Roxas, De Lima on GCTA controversy: Why blame the IRR?

UNTV News   •   September 12, 2019   •   1335

MANILA, Philippines – Former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas and detained Senator Leila de Lima have broken their silence amid reports linking them to the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.

Roxas and De Lima were among those who drafted the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

The Office of the Ombudsman has requested Roxas and De Lima to explain why the provisions concerning convicts of heinous crimes in relation to the GCTA privilege was not clarified in the IRR.

But the former Interior chief maintained that the IRR shouldn’t be blamed just because the law wasn’t properly implemented.

In a tweet, Roxas stressed that those who approved the convicts’ release order should face the questioning, not those who drafted the IRR.

He accused his critics of passing the buck because of the controversial law.

Nevertheless, Roxas vowed to appear and cooperate in the Ombudsman’s probe.

“Apparently iimbestigahan ng Ombudsman itong (The Ombudsman will probe this) GCTA issue. Well and good, at masasagot ko kung ano man ang mga tanong nila (I will have the chance to answer their questions),” Roxas tweeted.

Meanwhile, De Lima expressed doubts over the intention behind the linking of her name to the GCTA issue when she has nothing to do with the controversy.

“I find this development highly irregular,” the lady senator said in a statement.

De Lima emphasized that the focus of the probe should be on whether or not the officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) followed the rules and reviewed the cases using the proper guidelines of releasing a convict under GCTA.

Roxas and De Lima were given three days to respond to the request of the Ombudsman.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman has launched a fact-finding investigation to determine the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the GCTA law. — MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

BSP assures execs facing graft raps before Ombudsman will answer in proper forum

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Thursday assured that its officials who are facing graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman will respond in an appropriate forum.

The complaint, filed by Ricardo Fulgencio IV of Stop Corruption Organization of the Philippines, accused BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno and officials of central bank’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of granting P1.75-billion contract to Allcard International sans public bidding for the implementation of the national identification system.

Aside from Diokno, Prudence Angelita Kasala, Rogel Joseph del Rosario, Carl Cesar Bibat, Marianne Santos, Salvador del Mundo, and Giovanni Israel Joson were also named as respondents to the complaint.

“As regards the complaint filed with the Ombudsman relative to the procurement for the printing of cards for the National ID System, rest assured that the BSP officials concerned will respond in the proper forum once required in accordance with applicable rules,” the BSP said in a statement.

Fulgencio said the bidding process for equipment and materials for the Philippine Identification cards was flawed because the BAC of the BSP Security Plant Complex, which is in charge of procuring materials for the cards, required all bidders to procure raw materials, such as diffractive optically variable image device (DOVID) and polycarbonate sheets, from OVD Kinegram.

The complainant said this requirement is prohibited by procurement laws as it shows a specific reference to a brand name.

“[The] respondents’ act of requiring the bidders to procure their raw materials from OVD Kinegram AG effectively gave the latter private party, unwarranted benefits. The respondents’ preference to Kinegram deprived other DOVID suppliers of the opportunity to bid for the project and robbed the government of getting the most advantageous terms for the supply of such raw materials,” the complaint read.

“Clearly, this is a corrupt practice. Henceforth, it is respectfully prayed before this Honorable Office that after the requisite preliminary investigation, criminal information against the herein respondents be filed before the Sandiganbayan,” it added.

Despite the complaint, the BSP said that it supports the rollout of the National ID as it is key to wider financial inclusion that promotes shared economic growth and the financial wellbeing of Filipinos.

DILG extends deadline of road clearing ops to Jan. 22

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday said it has granted a one-week extension on the deadline for the road clearing operations following requests by local government units (LGU) to give them more time to clear roads of obstructions.

The DILG said that instead of January 15, LGUs have been given until January 22 to complete their road clearing efforts.

“We extended the deadline for road clearing operations 2.0 because these are extraordinary times; we are in a pandemic and LGUs have a lot on their plate. We understand the request so the Department granted it,” DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

The DILG announced in November last year the resumption of nationwide road clearing operations, giving the LGUs 60 days to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to rid streets of illegal obstructions.

“This is, in a way, a little help to the LGUs so that they have more time to comply with the President’s directive,” Malaya said.

The validation period will be on January 25 to February 5, he added.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año previously said that the road clearing operations now are different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said full implementation of the road clearing operations is enforced in areas under modified general community quarantine. Partial implementation is executed in areas under general community quarantine while road clearing operations in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine and enhanced community quarantine are suspended.

Malaya said that prior to the start of the validation period, the DILG will create validation teams in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), for each province, city and municipality.

“This time around mayroon tayong validation teams na established at cross-posted, meaning, kung taga-Quezon City sila hindi sila puwede mag-validate sa QC, dapat nasa Taguig City sila o alin mang ibang lungsod,” he said.

Among the validation requisites are the actual removal of road obstructions; enactment of an enabling ordinance; conduct of an inventory of road obstructions; crafting and implementation of a displacement plan; rehabilitation of cleared roads; creation of a grievance mechanism; as well as the Tricycle Route Plan, the DILG said.

DILG urges LGUs to resume road clearing to meet January 15 deadline

Robie de Guzman   •   January 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday called on local government units (LGU) to resume the nationwide road-clearing operations in their respective areas and expedite implementation as the 60-day deadline ends on January 15, 2021.

“Now that the holidays are over, we expect all LGUs to pick up where they left off in their road clearing operations. They were supposed to start November 16 last year up to January 15,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

Malaya, however, stressed that while the deadline ends on January 15, the road clearing operation is a year-round activity that requires sustained effort and implementation.

“Balik trabaho na naman po tayo kaya kailangan nating seryosohin ang road clearing para sa mas maluwag na lansangan at para na rin sa kapakanan nating lahat,” he said.

According to the DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-145, areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) should fully implement the road-clearing operations by January 15, which means the implementation of all components of road clearing.

The circular also states that full implementation includes the removal of road and sidewalk obstructions, conduct of road inventories, physical removal of road obstructions without prejudice to the property rights of the affected stakeholders, crafting and implementation of displacement plans, rehabilitation, and maintenance of cleared roads, and creation of a grievance mechanism.

LGUs under general community quarantine (GCQ) are expected to do a partial implementation of the road clearing operations which is limited to the actual or physical removal or abatement of road and sidewalk obstructions that are considered hazardous to motorists and pedestrians.

These include unauthorized parked vehicles, illegal structures, nuisances, and any other structures erected along or standing on, made immovable or otherwise, that impede safe and convenient passage through public road or sidewalk.

Meanwhile, road clearing operations are suspended in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

President Rodrigo Duterte retained the GCQ classification of the National Capital Region and Davao City effective January 1 until January 31, 2021, subject to LGUs’ appeals.

Also under GCQ are Isabela, Santiago City, Batangas, Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao del Sur, Iligan City, and Davao del Norte.

All other areas are placed under MGCQ.

Malaya said that validation of provincial, city, and municipal compliance would be conducted from January 18 to 22, 2021.

Included in the items to be validated by the DILG Validation Teams are the Tricycle Route Plans in their respective areas to ensure that alternate routes are provided to tricycles which are prohibited by law from operating on national highways across the country.

“Sa pagpapatuloy po ng serbisyo sa bagong taon ay huwag po nating kalimutan ang pagkakaroon ng disiplina sa pagsusuot ng face mask at face shield, paghuhugas ng kamay at pag-distansya ng isang metro,” Malaya said.

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