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Ombudsman urged to probe Aquino admin’s procurement of overpriced fighter trainer jets

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, June 19th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — The anti-corruption group Anti Trapo Movement (ATM) sent a letter to the Office of the Ombudsman, asking for the investigation of alleged anomalous purchase of expensive FA-50 or trainer jets by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Department of National Defense (DND) during the term of the Aquino administration.

The group claims the procured aircraft were overpriced.

ATM chairman, Leon Peralta said, “Alam namin na ito ay allegedly overpriced kasi merong nag o-offer ng 20 million dollars lang na mas sophisticated dito sa FA-50 na mahal mahal ng presyo pero ang capacity nya ay hindi katumbas ng presyo ng pagkakabili.”

(We know that these are allegedly overpriced because someone is offering for only 20 million dollars and is more sophisticated than this FA-50 which is very expensive but its capacity is not commensurate to its price.)

ATM said the price of one FA-50 already amounts to the combined price of three trainer jets.

One unit of FA-50 is USD 35-million.

The group claims the 12 trainer jets bought by the DND and AFP amounts to a total of P18.9 billion.

The government purchased the units from Korea Aerospace Industries in South Korea.

The group noted that a huge amount of money was wasted as the said FA-50s are only used for ceremonies and not for battle.

ATM also alleged that the individuals who negotiated for the trainer jets have links to the Israel Aerospace Industries that is purportedly facing corruption scandal in Israel.

“Yung nag re-representa sa kanila dito ngayon are allegedly well placed, well connected at maraming tao sa AFP at DND. Eh naibenta nga nila yung napakamahal na FA-50,” Peralta said.

(Those that represent them now are allegedly well placed, well connected with many people in the AFP and DND. Well, they were able to sell the expensive FA-50.)

In the coming days, the group will formally file a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against individuals, they say, are involved in the allegedly anomalous transaction.

On the other hand, the DND and AFP, said they are not against the filing of complaint.

If an investigation pushes through, the two defense establishments vow to cooperate so the truth will come out. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

 

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Malacañang lauds CA’s decision to halt suspension order of Ombudsman vs ERC commissioners

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Court of Appeals (CA) stops the 60-day suspension of ERC commissioners: Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta Ana.

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang supports the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to issue a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales in implementing the one-year suspension against Energy Regulatory Commission commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta Ana.

According to the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the TRO issued is founded on extreme necessity.

Roque also said that if the TRO did not happen, the suspension order will seriously paralyze the ERC and will cause the economy to suffer grave damage.

Because of this, the Office of the President calls the court decision “a step in the right direction.”

Meanwhile, the Power for People Coalition contested the decision of the CA before the Senate during a committee hearing on ERC.

The group said that greater public interest and service should always be upheld even if it means suspension of public officials and temporarily disrupting operations of some certain bodies such as ERC.

It also said that the CA should look into the coal mining industry to realize the irreparable damage it causes to its affected areas.

In the end, the group insisted that the four commissioners should honor the suspension order of the ombudsman and leave the Meralco contracts untouched. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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SolGen: Ombudsman Morales concealed the result of Trillanes’ plunder complaint against Pres. Duterte

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

 

The ombudsman completed the Trillanes vs Duterte plunder complaint investigation in November 2017 but informed the solicitor general about it only on February 12.

MANILA, Philippines — Government allies accused Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of concealing the investigation she conducted in connection with the plunder complaint filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV against President Rodrigo Duterte.

The ombudsman completed the said investigation in November of last year but informed the solicitor general about it only on February 12.

With this, the Office of the Solicitor General is studying the possible charges it could file against Morales.

The plunder complaint stemmed from the alleged hidden wealth of the president.

“This will be another case probably before the Supreme Court and I will be the one to argue it,” said Calida.

“Remember the president is the chief executive anyone who doesn’t agree with him should go to court and we will meet him there,” he added.

Calida claims that he would not have learned of the said decision had he not written a letter to the ombudsman last Friday to know the status of the complaint.

Based on the reply of Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang on Monday, the complaint was already “case closed and terminated” on November 29 of last year.

According to Calida, the president has the right to know the status of the complaint.

“It should be noted that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales inhibited herself from this matter. It concerns the integrity of the president of the Philippines. She should explain first why she kept this from the public,” said the solicitor general.

With this development, Calida believes the Senate has no reason to investigate the allegations against the president.

In response, opposition members Senator Antonio Trillanes said, “Bakit sila nagpapanic? Bakit ayaw nilang mapahiya ako and most of all bakit ayaw pirmahan ni Duterte yung waiver, ayaw niyang tanggapin ang hamon ko. Pirmahan niya yung waiver, kapag mali ako, magreresign ako,” said Trillanes.

(Why are they panicking? Why don’t they want to embarrass me? And most of all why did President Duterte did not want to sign the waiver. He does not want to accept my challenge. He should sign my waiver. If I’m wrong, I will resign.)

While Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano said, “I am confident that the ombudsman would find out and prove that indeed the bank account and transaction records of Duterte are true and correct — it’s just a matter of time.”

Ombudsman Morales has yet to comment on the matter. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacañang: Ombudsman has no authority to dismiss Cebu Rep. Garcia  

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Cebu Representative Gwendolyn Garcia (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has no authority to dismiss Cebu Representative Gwendolyn Garcia.

This is the reaction of Malacañang on the Ombudsman’s order to dismiss Garcia on her alleged grave misconduct in connection with the Balili project in Cebu when she was still the governor of the province.

Presidential spokesperson, Secretary Harry Roque said that it is only Congress that can suspend or dismiss any of its members based on the anti-graft and corruption rulings of House of Representatives through a two-thirds vote in the plenary.

He also believes that the Supreme Court will not approve if ever the Ombudsman would file a mandamus to compel Congress to implement the order.

“That is the discretion. That is not ministerial so the Supreme Court might dismiss the mandamus,” said Roque. — UNTV News & Rescue

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