PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

NAPOLES GETS LIFE IN PRISON FOR DETAINING WHISTLEBLOWER LUY
[Napoles is facing separate graft charges before the Sandiganbayan. Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla are among the government officials detained on plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.]


Businesswoman and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles reacts upon hearing the Makati City court’s ruling sentencing her to life imprisonment for serious illegal detention of whistle-blower Benhur Luy. Star/Manny Marcelo
- A Makati City court yesterday sentenced businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles to life imprisonment for the serious illegal detention of pork barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy. Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 also ordered Napoles to pay Luy P100,000 in civil and moral damages. Napoles’ brother and co-accused, Reynald Lim, remains at large. “The prosecution was able to establish that Luy was illegally detained from Dec. 19, 2012 to March 22, 2013,” the judge said in his 26-page decision. READ  MORE...

ALSO What Went Before: Serious illegal detention charge vs Napoles


NAPOLES, 2 YEARS AGO 
It’s been almost two years since the serious illegal detention charge was filed against businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, who is also facing plunder complaints along with senators, congressmen, their aides and other officials in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.
Benhur Luy, a relative of Napoles and her former confidant-employee at her JLN Group of Companies, was allegedly held captive for three months beginning in December 2012 by Napoles and her brother, Reynald Lim, a coaccused in the case. A medical technology graduate, Luy joined Napoles, a distant cousin, in September 2002 and became her personal assistant. There was a falling out, after Napoles claimed that Luy took an unauthorized loan of P5 million and ran away with P300,000 he was ordered to deposit in her account. On March 22, 2013, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation swooped down on a condominium unit in the South Garden Pacific Towers in Taguig City and rescued Luy, after his parents, Arturo and Gertrudes Francisco, filed a complaint with the agency. On March 23, the NBI recommended to the Department of Justice (DOJ) that both Napoles and her brother be prosecuted for serious illegal detention, or violation of Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code. READ MORE...

ALSO FLASHBACK MARCH 2014: Noy allies, opposition seeking control of whistleblowers - Luy's ex-lawyer


Lawyer Levito Baligod sitting on the right side of pork scam whistleblower Benhur Luy at the Senate hearing on the funds scam. On Luy's left Justice Sec De Lima FILE PHOTO
— Levito Baligod, sacked lawyer of lead "pork barrel" scam whistleblower Benhur Luy, confirmed that some people in the administration as well as the opposition are attempting to have control over his clients. "Both sides of the political scene are interested in influencing to a certain degree itong mga whistleblower," Baligod said in an interview with dzMM on Wednesday. He denied, however, that such interventions occurred when he was still Luy's lawyer. Baligod, who still represents other pork barrel scam whistleblowers such as Merlina Suñas, said that several forces also want him out of the case. Asked whether "the powers that be" are controlling Luy, which could have led to his dropping from the lead whistleblower's legal team, Baligod remained mum. READ MORE...

ALSO: Unusually cheerful after verdict, Napoles ordered to jail at correctional facility; will appeal


ONE DOWN, MORE TO GO Janet Lim-Napoles listens to the verdict by the Makati Regional Trial Court for the serious illegal detention of her former finance officer and confidant, Benhur Luy, in the first of several cases lodged against her which blew wide open her alleged criminal activities in the P10-billion pork barrel scam. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA
She did not want to go where she was ordered to be in prison after her conviction on Tuesday. But the Sandiganbayan on Wednesday ordered the transfer of accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to a correctional facility after she received a life sentence in a case charging her with illegal detention. In a press briefing, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang announced that the Sandiganbayan Third Division had denied the request of Napoles to remain at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. The court, in effect, ordered the transfer of Napoles to the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, where she was ordered jailed on Tuesday by the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC), which convicted her. READ MORE...

ALSO: Napoles now in women's correctional, Camp Diwa in Taguig
[Next week’s arraignment of Napoles’ daughter on tax evasion charges has been reset to April 22].


Janet Lim-Napoles. STAR/File photo
- Janet Lim-Napoles was spirited out of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig at 1:35 a.m. yesterday and transferred to a cell with at least 100 other inmates at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong. Officials denied that there was undue haste in transferring Napoles to prison where she started serving her life term for serious illegal detention of her cousin and former aide Benhur Luy. Correctional officer-in-charge Idilinda Patac said Napoles was placed in the cell after undergoing fingerprinting and other documentary proceedings. Napoles will not be given special treatment, she added. Before leaving the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) female detention ward in Camp Bagong Diwa Taguig yesterday,Napoles told media that her conscience is clear. READ MORE...

ALSO: Customs chief has quit?


Customs Commissioner John Philip Sevilla INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Customs Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla has reportedly quit his post and Malacañang, through the Department of Finance (DOF), is already looking for his replacement.
According to three sources—one from the Palace, another from the Bureau of Customs and a lawyer—Sevilla has already submitted his resignation letter. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima has supposedly confided to a “friend” that they are in a quandary on how to go about the Customs chief’s resignation but that there is now a process of selecting his possible replacement. “The president is playing his cards close to his chest. Not everyone in his circle knows. Commissioner Sevilla had been rumored to have left his post but Malacanang denied it. This time, it’s real,” said the BOC insider. READ MORE...

ALSO:Top Comelec bet declines Noy offer


President Aquino
CEBU, Philippines - President Aquino has eliminated a “hesitant” yet qualified candidate to head the Commission on Elections (Comelec), saying the May 2016 polls are drawing near and he needs someone enthusiastic for the job. In a chance interview yesterday at the Tarlac National High School in Tarlac City, the President told reporters that he had interviewed the candidate and offered the position. But the candidate told Aquino that “it seems I’m not cut out for that.”  The President said he felt that the candidate was trying to tell him that “if you need me, I will accept it, but (the person) is hesitant.”  “Since it is for the presidential elections next year, what we need is a person who is really enthusiastic. There is another candidate. Hopefully I will be able to interview by next week,” Aquino explained. Aquino refused to name the hesitant candidate, but well-placed sources in Malacañang said that among the contenders, only retired Supreme Court justice Adolf Azcuna, now in his mid-70s, showed reluctance, although he hinted that he was willing to serve if the President wanted him to do so. READ MORE...

ALSO: Corruption is evil but not the nation’s main curse


by MARLEN V. RONQUILLO
Your instincts tell you not to comment on the debate between Mr. Binay and Mr. Trillanes on which—between corruption and massive inequality—is the primary source of evil in the country. Except for those who crunch figures (who make up an insignificant slice of Filipinos), the vote-getter on the greatest evil is official corruption. Official corruption is evil. It should be stamped out with extreme prejudice. And the perpetrators should all go to jail, in reclusion perpetua. No one will argue against the crippling impact of corruption on our country’s still-fragile democracy. But to say that it is the country’s major curse is wrong, woefully wrong and off the mark. Let us assume, for academic purposes, that all of these were true: • The P10 billion that went to the Napoles NGOs lined the pockets of senators, congressmen, governors and mayors—and the Napoles family (plus their agents) exclusively. • That some P5 billion more went to the non-Napoles phony NGOs and that the total vanished into pockets of corrupt politicians and the ringleaders of the non-Napoles NGOs. • Let us assume that in a ten-year corruption binge that involved pork barrel funds, more than P15 billion, which was supposed to be spent for public good, lined the pockets of executive officials, senators, congressmen and LGU leaders. And that greed was of a level that was without precedent in a corrupted bureaucracy. • Let us add another P5 billion more in squandered funds during that ten-year binge for a total of P20 billion in lost money. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Napoles gets life in prison for detaining Luy


Businesswoman and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles reacts upon hearing the Makati City court’s ruling sentencing her to life imprisonment for serious illegal detention of whistle-blower Benhur Luy. Star/Manny Marcelo

MANILA, APRIL 20, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Mike Frialde - A Makati City court yesterday sentenced businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles to life imprisonment for the serious illegal detention of pork barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy.

Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 also ordered Napoles to pay Luy P100,000 in civil and moral damages.

Napoles’ brother and co-accused, Reynald Lim, remains at large.

“The prosecution was able to establish that Luy was illegally detained from Dec. 19, 2012 to March 22, 2013,” the judge said in his 26-page decision.

READ MORE...
The court said Napoles detained her former aide to prevent him from disclosing information about the pork barrel scam.

Napoles said Luy misappropriated around P5 million using her name. She also alleged that Luy stole money from her.

The court said Lim held Luy for three months in a house located at 52 Lapu-Lapu street, Magallanes Village, Makati on orders of Napoles.

The Makati RTC started hearing the serious illegal detention case filed by Luy against Napoles on Aug. 6, 2013.

The court denied her petition for bail on Nov. 21, 2013.

Napoles went into hiding when news of the pork barrel scam broke. She surrendered to President Aquino in Malacañang and was detained at Fort Sto. Domingo, Laguna. She was later transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

The scam allegedly operated by Napoles involved the diversion of billions of pesos in Priority Development Assistance Fund of lawmakers to fake non-government organizations and bogus projects.

Napoles is facing separate graft charges before the Sandiganbayan.

Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla are among the government officials detained on plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.

The court ordered Napoles’ transfer to the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong following her conviction.


WHISTLEBLOWER BENHUR LUY TESTIFYING

Luy did not attend yesterday’s court proceedings.

His mother Gertrudes welcomed the court’s decision.

Bruce Rivera, lawyer for Napoles, said they would appeal the ruling of the Makati RTC.

Last October, defense lawyers presented in court Abelardo Hernales, secretary of a Catholic monsignor who had lived in a house reportedly owned by Napoles.

Hernales testified that Luy stayed for “solitude” in the house known as “Bahay ni San Jose.”

Hernales added that he saw Lim fetch Luy from the house on several occasions during his stay.

Rivera said they would present in court 18 witnesses including priests, who are reportedly friends of Napoles, to prove that Luy was not illegally detained.

Earlier, two security officers of Pacific Plaza Towers testified that Luy allegedly told the agents of the National Bureau of Investigation who rescued him on the night of March 22, 2013 that he was not kidnapped by Lim.


INQUIRER

What Went Before: Serious illegal detention charge vs Napoles Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:42 AM | Wednesday, April 15th, 2015


NAPOLES, 2 YEARS AGO

It’s been almost two years since the serious illegal detention charge was filed against businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, who is also facing plunder complaints along with senators, congressmen, their aides and other officials in connection with the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

Benhur Luy, a relative of Napoles and her former confidant-employee at her JLN Group of Companies, was allegedly held captive for three months beginning in December 2012 by Napoles and her brother, Reynald Lim, a coaccused in the case.

A medical technology graduate, Luy joined Napoles, a distant cousin, in September 2002 and became her personal assistant. There was a falling out, after Napoles claimed that Luy took an unauthorized loan of P5 million and ran away with P300,000 he was ordered to deposit in her account.

On March 22, 2013, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation swooped down on a condominium unit in the South Garden Pacific Towers in Taguig City and rescued Luy, after his parents, Arturo and Gertrudes Francisco, filed a complaint with the agency.

On March 23, the NBI recommended to the Department of Justice (DOJ) that both Napoles and her brother be prosecuted for serious illegal detention, or violation of Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code.

READ MORE...
Luy said he was detained to prevent him from reporting to authorities what he knew about Napoles’ racket involving the misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) through bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs).

After he was rescued by the NBI, Luy executed an affidavit alleging that Napoles, president and chief executive officer of JLN Corp., was behind a multibillion-peso scam using the pork barrel of senators and congressmen for nonexistent projects.

Napoles, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, and 34 other people are facing charges of plunder, malversation, bribery and graft and corrupt practices in the Sandiganbayan for their alleged involvement in the controversy.

On April 15, Napoles, in her counteraffidavit, denied all of Luy’s allegations. On June 10, a panel of prosecutors from the DOJ recommended the dismissal of the illegal detention complaint after saying that it found that Luy had voluntarily stayed at a Napoles-supported Catholic retreat house. Following a motion for reconsideration the DOJ refiled the case on Aug. 13 and warrants of arrest were issued against the siblings the next day.

Napoles disappeared for two weeks but surrendered to President Aquino in Malacañang on the evening of Aug. 28, the same day Aquino announced a P10-million bounty for her arrest. She was escorted by the President to Camp Crame to be detained.–Ana Roa, Inquirer Research

Sources: Inquirer Archives


PHILSTAR FLASHBACK MARCH 5, 2014

Baligod: Noy allies, opposition seeking control of whistleblowers By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated March 5, 2014 - 11:14am 11 740 googleplus0 0


Lawyer Levito Baligod sitting on the right side of pork scam whistleblower Benhur Luy at the Senate hearing on the funds scam. On Luy's left Justice Sec De Lima FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Levito Baligod, sacked lawyer of lead "pork barrel" scam whistleblower Benhur Luy, confirmed that some people in the administration as well as the opposition are attempting to have control over his clients.

"Both sides of the political scene are interested in influencing to a certain degree itong mga whistleblower," Baligod said in an interview with dzMM on Wednesday.

He denied, however, that such interventions occurred when he was still Luy's lawyer.

Baligod, who still represents other pork barrel scam whistleblowers such as Merlina Suñas, said that several forces also want him out of the case.

Related: Ex-Luy lawyer denies bribes from Aquino admin

Asked whether "the powers that be" are controlling Luy, which could have led to his dropping from the lead whistleblower's legal team, Baligod remained mum.

READ MORE...
"Medyo maselan kasi 'yung nalalaman natin tungkol d'yan ... sa tamang panahon ay masasabi natin ang totoong rason kung bakit," he said.

As Napoles' employee, Luy was tasked to keep the accounts of alleged fraudulent transactions with government officials and lawmakers for ghost livelihood and training projects. Luy is currently under the the Department of Justice's Witness Protection Program (WPP) and has been granted full immunity from his involvement in the scam.

In a letter, Luy said that he was dropping Baligod from his legal team for his lack of attention on the controversial case and said he was attending to his "other advocacies."

The lawyer, meanwhile, denied that he was neglecting his clients and said that he is looking forward to personally discussing the matter with Luy soon.

'Limited' access

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, meanwhile, said that she is making sure that politicians and other personalities interested with Luy are kept away from the whistleblower.

"Sisiguraduhin ko na hindi mangyayari 'yun na may nakaka-access [kay Luy]," De Lima said in a separate radio interview Tuesday night.

She said that she has people in the WPP who are handling Luy to strictly limit the whistleblowers access outside of the program.

"Yun nga ho ang kabilin-bilinan ko sa WPP na i-limit ang mga nag-access sa kanya para walang opporunity para maimpluwensyahan at turuan na hindi magsabi ng totoo, or worse may mangyari sa kanya," De Lima added.


INQUIRER

Sandiganbayan orders Napoles jailed at correctional Dona Z. Pazzibugan, Marc Jayson Cayabyab | INQUIRER.net Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:19 AM | Thursday, April 16th, 2015


ONE DOWN, MORE TO GO Janet Lim-Napoles listens to the verdict by the Makati Regional Trial Court for the serious illegal detention of her former finance officer and confidant, Benhur Luy, in the first of several cases lodged against her which blew wide open her alleged criminal activities in the P10-billion pork barrel scam. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines–She did not want to go where she was ordered to be in prison after her conviction on Tuesday.

But the Sandiganbayan on Wednesday ordered the transfer of accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to a correctional facility after she received a life sentence in a case charging her with illegal detention.

In a press briefing, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang announced that the Sandiganbayan Third Division had denied the request of Napoles to remain at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

The court, in effect, ordered the transfer of Napoles to the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, where she was ordered jailed on Tuesday by the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC), which convicted her.

READ MORE...
“The court resolved to grant the motion of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to transfer the person of Napoles to the Correctional Institution for Women in light of the supervening events of her conviction by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Makati for the crime of the serious illegal detention with the corresponding penalty (of life imprisonment),” said Cabotaje-Tang, reading from a resolution.

The Third Division issued the order as it has required Napoles to be present in her bail hearing for plunder over the pork barrel scam.

Cabotaje-Tang, also the Third Division chair, said the court’s decision to transfer Napoles’ custody was in accordance with existing circulars issued by the Supreme Court regarding the detention of convicted individuals.

‘Convenience of the court’

Earlier in the day, a lawyer for Napoles claimed to have the convenience of justices in mind when she asked the Sandiganbayan to let her remain in Camp Bagong Diwa.

Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David said it would be “very inconvenient” for the justices to hold court hearings for his client in the Correctional Institution, since the BJMP requires that hearings for convicted prisoners be held within the jail facility.

“It’s for the convenience of the court,” David told justices of the Third Division at the resumption of the hearing on Napoles’ bail petition.

In Malacañang, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda deferred to the prosecutors to respond to Napoles’ move to remain at Camp Bagong Diwa.

The Makati RTC Branch 150 on Tuesday meted out to Napoles a prison term of up to 40 years, in effect a life sentence, for detaining her finance officer-turned-whistle-blower Benhur Luy for three months, from December 2012 to March 2013.

Napoles’ brother and coaccused, Reynald “Jojo” Lim, remains at large.

State prosecutors insisted that regardless of the ongoing trial in the Sandiganbayan, the Makati RTC’s order to have Napoles detained at the Correctional Institution should stand.

“This is an entirely different case,” a prosecutor told the justices.

Napoles and her brother detained Luy after they reportedly found out that he was having separate business transactions involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), a pork barrel of lawmakers.

David said they would make a formal request before all the three divisions of the antigraft court where Napoles was charged with plunder and graft: The First Division with Sen. Jinggoy Estrada; the Third Division with Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile; and the Fifth Division with Sen. Bong Revilla.

Estrada, Enrile and Revilla are detained in connection with the pork barrel scam involving the diversion of PDAF allocations to ghost projects and bogus nongovernment organizations set up by Napoles.

Unusually cheerful

Napoles, it was observed, took extra care with her appearance in public on Wednesday, after receiving her life sentence.

Appearing as usual with about a dozen security escorts, Napoles was unusually heavily made-up. She also did not use the dark shades and windbreaker she usually wears to cover her face every time she is brought to court.

She also appeared unusually cheerful.

At one point in the hearing, she looked at a group of reporters across from her, smiled and pointed out her made-up face and said: “Importante ang puso (What’s in the heart is important)” and “May karma (There is karma).”

Afterward, she laughed and briefly bantered with reporters before she was escorted out of the courtroom. She said she slept well as “my conscience is clear.”

David told reporters that Napoles was with her husband and children in Camp Bagong Diwa on Monday after the Makati RTC gave its verdict.

“Of course it was gloomy,” David said, adding that Napoles put up a brave front in front of her family.

To appeal ruling

Saying the court ruling “was expected anyway,” David said Napoles would appeal the ruling before the RTC.

“Even if convicted, one is not automatically incarcerated,” he said. He claimed there have been cases when suspects on bail were still allowed to remain free after they were convicted, so long as they “double the bail” while their case was on appeal.

David also said the life sentence should not affect the Sandiganbayan’s hearings for Napoles’ bail petition, saying they will avail themselves of legal remedies to reverse the trial court’s verdict.

Then a subject of a manhunt in connection with the illegal detention of Luy, Napoles surrendered to President Aquino on Aug. 28, 2013, in Malacañang.

Aquino later escorted her to the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame.

It all started when lawyer Lorna Kapunan told Lacierda on the phone that her client, Napoles, had wanted to surrender to the President.

Lacierda met with Kapunan, and Napoles’ husband Jimmy in Makati, and then they proceeded to Heritage Park in Taguig, where they were approached by Napoles. They all drove to Malacañang.–With a report from TJ Burgonio and Marlon Ramos


PHILSTAR

Napoles now in women's correctional, Camp Diwa in Taguig By Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 17, 2015 - 12:00am


Janet Lim-Napoles. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Janet Lim-Napoles was spirited out of Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig at 1:35 a.m. yesterday and transferred to a cell with at least 100 other inmates at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong.

Officials denied that there was undue haste in transferring Napoles to prison where she started serving her life term for serious illegal detention of her cousin and former aide Benhur Luy.

Correctional officer-in-charge Idilinda Patac said Napoles was placed in the cell after undergoing fingerprinting and other documentary proceedings.

Napoles will not be given special treatment, she added.

Before leaving the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) female detention ward in Camp Bagong Diwa Taguig yesterday,Napoles told media that her conscience is clear.

READ MORE...
In a text message, Patac said Napoles will be treated like any other ordinary inmate at the correctional. “will be together with other inmates,” she said.

Patac said Napoles will stay in the correctional’s reception dormitory during the first two months of imprisonment for her to adjust to her new life.

Napoles’ lawyer, Stephen David said her husband Jimmy and their children, Jo Christine and James Christopher, visited her Tuesday night in the BJMP detention ward in Taguig.

“They were gloomy,” he said. “No child would be happy in a situation where the mother in in jail.”

Napoles wanted the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division to allow her to remain at the BJMP facility in Taguig.

However, the anti-graft court hearing the separate plunder and graft charges against her denied her request.

She was transferred to the Correctional Institution for Women as ordered by the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, the Sandiganbayan said.

Arraignment of Napoles daughter

Next week’s arraignment of Napoles’ daughter on tax evasion charges has been reset to April 22.

The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) first division has granted the motion of Jeane Catherine Napoles to postpone her arraignment pending a motion for judicial determination of probable cause.

The CTA third division has yet to resolve a motion of Jeane to postpone her scheduled arraignment on April 29 on charges of failure to file a return.

The prosecution’s motions for consolidation are also pending before the two divisions.

The cases against the young Napoles arose from her supposed tax liabilities following her purchase of a condominium unit in Los Angeles, California for $1,280,000 (P54.73 million) in July 2011 and two farm lots in Pangasinan in January 2012 for P1,493,333.33.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) assessed her tax liabilities at P17,461,038.40 for the condominium and P426,866.67 for the farm lots – a total of P17.88 million.

Based on the latest information from the CTA, only the two counts of tax evasion charges over the purchase of the condominium have been filed.

The BIR started its investigation on Jeane after she posted photos on social media showing her luxurious lifestyle. – With Janvic Mateo


MANILA TIMES

Customs chief has quit? April 16, 2015 9:08 pm by JOEL SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER


Customs Commissioner John Philip Sevilla INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Customs Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla has reportedly quit his post and Malacañang, through the Department of Finance (DOF), is already looking for his replacement.

According to three sources—one from the Palace, another from the Bureau of Customs and a lawyer—Sevilla has already submitted his resignation letter. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima has supposedly confided to a “friend” that they are in a quandary on how to go about the Customs chief’s resignation but that there is now a process of selecting his possible replacement.

“The president is playing his cards close to his chest. Not everyone in his circle knows. Commissioner Sevilla had been rumored to have left his post but Malacanang denied it. This time, it’s real,” said the BOC insider.

READ MORE...
Asked if Sevilla was planning to transfer to another government post, the source replied: “He just wants to go back to the private sector.”

The Manila Times sent queries to Purisima but there was no reply.

The Palace official, when confronted, did not confirm nor deny the report. Instead, he said: “Sevilla is the most resigned official. He has been rumored to have resigned a number of times.”

When bluntly asked if this time, it is true, the official said: “wait for the announcement.”

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told the Times that he will have to verify the report.

Sevilla was appointed Customs commissioner in December 2013. He replaced Rufino Biazon who resigned after being charged in connection with the pork barrel scam.


PHILSTAR

Top Comelec bet declines Noy offer By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 18, 2015 - 12:00am


President Aquino

CEBU, Philippines - President Aquino has eliminated a “hesitant” yet qualified candidate to head the Commission on Elections (Comelec), saying the May 2016 polls are drawing near and he needs someone enthusiastic for the job.

In a chance interview yesterday at the Tarlac National High School in Tarlac City, the President told reporters that he had interviewed the candidate and offered the position.

But the candidate told Aquino that “it seems I’m not cut out for that.”

The President said he felt that the candidate was trying to tell him that “if you need me, I will accept it, but (the person) is hesitant.”

“Since it is for the presidential elections next year, what we need is a person who is really enthusiastic. There is another candidate. Hopefully I will be able to interview by next week,” Aquino explained.

Aquino refused to name the hesitant candidate, but well-placed sources in Malacañang said that among the contenders, only retired Supreme Court justice Adolf Azcuna, now in his mid-70s, showed reluctance, although he hinted that he was willing to serve if the President wanted him to do so.

READ MORE...
Among the vacancies in the Comelec that need to be filled are those of former chairman Brillantes and commissioners Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph.

Aquino was urged to appoint a new Comelec chairman and two additional commissioners to hasten preparations for the May 2016 elections.

“It’s about time that the President appoints a new chairman and two commissioners. It is imperative that we have a fully manned Comelec in the light of so many critical problems hounding preparations for next year’s balloting,” Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said.

Albano said acting Comelec Chairman Robert Christian Lim has admitted that the three vacancies in the seven-seat poll body were hampering their decision-making process.

He cited Lim’s testimony before two House hearings that on some important issues, Comelec rules require that the commission must decide through a majority vote of four.

“This means that the remaining four members must have a unanimous vote on any critical issue. If there is just one dissenter, then the issue is not resolved. This highlights the necessity for the President to fill the vacancies,” Albano stressed.

In the House of Representatives, sources claimed that Malacañang is considering Reps. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City and Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte for the position of Comelec chairman.

On the other hand, Aquino’s sisters are reportedly pushing for Azcuna, now head of the Philippine Judicial Academy.

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is reportedly pushing for former Cadiz City mayor Rowena Guanzon, who is Roxas’ distant relative, and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Winston Ginez.

Another contender is Comelec Region 9 Director Michael Abbas, who was reportedly involved in the “Hello, Garci” scandal in the May 2004 presidential elections where the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. was allegedly cheated by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Guanzon, who is allegedly being pushed by the group of Roxas, was appointed by the late President Corazon Aquino as officer-in-charge mayor of Cadiz City in the late ‘80s. She has worked with the office of Senate President Franklin Drilon, a fellow Liberal Party stalwart of Roxas.

Guanzon was a classmate of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno at the University of the Philippines College of Law. Guanzon is also a member of the Delta Lambda Sigma, a sister sorority of the Sigma Rho fraternity to which Roxas’ lawyers Avelino Cruz and Simeon Marcelo belong.

Ginez’s appointment to the Comelec was announced last month by Aquino’s celebrity-sister Kris in her ABS-CBN program Kris TV, but she did not say whether Ginez will be heading the poll body.

Ginez is also identified with Roxas’ camp, having been endorsed by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, another LP stalwart. – With Jess Diaz


MANILA TIMES VIEWPOINT

Corruption is evil but not the nation’s main curse April 14, 2015 9:23 pm Marlen V. Ronquillo


by MARLEN V. RONQUILLO

Your instincts tell you not to comment on the debate between Mr. Binay and Mr. Trillanes on which—between corruption and massive inequality—is the primary source of evil in the country. Except for those who crunch figures (who make up an insignificant slice of Filipinos), the vote-getter on the greatest evil is official corruption.

Official corruption is evil. It should be stamped out with extreme prejudice. And the perpetrators should all go to jail, in reclusion perpetua. No one will argue against the crippling impact of corruption on our country’s still-fragile democracy.

But to say that it is the country’s major curse is wrong, woefully wrong and off the mark.

Let us assume, for academic purposes, that all of these were true:

• The P10 billion that went to the Napoles NGOs lined the pockets of senators, congressmen, governors and mayors—and the Napoles family (plus their agents) exclusively.

• That some P5 billion more went to the non-Napoles phony NGOs and that the total vanished into pockets of corrupt politicians and the ringleaders of the non-Napoles NGOs.

• Let us assume that in a ten-year corruption binge that involved pork barrel funds, more than P15 billion, which was supposed to be spent for public good, lined the pockets of executive officials, senators, congressmen and LGU leaders. And that greed was of a level that was without precedent in a corrupted bureaucracy.

• Let us add another P5 billion more in squandered funds during that ten-year binge for a total of P20 billion in lost money.

READ MORE...
The next step, after determining that P20 billion was lost to official corruption in a ten-year binge, is to compare it to two figures—the yearly national budget and the yearly GDP. How big is P20 billion when ranged against, say, a P2-plus trillion national budget and a larger GDP?

Again, we state that corruption is evil. But we also have to admit that with a little accounting trick, the P20 billion, which is less than 1 percent of the yearly national budget, and just a blip in the yearly GDP, can be hidden as transaction or operational cost and can disappear in the books.

Now, let us look at another set of figures.

The Walton family in the US owns wealth that is more than the total of what 42 percent of poor Americans own added together. Researchers on inequality in the US have been able to put figures on the great divide with real accuracy. So it is not far-fetched that the two wealthiest families in the country own more than what 50 million Filipinos in the bottom of the economic strata own. And we can say that that is a great understatement of the great divide in the country.

Legally, no one can be hauled to the courts and sent to jail over this great human tragedy. That Social Darwinism is perfectly acceptable—and considered a fact of life —in most capitalist countries makes that great divide a crime of zero accountability. Even then, it is hard to overlook the draconian human costs of the divide. Such as:

• At least ten million children of school age being wasted by malnutrition

• At least 11 million families self-rate themselves as poor: skipping meals, surviving without running water, toilets and electricity

• Two or three regions with poverty rates of over 50 percent (a sanitized stat) and with literacy rates that would make Uganda a paragon of educational excellence

• Seven of the three causes of death are all poverty-related

• The school drop-out rate is one of the highest in the region

• The marginal rural farms (that are tilled by 30 percent of the entire workforce ) are a Slough of Despond

• More than 2 million Filipinos are out of the country at any given time to work in back-breaking, horrible jobs such as domestic helpers in the Middle East and the richer countries of the Asean and as caregivers in developed economies

• An active Revolutionary Left that lives off the exploited, the aggrieved, the starving and the restless. This singular fact alone makes the country a global outlier

• A thriving market for body organs as the poor are forced to sell body organs to survive

From all angles and reckoning, a P10 billion to P15 billion theft of public money every year cannot be the proximate cause of our country’s many ills. It is contributory but it is not, as the mainstream media narrative says, the worst of the country’s many evils. With the size of the national budget and the size of our economy, a P10 billion loss can just be written off without pushing the Republic into the financial cliff.

So why is the narrative that official corruption, which reportedly made Cardinal Tagle tear up, is pointed to—and getting sustenance—as the root of grinding poverty and wasted lives? Why is no one talking of a society of vast inequality, which denies the poor the opportunity to live lives with a little food on the table, decent plumbing, running water and electricity? And a 40 percent chance for a poor kid to finish college? Many reasons.

• By blaming politicians for being corrupt, the oligarchs and the plutocrats escape scrutiny

• Media are either lazy or compromised, or even members of the oligarchy-created power structure

• The main media outfits are owned by the superrich

• It will require research and hard work to do a Pikkety or a Saez and our public intellectuals are either very lazy or are compromised

• It is quite tough to inject science and empirics and accurately pinpoint what is the real source of the country’s many ills

• As a society, Filipinos would rather stick to conventional thinking than go into a critical examination to find out the truth

Aha. The president, in 2012, said “Kung walang corrupt walang mahirap” and used this mythology as a governing philosophy.

mvronq@yahoo.com

15 Responses to Corruption is evil but not the nation’s main curse

brian says:

April 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm

thank you. I’ve been coming to the same conclusion. It’s like the super rich are playing an end game. They are trying to accumulate all the wealth. I see billions of dollars coming into the Philippines yet, i don’t see the end of poverty like in China. IF you want the economy to grow you give more money to low income earners (like people on the minimum wage). It’s sad to see this country that has more potential than any other in SEA squandering it, so that the super rich don’t miss a few pesos… I found the image of houses with Jesus and Mary ties below electrified razor wire very upsetting. Jesus said more about easing the plight of the poor than he ever said about his mother…

Reply

puebloerrante says:

April 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm

i think you should also look into foreign interests using oligarch proxies to manipulate the government by controlling most of the nation’s public utilities.

ie : check salim + mvp

though i am currently unsure if i should think of them as a benevolent or malevolent entity. what are your thoughts on this mr. ronquillo?

Reply

jesus nazario says:

April 15, 2015 at 3:57 pm

The present governing policy is more of “Kung walang corrupt na di ko ka-KKK, walang mahirap.”

Reply

joe says:

April 15, 2015 at 1:43 pm

For the Binays their conscience knows what they are doing and they cannot denied it to themselves. No matter what how much billionths of pesos they keep to their pocket. But their wrongdoings will haunt them forever

Reply

P.Akilamiro says:

April 15, 2015 at 12:19 pm

I think the majority of the Filipinos are too busy ‘scrounging’ for food for their families that other matters affecting the country are no longer of any consequence to them. Despite all the glaring scandals and missteps of the administration, and ‘impoverising’ calamities, people seem not to care anymore. To make things worse (or worst), the members of the institutions who are supposed to be their guardians, are also busy enriching and aggrandizing themselves. The affluent, of course, are not bothered. But, God forbids, when all hell break loose, I hope not one of these people leave the country in order to face the music.

Reply

fighting joe says:

April 15, 2015 at 11:40 am

All that have been enumerated by Mr. Ronquillo are tjust the EFFECTS of the root problem in our country . The real source of all evils in the our country is the : rotten , corrupt , inefficient , ineffective JUSTICE SYSTEM . Have we not observed that there is a pattern . Look what is happening right now about the corruptions of the BINAYS . All they have to do is to go to court and buy a TRO . THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE IS NOW AT A STAND STILL . Now , what will deter any corrupt government official to loot the public funds if he/she can easily run away from the hands of the law ?? What is really very saddening is that it seems only very few Filipinos really knows , including Mr. Ronquillo , the real problem of our country . Let us remember that identifying the real problem is the first basic step in solving the problem .

Reply

Hi says:

April 15, 2015 at 9:49 am

I would just like to correct the line: “• Seven of the three causes of death are all poverty-related.” I think you mean: “Three of the seven causes of death are all poverty-related.”

Besides that small typographical error, the article was great.

Reply

ricelander says:

April 15, 2015 at 9:36 am

If I may add, whatever is lost, it is re-injected into the system in the form of consumption or private investment, unless it is taken out and hidden in banks abroad.

No one disagrees, corruption must be minimized, but putting too much control also creates choke points in the administration of government projects resulting often in administrative paralysis. Kumbaga sa sasakyan, puro preno, hanggang 1 kph lang yung accelerator. Wonder why this government could not seem to get anything done with its PPP projects?

Reply

dustin says:

April 15, 2015 at 9:24 am

One of the reasons you have corruption on the scale you have in the philippines is partly because of how you explained its only 1 % of the national budget. Then take it down to the individuals portion & he will look at it as a minute part of the national budget so its all ok. The more people that look at it like that the more will start wanting their share & as that happens so the % of the national bdget being stolen increases. Then you say about personal wealth like its an evil. Well lets simplify that as you did the pork scam. cain is given £10 & abel is given £10. Cain gambles drinks & womanises & after 1 year his £10 is all gone. Abel wisely invests his £10 & at the end of the year he has £20. Should now abel give cain some of his money as its unfair he has more than cain. That in essence is what you are saying. I loved what warren buffet ( well i think it was him ) said when told he had this ammount of money. He said I want to make even more money, so i can give away more money. Making money in itself isnt evil we all want to make more money. & to nancys answer above, nancy stop praying for the lord to help you & start doing something to stop these people stealing from this country & start holding the people who run this country accountable for their actions & deeds. That will help this country more than praying for them.

Reply

Amnata Pundit says:

April 15, 2015 at 8:18 am

Let me guess, the main curse is the oligarchy/plutocracy that is expressed through the yellow regime that has ruled over the country since EDSA 86, right?

Reply

Toinks says:

April 15, 2015 at 7:54 am

Trillanes must prove his allegations of justice for sale and Binay bribery of the 2 CA justices or else he will suffer the consequences of his actions, political immaturity and military adventures. He has not yet proven anything against the Binay family.

Reply

Isabel says:

April 15, 2015 at 7:36 am

Well said. We need this kind of incisive analysis which should be brought to the level of the masses. Sad to say, our so called middle class and educated sectors are blind to the realities you mentioned are easily taken by mainstream media.

Reply

Nancy Bulok Cake says:

April 15, 2015 at 12:41 am

Yes blame the Binays for its obvious corruption. It is an open secret and common knowledge of the Filipino that the Binay family amassed wealth. They might have shared a centavo( bribing – paying P300 each with free meals – the poor to join rallies in support of Gagong Binay) but the Binay family pocketed by the millions pesos. And if they say that Marcos was corrupt, the Binays are worse than him. Let us pray to save the Philippines from the Binays.

Reply

Starbright says:

April 15, 2015 at 11:14 am

Save the Philippines from the oligarch and plutocrats,that’s what he says

jesus nazario says:

April 15, 2015 at 3:54 pm

It seems that you did not get the point of Mr. Ronquillo’s very incisive out-of-the-box- or beyond-the-nine-dots kind of thinkingt.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE