PCGG LOST P1.2 B IN LEASE DEALS: The Presidential Commission on Good Government said a real estate holding firm, surrendered
to the government by a crony of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, lost more than P1.2 billion as a result of anomalous
lease agreements forged by previous executives for portions of the 18.5-hectare "Payanig sa Pasig" property in the past 10
years, PCGG chairman Andres Bautista said...an audit of the deals made by Independent Realty Corp. Group of Companies officials
appointed during the Arroyo administration found a legacy of mismanagement and incompetence and uncovered a number of irregularities
and questionable transactions.
BOOK ON GOOD GOVERNANCE CONTAINS NO FICTION: For a country where tales of corruption abound, a movement for clean governance
has put together stories of what remains "the exception" in the nation's political scene: good news in governance. Good governance
movement Kaya Natin! recently launched its first book, a quick 76-page read that puts together stories behind 10 of the country's
better known political reformists, including Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, former governors Grace Padaca (Isabela) and
Ed Panlilio (Pampanga). Kaya Natin! lead convenor Harvey Keh is calling on corporate foundations to help the organization
bring the book to public high schools nationwide...Titled "The Kaya Natin! Champions," the book hopes to spread the good governance
ministry around the country and inspire others to take on the advocacy.
Pamalakaya national chairperson says
Aquino gets biggest, audit free pork barrel
A vocal critic of the administration today said Philippine
President Benigno Simeon Aquino III will have the biggest pork barrel of all time next year if Congress passed the proposed
P 1.8 trillion budget for next year, with P 161.6 billion audit free and unprogrammed allocations earmarked for the Aquino
Aquino is asking Congress to give him P 161 billion in total pork barrel funds for 2012. The character of this pork barrel
is free from audit and scrutiny of the taxpaying public. Where is transparency here?” Pamalakaya national chairperson
Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.
The Pamalakaya leader said the provision for presidential pork barrel which
is free from audit and review of the Commission on Audit (COA) promotes high crime of corruption because it gives President
Aquino dictatorial powers on how to spend P 161 billion of unprogrammed funds...
“The P 1.8 trillion
budget proposed by the Aquino administration will go down in history as a major bank robbery in broad daylight under the present
millennium. To be more specific, it is a budget for bailout to foreign and domestic monopolies, a giveaway bonanza to bureaucrat
capitalists and recipe for indebtedness, destruction and political attack to people rights and welfare,” said Pamalakaya.
The militant group on the other hand proposed that the P 161 billion pork barrel fund of the president be divided
as additional allocations for agricultural and fishery production subsidies (P 41-billion), education, including state colleges
and universities (P 40-B), construction of free or affordable mass housing (P40-B) and public health services (P40-B).
PALACE TO GENERALS: FACE HOUSE PROBE >>> Malacañang on Saturday told the retired generals who figured in the "Hello Garci"
recordings to attend the proposed House inquiry into alleged military involvement in election cheating in 2004if they want
to clear their names. Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace also would not stop Congress from summoning
active officers to testify in the congressional probe, which would touch on the reported failure of a military commission
headed by then Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga to follow up leads on the involvement of some officers in electoral fraud.
DEPT. OF EDUCATION LAUNCHES SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION MONITORING PROGRAM: The Department of Education and its partners launched
a new program aimed at keeping a close watch over school construction projects across the country. DepEd, the Ateneo School
of Government, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Girl Scouts of the Philippines,
the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and other non-governmental organizations came together for the roll-out of "Bayanihang Eskwela,"
a community-based public-private monitoring system that hopes to keep an eye on the construction of school facilities across
the country to protect public funds from corruption.
judiciary not doing a good job against corruption – survey
online survey has revealed that at least 90 percent of respondents believe that the Congress and judiciary are
not doing a good enough job in the fight against corruption.
According to one of the online surveys conducted under
the Philippine Public
Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP), 80 percent of respondents believe that Congress and the judiciary have major roles to
play in the fight against corruption…
also showed that 94 percent of respondents believe that building greater transparency and accountability
will help reduce corruption, but 60 percent didn’t think the current administration has the "ideal strategy" in place
to build transparency and accountability.
Only 4 percent of respondents likewise
believe government is working extensively with other groups and sectors to build transparency and reduce corruption...Still,
the survey also showed 54 percent those surveyed see "real progress" in the administration’s attempts
to improve transparency and accountability and reduce corruption.
Lawmakers dispute corruption survey results
House leaders shrugged off an online survey claiming
that Congress and judiciary fell short in addressing corruption in the government.
House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales
branded the survey of under the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project (PPTRP) as misleading, saying the overwhelming
majority of respondents do not understand how Congress works.
GENERALS IN 'HELLO GARCI' ELECTION SCAM FACE PROBE - Certain members of the House of Representatives are determined to pursue
the leads uncovered but ignored by the fact-finding panel that prepared the Mayuga Report despite resistance from the majority
to revisit the alleged theft of the 2004 presidential election.
FOUR GENERALS CLEARED IN "GARCI" SCANDAL: The Mayuga board cleared yesterday four retired generals of alleged involvement
in the 2004 election cheating. Cleared were generals Hermogenes Esperon, Roy Kyamko, Gabriel Habacon, and Francisco Gudani.
They were mentioned in the controversial "Hello, Garci" tapes, in which a female caller whose voice was similar to that of
then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo discussed vote rigging, with Garci believed to be then election commissioner Virgilio
Garcillano. But Mrs. Arroyo and Garcillano denied their involvement in the cheating. "Despite undocumented reports dragging
the names of officers to the alleged election anomalies, there is no statement from the resource persons directly linking
them or signifying their involvement in any election fraud or anomaly," the investigating board, headed by then Navy chief
Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga, said in its report.
DOJ TO INVESTIGATE PCSO, PNP ANOMALIES. The Department of Justice will investigate the alleged anomalies at the Philippine
Charity Sweepstakes Office and the purchase of Philippine National Police helicopters during the Arroyo administration that
were exposed in separate Senate inquries. The Senate public hearings showed that the PCSO had released P325 million of its
public relations fund to the intelligence fund of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo between 2008
and 2010, P150 million of which was released on the eve of the 2010 presidential elections. In a separate probe, former first
gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo was dragged into the alleged anomalies hounding PNPs purchase of helicopters in 2009.
COMELEC TELLS AFP:GIVE US FULL REPORT. The joint panel of the Department of Justice and Commission on Elections formed to
look into alleged election fraud in 2004 and 2007 will summon an official copy of the Mayuga Report from the military, Justice
Secretary Leila de Lima said on Thursday.
MILITARY 'BURIED EVIDENCE'. The proof of the cheating pudding is in the unearthing of what Malacañang called evidence that
allegedly was buried by probers of suspected fraud in the 2004 elections. The burial apparently laid to rest allegations that
then-President Gloria Arroyo cheated her way to the highest post in the land with the help of military generals. On Thursday,
President Aquino ordered the Department of National Defense to study supporting documents of the Mayuga Report, which was
recently declassified after six years.
LACSON TO PRESENT WITNESS IN PNP CHOPPER MESS. Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday said he will present next week a witness into
the National Police choppers controversy who will prove that Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Iggy" Arroyo was lying when he
defended his brother First Gentleman Jose Miguel Mike" Arroyo.
Aquino Invokes Eliot
Ness in Philippine Corruption War to Lure Investors
Philippine President Benigno Aquino has ordered his guards to protect officials hunting tax evaders in
an anti-corruption drive aimed at drawing investors to his country, which he says offers a “far greater” return
than its Southeast Asian neighbors.
“We’re going after very entrenched and very vested interests,” he said in an interview in
the presidential palace in Manila. Al Capone “got caught on tax evasion, not murder, not corruption, by not paying his
taxes, that amazed me,” said Aquino...
Besides pursuing tax cheats, in his first year in office Aquino has narrowed a record budgetb deficiy and
been rewarded with higher credit scores by all three major ratings companies. Now he needs to lure foreign direct investment
to upgrade roads, railways and ports that are a drag on the economy and meet his target of 8 percent annual growth...
“In terms of corruption he’s doing a pretty good job,” said Edwin Gutierrez, who helps manage
about $7 billion of emerging-market debt...
PLEA BARGAIN REVIEW: New Ombudsman allowed to intervene in Garcia case >>> The anti-graft court has given newly installed
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales 30 days to study and make the necessary legal move in connection with the plea deal that
was signed by her predecessor.
AFP: Number of
is top secret
The number of ‘ghost’ soldiers will remain secret for now. The Armed Forces of the Philippines
has refused to reveal to the Commission on Audit (COA) the number of officers and soldiers under its wing, citing national
security reasons...“This is in violation of COA’s constitutional mandate to audit Department of Defense funds.
While other countries submit their roster to their auditing bodies, the Philippine COA cannot even check if the supposed number
of troops hired by the AFP actually exists,” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said...
AFP has been padding its actual troop strength by 20 percent through the years, according to George Rabusa, a retired lieutenant
the budget for the salaries of the ghost soldiers was the major source of the military’s slush fund, from which sendoff
gifts amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos for retiring top military officials are taken...
reckoned that the AFP refused to open its books to the COA due to its fear that the “ghost soldiers” who have
padded the military payroll through the years would be finally exposed...
said COA officials had agreed to give a comprehensive and complete audit report of the entire budget on top of the separate
COA reports for each agency or department.
will be a major change in auditing the budget and will promote transparency and help eliminate corruption and ghost employees”
No "ghost soldiers" in AFP, says spokesman
Legislators hit Customs execs over ‘lost’
Lawmakers on Monday castigated Bureau of Customs officials over
the alleged smuggling of hundreds of container vans filled with household goods, plastic resins and building materials, resulting
in the loss of P230 million in potential government revenues...the legislators claimed most of the items were diverted to
the country’s fastest growing retail chain, Puregold, and other retail stores without the necessary duties being paid
In a statement, Puregold strongly denied it was involved in buying
items from the missing containers...District Collector Rogel Gatchalian of the Port of Manila said the goods were released
from Manila to Batangas without a bond since they were being accompanied by customs security personnel...
... group were apparently working with well-entrenched customs
operations personnel “who knew the loopholes or weak points in the transshipment route of imported goods.”
Ombudsman revisits controversial
Newly appointed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales wants to revisit
the controversial plea bargain agreement forged between state prosecutors and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia who
had been charged with plunder.
Morales has asked the Sandiganbayan Second Division in a motion
to allow her to submit a position paper on the plea deal.
She also asked, in the meantime, that the court hold in abeyance
its ruling on a motion to reverse the court’s approval of the deal.
Under the plea bargain, Garcia, who was charged with plundering
P303 million, agreed to plead guilty to the lighter charges of direct bribery and facilitating money laundering and to turn
over P135.433 million of his and his family’s assets to the state...
Sandiganbayan approved the plea bargain in May, provoking intense criticism from administration officials and lawmakers who
said the deal would greatly weaken anticorruption efforts.
Morales said that having only recently assumed her post, she was
still familiarizing herself with the many cases pending before the Ombudsman.
COA stops pre-auditing of gov't transactions to prevent auditors and
corrupt officials from getting involved in anomalous deals
With the new policy, state auditors are barred from approving
a program or project before the same is implemented by the concerned department, bureau, division, or office.
COA chief Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan explained that while the intentions
of pre-audit were laudable, its implementation opens the door to the idea of so-called “secret agreements.”
“For one, its very nature and purpose – which is essentially
an approval process of a transaction before it can be carried out – gave rise to myriad reports that a quid pro quo
between the agency and our auditors take place every now and then, for without COA’s approval, the transaction cannot
proceed,” she said.
Tan said pre-audit has placed a big burden on auditors who are genuinely
cautious and thorough because in their bid for time to make a decision, certain government projects are delayed which result
in consequent penalties.
“The COA has been perceived as ‘obstructionist’ or, at
the other end of the spectrum, ‘nagpapapresyo (trying to set a price or bribe). So either way, damned if we do,
damned if we don’t,” she said...
Tan and commissioners Heidi Mendoza and Juanito Espino Jr. signed
a COA circular lifting the pre-audit system, saying safeguarding public money is the principal responsibility of government
COA PRE-AUDIT POLICY CLARIFIED BEFORE CONGRESS
In budget hearing of Congress, the COA announced that it is keeping its policy of pre-auditing government projects but only
for some agencies like the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
COA Chair Tan made an example of the alleged purchase of second-hand
PNP choppers as something that got passed the pre-audit scheme of the PNP.
Tan said they have a lot of data that were not captured during
the auditing but are now unfolding, such as the PNP choppers.
She explained that they did away with the pre-audit system for some agencies that had a good record so that the COA does not unduly
delay any government project.
lifting of pre-audit is not total. We will still do it but on a risk based approach. Per transaction basis iyan," she
PALACE: NO FOI FOR NOW >>> Malacañang said it would need more time to study the freedom of information (FOI) bill and thus
it would not be included in the list of priority bills..."The FOI is being studied, we have certain concerns, valid concerns,
which we are going to raise, which have been raised by the President himself, and it's not dead in the water."