MANILA – Former president Benigno Simeon Cojuangco-Aquino III’s ashes were laid to rest Saturday at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.After the necrological services at the Church of Gesu inside the campus of his alma mater, Ateneo de Manila in Quezon City, Aquino’s… Read More
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday urged to set aside differences as the country mourned the death of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.“I join the entire nation in mourning the passing of former President Benigno S. Aquino III,” Duterte said in a… Read More
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared June 24 to July 3 as a Period of National Mourning over the passing of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.In a press statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1169… Read More
MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday paid tribute to former president Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III who passed away at the age of 61.In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque observed a moment of silence for Aquino’s passing.”We commiserate and condole with… Read More
MANILA – A party-list lawmaker called for a period of national mourning for former President Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III who passed away at the age of 61 due to renal failure as a result of diabetes on Thursday morning.Senior Citizens Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes said expressions of sincere… Read More
The Court of Appeals (CA) on Wednesday upheld its decision finding former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad administratively liable for simple misconduct in the implementation of the PHP72-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the previous administration.
In a four-page resolution dated Nov. 25, Associate Justice Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles of the CA’s Former Special Fourteenth Division said Abad failed to raise new arguments that would warrant the reversal of its February 27 decision which upheld the findings of the Ombudsman that the former budget secretary should be held accountable for simple misconduct.
Associate Justices Mario V. Lopez and Gabriel T. Robeniol concurred.
Since Abad is no longer in public service and may not be suspended anymore, the penalty was converted to a fine equivalent to his three-month salary.
“After a review of the grounds relied upon by the petitioner, this Court finds no compelling reason to amend our decision as the issues raised have already been resolved and covered extensively in the assailed resolution,” the CA said.
The CA reiterated its February decision that the former budget secretary intruded on the powers of Congress by effectively modifying the provisions on savings in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2012 when he issued National Budget Circular No. 541, which consolidate savings or unutilized balances and withdraw unobligated balances of agencies with low levels of obligations.
NBC 541 provided the principal bases for the withdrawal of unobligated allotments which were declared as savings and used to fund programs, activities and projects under the DAP.
“Thus, Abad may not successfully evade liability by invoking good faith. While Abad’s desire to fast track public spending and push economic growth is laudable and the implementation of the DAP, in fact undeniably yielded positive results that enhance economic welfare of the country his defenses cannot override the clear mandate of the law,” the CA explained.
“As responsible public officer, Abad ought to have been well aware that he has no authority to overrule the requirements of established rules and the fundamental law of the land,” it added.
In 2014, the SC declared DAP unconstitutional, specifically on the withdrawal of unobligated allotments from the implementing agencies; the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the GAA; and the cross-border transfers of the savings of the executive branch to augment the appropriations of other offices outside of it. (PNA)
New evidence supporting the filing of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Multiple Homicide against Aquino
By ROGER M. BALANZA
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) together with former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director, incumbent Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, and family of the slain Special Action Force (SAF) 44 commandos filed on Friday with the Office of the Ombudsman a Motion to Reopen Investigation in a bid to revive the criminal case against former President Benigno Aquino in connection with the deadly 2015 Mamasapano massacre.
Earlier during the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Aquino, chairman of the then ruling Liberal Party, should be blamed for the massacre of the police operatives by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters. Duterte would win the race to Malacanang against Mar Roxas, the former Interior Secretary of Aquino.
Malacañang will be hands off on any decision to be made by the Ombudsman following the filing on Friday of a Motion to Reopen Investigation against Aquino and others over the deadly Mamasapano clash.
On July 1, 2016, the VACC filed a complaint charging Aquino and others for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Multiple Homicide in relation to the botched Oplan Exodus which led to the death of 44 SAF troopers.
Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales dismissed the complaint and instead recommended the charges of graft and usurpation of authority against Aquino, former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and former Special Action Forces chief Getulio Napeñas, on July 14, 2017.
The complainants filed before the Supreme Court (SC) a Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction on November 2, 2017 but the SC issued its TRO on February 7, 2018.
The Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division confirmed that Ombudsman Samuel Martires filed a motion to withdraw information on June 24, 2019 finding no sufficient ground to charge Aquino for graft and usurpation of official functions. The charges were dismissed on Aug. 22, 2019.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace will leave it to Ombudsman Samuel Martires to decide whether or not he would reopen the investigation against Aquino for the death of the SAF 44 commandos on January 24, 2015.
“We will not interfere with a co-equal branch of the government as well as with constitutional bodies. Let the rule of law prevail,” Panelo said in an interview over dzIQ on Sunday.
Aside from Aquino, other respondents named in VACC’s motion were Purisima and Napeñas.
In the motion, the VACC called on Martires to pursue the homicide since they have new evidence supporting the filing of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Multiple Homicide against Aquino and others. (with PNA report)
President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday described the exclusion of the Hacienda Luisita from the agrarian reform program as “the greatest aberration” done to farmer-beneficiaries.
Duterte said although he has “nothing against” the Aquino family, including the late President Corazon Aquino and her son, President Benigno Aquino III, he said farmer-beneficiaries should have been awarded with portions of the land in Tarlac.
“I’d like to state very clearly that I have nothing against the Aquino family. ‘Yung dalawang presidente, pati ang pamilya (The two Presidents and the family). I’d like to put it in record that for the first two Aquino presidents, sumuporta po kami, ang pamilya namin sa Davao (our family in Davao supported them) because we believed in Corazon Aquino and I happen also to just…the best that was available at that time,” Duterte said in his speech during the 31st anniversary celebration of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) main office in Quezon City.
“Pero (But) the greatest aberration, if I look back in time… alam mo, kung ako naman siguro ang naging malapit lang naman makapag bulong (you know, if I could only suggest), to make the suggestion na (that) will not irritate ‘yung sinasabihan ko…alam mo ‘yung (the person I’m telling it to, you know) the greatest aberration sa (in) land reform was the Philippines was declared…the whole of the country.. as a land reform program area pero tinanggal nila ang Doña Luisita (but they excluded Doña Luisita),” he said.
Duterte recalled the bloody Hacienda Luisita massacre on November 16, 2004 where union farmers and activists conducting a strike were violently dispersed.
Another group of farmers pushing for land reform on Hacienda Luisita and other landholdings were also violently dispersed by police and soldiers in Mendiola, Manila on January 22, 1987.
“Far and in between the years that it was fighting…I mean the tenants, marami ho ang namatay (there were a lot who died). A lot of people died…invested blood, just to realize, until late today, ‘yung mga lupa na dapat sa kanila (the land that should have been theirs),” Duterte said.
Duterte bared that during his 2016 presidential campaign, he encouraged land reform because he commiserated with farmer-beneficiaries.
He reminded hacienderos (big landowners) that “there is a time for everything”, including a time “to live simply”.
Meanwhile, Duterte encouraged the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to study the land reform program “very carefully” before it is implemented.
“But if you go into a place where you want to implement land reform, do not just take it as it is. Study very carefully, the psychological, the economical, the social background sa mga taong ito (of these people),” Duterte said.
Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones earlier bared that his agency will be distributing the remaining portions of the land in Hacienda Luisita to farmer-beneficiaries in Tarlac.
In 2012, the Supreme Court ordered the distribution of Hacienda Luisita’s 4,915-hectare agriculture lands to farmer-beneficiaries. (PNA)