colleagues to open PDAF use to public scrutiny
By Office of Senator Chiz
October 2, 2013
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero said the disbursement and use of the Priority
Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by legislators should be open to
public scrutiny to ensure transparency and accountability.
Escudero issued the call to
his fellow lawmakers to open their books to the Filipino people amid
the reported misuse and abuse of the PDAF, which was originally
intended to finance the pet projects of senators and congressmen.
A recent special report by
the Commission on Audit (COA) and revelations at the ongoing
investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee initially showed
that some lawmakers have allegedly connived with bogus non-government
organizations to pocket kickbacks through ghost projects.
“Whether it’s PDAF, pork
barrel or DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) is immaterial. The
important issues here are transparency and accountability. At the end
of the day, as public officials entrusted with public funds, we should
be able to explain to the public how these were disbursed and used,”
said Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.
According to Escudero, how
each lawmaker allocated and used every single centavo earmarked for
the PDAF should be made public and accessible to all stakeholders for
scrutiny in the spirit of transparency and accountability.
“This is a challenge to my
fellow legislators: reveal how you spent public funds. We owe it to
our constituents, we owe it to our taxpayers,” he said.
Since Escudero started
availing of the special budget for legislators’ pet projects in 2010,
he has posted on his website (www.chizescudero.com) the detailed
allocation of his PDAF to local government units (LGUs) across the
country. The senator did not receive any PDAF during the Arroyo
He said all the allocations
he received under the PDAF had been properly accounted for and open to
scrutiny by COA and the public. “All releases and disbursements to
LGUs which had sought my assistance were transparent and verifiable.
These can be scrutinized by COA and the public anytime.”
Escudero also sought to
clarify the “confusion” surrounding the P96 million (not P99 million
as earlier reported) he had requested the Department of Budget and
Management to download to local LGUs to finance their requests for
repairs of specialty hospitals and construction of public markets.
The whole P96 million
released by the DBM through its DAP covered the project funding
requests that went directly to LGUs in the cities and municipalities
of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite, Rizal, Ilocos Norte and
Pangasinan, among others, mostly for infrastructure projects and
Majority of the LGUs
received P500,000 each for the construction and rehabilitation of
their public markets.
Since the senator started
using his PDAF in 2010, he had only funded infrastructure projects and
medical assistance through various LGUs, as well as improvement of
regional and specialty hospitals.
Police filed murder
raps vs. suspects in ex-village chief’s slay in Samar
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 1, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte –
The police filed Monday criminal charges against alleged gunmen in the
Sunday morning killing of a former chairman of Lagundi village in
A case for murder was filed
at the Office of the City Prosecutor against Reymund Bañar and one
John Doe docketed under NPS number VIII-08-INQ-131-00432 dated
September 30, 2013, according to PCSupt. Elmer R. Soria, director of
Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8).
“The witnesses pointed to
Bañar as one of the two gunmen who shot ex-chairman Filomeno
Cabarriban,” Soria said.
Bañar, 21, is now in police
custody after his arrest in a manhunt operation by a joint police team
from the Regional Special Operations Group 8 (RSOG 8) and Catbalogan
police station led by Insp. Constantino Jabonete, Jr.
The police regional chief
added that the suspect was nabbed in his hide-out situated at the
outskirts of same village, some two kilometers from the crime scene,
at past 7:00 p.m. Sunday.
Soria added that the
suspect, who is a native of Brgy. San Andres also in same city, has
been residing in the area just about two months prior to the incident.
The victim was watching a
cock fight in Catbalogan Gallera in Brgy. Lagundi, some five
kilometers south of the city proper, at around 11 a.m. Sunday when the
gunmen shot and hit the victim at the back and neck that went through
his left cheek.
The suspects then joined two
other companions who served as look-outs in fleeing towards the
mountainous part of the village while the victim was rushed to the
Samar Provincial Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
The 47-year old victim was
employed at the local government unit of Catbalogan prior his death
while his wife Allan currently serves as barangay chairperson of
Police recovered from the
crime scene two fired cartridges of .45 caliber pistol and one fired
cartridge from 9mm.
The victim was a known
supporter of former Catbalogan City Mayor Coefredo Uy, who now sits as
a city councilor, and was reportedly planning to regain his old post
as village chair.
The detained suspect
underwent a paraffin test Sunday evening as investigators also
generated computerized composite facial sketches of remaining suspects
based on eyewitnesses’ account that could help effect the arrest of
the other suspects.
and manhunt operations are being conducted to identify and arrest
Bañar’s cohorts,” Soria informed.
Cayetano asks Blue
Ribbon to pursue all leads in PDAF scam
Go after Napoles properties
and assets now
Office of the Senate Majority Leader
October 1, 2013
PASAY CITY – “Let’s pursue all leads and search for the truth...no
matter who or what will be exposed.”
As a step toward this, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano
has asked the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and
Investigations (Blue Ribbon Committee) to subpoena the Senate staff
who were implicated in the pork barrel scam after being mentioned by
whistleblowers during the previous hearing.
“I write to pursue leads provided by the whistleblowers so that the
committee may gather more facts and be able to see the whole truth,”
Cayetano said in a letter he sent Tuesday to panel chair Senator
Teofisto Guingona III.
“We should leave no stone unturned. No special treatment must be
accorded to any of the individuals implicated in the scam,” he added.
Go after Napoles properties, assets now
In the letter, the Majority Leader requested that a subpoena ad testificandum be issued for the senate staff and that invitations be
sent to representatives of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, Office
of Ombudsman, Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration, and Land
Registration Authority for the next Blue Ribbon hearing on pork barrel
Cayetano said he wants to inquire from these people what the
government is doing to preserve and recover properties “that are
probably fruits of the crime” of Janet Napoles and others who were
accused by the DoJ and National Bureau of Investigation team.
“Given that in many instances in the past, bank deposits have been
withdrawn in accounts closed while other properties are sold,
transferred, or disposed of, government must act now to ensure that I
can still recover the people’s money,” he pointed out.
Likewise, he wants to determine if laws are adequate or amendments are
needed on allowing alleged plunderers to leave the country before a
warrant of arrest is issued.
Calling on the said individuals is in accordance with the Senate's
determination to "dig deeper into the PDAF scam and pursue other leads
in the investigation" while the subpoena for accused pork scam
mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles remains unsettled.
"Having these people in the Senate investigation is indispensable in
the search for truth and pursuit of justice," he said.
Elmer R. Soria, PRO8 director (left), assisting PDir. Gil J.
Hitosis of the PNP Directorate for Logistics (3rd from left) and
Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. Cari (2nd from left) in handing over
brand-new Glock 17 pistol to a police recipient.
555 cops in EV
receives brand new guns
By RPCRD, Police Regional
September 30, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte –
Eastern Visayas top police official Police Chief Supt. Elmer R. Soria
and Police Director Gil J. Hitosis, the Director for Logistics of the
Philippine National Police, personally led the distribution of new
handguns to police personnel in the region without issued sidearms.
In ceremonial distribution
held at the Police Regional Office 8 Matapat Hall Monday, the top
police officials handed over some 72 brand-new Glock 17 Generation 4
safe-action 9mm pistols to policemen who were pre-selected to receive
the new service firearms.
“Our law enforcers,
especially those who are deployed in the field and at the forefront of
combating crime, can now better serve and protect the citizenry,”
He informed that those with
the ranks of Police Officers 1 to 3 were prioritized in the
distribution after passing the training on firearms proficiency and
maintenance conducted by the PNP Training Service - Regional Special
Training Unit 8.
The PRO8 received 595
brand-new pistols under the PNP’s Capability Enhancement Program (CEP)
from the initial 22,603 units distributed to police units nationwide
as part of the first tranche of delivery which will be completed in
April next year.
Forty of the new guns were
used as training pistols while 555 were distributed to the different
police offices in the region.
“The recent and future
distribution will enable all active-duty personnel and future police
recruits joining the PRO8 to be issued with service short firearms,”
Prior to the distribution of
new hand guns, only 2,929 out of 6,193 police personnel in the region
have issued short guns.
Soria added that the
acquisition of the Glock pistols is considered the biggest procurement
project in PNP history with 74,879 Glock guns for distribution to
police units nationwide.
The Glock 17 has a market
price of P40,940.00, but with the transparent conduct of the bidding
process, the PNP got a better deal with the distributor that sold the
guns for only P16,659.94 purchase price.
This saved the PNP an amount
of P200,082.954.24 from the original P1.198 billion allocation that
was used in buying additional 15,000 pieces of the same brand.
The Glock 17 pistol is the
service firearm used by at least 65 percent of police forces and law
enforcement agencies in the world including the United States Federal
Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration, and the
Swiss Army special forces.
It is the same weapon issued
to British troops in Afghanistan in January for their personal
protection and as a second armament in case their SA80 rifle fails.
Some 3,103 pairs of patrol
shoes were also distributed to different provincial and city police
offices to be used in patrol and crime-fighting activities by PNP
participation for good governance
By JULIEANNE DEE C.
LANGCAUON, RAFI Intern
September 30, 2013
CEBU CITY – In the wake of the recent "pork" barrel scandal that shook
the Philippine government and the nation, Filipinos are reminded on
the importance of good governance, which integrate public awareness
and participation in pursuit of political stability.
“We are still in our stage of infancy in good governance. Many
Filipinos are still passive, lack the necessary maturity to act in
accordance with our ideal principles in life,” Richard Fernandez,
faculty of Political Science Department at the University of San Jose-Recoletos,
said during the Sept. 21 episode of "Pagtuki", the official radio
program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI).
For Fr. Carmelo Diola, executive director of Dilaab Foundation Inc.,
good governance is an exercise of servant leadership on public or
Diola added that in the country's journey towards good governance,
technology, in the form of social media, is an advantage Filipinos can
Across the nation, the series of rallies decrying lawmakers' misuse of
their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is a manifestation
of social media's impact to mass action in response to injustice.
Fernandez urged the people to actively participate in making things
happen for the country. This he describes as political participation.
With political participation, Fernandez explained, accountability,
responsibility, and transparency follows. He referred to Article 2 of
the Philippine Constitution which states, “The power of the government
emanates from the people.”
“When we speak of good governance, this includes everyone not only the
officials. This is important if we want our goals realized,” Evelyn
Nacario-Castro, executive director of RAFI’s Eduardo Aboitiz
Developmental Studies Center (EADSC), commented.
Castro further explained that politics is created by people for their
necessity and to promote their welfare. And if there is something
people want to achieve collectively, then they themselves should make
“Our greatest asset, aside from the abundance of our natural
resources, is our human resources. Filipinos are skilled, talented and
people with capacity. If we can make things happen then we have the
capability, but because of passivity then nothing happens. It’s time
to take things seriously and participate,” Fernandez urged.
In the coming barangay elections, Diola encouraged the public to be
discerning voters as this is an opportunity to practice good
“Governance is too precious just to be left to public servants so
people have to be involved,” Diola added.
Soria vows justice
for police chief killed in Saturday evening ambush in Eastern Samar
Police Regional Office 8
September 30, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte –
The top police official in Eastern Visayas vowed justice for the two
slain policemen, including a police commissioned officer, killed in an
ambush by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) Saturday
PCSupt. Elmer R. Soria,
chief of the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8), condemned the incident,
labeling it as “senseless and treacherous.”
“This is a desperate act of
the rebels to show that they are still a force to reckon with so they
can justify their extortion activities especially with the coming
barangay elections,” Soria said.
Soria immediately ordered
pursuit operations to capture the fleeing rebels.
PInsp. Alberto Ayad, police
chief of Arteche town in Eastern Samar, and two policemen were
conducting mobile patrol operations when ambushed by undetermined
number of suspected rebels at around 9:00 p.m. Saturday at the
vicinity of Brgy. Central Elementary School.
Ayad sustained multiple
gunshot wounds on different parts of his body and was killed in
Another policeman, PO1 July
Juliata, also perished in the attack while PO3 Glorioso Nebril was
critically wounded and was initially brought to Eastern Samar
Provincial Hospital in Borongan City. He was later transferred to a
hospital in Tacloban City.
The suspects failed to cart
away the victims’ issued firearms, two M14 rifles and 2 9mm pistols,
as they retreated upon sensing the arrival of responding policemen.
“PRO8 not only lost one of
its most decorated officer but his family also lost a good husband and
father,” the police regional chief added.
The slain police chief, a
bemedalled cop, joined the Philippine National Police in 1995 and was
commissioned as officer via lateral entry as member of “Rubasan” class
Arteche is a third class
town situated at northern part of Eastern Samar, some 130 kilometers
from the provincial capital Borongan City and few kilometers away from
the boundary to Northern Samar.
The ambush was perpetrated
while the province was celebrating the 112th Balangiga Encounter Day
that highlighted the heroism of Balangiganon against the American
The attack transpired on the
first day of election period as the police have started the
implementation of the gun ban and intensified the conduct of
operations against lawless elements that might disrupt the peace and
order situation in Eastern Visayas.
Greenpeace, et al
won Bt Talong’s last legal battle at the appellate court level
September 29, 2013
MANILA, Philippines –
After one year and five months of legal battle on the Writ of
Kalikasan against Bt Talong field trials, the Court of Appeals (CA)
affirmed its earlier decision that uphold the right of Filipinos to a
healthy and balanced ecology.
The 14-page CA resolution,
dated 20 September 2013, vindicated the petitioners Greenpeace and
Magsasaka at Siyentipiko sa Pagpapaunlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG)
along with 15 other individuals including former Sen. Orly Mercado and
Rep. Teddy Casiño when they won the last legal battle on the Writ of
Kalikasan on Bt Talong in the appellate level. CA upholds its decision
and affirmed the arguments raised by the petitioners.
The case filed in April 2012
has undergone a series of debates which presented scientists and
experts from both sides. In May 2013, the CA has earlier issued its
decision ordering the respondents lead by University of the
Philippines Los Baños Foundation (UPLBFI), University of the
Philippines, Los Baños (UPLB), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and
the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to
“permanently cease and desist from further conducting BT Talong field
trials” and “protect, preserve, rehabilitate and restore the
Von Hernandez, Greenpeace
Southeast Asia Executive Director commented, "the ruling strongly
validates our position regarding the hazards of open releases of
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) such as Bt eggplant into the
environment.” He stressed that the decision also vindicates Greenpeace
against the malicious, aggressive and sustained attacks currently
being waged by GMO pushers and their propagandists against the
Calling on the government,
Hernandez said, “this decision should enlighten our government not to
waste public money in co-funding research on GM crops, which is not
only harmful but would only benefit the corporate patent owners of the
gene and technology. It must not also allow foreign biotechnology
firms to dominate state university research; instead, support Filipino
researchers in their work for safe, ecological and organic
The respondents have filed
their motion for reconsideration in which the CA has denied and
affirmed its earlier decision. Highlights of the Court of Appeals
1. University respondent,
UPLB, could not find solace in the Constitutional provision on
academic freedom. Like any other right, says CA, the right to academic
freedom ends when the overriding public welfare calls for some
restraint. It does not give UPLB unbridled freedom to conduct
experimentation, studies & research that may put to risk the health of
the people and the environment which are equally protected under our
fundamental law. The court ordered to stop the field trial, not the
research on Bt talong, and considered science creative enough to
continue the research without releasing it to the environment.
2. The testing or
introduction of Bt talong in the Philippines, by its nature and
intent, is a grave and present danger to a balanced ecology because in
any book and by any yardstick, it is an ecologically imbalancing
event. Court emphasised the "chronic harm" (harm built up over time)
that Bt talong might cause and the fact that it heard all the experts'
testimonies which failed to settle the scientific uncertainties. It
cited the study of Prof. Seralini "Food and Chemical Toxicology"
September 20, 2012 which was undisputed when presented by the justices
themselves in the hearing of experts. Hence, the proper application of
the precautionary principle.
3. Court did not find any
compelling reason in the 3 Motions for Reconsideration and 2 Replies
by respondents to reverse or modify the Court's May 17, 2013 decision.
Note that the May 17, 2013 decision granted the writs of kalikasan and
continuing mandamus on the grounds:
a) there is no scientific
consensus on the safety and impacts of Bt talong;
b) there is no Congressional
enactment that governs introduction, release, experimentation of GM
crops like Bt talong;
c) precautionary principle
is applicable in the light of uncertainties and
inadequacy/ineffectiveness or current regulatory system; and,
d) Bt talong, with its
social, economic and environmental impacts, should not be entrusted to
scientists only but should also involve all stakeholders.
Atty. Zelda Soriano,
Political Advisor, Greenpeace Southeast Asia and lead counsel for the
Writ of Kalikasan, emphasized the need for the respondents DENR and DA
to prepare an immediate plan of action to rehabilitate the field trial
sites and protect, preserve and conserve the environment as ordered by
Soriano said, “it is also
within the mandate of the departments of environment, agriculture and
health to recommend policies and measures to reform the present
regulatory process found by the court as incapable, ineffective, and
inadequate to protect the constitutional rights of the Filipinos to
health and balanced ecology. All of these, however, must be done in
consultation and collaboration with stakeholders.”
surrender to 20IB
By DPAO, 8ID PA
September 27, 2013
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City
Samar – A certain Jayson Francisco Lucban, alias Bunso/Jay, and
Rosemarie Moreno Cadajas, alias LJ/Aira/Ai-Ai, Squad leader and member
of the NPA Regional Strike Force, voluntarily surrendered to Lt Col
Rey Anthony M Tumaliuan, Commanding Officer of 20th Infantry Battalion
based at Barangay Magsaysay, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar on September
During the initial interview
conducted, the duo said that they decided to renounce their membership
as NPAs because of the current government programs intended for former
Under the Comprehensive
Local Integration Program of the Office of the Presidential Assistant
for Peace Process (OPAPP), the two (2) surrenderees will receive
P50,000 livelihood assistance and P15,000 immediate assistance. They
will also receive another cash reward in exchange for whatever firearm
they will surrender under the AFP Guns for Peace. In addition, they
are also entitled to receive livelihood package from LGUs where they
The relentless 8ID combat
operations and Bayanihan Team Activities have triggered the surrender
of NPA members causing demoralization among NPA ranks in the region
with more NPA insurgents expected to surrender.
Brigadier General Jet B.
Velarmino AFP, Commander of 8th Infantry Division said, “We welcome
the return to the mainstream of the two (2) NPA members. These two
former rebels will be provided financial and livelihood assistance as
programmed by the government to make their reintegration in the
mainstream easier. We also assure the security and well-being of
everyone who will lay down his arms in the spirit of IPSP “Bayanihan”
so that lasting Peace and sustainable development in Eastern Visayas
will be attained.”