Kasong graft vs. dating Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson, pinawalang-bisa ng Sandiganbayan

admin   •   August 22, 2014   •   3754

Sandiganbayan facade (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — Hindi tinanggap ng Sandiganbayan Third Division ang pangangatwiran ng special state prosecutor kaugnay ng 3 counts of graft case na isinampa ng Ombudsman laban kay dating Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson.

Dahil dito, dinismiss na ng Sandiganbayan ang graft case laban kay Singson at pinagbigyan ang kahilingan ng akusadong ipawalang bisa ang nasabing kaso.

Magugunitang taong 2002 nang isampa ang reklamo laban kay Singson dahil umano sa hindi makatwirang paggugol ng public funds sa lalawigan ng Ilocos Sur na nagkakahalaga ng halos P26-milyon noong 2001.

Makalipas ang isang taon, 2003 napag-aralan ng Office of the Ombudsman ang reklamo subalit July 2013 lamang naisampa sa Sandiganbayan ang tatlong kaso ng graft laban kay Singson.

Ayon sa prosekusyon, ito ay dahil sa kalituhan ng mga opisyal ng Ombudsman na humawak sa kaso.

Ayon sa Section 16, Articles 3 ng Saligang Batas, dapat magkaroon ang lahat ng mga tao ng karapatan sa madaliang paglutas ng kanilang mga usapin sa lahat ng mga kalipunang panghukuman, o pampangasiwaan.

Ayon sa desisyon ng korte, hindi makatwiran para sa akusado na patagalin ang kawalang katiyakan sa paglilitis sa kaso.

Dagdag pa nito, hindi rin tama ang pangangatwiran ng prosekusyon na hindi saklaw ng karapatang-pantao na madaliang paglutas sa panghukumang usapin kung hindi pa naman nauumpisahan ang preliminary proceedings.

Ayon sa Sandiganbayan, hindi ito ang isinasaad ng saligang batas, at kung hindi ito kinikilala ng batas, hindi rin ito kikilalalin ng hukuman.

Kaya naman pinagbigyan ng Sandiganbayan ang hiling na motion to quash information ng dating gobernador at tuluyang ibinasura ang kaso. (Rosalie Coz / Ruth Navales, UNTV News)

Duterte backs call for Ombudsman probe on Pharmally issue

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte supports a call for the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation on the government’s alleged anomalous procurement of pandemic supplies.

The president was referring to the appeal of the Philippine College of Physicians for the Ombudsman to file appropriate cases against all those accountable in the controversial multibillion-peso deals between the government and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

“We welcome the call of the Philippine College of Physicians that this matter should be immediately given to our courts and the Ombudsman. We have been saying this for the longest time and we all know that the Senate cannot prosecute. Mabuti pa ang mga doktor alam at naintindihan nila,” Duterte said.

“File cases is the right way to go. Stop using this issue in aid of election. Problema kasi sa Senate natin trying hard maghanap ng mga issue na may nangungurakot o kaya may nagkakapera,” he added.

The chief executive stated that, to date, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee has yet to build a case out of the hearings it has conducted, pointing out that that the said government deal was consistent with Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One-Act.

“And so we go back now to what has been established many times, walang overpricing […} legal ang naging proseso ng pagbili, according to what has been provided by Bayanihan 1. Na-deliver lahat at binayaran nang pagkatapos na-deliver,” the president insisted.

Duterte also dared the Senate to bring the matter to the proper courts.

“And if you think that you have identified companies with tax issues, then file the appropriate cases. Matagal na naman namin sinasabi, kasuhan niyo ang mga dapat kasuhan. Lahat naman talaga dapat magbayad ng buwis at kung kailangan magbayad, singilan para magbayad iyong may mga atraso sa gobyerno kagaya ni Senator Gordon,” Duterte said.

“Eh you call my memorandum ‘stupid?’ Well, I challenge you: bring your arguments to the proper court and I will answer you,” he further stated.

The president also slammed Senator Richard Gordon for threatening to cut the budget of the executive department if the officials will not attend the Blue Ribbon’s hearings, calling it a blatant abuse of power.

“You threaten the budget of different agencies of the Executive because the officials refuse to attend to your hearings. Ito ‘yung mga pang-abuso talaga itong masabi ko sa gobyerno — sa gobyerno ‘pag ka demokrasya, itong separation of powers, co-equal and everything; and they threatened to paralyze government,” Duterte said.

“I challenge you, do it. ‘Pag ka ‘yung mga hearing reduce the budget by one third, hinahamon ko kayo, gawain ninyo ‘yan,” he added. —/mbmf

Senate panel approves COA, Ombudsman proposed 2022 budget

Maris Federez   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday approved the proposed budget of two constitutional bodies for 2022.

Senator Sonny Angara called the budget deliberation of the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Ombudsman the shortest so far for this year, as the panel gave its approval under 15 minutes of the hearing.

The committee hearing for COA’s proposed budget of P14.4 billion only took 10 minutes and was soon endorsed for the nod of the plenary.

“No questions on the part of the Chair. […] this is probably the shortest budget meeting of this 2022 budget,” Angara said during the hearing.

Indicated in COA’s proposed budget is its request for additional funds for personnel services for the third tranche of the pay adjustments under the salary standardization law for government employees.

COA also requested a budget increase for the construction of provincial satellite auditing offices and provision for the operational expenses of these branches.

“We have written a letter to the committee asking for additional budgetary support primarily on the MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) […] and possibly if the budget is flexible enough, maybe additional capital outlay,” said COA chairperson Michael Aguinaldo.

COA has, so far, completed the construction of 54 satellite offices, and 17 more under construction.

Meanwhile, it only took the Senate panel 13 minutes to finish the hearing of the P3.9 billion budget of the Office of the Ombudsman that was recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Ombudsman Samuel Martires appealed for additional funding for its operational budget that was cut by almost half by the DBM.

“We’re not asking too much. If it will be hard for the Senate to give us the proposed budget for 2022, then we just would like to request that at least the budget that was given to us for 2021 be retained,” Martires said.

The Senate is currently on recess and is expected to resume on November 8 wherein senators are expected to start the deliberation of the national budget in the plenary. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Deployment of resident ombudsmen to graft-prone agencies to start this month — DOJ

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The deployment of prosecutors and state auditors who will serve as resident ombudsmen to government agencies prone to corruption is expected to begin this month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

This is after the DOJ, together with the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the Ombudsman, signed a memorandum of agreement that would deputize DOJ prosecutors and COA auditors as resident ombudsmen.

Their tasks include the following:

  • Bring to host government agencies the Ombudsman’s frontline services by acting on complaints and reports against officials and employees of the said agencies
  • Serve as watchdogs and implementors or corruption prevention program
  • Monitor compliance with existing anti-graft laws and regulations

“The MOA synergizes the investigatory powers of the Office of the Ombudsman, DOJ, and COA in the implementation of anti-corruption measures, this aiding the OMB and the COA in carrying out their respective mandates while also serving as a mechanism for the DOJ to attain the objectives of the Task Force Against Corruption,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“The OMB, COA, and DOH shall jointly enter into agreements with partner agencies regarding the terms of deployment of the resident Ombudsmen, which is expected to start rolling this month,” it added.

This development comes after COA included in its report alleged “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s use of COVID-19 funds.

The issue has prompted Congressional hearings on the utilization of DOH’s funds for COVID-19 response.

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