BINAY: GOVT REFORMS MUST BE WITHIN CHARTER LIMITS

Pursuing “innovative reforms” in the government should never exceed the limits set by the Constitution, Vice President Jejomar Binay said yesterday. “The Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) teaches us that while we must pursue crucially innovative reforms in government processes, we must at all times ensure that these never stray beyond the boundaries that our Constitution defines,” Binay said at the turnover and induction ceremony of the Rotary Club of Makati Friday night.

“Our Charter holds a mandate that transcends that of any elected official and stands supreme. It is not an obstacle to progress but instead, safeguards our participation in the most important affairs of the nation,” he added. Binay emphasized the origins of the present Constitution should never be forgotten, as he recalled how the late former President Corazon Aquino urged Filipinos to support the ratification of the Charter in the 1987 plebiscite. The Constitution, Binay said, would set the stage for each Filipino to reap the fruits of progress, to participate in his own rise from poverty to dignity, and to pave a road towards a peaceful and vibrant future. Binay said he joined calls to let the rule of law prevail after the Supreme Court declared certain provisions of the DAP as unconstitutional. SC ruling a reminder * READ MORE...

ALSO: Private prosecutor in Corona impeachment replaces Padaca 

One of the 57 private prosecutors in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2011 has been appointed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said lawyer Arthur Lim has replaced Commissioner Grace Padaca, whose interim appointment was not renewed by President Aquino when it expired in June 11. “We already got his appointment papers and I think he will be coming to Comelec on Monday. He has already taken his oath,” Brillantes said. Brillantes, however, could not discuss the tasks awaiting Lim. Brillantes said he wanted to talk to Lim first, but he believes the new commissioner will be an asset to the Comelec. “He used to be the president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and that means you are a good lawyer,” he said. At one point during the impeachment trial, Lim took center stage when Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago berated him for raising his voice and talking simultaneously with her. Santiago even branded Lim as “impertinent” and almost cited him in contempt. * READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Time for DAP critics to speak before Senate’ 

It should now be the turn of critics of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to say their piece before the Senate after pro-DAP officials dominated last Thursday’s hearing on the controversial program, Sen. Nancy Binay said yesterday. Binay, who stood out during the hearing for her impassioned questioning of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as a member of the Senate minority bloc, said that she would like to hear the views of DAP critics like former budget chief Benjamin Diokno and former national treasurer Leonor Briones. Diokno and Briones both served under the administration of former President and now Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada. “It would be good to have secretaries Briones and Diokno in the next hearing so that they can explain why the DAP was not similar to what was done in the past administrations,” Binay said over dwIZ.

Briones argued that the implementation of the DAP was illegal and tantamount to the executive branch’s usurping the power of Congress over the purse. Diokno said the administration was misleading the public when it compared the DAP to the Reserve Control Account used by the previous administrations. Binay said that she intends to get more details about the implementation of the DAP, specifically the benefits the country was supposed to have derived from the program. According to Binay, only a handful of projects were taken up during last Thursday’s hearing, out of the 116 total that were supposedly funded under the DAP. Almost all of the members of the President’s Cabinet were present during last Thursday’s hearing in a show of support for Abad, who was the principal resource person. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Jailhouse rocks over Napoles 

Take her to her new jailhouse, pronto. The Sandiganbayan on Saturday reiterated that its order to move detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles from her detention bungalow in a police training camp in Santa Rosa City, Laguna province, to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) lockup at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City, should be carried out at once. But the Philippine National Police did not budge, preferring to play it safe, as the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam is being held at the Special Action Force (SAF) camp in Fort Santo Domingo on orders from the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 and moving her to Bicutan without leave from the lower court may result in cops being jailed, too.“We have to know which [order takes] precedence. It is not for the PNP to interpret, it is for the court. That is the [standard operating procedure],” said Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, spokesperson for the PNP. He said the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) would ask the Makati court for clarification on Saturday. “They will seek clarification from the Makati RTC, which gave the police custody [over Napoles], so that there won’t be conflict with the court,” he said.
Sought by the Inquirer for comment, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima explained that the police needed clearance from the Makati court, as the lower court acquired jurisdiction over Napoles ahead of the Sandiganbayan.

“Prudence and the interest of orderly proceedings dictate the need for clearance and coordination,” De Lima said in a text message. Required by law --The Sandiganbayan Third Division ordered the transfer of Napoles to the Bicutan jail on Friday, as the law requires that she be held in a BJMP lockup nearest the court. But Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David stopped the SAF from moving her, asking that it hold the Sandiganbayan order in abeyance as he had filed a motion for reconsideration. That could get David in trouble with the Sandiganbayan, as the prosecution has decided to ask the Third Division to cite him for contempt of court for blocking the court’s order. “The SAF was prepared to turn over Napoles to the BJMP when they were stopped by David. He had no authority to bar them from carrying out a court order,” prosecution lawyer Raji Mendoza told the Inquirer in a telephone interview on Saturday. * READ MORE...

 


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Binay: Gov’t reforms must be within Charter limits

MANILA, JULY 28, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Pia Lee-Brago - Pursuing “innovative reforms” in the government should never exceed the limits set by the Constitution, Vice President Jejomar Binay said yesterday.

“The Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) teaches us that while we must pursue crucially innovative reforms in government processes, we must at all times ensure that these never stray beyond the boundaries that our Constitution defines,” Binay said at the turnover and induction ceremony of the Rotary Club of Makati Friday night.

“Our Charter holds a mandate that transcends that of any elected official and stands supreme. It is not an obstacle to progress but instead, safeguards our participation in the most important affairs of the nation,” he added.

Binay emphasized the origins of the present Constitution should never be forgotten, as he recalled how the late former President Corazon Aquino urged Filipinos to support the ratification of the Charter in the 1987 plebiscite.

The Constitution, Binay said, would set the stage for each Filipino to reap the fruits of progress, to participate in his own rise from poverty to dignity, and to pave a road towards a peaceful and vibrant future.

Binay said he joined calls to let the rule of law prevail after the Supreme Court declared certain provisions of the DAP as unconstitutional.

SC ruling a reminder

* The SC decision on DAP, according to Binay, should be a reminder that the “journey towards full transparency and accountability requires everyone’s fullest participation and devotion, now and always.”

Binay asked for sobriety, resist temptations to engage in speculation and allow the legal processes to take their course.

“I am not dissuading our countrymen from exercising vigilance, as now is when all of us must show nothing less than the deepest concern for how this matter is resolved,” Binay said.

“It is, however, my earnest prayer that we not fall prey to emotion. Rather, let us weigh events with as impassionate a sense of justice as we can muster.”

Private prosecutor in Corona impeachment replaces Padaca By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 27, 2014 - 12:00am 2 169 googleplus0 0


Lim

MANILA, Philippines - One of the 57 private prosecutors in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2011 has been appointed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said lawyer Arthur Lim has replaced Commissioner Grace Padaca, whose interim appointment was not renewed by President Aquino when it expired in June 11.

“We already got his appointment papers and I think he will be coming to Comelec on Monday. He has already taken his oath,” Brillantes said.

Brillantes, however, could not discuss the tasks awaiting Lim.

Brillantes said he wanted to talk to Lim first, but he believes the new commissioner will be an asset to the Comelec.

“He used to be the president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and that means you are a good lawyer,” he said.

At one point during the impeachment trial, Lim took center stage when Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago berated him for raising his voice and talking simultaneously with her.

Santiago even branded Lim as “impertinent” and almost cited him in contempt.

* With his appointment, Lim will continue Padaca’s unfinished term in the Comelec until Feb. 2, 2018.

Lim, however, was not among the 202 nominations received by the Commission on Appointments (CA) during the congressional break.

The nominees included Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, who is the only Cabinet member who has not yet been confirmed by the CA.

Appointed in November 2012, Petilla has not been scheduled for his confirmation hearing by the CA.

Petilla’s problem with the CA lies with the chairman of the CA’s committee on energy, Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, who has not hidden his opposition to his appointment. – With Marvin Sy

‘Time for DAP critics to speak before Senate’ By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 27, 2014 - 12:00am 8 261 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - It should now be the turn of critics of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to say their piece before the Senate after pro-DAP officials dominated last Thursday’s hearing on the controversial program, Sen. Nancy Binay said yesterday.

Binay, who stood out during the hearing for her impassioned questioning of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as a member of the Senate minority bloc, said that she would like to hear the views of DAP critics like former budget chief Benjamin Diokno and former national treasurer Leonor Briones.

Diokno and Briones both served under the administration of former President and now Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada.

“It would be good to have secretaries Briones and Diokno in the next hearing so that they can explain why the DAP was not similar to what was done in the past administrations,” Binay said over dwIZ.

Briones argued that the implementation of the DAP was illegal and tantamount to the executive branch’s usurping the power of Congress over the purse.

Diokno said the administration was misleading the public when it compared the DAP to the Reserve Control Account used by the previous administrations.

Binay said that she intends to get more details about the implementation of the DAP, specifically the benefits the country was supposed to have derived from the program.

According to Binay, only a handful of projects were taken up during last Thursday’s hearing, out of the 116 total that were supposedly funded under the DAP.

Almost all of the members of the President’s Cabinet were present during last Thursday’s hearing in a show of support for Abad, who was the principal resource person.

* Critics of the administration noted that the controversial program was hardly scrutinized during last Thursday’s hearing by the committee on finance, since most of the senators present were allies of the President.

She cited various projects shelved by the administration for various reasons, the budgets for which were pooled as savings and used for the DAP.

“What’s the point of having strict budget deliberations only to have projects withdrawn halfway through completion and have their budget reallocated for other programs?” Binay said.

“It seems that the projects that were approved by Congress were disregarded because these were not going to be implemented by the agencies anyway,” she added.

She noted during the hearing that many of the projects implemented under the DAP were hard to justify as priority projects. – With Paolo Romero, Janvic Mateo

FROM THE INQUIRER

Jailhouse rocks over Napoles By Marlon Ramos |Philippine Daily Inquirer1:14 am | Sunday, July 27th, 2014

PNP defers Sandigan order for ‘pork queen’ transfer to Bicutan


Quezon City Jail Annex, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Take her to her new jailhouse, pronto.

The Sandiganbayan on Saturday reiterated that its order to move detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles from her detention bungalow in a police training camp in Santa Rosa City, Laguna province, to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) lockup at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City, should be carried out at once.

But the Philippine National Police did not budge, preferring to play it safe, as the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam is being held at the Special Action Force (SAF) camp in Fort Santo Domingo on orders from the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 and moving her to Bicutan without leave from the lower court may result in cops being jailed, too.

“We have to know which [order takes] precedence. It is not for the PNP to interpret, it is for the court. That is the [standard operating procedure],” said Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, spokesperson for the PNP.

He said the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) would ask the Makati court for clarification on Saturday.

“They will seek clarification from the Makati RTC, which gave the police custody [over Napoles], so that there won’t be conflict with the court,” he said.

Sought by the Inquirer for comment, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima explained that the police needed clearance from the Makati court, as the lower court acquired jurisdiction over Napoles ahead of the Sandiganbayan.

“Prudence and the interest of orderly proceedings dictate the need for clearance and coordination,” De Lima said in a text message.

Required by law

The Sandiganbayan Third Division ordered the transfer of Napoles to the Bicutan jail on Friday, as the law requires that she be held in a BJMP lockup nearest the court.

But Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David stopped the SAF from moving her, asking that it hold the Sandiganbayan order in abeyance as he had filed a motion for reconsideration.

That could get David in trouble with the Sandiganbayan, as the prosecution has decided to ask the Third Division to cite him for contempt of court for blocking the court’s order.

“The SAF was prepared to turn over Napoles to the BJMP when they were stopped by David. He had no authority to bar them from carrying out a court order,” prosecution lawyer Raji Mendoza told the Inquirer in a telephone interview on Saturday.

* David said on Friday that the defense was surprised by the Third Division order, as the Makati court had ordered that Napoles be detained at Fort Santo Domingo and she could not be moved without an order from the lower court.

He said the defense had not yet inspected the Bicutan jail and it wanted to prepare Napoles for the transfer.

But Mendoza said it was not true that the defense was unaware of the possibility that Napoles would be ordered held in a regular jail.

“It’s not true that they were caught unawares and had no time to inspect the BJMP [jail], as the panel of prosecutors had filed a motion [asking] that all [those] accused of plunder, including Napoles, [over] the pork barrel scam be transferred to jails under the BJMP,” Mendoza said.

“Though the motion was filed in another division, it is not correct to say they were unaware of the possibility that their client would be moved to a regular jail,” he added.

Mendoza said the prosecution’s petition for the transfer of Napoles to a jail nearer the court took into consideration the government’s heavy expenditure in transporting her to the Sandiganbayan every time she needed to attend a hearing.

The PNP has said that it has to mobilize additional officers to secure Napoles at Fort Santo Domingo and on her trips to court, spending P50,000 for each trip and P150,000 for her detention in the police camp in Laguna.

Mendoza said the police should immediately obey the court’s order, which stated that the Laguna police camp is not a jail.

Court order stands

It is for the same reason, Mendoza said, that the prosecution has asked the court to order the transfer of all the accused in the plunder cases to be moved to regular jails.

Dennis Pulma, Third Division clerk of court, said the filing of an urgent motion for reconsideration and clarification by Napoles’ lawyers on Friday did not mean the court’s minute resolution had been held in abeyance.

In a phone interview, Pulma said the court was just “being consistent” with its previous decision to detain Napoles’ coaccused and friend, lawyer Gigi Reyes, in the women’s dormitory in Camp Bagong Diwa.

Pulma said questions about the Third Division’s resolution should be brought to the court through formal pleadings.

“At this point, the directive of the court is quite clear that accused Napoles should be transferred to the BJMP facility in Camp Bagong Diwa immediately,” Pulma said.

“The court order still stands despite the filing of the motion for reconsideration because the court has yet to act on it. The order was for the BJMP to [transfer Napoles immediately]. The BJMP need not wait for the decision on the motion because there is already a directive from the court,” he said.

No conflict

Asked if Napoles’ jailers could be held in contempt for not complying with the Sandiganbayan’s order, Pulma said: “I’m not in a position, I’m not at liberty to [categorically] say that they would be cited for contempt. I also do not want to preempt what the BJMP might do.”

He added: “Maybe what the BJMP can do is to report to the court its actions through filing appropriate pleadings.”

Pulma also said the Third Division’s order was not in conflict with the Makati court’s resolution ordering Napoles’ detention at Fort Santo Domingo.

“The supposed conflict is more apparent than real,” he said, noting that Napoles is facing two different cases, serious illegal detention at the Makati court and plunder and graft at the Sandiganbayan.

“The court’s resolution did not make any reference to the other case filed against Napoles,” Pulma added.

Benhur Luy, the principal witness in the pork barrel scam cases, had brought the case being heard by the Makati court.

2 different cases

According to Pulma, the Third Division “did not divest” the lower court of its jurisdiction to hear Luy’s case against Napoles.

“These are two different and distinct cases,” he said.

He said the court also took into consideration what Republic Act No. 6975, or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, stipulated about the custody of people standing trial.

Section 63 of the law states: “There shall be established and maintained in every district, city and municipality a secured, clean, adequately equipped and sanitary jail for the custody and safekeeping of city and municipal prisoners, any fugitive from justice, or person detained awaiting investigation or trial and/or transfer to the national penitentiary…”

“The detention of the accused should also be near the court. That’s the position of the court,” Pulma said.

Broke down in tears

Napoles, who broke down in tears after hearing the antigraft court’s order during the hearing on her bail petition on Friday, has been trying to avoid being held in a regular jail.

Reyes, the former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, also cried upon learning that she would be taken to the Bicutan jail where nine suspected female communist rebels are also being held.

With the Third Division’s order, the two are likely to bunk together in the Bicutan slammer. With reports from Tarra Quismundo, Erika Sauler and Nancy Carvajal


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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