JPE at Napoles, naghain ng ‘not guilty plea’ sa kasong graft kaugnay ng PDAF Scam

admin   •   September 5, 2014   •   2294

(Left-Right) Janeth Lim Napoles and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile (UNTV News)

QUEZON, Philippines — Pare-parehong nahaharap sa 15 counts of graft sina Sen. Enrile, ang resigned staff nito na si Atty. Reyes at maging si Napoles.

Bago umpisahan ang arraignment nitong Biyernes, pinaupo muna ni Justice Samuel Martires ang tatlong akusado dahil sa kanilang mga medical condition.

Isa-isang binasa ng 3rd Division Clerk of Court ang impormasyon ng bawat count ng graft charges at kapwa nagpasok ng not guilty plea sina Enrile at Napoles samantalang tumanggi naman si Reyes na magpasok ng kaniyang plea sa bawat count.

Ayon sa isa sa mga abugado ni Sen. Enrile, hindi kwestyonable ang impormasyong isinumite ng Ombudsman kaugnay ng graft charges bagaman matatandaang tumanggi naman si Sen. Enrile na maghain ng kaniyang plea sa kasong plunder.

Ani Atty. Eleazar Reyes, “Sen. Enrile questioned the information, that’s why he did not enter a plea. Whereas here, he didn’t question the information, so he entered a plea of not guilt…”

Samantala, si Reyes naman ay naninindigan pa rin na walang hurisdiksyon ang korte sa mga kasong isinampa ng Ombudsman laban sa kaniya.

Atty. Anacleto Diaz, “We have been deprived of due process of the Ombudsman, hanggang ngayon, yung sworn statement na pinagbasehan na probable cause, hanggang ngayon wala kaming kopya, despite submitted requests.”

Awtomatiko namang not guilty plea ang ipinasok ng korte para sa kaniya.

Dahil sa kasama ring binasahan ng sakdal ang ilang empleyado at opisyal na mga sangkot sa PDAF scam gaya sa Department of Budget and Management, ganun din ang tatlong implementing agencies na dawit sa PDAF scam, inabot ng halos dalawa’t kalahating oras ang arraignment.

Inatasan naman ng korte ang prosecution at defense panels na magsagawa ng kanilang pag-uusap tungkol sa mga ipipresentang mga ebidensya o preliminary conference bago mag-umpisa ang mga pagdinig sa loob ng dalawangpung araw na gagawin tuwing araw ng Huwebes.

Mag-uumpisa ang preliminary conference sa October 20, 2014.

Inirekomenda rin ng korte na pagmumultahin ng hanggang 5 libong piso ang sinumang partido na magpo-postpone ng nasabing conference.  (ROSALIE COZ, UNTV News)

Gov’t still has enough budget for COVID-19 response — DBM

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has shed a total amount of P374.89 billion on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according President Rodrigo Duterte during the recent pre-SONA forum.

The largest chunk, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), was spent on programs designed to strengthen the country’s health sector and relief assistance to those who were affected by the lockdowns.

Still, the DBM maintained that the government has enough budget to sustain its COVID-19 response. 

“Mayroon pong sapat na pondo ang ating pamahalaan upang tugunan at labanan ang patuloy na pananalasa ng COVID-19 pandemic po sa ating bansa (Our government has enough budget to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country),” assured DBM Secretary Wendell Avisado.

Meanwhile, the government has raised around P5.28 billion US dollars budgetary financing support from development partners apart from the P126.36 million U.S dollars from ongoing financing for COVID-19 response projects.  

The Duterte Cabinet stressed the need to open the economy in Metro Manila and the CALABARZON region in order for the country’s overall economy to gradually recover considering that 67 percent of the country’s economy depends on these two regions. 

However, they emphasized the public’s important role in economic recovery, thus strict compliance with the government’s minimum health standards to curb the spread of COVID-19 is critical. 

“It is vital that the economies of these regions reopen. The reality is, this virus won’t go away until a vaccine is found. In the meantime, we have to go back to work, while staying safe,” noted Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. 

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, meanwhile, urged the public to be vigilant and responsible to avoid being infected with the deadly virus. 

“Each and every Filipino needs to be very vigilant. We should all continue observing social distancing, and other public health measures such as wearing masks, and frequent washing of hands to protect each other’s health and well-being,” he said. 

“We must act responsibly,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Proposed 2021 budget under review, may be submitted in July or August – DBM

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday said it is now preparing the details of the proposed national budget for the year 2021.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said they are currently conducting a technical review on proposed budgets submitted by government agencies.

“Ang atin pong proposed budget for next year ay nasa P4.3 trillion. At tumaas ito ng bahagya dahil this year nasa 4.1 trillion pesos tayo. Umakyat ng kaunti lang,” Avisado said.

The Budget chief said the 2021 proposed budget will concentrate on the government’s efforts to battle the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as programs to assist sectors that were gravely hit by the economic fallout brought about by the pandemic.

Avisado revealed that the government has already spent some P355.67 billion for its COVID-19 response; around P247.21-billion of which was sourced from “pooled savings.”

The government is expecting to spend more money amid the pandemic.

Avisado said they are eyeing to conduct an executive budget review in July before submitting the proposal to the Office of the President on the day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), which is scheduled every fourth Monday of July.

The proposed budget may be submitted to Congress by the second week of August. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Ombudsman probes Duque, DOH execs over alleged COVID-19 response anomalies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2020

Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Wednesday (June 17) ordered an investigation on Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque and other DOH officials over alleged irregularities in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.

“I directed the creation of two more investigating teams who will jointly investigate alleged irregularities and anomalies committed by DOH officials and employees, including Health Sec. Francisco Duque, in relation to the response of the DOH during this pandemic,” he said.

Martires also tasked the investigating team to file complaints against any DOH official or employee who would refuse to cooperate with the investigation.

Among the accusations to be investigated include:

  1. Purchase of 100 thousand test kits by the Department of Health
  2. Delayed procurement of Personal Protective Equipment and other medical gears necessary for the protection of healthcare workers
  3. Alleged lapses and irregularities that led to the death of medical workers
  4. Rising number of deaths and infected medical frontliners
  5. Inaction in the release processing of benefits and financial assistance of “fallen” and infected medical frontliners; and
  6. Confusing and delayed reporting of COVID-19 related deaths and confirmed cases.

Malacañang said it respects the decision of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation on Duque and other DOH officials.

“We will let the process run its course as we enjoin Secretary Duque & the entire DOH bureaucracy to cooperate with the investigation and respect the orders of the OMB,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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