PACC to probe Bucor Chief, officials on anomaly in GCTA implementation

Maris Federez   •   September 3, 2019   •   1002

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is set to investigate the Bureau of Corrections Director-General Nicanor Faeldon and other officials of the agency amid the controversial implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).

PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said they will start reviewing the Republic Act 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance law to determine if there were any loopholes.

They will particularly look at how the Bucor implemented the said law and if the ones who effected the release of the prisoners were qualified under the law.

“We will conduct an investigation based on that. Was the law violated? Were there corruption involved? Mga allegations ng pagbebenta ng Kalayaan [Allegations of freedom for sale],” Belgica said.

Data from the Bucor said more than 2,000 heinous crime convicts were freed by virtue of the GCTA law since 2014.

The PACC head, however, said heinous crime convicts must not be eligible in the application of the law.

“Ang heinous crimes, penalized by death ‘yan eh. Kaso lang lifted ang death penalty ngayon. So meaning, if hindi lifted ang death penalty, then, patay na dapat ‘yung convicted for heinous crime. So, hindi na siya magka-qualify sa GCTA [Heinous crimes are penalized by death. However, the death penalty is now lifted. So meaning, if only the death penalty were not lifted, those convicted of heinous crimes will be dead by now. Meaning, these individuals will no longer be qualified to avail of the CGTA (benefit)],” Belgica added.

He also maintained that their investigation will be in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive.

He added that the President also plans to launch his own investigation on the case.

In case the Bucor officials will be found guilty, they will face administrative charges or be removed from their posts, depending on what the President will decide upon.

They might also face criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman.

To date, the commission said it will keep track on the Senate hearing on the said controversy as they see that it will be a big help on their own investigation. (with details from Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

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.

PACC chief Greco Belgica tests positive for COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   August 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chairperson Greco Belgica on Friday confirmed that he has contracted the dreaded novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Nakakalungkot na sa kabila ng ating pag-iingat ay tinamaan pa rin ako ng COVID-19. Tunay ngang hindi biro ang sakit na ito at talagang mapanganib,” Belgica wrote in a post on Facebook.

“Humihingi ako ng dasal para sa aking paggaling at dasal para sa kaligtasan ng lahat,” he added.

He, however, assured the public that he will continue to discharge his duties in fighting corruption.

“Gayunpaman, positibo man tayo sa sakit ay positibo pa rin nating haharapin ang mga hamon ng aking sinumpaang tungkulin na labanan ang katiwalian sa gobyerno,” he said.

Ombudsman will not appeal Revilla’s acquittal in 16 PDAF graft charges

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has rested its case against Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in the controversial ‘Pork Barrel’ scam.

This after the Sandiganbayan (SB) acquitted Revilla “for insufficiency of evidence on the remaining 16 graft cases” in relation to the alleged irregularities in the Senator’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

“The SB First Division voted 3-2 to grant Senator Revilla’s Demurrer to Evidence, AND WE RESPECT ITS DECISION,” the Ombudsman said in a statement.

Furthermore, the statement stressed that Ombudsman Samuel Martires will no longer challenge the “dismissal of cases/quashal of information and judgments of acquittal, either through a motion to dismiss, a demurrer to evidence or by a decision, rendered by the trial courts or the Sandiganbayan except when the People was clearly deprived of due process or there was mistrial,” citing Revilla’s constitutional right against double jeopardy.

“A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. The grant of the court of the demurrer is tantamount to an acquittal because the defendant is cleared of the criminal case and is no longer required to present his evidence,” the Ombudsman statement explained.

Revilla was accused in 2014 of diverting his PDAF for the years 2006 to 2009 to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to ex-Cagayan de Oro congressman and Pork Barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles.

The senator was alleged to have received P224.5 million kickback in the process.

Napoles was convicted of plunder in relation to the scam in 2018.

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