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

BINAY PROBE: MORE 'GHOST' SENIORS FOUND BY SELF-STYLED 'GHOSTBUSTER'


AUGUST 27 -A TANGLED WEB Senators watch the Power Point presentation by lawyer Renato Bondal, showing the tangled web and layers of personalities that had reportedly fronted for former Makati mayor, now Vice President, Jejomar Binay, to hide the ownership of several companies that often landed lucrative contracts in the premier city. Bondal’s presentation detailed the interlocking directorate of several Binay-connected companies at the 24th Senate hearing on Wednesday on allegations of corruption against the Vice President and his family. RAFFY LERMA A self-styled “ghostbuster” has found evidence of more phantom senior citizens haunting five Makati City barangays (villages), allegedly receiving birthday cakes and sundry gifts and, all told, siphoning off millions of pesos from the municipal treasury. The latest report from the Makati City Action Center stated that on average, 41 percent of 7,210 senior citizens in five new barangays could not be found and were not registered voters as required, according to its newly appointed head, Arthur Cruto. Cruto spoke at the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee inquiry—the 25th since it started a year ago—on the alleged shenanigans committed by Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family that began when he was mayor of Makati. READ MORE...

ALSO: Another 'troika' ghost bombshell fizzles in VP inquisition


AUGUST 24 -A claim in an earlier series of the marathon Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearing of alleged existence of 31,000 “ghost” senior citizens in Makati City was disproven yesterday by a former Makati City Social Welfare Department (MCSWD) head but as expected, the three anti-Binay senators refused to accept whatever he said since his statements disproving the allegations favor Binay. The anti-Binay senators have been conducting the one-year old inquiry. Former MCWSD officer-in-charge Ryan Barcelo disproved claims on the ghost senior citizens, saying there remains an active population of 67,429 of them in the city government’s records. But in disputing the revelations made by acting Makati Action Center head Arthur Cruto in last week’s hearing, Barcelo found himself interrogated instead by Senate probers on the matter of his being in receipt of alleged pork barrel funds of Makati City Rep. Abigail Binay.Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano bombarded Barcelo with questions on Rep. Binay’s issuance of at least 15 checks from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). They questioned why the checks were issued under his name and not to the MSWD, where he had been working since 2003 until he was replaced sometime last July. Rep. Binay said in a statement Barcelo was the “bonded officer” tasked with disbursement including that of her PDAF which was for medical and funeral assistance in her district.“Maybe Senator Trillanes does not know the expenses go through the eye of a needle with the Commission on Audit (CoA) auditor of Makati. Before medical assistances are given, several documents must be submitted. There are receipts submitted to the CoA,” Binay said. READ MORE...

ALSO Trillanes: Binay has 'no balls' to be president


AUGUST 29 -Senator Antonio Trillanes IV lashed at Vice President Jejomar Binay for supposedly being behind the attacks on him, saying he has "no balls" to become president.
Trillanes alleged Binay was behind the controversy over his hiring of consultants, and scored the Vice President for refusing to attend the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee’s corruption probe. “Ni wala nga silang bayag humarap sa aming imbestigasyon (They don’t even gave the balls to face our investigation),” he told reporters on Monday. “Kay tatapang ‘pagka nag-o-operate. Pero ‘pag harapan na, wala naman. So sabi ko hindi puwede maging presidente ang ganyan, walang bayag. (They’re brave when operating against me. But when asked to face us, they’re not. And so I say he cannot become president because he has no balls).” Trillanes maintained that he violated no law in hiring consultants and never went beyond his office’s budget, citing the Commission on Audit’s findings that saw no irregularity in it. He also denied that a newspaper report that said his houseboy was among the “consultants” he hired. “Iyon pong mga pangalang ma-mention doon ay confidential agents na ginagamit ko sa ongoing Senate investigation laban kay Vice President Binay (The names mentioned there are confidential agents I used in the ongoing investigation against Vice President Binay),” Trillanes said. Trillanes, along with Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Alan Peter Cayetano, has been leading a yearlong probe into various corruption allegations against Binay and his family. READ MORE...RELATED STORIES....

ALSO NO DUE PROCESS: Ex-senator Joker Arroyo's brother appeals Senate arrest order
[Jack Arroyo, Jr. said only a judge can issue a warrant of arrest and the right of a person against unreasonable searches and seizures is inviolable, and that no warrant or arrest shall be issued except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge after examination under oath of the complainants and witnesses is guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.]


AUGUST 29 -Jack Arroyo, Jr., MD Retired from Medicine & currently connected with SMC GLOBAL POWER HOLDINGS INC. PHOTO FROM LinkedIn One of three individuals ordered arrested by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee has asked Sen. Teofisto Guingona III to reconsider the order because he was not given due process. In a letter to Guingona, Jack Arroyo Jr., an ophthalmologist and brother of former senator Joker Arroyo, urged the Senate panel to review the circumstances of his case and recall the order citing him in contempt. Arroyo, along with Marguerite Lichnock and Laureano Gregorio Jr., was ordered arrested by the Senate last Wednesday for failing to attend the hearings conducted by the Blue Ribbon subcommittee on allegations of corruption against Vice President Jejomar Binay. Arroyo’s name was mentioned in the issue of the joint venture agreement between the University of Makati and Systems Technology Inc. for the management of UMAK’s school of nursing. In his letter, Arroyo argued that the arrest order could not be enforced by the Senate panel. READ MORE...

ALSO: UNA to LP: Why not Abad or Abaya as Mar’s VP bet


ABAD, ABAYA
-Since the dominant Liberal Party (LP) has been bragging about its deep bench, it should pick within its ranks the running mate of its standard bearer, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, like Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who are LP secretary general and president, respectively, UNA secretary general Atty. JV Bautista suggested yesterday. Abad has been widely assailed as the brains behind the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) while Abaya is being blamed for the dilapidated public transport system and the hopeless vehicular traffic situation.
Bautista said among all the political parties, the opposition minority represented by UNA, by far, remains to be the only solid team in consolidating alliances, commitments and coalitions as even the LP members are not united for their 2016 prospects. “If the LP, in deed, has a deep bench for a Vice President to pair with their chosen bet (Interior Secretary) Mar Roxas, why can’t they name one? And if their bench is really deep, why are they courting a self-proclaimed independent candidate in Senator Grace Poe?” Bautista told reporters in a weekly media forum yesterday.“The LP has nothing to be proud of, except of the logistics that they have,” Bautista added.“Why isn’t Abad considered? Isn’t it that Noynoy Aquino named him as the brains of the straight path, even comparing him to Apolinario Mabini? Comparing Abad to a national hero with high ethical standards is an insult to Mabini. Abad is the face of corruption under the incumbent regime,” Bautista said.Bautista also said that, perhap, why the LP is not considering a Roxas-Abaya tandem is because “it will slap Roxas and their ‘straight path’ straight in the face”.Bautista slammed Roxas for using his Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) post as leverage with local government officials who in turn “receive big chunks from the intended DILG budget allocation for election purposes”.“For the record, Roxas is not yet out of the DILG. Without his post in the government, Mar cannot win,” he added.UNA also claimed that a handful of LP officials in the local government level had shifted to the opposition, which Bautista said is a welcome development “except only if they have committed serious crimes to the public”. Bautista confirms that UNA is now finalizing the commitments of different prominent parties such as the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Lakas-CMD, the Nacionalista Party and the NUP to join up with the opposition for the 2016 elections. READ MORE....


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

More ‘ghost’ seniors found
CAYETANO: SYNDICATE TO BLAME FOR MESS


A TANGLED WEB Senators watch the Power Point presentation by lawyer Renato Bondal, showing the tangled web and layers of personalities that had reportedly fronted for former Makati mayor, now Vice President, Jejomar Binay, to hide the ownership of several companies that often landed lucrative contracts in the premier city. Bondal’s presentation detailed the interlocking directorate of several Binay-connected companies at the 24th Senate hearing on Wednesday on allegations of corruption against the Vice President and his family. RAFFY LERMA

MANILA, AUGUST 31, 2015 (INQUIRER) Leila B. Salaverria - A self-styled “ghostbuster” has found evidence of more phantom senior citizens haunting five Makati City barangays (villages), allegedly receiving birthday cakes and sundry gifts and, all told, siphoning off millions of pesos from the municipal treasury.

The latest report from the Makati City Action Center stated that on average, 41 percent of 7,210 senior citizens in five new barangays could not be found and were not registered voters as required, according to its newly appointed head, Arthur Cruto. Cruto spoke at the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee inquiry—the 25th since it started a year ago—on the alleged shenanigans committed by Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family that began when he was mayor of Makati.

READ MORE...

The action center chief defended his scrutiny of the city’s BLU Card program for the elderly, submitting new findings of a census concerning Barangays Carmona, Singkamas, Sta. Cruz, South Cembo, and Cembo. He said that in Carmona, 185 of 523 senior citizens were not registered voters and could not be found; in Singkamas, it was 391 out of 766; in Sta. Cruz, 651 out of 1,362; in South Cembo, 474 out of 1,547; and in Cembo, 1,182 out of 3,012. Cruto also said the methodology of his personnel who conducted the audit was sound, as they had conducted extensive interviews to determine the existence of the senior citizens.

The action center said that each senior citizen—60 years old and above, a bona fide resident and a registered voter—was allocated a total of P11,750 in annual benefits. These include a cash gift of P3,000, birthday cake P300, special groceries for Christmas P1,500, free maintenance medicines P6,600 and free movies at P350.

Acting Makati Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. appointed Cruto, a former barangay official, to head the action center, a division in the city government, after Mayor Junjun Binay went on a six-month preventive suspension while the corruption charges against him are being investigated by the Office of the Ombudsman.


SUSPENDED MAYOR JUNJUN BINAY,  ACTING MAYOR PENA

Cruto’s latest revelation was similar to his earlier findings that in Barangays Kasilawan and Pinagkaisahan in Makati, 40 to 52 percent of senior citizens could not be found or were not registered voters. No ghosts enrolled Ryan Barcelo, the former chief of the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD), however, sought to dispute Cruto’s claims.

Barcelo said the BLU Card program was aboveboard and that the methodology of Cruto’s audit was unreliable and faulty because the personnel just simply asked about the whereabouts of the senior citizens. Barcelo also said the database of 67,000 senior citizens was not padded. Those who want to join the program have to follow a strict enrollment process, including personally accomplishing the application forms and submitting other documents, he said.

“All senior citizens who enrolled for the BLU card program were alive when they applied and complied with the requirements. There is no way by which ghosts may be enrolled into the program,” he said. There were instances where the family would not report the death of a senior citizen and continues to receive the benefits, but these are “isolated” incidents, he added.

But Cruto continued to question the registered number of BLU Card beneficiaries, which is more than 67,000. He said that based on the data from the National Statistics Office, the national average of senior citizens in the country was 6.8 percent, or 6.26 million out of 92.1 million Filipinos in 2010.

But the number of Makati’s 67,000 senior citizens is about 12 percent of the city’s total population of some 529,000, or double the national average.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said that based on the census, there were only some 32,000 senior citizens in Makati. Syndicate at work If some 20,000 to 30,000 names were added to the list of senior citizens, the number was not small, Cayetano noted. “This is not a mistake; there is a syndicate.”

The addition of so many additional names on the list also amounts to hundreds of millions of pesos, and no single person could have done this or collected such a big amount, he added.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV noted Barcelo’s statements that senior citizens had to physically claim the benefits unless they were indisposed, and pointed to Cruto’s findings of supposedly nonexistent beneficiaries.

One of the findings was that 22 of 25 names who supposedly shared the same address could not be found there. “If this would be proven, you would really be part of the syndicate here, Mr. Barcelo,” Trillanes said.

Barcelo said during the hearing that Makati had worked to validate the figures of the census on the number of senior citizens. He also said he could not just arrive at the conclusion that the number of senior citizens in the city records was wrong, as there had been problems during the census, including the fact that accurate figures could not be collected because there were barangays where residents were not actively participating in the activity.

PDAF checks

Senators also questioned Barcelo for his alleged receipt of checks from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Makati Rep. Abigail Binay, the Vice President’s daughter.

Trillanes said Barcelo received 15 checks made out to him from the congresswoman. Barcelo said what he could recall was that he was bound as a special disbursement officer for the assistance to be given to residents.

He was not aware if the money came from the PDAF. He said that as a special disbursing officer, checks were made out to him since he was the one who dispenses the assistance.

Cayetano also said he thought it was irregular that the checks were made out to Barcelo and not to his office. Leila B. Salaverria/Philippine Daily Inquirer


TRIBUNE

Another troika bombshell fizzles in VP inquisition
Written by Angie M. Rosales Thursday, 27 August 2015 00:00



A claim in an earlier series of the marathon Senate subcommittee hearing of the alleged existence of 31,000 “ghost” senior citizens in Makati City was disproven yesterday by a former Makati City Social Welfare Department (MCSWD) head but as expected, the three anti-Binay senators refused to accept whatever he said since his statements disproving the allegations favor Binay.

The anti-Binay senators have been conducting the one-year old inquiry.

Former MCWSD officer-in-charge Ryan Barcelo disproved claims on the ghost senior citizens, saying there remains an active population of 67,429 of them in the city government’s records.

But in disputing the revelations made by acting Makati Action Center head Arthur Cruto in last week’s hearing, Barcelo found himself interrogated instead by Senate probers on the matter of his being in receipt of alleged pork barrel funds of Makati City Rep. Abigail Binay.


REP ABI BINAY

Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano bombarded Barcelo with questions on Rep. Binay’s issuance of at least 15 checks from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

They questioned why the checks were issued under his name and not to the MSWD, where he had been working since 2003 until he was replaced sometime last July.

Rep. Binay said in a statement Barcelo was the “bonded officer” tasked with disbursement including that of her PDAF which was for medical and funeral assistance in her district.

“Maybe Senator Trillanes does not know the expenses go through the eye of a needle with the Commission on Audit (CoA) auditor of Makati. Before medical assistances are given, several documents must be submitted. There are receipts submitted to the CoA,” Binay said.

READ MORE...

Binay said Trillanes instead should explain the huge expenses he had incurred in hiring 63 consultants that included his brother Juan Antonio, a houseboy, family drivers, and fellow Magdalo members who get their salary from Senate funds.

“I already said before that my funds are open to scrutiny because I know I used these properly, supported by documents,” Binay said.

“Can Senator Trillanes say the same about his Senate consultants that even include his brother?,” she added.

Cruto previously claimed before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that a total of P357.5 billion in benefits of senior citizens under the “blu card” program being implemented by MSWD are lost to so-called “ghost” beneficiaries.

“To be fair to you and to be fair to the congresswoman, we’re not saying at this point that there are ghosts (senior citizens) or whatever. What we find irregular is that the checks are under your name and not to your office,” Cayetano said.


CAYETANO

“At that time, I was already the assistant department head. There were several programs of MSWD and the head of the department will have a hard time to spend for all these projects,” Barcelo said, recalling that sometime in 2011, he was indeed in receipt of some checks.

Barcelo was quick to add that Rep. Binay carried out then a medical and financial assistance program and he helped facilitate the project as he was then the special disbursing officer of MSWD.

“As special disbursing officer of Makati [the checks] were really under my name since I was the one supervising the program. (But) I am not aware if that was from PDAF or not,” he said.

Trillanes then warned the information he gave could possibly constitute malversation charges but Barcelo maintained his stance, explaining that his position as special disbursing officer, he can make cash advances particularly for petty cash.

Prior to the issue on Rep. Binay’s checks, Barcelo belied charges on the alleged ghost senior citizens saying that only 2,507 are marked “on hold” in their database due to the information that the person concerned has either transferred, can no longer be located or dead already.

Barcelo said they have voided 18,135 registration on senior citizens’ blu card program from 2002 to present, a result of de-listing overtime of the total 88,071 beneficiaries.

“This did not happen only in 2012,” he said on the de-listing of beneficiaries.

“We have 67,429 active senior citizens in our record. There is a stringent process for enrollment under blu card program. We require that senior citizens accomplish themselves the application forms and submit the necessary requirements. The MSWD can vouch for senior citizens who had enroled, or when they applied they legitimately existed and they were able to comply with requirements. So there is no way that (so-called) ghosts can be enrolled into the program,” he told subcommittee chairman Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel.

Barcelo said his office considers as isolated cases those claimed by Cruto on deceased senior citizens which were found to have not been declared or reported to MSWD.

“We consider the methodology of Mr. Cruto to be unreliable, faulty because, as the report we have received, they conducted a house to house check. If somebody told him that the senior citizen he was looking for was not around, the person is marked as a ghost senior citizen,” he said.

“We at the social welfare department, if there are reports that a senior citizen moved or had died, we conduct what we call collateral interview with relatives and neighbors to validate this report. We confirm this report with their president of the senior citizens and ultimately with the barangay captain. If we secure the death certificate, right there and then, we will de-list them,” he said.

Cayetano and Trillanes then dared Barcelo if he’s willing to conduct a house-to-house survey alongside Cruto in each of the 33 barangays in Makati to prove or disprove their respective claims on the issue of ghost senior citizens and the former MSWD official acceded to the challenge.


Ryan Barcelo, former officer in charge of the Makati Social Welfare Department, testifies in the Senate probe on the existence of alleged ghost senior citizens in Makati City. Photo by RYAN LEAGOGO / INQUIRER.net

In the same hearing, it was alleged that nearly P2 billion “kickbacks” out of the total P5.6 billion contract price were supposedly pocketted by the Binays through their supposed dummy companies that cornered the janitorial, security and IT services of the Makati City government.

These were services rendered by the companies sometime during the period 2005 to 2014.

Pimentel, however, noted that the initial review of the contracts by Makati City general services department officer-in-charge (OIC) Violeta Lazo has not been scrutinized or reached the attention of the Commission on Audit (CoA).

Lazo said they noted at least four “red flags” such as the matter of companies bagging the contract for the said services remaining the same and the incorporators have also the same names.

There appears to be also an apparent collusion in the bidding as there were cases where the winning company for the security services, OMNI Security Inc. that included the names of Gerry Limlingan and his wife Margueritte Lichnock as stockholders, knew of the planned bidding even a month before the invitation to bid was published.

Lazo, however, could not affirm Trillanes’ assertion that the IT companies’ net profit reached P700 million, saying that she does not have information on this matter as she assumed the position only recently and does not have a complete picture.

Former Makati general services department head Engr. Mario Hechanova claimed that the Binays alleged to have earned two ways from the said three services, through profit of the company and ghost deployment.

With P700 million contract for the IT services added to the P1.2 billion noted by Hechanova, Trillanes said the alleged kickbacks could reach P2 billion.

----------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Abi Binay dares Blue Ribbon Committee: Invite me By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated August 27, 2015 - 9:52am 2 338 googleplus0 0


Makati Rep. Abigail Binay said there was nothing irregular with the disbursement of funds from her Priority Development Assistance Fund. Philstar.com/Jonathan Asuncion

MANILA, Philippines - Makati Rep. Abigail Binay on Wednesday challenged the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee to invite her to its hearings on the corruption allegations against her family.

The lawmaker was accused of having irregularities with the disbursement of funds from her Priority Development Assistance Fund.

"Imbitahin n'yo ko para rin naman makasagot kami at mapaglaban naman namin yung mga kasinungalingan na sinasabi niyo sa amin. Name the day, I'll be there," Binay said in an interview with radio dzMM.

Binay also challenged Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to reveal the 15 checks she allegedly issued to former Makati Social Welfare Development Department head Ryan Barcelo.

"It is the city treasurer that is issuing the check to Ryan Barcelo. Kaya nga ang sabi ko sa kanila, ilabas n'yo 'yung tseke na sinasabi n'yo, tingnan natin kung ako 'yung signatory ng tseke na 'yan," Binay said.

The Makati lawmaker stressed that she is not the signatory of the said checks.

READ MORE...

Binay hit Trillanes for spending millions for his consultants.

"Kung sana man lang ginagamit po ni Senator Trillanes 'yung 55 consultant niya eh tama 'yung intelligence na nakukuha niya... 'Yun naman ho ang problema kasi lagi siyang naglalabas ng isyu o pasabog niya na hilaw. Kaya he is the boy who cried wolf. At the end wala namang maniniwala sa kanya," Binay said.

The Binay family allegedly acquired an estimated P1.26 billion in kickbacks from the janitorial and security services contracts of the Makati City government.

Mario Hechanova, former Makati general services department head, on Wednesday told the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee that the kickbacks were derived from the city's janitorial deals.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Trillanes: Former Makati exec got checks from Abi Binay’s ‘pork’ @inquirerdotnet 12:50 PM August 26th, 2015


Trillanes grills exec on alleged PDAF checks from Abi Binay (philstar.com) | Updated August 28, 2015 - 10:07am

Makati City Representative Abigail Binay was dragged into the ongoing Senate investigation on Wednesday after she allegedly issued at least 15 checks from her pork barrel funds to a former official of Makati City, who was in charge of the senior citizens’ program in the city.

It was Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who brought up the issue about the checks when that Ryan Barcelo, former officer in charge of the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD), faced the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee and denied that there were “ghost” senior citizens in Makati.

READ: Exec: Makati losing P367M a year due to ‘ghost’ beneficiaries

Barcelo was designated OIC of MSWD in October 2012 until he was replaced last July.

“Mahigpit po ang enrollment ng BLU card program, your honor (The enrollment for the BLU card follows strict measures, your honor). We require that the senior citizens to accomplish themselves ‘yung application form and submit the necessary documents,” he told the committee.

“Ang pinanindigan po dito ng MSWD ay lahat ng senior citizens na nag-enroll sa BLU card program ay noon g nag-apply po sila ay mga buhay po sila at nakapag-comply ng mga requirements, so there’s no way by which ghosts may be enrolled into the program, your honor,” Barcelo said .

(The MSWD maintains that all the senior citizens who enrolled in the BLUE card program are alive when they complied with the requirements, so there’s no way by which ghosts may be enrolled into the program, your honor.)

Since the start of the implementation of the BLU card program in 2002 until on August 12, 2015, Barcelo said, the department issued a total of 88,071 BLU cards. Of these, he said, 18,135 have been rendered void “because either these senior citizens are already deceased or they were already confirmed to have transferred residence outside the City of Makati.”

“We have 67,429 active senior citizens in our record. In addition, 2,507 senior citizens who are marked ‘hold’ in our data base, ibig sabihin for further investigation po ‘yan either may na-received na report na ito’y lumipat na ng ibang ugar o hindi na nakita sa kanyang tahanan (that means they are for further investigation because we received a report that they either already transferred or that they can no longer be found in their addresses),” he said.

But Trillanes, who first exposed about the alleged fake senior citizens in the city, questioned the credibility of the resource person.

READ: Trillanes: Records show Makati has 30,000 ‘ghost’ senior citizens


Ryan Barcelo being grilled by Sen Trillanes, the Senator who, for one year now is trying madly to expose alleged graft, allegedly committed by the Binays.

“Just to test your credibility, Ikaw ba tumatanggap ka ng tseke mula sa PDAF ni Congresswoman Abigail Binay (did you receive checks from Congresswoman Abigail Binay’s PDAF)?” the senator asked. PDAF is priority development assistance fund also known as lawmakers’ pork barrel funds, which were declared unconstitutional g by the Supreme Court.

“Wala po akong tinaganggap na tseke from the PDAF (I did not receive a check from the PDAF),” Barcelo said.

“Wala? Are you sure? Are you certain?” asked Trillanes, to which the resource person answered, “I don’t recall.”

“I can recall, your honor, meron pong programa na medical or financial assistance dati ‘yung tanggapan ni Congresswoman Abi Binay at ang Social Welfare Department po ang nagiging paraang kung saan naibibigay itong assistance d’un sa mga nangangailangan, your honor (what I can recall is that Congresswoman Abi Binay and the Social Welfare department had a program for medical or financial assistance, and this was their way of helping the needy),” Bacelo added.

And as a special disbursing officer at that time, he said he was tasked to distribute the said assistance.

“I am not aware, your honor, if it was from PDAF or not basta merong assistance po na ganun sa mga nanganagilangan (but there was an assistance for the needy), your honor,” he added.

But Trillanes said that based on the evidence that he gathered, the checks were under Barcelo’s name.

“Kahit gaano mo pa paikutin, bawal ‘yun. That’s called malversation kasi ginamit pang liquidate ‘yung mga tsekeng inissue sa’yo,” said the senator.
(No matter how you go around it, it’s illegal. That’s called malversation because you liquidated the check given to you.)

Barcelo argued, however, that as disbursing officer of Makati at that time, the checks should have been really under his under his name.

“If I’m not mistaken, your honor, ang special disbursing officer ay pwedeng mag-cash advance or petty cash, your honor,” he said.

“Pero galing ito sa PDAF e. From the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) diretso sa’yo. ‘Yung sinasabi mong ‘yan, pwede ‘yan if within sa agency kasi may auditing and accounting procedures that allow that. Marami itong tseke na ito, mga 15 tseke na ito?” prodded Trillanes.

(But this is from PDAF. From the DBM, it was given directly to you. Your excuse will only fly if it’s within the agency and the accounting procedures that allow that. Weren’t you given 15 checks?)

Barcelo maintained that he did not recall receiving the checks from Binay’s PDAF.
“You don’t recall 15 checks? Nandito pati amounts and dates. ‘Yan ang position mo kaya naiitindihan kita kung bakit ka dumedepensa dito sa mga Binay,” Trillanes further said.

(You don’t recall receiving 15 checks? The amounts and dates are all here. You are where you are so I understand why you are trying to defend the Binays.)
Maila Ager/IDL


ABS-CBN

Trillanes: Binay has 'no balls' to be president Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News Posted at 08/24/2015 8:51 PM | Updated as of 08/24/2015 9:11 PM
 

MANILA - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV lashed at Vice President Jejomar Binay for supposedly being behind the attacks on him, saying he has "no balls" to become president.

Trillanes alleged Binay was behind the controversy over his hiring of consultants, and scored the Vice President for refusing to attend the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee’s corruption probe.

“Ni wala nga silang bayag humarap sa aming imbestigasyon (They don’t even gave the balls to face our investigation),” he told reporters on Monday.

“Kay tatapang ‘pagka nag-o-operate. Pero ‘pag harapan na, wala naman. So sabi ko hindi puwede maging presidente ang ganyan, walang bayag. (They’re brave when operating against me. But when asked to face us, they’re not. And so I say he cannot become president because he has no balls).”

Trillanes maintained that he violated no law in hiring consultants and never went beyond his office’s budget, citing the Commission on Audit’s findings that saw no irregularity in it.

He also denied that a newspaper report that said his houseboy was among the “consultants” he hired.

“Iyon pong mga pangalang ma-mention doon ay confidential agents na ginagamit ko sa ongoing Senate investigation laban kay Vice President Binay (The names mentioned there are confidential agents I used in the ongoing investigation against Vice President Binay),” Trillanes said.

Trillanes, along with Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Alan Peter Cayetano, has been leading a yearlong probe into various corruption allegations against Binay and his family.

READ MORE...

Binay is the presidential candidate of the opposition party, United Nationalist Alliance.

From accusations that the Binays benefited from overpriced infrastructure projects in Makati City, the investigation has expanded to cover Binay’s alleged unexplained and hidden wealth.

The probe will continue on Wednesday, August 26, and Trillanes said there will be a new expose against the Binays.

He said the hearing will focus on how three companies allegedly run by Binay’s dummies cornered contracts worth P1 billion yearly for Makati city hall’s janitorial and security services.

Trillanes said new documents and witnesses will attend the probe.

“Makikita n’yo kung paano nila minanobra para ma-korner itong mga kontratang malalaki na ito (You will see their maneuverings to corner these big contracts),” said Trillanes.

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RELATED FROM MANILA STANDARD

Trillanes ready to be probed By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Aug. 25, 2015 at 12:01am


Probers welcome. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV talks to a colleague on the floor of the Senate hall before the start of Monday’s regular session. ey acasio

SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV said Monday he was ready to face an ethics investigation over reports that he paid P1.63 million a month for consultants that included his houseboy, family drivers, media workers, campaign doners, ex-mutineer friends and a brother, who was paid P71,200 a month.

“I would welcome whoever will file the charges,” Trillanes told journalists, after the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay urged the Senate ethics committee to investigate his hiring of consultants.

“The use of public funds for his personal benefit is clearly unethical, immoral and a blatant abuse of his office,” said Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs. “The taxpayers are paying for his household expenses and his personal ‘debts’.”

“Even his houseboy was included among his consultants. He should stop moralizing and pontificating since the more he talks, the more he is exposed as a hypocrite. We are sure he will again blame the opposition for the exposé. But we did not invent the Senate documents. The senator should explain before he complains,” Quicho added.

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Trillanes on Monday accused Binay of being behind the “demolition job” against him and said his office’s consultancy fees were declared “authorized and legal” by the Commission on Audit (COA).

He also insisted that he had committed no irregularity in paying consultancy fees to persons who helped him discharge his duties as a senator.

He admitted that a large chunk of his office expenses in 2014 went to intelligence gathering by his consultants, who included his colleagues at the Magdalo group.

“Of course, you will not hire consultants whom you do not trust,” he said.

These were the people he used to gather information and evidence used in the Senate Blue Ribbon hearings on the corruption charges against Binay and his family.

He earlier said he hired his brother as a consultant because he represents him in confidential meetings that he is unable to attend.

Trillanes also said he has received no notice of disallowance from COA.

“All we’re doing is authorized and legal based on the guidelines provided by COA,” he said.

He said that the senators sat with auditors and asked what mistakes were made and how these might be remedied.

“But COA said there was nothing illegal or unauthorized in what we are doing because we were given the discretion on how to spend our budget,” he said.

He said he can answer point by point all the allegations being made against him in connection with his consultants.

“The bottom line here is I did not steal government funds. I did not abuse my position,” he said.

He also denied allegations that he had a household help being paid with funds from the Senate.

He said the names mentioned in the Senate report were confidential agents that he used in the ongoing investigation of the Vice President.

“That’s not true. Definitely, there’s no such thing and I don’t give that low pay—P3,500 a month to my kasambahay (househodl help),” he said.

He also denied that he allocated more than half of his office’s budget to consultancy fees.

“The point here is we are spending the funds where we believe they’re needed,” Trillanes said.


Atty. Rico Quicho on Senator Trillanes’ Panic Mode: The Vice President has exhibited political maturity even with the barrage of irresponsible attacks. He has chosen to face his accusers squarely in a court of law, and is not hiding behind parliamentary immunity like Senator Trillanes or the Witness Protection Program like the other accusers. Freedom must be exercised with responsibility, and for public officials, with the strictest adherence to the canons of good conduct. BLOG, GLOBAL IMPACT

The former mutineer said he was “prepared for everything” and was ready to answer all the charges being raised against him.

Trillanes has led the Senate investigation against Binay, and has held 23 hearings on the ongoing probe.

Trillanes also said the Binay camp should not be the one to suggest an ethics investigation against him, because “they have no balls.”

“They have no balls to face the Senate investigation,” he said, referring to Binay’s refusal to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee investigating him. “Vice President Binay has no balls. He’s courageous in operating, but when it’s face-to-face, he’s nothing,” Trillanes said.

But Quicho challenged Trillanes to explain how doing housework or being a family driver was considered confidential.

“It appears that Senator Trillanes took the concept of the Senate as one of two houses of Congress literally,” Quicho said. “He apparently got his budget for his house from the Upper House, also known as the Senate.”

He also scored Trillanes for using Senate funds to reward two people—Robert Fong and Fabian Go-- who contributed P500,000 each to his campaign in 2013.

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MANILA STANDARD

3 more senators admit hiring kin By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Vito Barcelo | Aug. 26, 2015 at 12:01am


Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and JV Ejercito

SOME senators admitted Tuesday they have relatives who work for them as consultants, but said there was no prohibition against the practice.

Neophyte senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and JV Ejercito told The Standard that like Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, they too had hired relatives as consultants.

Angara said his sister who was a graduate of the London School of Economics is among his consultants. He said she was qualified to do the job he assigned her, but declined to say what this was.

“She’s a working consultant,” said Angara, adding that there are functions of some consultants whose jobs cannot be revealed for reasons of confidentiality.

“But there’s nothing wrong in getting relatives for consultancy services,” he added.

Aquino said he also has a relative in his pool of consultants, but said he could not remember exactly how they were related.

“I think it’s a second or third degree relation,” said the senator, who is a cousin of President Benigno Aquino III.

Ejercito said he too had a relative among his consultants, but said he was no longer working for him.

Still, he said, there was nothing wrong about employing a relative to work as a consultant as long as the work is being done.

But the three senators said a senator should not put his household help on the Senate payroll, as Trillanes has been accused of doing.

In a separate interview, the media relations officer of Senator Aquilino Pimentel said his sister Gwen, a lawyer, was his long-time chief-of-staff before her appointment as human rights commissioner in July.

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Trillanes on Tuesday insisted he never received a notice of disallowance from the Commission on Audit for any of his 63 consultants—the highest number among all the senators.

Asked if it was true that he had more than 60 consultants, Trillanes said he was not aware of the number, but said “they’re many.”

Trillanes also attacked the spokesman of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Rico Quicho, for saying one of his consultants was his household help, receiving P3,500 a month.

“That Mr. Quicho, when he talked about ‘kasambahay,’ as if he has gone to our house. Did he see him washing the dish? So what’s this? That guy is trying to be popular at my expense. I won’t allow that,” Trillanes said.

He insisted that many of is consultants were confidential agents.

Trillanes also made a veiled threat to have one of them follow Quicho so that he could inform the senator when he arrives at home and when he leaves the house.

“I can give that mission just to prove a point,” Trillanes said.

In that kind of menial work, the consultant doesn’t need a PhD or a law degree, Trillanes said.

“Here, our idea of consultant is always high. That’s not always the case. That’s clear, what kind of job are we gonna give them in relation to our job here. So that’s it. He will just stand there and tell us what time Attorney Quicho leaves, what’s his car, where does he pass.... they can’t understand this because they had never done things like this,” Trillanes said.

Quicho on Tuesday said Trillanes was hiding behind the excuse of confidentiality and Senate President Franklin Drilon.

“He just needs to be transparent and honest,” Quicho said.

“Instead of answering the issue of his consultants, Trillanes angrily faces the media and blamed the Office of the Vice President,” Quicho said.

“Who is Eddie Ybañez, Mr. Senator? Teach our youth to follow the rules by example, Mr. Senator. The rules of the Commission on Audit require that resumes of your consultants be submitted to COA. Can we see Mr. Ybañez’ resume?” Quicho said.

Quicho said aside from Ybañez, the senator should also explain the individual expertise of Bernard Allen Marzan and Jay-Ar Caro and the nature of their work.

According to media reports, the senator also listed as “consultants” his family drivers Marzan and Caro, who were being paid P11,500 and P8,100 a month, respectively.

“All he need to do is answer the questions to end the story,” he said.

Quicho said that Ybañez was getting only P3,500 a month while Trillanes brother Juan Antonio got a hefty P71,200 monthly as a consultant’s fee.

“What kind of confidential consultancy service did Mr. Ybañez provide the senator for P3,500 a month? What is his line of expertise?” Quicho asked.

Quicho cited Civil Service Commission (CSC) Resolution 000831 which defines a consultant as one “who provides professional advice on matters within the field of his special knowledge or training.”

The General Appropriations Act (GAA) allows consultancy service “when a consultant or expert is an acknowledged authority in his field of specialization” and “when the consultant or expert is hired to perform a specific activity or services that require technical skill and expertise which local labor force cannot provide, or if such expertise is available, the supply is limited.”

Quicho said a press statement from the senator’s office explained that some consultants were doing “auxiliary support services.”

“The senator’s so-called official reply raises more questions. The parameters of consultancy services are very clear. Consultants are experts, not support service suppliers,” he said.

He added that the term “auxiliary support services” was too vague and general that it could mean being a driver or performing janitorial and maintenance work.

“First, the papers being referred to and quoted are COA and Senate documents so to point finger at the camp of the Vice President is clearly evading the issue,” he added.

“Also, we have to remind the gentleman from Caloocan and Bicol, also a former officer and gentleman, that he is the one being questioned by the COA—not the Vice President —and therefore all he has to do is explain the nature and work of some of his consultants,” he added.

In the House, Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting said Congress should pass a law that will clearly provides guidelines on the hiring of consultants.

Tambunting said he sees nothing wrong with employing relatives as consultants as long as there’s a limit to it.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. said employing relatives as consultants “is an accepted practice in both Houses.”

“Moreover, the positions are considered confidential,” Belmonte said.

Unlike Trillanes, Belmonte said he does not have any consultant who is a relative.


PHILSTAR

NO DUE PROCESS: Ex-senator Joker Arroyo's brother appeals Senate arrest order By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 29, 2015 - 12:00am 0 8 googleplus0 4


Jack Arroyo, Jr., MD Retired from Medicine & currently connected with SMC GLOBAL POWER HOLDINGS INC. PHOTO FROM LinkedIn

MANILA, Philippines - One of three individuals ordered arrested by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee has asked Sen. Teofisto Guingona III to reconsider the order because he was not given due process.

In a letter to Guingona, Jack Arroyo Jr., an ophthalmologist and brother of former senator Joker Arroyo, urged the Senate panel to review the circumstances of his case and recall the order citing him in contempt.

Arroyo, along with Marguerite Lichnock and Laureano Gregorio Jr., was ordered arrested by the Senate last Wednesday for failing to attend the hearings conducted by the Blue Ribbon subcommittee on allegations of corruption against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Arroyo’s name was mentioned in the issue of the joint venture agreement between the University of Makati and Systems Technology Inc. for the management of UMAK’s school of nursing.

In his letter, Arroyo argued that the arrest order could not be enforced by the Senate panel.

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“We concede that the committee can cite a resource person in contempt and cause his detention. However, the committee can enforce that power only when the same resource person is actually before the Senate and defies its order,” Arroyo said.

He said only a judge can issue a warrant of arrest and the right of a person against unreasonable searches and seizures is inviolable, and that no warrant or arrest shall be issued except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge after examination under oath of the complainants and witnesses is guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.

“That constitutional protection to the citizenry may not be contravened, much less withdrawn, by the Senate, through its Rules of Procedure, by granting themselves the forbidden power of arrest,” Arroyo noted.

He added serving warrants of arrest is not among the duties of the Senate sergeant-at-arms as contained in the Senate Rules.


TRIBUNE

UNA to LP: Why not Abad or Abaya as Mar’s VP bet
Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 30 August 2015 00:00


ABAD, ABAYA

Since the dominant Liberal Party (LP) has been bragging about its deep bench, it should pick within its ranks the running mate of its standard bearer, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, like Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad and Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who are LP secretary general and president, respectively, UNA secretary general Atty. JV Bautista suggested yesterday.

Abad has been widely assailed as the brains behind the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) while Abaya is being blamed for the dilapidated public transport system and the hopeless vehicular traffic situation.
Bautista said among all the political parties, the opposition minority represented by UNA, by far, remains to be the only solid team in consolidating alliances, commitments and coalitions as even the LP members are not united for their 2016 prospects.

“If the LP, in deed, has a deep bench for a Vice President to pair with their chosen bet (Interior Secretary) Mar Roxas, why can’t they name one? And if their bench is really deep, why are they courting a self-proclaimed independent candidate in Senator Grace Poe?” Bautista told reporters in a weekly media forum yesterday.

“The LP has nothing to be proud of, except of the logistics that they have,” Bautista added.

“Why isn’t Abad considered? Isn’t it that Noynoy Aquino named him as the brains of the straight path, even comparing him to Apolinario Mabini? Comparing Abad to a national hero with high ethical standards is an insult to Mabini. Abad is the face of corruption under the incumbent regime,” Bautista said.

Bautista also said that, perhap, why the LP is not considering a Roxas-Abaya tandem is because “it will slap Roxas and their ‘straight path’ straight in the face”.

Bautista slammed Roxas for using his Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) post as leverage with local government officials who in turn “receive big chunks from the intended DILG budget allocation for election purposes”.

“For the record, Roxas is not yet out of the DILG. Without his post in the government, Mar cannot win,” he added.



UNA also claimed that a handful of LP officials in the local government level had shifted to the opposition, which Bautista said is a welcome development “except only if they have committed serious crimes to the public”.

Bautista confirms that UNA is now finalizing the commitments of different prominent parties such as the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Lakas-CMD, the Nacionalista Party and the NUP to join up with the opposition for the 2016 elections.

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Bautista said UNA has solid grassroots support from the provinces of Cavite, Pangasinan and Cebu.

Bautista said UNA is now firming up the likely tandem of its bet for the presidency Vice President Jejomar Binay adding that the party’s negotiations with Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. is “getting there”.

“When VP Binay visited Ilocos Norte, together with him was Governor Imee Marcos. I guess, action speak louder than words,” Bautista hinted when the Tribune asked him if the VP indeed has been talking with the Marcoses.

Both VP Binay and Sen. Marcos vowed a “unifying and healing governance” in separate occasions.

LP member and Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo and Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares, who are both considering to run for senator, have reportedly also met in a Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) gathering yesterday with neophyte Sen. Grace Poe, who is being tipped as a presidential contender.

UNA earlier said Colmenares is welcome to join the party’s senatorial ticket if he decides to run. Romulo, meanwhile, is said to be among those being considered in the LP slate.

For Colmenares, their presence at the NPC meeting could possibly mean that they could end up in a senatorial ticket under the banner of Poe, who’s obvious running mate is Senator Francis Escudero.

While Romulo was non-committal when asked if he would agree to run under a Poe-Escudero ticket.
 


GRACE KEEPS PUBLIC GUESSING FROM PHILSTAR AUG 30, 2015

Grace remains elusive

For the past three days this week, however, Poe was noticeably absent in the Senate’s afternoon sessions as she has been doing the round, upon the invitation of students, in Cebu, Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija.

When asked by reporters in an ambush interview Friday if such activities are indications of her preparation in seeking a higher office in next year’s national elections, Poe candidly answered in the affirmative even as she continues to deny that she’s already decided on throwing her hat in the ring.

Poe further confessed that going around the country will provide her the needed information on the actual conditions and issues in the countryside.
By Ted Tuvera and Angie M. Rosales


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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