Ombudsman to file motion for reconsideration on Jinggoy Estrada’s petition for bail

admin   •   September 19, 2017   •   5385

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has maintained having strong evidence against former Senator Jinggoy Estrada in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval said they will appeal to the anti-graft court to recall the temporary freedom granted to Estrada.

Sandoval added that it is not right to reverse the decision of the previous set of justices of the 5th division who previously denied the petition for bail of the former senator.

“It is not right procedurally that on the basis of the same facts, same evidence, same exhibits, the former division has decided yet the [current division] will now entitle him for bail,” said Sandoval.

Sandoval said no member of the previous set of justices in the 5th division is included in the new set who granted the bail petition of Estrada.

The former senator cited the Supreme Court’s decision on the bail petition of the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The highest court said the PCSO’s cases have not shown the “main plunderer” in the scam in which the former president was allegedly involved.

The Office of the Ombudsman said Arroyo’s case should not be compared with Estrada’s because the latter involves private individuals while in Arroyo’s case, all involved were government officials.

“In other words, even if the co-conspirator has performable 1 part or several in the continuous concatenation of criminal acts he will be considered the main or principal accused. If the charge is plunder, he will be considered the main plunderer,” said the prosecutor.

The Office of the Ombudsman is still confident that they also have a strong case against Janet Lim-Napoles even if she is not a government official.

If somebody is also charged in conspiracy with you, that somebody is liable and he can be classified already as public officer for purposes of convicting.

Sandoval believes in the integrity of the Sandiganbayan and he hopes that the justices will recall the granting of bail to Estrada.

“I still trust that the Sandiganbayan justices cannot be controlled by politics. I  was there for 16 years and it is only hearsay that there are politicians that are intervening,” said Sandoval. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

Sara Duterte takes oath as member of Lakas-CMD after quitting Hugpong

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte has joined national party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).

A photo and video shared with the media showed Duterte taking her oath of membership before Lakas-CMD chairperson Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and party president, House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

She took her oath at the Revilla Farm in Silang, Cavite around 6 p.m.

This developed after Duterte tendered her resignation as chairperson of regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago on Thursday morning.

The move is seen as a step closer to a potential run for higher office in the 2022 elections.

Sara Duterte’s latest actions have fuelled speculations she will be gunning for a national post in the 2022 elections. It remains unclear what position she will be running for as she has yet to give details about her political plans.

Lakas-CMD fielded its member, Anna Capela Velasco, for its presidential candidate during the filing of certificate of candidacy last October. Another party member named Lyle Fernando Uy is also listed as its vice presidential bet.

Lakas-CMD secretary general Prospero Pichay earlier admitted that they were simply fielding a placeholder for its candidates as they are eyeing Sara Duterte as their standard bearer.

Lakas-CMD had been wooing the presidential daughter but Duterte earlier said she had no intention to seek a higher post. She eventually filed her certificate of candidacy for a third and final term as mayor of Davao City.

Other political parties, such as PDP-Laban, have also urged Duterte to run for president.

Sara Duterte has consistently topped opinion polls on preferred candidates for president.

Lakas-CMD is the political party of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Sara Duterte is known to have close ties with Arroyo, and was believed to be instrumental in the latter’s ascent as House Speaker in 2018.

Political parties wanting to change candidates for the 2022 elections have until November 15 to file their substitution

Duterte backs call for Ombudsman probe on Pharmally issue

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte supports a call for the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation on the government’s alleged anomalous procurement of pandemic supplies.

The president was referring to the appeal of the Philippine College of Physicians for the Ombudsman to file appropriate cases against all those accountable in the controversial multibillion-peso deals between the government and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

“We welcome the call of the Philippine College of Physicians that this matter should be immediately given to our courts and the Ombudsman. We have been saying this for the longest time and we all know that the Senate cannot prosecute. Mabuti pa ang mga doktor alam at naintindihan nila,” Duterte said.

“File cases is the right way to go. Stop using this issue in aid of election. Problema kasi sa Senate natin trying hard maghanap ng mga issue na may nangungurakot o kaya may nagkakapera,” he added.

The chief executive stated that, to date, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee has yet to build a case out of the hearings it has conducted, pointing out that that the said government deal was consistent with Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One-Act.

“And so we go back now to what has been established many times, walang overpricing […} legal ang naging proseso ng pagbili, according to what has been provided by Bayanihan 1. Na-deliver lahat at binayaran nang pagkatapos na-deliver,” the president insisted.

Duterte also dared the Senate to bring the matter to the proper courts.

“And if you think that you have identified companies with tax issues, then file the appropriate cases. Matagal na naman namin sinasabi, kasuhan niyo ang mga dapat kasuhan. Lahat naman talaga dapat magbayad ng buwis at kung kailangan magbayad, singilan para magbayad iyong may mga atraso sa gobyerno kagaya ni Senator Gordon,” Duterte said.

“Eh you call my memorandum ‘stupid?’ Well, I challenge you: bring your arguments to the proper court and I will answer you,” he further stated.

The president also slammed Senator Richard Gordon for threatening to cut the budget of the executive department if the officials will not attend the Blue Ribbon’s hearings, calling it a blatant abuse of power.

“You threaten the budget of different agencies of the Executive because the officials refuse to attend to your hearings. Ito ‘yung mga pang-abuso talaga itong masabi ko sa gobyerno — sa gobyerno ‘pag ka demokrasya, itong separation of powers, co-equal and everything; and they threatened to paralyze government,” Duterte said.

“I challenge you, do it. ‘Pag ka ‘yung mga hearing reduce the budget by one third, hinahamon ko kayo, gawain ninyo ‘yan,” he added. —/mbmf

Senate panel approves COA, Ombudsman proposed 2022 budget

Maris Federez   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday approved the proposed budget of two constitutional bodies for 2022.

Senator Sonny Angara called the budget deliberation of the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman the shortest so far for this year, as the panel gave its approval under 15 minutes of the hearing.

The committee hearing for COA’s proposed budget of P14.4 billion only took 10 minutes and was soon endorsed for the nod of the plenary.

“No questions on the part of the Chair. […] this is probably the shortest budget meeting of this 2022 budget,” Angara said during the hearing.

Indicated in COA’s proposed budget is its request for additional funds for personnel services for the third tranche of the pay adjustments under the salary standardization law for government employees.

COA also requested a budget increase for the construction of provincial satellite auditing offices and provision for the operational expenses of these branches.

“We have written a letter to the committee asking for additional budgetary support primarily on the MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) […] and possibly if the budget is flexible enough, maybe additional capital outlay,” said COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo.

COA has, so far, completed the construction of 54 satellite offices, and 17 more under construction.

Meanwhile, it only took the Senate panel 13 minutes to finish the hearing of the P3.9 billion budget of the Office of the Ombudsman that was recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Ombudsman Samuel Martires appealed for additional funding for its operational budget that was cut by almost half by the DBM.

“We’re not asking too much. If it will be hard for the Senate to give us the proposed budget for 2022, then we just would like to request that at least the budget that was given to us for 2021 be retained,” Martires said.

The Senate is currently on recess and is expected to resume on November 8 wherein senators are expected to start the deliberation of the national budget in the plenary. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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