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

NOY CAN'T BELIEVE YOUNG PINOYS ASKING WHY MABINI WAS SEATED THROUGHOUT LUNA MOVIE


SEPTEMBER 30 -REMEMBER? THE SUBLIME PARALYTIC: Apolinario M. Mabini: 1st Prime Minister of the Philippines; In office: January 23, 1899 – May 7, 1899; President: Emilio Aguinaldo. Mabini was struck by polio in 1895, and the disease gradually incapacitated him until January 1896, when he finally lost the use of both his lower limbs.FROM WIJIPEDIA President Aquino could hardly believe there were young Filipinos asking why Apolinario Mabini was seated throughout the historical blockbuster film “Heneral Luna.” By some coincidence, the Apolinario Mabini Awards ceremony took place on Tuesday at Malacañang’s Heroes Hall, presided over by the President, after days of heated discussion about how much, or how little, the youth know about history.The Mabini Awards commend individuals and companies that have given “outstanding service” to the persons with disabilities (PWDs) sector. Most importantly, they give recognition to differently abled individuals who have surpassed challenges and distinguished themselves in their fields. Stricken with polio, Mabini lost the ability to walk but his intellect and commitment to the country made him an important and influential figure during the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the Philippine-American War that followed later. Aquino opened his speech by saying that he had not yet seen the movie “Heneral Luna.” However, it had come to his attention that the actor Epy Quizon, who played Mabini, was asked by college students why his character not once stood up in the film.Apparently, word got to the President that some netizens supposedly said Mabini might just have been tired. ‘His mind was his weapon’ The President said he could only shake his head in disbelief. “Even if only a few students said this, we can say that this is a reflection of how little some of the youth know about history. Later, I will call up (Education Secretary) Armin (Luistro) to act on this,” Aquino said. He said it had become timely to ask why the nation considered Mabini a hero. READ MORE...

ALSO: Dismayed PNoy talks with DepEd chief amid youth's ignorance of Mabini


SEPTEMBER 29 -President Benigno Aquino III tours and inspects the Apolinario Mabini Museum to formally open the museum during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Apolinario Mabini at the Mabini Shrine in Barangay Talaga, Tanauan City, Batangas in July 23, 2014. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Gil Nartea
"Why was Apolinario Mabini just sitting down throughout the entire movie?"
This question posed by some college students who watched Jerrold Tarog's film "Heneral Luna" dismayed President Benigno Aquino III. During the Apolinario Mabini Awards ceremony in Malacañang, Aquino expressed disappointment over the students' apparent ignorance of Mabini's life. The president said he will discuss the matter with Education Secretary Armin Luistro. "Maya-maya ay tatawagan natin si Bro. Armin para ayusin ito," he said. Actor Epy Quizon, who portrayed Mabini in Tarog's acclaimed historical film, shared earlier on social media the students' question about the iconic hero. "Ang sabi po niya, tinanong siya ng isang grupo ng mga estudyante sa kolehiyo kamakailan kung bakit ang karakter niyang si Mabini, ni isang beses, ay hindi man lang daw tumayo sa pelikula," Aquino said. "Ang komento pa raw ng ilang netizens, baka pagod lang daw noong mga panahong iyon si Mabini," he added. Mabini, known as the "Brains of the Revolution" and "Sublime Paralytic," was incapacitated after being struck by polio in 1895. The students' lack of this knowledge, Aquino said, reflects the youth's ignorance of Philippine history. READ MORE...

ALSO: Students taught proper PH history – Luistro


SEPTEMBER 30 -LUISTRO Inquirer file
EDUCATION Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro on Wednesday assured President Benigno Aquino 3rd that proper Philippine history–which includes the country’s national heroes–is being taught to students under the K-12 program of the agency. In an interview with The Manila Times, Luistro said he had talked with President Aquino after the latter weighed in on the youth’s apparent lack of knowledge about the country’s history. The President said he was particularly bothered by remarks purportedly made by students who watched the epic film “Heneral Luna” as to why Apolinario Mabini, whose part was acted out by Epy Quizon, was sitting throughout the movie. In an interview aired over ABS-CBN’s morning show “Umagang Kay Ganda,” Quizon narrated how he was approached by three students who asked him why he was sitting during the entire film. He said he asked the students if they knew who Apolinario Mabini was, and they answered “no.” Reacting to the remark of Quizon, the President said, “What have we been teaching these kids in our history classes?” “I assured the President that Philippine history, including local and national heroes, is taught in Grades 4, 5 and 6 in the new K to 12 curriculum,” Lusitro said. Mabini–the country’s first prime minister who is known by his historical moniker as the “Brains of the Philippine Revolution” and the “Sublime Paralytic”–lost the use of both his legs to polio shortly before the 1896 Revolution started. “I believe the [answer received by] Mr. Quizon from [the] three students are not reflective of the students’ level of [knowledge about] our heroes,” Luistro said. “We have extracurricular activities that touch on the lives of prominent Filipinos,” he added. READ MORE, PLUS READERS RESPONSES...

ALSO: Ombudsman orders probe on Abad for DAP


SEPTEMBER 30 -Budget Secretary Butch Abad is now under probe for the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program funds. File photo
The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday ordered the preliminary investigation for the criminal and administrative charges against Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad.
According to its Twitter account, the Office of the Ombudsman has completed its fact-finding investigation on the utilization of the funds for the Disbursement Acceleration Program. DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos will also be investigated in connection to the DAP fund. Abad and Relampagos will face probe for the P400 million DAP releases from 2011 to 2012. The DBM secretary allegedly illegally released funds worth 250 million to the House of Representatives while Relampagos released P143.7 million to the Commission on Audit. A few weeks ago, the Ombudsman started an investigation on Abad and President Benigno Aquino III for the controversial DAP. However, Malacañang reminded that the president is immune from lawsuit. FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Ombudsman clears P-Noy; both Abad, undersec face DAP probe


OCTOBER 1 -P-NOY, ABAD
The ombudsman said yesterday it found sufficient basis for a preliminary investigation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Undersecretary Mario Relampagos. President Aquino has been cleared of criminal liability by the Office of the Ombudsman in his administration’s implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared unconstitutional in 2014 by the Supreme Court. But the ombudsman said yesterday it found sufficient basis for a preliminary investigation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Undersecretary Mario Relampagos. President Aquino was “absolved” after fact-finding by the ombudsman determined that the charges against him do not amount to an impeachable offense and should thus be dismissed. The ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) said only Abad and Relampagos should be held liable for technical malversation of public funds. Fact-finding investigators also said both officials should be held liable for administrative offenses in relation to their role in the utilization of DAP funds amounting to P31.9 billion from 2011 to 2012. A preliminary investigation would give Abad and Relampagos a chance to answer accusations before charges are filed against them with the Sandiganbayan. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has created a special panel of lawyers to conduct the probe. Under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, technical malversation is committed by a public officer when he or she disburses public funds or property for a purpose other than what is dictated by law or ordinance. FIO investigators said Abad and Relampagos authorized the DAP sourced from pooled savings as “a plan to boost disbursements” and “to jumpstart the implementation” of the government’s expenditure program. As authorized, projects were identified based on their “multiplier impact on the economy and infrastructure benefit, beneficial effect on the poor and translation into disbursements.” But the ombudsman said documents noted irregularities in the cross border DAP transfer transactions to the Commission on Audit (COA) and the House of Representatives. From the total P31.9-billion DAP funds, records show that P250 million was released to the House for the construction of legislative library and archive building/congressional e-library which was “not among those approved by the President.” In addition, P143.7 million was released to the COA to augment the latter’s Information Technology infrastructure program and the hiring of additional litigation experts as per approved Special Allotment Release Order (SARO). Investigation showed that Abad prepared and signed all memoranda and issuances concerning DAP implementation, while Relampagos signed the corresponding SAROs to COA and the House. The ombudsman’s investigation was based on separate complaints filed by former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco Jr., Greco Belgica and Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon. READ MORE...RELATED, DBM: Ombudsman probe over DAP ‘not a matter of stealing’

ALSO Abad: Noy approved DAP


OCTOBER 2 -“We endorse to the President and the President has final approval... I sign the endorsements and the approval, (it) is approved by the President. Of course, all the projects are approved by the President,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said. STAR/File photo
A day after the Office of the Ombudsman announced an investigation on the liability of Malacañang officials over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Budget Secretary Florencio Abad disclosed yesterday that President Aquino approved and signed the release of funds for the controversial program.
“We endorse to the President and the President has final approval... I sign the endorsements and the approval, (it) is approved by the President. Of course, all the projects are approved by the President,” Abad said. Abad’s statement came as the ombudsman spared the President from any liability, noting that the complaint does not constitute an impeachable offense. Malacañang, meanwhile, said yesterday there was no need for Abad or his undersecretary Mario Relampagos to go on leave while undergoing preliminary investigation over the DAP case. Interviewed at the Senate after a budget hearing, Abad defended the decision to juggle funds from various departments and put them under one item dubbed as the DAP.He said he and other officials made the decision in good faith. “That’s the finding of the ombudsman so that’s it and I think, for me, that’s fine because you know the President has to be busy doing what he has to be doing… so I would want him not to have any distraction,” he explained. Asked if he takes responsibility for the DAP misuse, Abad said he is ready to defend himself over possible charges of technical malversation of public funds at the ombudsman. “We will respond to the report of the field investigation unit. And I think you know this is not the first time that this issue is taken up,” he said. “The SC has already decided twice on this. The initial decision and then the decision coming after our motion for reconsideration. That’s why I said in our press statement that we welcome this investigation so that once and for all we can clarify all the other issues that may still be out there insofar as the DAP is concerned,” Abad said. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘Noy can still be held liable for DAP after his term’ ...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Aquino can’t believe question asked why Mabini was seated throughout Luna movie


President Benigno Aquino III starts giving out awards to PWDs and groups helping, supporting PWDs. KRISTINE SABILLO/INQUIRER.net


MANILA, OCTOBER 5, 2015 (INQUIRER)
By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 02:43 AM September 30th, 2015 - President Aquino could hardly believe there were young Filipinos asking why Apolinario Mabini was seated throughout the historical blockbuster film “Heneral Luna.”

By some coincidence, the Apolinario Mabini Awards ceremony took place on Tuesday at Malacañang’s Heroes Hall, presided over by the President, after days of heated discussion about how much, or how little, the youth know about history.

The Mabini Awards commend individuals and companies that have given “outstanding service” to the persons with disabilities (PWDs) sector.

Most importantly, they give recognition to differently abled individuals who have surpassed challenges and distinguished themselves in their fields.

Stricken with polio, Mabini lost the ability to walk but his intellect and commitment to the country made him an important and influential figure during the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the Philippine-American War that followed later.



Aquino opened his speech by saying that he had not yet seen the movie “Heneral Luna.” However, it had come to his attention that the actor Epy Quizon, who played Mabini, was asked by college students why his character not once stood up in the film.

Apparently, word got to the President that some netizens supposedly said Mabini might just have been tired.

‘His mind was his weapon’

The President said he could only shake his head in disbelief.

“Even if only a few students said this, we can say that this is a reflection of how little some of the youth know about history. Later, I will call up (Education Secretary) Armin (Luistro) to act on this,” Aquino said.

He said it had become timely to ask why the nation considered Mabini a hero.

READ MORE...

Importance of Mabini


Ms. Yvetter Apurado-Bernardo is the vice president of Philippine Federation of the Deaf, Inc. She shares that she only know of Mabini as the hero in the 10 peso coin. She did not about his history and disability. FROM THE DEAF-eNEWS --pls. visit this blog for more Mabini commemoration news.

“We cannot question the depth and breadth of the contribution to our country of the man we call the ‘Sublime Paralytic’ and the ‘Brains of the Revolution.’ He represented the intelligence and convictions of the Filipino people. His sharp mind was his weapon to strengthen the foundation of our democratic institution,” Aquino said in Filipino.

Aquino said Mabini emphasized that the future of a nation did not lie only in the hands of those in power.

The people have a voice and they are our country’s source of power,” the President said. “That is why despite Apolinario Mabini’s condition, he was respected and considered great at the time of chaos and war.”

According to him, the Mabini Awards recognize the efforts of individuals and groups to advance the rights of Filipinos with disabilities as productive and exemplary members of society.

He underscored his admiration for the PWD sector, saying he believed they should actually be referred to as “more abled” than “differently abled” for choosing to fight, and for honing their full potentials for their families and their country.

The awardees

Darlito Palermo, an engineer who became the very first PWD youth leader of Agdao town in Davao City, received the Mabini Presidential Award.

SM Cares Program on Disability Affairs was presented the Hall of Fame Award.

The Resources for the Blind Inc. executive director, Randy Weisser, was given special recognition under the Mabini Presidential Award for his 26-year work to empower visually impaired Filipinos.

Other groups and individuals were given recognition, including Annette Lee-Esparaz, who coauthored “TouchBooks,” the very first picture book for visually impaired Filipino students using Braille.

250,000 PWDs



In his speech, Aquino also mentioned the Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine, which takes care of 250,000 PWDs.

The Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled launched the Mabini Awards in 1974. It has since become a biennial program.

Aquino expressed hope that in the coming elections, the Commission on Elections would promote the implementation of Republic Act No. 10366, which he signed in 2013. It mandates the Comelec to designate areas where PWDs and senior citizens could vote during elections.


SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 PHOTO: ONE COMMUNITY — The Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine’s M.O.V.E. Runs seek to bring together differently-abled (above) and able-bodied runners (below) to help out indigent PWDs. COURTESY OF MANILA BULLETIN FILE

The President also said the government was working double time to bring benefits to the PWD sector.

Aquino said that over 217,000 PWDs had benefited from the government’s conditional cash transfer program and, as of last year, more than 3,000 children with disabilities had been enrolled in public schools and daycare centers.

Before nearly 200 guests, the President vowed that all benefits and opportunities provided by the government to PWDs would be carried out and improved upon with the continuation of the “daang matuwid,” or straight path, policy—a seeming endorsement of the presidential candidacy of administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas.

RELATED STORIES

‘Why is Mabini just seated?’ Epy Quizon stands up to the confused

[EPY QUIZON PLAYED THE ROLE OF MABINI IN 'LUNA' MOVIE]

Aquino cites Apolinario Mabini during awards for PWDs


PHILSTAR

Dismayed PNoy talks with DepEd chief amid youth's ignorance of Mabini By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated September 29, 2015 - 5:17pm 2 196 googleplus0 0


President Benigno Aquino III tours and inspects the Apolinario Mabini Museum to formally open the museum during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Apolinario Mabini at the Mabini Shrine in Barangay Talaga, Tanauan City, Batangas in July 23, 2014. Malacañang Photo Bureau/Gil Nartea

MANILA, Philippines - "Why was Apolinario Mabini just sitting down throughout the entire movie?"

This question posed by some college students who watched Jerrold Tarog's film "Heneral Luna" dismayed President Benigno Aquino III.

During the Apolinario Mabini Awards ceremony in Malacañang, Aquino expressed disappointment over the students' apparent ignorance of Mabini's life.

The president said he will discuss the matter with Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

"Maya-maya ay tatawagan natin si Bro. Armin para ayusin ito," he said.

Actor Epy Quizon, who portrayed Mabini in Tarog's acclaimed historical film, shared earlier on social media the students' question about the iconic hero.


PHOTO OF JULY 2014 - REMEMBER MABINI. President Benigno Aquino III recalls the tenets of Apolinario Mabini to explain his administration’s motivation behind the Disbursement Acceleration Program on July 23, 2014. Recently this year, he said on his Daang Matuwid: "Abad is my Apolinario Mabini".  Malacañang photo bureau

"Ang sabi po niya, tinanong siya ng isang grupo ng mga estudyante sa kolehiyo kamakailan kung bakit ang karakter niyang si Mabini, ni isang beses, ay hindi man lang daw tumayo sa pelikula," Aquino said.

"Ang komento pa raw ng ilang netizens, baka pagod lang daw noong mga panahong iyon si Mabini," he added.

Mabini, known as the "Brains of the Revolution" and "Sublime Paralytic," was incapacitated after being struck by polio in 1895.

The students' lack of this knowledge, Aquino said, reflects the youth's ignorance of Philippine history.

READ MORE...

"Talagang napailing po tayo noong ikinuwento sa amin ito. Sabihin mang iilang estudyante lang ang nagpahayag nito, masasabing isa rin itong repleksiyon sa pagkukulang sa kaalaman sa kasaysayan ng ilang kabataan sa kasalukuyan," Aquino said.

In his speech during the Palace event, Aquino honored Mabini for his contributions to Philippine history.

"Siya ang kumakatawan sa talino at paninindigan ng lahing Pilipino. Talas ng isip ang kanyang naging sandata upang patibayin ang pundasyon ng ating mga demokratikong institusyon," Aquino said.

"Ipinamulat niya sa lahat na hindi lamang ang nasa katungkulan ang may tangan ng kapalaran ng bayan; may boses ang mamamayan, at sila ang bukal ng kapangyarihan sa ating bayan," he added.

Launched in 1974, the Mabini Awards seeks to give recognition to individuals with disabilities, professionals and various groups that have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields or have rendered outstanding service to people with disabilities.


MANILA TIMES

Students taught proper PH history – Luistro
September 30, 2015 11:43 pm by FRANCIS EARL A. CUETO, CORRESPONDENT


LUISTRO Inquirer file

EDUCATION Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro on Wednesday assured President Benigno Aquino 3rd that proper Philippine history–which includes the country’s national heroes–is being taught to students under the K-12 program of the agency.

In an interview with The Manila Times, Luistro said he had talked with President Aquino after the latter weighed in on the youth’s apparent lack of knowledge about the country’s history.

The President said he was particularly bothered by remarks purportedly made by students who watched the epic film “Heneral Luna” as to why Apolinario Mabini, whose part was acted out by Epy Quizon, was sitting throughout the movie.

In an interview aired over ABS-CBN’s morning show “Umagang Kay Ganda,” Quizon narrated how he was approached by three students who asked him why he was sitting during the entire film.

He said he asked the students if they knew who Apolinario Mabini was, and they answered “no.”

Reacting to the remark of Quizon, the President said, “What have we been teaching these kids in our history classes?”

“I assured the President that Philippine history, including local and national heroes, is taught in Grades 4, 5 and 6 in the new K to 12 curriculum,” Lusitro said.

Mabini–the country’s first prime minister who is known by his historical moniker as the “Brains of the Philippine Revolution” and the “Sublime Paralytic”–lost the use of both his legs to polio shortly before the 1896 Revolution started.

“I believe the [answer received by] Mr. Quizon from [the] three students are not reflective of the students’ level of [knowledge about] our heroes,” Luistro said.

“We have extracurricular activities that touch on the lives of prominent Filipinos,” he added.

READ MORE...

Luistro said he will discuss the issue with school supervisors.

“In any case, I committed to discuss this concern with our curriculum supervisors, validate

if majority of the students have similar deficiencies and ensure that we do not just simply dismiss the issue without a fair assessment of the real situation,” he added.

The President made the remark when he conferred the 2015 Apolinario Mabini Awards to outstanding persons with disabilities (PWDs) and advocates for their welfare.

The Apolinario Mabini Awards was launched in 1974 to give recognition to individuals with disabilities and professionals and various groups that have rendered outstanding service to PWDs.

4 Responses to Students taught proper PH history – Luistro
Eddie de Leon says:
October 1, 2015 at 8:48 am
iT’S VERY EASY TO CONDUCT AN HONEST SURVEY OF COLLEGE-AGE FILIPINOS TO FIND OUT IF THEY ARE ALSO AS IGNORANT AS THE STUDENTS WHO approached Quizon.
I would not be surprised if those students are the ones who became ignorant of Philippine history because they played truant to attend ABSCBN and GMA shows and spent their time and used their brains watching stupid entertainment programs and dreaming of celebrity entertainers.
Reply
Maria Stevens says:
October 1, 2015 at 7:53 am
Most people would agree that reading, writing, and arithmetic, are without doubt the most ESSENTIAL subjects… But history tells us where we come from and who we are… Let the students learn not only about the people like Mabini and the patriots who threw of the yoke of the wretched SPANIARDS. But the bad people who tried to bring the country down.. History is about heroes and villains Taught properly it can be an exciting journey through time.
Reply
Bonifacio Claudio says:
October 1, 2015 at 11:30 am
Sure heroes na ang mga Aquinos & all the rest are villains… Yeheeeey, up with the Yellow Ribbons & down all the rest !!! Oh, Dios na mahabagin, ako yata’y mababaliw sa kawalang katinuan ng pag-iisip na ganito !!!
Cori says:
October 1, 2015 at 4:09 am
Naghahanap lang ng masisi yan ,bakit di sya bumalik sa school nya para tanungin yung teacher kung wala din syang alam…Abnoy pa din


PHILSTAR

Ombudsman orders probe on Abad for DAP By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated September 30, 2015 - 5:33pm 1 37 googleplus0 0


Budget Secretary Butch Abad is now under probe for the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program funds. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday ordered the preliminary investigation for the criminal and administrative charges against Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad.

According to its Twitter account, the Office of the Ombudsman has completed its fact-finding investigation on the utilization of the funds for the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos will also be investigated in connection to the DAP fund.

Abad and Relampagos will face probe for the P400 million DAP releases from 2011 to 2012.

The DBM secretary allegedly illegally released funds worth 250 million to the House of Representatives while Relampagos released P143.7 million to the Commission on Audit.

A few weeks ago, the Ombudsman started an investigation on Abad and President Benigno Aquino III for the controversial DAP.

However, Malacañang reminded that the president is immune from lawsuit.


PHILSTAR

P-Noy cleared; Abad, usec face DAP probe By Michael Punongbayan and Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 1, 2015 - 12:00am 1 3 googleplus0 0


AQUINO CLEARED The ombudsman said yesterday it found sufficient basis for a preliminary investigation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Undersecretary Mario Relampagos. File photo

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has been cleared of criminal liability by the Office of the Ombudsman in his administration’s implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared unconstitutional in 2014 by the Supreme Court.

But the ombudsman said yesterday it found sufficient basis for a preliminary investigation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Undersecretary Mario Relampagos.

President Aquino was “absolved” after fact-finding by the ombudsman determined that the charges against him do not amount to an impeachable offense and should thus be dismissed.

The ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) said only Abad and Relampagos should be held liable for technical malversation of public funds.

Fact-finding investigators also said both officials should be held liable for administrative offenses in relation to their role in the utilization of DAP funds amounting to P31.9 billion from 2011 to 2012.

A preliminary investigation would give Abad and Relampagos a chance to answer accusations before charges are filed against them with the Sandiganbayan.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has created a special panel of lawyers to conduct the probe.

Under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, technical malversation is committed by a public officer when he or she disburses public funds or property for a purpose other than what is dictated by law or ordinance.

FIO investigators said Abad and Relampagos authorized the DAP sourced from pooled savings as “a plan to boost disbursements” and “to jumpstart the implementation” of the government’s expenditure program.

As authorized, projects were identified based on their “multiplier impact on the economy and infrastructure benefit, beneficial effect on the poor and translation into disbursements.”

But the ombudsman said documents noted irregularities in the cross border DAP transfer transactions to the Commission on Audit (COA) and the House of Representatives.

From the total P31.9-billion DAP funds, records show that P250 million was released to the House for the construction of legislative library and archive building/congressional e-library which was “not among those approved by the President.”

In addition, P143.7 million was released to the COA to augment the latter’s Information Technology infrastructure program and the hiring of additional litigation experts as per approved Special Allotment Release Order (SARO).

Investigation showed that Abad prepared and signed all memoranda and issuances concerning DAP implementation, while Relampagos signed the corresponding SAROs to COA and the House.

The ombudsman’s investigation was based on separate complaints filed by former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco Jr., Greco Belgica and Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon.

READ MORE...

Fund misuse

Morales said her office is also studying another report on the alleged misuse of P900 million in Malampaya funds that were diverted to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) during the Arroyo administration and which ended up with bogus non-government organizations linked to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

The officials accused in the Malampaya case include Arroyo and former DAR secretary Nasser Pangandaman and other officials of the department.

The ombudsman revealed to lawmakers the DAP probe on Aquino and Abad last Sept. 1 during a hearing on her agency’s 2016 budget by the House committee on appropriations chaired by Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab.


OMBUDSMAN MORALES

Sought for comment then, Abad said, “It’s the process of the ombudsman and we respect it. We will cooperate. We do want to put a closure to this issue.”

He said the Supreme Court has upheld in the DAP cases the “doctrine of operative fact, meaning that what we did was constitutional, legal and regular, and we implemented the economic stimulus program in good faith.”

“In fact, the Supreme Court declared that DAP benefited the country. We stand by our position that DAP was an urgent and appropriate response to the then under-spending problem that was slowing down the economy,” Abad said.

“The resulting uptick in spending and growth validated our position,” he said.

“We also commit to align, as we have already done, our savings, augmentation and realignment policies along with SC decision,” he added.

The budget chief noted that “there was no insinuation of graft” in the tribunal’s ruling.

He pointed out that the ombudsman has not yet sought any comment from them.

“This is just the fact-finding stage. If they go to preliminary investigation, that’s when they will require us to comment,” Abad, who is a lawyer, said.

The SC stopped the DAP economic stimulus program in 2014 after declaring at least four practices under it as unconstitutional. The tribunal did not declare DAP itself as unconstitutional.

Probe welcomed Meanwhile, the DBM said in a statement it welcomes the ombudsman’s investigation into the DAP issue.

“Not only will the inquiry enable the parties to present their views on all remaining issues involving DAP, we likewise trust that the ombudsman will conduct the investigation with the soundest judgment,” the DBM said in a statement.

“The Supreme Court itself observed that DAP was instrumental in accelerating public spending, and in such a manner that allowed the country to achieve significant economic progress,” the DBM said.

“It is also worth noting that DAP is not a novel program. Its implementation only followed precedents set by previous presidents and their respective budget secretaries,” it added.

The DBM also said it wished to “clarify certain terms relevant to the investigation” like “technical malversation.” It said the term does not suggest that the individuals in question committed acts of graft or corruption or used public funds for their personal gain or benefit.

“Certainly, the inquiry is not a matter of whether individuals had stolen from public coffers,” the DBM stated.

“The inquiry involves the application of excess or unutilized public funds to existing priority government projects and programs that require additional funding,” it pointed out.

“The investigation seeks to determine whether these uses of public funds constitute technical malversation, where public funds are used for a public purpose that differed – in a very technical sense – from the original plan,” it said.

Allowed under GAA The DBM also said the use of the funds to augment deficient items of appropriations were authorized under the General Appropriations Act and other laws.

“We must also remind our people that despite several news reports, the final Supreme Court decision on DAP did not declare the program unconstitutional.”

The DBM also stressed that the Supreme Court ruling emphasized that “the doctrine of operative fact holds sway over the implementation of DAP.” This means “the program’s authors, sponsors and implementers must be presumed to have acted in good faith and with regularity in the performance of their official duties.”

The DBM also noted that DAP is “not a novel program” and that its implementation only followed precedents set by previous administrations.

“Finally, the positive impact of DAP on the Philippine economy – in line with the program’s purpose –must not be overlooked,” it said.

“The Supreme Court itself observed that DAP was instrumental in accelerating public spending, and in such a manner that allowed the country to achieve significant economic progress,” the DBM statement read.

“The DBM will of course cooperate with the Office of the Ombudsman in the course of their investigation. We look forward as well to the inquiry’s swift and fair conclusion.” With Delon Porcalla, Prinz Magtulis

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

DBM: Ombudsman probe over DAP ‘not a matter of stealing’ By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @YGonzalesINQ INQUIRER.net 05:37 PM September 30th, 2015


DBM's Budget Sec Florencion'Butch' Abad

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday welcomed the Office of the Ombudsman’s order to investigate Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad for technical malversation over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), but emphasized that the probe was not a matter of stealing.

Vowing cooperation in the inquiry, the DBM said it was hoping that the Ombudsman would exercise “soundest judgment” in the investigation as the department looked forward to a “swift and fair conclusion.”

“The preliminary investigation on DAP is a welcome move from the Office of the Ombudsman. Not only will the inquiry enable the parties to present their views on all remaining issues involving DAP, we likewise trust that the Ombudsman will conduct the investigation with the soundest judgment,” DBM said in a statement.

“At the same time, we wish to clarify certain terms relevant to the investigation, particularly those that may invite specific public attention. First, technical malversation does not suggest that the individuals in question committed acts of graft or corruption. Nor does the investigation imply that these individuals used public funds for their personal gain or benefit. Certainly, the inquiry is not a matter of whether individuals had stolen from public coffers,” it added.

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Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Wednesday ordered the investigation of Abad, who was said to be the brains behind DAP. Parts of the savings-impounding mechanism said to be the pork barrel of President Benigno Aquino III were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The order for an investigation came after Morales approved the fact-finding probe of the Ombudsman field investigation office which found Abad and Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos liable over DAP. Relampagos, who is currently facing graft chargers over the pork barrel scam, is also ordered investigated.

The DBM maintained that the declaration of public funds as savings and their use to “augment deficient items of appropriations” were authorized by law, particularly under the General Appropriations Act.

“The inquiry involves the application of excess or unutilized public funds to existing priority government projects and programs that require additional funding. The investigation seeks to determine whether these uses of public funds constitute technical malversation, where public funds are used for a public purpose that differed—in a very technical sense—from the original plan,” the statement read.

The budget department stressed that the high court ‘s final decision on DAP did not declare the program itself unconstitutional.

“Furthermore, the final Supreme Court ruling stresses that the doctrine of operative fact holds sway over the implementation of DAP. In other words, the program’s authors, sponsors, and implementers must be presumed to have acted in good faith and with regularity in the performance of their official duties. It is also worth noting that DAP is not a novel program. Its implementation only followed precedents set by previous presidents and their respective budget secretaries,” it added.

The DBM also underscored DAP’s supposed contribution to economic growth, particularly in accelerating public spending.

“Finally, the positive impact of DAP on the Philippine economy—in line with the program’s purpose—must not be overlooked. The Supreme Court itself observed that DAP was instrumental in accelerating public spending, and in such a manner that allowed the country to achieve significant economic progress,” the statement read.

DAP first became controversial in September 2013 when Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada revealed in a privilege speech that senator judges were bribed P50 million in DAP to convict then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Yuji Vincent Gonzales/RC


PHILSTAR

Abad: Noy approved DAP By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 2, 2015 - 12:00am 9 1040 googleplus0 0


“We endorse to the President and the President has final approval... I sign the endorsements and the approval, (it) is approved by the President. Of course, all the projects are approved by the President,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said. STAR/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - A day after the Office of the Ombudsman announced an investigation on the liability of Malacañang officials over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Budget Secretary Florencio Abad disclosed yesterday that President Aquino approved and signed the release of funds for the controversial program.

“We endorse to the President and the President has final approval... I sign the endorsements and the approval, (it) is approved by the President. Of course, all the projects are approved by the President,” Abad said.

Abad’s statement came as the ombudsman spared the President from any liability, noting that the complaint does not constitute an impeachable offense.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said yesterday there was no need for Abad or his undersecretary Mario Relampagos to go on leave while undergoing preliminary investigation over the DAP case.

Interviewed at the Senate after a budget hearing, Abad defended the decision to juggle funds from various departments and put them under one item dubbed as the DAP.

He said he and other officials made the decision in good faith.

“That’s the finding of the ombudsman so that’s it and I think, for me, that’s fine because you know the President has to be busy doing what he has to be doing… so I would want him not to have any distraction,” he explained.

Asked if he takes responsibility for the DAP misuse, Abad said he is ready to defend himself over possible charges of technical malversation of public funds at the ombudsman.

“We will respond to the report of the field investigation unit. And I think you know this is not the first time that this issue is taken up,” he said.

“The SC has already decided twice on this. The initial decision and then the decision coming after our motion for reconsideration. That’s why I said in our press statement that we welcome this investigation so that once and for all we can clarify all the other issues that may still be out there insofar as the DAP is concerned,” Abad said.

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When asked if the SC ruling that some parts of DAP are construed as unconstitutional can be used against them before the ombudsman, Abad maintained “good faith” and “regularity” in doing his functions as budget secretary and alter ego of the President.

“Hindi naman kasi the SC also said that these certain acts were not unconstitutional before and were just made unconstitutional because of its decision, then the doctrine of operative fact applies, which means in the interest of equity and fairness,” those acts should be presumed to have been done in good faith and with regularity.

He said his office is preparing to submit response to the ombudsman once they receive a copy of the complaint of the field investigation unit.

“We submit our response, our counter affidavit and once that is submitted, then the ombudsman has to determine whether there is basis for filing a complaint or what they call probable cause,” Abad said.

Abad also denied reports that the DAP controversy caused a shouting match between him and the President during a recent meeting in Malacañang.

He admitted he met with the President about the issue but there was no shouting match.

“Yes, but there is certainly no shouting match at all. You cannot shout at the President. I’m just the secretary of DBM, an alter ego of the President so we give full respect to the President and he’s always correct,” Abad said.

Leave of absence Abad and his Undersecretary Mario Relampagos do not have to take a leave of absence while the ombudsman is investigating them on charges of technical malversation and other offenses in connection with the DAP, a Palace spokesman reiterated yesterday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the law does not require officials to go on leave of absence because the case is still in preliminary investigation.

He issued the statement following revelations by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales that President Aquino has been cleared by graft investigators on the use of the invalidated DAP, but not Abad and Relampagos.

Morales said a preliminary investigation is underway to determine their criminal liability.

Malacañang officials, including Abad, welcomed the ombudsman’s investigation.

“The conduct of preliminary investigation provides an opportunity to clarify the legal issues on the DAP, considering that upon the government’s motion for reconsideration, the Supreme Court upheld the principle of operative fact,” Coloma said.

“We affirm our position that the government acted in the public interest,” he added.

“The preliminary investigation on DAP is a welcome move from the Office of the Ombudsman,” a portion of a statement from the Department of Budget and Management read.

“The DBM will of course cooperate with the Office of the Ombudsman in the course of their investigation. We look forward as well to the inquiry’s swift and fair conclusion,” Abad promised.

The statement, which Abad’s office sent to reporters, said the investigation will “enable the parties to present their views on all remaining issues involving DAP.”

“We likewise trust that the ombudsman will conduct the investigation with the soundest judgment.”

Abad also clarified that the investigation does not mean they are guilty as charged.

“First, technical malversation does not suggest that the individuals in question committed acts of graft or corruption. Nor does the investigation imply that these individuals used public funds for their personal gain or benefit,” he explained.

Abad also tried to parry speculations they manipulated DAP funds, which they did not.

“Certainly, the inquiry is not a matter of whether individuals have stolen from public coffers,” he said.

“The inquiry involves the application of excess or unutilized public funds to existing priority government projects and programs that require additional funding,” the former Batanes congressman explained further.

Sen. Nancy Binay, however, is not impressed with the move of the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct the preliminary investigation against Abad and Relampagos.

“I hope this is not just another PR (public relations) showcase to make it appear that the ombudsman is not being selective. I have doubts if the ombudsman will pursue the case and have Abad et al suspended. It seems like everything is just for show,” she said.

Members of the ombudsman’s FIO said both Abad and Relampagos should be held liable for their administrative offenses in relation to their role in the utilization of DAP funds amounting to P31.9 billion from 2011 to 2012. They are also being held liable for technical malversation of public funds.

President Aquino was not indicted by the ombudsman because none of the charges constitute impeachable offense, the Office of the Ombudsman said. – With Delon Porcalla  

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

‘Noy can still be held liable for DAP after his term’ By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 3, 2015 - 12:00am 0 205 googleplus0 0


President Aquino

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said that President Aquino could still face charges regarding the implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) after his term ends next year.

While the ombudsman’s preliminary investigation has excluded the President, Pimentel said the anti-graft investigating body could still expand its probe, depending on the testimony or affidavit of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

Pimentel, who is also a lawyer, added that the bulk of evidence may depend on the documents in the implementation of the DAP.

“When Aquino is no longer President, he could then be investigated. Even private complainants could file before the ombudsman. The evidence will be the same, its paper trail,” Pimentel said.

On Abad’s statement that President Aquino approved and signed documents pertaining to the use of DAP funds, Pimentel said the ombudsman’s investigating unit can still look at the budget secretary’s counter-affidavit and determine the possible culpability of the President.

“After the preliminary determination, once those who signed the documents are determined, then the ombudsman can decide on whether the investigation can be limited or not,” Pimentel said.

Abad should not escape prosecution for implementing the DAP, parts of which the Supreme Court had struck down as unconstitutional, lawmakers said yesterday.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the independent bloc, and Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said Abad cannot invoke “good faith” in implementing the DAP.

Atienza said the public will be keeping a close watch on developments on the case at the Office of Ombudsman, which earlier announced that it is investigating Abad and other officials in connection with the DAP.

The ombudsman, however, said it would not include President Aquino in its probe.

“A premeditated crime was committed so someone must be held accountable. He (Abad) knowingly violated the Constitution, which strictly mandates all disbursements must be authorized by Congress,” Atienza said.

“He committed malversation of the worst kind because he is the budget chief so he’s supposed to protect our funds, what he did was bantay-salakay (opportunistic),” he said.

“Saying he planned and implemented the DAP because of good intentions is hypocritical,” he added.

He said it was impossible that Abad did not know that the DAP, which he crafted, was unconstitutional and illegal, being a former congressman and a government official for a long time.

The lawmaker said Abad apparently searched for possible loopholes, gray areas and weaknesses of budget laws to justify the implementation of the DAP and “clothe it with legalities.”

Romualdez said the ombudsman’s investigation would give Abad a chance to defend himself.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said not only Abad should be charged to the fullest extent of law but also other officials who helped implement the DAP.

Zarate also said while Aquino is immune from prosecution, he should be included in the investigation on the DAP issue.

“If Abad and company should be prosecuted for the highly anomalous, illegal and unconstitutional DAP, then President Aquino, all the more, should be investigated because his signatures are all over the DAP documents,” he said.

The civil society group Reform Philippines Coalition assailed the Field Investigation Office of the ombudsman for excluding President Aquino and just recommended the conduct of preliminary investigation on Abad and Relampagos.

RPC lead convenior and former Manila Councilor Greco Belgica, one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court cases on both PDAF and DAP, said the ombudsman report has raised questions rather than provide closure to the controversial DAP issue.– With Edu Punay, Paolo Romero


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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