Ochoa to DOJ
prosecutors: Ensure efficient criminal justice system to lure
Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. has exhorted prosecutors from
the Department of Justice (DOJ) to complement the administration’s
efforts in restoring investor confidence and managing the economy by
ensuring an efficient criminal justice system.
Speaking at the 24th
National Convention of the Prosecutors’ League of the Philippines
recently, Ochoa underscored the need for the DOJ and its prosecution
arm, the National Prosecution Service (NPS), to help establish the
Philippines as “a nation where justice and the rule of law prevails”
to make it more attractive to investors.
“We have to do our
share to inspire confidence among businessmen, who want a return on
their investment, and seek security for their persons and their
properties,” Ochoa stressed.
As the country’s
economic revival making the headway, Ochoa said it was important for
those in the criminal justice system to step up in order to match the
plans and programs of President Benigno Aquino III and his economic
“While it is their job
to encourage foreign investors to bring business into the country, it
is the job of those involved in law enforcement, like the DOJ and NPS,
to discourage international criminal syndicates from operating in this
country and victimizing our people,” Ochoa added.
Ochoa likewise urged
prosecutors to emulate the President’s example and brand of leadership
in providing justice and accountability to the Filipino public.
He noted the
President’s clear foresight and political will to attain a vision of
“a country where people are held accountable for their crimes; a
government that is dead-set at putting closure to the controversies
that have eroded the credibility and legitimacy of our institutions;
an administration that will ensure a level playing field for foreign
and local businessmen; and a nation whose people abide by and uphold
the rule of law.”
“The President has
chosen to lead by example and has been unequivocal about ensuring that
our people obtain justice, so those tasked to enforce our laws –
including those in the prosecutorial service – must be emboldened to
ensure that those who break our laws do not profit from their crimes,
but are made to pay for them,” Ochoa said.
Service and DOJ must take its cue from the President, and must exhibit
the same qualities the Chief Executive has shown in his campaign for
reforms. You must be uncompromising in the pursuit of justice and must
be unrelenting in your efforts to ensure that the victims of crimes,
regardless of rank or station, obtain justice.”
At the same time,
Ochoa cited tremendous achievements of various government agencies in
terms of international crime-fighting and prevention.
Ochoa said the
Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), which he heads,
had been vigorously coordinating and aligning the efforts of
government agencies tasked to combat organized criminal activities.
Secretary said the initiative of the Inter-Agency Council Against
Trafficking – composed of PAOCC, DOJ, Philippine Center for
Transnational Crime, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Department of
Labor and Philippine Overseas Employment Agency – resulted in the
rescue of more human trafficking victims during the last two years.
This accomplishment was the main reason why the United States removed
the Philippines from its “Tier 2 Watchlist” last year, he said.
According to Ochoa,
much credit goes to the DOJ and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who
has taken the lead in the government’s anti-human trafficking efforts.
“The DOJ played a
major role in the success of our anti-human trafficking efforts as it
tied together the efforts of numerous agencies to thwart human
trafficking syndicates and build solid cases that led to the
convictions of the criminal elements responsible,” Ochoa said.
He added: “This should
serve as the model by which the DOJ and the NPS can get involved in
law enforcement efforts – from investigation and pursuit of criminal
elements, all the way to evidence gathering and the successful
prosecution of the masterminds behind the terrible crimes committed
against our people.”
With these successes
in combating crimes, Ochoa said the only message the Aquino
administration wanted to convey to the international community was
“our doors are open for business, but they are closed to crime.”
businessmen who wish to invest in our country and want a good return
on their investment, we will roll out the red carpet and make lives
easier for them; for criminals who want to engage in profit from
illegal activities within our borders, we will make business bad for
them and will use all the resources of the state so that they are
caught, tried and punished for their crimes,” Ochoa said.
“In these efforts,
know that you have the support of a President who believes in walking
the straight path, righting the wrongs in our country, and upholding
the rule of law to provide an environment that will spur inclusive
economic growth and genuine national development,” he added.
House Speaker Belmonte
not supportive of new investigation on PAGCOR; calls for support for
entertainment city project instead
MANILA – Congressmen
led by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte are no longer keen on
investigating anew the officials of the Philippine Amusement and
Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) who got caught up in a fierce
intra-corporate legal war between two gaming giants in the
Belmonte and other senior members of Congress said that instead of
being subjected to unending investigations, Pagcor Chair Cristino
Naguiat Jr. deserves to be supported for doggedly pursuing the US$
5-billion Entertainment City project, which got him and other Pagcor
officials into trouble in the first place.
“As far as I can
remember, the committee on games and amusement had a hearing and no
less than the panel chair (Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing), together with
his members, cleared Chairman Naguiat. If ever the resolution seeking
another probe reaches committee chair Amado Bagatsing, I’m sure he
knows what to do,” Belmonte said.
commenting on a fresh investigation sought by Bayan Muna party-list
Rep. Teddy Casiño on reports that Naguiat and other Pagcor officials
got luxury rooms, sumptuous dinners and other perks at the Wynn’s
Resorts in Macau in 2010, courtesy of Japanese casino mogul Kazuo Okada.
resolution asked the House committee on good government and public
accountability to do the investigation, the matter is likely to be
tossed back to Bagatsing’s committee.
When sought for
comment, Bagatsing described Casino’s resolution as similar to “forum
shopping” in the legal practice. Forum shopping is the informal name
given to the practice adopted by some litigants to have their legal
case heard in the court thought most likely to provide a favorable
judgment. The practice is disallowed in the Philippine Justice system.
“It indeed looks like
forum shopping to me,” said Bagatsing, whose panel cleared Naguiat and
his Pagcor delegation of supposed impropriety, saying that Pagcor
officials were mere cannon fodder in the messy corporate legal
wrangling between Okada and his partner of 12 years, American casino
magnate Stephen Wynn, chair of the Wynn Resorts.
“There is no
impropriety here. We are falling into the trap and machinations of Mr.
Steve Wynn whose main objective is to oust Okada from his casino
firm,” Bagatsing said during the February 27 hearing where Wynn was
also declared persona non-grata and banned from doing business in the
According to Bagatsing,
Naguiat was merely working to ensure the success of Entertainment City
which could generate $10 billion in gross revenues from 2015 and 2016
when investors led by Okada’s Travellers International Hotel Group and
Tiger Resorts and local investors shall have completed the integrated
hotel, amusement and gaming project in Paranaque City.
“I hope we will get
the picture right, that Mr. Naguiat was a collateral damage,” said
Bagatsing, adding that the project that Okada is entering with Pagcor
in the country may dwarf the gambling operations in Wynn’s casinos in
Las Vegas and Macau.
During the hearing,
Naguiat said he was only doing his job when he honored the invitation
of Okada in a bid to create more jobs in the country.
True to Bagatsing’s
suspicions, Wynn did indeed oust Okada from the Wynn Resorts board by
redeeming Okada’s 24 shares in the company at 30 percent discount and
issuing a 10-year $1.9-billion promissory note. Wynn did so by
presenting to the board an investigation showing Okada committing
alleged impropriety with gaming regulators in the Philippines in
violation of US anti-corruption laws.
But Belmonte said that
instead of letting the Wynn-Okada messy legal corporate battle affect
the country’s chance to become the world’s newest gaming and tourism
mecca, Naguiat should be supported for pursuing the ambitious
“I am supportive of
Pagcor’s Entertainment City project. It will definitely boost our
country’s tourism,” Belmonte said, noting that Tourism Secretary Ramon
Jimenez earlier expressed optimism that Pagcor’s Las Vegas-style
facility would help the government achieve its targeted 10 million
annual tourist visits by 2016.
Once it becomes fully
operational by 2015, Pagcor’s Entertainment City is expected to
generate at least 1,000,000 tourist arrivals annually contributing at
least 10 percent of the government’s target tourist arrivals within
the next few years, with annual gaming revenues estimated to be at
least US$10 billion of which 25 percent, or at least US$ 2.5 billion
annually, will be the share of government.
“This will bring much
more fun in the
terms of tourist arrivals and gaming revenues for the Philippine
government,” Belmonte said.
Okada, chairman of
Universal Entertainment Corp. and Aruze USA Inc., had likewise filed a
counterclaim against his partner Wynn for Okada’s ouster and the
arbitrary redemption of his stake in the Las Vegas-based gaming firm.
Okada sought permanent
injunction, declaratory relief and multiple claims for damages caused
by the actions of Wynn and the Wynn Resorts Board for the alleged
“unjust and improper redemption of shares owned by Aruze at a 30
In moving against
Okada, Wynn said Okada’s two casinos and three hotels in Manila will
lure “high-limit, VIP gamblers” from China in direct competition with
Wynn’s casino in Macau.
Millions in financial
assistance given to two Leyte festivals to compete in Aliwan Fiesta
Media Relations Center
March 31, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – Leyte’s two winning festivals, the Lingganay Festival of Alangalang
and Buyogan Festival of Abuyog, each received a whopping P1 million
assistance from the provincial government of Leyte as they vie in the
country’s premiere festival, the Aliwan Fiesta in Manila.
Gov. Carlos Jericho
Petilla handed over the financial assistance to Mayor Loreto Yu of
Alangalang and Mayor Octavio Traya of Abuyog, as there is only a
little over two weeks to go and preparations, for both festivals are
now in full swing.
Broadcasting Company will hold the 10th edition of the Aliwan Fiesta
2012 on April 12-14 at the Quirino Grandstand in
Gov. Petilla said he
is more than ready to provide support to these two festival
contingents as exposures in such a national festival competition also
lures economic opportunities and tourism promotions.
“It is very, very
expensive to be sending a contingent. But we have already made a mark
in this cultural festivities that whenever they mention Leyte, they
would always associate us with award winning festivals,” Gov. Petilla
Festival earned a spot to compete in the Aliwan Fiesta after winning
the grand plum in the 2011 Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals in
Tacloban. Its first entry into the Sinulog Festival in Cebu this
January also proved fruitful as it won first place in the Free
On the other hand,
Abuyog famed Buyogan Festival will again try to work its magic in the
Aliwan Fiesta. Buyogan did not compete in the Aliwan last year and the
Sinulog Festival this year after a winning streak in 2009 and 2010,
including in the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival.
This year twenty one
festivals will be seeing action in this yearly summer spectacle that
include Kalivungan Festival of Alamada Cotabato; Ala Eh Lambayok
Festival of San Juan, Batangas; Pattaraday Festival of Santiago City,
Isabela; Kalilangan Festival of General Santos City; Boling-Boling
Festival of Catanauan Quezon; Zamboanga Hermosa Festival of Zamboanga
City; Dayang Dayang Festival of Pasay City; Halamanan Festival of
Guiguinto Bulacan; Lembuhong Festival of Surallah South Cotabato;
Salakayan Festival of Miag ao Iloilo; Padang Padang Festival of Parang
Maguindanao; Panagbenga Festival of Baguio City; Tagagiik Festival of
Taguig City; Meguyaya Festival of Upi Maguindanao; Mamang-os at
Kambingan Festival of Tuy, Batangas; Sagayan Festival of the Province
of Maguindanao; T’nalak Festival of the Province of South Cotabato;
Dinagyang Festiv al of Iloilo City and Pandang Gitab Festival of the
Province of Oriental Mindoro.
The highlights of this
grand event is the festival streetdance competition and the float
The Aliwan Fiesta,
which was organized in 2003 by the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC)
and Star City, showcases the best festivals of the 17 regions in the
fisherman found, able to attend his wedding date
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TOLOSA, Leyte – The
fisherman from Tolosa, Leyte who was reported missing since he went
out fishing on March 27 at the height of heavy rains, was found on
March 29, right on time to attend his wedding on March 30.
“Yes, he was found. I
am sure of that. I just officiated his wedding this morning,” Tolosa
Mayor Erwin Ocaña told the Philippine Information Agency.
Mayor Ocaña described
as very emotional, the wedding of the lost fisherman Castro C.
Advincula, 48 years old and his girlfriend from
Based on official
records of the Tolosa DRRMC, Castro Advincula, Romeo C. Maraya, 47
years old, Romeo Maraya, Jr., 14 years old, and a certain Dodo
Calamaya, 60 years old, all residents of the municipality of Tolosa
went fishing early morning of March 27.
Supposedly, based on
their daily routine, they were expected to return home between 11:00
o’clock to 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the four
fishermen failed to return.
On March 28 at about
12:00 o’clock noontime, the three fishermen arrived home safely
without any injuries, but without Castro Advincula. Upon learning
about this the office of the Mayor immediately informed the MDRRMC
which reported the same to RDRRMC, and conducted search and rescue
operations to no avail.
The PNP of Lawaan,
Dulag, Mayorga and Abuyog were also contacted for help, in case the
fishermen in the said municipalities will spot the fisherman in
In the morning of
March 29, the Tolosa MRRMC conducted search and rescue operations on
the nearby waters up to Abuyog, but came home with negative results.
On March 29, at about
12:05 noontime, Castro C. Advincula arrived home safely without any
injuries except for minor elevation of his blood pressure.
He was accompanied by
two fishermen from San Roque, Abuyog,
Leyte namely, Nestor Felicarta, 53 years old and Ernesto A.
Mendras, 57 years old.
The two Abuyog
fishermen were on their way fishing within the territorial waters of
Abuyog bounded by the territorial waters of Silago,
5:00 o’clock in the morning of September 29 when they spotted and
rescued Castro Advincula.
Castro thanked the two
fishermen profusely for coming to his rescue and for bringing him home
in time for his wedding at
8:00 o’clock in the morning of Friday.
Filipinos in Sokor
rally behind Filipina bet for parliament
By OVP Media
MANILA – The
Filipino community in South Korea is rallying behind the candidacy of
Jasmine Lee, a Filipina married to a Korean national who is running
for Parliament under the ruling party, and Vice-President Jejomar C.
Binay said her strong showing “gives hope not only for Filipinos but
for all migrants and immigrants.”
“We are all very proud
that a full-blooded Filipino is being given the opportunity to be a
member of the Korean Parliament,” Binay told South Korean media. “It
shows that Korea is prepared to extend the opportunity to become a
public servant even to those who were not born here.”
Binay said if elected,
Lee “will be an advocate not only of Filipino workers’ rights, but the
rights of all migrants in
Lee is a popular TV
host, and heads the Global Resource Center (GRC) in Seoul, a
non-government organization serving as a support group for foreign
wives of Koreans.
She became a
naturalized Korean in 1998, three years after she married Korean Lee
Dongho and moved to South Korea.
The ruling Saenuri
Party included her in the list of 46 candidates for the proportional
representative seats in the April 11 elections in South Korea.
Lee, who was present
during the Vice-President’s dialog with the Filipino community at the
Philippine Embassy, wrote down the concerns raised by the OFWs, among
them the plight of “Stateless children,” or children born to migrant
parents who are not recognized by the host countries.
“What we can do is to
appeal to the host governments to recognize these children. But the
problem is not only confined to
but in other countries, especially in the Middle East where there are
an estimate 6,000 of them,” Binay said.
91.3% of Pantawid
Pamilya beneficiaries in Eastern Visayas are women
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY –
Women comprise 91.3 percent of the 165,136 beneficiaries of Pantawid
Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, in Eastern Visayas in 2011.
This was disclosed by
the National Statistical Coordination Board Region 8 Coordinator
Evangeline Paran who said that men accounted for only 8.7 percent.
Hence, 9 out of 10
beneficiaries of 4Ps in the Region are women, Director Paran said
adding that all provinces in the Region exhibited similar trend.
In the province of
Leyte, of the total 74,261 household beneficiaries, a total of 68,456
were women while 5,805 were men. In Biliran, of the total 3,287
household beneficiaries, 3,077 were women while 210 were men. In
Southern Leyte, of the total 2,128 household beneficiaries, 1,941 were
women while 187 were men.
Moreover, in the
province of Samar, of the total 45,922 household beneficiaries,
42,731were women while 3,191 were men. Eastern Samar had 5,423
household beneficiaries; 5,028 were women while 395 were men. Of the
34,115 Northern Samar, 29,527 were women while 4,588 were men.
agency of 4Ps, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has an
answer to the trend.
According to DSWD,
women were chosen as household beneficiaries over men because the
monthly cash grant is usually given to the most responsible member of
the household, Director Paran said.
Pilipino Program, also known as Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), is a
poverty reduction program of the government which provides cash
assistance to poor households to improve their health, nutrition and
education status, particularly of children aged 0-14 years old.
A household that has
children 0-14 years old and/or has a pregnant woman at the time of
assessment is one of the criteria in the selection of beneficiaries.
The Regional NCMB
observed that the number of pregnant women served totaled 4,862 in
2011 and almost half or 49.6% came from the
One of the conditionalities of 4Ps is that pregnant women must avail
of pre-and post-natal care and be attended by a trained health
professional during childbirth.
Meanwhile, the number
of schoolchildren beneficiaries reached 412,964. There were more boys
(213,810) than girls (199,154) enrolled in daycare, elementary and
conditionalities include that 0-5 years old children must receive
regular preventive health check-ups and vaccines; that 3-5 years old
children must attend day care or pre-school classes at least 85% of
the time; that 6-14 years old must be enrolled in elementary and high
school and must attend at least 85% of the time, and that 6-14 years
old must receive deworming pills twice a year.
brutalities make Lenten ceasefire impossible - CPP
CPP Press Release
The Communist Party of
the Philippines (CPP) today dismissed the possibility of declaring a
Lenten ceasefire because of the continuous brutal offensives and
campaigns of suppression being carried out by the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) against civilian communities and the Aquino regime's
policy to paralyze peace negotiations with the National Democratic
Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
"The brutality of the
Aquino regime's war in the countryside has stepped up in the past few
months, with state forces resorting to aerial bombings, massacres and
shootings directed against unarmed people waging struggles against
oppression and exploitation," said the CPP.
"Peace talks and human
rights are completely out of the list of priorities of the US-Aquino
regime as shown by the intensified atrocities being carried out by its
armed forces under its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression," said the
"The attacks against
civilian communities have resulted in grave abuses of human rights,
including violations of children's rights," added the CPP. "The
grossest violations of human rights are being committed against
civilian communities waging struggles for land and against the
incursions of foreign mining firms."
"With Oplan Bayanihan
and attacks against civilian communities, the US-Aquino regime and its
armed forces clearly demonstrate how subservient they are to the
interests of big landlords and the exploitative and oppressive foreign
monopoly firms," said the CPP.
The CPP cited recent
cases showing the brutality of Oplan Bayanihan:
From March 8 to 11,
the 4th ID of the AFP carried out aerial bombings of the mountain
communities of Agusan-Surigao, dislocating lumad communities and
putting civilian lives in grave danger. The bombings, which were meant
to pave the way for mining companies and terrorize the people,
affected Barangays Puting Bato in Cabadbaran City and two lumad
communities in Kalatingga and Manhumapay along the Agusan del Norte,
Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur tri-boundary.
On March 11,
seven-year old Rudelyn Aguirre of the Tumanduk tribe was killed by a
grenade launched from the 61st IB detachment located just 200 meters
away from her family's house. The explosive hit the front yard of
Divina and Roberto Aguirre in Barangay Tacayan, Tapaz, Capiz where
Rudelyn and her sister Roda were playing. Roda was severely wounded in
Late last February,
AFP soldiers, PNP personnel and a hundred armed goons of the Rizal
Commercial Banking Corporation fired at protesting farm workers of
Hacienda Luisita. The peasants and farm workers were demonstrating
against the construction of a wall to fence off more than 200 hectares
of land being claimed by RCBC. The land has been awarded to the farm
workers by the Supreme Court in a decision last November 22, 2011.
On February 25,
soldiers of the 49th IB massacred the Mancera family when they
indiscriminately fired upon their hut in Sitio Mapatong, Barangay
Malaya, Labo, Camarines Norte. Three members of the Mancera family –
Michael, 10 years old; Richard, 7; and their father Benjamin, died on
the spot. A lone NPA Red fighter, Rafael "Ka Gupi" Llantino, who was
resting with the family, was also killed.
On February 16, armed
elements of the 1st IB, 1st Special Forces Battalion, 59th IB and
CAFGU-CAA indiscriminately fired upon a group of hunters in the
forested area of Magdalena, Laguna. Two residents of the area
immediately died. Earlier, Romeo Guyala, a barangay tanod, and his son
Romeo Jr, were subjected to beatings by elements of the 1st IB and the
202nd Brigade in Liliw, Laguna.