM gets Palace nod

Senator calls for lifestyle check on former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office general manager

Palace: No more intelligence funds for PCSO

Customs police chief decries smear campaign against him by smugglers and other criminal syndicates that want him out of their way

Senate Minority Leader urges administration to consider granting more incentives for whistleblowers to help in efforts to make previous administration accountable for alleged wrongdoings

Bureau of Customs Deputy Commissioner Gregorio Chavez has denied allegations that one of those charged with him before the Office of the Ombudsman, was his wife

Ombudsman creates own investigation panel into fund mess involving former officials of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office

Three former officials of Barangay Camp 4, Talisay City are facing charges before the Regional Trial Court for malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents

Seven bishops can evade liability if they return sport utility vehicles to government and prove use for nonreligious purposes

Malacañang justifies screening by President of the four candidates for Ombudsman as well within the power of the appointing authority

Solon: SUV gift may lead to more raps vs Gloria Arroyo

Bishops say they will return PCSO vehicles

CBCP: Bishops became "sacrificial lambs" in PCSO fund mess

Former CEBU congressman, former mayor and four officials indicted for misappropriating P10 million in government funds in 2003

Former councillor files graft charges before Ombudsman against Pasay City officials led by incumbent Mayor Antonio Calixto for alleged failure to account for P58.2 million during terms as Sanggunian Bayan members in 2007 and 2008

PNP maintained 22 PCSO fund accounts?

NEWSBREAK: Artemio Tuquero, the 78-year-old former boss of resigned Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez while he was DOJ Secretary, has emerged as a frontrunner for the post she vacated

Supreme Court recommendS investigate alleged practice by Philippine National Police of entering into "secret agreements" and giving commissions to accredited contractors on certain projects

Ex-agri officials may soon be arrested

In its June 2011 quarterly report, the World Bank says says that one year into office, the Aquino government has taken important reforms towards achieving inclusive growth. Notable reform measures achieved include improving the transparency of the public sector budget and of public financial management to improve governance and launching an ambitious public-private partnership program to address infrastructure bottlenecks

Download World Bank Quarterly Update Report (PDF, 40pp.)

World Bank report citing the administration's anti-corruption campaign proves that President Aquino "is home and is doing his job," his congressmen-allies said

A thrift bank bought with funds of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) formerly headed by Arroyo ally Prospero Pichay has been ordered closed and put under receivership.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cannot be held criminally liable for plunder in connection with the fund mess involving former officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), her legal advisers said

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal to lead bishops probe into PCSO funds, luxury cars?





BISHOP SHOULD RESIGN >>> LETTER TO INQUIRER:...allow me to express my personal views on the matter: 1. The birthday request of the bishop was personal between him and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The Diocese of Butuan and the Father Saturnino Urios University were not involved, therefore he alone should solve the problem and not ask for help from the diocese or the university. 2. The request was inappropriate and done in poor taste. Regardless of the circumstances, a person in such position and stature, as Bishop Pueblos is, should be more circumspect. 3. The constitutional provision on the separation of Church and State is clear. 4. There is no prohibition against serving poor communities. As such, the programs of the Catholic Church are not prohibited from receiving assistance from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. But a personal birthday request is not a program for the poor. I believe that many Butuanons share these views. We are not proud of what our bishop did and, to be sure, many parishioners, not to mention church workers and priests, are dismayed and have been greatly demoralized. I pray that Bishop Pueblos be enlightened and, aside from giving back the vehicle to the PCSO, resign as bishop of Butuan. -- CHIT ASIS,Butuan City


ABOLISH ALL "PORK" FROM ALL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: As Sen. Ralph Recto pointed out the other day, "Pork barrel or discretionary funds of two state-run agencies are practically made into a personal kitty of those running it without clear accountability. The scandals plaguing the PCSO and Pagcor over allegations of fund misuse could have been avoided if the discretionary funds were written into the General Appropriations Act (GAA) or the National Budget." Well, that's the job of our legislators to set up a fail-safe system for the PCSO that would prevent future misuse not only by its officers, but also by our Presidents. But if the Senate and Congress would like to take the lead in giving good governance to the Filipino people then they too should abandon their own pork barrels forever as it is one of the reasons why corruption is so endemic in this country. I would have wanted President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to take the lead in abolishing the pork barrel, but alas, his own advisers prevailed upon him and now the Office of the President too has its own pork barrel. In cleaning up the PCSO and Pagcor, our legislators should never lose sight of their own pork barrels as their own personal kitty! -- Bobit S. Avila in The Philippine Star

BLAMING ARROYO: Aquino may be right in assigning blame to the two administrations that have historically inflicted the most damage to this country and its people. But it doesn't mean that he will be free from blame himself should he fail to deliver on, at the very least, his promises of reducing corruption levels, mitigating poverty, putting a stop to continuing human rights violations, and dismantling the culture of impunity that encourages them. As correct as he may be in assigning blame to his two predecessors, Aquino wasn't elected in 2010 to replace one of the most despised presidents this country has ever had solely so he can whine and carp his way to retirement by 2016. What else is he doing other than complaining about the problems he's inherited? -- Luis V. Teodoro in Business World

GOING AFTER GLORIA: Private citizens and congressmen appear to have jumped the gun on President Benigno Aquino III's Truth Commission, which was consigned to the backburner after it was struck down as unconstitutional last year. Does Malacañang still plan to revive that investigative body under the leadership of former chief justice and ambassador to the United Nations Hilario Davide Jr.? If the commission can be reconfigured to fit within constitutional parameters, such a fact-finding body could make the work easier for Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and whoever the President may appoint as Tanodbayan. Cases will definitely pile up against GMA as those on the receiving end during her term become more emboldened to call her to account for injustices she allegedly committed or abetted. -- Inquirer Editorial

PERFIDY, ONE AFTER OTHER: The proceeds of the operations of both the PCSO and Pagcor are supposed to be used for social amelioration and charity projects. But as it is turning out, these two government entities have been spending public money like a drunken sailor...It's only now that more and more reports of corruption under the previous administration have begun to surface. There's probably going to be more in the months ahead as the one-year-old Aquino administration goes through documents with a fine-tooth comb and unearths glaring anomalies. The cynics will probably see this as no more than political vendetta. But plunder of the treasury under any administration should be punished, and punished severely. The rule of law must be upheld at all times. -- Editorial in Business Mirror

PHILIPPINES STAR INTERVIEWS: What do you consider the biggest achievement of the Aquino administration thus far? (Click here to read citizens' replies).

CIRCUMVENTING ACCOUNTABILITY: The military, police and other agencies directly involved in law enforcement need intelligence funds. These are allocations that are not subjected to government audit; a detailed disclosure of their utilization could endanger lives, public safety and national security. This exemption from official auditing, however, has long been abused by unscrupulous government officials. It has been used to go around laws against malversation and diversion of public funds. It has allowed government officials to use public funds for partisan purposes...Transparency and public accountability become casualties in the indiscriminate allocation of intelligence funds. It's not impossible to end this practice quickly. With political will, it doesn't even need legislation. -- Editorial in The Philippine Star

IS OMBUDSMAN BEING USED? With the new acting ombudsman, the pendulum has swung to the other side. Now the office has filed cases against innocent people. The Ombudsman has filed graft cases against Bataan Gov. Enrique Garcia and 14 other provincial and municipal officials. Their offense? The ghost purchase of a patrol boat in 2005. These people allegedly bought a patrol boat, to be used against illegal fishermen, for P150,000. The boat was never delivered to the provincial government, according to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman's Field Investigation Office is supposed to investigate in the field. Obviously it did not. If it did, it would have seen that the boat was there, being used by the provincial government. -- Neal H. Cruz in Philippine Daily Inquirer

SHADOWY FUNDS: Proceeds from gambling are now a major source of financing the budget for many developed and developing countries. That should be the case in the Philippines too. But as revenues become scarcer and more difficult to raise, I do not understand why some funds continue to remain outside the Treasury to be disbursed without congressional authorization...The international best practice is that all funds are remitted to the national treasury. The legislature (Congress or Parliament or Diet) then authorizes the use of such funds through the budgetary process -- Benjamin E. Diokno in Business World

TRANSFORMIMG LEADERS: Failure of Filipino political leadership is one of the best explanations for the country's persistent problems of poverty, injustice, ineffective governance and corruptionand its continuing underdevelopment when compared to other countries since the late 1960s. To be able to choose better leaders and improve our government, our people must be empowered by their education, their improved practical skills and earning capacity, and their political participation. We all have to learn from our experience; from study and reflection on our recent history and national development; from the teaching and guidance of our religious and lay leaders; and by our involvement in the work of various organizations in business and civil society. We should also learn from the example of the leaders in the more advanced and progressive nations. Good governance in a democracy requires the involvement and enlightened participation of all citizens inspired and challenged by the vision, idealism and morality of transforming leaders. We sorely need such leaders to free our people from continuing poverty, corruption, violence, injustice, bad governance, and flawed institutions begging to be reformed. We must develop such transforming leaders from the local communities upwards to gradually replace the many self-serving members of our ruling class or political elite who perpetuate our dysfunctional presidential government, centralized unitary system and political parties at the peoples expense. -- Dr. Jose V. Abueva in Philippine Daily Inquirer

GRAFT CASE GRINDS SLOWLY BUT SURELY: In one of my meetings with Deputy Ombudsman Visayas Pelagio Apostol, it was confirmed that indeed cases filed at the Ombudsman involving mayors and high ranking officials take a long, tedious resolution. A memorandum still in effect, issued during the time of the Arroyo administration, requires all evaluation, resolutions of cases involving high government officials with Salary Grade 27 above, be approved first at the Over-all Deputy Ombudsman office (Manila). The policy causes backlogs in the resolution of cases since regional deputies have to follow such order. Apostol said, with the appointment soon of a new Ombudsman, he hopes things may change for the better. Frustrations can impede the recent campaign to get rid of corruption in government. The partnership with the citizenry as graft watchdogs must be strengthened if we really want this nation to be great again, Apostol said. -- Fred Amora in Bohol Standard

BEHEST SUVs: In highlighting the relevant provisions in the Constitution, Fr. Joaquin Bernas opined that the question will always be asked whether "the use of public money may be authorized at all in a manner that might benefit religious persons or institutions." Meaning, will the bishops get away with the PCSO gifts by attaching it to the Church's preferential option for the poor? ...but the obviously telling question is, would the bishops be prevented from accomplishing their work for the poor without the SUVs? -- Malou Guanzon-Apalisok in Cebu Daily News

AID: ...the various types of aid to sectarian schools, especially to parochial schools, have spawned various controversies and the results have not always been easy to predict. It is easier to justify donations to higher education which, even if sectarian, are not as predominantly religion-driven as parochial schools. And this perhaps is the challenge which donations to the works of the church will have to facehow to separate the religious from the secular work, if they are separable at all. The promotion of justice and of charitable works is very much an integral part of the mission of the Church today. -- Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J. in Philippine Daily Inquirer

INSULTS: ...why on earth should Malacañang be dependent on the Senate to find evidence of wrongdoing on Arroyo's part? Some of them had been railing against that wrongdoing way back when they were holding their congress in the streets, with a view to ending her rule. The wrongdoing ranged from NBN to "Hello Garci," from piracy to illegitimacy, from theft to murder. Why do they now have to wait for the Senate to show them where to go? -- Conrado de Quiros in Philippine Daily Inquirer

EURO GENERAL...S: Former Philippine National Police (PNP) comptroller Eliseo de la Paz and his wife Maria have been charged in the Sandiganbayan for allegedly smuggling euros to Russia. The media now refer to the incident as the "Euro Generals" scandal. But the Office of the Ombudsman, which filed the case against the couple for violation of central bank regulations, was barking up the wrong tree. Mr. and Ms De la Paz were not the sole owners of the 105,000 euros (P6.9 million) that was confiscated from a delegation of PNP officials to the Interpol conference in Russia. Most of the money allegedly belonged to Cynthia Verzosa, wife of Director General Jess Verzosa, then the PNP chief. Why wasn't Cynthia Verzosa not charged as well? * * * I was told this inside story of how De la Paz saved Cynthia Verzosa from being held by Russian customs officials. De la Paz had already been cleared by customs when he saw that Verzosa's luggage was about to be inspected by Russian customs agents. He allegedly knew that all the euros, which would probably be spent by the PNP generals and their wives for shopping in Europe, was in that luggage. De la Paz, who is Jess Verzosa's "mistah" (classmate) at the Philippine Military Academy, allegedly went back to claim the luggage as his own. By doing so, De la Paz saved his wife's classmate from being held by Russian customs. -- Ramon Tulfo in Philippine Daily Inquirer


P-Noy should see through the immediate passage of the Freedom of Information Law. It will show that the administration is serious about partnering with people power in fighting graft and corruption. The more the Aquino administration foot drags on this, the more the Filipinos think that this government shall be no different from Gloria's. We do not like to see any post-Gloria plunderer getting prosecuted or even jailed. In this country it is hard to run after criminals who have stashed away millions of ill-gotten cash. We like to see potential grafts nipped in the bud before costing any taxpayer money. We do not like anymore a ZTE-like deal that was scrapped only because a congressman exposed it in a privilege speech. What we like to see now are attempted scams being prevented because ordinary citizens denounced them or after they become trending topics at or after some incriminating certified documents openly available from government sources get widely shared at It is time to give teeth to the constitutional guarantee of the right to know and the state policy of full disclosure of transactions involving public interest. The time is ripe for FOI. This year, Internet user count in the Philippines has topped 29 million, an increase of 1385% from year 2000 level of 2 million; 25 million are on Facebook.

THE COSTS TO THE CHURCH: In the wake of recent revelations of how the funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office were raided by Ms Arroyo to reward her favorite politicians and bishops, the Church's position on many contentious issues becomes less persuasive. The growing public perception is that some bishops have behaved badly. And, while it is true that every bishop is autonomous in his own diocese, one cannot ignore the fact that the Church's influence is today mainly felt through the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. Unless the CBCP can discipline its own members, it risks eroding what residual force is left in its collective pastoral statements. This erosion will have tremendous consequences, good and bad, not only for the religious sphere, but for the whole society. -- Randy David in Philippine Daily Inquirer


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)

Huge Tax Mess in Calbayog City it is that the city treasury effectively owes PhP 56 million (USD 1.3 million) to the national government after failing to remit tax revenues from 2007 to 2010?...

The collection scandal has reportedly been an open secret among many of the 1,000 plus employees of the local government unit here who maintain deductions payable and due to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the likes of the Pag-Ibig Fund were neither properly collected nor passed on.

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.


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