Revilla’s plunder case to resume after 3 years of waiting

UNTV News   •   June 21, 2017   •   3605

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_062117_Senator Bong Revilla

After three years of waiting, the trial of former Senator Bong Revilla’s plunder case will finally begin.

The prosecution will present Thursday witnesses from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Bureau of Treasury (BTr) and Department of Agriculture (DA).

Revilla’s camp has high hopes that he will be able to prove his innocence in court.

“The issue is very simple, whether any kickback was delivered to Senator Revilla. But that is not sufficient for plunder. That money must be delivered in consideration of overt act defined under Section 1D of the Plunder Law on the basis of the allegations of the information that overt criminal act is an endorsement of the project to certain NGO’s and that endorsement are not those enumerated under Section 1D which may constitute an overt criminal act,” said Revilla’s Lawyer, Atty. Estelito Mendoza.

It was in September 2013 when the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed plunder complaints against Janet Lim Napoles, and then Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla Jr.

The complaints are in connection with their alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF scam.

In 2014, the ombudsman announced its decision to file charges against Napoles and the three senators.

The accused appealed the case but it was rejected by the ombudsman. The plunder and graft cases were formally filed against them at the Sandiganbayan on June 6 of the same year.

Sixteen counts of graft were filed against Revilla, whose cases were being heard by the first division of the Anti -Graft Court led by Justice Efren Dela Cruz.

It was on June 19, 2014 when the first division released the arrest warrant for Revilla. The morning after, Revilla voluntarily went to Sandingbayan and in the afternoon, he was detained at PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame.

On June 26, 2016 Revilla was indicted together with his former staff and co-accused Richard Cambe. They both pleaded not guilty to the cases.

On July 2014 the pretrial conference for the cases began, but was cancelled for several times.

The period allotted for the hearing of the motion and appeals of the prosecution and defense was from 2014 until June 2017.

And after three years of waiting, the pre-trial order was signed on June 15, 2017 that would formally start the trial, on June 22.

“We have been detained here for three years now by June 20. So we are really in a difficult situation. Despite this, we are not losing hope that the truth will come out,” said Revilla.

Meanwhile, the date of the trial for the plunder case against Enrile is yet to be set as he still has a pending motion.

The signing of the pre-trial order for the case of Estrada has already been done.

On the other hand, PDAF scam queen Janet Lim Napoles has asked the Sandiganbayan to exclude all her 2014 scam admissions from the prosecution evidence.

In her motion, Napoles said that her 2014 affidavits are inadmissible in Revilla’s plunder trial as she made them for her failed bid to be a state witness.

Napoles also invoked her right against self-incrimination in blocking the use of her 2014 affidavits submitted by the Department of Justice to the Senate

The affidavits were only meant for then-DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News and Rescue

 

DA assures enough rice supply in the country amid community quarantine

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 1, 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA) assures there is enough food supply in the country amid the enhanced community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Agriculture Department Secretary William Dar said there is no need to worry about the country’s food supply for the next month.

Based on the national inventory, the current rice stocks of the country can still last up to two and a half month.

“Ang national rice inventory natin as of March 2020 ay nasa good for 75 days,” he said.

Dar also said there is already 1.3 million metric tons of rice supply which will arrive through private importers from Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

“Kapag dumating itong 1.3 million metric tons dito sa Pilipinas ay more or less ay maryoon pa tayo pampuno during the lean months,he said.

Dar also added, they are expecting more rice supply after the harvest season which will amount to 2.7 metric tons of rice.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department said the government will provide assistance like fertilizers to farmers after the harvest season. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Some senators opt out of COVID-19 testing

UNTV News   •   March 20, 2020

Senate of the Philippines facade

Although Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri has announced he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being asymptomatic, some senators have opted not to undergo a COVID-19 test.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan have decided not to go through COVID-19 testing, saying they are not manifesting any symptoms and are strictly following protocols given by the DOH.

Some of their co-lawmakers have already taken the test including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Grace Poe, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino and the first two senators who initiated to undergo self-quarantine, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay.

Senator Christoper Bong Go has also undergone COVID-19 testing with President Rodrigo Duterte who came out negative. — by Harlene Delgado

Commission on Appointments confirms Avisado as Budget chief

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2020

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte congratulates newly appointed Budget Acting Secretary Wendel Avisado following the oath-taking ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on August 5, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Wendel Avisado as the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Avisado has been serving as DBM’s acting secretary since President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him to the post in August 2019.

He replaced Undersecretary Janet Abuel who had been in an acting capacity since former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno was named as governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in March 2019.

In his time as Budget acting secretary, he has seen to the swift enactment of the 2020 National Budget and of Republic Act 11466, or the Salary Standardization Law 5.

Avisado is a lawyer who entered government service in 1986 and went on to occupy various leadership positions in the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the City of Davao.

He was appointed as Deputy Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Council in 2010. In 2016, he began his service as Presidential Assistant for Special Concerns under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Commission of Appointments is a constitutional body comprised of members of the Senate and House of Representatives who approve or deny the appointment of certain officials.

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