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Malacañang: Imelda Marcos’ conviction reflects working, impartial justice system in PH

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, November 9th, 2018


FILE PHOTO: Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday (November 9) noted that the conviction of former First Lady now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos is a reflection of a “working and impartial justice system” in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also stressed that “the Executive Branch is not in the business of exerting undue interference or influence in the affairs of another separate and independent branch of the government.”

Panelo said the administration respects the Sandiganbayan’s decision and “treat this decision by the anti-graft court as a good reminder to all public servants that public office is a public trust and that we are all accountable to the people we serve.”

“As servants of the people, we must therefore carry out our duties not only with professionalism and fidelity but most importantly, with integrity,” Panelo reminded his colleagues in government service. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Palace unworried over travel advisories vs. Mindanao travel

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is unfazed by the travel advisories released by United Kingdom and Australia to their nationals against travel to Mindanao.

This is due to a bombing incident at a mall in Cotabato City.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that it is only normal for foreign governments to be concerned over the security of their citizens.

The palace defended that the Cotabato blast is an isolated case.

“But yun ay isolated case lang naman, so, in so far as the national defense secretary is concern, it’s very safe to travel sa Mindanao,” said Panelo. — UNTV News & Rescue

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REPASO 2018: High-profile acquittal, conviction and Duterte’s anti-corruption drive

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, December 31st, 2018


(Left-Right) Former PCOO ASec. Mocha Uson, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, former Senator Bong Revilla and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. UNTV News & Rescue

A number of big names made headlines this year in Philippine politics for their involvement in various controversies.

Mocha Uson

Celebrity blogger Esther Margaux Justiniano Uson a.k.a. Mocha Uson is among the most controversial personalities in Philippine politics in 2018.

Her appointment as Assistant Secretary to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) was a roller-coaster ride for a neophyte government official.

Uson drew flak over a number of controversial posts on her social media account such as the alleged inappropriate video on federalism with her blogger-friend Drew Olivar followed by another video which irked the deaf community.

Uson ended her short term in the Duterte Cabinet in October 2018 but vowed to continue on with her service to the public even as a private citizen.

After several denials, the former official signified her intention to re-enter politics as a party list representative.

Despite her exit from the government, Uson faces a number of charges at the Office of the Ombudsman such as violation of the Magna Carta for Disable Persons; Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; and the Cybercrime Prevention Act due to her controversial posts and commentaries on social media.

Uson, on her part, said such criticisms will not hinder her from exposing what the people needs to know.

“Actually hanggang ngayon pa rin, may bashing, kritisismo, di naman po mawawala iyan. Pero iyan naman po ang sensyales na buhay na buhay po ang demokrasya sa bansa natin. Wala naman pong problema sa kritisimo basta po sa bawat kritisismo ay tumutulong din tayo sa lipunan, sa bansa natin,” the former assistant secretary said.

Commisioners Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña

President Rodrigo Duterte again made a controversial move by re-appointing into government office former commissioners of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña.

Under their respective terms in BOC, billions worth of shabu slipped passed the security screening of the agency which raised questions against their credibility.

Faeldon resigned over the P6.4B shabu shipment controversy in 2017 but he was re-appointed by the President as Deputy Administrator of the Office of the Civil Defense and later on this year as Chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Lapeña, meanwhile, was criticized for the P6.8B worth of shabu shipment discovered inside four magnetic lifters in July. While Congress was probing the incident, the President reassigned Lapeña to the Technical Educations and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Meanwhile, several government officials were axed from their positions in 2018 due to issues of corruption.

Among them were Former Interior Secretary Ismael Sueño; Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jose Vicente Salazar; former Chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor Terry Ridon; Dangerous Drugs Board Chairman Dionesio Santiago to name a few.

According to a political analyst Atty. James Villasis, President Duterte has made his anti-corruption policy clear especially that he is determined to expose in public those who he dismissed for corruption.

However, Villasis said the integrity of his campaign has been tainted for giving ‘so much favor’ to Faeldon and Lapeña.

Villasis added that the question still remains on whether or not a case is formally filed against the sacked officials.

“Ang nakikita kasi natin ngayon ay medyo hindi gaanong naho-hold into accountability ang mga public officials na kaniyang dinismiss. Kasi some of them are just transferred to some agencies or to another agency, and some of them just returned back to their private citizens’ life,” he said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica believes otherwise.

“Fifty-four na po iyan, 54 officials. Lahat po ng tinanggal, iyun iba po kasi preventive suspension pending investigation. Iyong iba po waiting for decision ng pangulo pero iyong nadesisyunan na po ng Pangulo, nasa Ombudsman na po lahat,” Belgica explained.

“Ang may trabaho doon ay ang DOJ, Sila ang magpa-file noon. Siguro they’re still gathering evidence. Mahirap kasing mag-file ng wala kang ebidensya pa,” added Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV

In August, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 572 declaring the amnesty granted to Trillanes as ‘void ab initio’ on grounds that the senator failed to prove that he applied for amnesty.

This prompted the Department of Justice to revive the cases of rebellion and coup d’ etat against Trillanes in connection with the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and the 2007 Manila Pen siege.

The Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 ruled in favor of the prosecution and ordered the arrest of Trillanes for the charges of rebellion.

Trillanes was allowed P200,000 bail.

But the second court, Makati RTC Branch 148 denied the government’s petition for Trillanes’ arrest for the coup d’etat case filed against him.

The case remains closed until it is ordered reopened while Trillanes’ petition questioning Proclamation 572 is still pending in the Supreme Court.


Mugshot of Senator Antonio Trillanes during his booking procedure at Makati Police Station on September 25, 2018 | Photo courtesy of NCRPO

Former First lady, Ilocos 2nd District Cong. Imelda Marcos

The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division in November ordered the arrest of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos after she was found guilty of seven counts of graft in a trial considered as the longest in the anti-graft court’s history reaching nearly three decades or 26 years.

The anti-graft court sentenced the 89-year-old former First Lady to a minimum of six years to a maximum prison term of 11 years for each count of graft with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

However, Marcos was set free on bail of P150,000.

Former Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr.

Former Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr., meanwhile, walked free in the first week of December after the Sandiganbayan acquitted him of plunder in line with the P10-B ‘pork barrel’ scam, the first acquittal among the cases on the alleged misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

However, the court did not clear him of the 16 counts of graft pending before the Sandiganbayan.

The anti-graft court allowed his temporary release on bail of P480,000.

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan Special Division convicted alleged ‘pork barrel’ queen and mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and Revilla’s former aide Richard Cambe.

Napoles and Cambe were sentenced to ‘reclusion perpetua’ or 40 years imprisonment.

Former President now House Speaker Gloria Arroyo

Just before the year ends, The Pasay City Regional Trial Court acquitted Former President and House Speaker Gloria Arroyo of charges of electoral sabotage in connection with the 2007 midterm polls.

In an order signed December 17 and made public Friday (December 29), the court dismissed the case “for failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused Arroyo beyond reasonable doubt”.

The court also ordered the return of the P1 million pesos bail posted by Arroyo for her provisional liberty in 2012. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Malacañang assures passenger safety a gov’t priority in NAIA

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, December 28th, 2018

Image grabbed from commons.wikimedia.org

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is scrutinizing the latest travel advisory issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alleging security measures at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as deficient.

The advisory which circulated on social media on Wednesday (December 26) said NAIA “does not maintain and carry out effective security consistent with the security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).”

“In view of this finding and effective immediately, airlines issuing tickets for travel between the United States and MNL are directed to notify passengers in writing of this determination,” the advisory further stated.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in response to the issue assured on Friday (December 28) that passenger safety remains the government’s utmost priority in NAIA.

“We assure everyone that the Philippine government, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Office for Transportation Security (OTS), is prioritizing the implementation of strict security measures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” Panelo said.

Among the recommendations are the procurement of additional x-ray machines, walk-through metal detectors and alarm systems.

These improvements, however, will be realized on the second quarter of 2019 as they need to go through proper government procedure, according to Panelo.

He added that the government is also taking into consideration the inputs from global partners such as the International Civil Aviation Organization on the issue.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is confident that the country has enough defense against terror threats in NAIA.

He noted, however, that the government cannot discount the fact that the country’s main gateway is a potential target for terrorists.

Lorenzana believes the US travel advisory referred to the rules and regulations being imposed in NAIA and not about it being vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

“Hindi naman siguro. I think it’s the management of the airport, the way passengers are being screened, ang mga equipment natin, if they are not adequate,” he said.

Nevertheless, the Defense Secretary calls on the public to be vigilant and alert against lawless elements and to keep safe at all times especially this holiday season particularly when going to crowded areas. –  Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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