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Drug charge against De Lima fake, pure invention – Justice Carpio

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — In his dissenting opinion, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio enumerated the essential elements of an illegal drug trading case, which  Sen. Leila de Lima is facing.

To establish a case, the buyer and seller must be identified, the kind of illegal drugs and the transaction must be confirmed.

These were absent in the case of De Lima which also said that she received P10-million drug money and a P100,000 weekly “tara” or grease money from each of the high profile inmates in the New Bilibid Prison.

For Justice Carpio, the charge against De Lima is fake and pure invention and it will be a gross injustice if the court will allow her continued detention.

He said that the Sandiganbayan, not the RTC should try the case since the allegations happened when De Lima was still the DOJ secretary.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno agrees that De Lima’s arrest must be nullified and let the Ombudsman handle the investigation.

Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa said the Muntinlupa RTC should have dismissed the case.

For Justice Bernabe, the RTC has no jurisdiction and Judge  Guerrero has no choice but to dismiss the case.

Justice Leonen noted that De Lima is a vocal critic of the Duterte administration and the charge is only meant to silence the senator.

Justice Caguioa said Judge Guerrero gravely abused her discretion and it is only right for De Lima to seek remedy with the Supreme Court.

For Justice Francis Jardeleza, the RTC judge violated De Lima’s rights when she ordered the arrest without first resolving the question her jurisdiction in the case.

De Lima can still seek a reconsideration of the high court’s decision.

But two justices need to change their position to reverse the ruling in her favor. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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Alcala, et.al face graft raps for garlic cartel scam

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018


Former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala


MANILA, Philippines — Former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, 20 garlic traders and other agriculture officials are facing graft charges over alleged garlic cartel scam.

Based on a statement released by the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Agriculture (DA) issued almost 9,000 import permits from 2010 to 2014, of which 5,000 were cornered by the Vendors Association of the Philippines, Inc. (VIEVA) chaired by Lilia Cruz.

In 2013, Alcala assigned Cruz as the chairperson of the National Garlic Action Team. The group was tasked to create policies in the production and supply of garlic.

Cruz also acted as the representative of the importers, facilitating the applications of garlic importation.

Investigators of the ombudsman have discovered that Alcala approved the release of importer permits amid suspension of the release order.

The resolution of the Ombudsman disclosed that VIEVA controlled the supply of garlic which resulted in price surges that ranged from P165-P170  per kilo in 2010-2013 to P260-400 per kilo in January to July 2014.

The Ombudsman also urged the dismissal of former Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Director Clarito Barron, division chiefs Merle Palacpac and Luben Marasigan over grave misconduct.

The officials will not be allowed to hold any government positions and will not receive any retirement benefits. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue



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Ex-SAF chief sacked for plunder charges

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Former PNP-SAF Chief Benjamin Lusad

MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) chief and police director for Integrated Police Operations – Southern Luzon Benjamin Lusad has been sacked for plunder charges.

This is after the Office of the Ombudsman filed graft complaints against the police officer.

The case was due to his failure to release funds of SAF daily subsistence allowance in 2016 and 2017.

“There are two officers involved and two non-commissioned officers. Yung nasa SAF na dalawang natitirang non-commissioned officers had already been relieved,” PNP PIO chief PCSupt. John Bulalacao.

(There are two officers and two non-commissioned officers involved. The two SAF non-commissioned officers have already been relieved from their posts.)

According to Bulalacao, SAF budget and fiscal officer SSupt. Andre Dizon and his staff, SPO2 Maila Salazar Bustamante and SPO1 James Rica, have also been dismissed from their positions.

The spokesman said this is to give way to the Ombudsman’s investigation.

Outgoing PNP chief has previously stated that he was not convinced by Lusad’s explanation on the issue.

“Sabi ko ng kailangang harapin nila yan. Andyan na ang kaso. Kinasuhan sila sa ombudsman. Harapin nila yan,” Dela Rosa said.

(I said they need to face it. There’s already a case. The ombudsman filed charges against them. Face the charges.)

Currently, the PNP comptroller is conducting investigation and audit over the unreleased allowances.

“Tama na ang dapat managot at may kinalaman, basta’t lumabas lang ang katotohanan.  Therefore the PNP will closely coordinate with the ombudsman,” the PNP spokesperson said.

(Enough already with the finger-pointing, as long as the truth comes out. The PNP, therefore, will closely coordinate with the ombudsman.)

The subsistence allowance is worth P30 a day or P900 per month.  An estimated P59.8-million worth of allowance has been delayed for two years. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

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SC rules DOJ watchlist orders unconstitutional

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

FILE PHOTOS: Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; former DOJ Leila De Lima (PCOO / UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines —The Supreme Court (SC) has granted the petition of former President Gloria Arroyo to nullify the watchlist order issued against her by former Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima.

With this order, authorities prevented Arroyo from leaving the country in 2011.

But the high court ruled out the department circular used by De Lima as the basis of the watchlist order as unconstitutional, as it violates the right to travel under the 1987 Constitution.

“The court, voting unanimously, declared DOJ Department Circular No. 41 as unconstitutional for being violative of the right to travel under Article III, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution; As a consequence, all issuances released pursuant to said DOJ department circular are null and void,” SC Spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te said.

The court explained that DOJ’s Department Circular No. 41 issued in 2010 by then acting Sec. Alberto Agra has no legal basis.

The circular empowers the secretary of justice to issue watchlist orders.

The court said Congress needs to pass a legislation giving such authority to the justice chief as provided under the Constitution.

But in the absence of such law, it is illegal for DOJ to stop anybody from leaving the country.

“The court, in interpreting Article III, Section 6, determined that there was no legal basis for Department Circular No. 41 because of the absence of a law authorizing the secretary of justice to issue hold departure orders, watchlist orders, or allow departure orders,” said the spokesperson.

Justice Andres Reyes Jr. wrote the unanimous decision and only Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa took no part in deciding the case. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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