Impeachment complaint filed vs. President Aquino

A week before his fifth State of the Nation Address, a broad array of anti-pork barrel advocates has filed an impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III. The 28 complainants are seeking Aquino’s removal from office, accusing him of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust arising from his implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program.  

colmenares 2“Complainants accuse President Aquino of culpably violating the Constitution by usurping Congress’ power of the purse and undermining the principles of separation of powers and system of checks and balances. They likewise accuse the President of betraying the public trust by exacerbating the corrupt pork barrel system, committing tyrannical abuse of his powers, violating his oath of office, and perpetrating multiple counts of technical malversation and corruption of public officials.”

DAP 2“For this, he must be held to account so that lessons must be learned. For this he must be impeached,” read the Prefatory of the impeachment complaint that was endorsed by Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate and Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap.

The complainants include persons who earlier questioned the DAP before the Supreme Court, as well as anti-pork advocates that figured in last year’s Million People March and succeeding actions. Religious leaders, members of the academe, corruption whistleblowers and various sectoral leaders also signed the complaint.

They are Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Secretary-General Renato M. Reyes, Jr.; Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) President Ferdinand Gaite,; Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) Founding Chairman/President Dante Jimenez, Atty. Jose Malvar Villegas Jr., President of Citizens Crime Watch; all of whom were petitioners versus the DAP before the Supreme Court.

Other complainants include retired Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz; Bishop Emergencio D. Padillo of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP);  Bishop Joselito T. Cruz of the  Iglesia Filipina Independiente  (IFI); former Gabriela representative  Liza L. Maza; UP Prof. Judy M. Taguiwalo; musician Monet Silvestre; Fr. Benjamin Alforque, MSC of the Church People’s Alliance Against Pork Barrel Convenor; Marie Sol S. Villalon of the Promotion for Church People’s Response (PCPR); Sandra Cam, President of the Whistleblowers Association; Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)  Chairperson Rafael V. Mariano;  Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairperson Elmer C. Labog; Migrante International (MIGRANTE) Chairperson Garry Martinez;UP Prof. Danilo A. Arao, Associate Dean, College of Mass Communications and Robert T. Mendoza, RX Pork Convenor;

Known leaders of the Scrap Pork Network such as artist Mae P. Paner or Juana Change, Inday Varona; Noemi Lardizabal-Dado and Deng Silorio also signed the complaint. They were joined by  Lolita T. Donato, Alerto Mamimili Convenor; Gloria G. Arellano, Chairperson, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY); Maria Aurora Santiago, Joan Mae Salvador, Secretary-General  of GABRIELA, Vencer Mari Crisostomo, Anakbayan chairperson and Concepcion E. Empeno, Chairperson of Desaparecidos and mother of missing UP activist Karen Empeno.

“The Disbursement Acceleration Program turned the General Appropriations Act into one man’s pork barrel. By virtue of his unchecked exercise of discretion, he juggled funds from one program to another, or in the case of DAP, to projects based on his mere whim,” the complaint said.

The complainants believe that DAP further exacerbated the corruption in the pork barrel system by giving additional pork to lawmakers and local officials, in exchange for their support for the Aquino administration.

“Sa pamamagitan ng DAP, pinasahol pa ni Aquino ang korap na sistemang pork barrel sa bansa, salungat sa pangako niya “daang matuwid.”

“The President says DAP is a stimulus program done in good faith. This is belied by the list of DAP projects, most of which have nothing to do with stimulating the economy save for increasing government expenditures,” the Complainants said.

The complainants averred that DAP allowed Aquino to give lawmakers some P17.3 billion in extra pork through lump-sum items known as “other various local projects”. Other DAP expenditures were also lump-sum discretionary spending such as additional pork for local officials in the form of “support for LGUs” and various local infrastructure projects.

They said that to enlarge the presidential pork, Aquino withheld funding for so-called “slow-moving projects” and took control of the savings of agencies that were previously used for personel development.  The benefits of ordinary teachers and other government employees suffered because the so-called “savings” were being centralized to fatten the presidential pork.

In a related development, reports reveal that nearly 900 Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) of the more than 1,000 total DAP SAROs were given to lawmakers. This bolsters the complainants allegations that DAP truly intended to function as presidential pork.

 

Ombudsman probing ex-House Speaker Nograles, 7 other Davao Region solons

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BY ROGER M. BALANZA

The Ombudsman for Mindanao has added in its list  former House Speaker and Davao City First District  congressman Prospero Nograles and his son, incumbent First District congressman Karlo Nograles, Davao City Third District congressman Isidro Ungab, current chair of the House committee on appropriations, and Compostela Valley First District congressman Rommel “Bobong” Amatong in its ongoing investigation of legislators from the Davao Region linked to the P10 billion Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF) scandal.

The names of Ungab and Amatong are in a new list of legislators alleged to have received kickbacks for ghost government projects from pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles. The list however contained only the name ‘Nograles’ possibly referring either the former Speaker or his son congressman Karlo Nograles or to both.

takbo-janetThe PDAF scandal also known as the pork barrel scam involves legislators getting kickbacks from ghost projects funded by their PDAF allocations released to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) of Napoles.

Earlier, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed charges in connection with the scam against two sets of personalities including three senators.

The expanded evidence-gathering task for the Mindanao office of the anti-graft body comes as the names “Nograles,” “Isidro Ungab,” and “Rommel Amatong” appeared in a new list of legislators alleged to have received commissions from Napoles for connivance in the multi-billion peso PDAF scam..

The new list was submitted by former senator and now presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery Panfilo Lacson to the Senate blue ribbon committee which is investigating the biggest scandal to hit the Philippine legislature. The content of the list has been widely reported in media.

Another list has been submitted by Napoles to DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima who has yet to reveal its content before filing of formal charges.

Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman told media the new names in the lists would be included in their investigation.

Earlier, the Commission on Audit (COA) in its investigation report of PDAF allocations of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives listed Nograles, Ungab, former Davao del Norte First District congressman Arrel Olano, former congresswoman now Davao Oriental governor Corazon Malanyaon and former Davao del Sur congressmen Douglas Cagas and his son Marc Cagas.

The COA report had Nograles getting more than P600 million of PDAF, the second biggest next to former Compostela Valley congressman Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora who had P1.2 billion. DBM would later say that the PDAF figure of Zamora was a technical error.

    “Our field investigation unit is actively involved but its report or recommendation has to be collated with that of the central office for the bigger picture. Napalawak at napakaramikasi,” Elman said in a news report in SunStar Davao.

“Our role is to conduct field inspection, validation, evidence gathering and case buildup, taking testimonies of witnesses and everything needed to strengthen our cases against them. All out ang Ombudsman diyan. Walang sinasanto,” Elman said, further explaining that while they are responsible for the investigation, the prosecution will be handled by the central office.

The DOJ has already filed two separate charges of malversation of public funds, graft, bribery and plunder charges against Napoles, several senators, congressmen and officials and employees of government agencies linked to the anomalous release of PDAF.

In the second complaint in November last year the DOJ included congressman Douglas Cagas, alleged to have received kickbacks of P9.3 million,  and his son, Marc Cagas, P5.4 million in kickbacks, and Olano, P3.5 million, as commission in the pork barrel racket of Napoles.

The DOJ has also filed plunder charges against Senate minority leader senator Juan Ponce Enrile and senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla.

 

PDAF SCAM WHISTLE BLOWER TURNS OVER P40 MILLION

Pork barrel scam whistleblower Ruby Tuason turns over a manager’s check worth P40 million to the government in the presence of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. The amount according to Tuazon is her share from commissions from ghost projects in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

 

Ombudsman OKs plunder raps vs Enrile, Estrada, Revilla

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

The Office of the Ombudsman has recommended filing of charges for massive plunder and graft Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, including pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles after finding probable cause in the plunder complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation in connection with the misused Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the senators.

      In a joint resolution, the Ombudsman recommended filing of plunder charges against Revilla, alleged to have fattened his pocket with kickbacks amounting to P224.5    million; Estrada said to have, leech-like- sipped  lickbacks of P183.79 million; and Enrile said to have gobbled up P172.8 million in kickbacks.

NAPOLES

Napoles would be charged with plunder, malversation and corruption of public officials.

Napoles is alleged to have used dummy non-government organizations to divert P10 billion worth of the PDAF for ghost projects of the lawmakers who got kickbacks of up to 60 percent of project cost.

In the joint resolution on the three senators, the Ombudsman said it found probable cause to indict Revilla with one count of plunder and 16 counts of graft; Enrile with one count of plunder and 15 counts of graft; and Estrada with one count of plunder and 11 counts of graft.

The Ombudsman summed up the staggering amounts of PDAF also known as congressional pork barrel that  the senators got to earn kickbacks from Napoles through the ghost projects of the bogus NGOs of the scam queen: Revilla – P517 million, Enrile –  P345 million, and Estrada with P278 million.

The Ombudsman said the senators’ fPDAF were “never used for the intended projects but  were misappropriated and converted to the personal use and benefit of the senators in conspiracy with Napoles.”

 

Revilla mulls moves to evade arrest on pork scam

A lawyer of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. on Monday said the embattled lawmaker can file petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court (SC) to avoid the warrant of arrest in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Atty. Joel Bodegon, however, clarified that Revilla will only file petition for certiorari to the SC if the Sandiganbayan will junk motion for reconsideration to be filed by the senator against the soon-to-be released Ombudsman resolution on the plunder charges.

”Even if the Ombudsman releases a resolution recommending the filing of information before Sandiganbayan, the Sandigan will not automatically issue warrant of arrest,” Bodegon told the Senate media in a phone patch interview.

Bodegon said his client can file a motion for reconsideration within five days upon receipt of the resolution to be filed by the Ombudsman in the Sandiganbayan.

He explained that if the Sandiganbayan failed to act on Revilla’s motion for reconsideration within five days, the senator has the option to file petition for certiorari questioning the Ombudsman resolution.

”If the Sandiganbayan rejects our motion, we are free to bring the denial in the SC for a petition for certiorari,” Bodegon said.

Earlier, Revilla filed motion for reconsideration stopping the preliminary investigation of the pork barrel plunder complaint but the Ombudsman rejected the petition.

Revilla has elevated his plea to suspend the Ombudsman’s probe to the SC but the highest court has yet to hear the petition.

Revilla and two other senators — Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada were among the 38 individuals charged with plunder, malversation of funds and corruption in the pork barrel scam.

The three senators have been accused of releasing their priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to the alleged bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) formed by the alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. (PNA)

SANTIAGO: Govt should bill Napoles for Fort Sto. Domingo detention

If Janet Lim-Napoles wants a specially miriamsecure jail but continues to clam up regarding everything she knows about the P10-billion pork barrel scam that she allegedly engineered, it may be time to bill her for her reported P150,000-a-month detention bungalow in Fort Sto. Domingo.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago made the remark amid suggestions that Napoles be transferred to an ordinary jail with other inmates if she continues to keep mum about the legislators who converted their pork barrel funds into millions of pesos in kickbacks for themselves through Napoles’ fake nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and their ghost projects.

The Aquino administration has continued to allow Napoles to be detained at the police camp in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna province, despite the huge cost to Filipino taxpayers to keep her safe, hoping that she would eventually tell all on her influential conspirators in the government.

Refuses to cooperate

“Since Napoles refuses to cooperate, it appears that there is no substantial reason for the government to pay so much money just for one individual when it does not provide the same services for all other prisoners facing criminal charges and denied the right to bail,” Santiago said on Friday in a speech at De La Salle University.

“Accordingly, I humbly propose that President Aquino save public funds by allowing detention prisoners to pay for their stay,” she added.;

Santiago said the government was spending P5,000 daily and P150,000 monthly, and would be spending P1.8 million annually for Napoles’ special detention accommodations. PDI


Angara joins 3 other senators in PDAF scam ‘Senathieves List’

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

senathieves

The list is getting longer of lawmakers who like blood-sucking leeches feasted on bribes from ghost projects of fake non-government organizations (NGO) of pork barrel scam queen Janet Napoles.

79 congressmen also in new list

Documents furnished by former Nabcor officials Rhodora Mendoza and Vic Cacal to the Office of the Ombudsman, showed Senator Edgardo Angara as among four senators and 79 congressmen who endorsed for implementation to Napoles’ fake NGOs a total of P1.7 billion of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations during a three-year period. Angara joins three other senators — Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada — linked to the multi-billion pesos PDAF scam in the biggest political scandal that has rocked the Philippines.

The lawmakers ordered the release  of the funds through the National Agri-business Corp. (Nabcor), a line agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), to the fake NGOs of Napoles, who is now being investigated for her role in the P10 billion PDAF scam, the Nabcor documents showed.

Charges of massive corruption and plunder based on audit reports on the PDAF by the Commission on Audit (COA) have earlier been filed against  Enrile, Estrada and Revilla and 38 other people including Gacal and Mendoza.

The documents submitted by the Nabcor officials showed that Angara used Nabcor as conduit for P20 million of his PDAF allocation.

The senator endorsed a fake Napoles NGO —Kagandahan ng Kapaligiran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) — to implement the project for the purchase of farm equipment and seedlings that were to be distributed to farmers.

 

DPWH shelves 2 Davao City flyover projects

flyover 2

Proposed Ulas flyover also in danger of being shot down

BY ROGER M. BALANZA 

DAVAO CITY will have to contend with alternative ways to solve its worsening traffic condition  after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) shelved two proposed flyover projects.

However, DPWH plans to pursue construction of a flyover in Ulas,  at the crossroad of heavy traffic volume from Davao del Sur province, Central Mindanao and SOCCSKSARGEN; and Northern Mindanao.

But there is bad news. The Ulas flyover project is being re-assessed by DPWH, and may just remain a dream if it fails the agency’s new feasibility study.

The local government had sought funding for three  flyover projects to rise in Ulas and Matina in the south of the city; and in Panacan, north of the city which also absorbs huge traffic burden from the Davao region provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley; and the Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions.

Davao City has two existing flyovers: the Agdao and Buhangin flyovers. 

The proposed Matina and Panacan flyovers are among three proposed flyover projects in the Davao region, that included a project in Panabo City in Davao del Norte, that were shelved by DPWH.

“The Ulas flyover was already submitted for implementation but some sectors questioned the effectiveness of the construction of the Ulas flyover when it comes to solving the traffic problem in the area,” DPWH 11 Regional Director Mariano Alquiza said.

Alquiza said DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson ordered a re-study of the traffic impact of the proposed Ulas flyover. The study was done by the central office .

Unfortunately, the Ulas project failed the traffic impact study, Alquiza said in an online post by government-owned Philippines News Agency (PNA).

Alquiza said the decision is not yet official as he is still waiting for the notice from the central office. However, he said, “I asked around and was told that building the Ulas flyover will not solve the traffic problem in the area.”

Alquiza said they will have no choice but to cancel the flyover project and maybe look into alternative solutions like the widening of the McArthur-Bukidnon Road.

Dabawenyos expected the construction of two flyovers in 2014 after DPWH noted that they were just waiting for the approval of the project design from the central office.

The Ulas, Matina and Panacan junctions are traffic bottleneck areas because of the lack of alternative routes in the said areas.

NINCOMPOOPS’ COLLECTIVE

DE LA ROPSA ROSAL;ES

Napolcom chides CHR with award to DCPO

bato

nincompoopcIf the Commission on Human Rights was not impressed by the killing of kidnappers in the Sally Chua case, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) is.          Napolcom has awarded the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) headed by city director Ronald dela Rosa with a Plaque of Appreciation.

Napolcom chides CHR with award to DCPO

rosales dela rosaIf the Commission on Human Rights was not impressed by the killing of kidnappers in the Sally Chua case, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) is.

         Napolcom has awarded the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) headed by city director Ronald dela Rosa with a Plaque of Appreciation for the killing on July 11 of 3 kidnappers of Chua, a Filipino-Chinese businesswoman of Quezon City.

         The CHR has smelled a rub-out and wants the incident investigated.

         After seizing Chua in Manila on July 5, the 14-man Kidnap-For-Ransom gang brought her all the way from the capital to Davao City where she was supposed to withdraw a P15-million from Allied Bank on C. M. Recto Ave.

         Before the pay-off could be made, police operatives engaged the gang in a shoot-out at the parking lot of the bank, killing three of the kidnappers. Police arrested a gangmember, who escorted Chua inside the bank where she would have withdrawn the P15-million ransom, while the 10 others fled on two SUVs. Chua was rescued unharmed.

Dela Rosa has expressed elation at the recognition that he said would booste the morale of the local police.

         Instead of being praised, we were investigated, he said.

         Dela Rosa was referring to a probe that CHR chair Etta Rosales plans to conduct on the incident.

         Rosales had described the parking lot shoot-out where three of the kidnappers were killed as a’rub-out.”

Napolcom Regional Director Angelito Ravanera gave the award to dela Rosa and his men during a simple ceremony at the DCPO headquarters in Camp Captain Domingo E. Leonor.

We are happy that they have awarded us with this. I am happy that they were able to recognize our successful operation, said dela Rosa after the awarding.

The Napolcom award came even as the PNP XI Regional Internal Affairs Service (RIAS) is conducting an investigation on the incident.

Dela Rosa said he and his men were ready to face any investigation.

We are willing to answer any inquiries and if proven guilty, we are ready to face the charges, according to Dela Rosa who earlier said he was willing to go to jail with his men.