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DOTC SIGNS P3.81 B MRT-3 MAINTENANCE DEAL WITH KOREAN-FIL GROUP 'BUSAN'


JANUARY 8 -Three coaches of the MRT overshoot the track at the EDSA-Pasay Station. (Image by Ali Vicoy) (File)A Korean-Filipino consortium took over the maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) along Edsa, particularly the rolling stock and signalling system, to improve the operations of the mass transit system, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said. In a statement, the DOTC said it signed a P3.81 billion maintenance contract with the joint venture (JV) of Busan Transportation Corporation, Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile, Inc., TMICorp Inc., and Castan Corporation. “We are one step closer to having a safer and more reliable MRT-3 system with our new world-class rail maintenance service provider. With the operator of the Busan railway network in South Korea sharing their technical expertise, the riding public can expect an increase in the number of running trains and the efficiency of operations,” said DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya said. The Busan JV started on Thursday the maintenance works of the rolling stock and signaling system, the most critical maintenance discipline. The there-year contract also covers the general overhaul of 43 coaches over the course of the agreement period, and the total replacement of the signaling system within 24 months. Twelve qualified technical experts, including rolling stock, signaling, and track specialists, from Busan are already carrying out the necessary activities for transition and system assessment. Busan has been operating and maintaining the Busan Metro, four railway lines of the mass transit system in Busan, South Korea since 1999, demonstrating their capacity to manage the maintenance works and facility upgrades as stated in the contract. FULL REPORT. RELATED, Poe to scrutinize MRT’s P3.81-billion maintenance contract...

ALSO: DESPITE 3 YEARS OF PUBLIC SUFFERING -Noy ignores new call to fire Abaya


JANUARY 8 -President Aquino’s selective eye for incompetence has revealed its ugly head anew as Malacañang sidestepped calls for resignations in relation to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya who has been hounded by criticism following the consistent failure of mass transport systems in satisfying the public. Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. has shielded the Cabinet official and Liberal Party (LP) president from calls to quit, stemming from the accusation raised by presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe who called Abaya “shortsighted” and “incompetent” as transportation secretary. At a Palace briefing, Coloma downplayed what Poe said as three years of suffering that the public had to bear under the term of Abaya in the Cabinet post. The Palace official insisted that Aquino, despite refusal to sack Abaya, is consistently assessing the performance of his alter egos. “All Cabinet secretaries serve at the pleasure of the President and their performance is continually being assessed by the President as Chief Executive,” he said at a Palace briefing. “The President has tasked the DoTC and other concerned agencies to address these problems (faced daily by commuters) with effective solutions. Additional transport infrastructures are also being built and planned to provide long-term solutions for the benefit of our citizens,” he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Aquino hits JPE, Poe on SAF massacre probe


JANUARY 9 -ENRILE, POE Revived hearings politically motivated says Noy. For President Aquino, the reopening of the scheduled hearing on the Mamasapano massacre is all about politics and ill-feelings his foes hold against him.He was clearly alluding to Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile, whom Aquino had his appointed Ombudsman, his former Justice Secretary and former chairman of the Commission on Audit charge him for plunder and graft, along with two other opposition figures, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla. Enrile, however, was granted bail by the Supreme Court some months back and is again active in the Senate as the opposition leader. Aquino ascribed “politics and ill-feelings” Enrile has against him as the reason for the reopening of the Mamasapano massacre. Aquino also shot back at Sen. Grace Poe, blaming her agreeing to the reopening of the massacre on politics, although he mentioned no names. The planned reopening of the Mamasapano probe in the Senate is politically motivated, the President stressed Friday, admitting that the mishap courtesy of Oplan Exodus, which left in its wake 65 casualties, 44 of whom were Special Action Force commandos and troopers is indeed a blow to him and his administration. Speaking to reporters after the inauguration of the 300 megawatt Davao baseload power plant in Mindanao, Aquino linked the Senate’s decision to review anew its Mamasapano report to the elections, noting that his enemies are surely plotting to resurface allegations against him over the incident. “Well, we know that the campaign season is near. Our opponents have seen this as the heaviest blow to me since I took office. They are trying to take advantage of the opportunity,” Aquino said when asked to comment on the Senate’s latest move. “I think in all that is happening, we can see that politics plays a big role. Let us not forget who started all this, and maybe we can understand that this person has a grudge against my administration,” the President said. He was obviousy referring to Senator Enrile, who was recently freed on bail for an alleged mishandling of his “pork barrel” funds or the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).  Enrile headed the campaign to reopen the investigations to complete its agenda in being “in aid of legislation.” Thus far, Senator Poe never bothered to have her committee report raised before the plenary and thus far, Poe has not come up with any legislative measure of this massacre even when the hearings were supposed to be conducted in aid of legislation. Enrile’s proposal was met amicably by his colleagues at the Senate, who had admitted that there may be points yet to be emphasized. Similarly, sacked Special Action Force (SAF) Director General Getulio Napeñas expressed the same sentiment, saying the hearings did not have enough focus on Aquino’s direct involvement in the botched Oplan Exodus, which plan succeeded in getting rid of international terrorist Marwan but ended up in a massacre of the SAF forces. Poe has said that no matter the new evidence to be presented, she will not be changing her committee report, saying she will merely moderate in the scheduled hearings. Her committee report merely stated that Aquino is “ultimately responsible” for the massacre, although Poe never mentioned the culpability and accountability of Aquino who she said is “responsible” for the massacre. The Poe hearings came at a time when she was being offered to run under the Liberal Party banner in the 2016 polls. It is belieevd that during the hearings, there was an effort on her part to protect Aquino. She also once said that under her administration, Aquino will not face prosecution because he was “honest.” The President said the decision to reopen the inquiry on the the carnage and clashes between police commandos and Muslim rebels last year was clearly related to the upcoming national elections. READ MORE...

ALSO COLMENARES: NOYNOY AUTHORIZED ILLEGAL DAP - ‘Aquino should face prosecution’


JANUARY 10 -A militant lawmaker who is running as senator under the ticket of independent candidate Sen. Grace Poe said President Aquino will and must be subject to prosecution after he steps down from Malacañang. But Poe, his presidential candidate, is firm on not prosecuting Aquino, saying he has already been cleared by the Ombudsman. Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, in an interview with the Tribune yesterday, said that it is right for the outgoing President to be charged on the many cases where he can be held accountable. “There are many reasons to put (President Aquino) to the test after his term expires. Lest he forgets about his signing the unconstitutional (Disbursement Acceleration Program). He could pinpoint others for such case but in the end it was his signature that allowed it to operate,” Colmenares told the Tribune. Aquino, during a visit to Rome last year, said he expected his detractors to get even after his term by haling him to court or have him jailed but said he would be ready to defend his actions that he claimed to have catalyzed reforms. Aquino said that he is “ready to face” whatever charges would be slapped on him. Last September, the Office of the Ombudsman said the President and other key officials of his Cabinet were being investigated for implementing the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, however, ordered later the investigation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Undersecretary Mario Relampagos for technical malversation over the DAP controversy exempting Aquino from the probe.  Poe’s spokesman Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian played safe in his answer to the question of Poe running after Aquino after he steps down, saying that “they’ll just let the right institutions handle it”. “We do not believe in singling out individuals who should be prosecuted. What we believe in is the strengthening of our institutions tasked to look into anomalies so that these institutions can function properly and without biases,” Gatchalian told the Tribune in a separate interview. Poe not inclined to run after Noy Gatchalian, on behalf of Poe, absolved President Aquino from any liability with the DAP contrary to their Senate bet, Colmenares’ point of view. “Our agencies tasked to investigate DAP cleared the President of any wrong doing hence we should all respect their independent findings,” he said. Gatchalian also noted that Poe, who is rumored to be President Aquino’s secret presidential candidate, remains her friend. “Senator Poe has great respect for the President’s reform and good government agenda. She shares that common platform with him. She has lauded him in bringing back good governance into our system,” he said. The DAP was ruled a year ago by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. READ MORE...RELATED, IANUARY 10 -
Marcos to Palace: Prove you’re clean...

ALSO: Mar, Leni ratings improving – Noy


JANUARY 10 -President Aquino
President Aquino believes administration candidates Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo will emerge victorious in the May presidential elections, citing the constant improvement in their ratings in recent surveys.
“When the campaign goes full blast, you will see the witnesses of daang matuwid doing the campaigning for us. I think you will see the numbers even progress…more,” the President said. Aquino said he was “very happy” with the performance of the Liberal Party candidates in recent surveys. He cited Robredo who, like Roxas, “started out single digit.” “Our candidates’ ratings jumped by multiples…their rivals are down by 50 percent. Who wouldn’t be happy with that?” Aquino told reporters in a chance interview in Davao City. “When you consider the margin of error of plus or minus three, one can actually say there is already a statistical tie for a second place,” he added. Aquino said he is ready to campaign for the LP standard bearers, but noted that unlike their rivals, he could not go full time because he still has to run the affairs of state until June 30. The President said there is no cause for concern over Roxas’ standing because he is “statistically tied” with Vice President Jejomar Binay in the survey in the third quarter of 2015. “It depends on how you read it… there is a margin of error,” he said. Aquino was apparently referring to the Pulse Asia survey done from Oct. 18 to 29, wherein Sen. Grace Poe was the frontrunner with 39 percent. Binay was second with 24 percent while Roxas ranked third with 21 percent. THE FULL REPORT.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

DOTC signs P3.81B MRT-3 maintenance deal with Busan group


Three coaches of the MRT overshoot the track at the EDSA-Pasay Station. (Image by Ali Vicoy) (File)

MANILA, JANUARY 11, 2016 (MANILA BULLETIN)  by Maricel Burgonio January 8, 2016 - A Korean-Filipino consortium took over the maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) along Edsa, particularly the rolling stock and signalling system, to improve the operations of the mass transit system, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said.

In a statement, the DOTC said it signed a P3.81 billion maintenance contract with the joint venture (JV) of Busan Transportation Corporation, Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile, Inc., TMICorp Inc., and Castan Corporation.

“We are one step closer to having a safer and more reliable MRT-3 system with our new world-class rail maintenance service provider. With the operator of the Busan railway network in South Korea sharing their technical expertise, the riding public can expect an increase in the number of running trains and the efficiency of operations,” said DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya said.

The Busan JV started on Thursday the maintenance works of the rolling stock and signaling system, the most critical maintenance discipline.

The there-year contract also covers the general overhaul of 43 coaches over the course of the agreement period, and the total replacement of the signaling system within 24 months.

Twelve qualified technical experts, including rolling stock, signaling, and track specialists, from Busan are already carrying out the necessary activities for transition and system assessment.

Busan has been operating and maintaining the Busan Metro, four railway lines of the mass transit system in Busan, South Korea since 1999, demonstrating their capacity to manage the maintenance works and facility upgrades as stated in the contract.

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Poe to scrutinize MRT’s P3.81-billion maintenance contract by Hannah Torregoza December 25, 2015 Share4 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share20

Independent presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares said the awarding of the new, three –year multi-billion maintenance contract for the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) needs thorough scrutiny noting it was done when the “people’s attention is elsewhere.”

Poe is referring to the P3.81-billion maintenance contract of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) with joint venture Busan Transportation Corporation, Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile, Inc., TMICorp Inc., and Castan Corporation—a Korean-Filipino group which will start on Jan. 5, 2016.

“We undoubtedly need a new maintenance provider to help address the many problems that have caused the suffering of our daily commuters, who deserve public transport that is efficient and reliable. The general overhaul of the MRT trains and the replacement of the signaling system are also long overdue,” Poe said in a statement.

“However, the DOTC owes the public the assurance that the 3-year, multi-billion peso contract is not only above board, but, more importantly, that the winning contractor is competent and qualified to get the job done,” the neophyte senator added.

Poe is chair of the Senate sub-committee on transport investigating the wretched state of the MRT-3 operations.

She said she will ask the agency to provide the Senate a copy of the contract so lawmakers can scrutinize the documents.

DUBIOUS CONTRACTS

“We will ask the DOTC to furnish the Senate Committee on Public Services a copy of the contract and related matters to help ensure that government funds are spent judiciously and the interests of the riding public are protected,” she said.

Poe said it is imperative that the Senate ascertain that the contract is above-board.

“A careful review will help banish speculation on the fact that the contract was awarded during the holiday season, when the people’s attention is elsewhere,” Poe said.

“We certainly can no longer bear a repeat of the several unreliable and dubious maintenance contracts the DOTC entered into in the past,” she said.

The DOTC said the three-year contract period will allow the new maintenance service provider to procure the necessary spare parts needed to increase the number of operating trains, especially during peak hours.

The multi-billion contract will also cover the general overhaul of the trains and the total replacement of the signaling system.

“While procuring the long-term service provider, the DOTC engaged subcontractors directly under a multi-disciplinary approach to enhance the efficiency of maintenance works per component,” the agency said.


TRIBUNE

DESPITE 3 YEARS OF PUBLIC SUFFERING -Noy ignores new call for him to fire Abaya Written by Joshua L. Labonera Friday, 08 January 2016 00:00



President Aquino’s selective eye for incompetence has revealed its ugly head anew as Malacañang sidestepped calls for resignations in relation to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya who has been hounded by criticism following the consistent failure of mass transport systems in satisfying the public.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. has shielded the Cabinet official and Liberal Party (LP) president from calls to quit, stemming from the accusation raised by presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe who called Abaya “shortsighted” and “incompetent” as transportation secretary.

At a Palace briefing, Coloma downplayed what Poe said as three years of suffering that the public had to bear under the term of Abaya in the Cabinet post. The Palace official insisted that Aquino, despite refusal to sack Abaya, is consistently assessing the performance of his alter egos.

“All Cabinet secretaries serve at the pleasure of the President and their performance is continually being assessed by the President as Chief Executive,” he said at a Palace briefing.



“The President has tasked the DoTC and other concerned agencies to address these problems (faced daily by commuters) with effective solutions. Additional transport infrastructures are also being built and planned to provide long-term solutions for the benefit of our citizens,” he added.

READ MORE...

Coloma added Aquino remains confident and satisfied with Abaya’s work at the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC), even as the public continually voiced out the perpetuity of problems that hound both the Light Railway Transit (LRT) and the Metro Railway Transit (MRT).

“All leaders of each department are alter egos of the President and they all fulfill their duties. Their stay is based on the decision of the President,” he said.

Abaya, for his part, has told an online news source that his work at the DoTC is a privilege, noting that it allows him to serve the people. He dismissed Poe’s tirades in relation to his work in the Cabinet.

Poe, who is facing a stretch of disqualification cases regarding her presidential bid, urged Aquino to eject Abaya from the Cabinet, noting controversies surrounding the maintenance contracts awarded by the DoTC to private companies. She also called on Aquino to immediately find a replacement for Abaya.

The transportation secretary is a partymate and close ally of President Aquino who has survived multiple calls for resignation as commuters grow irate each day on the consistent setbacks they suffered in availing themselves of the services of the MRT and LRT.

Despite the administration’s consistent praise for public private partnerships, which likewise handle maintenance and operations of mass transit systems, it has failed to alleviate the daily plight of commuters from queues to suspension of operations due to glitches.


TRIBUNE

Aquino hits JPE, Poe on SAF massacre probe Written by Joshua L. Labonera Saturday, 09 January 2016 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print 21 comments

Revived hearings politically motivated

For President Aquino, the reopening of the scheduled hearing on the Mamasapano massacre is all about politics and ill-feelings his foes hold against him.

He was clearly alluding to Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile, whom Aquino had his appointed Ombudsman, his former Justice Secretary and former chairman of the Commission on Audit charge him for plunder and graft, along with two other opposition figures, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla.

Enrile, however, was granted bail by the Supreme Court some months back and is again active in the Senate as the opposition leader.

Aquino ascribed “politics and ill-feelings” Enrile has against him as the reason for the reopening of the Mamasapano massacre.


MB FILE PHOTO

Aquino also shot back at Sen. Grace Poe, blaming her agreeing to the reopening of the massacre on politics, although he mentioned no names. The planned reopening of the Mamasapano probe in the Senate is politically motivated, the President stressed Friday, admitting that the mishap courtesy of Oplan Exodus, which left in its wake 65 casualties, 44 of whom were Special Action Force commandos and troopers is indeed a blow to him and his administration.

Speaking to reporters after the inauguration of the 300 megawatt Davao baseload power plant in Mindanao, Aquino linked the Senate’s decision to review anew its Mamasapano report to the elections, noting that his enemies are surely plotting to resurface allegations against him over the incident.

“Well, we know that the campaign season is near. Our opponents have seen this as the heaviest blow to me since I took office. They are trying to take advantage of the opportunity,” Aquino said when asked to comment on the Senate’s latest move.

“I think in all that is happening, we can see that politics plays a big role. Let us not forget who started all this, and maybe we can understand that this person has a grudge against my administration,” the President said.
He was obviousy referring to Senator Enrile, who was recently freed on bail for an alleged mishandling of his “pork barrel” funds or the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).

Enrile headed the campaign to reopen the investigations to complete its agenda in being “in aid of legislation.”
Thus far, Senator Poe never bothered to have her committee report raised before the plenary and thus far, Poe has not come up with any legislative measure of this massacre even when the hearings were supposed to be conducted in aid of legislation.
Enrile’s proposal was met amicably by his colleagues at the Senate, who had admitted that there may be points yet to be emphasized. Similarly, sacked Special Action Force (SAF) Director General Getulio Napeñas expressed the same sentiment, saying the hearings did not have enough focus on Aquino’s direct involvement in the botched Oplan Exodus, which plan succeeded in getting rid of international terrorist Marwan but ended up in a massacre of the SAF forces.

Poe has said that no matter the new evidence to be presented, she will not be changing her committee report, saying she will merely moderate in the scheduled hearings.

Her committee report merely stated that Aquino is “ultimately responsible” for the massacre, although Poe never mentioned the culpability and accountability of Aquino who she said is “responsible” for the massacre.

The Poe hearings came at a time when she was being offered to run under the Liberal Party banner in the 2016 polls.
It is belieevd that during the hearings, there was an effort on her part to protect Aquino.
She also once said that under her administration, Aquino will not face prosecution because he was “honest.”
The President said the decision to reopen the inquiry on the the carnage and clashes between police commandos and Muslim rebels last year was clearly related to the upcoming national elections.

READ MORE...

“We are aware that the campaign period is coming soon. Among our opponents, they see that this has been the greatest burden I have had since I took office. Perhaps they are trying to take this opportunity (to destroy me).

“Of course, as President, as the father of the nation, I can’t let emotions take over here…You know, January 25 is my mother’s birthday, the first anniversary of the Mamasapano incident, it’s like they are insisting that you must suffer here. Now, there is a saying, we can see it in the teachings of the church that I belong to, in the Bible, that ‘the truth shall set us all free’.)

Criticism for the administration rained following the tragic incident that led to the death of 44 SAF troopers, 16 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) militants and five civilians. Aquino had placed then suspended police chief Alan Purisima as the head of Operation Exodus, which went against the the rules as not only was Purisima a suspended Philippine Naitonal Police chief, but also that he and Aquino kept the acting Chief PNP and then Interior chief Manuel “Mar” Roxas out of the loop.

The President also downplayed the initial report of the Senate on the tragedy, saying that it was not even brought up before the plenary but claimed that he welcomes the resumption anyway, since this would complete the picture of the Mamasapano tragedy.

Despite his claim that he welcomes the resumption of the probe, and ensure that the conclusion of the resumed hearings would not change, as promised by Poe, Aquino said this may appear as an insult to the Senate committe on public order and dangerous drugs and its chairman Senator Poe that the report has to be revived again in the first place.

He cited his time in the Senate stressing that it is an insult to a committee chairman and members if a report is returned to her.

“When I was still a senator–and in the Congress–I was taught, one of the biggest insults to a committee chairman and the members of the committee is when a committee report is recommitted, to return it to the one who made it. Because my elders then in the Senate explained to me that it would appear as if what you did was wrong which is why it was returned to you.

“So I asked whether things have changed in the Senate, the Senate President (Drilon) answered me by saying that the committee chairman did not refuse so that it was returned to the committee. If the committee chairman had refused, the plenary would have voted whether the report would be returned to senators or not.

He added: “What I think about what is resumption of the hearings is that politics is shaping these. Perhaps we should not forget who initiated this, maybe we can understand, maybe they who asked for this hearing has ill feelings toward my administration.

Asked whether Poe’s agreement to reopen the probe is also politically motivated, Aquino said: “Maybe we should ask Senator Poe since I am not authorized to be her spokesman.”

Poe inhibition sought

Where Poe quickly seeks the inhibition of the three justices who were members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal and got it, it is now she who is being asked to inhibit herself from the resumed Mamasapano hearings and she refuses to do so, despite her having prejdged it.

Liberal Party spokesman Akbayan Partylist Rep. Barry Gutierrez called for Poe’s inhibition, saying that Poe should let other senators, especially those not running in the elections, to lead the Mamasapano hearing to avoid the incident from being used to boost her election campaign.

Gutierrez claimed that this is merely a suggestion and an “unsolicited advice” so that the hearings will not be used for politics, but added that she should let her conscience be the guide.

On the defensive, Poe said the decision to reopen the investigation into the Mamasapano incident is not part of a ploy to gain political support or an “epal” move.

In an interview with GMA News anchor Mike Enriquez Poe said she no longer wants to reopen the probe because 21 senators had already signed the report prepared by her panel.

Poe added that the committee is only acting on the request of Senator Enrile.

“It is my responsibility as a senator to do my work. Would that be grandstanding?

Poe stressed that she will not interrogate presidential candidate Mar Roxas and have her co-chairman Sen. Gringo Honasan, Vice President Jojo Binay’s running mate, conduct the interview.

“I will merely preside over the committee. If there are questions for Secretary Mar (Roxas), I will give my co-chairman the right to ask these questions,” she said.

Gutierrez, in his call for Poe to inhibit herself, responded by saying that while Poe can claim that even as still sits in that committee as its head, it will be difficult to make a distinction between your position as an investigator and your role as a presidential aspirant.”


AQUINO

Poe is running against Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas, whom Aquino had handpicked as his anointed one for the May 2016 polls.

The President vowed to participate in Roxas’ campaign, noting he is ready to join the bandwagonupporting his candidate.

“Now, when the campaign goes full blast, well, you will be the witnesses of daang matuwid and what it is doing for us. I think you will see the numbers even progress that much more. Am I ready to campaign? Yes. I am actually,” he told reporters

The resumed hearing will take place exactly a year after the botched operation, which led to the deaths of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifi bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” and 44 elite commandos from the PNP SAF.


TRIBUNE

COLMENARES: NOYNOY AUTHORIZED ILLEGAL DAP - ‘Aquino should face prosecution’ Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 10 January 2016 00:00



A militant lawmaker who is running as senator under the ticket of independent candidate Sen. Grace Poe said President Aquino will and must be subject to prosecution after he steps down from Malacañang.

But Poe, his presidential candidate, is firm on not prosecuting Aquino, saying he has already been cleared by the Ombudsman.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, in an interview with the Tribune yesterday, said that it is right for the outgoing President to be charged on the many cases where he can be held accountable.

“There are many reasons to put (President Aquino) to the test after his term expires. Lest he forgets about his signing the unconstitutional (Disbursement Acceleration Program). He could pinpoint others for such case but in the end it was his signature that allowed it to operate,” Colmenares told the Tribune.


Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares . INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

Aquino, during a visit to Rome last year, said he expected his detractors to get even after his term by haling him to court or have him jailed but said he would be ready to defend his actions that he claimed to have catalyzed reforms.
Aquino said that he is “ready to face” whatever charges would be slapped on him.

Last September, the Office of the Ombudsman said the President and other key officials of his Cabinet were being investigated for implementing the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, however, ordered later the investigation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Undersecretary Mario Relampagos for technical malversation over the DAP controversy exempting Aquino from the probe.

Poe’s spokesman Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian played safe in his answer to the question of Poe running after Aquino after he steps down, saying that “they’ll just let the right institutions handle it”.

“We do not believe in singling out individuals who should be prosecuted. What we believe in is the strengthening of our institutions tasked to look into anomalies so that these institutions can function properly and without biases,” Gatchalian told the Tribune in a separate interview.

Poe not inclined to run after Noy



Gatchalian, on behalf of Poe, absolved President Aquino from any liability with the DAP contrary to their Senate bet, Colmenares’ point of view.

“Our agencies tasked to investigate DAP cleared the President of any wrong doing hence we should all respect their independent findings,” he said.

Gatchalian also noted that Poe, who is rumored to be President Aquino’s secret presidential candidate, remains her friend.

“Senator Poe has great respect for the President’s reform and good government agenda. She shares that common platform with him. She has lauded him in bringing back good governance into our system,” he said.

The DAP was ruled a year ago by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

READ MORE...

DAP became a scandal after it was exposed as having been used by Aquino to bribe the congressmen into impeaching then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, along with bribing the senator with tens of millions, with even Senate President Franklin Drilon and Sen. Grace Poe’s running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero getting a P100 million each to convict Corona.

Colmenares, who is running for the Senate under the tandem of Senators Poe and Escudero, also noted many other issues and controversies that might haunt President Aquino after his executive immunity expires.

“His neglect of typhoon Yolanda survivors, his neglect of human rights violations and, more pressingly, the continuous anomalies concerning the mass transportation system - these will be the cases that President Aquino should deal with,” he added.


KAPUNAN

Fellow senatorial aspirant lawyer Lorna Kapunan lamented how transparency and accountability remains to be a “mere dream and draft” under the incumbent administration.

“This lack of transparency and accountability, due to the absence of what was then promised freedom of information (FOI) bill, can be the corrupt officials’ defense mechanism on why they are not being accused despite what is obvious,” Kapunan told reporters yesterday at the regular Saturday Forum at Annabel’s in Quezon City.

Kapunan said the public is really deprived of not knowing how the government and its officials use public funds, especially the Presidential Discretionary Funds which is exempted from the Commission on Audit’s (CoA) job.

“How do we know what the President’s discretion is in his use of these funds if he insists that CoA must not know where and how ithey are being being spent,” she said, adding the question of how the P10 billion allocation for last November’s APEC summit was used has still is not known.

Aquino, once he loses immunity from suit, also faces charges involving the deaths of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who were sent on a mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao to neutralize Malaysian terrorist Marwan.

Aquino assigned his long-time friend and former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima as head of Operation Plan Exodus despite Purisima then being under preventive suspension by the Ombudsman.

Also, various human rights groups are expected to sue Aquino for the reign of impunity under his watch.
By Ted Tuvera

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Marcos to Palace: Prove you’re clean January 10, 2016 10:30 pm by JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, REPORTER


BONG BONG MARCOS

Malacañang–if it really has nothing to hide–should welcome the reopening of the Senate inquiry into the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident that killed more than 60 persons dead, including 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) commandos, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Sunday.

“It is unfortunate that instead of awaiting the outcome of the investigation, Malacanang insinuates bad faith in the reopening of the Mamasapano probe,” Marcos, an independent candidate for Vice President, said in a statement to the media.

The senator was reacting to an earlier comment by President Benigno Aquino 3rd that politics could be behind the reopening of the Mamasapano probe.

“So, if Malacañang really has nothing to hide, it should welcome the reopening of the investigation. I believe majority of the Filipino people sincerely want answers and would be discerning enough to recognize any attempt at grandstanding merely to score political points,” the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government said.

Marcos is one of many senators who backed the reopening of the Mamasapano inquiry initiated by Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile in a privileged speech delivered in October 2015.

Enrile was not able to participate in past Mamasapano hearings because he was in detention when Sen. Grace Poe’s Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs conducted the probe.

Poe, after conducting 10 hearings, came up with a draft committee report signed by 21 senators stating that the President was ultimately responsible for the outcome of the Mamasapano mission.

A crucial piece of information learned by her committee during its investigation was a decision of Aquino to allow then-suspended Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, a close friend of the President, to be in charge of the operation that led to the death of the SAF men.

Poe has set the reopening of the probe for January 25, the first anniversary of the massacre.


ENRILE

But Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano has called on his colleagues who are running for higher position in this year’s polls, to follow his example and inhibit themselves from the inquiry.

Cayetano said while the reopening of the probe is necessary, senators who are also candidates in the May 2016 elections should stay away from the proceedings to ensure that the investigation remains impartial and free from partisan politics.
He particularly mentioned Poe—a presidential candidate—who will be presiding over the probe.

Poe already gave assurances that she will not allow hearings to be used for politicking and grandstanding.

As for concerns that she might use the hearings to put in a bad light former Interior secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd—also a candidate for President—she said she has no intention of grilling Roxas during the hearings and that she will only serve as a moderator during the inquiry.

In response to claims that the reopening of the probe is politically motivated, Poe stressed that she was not the one who asked for the reopening of the investigation.

In fact, she said, she is already satisfied with the findings of her committee contained in the 120-page draft report that was signed by 21 senators.

Roxas, DILG chief at the time, was with the President in Zamboanga on January 25, 2015.

As Interior chief, he could have brought information he received to Aquino’s attention much earlier so that coordination between the military and police could have been hastened, but he did not.

Aside from Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces chief Gregorio Catapang and PNP Officer-in-Charge Leonardo Espina was also with the President.

Marcos said he wants to find out why almost a year after the incident, no criminal charges in court have been filed against those responsible, despite the government’s promise that justice will be served.


DE LIMA

“The families of the policemen slain in the Mamasapano massacre do not ask for anything from the government except for justice,” he added.

Marcos wants former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to be invited by the Poe committee to the hearings in order for her to explain the delay in the filing of criminal charges against those who participated in the killing.


PHILSTAR

Mar, Leni ratings improving – Noy By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 10, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


President Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino believes administration candidates Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo will emerge victorious in the May presidential elections, citing the constant improvement in their ratings in recent surveys.

“When the campaign goes full blast, you will see the witnesses of daang matuwid doing the campaigning for us. I think you will see the numbers even progress…more,” the President said.

Aquino said he was “very happy” with the performance of the Liberal Party candidates in recent surveys. He cited Robredo who, like Roxas, “started out single digit.”

“Our candidates’ ratings jumped by multiples…their rivals are down by 50 percent. Who wouldn’t be happy with that?” Aquino told reporters in a chance interview in Davao City.

“When you consider the margin of error of plus or minus three, one can actually say there is already a statistical tie for a second place,” he added.

Aquino said he is ready to campaign for the LP standard bearers, but noted that unlike their rivals, he could not go full time because he still has to run the affairs of state until June 30.

The President said there is no cause for concern over Roxas’ standing because he is “statistically tied” with Vice President Jejomar Binay in the survey in the third quarter of 2015.

“It depends on how you read it… there is a margin of error,” he said.

Aquino was apparently referring to the Pulse Asia survey done from Oct. 18 to 29, wherein Sen. Grace Poe was the frontrunner with 39 percent.

Binay was second with 24 percent while Roxas ranked third with 21 percent.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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