MANILA – Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. executive Krizle Grace Mago on Monday said her statement before the Senate that the company “swindled” the government when it tampered with the expiration dates of the face shields was a “pressured response”.Mago told the House of Representatives that… Read More
MANILA – Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. official Krizle Grace Mago on Monday said the company never delivered damaged coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) supplies to the government as the firm conducts routine quality inspection prior to making deliveries.During the hearing of the House Good… Read More
The Senate Committee of the Whole has recommended the filing of charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, recently resigned Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) chief Ricardo Morales, and several top-ranking officials, over the alleged misuse of funds involving P15 Billion of the state-run insurance agency.
After several hearings into allegations of corruption in PhilHealth, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, chair of the Senate Committee of the Whole, reported out the panel’s findings during Tuesday’s plenary session.
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte would rely on the findings of Task Force PhilHealth on the allegations of unabated and widespread corruption in the state-run insurer, Malacañang said on Wednesday.“For now, the President would defer to the findings of the task force,”… Read More
The Department of Justice (DOJ), which headed a task force ordered created by President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate the alleged corruption within PhilHealth, will be furnished a copy of the Senate committee’s probe findings.
Separate corruption investigations into the PhilHealth fund mess are also being conducted by the House of Representatives and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.
To resolve confusion over Good Conduct Time Allowance
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has filed a bill amending the Revised Penal Code (RPC) to include a summary of heinous crimes that would be excluded from coverage of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) under Republic Act No. 10952
Go said the list of heinous crimes would avoid confusion over who among prisoners could benefit from GCTA.
The Davao City Senator filed the bill on September 2 as a storm of public condemnation met the news about the forthcoming release by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez under the GCTA. The furor aborted the release of Sanchez and sparked Congress to conduct an investigation.
The probe focused on RA 10952, which has no listing of heinous crimes that would be excluded from coverage of GCTA and why Sanchez was to be released despite committing the heinous crimes of rape and murder.
The beleaguered star of the investigation is BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon, who ordered the release of Sanchez.
Sanchez is serving seven life sentences (reclusion perpetua) for the murder and rape of University of the Philippines-Los Banos student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend Allan Gomez in 1993.
Go’s Senate Bill No. 1003 seeks to amend the RPC, particularly Articles 29, 97, 98 and 99, provisions which were amended and rendered unclear by RA 10592.
“The Filipino people want answers and solutions, not endless debates and more questions,” Go said in his speech on Tuesday, September 3, on the second day of a Senate hearing on the controversy by the Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Senator Dick Gordon.
The proposed bill recognizes that articles in Articles 29, 97, 98 and 99 of the RPC, as amended by RA 10952, gave the notion that prisoners, including recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and persons charged with heinous crimes, are entitled to GCTA benefits, according to Go.
In his speech where he elaborated on his proposed bill, Go said SB 1003 would end confusion over the GCTA.
“Senate Bill No. 1003 will clearly state the intent and policy of the law not to extend the benefits of GCTA to prisoners who are convicted of heinous crimes,” Go said.
SB 1003, Go added, has a provision that clearly states that convicts of heinous crimes “will not be eligible to be granted time allowances.”
He also said that the proposed bill has a list of heinous crimes to further avoid confusion over who could benefit from GCTA and a provision that all prisoners for release on the basis of GCTA shall be subject for review. His bill also required the BuCor to submit to Congress twice a year a list of prisoners released due to the GCTA.
Go also highlighted that Congress will be informed of the releases, “as the Bureau of Corrections will be required to furnish the Legislature with a report twice a year.”
SB 1003 “will form part of our continuing fight against corruption and criminality, and illegal drugs,” Go said.
Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday said he is “very excited” to face Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV for a second time in a Senate probe into his relatives’ alleged multi-billion peso deals with the government.
Trillanes has filed a Senate resolution to investigate the supposed involvement of Go in the multi-billion pesos worth of projects awarded to CLTG Builders and Alfrego Builders and Supply.
CLTG is owned by Go’s father, Deciderio, while Alfrego is owned by his brother, Alfredo.
Last January, Go and Trillanes faced each other for the first time during a Senate hearing into the latter’s intervening in the PHP18-billion Frigate Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy.
“I’m very excited for another Senate face-off with Mr. Trillanes. Bilisan na n’ya gaya nang sinabi ko sana bukas na o ngayon kasi baka magtago na siya (He should hurry, like I said, he can have it tomorrow or even now because he might go into hiding),” Go said in an interview with reporters.
Trillanes is now under Senate custody after Duterte voided his amnesty granted by the previous administration.
Go defended his relatives’ deals, noting that figures were “bloated” and that he was being “singled out” when there were other joint ventures the senator could have looked into.
“Why single me out? Ba’t hindi nyo tingnan ‘yung ibang meron mga nakaraang joint ventures na kontrata (Why don’t you look into other joint ventures)?,” Go said.
He said his relatives’ businesses were established even before he was born.
“Hindi pa po ako pinapanganak, wala pa, wala pa ako sa mundong ito nangdidyan na po sila sa negosyong ‘yan (I wasn’t even born yet, I wasn’t in this world yet, that business has already been established),” Go said.
“Ang importante po, nakialam ba ko, kasama ba ako, involved ba ako, nandun ba ang pangalan ko (What’s important to know is if I intervened, if I’m involved, if my name is there),” he added.
Go said the two firms had no projects with the Davao city hall when he became aide of then mayor Duterte.
He added that his father and half-brother were simply “exercising their rights” when they joined the bidding of projects by the Department of Public Works and Highway, either as sole contractor or as partner, which did not disqualify them from bidding.
Go, meanwhile, reiterated his vow to resign if his influence or involvement in his relatives’ projects is proven and asked Trillanes to do the same if he failed to prove it.
“’Pag na-prove niya na (If he proved) in any form, any amount of corruption, I will resign. Pero pag hindi niya po na-prove, siya naman po ang mag-resign (but if he failed to prove it, he should resign),” he added. (PNA)
The Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee has spurned a reported request by President Benigno Aquino to stop its investigation into Vice President Jejomar Binay’s massive corruption.
The probe may continue up to May, said Senator Antonio Trillanes, who along with subcommittee head Senator Koho Pimentel and Senator Peter Allan Cayetano has been hearing evidence in the alleged overpricing by Binay in the 11-story P2.3 billion Makati City Parking Building II and the Vice President’s alleged hidden wealth including the 450-hectare, P1.2 billion Hacienda Binay in Rosario, Batangas.
Apparently bent on “hanging” Binay, Trillanes said the subcommittee has not yet completed its hearings as reports said that Aquino wanted the subcommittee to wrap up its 4-month probe and file charges if evidence warrant.
Aquino however has denied that he asked the Blue Ribbon to put closure to the hearings.
He said he merely relayed to Senate President Franklin Drilon the request of Binay to stop the investigation.
President Benigno Aquino has asked the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee to speed up its investigation into alleged corruption against Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family and file charges if warranted by evidence.
Aquino said he wants closure to the subcommittee probe that has stolen the attention of senators and the public that otherwise could have been focused on other important issues.
Aquino, interviewed on November 11 in China where he is attending the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC), said he wants the subcommittee to wrap up its probe as “soon as possible.”
The Blue Ribbon subcommittee composed of Binay critics Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Alan Peter Cayetano and Aquilino Pimentel III, has heard witnesses and gathered evidence after 4 months of investigation that has caught into its web former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay, the Vice President’s wife, and his son, incumbent Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay.
The senators earlier said the subcommittee has not yet completed its evidence gathering and the hearings will have to continue.
Binay has disregarded invitations by the subcommittee to attend the hearings to be able to dispute the allegations.
Binay denied the allegations of corruption and said the hearings are “demolition jobs” aimed to derail his presidential bid in 2016.
Binay is the potential presidential candidate of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrda.
The Liberal Party of Aquino is positioning Interior Secretary Mar Roxas as its standard bearer.
Former Makati City officials led by former Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, a former Binay political ally, have testified before the subcommittee on the rigging of the award and the overpricing of the P2.2 billion 11-story Makati City Parking Building II and other city government projects when Binay was the sitting mayor of Makati City.
Mercado said Binay, his wife and son, shook down the contractor of the projects to cough up commissions of 13 percent of project cost.
Mercado has also linked the Vice President and his family to the P1.2 billion 450-hectare Hacienda Binay in Rosario, Batangas.
In his testimony during the last hearing last month of the subcommittee, Mercado presented bank documents on Binay’s alleged dollar deposits in Hong Kong banks that he said were never declared in the Vice President’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).
In the China interview, Aquino noted the slow pace of the probe and the allegations and presentation of evidence are coming “in dribs and drabs.”
Aquino said he thinks the Senate hearings have distracted the senators and the public from other important issues and problems.
While it’s ongoing, the problem continues. You have to solve the problem as soon as possible, so that you can move on to the next challenge, Aquino said.
Aquino said all the evidence against Binay should already be presented so that the Senate could focus on other issues.
Stop the inquiry and send the case to the Ombudsman.
Senator Miriam Santiago said the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee should now submit to the anti-graft body evidence against Vice President Jejomar Binay’s alleged corruption and hidden wealth.
The subcommittee has been conducting an investigation since August into allegations of Binay’s overpricing in the construction of the 11-storey P2.7 billion Makati City Parking Building II when Binay was Makati City mayor and his alleged ownership of the 350-hectare Hacienda Binay in Rosario, Batangas.
The subcommittee has already gathered enough evidence and can close its hearing and endorse the matter to the Office of the Ombudsman, Santiago said.
Santiago made the statement on November 6 after Binay failed to attend the hearing set on the day by the Blue Ribbon mother committee chaired by Senator Teofisto Guingona III.
Binay had refused to attend the hearings by the subcommittee chaired by Senator Koko Pimentel with Senator Peter Cayetano and Senator Antonio Trillanes as members, describing them as a “political circus” and “demolition job” aimed at derailing his 2016 presidential bid.
Former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said his opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) will field Binay as its presidential candidate in 2016. Binay would be up against Interior Secretary Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino.
Guingona scheduled the November 6 hearing after Binay said he would only face his inquisitors in a hearing by the mother committee.
The Binay probe stemmed from a resolution authored by Trillanes on complaints of overpricing in the Makati City Parking Building II filed by former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.
The subcommittee had expanded its investigation into Binay’s alleged ownership of Hacienda Binay also on allegations of Mercado, a former political ally of Binay who turned whistleblower to expose the Vice President’s alleged corrupt dealings and undeclared properties.
Santiago said the subcommittee has done its job of gathering evidence on the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Parking Building II and on Hacienda Binay and must now allow the Ombudsman to look into the evidence presented before the Blue Ribbon subcommittee which are admissible in court.