PHNO HEADLINE NEWS EARLY THIS PAST WEEK

ROXAS BOTHERED BY POSSIBLE END TO 'DAANG MATUWID' IN 2016 

DEC 4 --It isn’t so much the possibility that he could lose to Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2016 presidential election that bothers him. What annoys Interior Secretary Mar Roxas more is the possibility that the anticorruption policy of President Benigno Aquino III will not continue under the leadership of Binay. In a roundtable discussion with Inquirer editors and reporters on Tuesday night, Roxas was asked if he would be bothered by a Binay presidency. Roxas replied: “I am bothered by the possibility that daang matuwid (straight path) will not continue.” But Roxas said he believed the Filipino voters would choose their next President wisely. READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) UNA to Roxas: Aquino’s ‘daang matuwid’ a farce 

PHOTO: The Illusion (Libre lang naman ang mangarap) of Aquino’s “Tuwid na Daan”.--
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco yesterday chastised Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas for continuing to mislead the people into the illusion of the Aquino administration’s “daang matuwid,” saying the term had been coined to cover-up for the government’s corrupt activities which had hit an all-time high under the present regime. “First of all the ‘tuwid na daan’ is a lie,” Tiangco said in in reaction to Roxas’ pronouncement during an interview with another national daily. “Ang totoo ay ‘Baluktot na Daan.’ Ang katotohanan ay binabaluktot,” he averred. The other night, in a roundtable discussion with the editors and reporters of a national daily, Roxas was asked if he would be bothered by a Binay presidency, to which he replied, “I am bothered by the possibility that daang matuwid will not continue.” READ FULL REPORT...

(ALSO) Revilla: Unseen hands making me Palace trophy

Senator Bong Revilla. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO It’s not over yet. Detained Sen. Bong Revilla on Wednesday accused Malacañang of trying to make him its “trophy,” claiming “unseen hands” could have influenced the Sandiganbayan to throw out his bail petition. In a statement, Revilla said he would seek reconsideration of the antigraft court’s decision on Tuesday which dashed his hopes of spending the holidays with his family. The court also denied the similar bail petitions filed by Revilla’s coaccused—suspected pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and the senator’s former political aide Richard Cambe. “The decision was very different from what we had expected. It’s really disheartening. Malacañang wants me to be its trophy,” Revilla said in Filipino. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Ombudsman seeks Bong transfer to regular jail  

DEC 5 --After preventing detained Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. from being granted bail by the Sandiganbayan, prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman are now pushing for his transfer to a regular jail. Assistant Ombudsman and spokesperson Asryman Rafanan yesterday said prosecutors led by Joefferson Toribio will also be focusing on efforts to have Revilla’s properties, amounting to P224 million, garnished or frozen during the trial for his involvement in the pork barrel fund scam. The motions filed by prosecutors seeking Revilla’s transfer from the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center in Camp Crame to a regular jail facility are yet to be resolved by the Sandiganbayan First Division which, on Tuesday, denied his petition for bail as well as that of his co-accused Richard Cambe and Janet Lim-Napoles. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Enrile, Jinggoy's 90-day suspension ends 

Detained Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Jinggoy Estrada can now perform their duties as senators — albeit on a limited basis — after the 90-day preventive suspension imposed on them by the Sandiganbayan ended. Senate President Franklin Drilon said Monday that Enrile’s suspension ended on November 28 and Estrada’s on the next day. The two senators have been charged with graft and plunder in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam. “Their entitlements and salary as members of the Senate have been reinstated. Well, except for the fact that they cannot vote, because voting requires physical presence,” he told reporters. The Senate started implementing the suspensions of Enrile on September 1 and Estrada on September 2. Drilon said the two can also resume filing bills. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: Jinggoy files 5 bills while in detention  

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has filed five bills while in detention as he is allowed to perform his duties as legislator after his 90-day suspension over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam ended last Nov. 29. According to Senate President Franklin Drilon, all of Estrada’s entitlements as a member of the Senate have been reinstated. Apart from attending the plenary sessions and committee hearings at the Senate, Estrada can perform his other functions, starting with filing bills while in detention. Last Monday, Estrada filed five bills concerning the protection of victims of violence against women and children (VAWC); identity theft; the operation of dormitories and boarding houses; the regulation of tattoo and body piercing operators; and toilets for persons with special needs and disabilities. READ FULL REPORT...

ALSO: PNP Chief Purisima suspended over courier, gun deals 

The Office of the Ombudsman yesterday ordered the suspension of Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima and 17 other PNP officials involved in a courier service contract and missing rifles. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II to immediately implement the six-month suspension order against Purisima and the police officials and submit compliance reports within five days. Malacañang said they would obey the suspension orders on Purisima and the others. “The government shall abide by the decision of the Ombudsman pertaining to the administrative case against Police Director General Alan Purisima and other senior PNP officials,” Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. “We are a government of laws and not of men,” he added. READ FULL REPORT...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Roxas bothered by possible end to ‘daang matuwid’ in 2016


Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Vice President Jejomar Binay INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, DECEMBER 8, 2014 (INQUIRER) Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet - It isn’t so much the possibility that he could lose to Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2016 presidential election that bothers him.

What annoys Interior Secretary Mar Roxas more is the possibility that the anticorruption policy of President Benigno Aquino III will not continue under the leadership of Binay.

In a roundtable discussion with Inquirer editors and reporters on Tuesday night, Roxas was asked if he would be bothered by a Binay presidency.

Roxas replied: “I am bothered by the possibility that daang matuwid (straight path) will not continue.”

But Roxas said he believed the Filipino voters would choose their next President wisely.

“I think Filipinos are smart. I think Filipinos know what is in their best interest. I think Filipinos know what would be good choices,” he said.

Binay, the leader in early voter-preference polls, is hounded by allegations of corruption, with the Senate investigating charges of questionable contracts he entered into for the Makati government when he was mayor of the city.

At the center of the investigation by a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee is the alleged overpricing in the construction of the P2.28-billion Makati City Hall Building II, but the probe has been expanded to cover allegations that Binay owns an 8,877-square-meter lot in Makati and a 350-hectare agricultural farm in Rosario town, Batangas province.

The Vice President has denied all the allegations against him, claiming these are part of a smear campaign aimed at eliminating him from the 2016 race for Malacañang.

Binay defeated Roxas in the 2010 vice-presidential election, but Roxas is contesting the results of that race.

Political analysts have said it is not unlikely that Roxas will again lose to Binay in 2016.

Roxas gave way to Mr. Aquino in the 2010 presidential election. Mr. Aquino, then a senator, became the popular choice following the death of his mother, former President Cory Aquino.

Still no candidate

With 18 months to go before the next presidential election, President Aquino and the Liberal Party have yet to declare a presidential candidate although it is widely believed they will pick Roxas.

The President has repeatedly said he wants a successor who will press his good government program, which he claims has achieved significant gains, including an improved image of the Philippines that is attracting more foreign investment.

Asked if the presidency is on his mind, Roxas replied that he did not allow the thought to distract him from his work.

So much to do

There is so much to do from now until the Aquino administration winds down in 2016 that it feels the election is still so far away, he said.

Roxas extensively discussed a “deliberate, systematic and programmatic” approach he had developed with the Philippine National Police that he said had reduced the crime rate in Metro Manila by half after a yearlong test run.

But there was no escaping the 2016 question. Asked about President Aquino’s possible anointed one, Roxas said he would support whomever Mr. Aquino chose as the Liberal Party’s presidential standard-bearer.

Roxas likened the election to the Olympics—it is scheduled, it will take place.

So how is he, President Aquino and the Liberal Party preparing for the Olympics?

“The best preparation is performance,” Roxas said.

“The President and his party have delivered on a whole slew of items that were part of the agenda of the President and the party. I am not saying everything’s perfect. I am not saying we have attained nirvana. I am just saying that we are certainly better off today than where we were, exponentially different than where we were [before],” Roxas said.


FROM THE TRIBUNE

UNA to Roxas: Aquino’s ‘daang matuwid’ a farce Written by Charlie V. Manalo Friday, 05 December 2014 00:00


PHOTO: The Illusion (Libre lang naman ang mangarap, Noy said) of Aquino’s “Tuwid na Daan”

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco yesterday chastised Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas for continuing to mislead the people into the illusion of the Aquino administration’s “daang matuwid,” saying the term had been coined to cover-up for the government’s corrupt activities which had hit an all-time high under the present regime.

“First of all the ‘tuwid na daan’ is a lie,” Tiangco said in in reaction to Roxas’ pronouncement during an interview with another national daily.

“Ang totoo ay ‘Baluktot na Daan.’ Ang katotohanan ay binabaluktot,” he averred.

The other night, in a roundtable discussion with the editors and reporters of a national daily, Roxas was asked if he would be bothered by a Binay presidency, to which he replied, “I am bothered by the possibility that daang matuwid will not continue.”

He, however, was quick to add that he believed the Filipino voters would choose their next president wisely.

“I think Filipinos are smart. I think Filipinos know what is in their best interest. I think Filipinos know what would be good choices,” Roxas was quoted saying.

The Navotas solon also told Roxas not to hide under the their opt-repeated banner of good governance as the biggest allegation of corruption within the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) happened under his tour of duty with the agency.

“Huwag na tayong lokohin pa ni Roxas tungkol sa good governance,” he said.

“Ang pinaka-malaking alegasyon ng kalokohan sa DoTC ay nangyari sa ilalim ng kanyang pamumuno. Ito ay nagresulta sa araw-araw na pagdurusa at paglagay sa delikadong sitwasyon ng mga commuter ng MRT. He must fully explain the $30-million extort try as complained by the former Czech ambassador. Up to this day he has said nothing about it.

At yung reklamo ng former Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar sa NBI filed Oct. 13, 2013 ay hindi pa rin naaksyunan hangang ngayon. Ganyan ba ang NBI, isang taon na pero wala pang report? Halatang-halata ang klase nang pagtatakip sa kakampi,” Tiangco recalled.

The UNA president nevertheless reminded Roxas not to worry so much regarding the capacity of the Filipino voters to choose the right leader.

“The Filipino voters are not only smart, most of all they have a very strong sense of gut feel to know who really cares for their welfare,” Tiangco said.

“They know that it is Vice President Jejomar Binay who has spent all his life with the poor and started his service from the time he was a human rights lawyer, to the time he was Mayor of Makati where he started free private quality public school education, free hospitalization, allowances for the senior citizens,” he added.

To this day, Tiangco said Binay still concentrates “his service to those who are homeless and the OFWs who have to be apart from their loved ones just to provide them a better future.”


FROM THE INQUIRER

Revilla: Unseen hands making me Palace trophy Marlon Ramos @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:54 AM | Thursday, December 4th, 2014


Senator Bong Revilla. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

It’s not over yet.

Detained Sen. Bong Revilla on Wednesday accused Malacañang of trying to make him its “trophy,” claiming “unseen hands” could have influenced the Sandiganbayan to throw out his bail petition.

In a statement, Revilla said he would seek reconsideration of the antigraft court’s decision on Tuesday which dashed his hopes of spending the holidays with his family.

The court also denied the similar bail petitions filed by Revilla’s coaccused—suspected pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and the senator’s former political aide Richard Cambe.

“The decision was very different from what we had expected. It’s really disheartening. Malacañang wants me to be its trophy,” Revilla said in Filipino.

“We respect the decision of the court. We have to accept it. But we see unseen hands who meddled in this case,” he added.

Revilla, who allegedly pocketed P224.5 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allotments through Napoles’ bogus foundations, said there was no probable cause to indict him for plunder and graft. He said none of the 10 witnesses that the prosecutors had presented against him testified that they handed him his supposed kickbacks from the PDAF scam.

Conspiracy

Levito Baligod, a private complainant in the plunder case, said even if there was no witness that Revilla directly received kickbacks, testimony by a representative of the Anti-Money Laundering Council showed the dates of the purported delivery of his kickbacks were close to the time huge deposits were made to his bank accounts.

‘I’m innocent’

Revilla cannot argue that none saw him receive the kickbacks because it was Cambe who got them for him, Baligod said. In a conspiracy, Baligod said, the act of one is the act of all.

“Notably, Revilla never asserted in his defense that he never received any kickback through Attorney Cambe,” Baligod said.

Maintaining his innocence, Revilla said he would bring his case to the Supreme Court if the Sandiganbayan denies his appeal.

“I’m innocent of the charges against me. All the allegations against me were answered by my lawyers. That’s why I’m surprised at the court’s decision,” the senator said.

“The fight is far from over. I’m not losing hope that the court would still see the truth behind these allegations.”

‘Misappreciation’

Lawyer Raymond Fortun, Revilla’s spokesperson, said the senator would raise the court’s “misappreciation” of the evidence that the Office of the Ombudsman presented during the hearing.

For one, Fortun said all the prosecution witnesses admitted in open court that they did not have any personal knowledge about the supposed payoffs that Napoles gave to Revilla.

He said the court also erred when it relied on the “common appreciation” of the documents pertaining to Revilla’s pork barrel transactions than the testimony of a handwriting expert who said that Revilla’s signatures in some of the documents were fake.

The court, he added, may have also erred in relying on the contents of the external hard drive of primary whistle-blower Benhur Luy which, he said, was “unreliable and cannot be given credence.”

Purely circumstantial

“We have to point out the court’s misappreciation of the prosecution evidence which became the basis of its decision not to grant bail to Senator Revilla,” Fortun said in a mobile phone interview.

“We still have a lot of hope that the court would still reconsider its ruling … The court’s opinion was only based on the evidence presented by the prosecution which are purely circumstantial,” he said.

He insisted that circumstantial evidence was not enough to win a conviction in criminal cases, adding that the court’s decision junking Revilla’s bail petition was not a “precursor” of its decision after the trial proper.

Compelling evidence

In thumbing down Revilla’s plea for his temporary freedom, the court said it was “persuaded that the prosecution has presented compelling evidence that accused Revilla amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth.”

The court said Revilla received money from Napoles and her agents through Cambe “and in those several occasions, accused Revilla and Cambe made use of their official position, authority, connections and influence.”

In its 71-page ruling, it said:

“This was established by the testimonies of the witnesses and documents they testified to which, at this stage of the proceedings, has remained unrebutted, and thus, given full faith and credence by the court.

“In fine, the prosecution has duly established that there exists strong evidence that accused Revilla, Cambe and Napoles, in conspiracy with one another, committed the capital offense of plunder … and are thus not entitled to the constitutional right to bail.” With a report from Nancy C. Carvajal


FROM PHILSTAR

Ombudsman seeks Bong transfer to regular jail By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 5, 2014 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


REVILLA

MANILA, Philippines - After preventing detained Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. from being granted bail by the Sandiganbayan, prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman are now pushing for his transfer to a regular jail.

Assistant Ombudsman and spokesperson Asryman Rafanan yesterday said prosecutors led by Joefferson Toribio will also be focusing on efforts to have Revilla’s properties, amounting to P224 million, garnished or frozen during the trial for his involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.

He said these are the next steps to be taken considering how the prosecution team has won the first battle insofar as Revilla’s petition for bail is concerned.

The motions filed by prosecutors seeking Revilla’s transfer from the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center in Camp Crame to a regular jail facility are yet to be resolved by the Sandiganbayan First Division which, on Tuesday, denied his petition for bail as well as that of his co-accused Richard Cambe and Janet Lim-Napoles.

Rafanan said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales commended Toribio and his team for their latest legal victory which will hopefully lead to a conviction.

He also announced that more pork barrel fund scam cases will be filed before the Sandiganbayan next year which will include congressmen who also allegedly pocketed funds from the Napoles scheme of giving them kickbacks or commissions in exchange for priority development assistance fund (PDAF) allocations to her bogus non-government organizations (NGOs)

Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, on the other hand, belied accusations and insinuations that the Office of the Ombudsman is zeroing in on opposition figures like Revilla and his fellow Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.

Justiniano said it just so happened that the three had the biggest amounts involved and are high-ranking public officials who, under the Ombudsman Act, should be prioritized.

“That is very clear in the law. You can be assured that the DOJ is not choosing who to prosecute,” Justiniano said.

“We go by the evidence,” Rafanan added, explaining that high-profile cases are prioritized by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Mosquera also belied accusations that Ombudsman prosecutors are delaying the proceedings in the Revilla, Enrile, and Estrada cases.

“As you noticed, all the accused are sick,” he told reporters who laughed at his suggestion that public officials who get charged in court end up suffering from all sorts of ailments.

He said it is also the accused who file all sorts of motions to raise technical issues that actually result in delay of proceedings.

Justiniano said the denial of bail to Revilla is also a “good signal” insofar as the petition for bail of Estrada considering that they have a Ruby Tuason, former President Joseph Estrada’s former social secretary, to testify against him.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, meanwhile, said Revilla has not yet firmed up his plans to run for president in 2016 and remains focused on his defense on the plunder case.

Prior to his detention five months ago, Lakas-CMD was considering fielding Revilla, the party chairman, as its standard bearer.

Romualdez said he had a chance to talk to Revilla when he visited him in his detention cell in Camp Crame several days ago.

“Obviously, right now, the senator is facing his legal battles, so we’re not thinking of that (presidential bid). We’re not thinking about 2016,” Romualdez said. –Paolo Romero


FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Enrile, Jinggoy's 90-day suspension ends  By AMITA O. LEGASPI, GMA NewsDecember 1, 2014 4:35pm 2036 13 0 2204 Tags: Bantay Kaban , Jinggoy Estrada , Juan Ponce Enrile


JINGGOY, ENRILE

Detained Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Jinggoy Estrada can now perform their duties as senators — albeit on a limited basis — after the 90-day preventive suspension imposed on them by the Sandiganbayan ended.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said Monday that Enrile’s suspension ended on November 28 and Estrada’s on the next day. The two senators have been charged with graft and plunder in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.

“Their entitlements and salary as members of the Senate have been reinstated. Well, except for the fact that they cannot vote, because voting requires physical presence,” he told reporters.

The Senate started implementing the suspensions of Enrile on September 1 and Estrada on September 2.

Drilon said the two can also resume filing bills.

“We simply implemented the order of the Sandiganbayan insofar as the suspension of the three senators are concerned. They are presumed innocent until proven guilty after all. We are only implementing the suspension order. So they are just back in the same situation as before their suspension,” he said.

Asked if the two can hold hearings on their jail, Drilon said it is up to the Sandiganbayan and the custodian.

Enrile, who is 90 years old, is detained at the PNP General Hospital while Estrada is detained at the PNP Custodial Center. Aside from them, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. is also charged with graft and plunder in connection with the same alleged scam. He is detained at the PNP Custodial Center.

The suspensions of Revilla and his staff, lawyer Richard Cambe, were implemented by the Senate on November 3 and will be effective until January 31, 2015. —KBK, GMA News


FROM PHILSTAR

Jinggoy files 5 bills in detention By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 4, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


JINGGOY

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has filed five bills while in detention as he is allowed to perform his duties as legislator after his 90-day suspension over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam ended last Nov. 29.

According to Senate President Franklin Drilon, all of Estrada’s entitlements as a member of the Senate have been reinstated.

Apart from attending the plenary sessions and committee hearings at the Senate, Estrada can perform his other functions, starting with filing bills while in detention.

Last Monday, Estrada filed five bills concerning the protection of victims of violence against women and children (VAWC); identity theft; the operation of dormitories and boarding houses; the regulation of tattoo and body piercing operators; and toilets for persons with special needs and disabilities.

Senate Bill 2476 calls for the provision of substitute addresses in public records for victims of VAWC. Estrada said that it is important to keep the victims safe and far from their abusers and to keep their whereabouts confidential.

His Senate Bill 2477 is pushing for the adoption of a definition for identity theft and the institution of stiff penalties against perpetrators.

His Senate Bill 2478, meanwhile, seeks to ensure that all dormitories and boarding houses are safe, clean and livable through the intervention of local government units.

Estrada also filed Senate Bill 2479, which calls for the regulation of the operation of tattoo and body piercing businesses and its prohibition for minors.

Under Senate Bill 2840, Estrada called for the establishment of separate functional and sanitary comfort rooms for persons with special needs and disabilities.

The five bills were filed by Estrada in the previous Congress and were re-filed under the present Congress.

Files motion for bail

Estrada also filed a motion to fix bail and asked the Sandiganbayan to rule on his request for temporary liberty while undergoing trial for plunder over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.

Estrada said the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division should act on his petition now, noting that lawyers of the Office of the Ombudsman have yet to show strong evidence that he pocketed commissions from alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles five months since his arrest and detention.

He also said the anti-graft court should cut the bail hearings short and decide based on the witnesses so far presented by the prosecution panel.


FROM PHILSTAR

PNP Chief Purisima suspended over courier, gun deals By Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 5, 2014 - 12:00am 1 2 googleplus0 0


Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman yesterday ordered the suspension of Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima and 17 other PNP officials involved in a courier service contract and missing rifles.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II to immediately implement the six-month suspension order against Purisima and the police officials and submit compliance reports within five days.

Malacañang said they would obey the suspension orders on Purisima and the others.

“The government shall abide by the decision of the Ombudsman pertaining to the administrative case against Police Director General Alan Purisima and other senior PNP officials,” Press Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

“We are a government of laws and not of men,” he added.

Coloma said they would implement the administrative sanction against Purisima and do what is necessary to comply with the Ombudsman’s directives.

“Under the rules, the suspension order will be conveyed to the DILG who is tasked to implement the same,” he said.

Roxas, for his part, said he would comment on the issue as soon as his department receives the suspension order.

“I have not yet seen the order and will withhold comment until then,” he said.

Apart from Purisima, the others ordered suspended were PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) head Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta; Senior Superintendents Allan Parreno, Edurado Acierto, Melchor Reyes, Lenbell Fabia; Superintendent Sonia Calixto; Chief Inspectors Nelson Bautista, Ricardo Zapata; and Senior Inspector Ford Tuazon.

They were ordered suspended for their alleged involvement in a supposedly questionable and overpriced gun license delivery deal with a private courier service company called Werfast Documentary Agency in 2011.

In October, the ombudsman announced the creation of a special panel of investigators to look into the criminal and administrative complaints filed by the anti-graft agency’s Fact-Finding Investigation Bureau (FFIB).

The fact-finding probe stemmed from an anonymous complaint alleging Purisima and other PNP officials and personnel siphoned funds from the mandatory delivery fees paid by gun owners in securing their gun licenses by entering into a memorandum of agreement with Werfast for courier services in the delivery of firearms license cards.

Investigators said due to the lack of track record and logistical capability, Werfast engaged the services of LBC and “collected P190.00 for deliveries within Metro Manila and P290 (for those) outside of Metro Manila,” when “other courier services providers charge only P90.00 within Metro Manila.”

Based on FEO records, 90,455 firearms license cards were issued for delivery from March 2013 to March 2014.

Morales also issued separate six-month preventive suspension orders against Petrasanta, Parreno, Acierto, Bautista, and Zapata for their involvement in the case of missing AK-47 assault rifles allegedly sold to New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

Included in the second set of suspended PNP officials and officers were Chief Superintendent Regino Catiis; Chief Inspectors Ricky Sumalde and Rodrigo Benedicto Sarmiento; Senior Police Officers Eric Tan and Randy de Sesto; and non-uniformed personnel Nora Pirote, Sol Bargan, and Enrique de la Cruz.

In the case of the missing AK-47s, those under probe are facing criminal and administrative charges based on the report by the PNP – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on July 17, 2014 revealing that four private security agencies and a mining company applied and were issued firearms licenses by the FEO using falsified and incomplete documentary requirements.

Based on the PNP-FEO database, 1,004 licensed firearms were released through the submission of incomplete and or falsified applications submitted by Isidro Lozada, owner of Caraga Security Agency, who purchased the firearms from Twin Pines Inc. which, in turn, facilitated and submitted the falsified and/or incomplete license applications of Lozada to the PNP-FEO.

The CIDG report was also able to validate information that the firearms matching the serial numbers of the licensed AK-47s issued to the security agencies and mining company were recovered from encounters between the military and NPA rebels in the Caraga and Western Mindanao regions.

Former police officials Gil Meneses, Napoleon Estilles and Tomas Rentoy II were also covered by the suspension orders but which were deemed null since they are no longer in the police service.

Ombudsman spokesman Asryman Rafanan said the PNP officials slapped with preventive suspension orders are facing criminal investigation for graft and other offenses.

However, the suspensions stemmed from the administrative complaints against them that include grave misconduct and serious dishonesty, Rafanan explained.

Preventive suspension orders are issued by the Office of the Ombudsman not as a penalty but as a way to prevent respondents in an administrative case from using their positions to influence the probe or even tamper with documents or evidence.

In approving the preventive suspensions, the ombudsman said “the bulk of material evidence in the custody of the PNP, and given the power and authority attached to the respondents’ positions, there is strong probability that they may influence witnesses or tamper with any evidence material to the case.”

Pursuant to the rules, the anti-graft agency said the suspensions orders, signed by Morales on Nov. 26 and Dec. 3, can be appealed through a motion for reconsideration but can only be stopped by temporary restraining order (TRO).

Purisima, for his part, said he would avail of all legal remedies regarding his suspension order.

Purisima is attending a security conference in Saudi Arabia. He left last Wednesday and scheduled to return on Dec. 9.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said the police legal service branch and Purisima’s lawyers are studying the case for any legal remedy available.

“The PNP respects the decision of the Ombudsman. We will exhaust necessary available legal remedies on the matter. It will depend on legal service group to act on that,” Mayor said. – Delon Porcalla, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Christina Mendez, Paolo Romero, Ric Sapnu


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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