Ombudsman vows to block Napoles from being a state witness

UNTV News   •   May 17, 2017   •   3532

MANILA — “I already stated that we don’t find her to be a candidate for a state witness. We will have the last say on whether or not we will recommend her to be a state witness.”

This has been the reaction of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales regarding the plan of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make Janet Lim Napoles a state witness.

The Ombudsman assures that the prosecution will block any attempt to make her a state witness in the plunder and graft charges filed against those involved in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, also called the pork barrel scam.

Morales insists that Napoles remains the primary accused in the cases involving the anomalous use of the  lawmakers’ PDAF.

“I’m not bothered at all. We are confident of opposition, so whatever they say let them say it. We are not bothered. We are not concerned at all by whatever they say about whether or not there is a pending agreement or modus vendee between Napoles and the DOJ,” she said.

The Ombudsman is confident that their investigation is sufficient and that it cannot be obliged to follow the findings of the DOJ.

“It’s up to them if they wish to reinvestigate but as I said we are not bound by any findings over cases over which the Ombudsman has the final authority to determine whether or not there is probable cause.”

Morales is unfazed by DOJ’s plan to reinvestigate the PDAF scam.

“I’m not bothered at all we are confident of opposition, so whatever they say let them say it.”

Meanwhile, Morales has confirmed that former budget secretary, Butch Abad, is one of the individuals being probed in connection with the said scandal.

It can be recalled that Napoles initially pointed at Abad as the one who taught her how to create fake non-government organizations where lawmakers could allocate their PDAF.

Aguirre notes that a citizen has the right to do what he thinks is right as long as it is in accordance with the law, but because DOJ has the authority to accept a person under the witness protection program, it will do whatever is necessary.

— JOAN NANO / UNTV News & Rescue

WATCH: Several lawmakers might go to jail once Janet Napoles speaks – Sen. Lacson

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)

Ombudsman will not appeal Revilla’s acquittal in 16 PDAF graft charges

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has rested its case against Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in the controversial ‘Pork Barrel’ scam.

This after the Sandiganbayan (SB) acquitted Revilla “for insufficiency of evidence on the remaining 16 graft cases” in relation to the alleged irregularities in the Senator’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

“The SB First Division voted 3-2 to grant Senator Revilla’s Demurrer to Evidence, AND WE RESPECT ITS DECISION,” the Ombudsman said in a statement.

Furthermore, the statement stressed that Ombudsman Samuel Martires will no longer challenge the “dismissal of cases/quashal of information and judgments of acquittal, either through a motion to dismiss, a demurrer to evidence or by a decision, rendered by the trial courts or the Sandiganbayan except when the People was clearly deprived of due process or there was mistrial,” citing Revilla’s constitutional right against double jeopardy.

“A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. The grant of the court of the demurrer is tantamount to an acquittal because the defendant is cleared of the criminal case and is no longer required to present his evidence,” the Ombudsman statement explained.

Revilla was accused in 2014 of diverting his PDAF for the years 2006 to 2009 to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to ex-Cagayan de Oro congressman and Pork Barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles.

The senator was alleged to have received P224.5 million kickback in the process.

Napoles was convicted of plunder in relation to the scam in 2018.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.