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

UNTV News   •   June 21, 2017   •   3468

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

 

DBM says 95% of 2019 budget released as of September

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) reported on Tuesday that it has released over 95% of the 2019 national budget as of September 30.

In a statement, the DBM said it has released P3.491 trillion of the P3.662 trillion for the 2019 obligation program, with P2.011 trillion allotment released to line departments.

“These include funds allocated for agencies in the Executive branch, Congress, the Judiciary, and other constitutional offices,” the department said.

The DBM added it also released special purpose funds (SPF) amounting to P317.882 billion.

SPFs are budgetary allocations in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) allotted for specific socio-economic purposes such as budgetary support to government corporations, allocation to local government units, contingent fund, miscellaneous personnel benefits fund, national disaster risk reduction and management fund, and pension and gratuity fund.

The department also reported that allotment releases for automatic appropriations, or appropriations programmed annually or for some other period prescribed by law, increased to P1.070 trillion.

These include the Internal Revenue Allotment of local government units, pension of ex-president/ex-president widows, net lending, interest payments, and tax expenditures fund/customs duties and taxes.

The DBM also released some P50.254 billion in payments for retirement and life insurance premium requirements. This is inclusive of P3.09 billion for additional requirements for newly-created or -filled positions in various agencies.

Likewise, the DBM reported it has released P25.043 billion from the continuing appropriations of the 2018 budget for line departments and releases from SPFs.

Continuing appropriations refer to appropriations available to support obligations for a specified purpose or project, such as multi-year construction projects which require the incurrence of obligations beyond one fiscal year. 

Some P40.481 billion have also been distributed in terms of unprogrammed or standby appropriations which authorize additional agency expenditures for priority programs and projects when revenue collections exceed the resource targets or when additional grants or foreign funds are generated.

Allotments for other automatic appropriations, amounting to P25.766 billion, have also been released, the DBM added.

The agency said the immediate release will “ensure that national government agencies are able to swiftly implement their programs and projects, such as the construction of new roads, schools, and hospitals, and the protection and promotion of the welfare of the poor and marginalized sectors, among others.”

The DBM, along with other agencies comprising the administration’s economic team, had to play catch up after the passage of the 2019 budget got stalled.

It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte only signed the budget in April this year after Congress failed to pass it on time over alleged illegal fund insertions.

The delayed passage of the budget was blamed for the slowdown in government spending and the country’s economic growth in the first six months of 2019.

DA increases indemnity payment for pigs culled due to ASF to P5,000

Marje Pelayo   •   October 14, 2019

Culled pigs are hauled toward a collection truck after symptoms of African Swine Fever (ASF) were detected in the Pasong Tamo village of Quezon City, Philippines, 03 October 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Hog raisers affected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) will now get P5,000 for each pig culled within the one-kilometer radius from ground zero where the deadly pig virus was detected.

So far, the Department of Agriculture (DA) already recorded more than 40,000 pigs culled due to ASF.

The DA is now strengthening its quarantine checkpoints in different parts of the country to stop the spread of the ASF virus.

On Friday (October 11), around 700 crates of pig products were seized in San Juanico Bridge in Tacloban City from Bulacan amounting to P1.6 million.

According to the Tacloban Veterinary Office, the products were confiscated for lack of necessary documents.

In his social media post, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Secretary Manny Piñol questioned why such shipment was able to pass the quarantine checkpoints in Matnog in Sorsogon and in Northern Samar.

The DA, meanwhile, said it is conducting an investigation on the matter.

“That is something that we have to find-out kung bakit nakalusot ito (why it passed slip the quarantine checkpoints),” said DA Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan.

Meat processors, on the other hand, fear of possible loss in income of up to P55 billion if the government will not impose a more concrete system in banning the transportation of pork products.

According to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI), their products undergo proper food treatment to eliminate the ASF virus.

“Processed meats are not carriers of ASF,” explained PAMPI Spokesperson Rex Agarrado.

“Processed meats are all processed at temperatures that kill the organism,” he added. – MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Sandiganbayan dismisses P1-B civil case vs Marcoses

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 8, 2019

Philippines First Lady and current congresswoman Imelda Marcos (2-L) when she visited the tomb of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos to mark National Heroes Day at the ‘Libingan ng mga Bayani’ (Cemetery of Heroes) in Taguig City, south of Manila, Philippines, 28 August 2017. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

The second division of the Sandiganbayan has dismissed the civil case filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) against former President Ferdinand Marcos and wife Imelda Marcos for insufficient evidence over P1 billion worth of alleged ill-gotten wealth.

Based on the decision of the anti-graft court, the PCGG failed to present strong evidence against the Marcoses.

“The plaintiff Republic failed to prove by preponderance of evidence that the defendants by themselves, or in conspiracy with defendants Marcoses, obtained ill-gotten wealth,” the decision reads.

“Lastly, the court also finds that the defendants failed to prove their respective counterclaims alluding to alleged damages sustained.”

According to the Malacañang, the PCGG can still submit an appeal in the Supreme Court.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Marcoses should still be accountable if there is proof of ill-gotten wealth.

“Kung ill-gotten, we should always run after, basta ill-gotten (If it is ill-gotten we should always run after, as long as it is ill-gotten). It should be the policy of all governments to run after ill-gotten wealth,” he said.

The Sandiganbayan previously dismissed the P102 billion worth of forfeiture case against the Marcoses and other respondents last August.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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