OMBUDSMAN INDICTS ENRILE, JINGGOY, BONG FOR PLUNDER

The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file plunder and graft charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada Jr., Ramon “Bong” Revilla, and others tagged in one of the biggest corruption scandals in the country's history. In a press conference, Spokesman and Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales signed three separate joint resolutions that saw the three senators under an alleged modus operandi where they “repeatedly received sums of money from [businesswoman Janet Napoles]…” that took place for a number of years. Napoles, as the alleged conduit of the scam, will also be included in the cases that will be filed before the Sandiganbayan as soon as all motions for reconsideration are resolved. Rafanan said all the respondents failed to sufficiently answer nor provide evidence to counter the sworn statements of witnesses led by Benhur Luy, the report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the illegal use of the pork barrel, as well as field verifications and sworn statements from local government units and the supposed beneficiaries of the Napoles projects. On plunder, Rafanan said: "The joint resolutions concluded that the three senators took undue advantage of their positions to illegally divert, in connivance [with others], their priority development assistance fund to the Napoles NGOs." Enrile allegedly plundered P172 million, Revilla’s at P242 million, and Estrada P183 million. In approving the filing of the complaints, the Ombudsman said the respondents "conspired… causing undue injury to the government." Rafanan said the amounts “amassed or misappropriated” are: Enrile with P345 million, Revilla with P517 million, and Jinggoy with P278 million. It is the first time that Philippine senators are facing such serious charges. Plunder is a non-bailable crime. READ MORE...

ALSO: Enrile, Estrada, Revilla urged to resign

The group behind last year's massive protest against the pork barrel system wants Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. to step down. The Scrap Pork Network, the organizers of the "Million People March," said these officials who have "wrongfully wielded power" must resign now as the Luneta Park protest passes the half-year mark. "In the face of overwhelming evidence, we are making an immediate call for the resignation of Senators Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla. This, too, is overdue. In other countries a mere hint of wrongdoing is enough for public officials to resign their posts," the group said on Thursday. The three senators have been accused of amassing kickbacks from the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) supposedly diverted to fake non-government organizations of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam. Earlier this week, the Office of the Ombudsman said it found probable cause to charge them with plunder and other offenses before the Sandiganbayan. They have repeatedly denied stealing from public coffers and cried foul for allegedly being singled out. Revilla and Estrada are currently out of the country but both vowed to return soon.

ALSO: Jinggoy: No reason to go on leave

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, on vacation in the United States, has rejected calls for him to take a leave of absence from the Senate. In a television interview, Estrada said a politically motivated, orchestrated effort is being undertaken to go after him and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr. “Why should I take a leave of absence?” he asked in Filipino. “My conscience is clear. I have not done any wrong. I did not steal from the people.” He swore innocence on all charges against him. The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to indict Estrada, Enrile and Revilla before the Sandiganbayan. Estrada said charging them in court was clearly planned because the ombudsman did not take long to go over their cases in spite of previous pronouncements that it would take more than a year to go through all documents in its possession. “And it was timed with the release of the committee report of the Blue Ribbon,” he said. Revilla is also abroad with his family for a pilgrimage to Israel. Both Estrada and Revilla have vowed to return to the country to face the charges against them.

ALSO: Jinggoy won’t ask for special jail

Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. are ready to face whatever action the Sandiganbayan takes against them as individuals accused of plunder in the pork barrel scam, with Estrada saying he would not ask for a special detention facility. In a telephone interview with reporters yesterday, Estrada, who is currently in Los Angeles, said that he will subject himself to whatever the Sandiganbayan decides regarding his case. Estrada said that his lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration on Monday on the resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman recommending the filing of plunder charges against him. However, Estrada said that he expects this would be junked by the Office of the Ombudsman. “I am prepared for any eventuality,” Estrada said. Once the case is filed before the Sandiganbayan, arrest warrants would be issued against the accused senators. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said that the senators should be detained in regular detention facilities just like any other person accused of a crime. Estrada said that it would be up to the court to decide where they would be detained and that he would not ask to be placed in a special facility.

ALSO: House eyes longer prescription period for graft cases

A bill is seeking to extend the prescription period for graft cases from 15 to 30 years. The House of Representatives committee on revision of laws and codes has endorsed the bill for plenary consideration. Authors led by Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said violations of laws on graft and corruption and plunder could be filed within 30 years from the time they are committed. Offenders must not be allowed to escape criminal liability just due to lack of time for authorities to file cases, they added. Aggabao said doubling the prescription period is necessary in the wake of numerous lawmakers and private citizens involved in the multibillion-peso congressional pork barrel scam. “In the Philippines, graft and corruption have become so pervasive that it developed into a total systemic affliction,” they said. “Recently, we were dumbfounded by the grand larceny of public funds for private pecuniary gain and benefit. It is bleeding the government coffers and the innocent victim is no less than the Filipino people,” he said. Aggabao said violations of laws against graft and corruption and plunder “are one of the most difficult crimes to prosecute and investigate.” “Records show that the accused are often made liable for their crimes only upon its discovery after their term or tenure in public office or even after the change in government administration,” he said. “By the time the information is filed in court, the crime has already prescribed or is about to prescribe.” Aggabao said the extension of the prescription period for such case to at least 30 years is needed. “This will prevent perpetrators from escaping criminal liability by the mere technicality of prescription,” he said. The bill would amend Section 11 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

EARLIER NEWS: Jinggoy wants longer prescriptive period for graft raps

DECEMBER 2013 -Sen. Jinggoy Estrada wants to increase the prescriptive period for graft and corruption from 15 years to 30 years to ensure that accused public officials do not escape prosecution. In seeking to amend Section 11 of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Estrada said a lot of public officials found liable for graft and corruption tend to escape prosecution during their incumbency due to various reasons, including strong connections with influential people in government. “Cases show that persons, particularly government officials, who may be held liable for graft and corruption under Republic Act 3019 commit the same during the time of their incumbency or at a time when they still have strong connections in government,” he said. “Usually, concerned citizens or the proper government agency only muster the courage to file a case or discover such irregularity after a change in government administration.” Estrada said delays in the case build-up, like the gathering of evidence, are so bad that they reach the 15-year prescriptive period. “With the passage of this bill, it is hoped that government scalawags would not be able to exculpate from their criminal liability just because of a technicality, i.e. prescription of the offense,” he said. Sen. Teofisto Guingona III also filed a similar bill seeking to increase the prescriptive period to 20 years. It also aims to give the government the right to recover properties that a public officer has unlawfully acquired from nominees or transferees and would not be barred by prescription, laches or estoppel.


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Ombudsman indicts Enrile, Jinggoy, Bong, for plunder


PHOTO FROM PHILSTAR

MANILA, APRIL 7, 2014 (ABS-CBN) by Ira Pedrasa - The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file plunder and graft charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada Jr., Ramon “Bong” Revilla, and others tagged in one of the biggest corruption scandals in the country's history.

In a press conference, Spokesman and Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales signed three separate joint resolutions that saw the three senators under an alleged modus operandi where they “repeatedly received sums of money from [businesswoman Janet Napoles]…” that took place for a number of years.

Napoles, as the alleged conduit of the scam, will also be included in the cases that will be filed before the Sandiganbayan as soon as all motions for reconsideration are resolved.

Rafanan said all the respondents failed to sufficiently answer nor provide evidence to counter the sworn statements of witnesses led by Benhur Luy, the report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the illegal use of the pork barrel, as well as field verifications and sworn statements from local government units and the supposed beneficiaries of the Napoles projects.

On plunder, Rafanan said: "The joint resolutions concluded that the three senators took undue advantage of their positions to illegally divert, in connivance [with others], their priority development assistance fund to the Napoles NGOs."

Enrile allegedly plundered P172 million, Revilla’s at P242 million, and Estrada P183 million.

In approving the filing of the complaints, the Ombudsman said the respondents "conspired… causing undue injury to the government."

Rafanan said the amounts “amassed or misappropriated” are: Enrile with P345 million, Revilla with P517 million, and Jinggoy with P278 million.

It is the first time that Philippine senators are facing such serious charges. Plunder is a non-bailable crime.

Ruby Tuason, Gigi Reyes, et al

In the case of Enrile, 15 counts of graft raps will be filed against the senator, chief of staff Gigi Reyes, Ruby Tuason, Janet Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim, and John Raymond de Asis.

In the case of Revilla, 16 counts of graft raps will be filed against the senator, Richard Cambe, as well as Napoles, Lim, and de Asis.

In the case of Estrada, 11 counts of graft will be filed against the senator, Pauline Labayen, as well as Napoles, Lim, de Asis, and Tuason.

Tuason, the former social secretary of ex-President Joseph Estrada, arrived in the country from the United States to reveal her supposed knowledge of the pork scam. In a Senate hearing, she claimed she personally delivered the pork kickbacks to Senator Estrada and Enrile’s chief of staff, Gigi Reyes.

Rafanan said Tuason has already applied for “immunity” from the suits, which has yet to be tackled. “The Office of the Ombudsman first resolved the liabilities.”

On the others who are now out of the country, Rafanan said the office will “try its best” to deliver the resolutions for proper appeal. Each respondent has five days to answer upon receipt of the resolutions.

Possible hold departure order requests will be tackled as soon as the information sheets or charge sheets will be filed, he added.

The Ombudsman has yet to issue a resolution on the other liabilities of several other lawmakers, including allies of President Aquino.

Any filing at the Sandiganbayan is but a small part of the entire legal process. A decision by the Sandiganbayan will still move up to the Supreme Court.

Some quarters have criticized the slow justice in the country.

Plunder complaint against Senator Bong Revilla

Plunder complaint against Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

Plunder complaint against Senator Jinggoy Estrada

FROM PHILSTAR

Enrile, Estrada, Revilla urged to resign By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated April 4, 2014 - 9:15am 2 367 googleplus1 0

MANILA, Philippines - The group behind last year's massive protest against the pork barrel system wants Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. to step down.

The Scrap Pork Network, the organizers of the "Million People March," said these officials who have "wrongfully wielded power" must resign now as the Luneta Park protest passes the half-year mark.

"In the face of overwhelming evidence, we are making an immediate call for the resignation of Senators Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla. This, too, is overdue. In other countries a mere hint of wrongdoing is enough for public officials to resign their posts," the group said on Thursday.

The three senators have been accused of amassing kickbacks from the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) supposedly diverted to fake non-government organizations of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam.

Earlier this week, the Office of the Ombudsman said it found probable cause to charge them with plunder and other offenses before the Sandiganbayan.

They have repeatedly denied stealing from public coffers and cried foul for allegedly being singled out. Revilla and Estrada are currently out of the country but both vowed to return soon.

Estrada has also rejected calls for him to take a leave of absence from the Senate.

The Scrap Pork Network said the alleged kickbacks obtained by the three senators "is but the tip of the iceberg of fund scams," believing that the "rape of our national budget is on a much grander scale."

"The current administration's 'Daang Matuwid' philosophy continues to be ignored by corrupt officials who steal budgets for food security or who chip away at monies intended for public infrastructure, defense systems, healthcare, education and social services," the group said.

It added that all those who have misused public funds through similar scams should be investigated and those found guilty must be punished.

"Seven months after our protest in Luneta, we believe that a full accounting by and prosecution of all involved are overdue," the network said.

Jinggoy: No reason to go on leave By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 4, 2014 - 12:00am 15 189 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (photo), on vacation in the United States, has rejected calls for him to take a leave of absence from the Senate.

In a television interview, Estrada said a politically motivated, orchestrated effort is being undertaken to go after him and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr.

“Why should I take a leave of absence?” he asked in Filipino. “My conscience is clear. I have not done any wrong. I did not steal from the people.”

He swore innocence on all charges against him.

The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to indict Estrada, Enrile and Revilla before the Sandiganbayan.

Estrada said charging them in court was clearly planned because the ombudsman did not take long to go over their cases in spite of previous pronouncements that it would take more than a year to go through all documents in its possession.

“And it was timed with the release of the committee report of the Blue Ribbon,” he said.

Revilla is also abroad with his family for a pilgrimage to Israel.

Both Estrada and Revilla have vowed to return to the country to face the charges against them.

In a radio interview, Revilla said in Filipino that he will not flee as some people are saying because he is not that kind of person.

“I will face it even if my life is put at risk,” he said.

“I cannot run away from these false allegations. This is the only time that I can clear my name so I cannot run away from this case.”

The allegations are all part of the political persecution of him and his family, he added.

Revilla denied a report that he had met with former senator Panfilo Lacson to discuss details of how he managed to evade arrest for more than a year.

In a statement, Revilla said he met with Lacson after the 2013 elections “for the purpose of leaving the local elections in Cavite behind us.”

“Our meeting was an act of magnanimity from both sides, as we wanted to ensure that our friendship was not affected,” he said.

The sons of Revilla and Lacson ran against each other for the vice gubernatorial post in Cavite.

Revilla said that during their meeting, Lacson expressed his sympathy for the persecution he was going through, and jokingly asked him if he was going into hiding.

“To impute any malice to that meeting is foul,” he said. “I did not consult him on how he evaded the law, much more prod him to tell me.”

Revilla said the persecution of him has been relentless.

“You don’t hit a man when he’s down,” he said.

Jinggoy won’t ask for special jail By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 5, 2014 - 12:00am 13 408 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. are ready to face whatever action the Sandiganbayan takes against them as individuals accused of plunder in the pork barrel scam, with Estrada saying he would not ask for a special detention facility.

In a telephone interview with reporters yesterday, Estrada, who is currently in Los Angeles, said that he will subject himself to whatever the Sandiganbayan decides regarding his case.

Estrada said that his lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration on Monday on the resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman recommending the filing of plunder charges against him.

However, Estrada said that he expects this would be junked by the Office of the Ombudsman.

“I am prepared for any eventuality,” Estrada said.

Once the case is filed before the Sandiganbayan, arrest warrants would be issued against the accused senators.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said that the senators should be detained in regular detention facilities just like any other person accused of a crime.

Estrada said that it would be up to the court to decide where they would be detained and that he would not ask to be placed in a special facility.

“Do I have a choice? Wala naman kami choice (We don’t have any choice here). I’m not thinking of it,” he said.

Lawyer Joel Bodegon, the legal counsel of Revilla, aired the same opinion, saying that once the court decides on where the senator would be detained, he would have no choice on the matter.

“It is the discretion of the court to determine in which detention facility he would be placed,” Bodegon said.

However, he said that the court could extend some degree of consideration to the three as senators and send them to a special detention facility.

He cited the case of former President Joseph Estrada, who was allowed to stay at his rest house in Tanay, Rizal and even alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, who is currently detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna.

“This is a provisional detention. While facing trial, the court may extend them some consideration. There is still a presumption of innocence even if they are facing trial before the court,” Bodegon said.

The three senators were urged to go on leave while their cases are pending, which Estrada and Revilla have both rejected.

Estrada insisted that he did not commit any crime and that his conscience is clear so “why would I go on a leave of absence?”

On the part of Revilla, Bodegon said that his client has no reason to go on leave because he believes he is innocent of all the charges raised against him.

Bodegon said that the petition filed by Revilla’s camp before the Supreme Court for certiorari prohibition against the Office of the Ombudsman is still pending and they are counting on this to be resolved in their favor.

The senators could also face suspension once the arrest warrants are issued by the Sandiganbayan.

Senator Santiago said that the suspension is automatic upon the issuance of the arrest warrant.

Bodegon did not dispute this and noted that both the Plunder Law and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act contain provisions that once a valid information is filed, then the accused can be suspended from office.

He pointed out that this has happened before in the case of Santiago, who was suspended by the Sandiganbayan for 90 days in 1995.

Santiago’s case at the time was for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which was filed when she was still immigration commissioner.

She brought the case up to the Supreme Court, which came out with a resolution in 2001 stating that the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act “does not exclude from its coverage the members of Congress and that, therefore, the Sandiganbayan did not err in thus decreeing the assailed preventive suspension order.”

“Attention might be called to the fact that Criminal Case No. 16698 has been decided by the First Division of the Sandiganbayan on 06 December 1999, acquitting herein petitioner (Santiago). The Court, nevertheless, deems it appropriate to render this decision for future guidance on the significant issue raised by petitioner,” according to the ruling.

Estrada said that he would return to the country on the evening of April 21 via Cathay Pacific.

He said that he would be speaking at the graduation rites of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Manila the following day.

Estrada said that he has never tried to run from any charge made against him and this was true even in 2001 when he faced several charges.

“The last time I left the country, a lot of people were also saying that I would not come back. But I came back, didn’t I?” he said.

Revilla is with his family in Israel for a pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

Up to senators

It is up to the senators implicated in the pork barrel scam to decide whether they should go on leave after the Office of the Ombudsman filed plunder and graft charges against them before the Sandiganbayan, Malacańang said yesterday.

On their detention, the Palace said it would be up to the Sandiganbayan to make a decision after warrants of arrest are issued.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Senate President Franklin Drilon had made known his opinion that it would really be up to the senators concerned to take a leave of absence or not.

“I think he (Drilon) is a better person to respond to this. Part of the requirement of being charged is the opportunity to be heard. The call for the senators to go on leave is best addressed to their own judgment,” Lacierda said.

“But there are rules and procedures in the Senate as to when a particular senator may be suspended and those rules have been mentioned by Senate President Frank Drilon,” he said.

If the Sandiganbayan finds probable cause in the case filed by the Ombudsman, Drilon said the situation could change because then warrants of arrest would be issued.

Since this is a non-bailable offense, Drilon said they would be under detention by the Sandiganbayan, and they would be ordered suspended from the Senate by the Sandiganbayan.

The Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to file charges against Enrile, Estrada and Revilla is a test on the fairness and trustworthiness of the country’s judicial system, Vice President Jejomar Binay said yesterday.

“In the event that the ombudsman denies the motions for reconsideration and proceeds with the filing before the Sandiganbayan, I am confident that our courts will accord the three senators their right to a fair trial as provided for by the Constitution,” Binay said.

He said the case would also test if the drive for reforms will be blind to political motives.

“If it stops with the filing of the plunder cases against three senators who are not political allies of the President and confines it to the Napoles case, it will create the impression of being selective, and that political partisanship – not justice – is the sole motivation behind these charges,” Binay said.

Binay noted that the Commission Audit (COA) has mentioned other legislators and other fake NGOs in a comprehensive report last year.

“We hope the concerned government agencies will act on these findings with the same determination and focus displayed in the Napoles case. The public would want no less than full accountability from its public officials. The rule of law must prevail regardless of stature or political affiliations,” Binay said.

A senior administration lawmaker said yesterday the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam would be among the main issues that will dominate the 2016 presidential elections.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said prospective presidential candidates would be scrutinized on their stand or how they handled the pork barrel scam controversy.

“It (stand on pork barrel scam) could even be the determining factor of his (presidential aspirant) ability to win in the next polls,” Castelo said.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said Enrile, Estrada and Revilla might request the Sandiganbayan to place them in the custody of the Senate under Senate President Drilon once the anti-graft court issues warrants of arrest against them.

Ilagan said there is a precedent for this when “protective custody” was given to the so-called “Batasan 5” lawmakers led by then Bayan Muna

Rep. Satur Ocampo when they were charged with rebellion in 2006.

She said being granted protective custody should not be considered special treatment for the three senators.

“This will allow them to continue carrying out their duties as legislators, after all, they are not yet convicted. Besides they were elected by the people to serve. And serve they must. So seeking custody, like staying in the Senate, can be done,” she said. With Jose Rodel Clapano, Aurea Calica, Paolo Romero

House eyes longer prescription period for graft cases By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 5, 2014 - 12:00am 0 43 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - A bill is seeking to extend the prescription period for graft cases from 15 to 30 years.

The House of Representatives committee on revision of laws and codes has endorsed the bill for plenary consideration.

Authors led by Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said violations of laws on graft and corruption and plunder could be filed within 30 years from the time they are committed.

Offenders must not be allowed to escape criminal liability just due to lack of time for authorities to file cases, they added.

Aggabao said doubling the prescription period is necessary in the wake of numerous lawmakers and private citizens involved in the multibillion-peso congressional pork barrel scam.

“In the Philippines, graft and corruption have become so pervasive that it developed into a total systemic affliction,” they said.

“Recently, we were dumbfounded by the grand larceny of public funds for private pecuniary gain and benefit. It is bleeding the government coffers and the innocent victim is no less than the Filipino people,” he said.

Aggabao said violations of laws against graft and corruption and plunder “are one of the most difficult crimes to prosecute and investigate.”

“Records show that the accused are often made liable for their crimes only upon its discovery after their term or tenure in public office or even after the change in government administration,” he said.

“By the time the information is filed in court, the crime has already prescribed or is about to prescribe.”

Aggabao said the extension of the prescription period for such case to at least 30 years is needed.

“This will prevent perpetrators from escaping criminal liability by the mere technicality of prescription,” he said.

The bill would amend Section 11 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

They hope the House would give priority to the bill’s approval, the authors said.

EARLIER NEWS FROM ABS-CBN

Jinggoy wants longer prescriptive period for graft raps By Marvin Sy, The Philippine Star Posted at 12/26/2013 1:22 AM | Updated as of 12/26/2013 1:22 AM


FROM WIKIPEDIA: Senator of the Philippines; Incumbent Assumed office June 30, 2004; President of the Senate of the Philippines Acting; In office June 5, 2013 – June 30, 2013

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Jinggoy Estrada wants to increase the prescriptive period for graft and corruption from 15 years to 30 years to ensure that accused public officials do not escape prosecution.

In seeking to amend Section 11 of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Estrada said a lot of public officials found liable for graft and corruption tend to escape prosecution during their incumbency due to various reasons, including strong connections with influential people in government.

“Cases show that persons, particularly government officials, who may be held liable for graft and corruption under Republic Act 3019 commit the same during the time of their incumbency or at a time when they still have strong connections in government,” he said.

“Usually, concerned citizens or the proper government agency only muster the courage to file a case or discover such irregularity after a change in government administration.”

Estrada said delays in the case build-up, like the gathering of evidence, are so bad that they reach the 15-year prescriptive period.

“With the passage of this bill, it is hoped that government scalawags would not be able to exculpate from their criminal liability just because of a technicality, i.e. prescription of the offense,” he said.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III also filed a similar bill seeking to increase the prescriptive period to 20 years.

It also aims to give the government the right to recover properties that a public officer has unlawfully acquired from nominees or transferees and would not be barred by prescription, laches or estoppel.

The bill also seeks to increase the penalties in the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act from six to 15 years to a maximum of 20 years, perpetual disqualification from public office, and forfeiture in favor of the government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of proportion to his salary and lawful income.

The Department of Justice previously issued a legal opinion supporting the proposal to double the prescriptive period under the current law.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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