Bolsonaro takes office in Brazil, says will ‘restore order’

admin   •   January 2, 2019   •   2775

 

 

Newly sworn in Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and his wife | Reuters

Brazil‘s newly inaugurated President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday (January 01) that he would “restore order,” and he vowed to tackle corruption, crime and economic mismanagement in Latin America’s largest nation.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain turned lawmaker who openly admires Brazil‘s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, promised in his first remarks as president to adhere to democratic norms, after his tirades against the media and political opponents had stirred unease.

A seven-term congressman who spent decades on the fringes of Brazilian politics, Bolsonaro was swept to power in October by voters’ outrage with traditional political parties, making him Brazil‘s first right-wing president since the dictatorship.

Voters punished mainstream parties following more than four years of graft investigations that laid bare the largest political corruption scheme ever discovered. Centrist parties were trounced, reshaping Brazil‘s political landscape and polarising Congress.

Following a knife attack during the presidential campaign that left Bolsonaro hospitalized for weeks, security was tight for his inauguration. Some 10,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed on the streets of Brasilia, the capital, as Bolsonaro and his wife rode in an open-topped Rolls-Royce to Congress.

His voters are now impatient for Bolsonaro to make good on ambitious promises to tackle graft and violent crime and revive an economy still sputtering after the collapse of a commodities boom led to Brazil‘s worst recession on record.

As thousands of supporters, many with the Brazilian flag draped around their shoulders, chanted “the captain has arrived!,” Bolsonaro launched into a fiery speech.

“We are aware of this awesome responsibility and the challenges that we will face. We know where we want to go and the potential that Brazilhas,” he said. — Reuters

Duterte clears Cayetano of corruption amid SEA Games mess

Marje Pelayo   •   November 29, 2019

(R-L) President Rodrigo Duterte, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the President is determined to probe the alleged corruptions, irregularities and negligence in the country’s hosting of the 30th South East Asian Games.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself announced such plan which will commence right after the regional event is completed.

The Chief Executive, however, cleared House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano from corruption allegations being the chairman of the Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC).

“He has to answer but I do not think that corruption is the — I am sure Cayetano is not involved in corruption ,” the President said.

The President also hinted on giving the logistical aspect of the games to the military next time the Philippines hosts a multisport-event.

He said the military are better organizers and structural as he expressed dismay over the multiple glitches and mishaps that happened prior to the formal opening of the games.

The President said he expected better than what was reported to him given the huge amount of budget allotted to the preparations of the SEA Games.

Thus, he is determined to push through with the investigation to find out what happened to the funds.

“To me, personally, there was a lot of money poured into this activity now and I suppose that with that kind of money you can run things smoothly. Apparently, may mga palpak (there were lapses),” Duterte said.

“If that is the money there, what happened to the money?” he added.

Given the reported snafus in the preparations, Duterte believes there could have been improper disbursement of the budget that’s why he wants an investigation.

“I am not investigating Cayetano and the rest. I’m just trying to find out because I think — I said the money must not have been properly disbursed,” the President said.

“I know that Cayetano cannot handle everything,” he added.

But for now, the President calls on everybody to focus on supporting the Philippine teams as they compete to bring honor to the country. — MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

3 LTFRB employees sacked over alleged corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Three employees of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) were fired from their jobs over alleged corrupt practices.

In its order dated October 25, the LTFRB terminated the services of Rustom Tolentino, Dahlee Joy Saud and Jamil Dimakuta for their alleged involvement in “fixing” activities in the agency’s Northern Mindanao office in Cagayan de Oro City.

Tolentino was the designated driver of the said office; Saud was assigned as frontline assistant while Dimakuta was an inspector. The LTFRB said that based on investigation, the three were involved in “fixing” activities to profit from franchise-related applications.

The agency said the investigation was prompted by a complaint, accusing Tolentino and Saud of demanding money, ranging from P50,000 to P60,000, as “additional payments” for the franchise processing.

The probe revealed the duo’s alleged scheme where Tolentino would receive the applicants and then direct them to Saud who would require the “additional processing payment” aside from the standard processing fees.

Meanwhile, the probe on Dimakuta was launched after a taxi operator accused the inspector of demanding P50,000 for the processing of the complainant’s taxi franchise application.

The LTFRB Dimakuta admitted the accusation when confronted.

“We’ve said this before and we will say it again— walang bayad ang prangkisa. The LTFRB remains committed to the Duterte administration’s drive against corruption,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said in a statement.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, for his part, stressed that corruption of any form will not be condoned within the Department of Transportation and its attached agencies.

“Hindi gatasan ang gobyerno. I sternly warn all our employees: alingasngas lang ng katiwalian, tanggal ka,” Tugade warned.

He also urged the public to help in the government’s campaign against corruption by reporting any anomaly or corruption in agencies.

“I ask the public to cooperate. Isumbong ninyo sa aming tanggapan kung may katiwalian. Nandiyan ang social media, nandiyan ang 8888, huwag kayong matakot na dumulog sa amin at aaksyunan namin ‘yan,” he said.

“Also, I urge you not to deal with fixers. Kung ayaw ninyo ng katiwalian, huwag kayong makipag-transaksyon sa mga fixer,” he added.

Mysterious oil spill contaminates beaches across swathe of Brazilian coast

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2019

Slick from a mysterious oil spill blighted Brazil’s beaches over the weekend, as clean-up efforts get underway.

Reports of the oil spill emerged late last month.

Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama has reported that an analysis of a vast oil spill along the country’s northeastern beaches showed that the spilled crude did not originate in the country.

Ibama said in a statement that it had been investigating the spill on several beaches in some northeastern states since Sept. 2.

The spill spans over 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) of Brazil’s northeast coast, affecting wildlife and polluting some of the postcard beaches in one of the nation’s top touristic destinations.

A wide-scale cleanup operation is underway along the coast. (Reuters)

(Production: Pablo Garcia)

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