HEADLINE NEWS THIS MIDWEEK...

RATINGS PLUMMET BUT BINAY STILL MOST TRUSTED  

OCT 8 ---Vice President Jejomar Binay’s approval and trust ratings dropped by 15 percentage points in
the third quarter survey of Pulse Asia, but he remains the most trusted government official. In the same survey, President Aquino’s approval score slipped by a point to 55 percent while his trust score improved by a point to 54 percent. The Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan nationwide survey, taken from Sept. 8 to 15, found 66 percent of Filipinos saying they were satisfied with Binay’s performance, down from 81 percent in June.

The Pulse Asia survey comes amid allegations of corruption against Binay and his family. Binay’s trust rating also plunged to 64 percent in September from 79 percent three months earlier. The Vice President’s performance and trust scores fell by 16 points (to 61 percent) and 14 points (60 percent), respectively, in Metro Manila. His approval and trust ratings also declined by 16 points (to 68 percent) and 14 points (to 67 percent), respectively, in the rest of Luzon. Binay’s approval and trust scores in Class ABC also declined by 19 points (to 54 percent) and 13 points (to 52 percent), respectively, Pulse Asia said. “Ambivalence as regards the work done by the Vice President as well as his trustworthiness became more manifest not only at the national level (both at 8 percentage points) but also in Class D (both at 11 percentage points),” the survey research institute said. * READ MORE...

(ALSO) Pulse: Noy fared dismally on top public concerns  

OCT 10 --The Aquino administration was rated a failure on the most urgent concerns of the public which are keeping prices of commodities and services in check and poverty reduction belying President Aquino’s claim of his pursuit of “inclusive growth,” the results of a Pulse Asia survey on the overall performance of the administration showed. The survey showed 50 percent of respondents view controlling inflation as the government’s most urgent concerns, followed by improving workers pay picked by 49 percent and fighting graft and corruption identified by 41 percent. Pulse Asia said that 1,200 respondents were asked in a survey held last Sept. 8 to 15 to identify three issues in a list of 12 issues of public concern.

The second part of the survey asked respondents on their perception on the government response to their main concerns which showed that 46 percent disapproval on measures to control inflation; 39 percent dispapproval on reducing poverty and 36 percent disapproval on improving workers’ pay. The Palace, however, did a spin on the results of the survey saying it acknowledges the survey results showing improvement in the approval rating on the government’s fight against graft and corruption. Based on the survey done from Sept. 8-15, 2014, 43 percent of the respondents approved the government’s moves to fight corruption, slightly higher than the 42 percent in the survey done last June. The survey, however, showed a net approval rating of 17 on the administration’s performance in fighting corruption since 26 percent indicated disapproval. Net approval was highest on fighting criminal at 35, defending the integrity of the territory against foreigners at 29, and increasing peace in the country at 28. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Senate Blue Ribbon wants Binay to explain Batangas ‘hacienda’; VP camp denies ownership  

OCT 9 --The Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee will again invite Vice President Jejomar C. Binay to shed light on allegations by former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado that he owns a P1.2-billion agricultural estate in Rosario, Batangas. But the camp of Vice President Binay vehemently denied that the second highest elected official owns the so-called “hacienda,” stressing the property is owned by a real estate company engaged in agri-tourism business. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the sub-committee, said they will again provide the Vice President a venue to debunk the latest claim of his former ally.

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Mercado showed the sub-committee photos of the aerial shots of the 350-hectare property which, he said, is owned by the Binays but are under the names of shareholders who serves as dummies of the Vice President. ‘BRITISH GARDEN’  The property, which Mercado described as the Binay’s “hacienda,” boasts of a mansion with resort pool and a British Palace Garden estimated to cost P75 million and P50 million, respectively. Mercado also said the vast property has an air-conditioned piggery, which is estimated cost is P250 million and a greenhouse for imported and local orchids worth P50 million. He also said the property has a horse ranch worth P5 million and a fighting cock farm worth P3 million. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Farm exposé a dud—VP Binay  

OCT 8 ---A SPOKESMAN for Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday blasted efforts to link him to a 350-hectare property in Rosario town, Batangas, as a dud and “an amateurish attempt” to clone the exposé done on the 4.7-hectare property of police chief Alan Purisima in Nueva Ecija. “It was no surprise that the detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay will attempt to link him to the property ever since we revealed the helicopter sighting a few days ago,” said Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla. Controversial property. --The image above is one of the photos of the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Batangas, presented by former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado to senators on Wednesday. “The detractors showed an aerial video and photos of the said property, an amateurish attempt to do a repeat of the ‘Purisima expose’,” he said, adding that the attempt was a failure. Remulla was referring to testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee by former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, in which he described the vast property as “Hacienda Binay,” home to a bigger replica of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, London and an air-conditioned piggery.

At the same time, businessman Antonio Tiu, owner of the property, denied that he was a dummy for the Vice President. At the hearing Wednesday, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said he was at the launching Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Rosario town, Batangas, where the nine-hectare piggery of Vice President Jejomar Binay is located. He, together with Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes and food security czar Francis Pangilinan were inivited to the event on Aug. 5, hosted by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., operator of the park. “We saw each other there. They really had the intention to use different government officials to make it appear legitimate,” Trillanes said of the company headed by Tiu, who he described as a dummy for Vice President Jejomar Binay. But Binay’s spokesman, Joey Salgado, said the vice president had divested his shares in the piggery business when he was elected in 2010. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Why Senate subcommittee junked Junjun's challenge  

OCT 8---There will be no stopping the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee investigation of the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2. This, after Senator Koko Pimentel on Wednesday junked for lack of merit the jurisdictional challenges of Makati Mayor Erwin "Junjun" Binay, Ebeng Baloloy, Makati department heads and other resource persons invited to the inquiry. Pimentel pointed out that Binay had already attended the first hearing of the inquiry last August 20 while also allowing department heads of Makati to attend subsequent hearings on August 25, September 4 and September 11.

"It was Binay who, during the first hearing, introduced the concepts of 'world class' and 'green' and dictated the agenda of the hearing," Pimentel said. He said Binay "never raised any challenge" against the jurisdiction of the subcommittee, which should have been brought at the earliest opportunity. He said when Binay raised the jurisdictional challenge on September 25, the inquiry had already started and progressed. Pimentel said a jurisdictional challenge must come from a member of the committee and not by a resource person or any department head who is the subject of investigation. "The witness cannot refuse to testify or answer questions before the objectionable question is even asked," he said. He also belied Binay's claim that the inquiry is not in aid of legislation, saying that several ideas for possible pieces of legislation have already been brought out in the hearings. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Guingona cops out, tosses ruling to Pimentel on jurisdictional challenge

OCT 8 ---Overall Blue Ribbon committee chairman Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona washed his hands off of the responsibility in deciding on the “fate” of the Binays, who are subject of an inquiry by his panel’s sub-committee as he tossed back to Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel the matter of issuing a ruling on Mayor Junjun Binay’s jurisdictional challenge. Instead of “ruling” on the appeal made by the camp of the Makati City mayor, Guingona upheld the powers of the sub-committee by having the panel chaired by Pimentel resolve the pending motion with finality first before proceeding with the continuation of the public hearings. Eralier, Pimentel had junked the jurisdictional challenge issued by the Makati Mayor, tossing back the responsibility to Pimentel’s subcommittee which will likely junk with finality the challenge. But Guingona even tried to make it appear that he is doing the Binays a favor by tossing the jurisdictional challenge to the subcommittee.

“We are liberally interpreting the rules in their (Binays) favor so as to give them the widest leeway. And therefore, we are returning it to the sub-committee for them to rule upon it because they have the power to rule on jurisdictional challenge as well as a motion for reconsideration,” Guingona claimed. “May it also stated that until the jurisdictional challenge is resolved by the sub-committee with finality, it is logical and proper that the hearings of Senate Resolution No. 826 be held in abeyance. They have to resolve it with finality first, the jurisdictional issue and its motion for reconsideration before they can proceed with the hearings on the issue,” Guingona said in a press conference. But instead of putting on hold the proceedings, Pimentel announced in an interview with reporters that he will proceed with the continuation of the hearing scheduled today and possibly wrap up the issue on the alleged overpriced Makati City hall parking building.* READ MORE...

ALSO: Double raps mulled vs Purisima  

OCT 8 ---Embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) Director Gen. Alan Purisima could be facing two charges before the Office of the Ombudsman, one over the questionable construction of his official residence or the so-called “white house” and another stemming from purported undeclared properties in his Atatement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALn). “We are trying to speed up all these things in the light of the fact that there are so many controversies around,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales told Senate reporters in a chance interview.
While the matter of the called “lifestyle check” among ranking police officials, Purisima included, which is currently being undertaken by the Ombudsman along with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the matter of the financial background of the family members of the chief PNP will also be covered.

In the process of determining whether there’s questionable wealth or assets of the official subject of a lifestyle check, it cannot be helped but to look into the finances as well of the spouse and children, Deputy Ombudsman for military and other law enforcement officers Cyril Ramos said. “Ganoon naman po yun, sa pag-determine ng lawful income. Baka naman po may lawful income po yung spouse at saka yung mga anak. So yung pangkalahantan po mga ari-arian ay maaring nanggaling din po sa lawful income ng kanilang pamilya. Kaya titingnan po rin yun,” Ramos explained to reporters after attending a budget hearing of the Office of the Ombudsman at the Senate. * READ MORE...

ALSO: No BIR lifestyle check on Purisima; DILG, Napolcom in best position to scrutinize PNP chief’s wealth – Henares

OCT 8 --PHOTO: Atty. Henares continues to prove that she can bring about change in what is considered one of the corrupt bureaus of Philippine government, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is not keen on conducting an independent lifestyle check on embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima. BIR Commissioner Kim Henares stressed this yesterday at the side lines of the ad hoc committee hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the House of Representatives. Henares said the joint office to be composed of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Police Commission (Napolcom), and PNP would be in the best position to scrutinize Purisima’s wealth.

“Doon na ho para isang imbestigasyon na lang, hindi na paulit-ulit (Better to have it conduct the investigation in order to avoid redundancy),” she stressed, adding that the BIR would be there to assist in the probe. The PNP is supervised administratively by Napolcom, which is an attached agency of the DILG under Secretary Mar Roxas, who sits as Napolcom chairman. Purisima is currently in hot water for having alleged unexplained wealth. He has been charged with plunder, graft, and indirect bribery before the Office of the Ombudsman. The four-star police general faces violation of the anti-graft and corruption code if proven guilty, Henares said. “The code says that if you can’t explain (your wealth), then the presumption is that it is illegally obtained.” * READ MORE...


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Ratings plummet, but Binay still most trusted


AQUINO, BINAY

MANILA, OCTOBER 13, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Helen Flores - Vice President Jejomar Binay’s approval and trust ratings dropped by 15 percentage points in the third quarter survey of Pulse Asia, but he remains the most trusted government official.

In the same survey, President Aquino’s approval score slipped by a point to 55 percent while his trust score improved by a point to 54 percent.

The Pulse Asia’s Ulat ng Bayan nationwide survey, taken from Sept. 8 to 15, found 66 percent of Filipinos saying they were satisfied with Binay’s performance, down from 81 percent in June.

The Pulse Asia survey comes amid allegations of corruption against Binay and his family.

Binay’s trust rating also plunged to 64 percent in September from 79 percent three months earlier.

The Vice President’s performance and trust scores fell by 16 points (to 61 percent) and 14 points (60 percent), respectively, in Metro Manila.

His approval and trust ratings also declined by 16 points (to 68 percent) and 14 points (to 67 percent), respectively, in the rest of Luzon.

Binay’s approval and trust scores in Class ABC also declined by 19 points (to 54 percent) and 13 points (to 52 percent), respectively, Pulse Asia said.

“Ambivalence as regards the work done by the Vice President as well as his trustworthiness became more manifest not only at the national level (both at 8 percentage points) but also in Class D (both at 11 percentage points),” the survey research institute said.

* Furthermore, the level of indecision on the matter of trusting or distrusting the Vice President went up in the Visayas (13 percentage points).

“The drop can be partly attributed to the negative reports and allegations,” Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said in a text message to The STAR.

He said movements in Binay’s trust and approval ratings will depend on the developments in politics and the ongoing Senate investigation on the alleged overpricing in the construction of the Makati City Hall building II.

Former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado claimed that when Binay was mayor, he received kickbacks from city projects.

“It may or may not change in the subsequent survey depending on developments relative to the Vice President, in particular, and politics in general, from the present and until our next survey,” Holmes said.

Despite the drop in his scores, Binay continued to score majority approval and trust ratings in every geographic area (55 percent to 75 percent and 53 percent to 70 percent, respectively) and socio-economic groupings (54 percent to 71 percent and 52 percent to 70 percent, respectively).

The accusations against Binay also affected his scores in Pulse Asia’s recent presidential poll.

Noy also trusted, appreciated

For his part, President Aquino posted majority approval and trust ratings in the Visayas (65 percent and 61 percent, respectively), Mindanao (68 percent and 65 percent, respectively), Class D (54 percent and 52 percent, respectively) and Class E (both at 61 percent).

Appreciation and trust are the plurality sentiments toward the President in Metro Manila (48 percent and 47 percent, respectively), the rest of Luzon (46 percent and 48 percent, respectively) and Class ABC (48 percent and 49 percent, respectively).

As for Senate President Franklin Drilon, 39 percent expressed approval of his work, down from 52 percent in June. His trust score also dipped to 37 percent from 46 percent previously.

Pulse Asia said indecision is the plurality sentiment toward Drilon’s work and trustworthiness in Metro Manila (45 percent and 44 percent, respectively), the rest of Luzon (48 percent and 47 percent, respectively), Class D (both at 47 percent) and Class E (47 percent and 49 percent, respectively).

The Senate President registered almost the same approval and indecision ratings in the Visayas (44 percent versus 43 percent) and practically the same trust and indecision ratings in Mindanao (46 percent versus 42 percent).

On the other hand, a near majority of Mindanaoans (47 percent) expressed satisfaction with Drilon’s work while a big plurality of Visayans (45 percent) could not say if they trust or distrust him.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno registered minimal changes in their approval and trust scores between June and September, according to Pulse Asia.

Belmonte’s approval rating fell by three points to 30 percent in September while his trust score dropped by a point to 27 percent.

Sereno’s approval and trust ratings both declined by two points to 33 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

Improvements in ratings

Pulse Asia also noted improvements in the approval and ratings of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The approval and trust ratings of the Senate both improved by seven points to 40 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

Satisfaction with the performance of the House increased by four points to 38 percent, while its trust rating went up by seven points to 36 percent.

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, experienced a one-point decline in its approval rating to 48 percent. Trust in the high court, on the other hand, increased by two points to 44 percent.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 respondents aged 18 years old and above.

It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

Binay grateful

Binay thanked the public for their continued support, saying it would not have been possible to maintain his trust and performance ratings if not for them.

Binay, who is in Koronadal, South Cotabato to distribute housing projects of the government, said if elected president in 2016, he will prioritize housing projects and peace-building measures.

“I also want to have a decrease in the poverty level. Yes, our economy is improving, but there are still many who are poor and jobless,” Binay said.

He said he will bring the country to where Makati is right now.

“Makati is the richest city all over the country now. The benefits of Makati residents are from birth to death,” Binay said.

The Vice President’s daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, prefers to look at the survey results as part of the cycle of life.

“Of course you can’t always be going up. That’s how gravity works right? If you look at the surveys anyway, he is still the most trusted public official,” she said.

Senator Binay admitted that the allegations raised against her father, which is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, played a role in the drop in her father’s approval rating.

“What is being talked about are the allegations against him and not what he has been doing for the people,” Binay said.

But Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Blue Ribbon subcommittee that is investigating the allegedly overpriced parking building constructed by the city government of Makati, said that it was never the intention of the committee to affect anyone’s chances as far as the 2016 elections are concerned.

“We are only after the truth and on my part, I am after minimizing graft and corruption and the opportunities for graft in the local level because of my pending bill, the bigger pie, bigger slice bill, which will bring more funds to the local government units,” Pimentel said.

Encouraged

Malacañang is encouraged by the latest Pulse Asia survey.

In a press briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the President is taking into consideration the results of public opinion surveys to further improve the government’s quality of service to the people.

He said Aquino was focused on implementing the necessary programs for the people to make permanent the reforms and transformation he had initiated. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Marvin Sy, Aurea Calica

Pulse: Noy fared dismally on top public concerns Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 10 October 2014 00:00

The Aquino administration was rated a failure on the most urgent concerns of the public which are keeping prices of commodities and services in check and poverty reduction belying President Aquino’s claim of his pursuit of “inclusive growth,” the results of a Pulse Asia survey on the overall performance of the administration showed.

The survey showed 50 percent of respondents view controlling inflation as the government’s most urgent concerns, followed by improving workers pay picked by 49 percent and fighting graft and corruption identified by 41 percent.

Pulse Asia said that 1,200 respondents were asked in a survey held last Sept. 8 to 15 to identify three issues in a list of 12 issues of public concern.

The second part of the survey asked respondents on their perception on the government response to their main concerns which showed that 46 percent disapproval on measures to control inflation; 39 percent dispapproval on reducing poverty and 36 percent disapproval on improving workers’ pay.

The Palace, however, did a spin on the results of the survey saying it acknowledges the survey results showing improvement in the approval rating on the government’s fight against graft and corruption.

Based on the survey done from Sept. 8-15, 2014, 43 percent of the respondents approved the government’s moves to fight corruption, slightly higher than the 42 percent in the survey done last June. The survey, however, showed a net approval rating of 17 on the administration’s performance in fighting corruption since 26 percent indicated disapproval.

Net approval was highest on fighting criminal at 35, defending the integrity of the territory against foreigners at 29, and increasing peace in the country at 28.

* A part of the survey also asked respondents on the chance of the winning the fight against corruption in which 48 percent agreed that it can be done while 23 percent disagreed and 28 percent were undecided.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the increase in the number of people who believe that the fight against corruption can still be won is a welcome development.

”Citizen involvement is very important in institutionalizing a culture of good governance. So when people are optimistic, when people are involved, and when people participate in government’s efforts to institute a culture of good governance, then this assures us that there is broad-based support for the campaign and this bodes well for good governance in the country,” he said.

Coloma said people seem to notice more the fruits of government’s efforts to address corruption not only through higher number of cases filed against erring government officials but also the prosecution of these individuals.

”All these factors heightened awareness and consciousness among our people, which boosts their confidence that government will do what is needed to make public officials accountable under our laws,” he said.


Asked on what they think are the “most urgent national concerns”, most of the respondents said controlling inflation, improving or increasing workers’ pay and fighting graft and corruption as their the top three concerns.

Inflation last September declined to 4.4 percent from month-ago’s 4.9 percent bringing the year-to-date average to 4.4 percent.

Average inflation in the first nine months of the 2014 is within the government’s three to five percent target although at the upper half of the range as projected by the central bank.

Coloma assured the public that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is doing its best to keep inflation within target to prevent the erosion of people’s purchasing power.

He also said that the National Price Coordinating Council continues to monitor price movements to regulate especially the prices of food and other basic commodities.

On the issue of workers’ pay, Coloma said the government is doing its best to control increases in commodity prices to help workers continue to enjoy their purchasing power.

Coloma explained that for state workers, the government cannot easily implement wage hikes because this also entails additional funds for pensioners.

He, however, pointed out the government has instituted several ways to help well-performing government workers like the implementation of the performance-based incentives.

He added the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) continues to coordinate with lawmakers on addressing the issue because the government does not want to introduce new tax measures just to have additional revenues and instead vies to increase revenues through improved tax collection.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Senate wants Binay to explain Batangas ‘hacienda’; VP camp denies ownership by JC Bello Ruiz and Hannah Torregoza October 9, 2014 Share this:


VP BINAY

The Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee will again invite Vice President Jejomar C. Binay to shed light on allegations by former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado that he owns a P1.2-billion agricultural estate in Rosario, Batangas.

But the camp of Vice President Binay vehemently denied that the second highest elected official owns the so-called “hacienda,” stressing the property is owned by a real estate company engaged in agri-tourism business.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the sub-committee, said they will again provide the Vice President a venue to debunk the latest claim of his former ally.

Using a PowerPoint presentation, Mercado showed the sub-committee photos of the aerial shots of the 350-hectare property which, he said, is owned by the Binays but are under the names of shareholders who serves as dummies of the Vice President.

‘BRITISH GARDEN’

The property, which Mercado described as the Binay’s “hacienda,” boasts of a mansion with resort pool and a British Palace Garden estimated to cost P75 million and P50 million, respectively.

Mercado also said the vast property has an air-conditioned piggery, which is estimated cost is P250 million and a greenhouse for imported and local orchids worth P50 million. He also said the property has a horse ranch worth P5 million and a fighting cock farm worth P3 million.

* The former vice mayor said at least 100 thousand hectares of the land is estimated to cost P35 million and the site development cost, including the road, drainage, and landscaping, could have amounted to a total of P650 million.

The value of other structures in the property, he said, is estimated to be P60 million.

But Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesman for political concerns, said the Vice President’s family was a “mere lessee” of around nine hectares of the property owned by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., the operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park.

Remulla denied that Binay owns the house, swimming pool, and garden in the vast property in Barangay, Maligaya, Rosario town.

ANTICIPATED ‘EXPOSÉ’

Another Binay spokesman, Joey Salgado, said they have anticipated that “detractors of Binay will allege in the Senate sub-committee hearing that the Vice President owns a property in Rosario, Batangas.”

“It was no surprise that the detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay will attempt to link him to the property ever since we revealed the helicopter sighting a few days ago,” Remulla said.

“The detractors showed an aerial video and photos of the property, an amateurish attempt to do a repeat of the ‘Purisima exposé.’ Any doubt that the Senate probe was after legislation on Makati City Hall Building II has been erased by today’s hearing,” Remulla added.

“Compared to the controversial estate of Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, Binay’s estate is a hundred times bigger than the PNP Chief’s 4.5-hectare estate in Nueva Ecija,” Mercado told the sub-committee.

“The media had a feast on Purisima’s house. But I think this property should also be opened to the media,” Mercado said.

‘REAL OWNER’

But Salgado said that “based on records, the lessor of the property is Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park,” confirming Remulla’s claim.

Mercado (Tony Pionilla) Mercado (Tony Pionilla) Sunchamp Park in Rosario, Batangas, Salgado noted, has been featured in several publications and TV programs.

Mercado admitted he was one of the persons who joined a group to survey the land and even showed a video footage of their inspection.

He said the piggery was air-conditioned because Binay’s wife, Dr. Elenita Binay, allegedly do not like the place to smell bad and flies going around the house.

Mercado also said that contrary to Binay’s claims, he is an avid cockfighter, even showing the Vice President owns a fighting cock farm.

“They cannot deny that. They have about a thousand fighting cocks here,” Mercado pointed out, adding that cockfighting was Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay’s hobby.

TAGAYTAY MANSION

Mercado first presented the alleged Tagaytay mansion of the Binays in Alfonso, Cavite, but the exact location of the land title is within the jurisdiction of Laurel, Batangas. The money Binay used to buy the property was from his legal fees from a previous land case he handled, Mercado said.

This property he said went bigger when the vice president purchased the adjacent lots from the right, left and back side but Binay had trouble legalizing his ownership since the original land area is only 1,000 square meters only.

“That is why I am showing these properties so we would know if he correctly stated these in his SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth), and to ascertain whether he benefitted or not from (infrastructure projects) in Makati City,” Mercado said.

The Vice President’s legal counsel Martin Subido reiterated that Binay had leased, and not owned, the Rosario property for JCB Farms.

Subido stressed that Binay never denied owning JCB Farms and has declared it in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), which his lawyers presented to media along with his Income Tax Returns (ITR).

“From 1994 to 2010, the Vice President operated a piggery business in Rosario, Batangas. This piggery business was a sole proprietorship duly reported in his SALNs and in his ITRs,” Subido said.

“The Vice President did not own any land where his piggery business was operated. Rather, he was a lessee of around nine hectares of land, with the improvements he introduced for the piggery business duly reported as ‘Leasehold Improvements’,” he added.

WHO OWNS ‘HACIENDA’?

According to Subido, Binay sold in 2010 his piggery farm to Agri-Fortuna, Inc., a company owned by Laureano Gregorio. Agri-Fortuna is engaged in hog breeding and hog nursery also in the area where the Vice President operated his business.

He explained that Binay and his wife had been incorporators of Agri-Fortuna for a paid up capital of P50,000, but sold their shares to Gregorio in 1995.

“In 1995, or almost 20 years ago, the Vice President and his wife sold their interest in Agri-Fortuna to Laureano Gregorio who likewise subscribed to additional capital that would allow him to own 60 percent of the company. These are reflected in the filings of Agri-Fortuna with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission),” Subido said.

Subido said Gregorio made additional investments in Agri-Fortuna in 2008 that gave him 97 percent ownership of Agri-Fortuna.

“The house, swimming pool, and garden mentioned in reports are not owned by the Vice President. They were owned by Laureano Gregorio,” Subido said.

But Mercado said that while it may be true that Binay has divested his business interest from JCB Piggery to Agri-Fortuna Corporation, records from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mercado said showed that the new owners of the Agri-Fortuna Corporation are the same and other persons associated with the Vice President.

EXPERIMENTAL VENTURE

Mercado said the farm under the name of JCB Piggery started as experimental venture with five pigs inside a five-hectare lot bought from a certain Delfin Almeda.

“I know about that because I was the one delivering the feeds and I am helping them out,” he said.

Mercado said that SEC records show that the owners of Agri-Fortuna are Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan, Prof. Tomas Lopez, University of Makati (UMAK) president; Laureano Gregorio Jr., a legitimate businessman but Binay’s trusted man; Mindanilla Barlis, the chief operating officer of Makati City Employees Cooperatives (MACEMCO); and Mitchy Sedillo.

Subido also said that “Gregorio entered into a memorandum of agreement with Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation in 2013 for the acquisition of all the rights of Gregorio over the 145-hectare property, not 350 hectares as claimed by Mercado.”

“This was also duly disclosed to the PSE (Philippine Stock Exchange) and the investing public in October, 2013 and July, 2014,” Subido said.

“At present, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation is the absolute owner of the improvements and facilities mentioned in today’s inquiry. In fact, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation has likewise introduced new improvements such as an asparagus farm, greenhouses for high value crops, hotel, all in line with its vision to create an agri-tourism park,” Subido explained.

JUNJUN GOING TO SC

Meanwhile, the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee yesterday junked with finality Mayor Binay’s jurisdictional challenge and resumed its investigation in the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

Pimentel insisted the sub-committee’s probe is in aid of legislation contrary to Binay’s claim the investigation is politically motivated.

With the denial, the camp of Mayor Binay is left with no recourse but to go to the Supreme Court.

“At this point, our clients’ constitutional rights are already at stake and are being violated. The only recourse left to us is to seek the intervention of the Judiciary. In any democracy, a person denied of his rights to due process may turn to the Supreme Court, which is the ultimate arbiter of the law,” said lawyer Claro Certeza, Binay’s counsel.

The lawyer said his legal team are now finalizing the petition and file it with the Supreme Court to seek an injunction or temporary restraining order on the ongoing inquiry being conducted by the Senate sub-committee. (With a report from Anna Liza Villas Alavaren)

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Farm exposé a dud—VP By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Oct. 09, 2014 at 12:01am 2 MANILA STANDARD

Sunchamp owner says he’s no Binay dummy

A SPOKESMAN for Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday blasted efforts to link him to a 350-hectare property in Rosario town, Batangas, as a dud and “an amateurish attempt” to clone the exposé done on the 4.7-hectare property of police chief Alan Purisima in Nueva Ecija.

“It was no surprise that the detractors of Vice President Jejomar Binay will attempt to link him to the property ever since we revealed the helicopter sighting a few days ago,” said Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla.

Controversial property.

The image above is one of the photos of the Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Batangas, presented by former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado to senators on Wednesday. “The detractors showed an aerial video and photos of the said property, an amateurish attempt to do a repeat of the ‘Purisima expose’,” he said, adding that the attempt was a failure.

Remulla was referring to testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee by former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, in which he described the vast property as “Hacienda Binay,” home to a bigger replica of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, London and an air-conditioned piggery.

At the same time, businessman Antonio Tiu, owner of the property, denied that he was a dummy for the Vice President.

* At the hearing Wednesday, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said he was at the launching Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park in Rosario town, Batangas, where the nine-hectare piggery of Vice President Jejomar Binay is located.

He, together with Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes and food security czar Francis Pangilinan were inivited to the event on Aug. 5, hosted by Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp., operator of the park.

“We saw each other there. They really had the intention to use different government officials to make it appear legitimate,” Trillanes said of the company headed by Tiu, who he described as a dummy for Vice President Jejomar Binay.

But Binay’s spokesman, Joey Salgado, said the vice president had divested his shares in the piggery business when he was elected in 2010.

At the hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee Wednesday Mercado showed a video presentation of the alleged 350-hectare lot which he called “Hacienda Binay.”

Trillanes asked him if he was certain that the farm lot belonged to the Vice President.

One of the dignitaries invited to the agri-tourism park’s launching last Aug. 5 was Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (left) who is shown speaking with businessman Antonio Tiu (center) and Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes (back to camera).

“One hundred and one percent sure,” Mercado replied, saying he had been to the farm “more than 100 times.”

* Mercado said it was in 1992 when he started going to the vast property.

“I was just their errand boy. I carried the salary for their people, the feeds,” he said.

But Trillanes raised the possibility that ownership of the park was transferred after Binay and Mercado parted ways politically.

Based the website, he said the descriptions of Sunchamp, including a man-made lagoon and the garden jibed with Mercado’s testimony.

Sunchamp sold its stocks to Greenergy Holdings Inc. which has for its corporate secretary Martin Subido, a senior partner of Binay’s daughter, Makati Rep. Abigail Binay in Subido, Pagente, Certeza, Mendoza & Binay (SPCMB) Law Office. The president of the company is Tiu.

Subido is also a director of Earthright Holdings Inc., the largest shareholder of Greenergy.

Trillanes said SPCMB and Earthright Holdings Inc. share the same address: 3rd floor, Value Point Executive Building, 227 Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.

Claro Certeza, lawyer of the Makati mayor, is the president and managing director and partner of SPCMB.

In a statement, Tiu strongly denied he was a dummy owner of the Batangas estate.

Tiu said he is a legitimate businessman and the owner of the property in Rosario, Batangas.

Tiu, chairman of the listred AgriNurture Inc. and Greenergy, slammed what he called the baseless allegations.

“I am currently in Spain for a business trip. It has come to my attention that my name and my companies have been labeled as dummies of Vice President Binay. I am deeply hurt and offended by these malicious accusations. I am my own man. I worked hard for what I own. My track record will speak for itself,” his statement said.

“Let me categorically put on record that I am a legitimate businessman since 1997. My holding company, Greenergy Holdings Inc., is a publicly listed company with the Philippine Stock Exchange that has been complying with the stringiest regulatory and disclosure requirements as audited by the top auditing firms in the country.

To further set the record straight I never had any transactions or contracts with the Makati City Government.”

The Office of the Vice President earlier said employees of a piggery and flower farm leasing a property in Rosario reported a helicopter flying around the property Thursday

The lessor of the property is Sunchamp Real Estate Developmet Corp., operator of Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Park, the office said.

Binay’s lawyer, Martin Subido, said Binay had leased the property and did not own it.

He also said Binay never denied owning JCB Farms and has declared it in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, which his lawyers presented to media along with his income tax returns.

“From 1994 to 2010, the Vice President operated a piggery business in Rosario, Batangas. This piggery business was a sole proprietorship duly reported in his SALNs and in his ITRs,” Subido said.

“The Vice President did not own any land where his piggery business was operated. Rather, he was a lessee of around nine hectares of land, with the improvements he introduced for the piggery business duly reported as ‘Leasehold Improvements’,” he added.

Subido also explained that Binay sold in 2010 his piggery farm to Agrifortuna, Inc., a company owned by Laureano Gregorio. Agrifortuna is engaged in hog breeding and hog nursery also in the area where the Vice President operated his business.

Binay and his wife had been incorporators of Agrifortuna for a paid up capital of P50,000, but sold their shares to Gregorio in 1995.

“In 1995, or almost 20 years ago, the Vice President and his wife sold their interest in Agrifortuna to Laureano Gregorio who likewise subscribed to additional capital that would allow him to own 60 percent of the company. These are reflected in the filings of Agrifortuna with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission),” he said.

Gregorio made additional investments in Agrifortuna in 2008 that gave him 97 percent ownership of Agrifortuna.

“The house, swimming pool and garden mentioned in reports are not owned by the Vice President. They were owned by Laureano Gregorio,” he said.

Binay’s lawyer also said that Gregorio entered into an agreement with Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. in 2013 for the acquisition of all the rights of Gregorio over the 145 hectare property, not 350 hectares as claimed by Mercado.

“This was also duly disclosed to the PSE (Philippine Stock Exchange) and the investing public in October 2013 and July 2014,” Subido said.

“At present, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. is the absolute owner of the improvements and facilities mentioned in today’s inquiry. In fact, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. has likewise introduced new improvements such as an asparagus farm, greenhouses for high value crops, hotel, all in line with its vision to create an agri-tourism park.”

“The aerial shot of the farm in today’s banner headline of the Inquirer is the same aerial shot that was published by the Inquirer in its Sept. 28, 2014 issue when it featured the Sunchamp Farm,” he added.

The Palace on Wednesday distanced itself from the investigation of the Vice President’s links to the farm.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, however, could not give a categorical answer if Binay still enjoys the full trust and confidence of President Benigno Aquino III.

“Sorry, I know I can speak categorically if I have spoken to the President on those matters. I have not spoken to the President on the matter of Vice President Binay because that was a revelation today. So, I will still have to ask the President. We have not spoken on that matter yet,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said the Palace will leave it up to the Binay camp to defend itself.

“They have invoked politically motivated. I would suppose it would be up to their camp to weigh whether that is a good enough response for the public to appreciate. We would leave it to the camp of Vice President Binay and also to the public to appreciate the manner of their defense,” he said.

“As to the manner of how that lifestyle check will be conducted, we will again also defer to Vice President Binay,” Lacierda added.

But Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Wednesday dared Mercado to undergo a lifestyle check and questioned how he was able to hire a helicopter to take aerial footage of the farm in Rosario, Batangas.

“What we would like to find out is how Mercado was able to hire a helicopter to hover around the piggery farm when there are reports that he is allegedly deep in debt due to his gambling habits,”JV Bautista, interim secretary general of UNA, said.

“Did the money used to rent the helicopter come out of Mercado’s own pocket? If not, who is funding him?” he added.

Bautista said Mercado is considered a high-roller and is given five-star treatment in casinos he frequents in the country and abroad.

“He is known to lose millions in cockfights. He also owns a yacht, luxury homes and vehicles,” Bautista added.

Bautista dared Mercado and other accusers of Binay to undergo a lifestyle check.

“(G)iven Mercado’s own admission of illegally benefitting from government projects, we are wondering why the senators conducting the inquiry on the alleged overpricing of Makati City Hall Building 2 have not made any move to make him accountable and have instead included him in the Witness Protection Program,” he said.

UNA slammed Mercado’s latest revelation as nothing but a “cheap political ploy.”

In his testimony Wednesday, Mercado said a bigger replica of the Royal Botanical in Kew, London ; a rest hourse much bigger than the Queen of England’s and an orchidarium with imported orchids were among “the passions” of former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay in the so-called “Binay Hacienda” in Rosario, Batangas.

Mercado said the former mayor also caused the construction of an air-conditioned piggery because she didn’t want to smell the stench coming from the pigs.

“The doctor doesn’t want to smell unpleasant odors. She also does not want flies hovering in her mansion,” Mercado said.

These “caprices” were made, Mercado said, because the former mayor felt she would soon be the first lady with the next presidential elections.

“She has high dreams,” Mercado talked of the wife of the Vice President, a frontrunner in the 2016 elections.

Mercado admitted before the panel that he was aboard the helicopter that flew over the 350-hectar prperty last week, which he described as being six times the size of Rizal Park and 10 times the size of the Quezon Memorial Circle, and half the size of San Juan in Metro Manila.

He recalled accompanying the former mayor and the Vice President to the Kew Gardens in London in 2007.

“Doctora Binay patterned it after the Kew Gardens in London--that’s why I was forced to go there,” Mercado said.

Mercado also showed in his slide presentation a resort-type pool, a showcase of Mrs. Binay’s different varieties of orchids from different countries, a horse ranch, a mansion with the Kew Gardens replica, an aviary and a garage that can accommodate 40 vehicles.

Mercado said these are all found in the Batangas property owned by the Binay couple.

He estimated that the Binay’s vast property which spans four barangays in Rosario could be worth P1.2 billion.

Mercado earlier admitted that he served as a bagman for the Vice President, and bared examples of his family’s wealth to prove their expensive tastes and hobbies.

He also said the allegations against police chief Alan Purisima paled in comparison, given the size of the Rosario property. With Joyce Pangco Pañares

FROM ABS-CBN

Why Senate subcommittee junked Junjun's challenge ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 10/08/2014 10:46 AM | Updated as of 10/08/2014 10:58 AM


JUNJUN BINAY

MANILA - There will be no stopping the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee investigation of the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2.

This, after Senator Koko Pimentel on Wednesday junked for lack of merit the jurisdictional challenges of Makati Mayor Erwin "Junjun" Binay, Ebeng Baloloy, Makati department heads and other resource persons invited to the inquiry.

Pimentel pointed out that Binay had already attended the first hearing of the inquiry last August 20 while also allowing department heads of Makati to attend subsequent hearings on August 25, September 4 and September 11.

"It was Binay who, during the first hearing, introduced the concepts of 'world class' and 'green' and dictated the agenda of the hearing," Pimentel said.

He said Binay "never raised any challenge" against the jurisdiction of the subcommittee, which should have been brought at the earliest opportunity. He said when Binay raised the jurisdictional challenge on September 25, the inquiry had already started and progressed.

Pimentel said a jurisdictional challenge must come from a member of the committee and not by a resource person or any department head who is the subject of investigation.

"The witness cannot refuse to testify or answer questions before the objectionable question is even asked," he said.

He also belied Binay's claim that the inquiry is not in aid of legislation, saying that several ideas for possible pieces of legislation have already been brought out in the hearings.

* These include amendment to existing procurement laws, the accountability of officers and the rules of the Commission on Audit for allowable expenses; mandatory videotaping of bidding process, rotation of audit personnel, rotation of bids and awards committee members and a law that would determine if a project is overpriced.

Makati Information and Community Relations Department officer-in-charge Joey Salgado earlier said Mayor Binay has presented "a reasonable appeal" to the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee to stop its inquiry into the Makati City Hall Building 2.

He said the Ombudsman now has jurisdiction over the plunder case stemming from the 11-storey Makati City office and parking building, which complainants claimed was overpriced.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Guingona cops out, tosses ruling to Pimentel on jurisdictional  challenge Written by Angie M. Rosales Wednesday, 08 October 2014 00:00


GUINGONA

Overall Blue Ribbon committee chairman Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona washed his hands off of the responsibility in deciding on the “fate” of the Binays, who are subject of an inquiry by his panel’s sub-committee as he tossed back to Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel the matter of issuing a ruling on Mayor Junjun Binay’s jurisdictional challenge.

Instead of “ruling” on the appeal made by the camp of the Makati City mayor, Guingona upheld the powers of the sub-committee by having the panel chaired by Pimentel resolve the pending motion with finality first before proceeding with the continuation of the public hearings.

Eralier, Pimentel had junked the jurisdictional challenge issued by the Makati Mayor, tossing back the responsibility to Pimentel’s subcommittee which will likely junk with finality the challenge.

But Guingona even tried to make it appear that he is doing the Binays a favor by tossing the jurisdictional challenge to the subcommittee.

“We are liberally interpreting the rules in their (Binays) favor so as to give them the widest leeway. And therefore, we are returning it to the sub-committee for them to rule upon it because they have the power to rule on jurisdictional challenge as well as a motion for reconsideration,” Guingona claimed.

“May it also stated that until the jurisdictional challenge is resolved by the sub-committee with finality, it is logical and proper that the hearings of Senate Resolution No. 826 be held in abeyance. They have to resolve it with finality first, the jurisdictional issue and its motion for reconsideration before they can proceed with the hearings on the issue,” Guingona said in a press conference.

But instead of putting on hold the proceedings, Pimentel announced in an interview with reporters that he will proceed with the continuation of the hearing scheduled today and possibly wrap up the issue on the alleged overpriced Makati City hall parking building.

* “If the alleged overpricing of the parking building is correct, then that justifies the pursuing, continuing with the investigation. But if we decide to continue with the investigation, the third part (which is about other anomalies of the Makati City government) must be clarified, in fairness to those to be investigated.

“If the first part (parking building) turns out to be false or wrong, then I would suggest that we terminate the investigation, the hearing on resolution No. 826,” Pimentel said.

Sen. Nancy Binay, in a separate interview with reporters, said she was no longer surprised to hear about these latest developments, saying the blue ribbon committee is proving to be consistent in changing its own rules every now and then.

“Here you can see, from the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) issue up to this issue (on the jurisdictional challenge), that the rules keep on changing. I am already confused as to which rules are being followed by the blue ribbon committe. So, we should first study this—what the basis of Guingona is, in returning again to the sub-committee (the decision), because it is he himself who said that the ruling of the sub-committee can be appealed to the mother committee. I was surpised why he did not convene the mother committee so that we can talk about the issue of the jurisdictional challenge.

“(But) that is expected by us that the hearings will continue,” she said.

In reading his statement, Guingona cited Section 20 of the Senate rules of procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation, in which a sub-committee is allowed to perform “any or all acts which the committee as a whole, is authorized to do and perform,” with only one single exception – the power to punish for contempt.

Included in the scope of the said provision, Guingona said, is the issue on jurisdictional challenge which takes on the nature of a motion for reconsideration and this falls still under scope of powers to resolve by the sub-committee.

“With the position of the mother committee on this issue now made clear, I believe that the resolution of the jurisdictional challenge may now proceed with dispatch,” Guingona said.

The matter of holding in abeyance the investigation will no longer take place, based on the pronouncements made by Pimentel who told reporters that he is already drafting his “ruling” on the appeal made by Mayor Binay’s camp to the mother committee now referred by Guingona to be dispensed by him.

Pimentel himself said the matter will be circulated to committee members for “notification” and decided in the hearing by those present and providing the required quorum.

The senator expressed confidence that whatever will be his ruling on the issue, it can stand in court as the “courts can only interfere if we are arbitrary, unreasonable, whimsical.”

“I will assure you, I will not be arbitrary. My ruling will be based on the rules of the Senate and the rules will be reasonably interpreted,” he said.

“This is a free country, you can always run to the courts if you feel that you have a grievance that is not being addressed.

But remember that we have a separation of powers. This is the counter argument here and then of course they will have to prove to the court that our decision is out of this world by way of interpretation of our rules, which I believe we will not do,” said Pimentel.

Double raps mulled vs Purisima Written by Angie M. Rosales Wednesday, 08 October 2014 00:00


PURISIMA

Embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) Director Gen. Alan Purisima could be facing two charges before the Office of the Ombudsman, one over the questionable construction of his official residence or the so-called “white house” and another stemming from purported undeclared properties in his Atatement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALn).

“We are trying to speed up all these things in the light of the fact that there are so many controversies around,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales told Senate reporters in a chance interview.

While the matter of the called “lifestyle check” among ranking police officials, Purisima included, which is currently being undertaken by the Ombudsman along with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the matter of the financial background of the family members of the chief PNP will also be covered.

In the process of determining whether there’s questionable wealth or assets of the official subject of a lifestyle check, it cannot be helped but to look into the finances as well of the spouse and children, Deputy Ombudsman for military and other law enforcement officers Cyril Ramos said.

“Ganoon naman po yun, sa pag-determine ng lawful income. Baka naman po may lawful income po yung spouse at saka yung mga anak. So yung pangkalahantan po mga ari-arian ay maaring nanggaling din po sa lawful income ng kanilang pamilya. Kaya titingnan po rin yun,” Ramos explained to reporters after attending a budget hearing of the Office of the Ombudsman at the Senate.

* During the “media visit” granted by Purisima to the members of the PNP press corps to his questioned property in Nueve Ecija, critics of the police general said representatives from the Ombudsman should have been invited as well to ascertain the truthfulness of his declarations in his SALns.

Ramos, however, said that since the said coverage had been aired on television news programs, it will be taken cognizance by the Ombudsman since it was among his declared assets in his SALn.

“Whether the value is correct or not, it depends on the possible evidence,” Ramos said, adding that the issue on the cost of acquisition of some of Purisima’s sport utility vehicles (SUV) will be part of the investigation by their fact-finding team.

FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

No BIR lifestyle check on Purisima  by Ellson Quismorio October 8, 2014

DILG, Napolcom in best position to scrutinize PNP chief’s wealth – Henares


GUN-TOTING BIR CHIEF: Atty. Henares continues to prove that she can bring about change in what is considered one of the corrupt bureaus of Philippine government, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is not keen on conducting an independent lifestyle check on embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima.

BIR Commissioner Kim Henares stressed this yesterday at the side lines of the ad hoc committee hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the House of Representatives. Henares said the joint office to be composed of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Police Commission (Napolcom), and PNP would be in the best position to scrutinize Purisima’s wealth.

“Doon na ho para isang imbestigasyon na lang, hindi na paulit-ulit (Better to have it conduct the investigation in order to avoid redundancy),” she stressed, adding that the BIR would be there to assist in the probe.

The PNP is supervised administratively by Napolcom, which is an attached agency of the DILG under Secretary Mar Roxas, who sits as Napolcom chairman.

Purisima is currently in hot water for having alleged unexplained wealth. He has been charged with plunder, graft, and indirect bribery before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The four-star police general faces violation of the anti-graft and corruption code if proven guilty, Henares said. “The code says that if you can’t explain (your wealth), then the presumption is that it is illegally obtained.”

* She said the lifestyle check on Purisima will begin within the year.

NO WHITEWASH?

Henares feels that there is no need for the BIR to take the lead in the lifestyle check on Purisima, saying there is no way that Roxas would allow a cover-up despite the PNP being a part of the investigation.

“Secretary Mar Roxas is the one directing the lifestyle check and the Napolcom chair is Sec. Roxas. And I don’t think Sec. Roxas would allow any whitewashing,” she said.

“Basically we’re just finalizing the memorandum of agreement and I think (Roxas) is also formalizing his memorandum circular. Makikita niyo dyan na seryoso yung Napolcom at PNP na maging transparent ang proseso (You will see there that Napolcom and PNP are serious in making the process transparent).”

Henares said the yet to be created joint office would also check if Purisima had been paying the correct taxes in light of his admission that he has other sources of income aside from his PNP pay check.

“I think that would be tackled by the lifestyle investigation. There will only be one investigation and it will be in the lifestyle investigation that would be done by the office to be created by the DILG,” she reiterated.

‘AUTOMATIC LIFESTYLE CHECK’

Henares clarified to reporters that the DILG-led lifestyle check that Purisima would be subjected to has nothing to do with the current controversies hounding him, but a consequence of the EDSA “hulidap” last month that was perpetrated by PNP members.

“We should keep in mind that this process started by Sec. Mar Roxas is merely an offshoot. It was not because of Gen. Purisima. It was because of the EDSA ‘hulidap’ case involving police.”

“When he decided on this procedure, Gen. Purisima’s issue was not on his mind. It would be automatic on agency officials and those who would be promoted),” the BIR chief explained.

DONOR’S TAX

Meanwhile, Henares could not decide at this time whether to slap a donor’s tax against the car dealer from San Fernando, Pampanga, who sold a luxury vehicle to the PNP chief at a cheap price.

She said the issue is one of the grey areas in the Tax Code that has to be studied and clarified.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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