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Sandiganbayan suspends officials of implementing agencies implicated in PDAF scam

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

FILE PHOTO: Sandiganbayan 3rd Division (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines – The Sandiganbayan Third Division is asking for a medical bulletin from the Makati Medical Center (MMC) in connection with the present condition of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile who is facing plunder charges in connection with the PDAF scam.

Based on the resolution issued by the Sandiganbayan, they are giving the MMC five days or until Friday to submit Enrile’s medical bulletin.

According to the clerk of court of the 3rd Division, Atty. Dennis Pulma, the said order was brought about by the notice earlier submitted by the PNP General Hospital (PNPGH) on the Senator’s transfer.

Based on the medical report submitted by the director of the PNPGH to the anti-graft court, Enrile’s condition has worsened due to pneumonia, which compelled them to transfer the Senator to the Makati Medical Center on February 27.

Meanwhile, the 3rd Division has also ordered the suspension of the other co-accused in the PDAF scam.

Among those who will be put under preventive suspension are Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, three more DBM officials, an accountant from the Technology Resource Center and four officials from the National Livelihood and Development Corporation.

The suspension is issued to prevent the accused from using their position to influence evidences or testimonies, which they can use in their case at the Sandiganbayan. (Joyce Balancio / UNTV News)

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MMDA suspends number coding for provincial bus on May 10, 14

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The number coding scheme for provincial buses will be lifted on Friday (May 10) and Tuesday (May 14), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Wednesday.

In an advisory , the MMDA said the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) or the number coding scheme will be suspended on the said dates to ease travel for voters travelling to their respective provinces for the midterm elections on Monday, May 13.

“The UVVRP suspension is to ensure that there will be enough public utility vehicles to ferry commuters who are going to vote in the provinces,” the MMDA added.

The number coding scheme for all public utility vehicles and private vehicles is automatically lifted on weekends, May 11 and 12 and on Election Day. 

The UVVRP will resume on Wednesday, May 15.

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Sandiganbayan sides with Enrile on pork barrel case

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

The Sandiganbayan has ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to produce the evidence against former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile on the P172.8 million plunder case against him.

This is in response to the petition filed by the camp of former lawmaker before the Sandiganbayan Third Division to order the Ombudsman “to produce and permit the copying or photographing of any and all documents” as specified in the bill of particulars.

They argued that they need time “to study and consider the materials before trial is held.”

In its 6-page resolution issued on April 24, the graft court granted Enrile’s motion.

The Sandiganbayan said, “Enrile has absolute control on how to go about his defense. If in his mind, he needed to inspect or copy pieces of evidence [not privileged] which are material for him to make an intelligent defense, then he is allowed by the court to ask for the inspection or production of these documents.”

The court cited Section 10, Rule 116 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which allows the former Senate president to avail this remedy, considering the prosecution made use of government resources to prepare its case.

Therefore, on the argument that the request is equivalent to premature presentation of evidence, the court said “Ombudsman prosecutors were wrong to call Enrile’s motion premature.

The Sandiganbayan, however, said the scope of the evidence that Enrile may access is only limited to documents related to the itemized charges against him.

Enrile is accused of pocketing some P172.8 million of his pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by channeling the money to the fake nongovernment organizations of convicted plunderer Janet Lim Napoles.

He was initially detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City but was later released by the court on humanitarian grounds considering that he is already 95 years old.

Associate Justice Ronald Moreno wrote the resolution, with the concurrence of Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez.  –Maris Federez

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MRT3, LRT, PNR services halted after strong quake jolted parts of Luzon

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, April 22nd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has ordered the suspension of the operations of Metro Manila’s main rail lines for at least five hours to assess their structures after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake jolted parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces on Monday afternoon, April 22.

On its Twitter account, DOTr said that operations of the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3), Light Rail Transit line 1 (LRT-1) and Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT-2) will remain suspended until further notice as advised by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“Upon NDRRMC’s advice at around 5:42 PM to NOT resume operations, instructions were relayed to LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 NOT to resume operations until further notice,” DOTr said, relaying a message from DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications Goddes Libiran.

“Preliminary guidance from NDRRMC is NOT to resume operations until after a five hour observation period, based on risk of aftershocks, based on a similar earthquake event in Indonesia,” it added.

In a separate Twitter post, the agency said that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered to halt the train operations to ensure the safety of commuters.

“Per Secretary Art Tugade, let us not risk the safety of our commuters. Better to be safe than sorry. Siguraduhin na ligtas sakyan ang buong linya bago natin patakbuhin ulit,” DOTr said.

In a post on its official Twitter account, the LRT-1 also announced the suspension of its rail services.

“In the interest of passenger safety, LRT-1 is temporarily suspending its operations for the whole line (Roosevelt-Baclaran),” it said.

The Philippine National Railways (PNR) also temporarily suspended its operations to check whether its structures sustained damages from the strong earthquake.

Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) assured that it is business as usual at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as no damage was noted on its runways following the quake.

Robie de Guzman

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