Treat Gloria Arroyo the way her government treated Sen. Trillanes

December 6, 2011

By Raïssa Robles
Posted at 12/06/2011 11:02 AM | Updated as of 12/06/2011 11:02 AM

The “shoe” is now in the foot of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. When Senator Antonio Trillanes was in detention for a capital crime, he was also banned from using the Internet and the mobile phone.

So why would Arroyo be any different, Trillanes’ lawyer asks.

When Senator Antonio Trillanes was in detention for a capital crime, he was banned from using the Internet and mobile phone by a regional trial court judge.

Trillanes appealed the ban but the government of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo successfully blocked this, as well as his request to physically attend Senate sessions.

That was four years ago. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

Today Congresswoman Arroyo (CGMA) is the one in detention for a capital crime and a regional trial court judge recently barred her mobile and Internet access.

Read the full article on Atty. Raïssa Robles blog


De Lima: No proof of GMA Dominican Republic asylum

November 11, 2011

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday admitted that the government has no clear proof that former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would seek political asylum in Dominican Republic.

In a chance interview, De Lima said she received the information regarding Mrs. Arroyo’s asylum only thru a forwarded SMS message, and she doesn’t even know the identity of the sender.

“Kung may nakuha akong information about Dominican Republic? Sabi ko oo, nakatanggap ako ng text so I’m verifying it. I don’t even know who’s the source of text kasi finorward lang sa akin,” De Lima said.

De Lima disclosed that once she gets any information during the verification, she would immediately disclose it in public.

The other day, De Lima bared that Mrs. Arroyo along with her equally-controversial husband, former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, is planning to seek political asylum in the said country.

“We are verifying this information. This is something we can’t ignore,” she stressed.

De Lima stressed Mrs. Arroyo’s objective was pretty obvious — to evade prosecution and a possible non-bailable jail term.

Incidentally, the Philippines has no extradition treaty with Dominican Republic.

But De Lima clarified that this information has yet to be verified and that she would coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs for this purpose.

Meanwhile, Malacañang expressed optimism that the Supreme Court would issue a fair judgment on the petition filed by former President Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to allow them to travel abroad.

“We’ve always expected the Supreme Court to be fair and independent-minded when it comes to issues that confront them… and in this particular issue, we hope that they will see the merits of our arguments and see that the government’s response is reasonable and reflects the sentiments of the Filipino people as a whole,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing yesterday  in Malacañang.

Mrs. Arroyo, who is now Pampanga second district representative and her husband Mike, are seeking a TRO on the watchlist order issued against them by the justice department. The former leader wants to leave abroad to seek medical treatment.

The Palace found an ally yesterday after Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo issued a statement saying “fair judgment, not vindictiveness,” should prevail vis a vis Arroyo’s petition.

Pabillo said it is important that the people seek the truth in this issue and they shouldn’t be overcome by vindictiveness or revenge to make someone suffer even more. Pabillo chairs the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines   National Secretariat for Social Action.

Gloria Arroyo, Abalos face electoral sabotage probe

October 20, 2011

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday released the results of the investigation of the Department of Justice-Commission on Elections joint committee on allegations of widespread fraud in the 2007 elections.

In the report she read during a press conference, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former Commission on Elections chief Benjamin Abalos and other government officials in the previous administration were recommended for preliminary investigation for electoral sabotage.

Gloria Arroyo to get P2.2 billion for her Pampanga district

November 5, 2010

Former President and now Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is going to get her way in the 2011 national budget despite being part of the minority in the House of Representatives.

The lower chamber is set to pass the Aquino administration’s 2011 General Appropriations Bill next week with no cuts—including the controversial P2.2-billion worth of projects for her congressional district.

House Appropriations Committee chairman Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya said lawmakers are set to approve the budget bill on final reading either Monday or Tuesday next week.

Abaya conceded that no major cuts can be made on the P2.2-billion appropriations for Arroyo, although the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) can realign some portions later on as savings.

He said the DPWH will review the package, of which about P1.6 billion are loans from South Korea and Japan for the rehabilitation of areas affected by the Mount Pinatubo eruption.

“The P2.2 billion is not pork, it might be really just to address the flooding in the region, of course the P70 million is totally different issue, separate from P2.2 billion,” he added.

“I talked with [DPWH] Secretary Rogelio Singson. there are components there particularly dredging of small rivers and upgrading of the roads up to the first level of the house might be unnecessary to call so these are possible components that could slashed and treated as unnecessary,” Abaya said. “However, I don’t see a major slash, those are the only components. What is important is to ensure proper implementation and accountability and standards.”

Abaya said all the government can do now is make sure that the projects are properly implemented, and government funds are not wasted by corruption.

Aside from the allotment for Arroyo, another item that did not suffer any realignment was Aquino’s centerpiece P21-billion conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, which he continued from the Arroyo presidency.

These were the items that Abaya said were not included in the allocations that were realigned.

“Yes there are realignments in the final version of the budget. Quite a handful of special and general provisions included.” he said. “I know realignments in public works, DepEd, specific provision in agriculture, to make sure the implementation of agrarian reform law is executed. There are provisions on CCT to ensure oversight committee is formed, whatever savings to allay fears on absorptive capacity to build schools and maternal health immunization programs.”

The 2 items were among those untouched by the realignment of some P5-P6 billion under the proposed 2011 budget to other programs.

Lawmakers realigned half of the administration’s P5-billon fund for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects under the Department of Agriculture (DA).

“We took away P2.5 billion from the PPP lump sum from DA to the purchase of palay, not importation,“ Abaya said.

He also noted the possibility of tapping of some P500-P700 million in the Higher Education Development Fund for the constructions of buildings and facilities of state universities and colleges. “(After) close coordination with CHED and the DBM they’re quite convinced that the higher education development fund geared towards the needs of higher education could be tapped,” he said.

Lawmakers are also studying a proposal to institutionalize preschool with the universal kindergarten program that could eventually be part of the expended 12 year basic education curriculum.

Abaya said there is also no realignment for the rural electrification projects that was raised during the budget deliberations. That project got no new appropriations.

Projects under the TESDA are also still under review since only 20% of its trainees reportedly get jobs.

There is also no cut or realignment in the budget of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) that already got a 50% budget reduction under the government’s original budget proposal.

Abaya said there may be a need to pass laws limiting the allowances of GOCC executives.

He also said some P10 billion from the road users’ tax maybe tapped to augment the funds of congressmen whose districts have less than P50 million in projects.

Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay, meanwhile, urged the government to use savings from the appreciation of the peso to fund infrastructure projects.

Abaya defended the government’s thrust to limit spending, saying that more spending could be done in 2012 after fiscal responsibility is instituted in 2011. “If we control deficit for 2011 we can see pump priming in 2012.”

Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara, on the other hand, urged the government to regionalize incentives to private businesses, giving more incentives to businesses that invest in key areas over sectors that are saturated with a large volume of investors.

35 party-list nominees proclaimed

May 31, 2010

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) proclaimed on Monday 35 nominees from party-list groups, filling in more than half of the 57 seats available to them in the House of Representatives.

The new sectoral representatives belong to 28 organizations, 16 of which have served in Congress; 12 are first-time winners.

Among the groups that led the tally of the Comelec, 11 groups have not yet been proclaimed due to pending cases or appeals on their disqualification.

Based on the 90% of the tallied votes, a party-list group needs at least 549,568 votes to win a seat.

Seven groups will get 2 seats each. They are:

1. Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. (Senior Citizens), elderly

· Incumbent Senior Citizens Rep. Godofredo Arquiza

· David Kho-member of the board of mining exploration company Geograce Resources Philippines

2. Akbayan Citizens Action Party (Akbayan), multi-sectoral

· University professor and incumbent Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello

· Arlene Bag-ao-Executive trustee of the Mindanao-based law group BALAOD

3. Gabriela Women’s Party (Gabriela) , women rights

· Incumbent Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan

· Former Gabriela secretary-general Emerenciana de Jesus

4. Cooperative NATTCO Network Party (COOP-NATTCO), cooperatives

· Former National Confederation of Cooperatives chair and incumbent COOP-NATTCO Rep. Jose Ping-ay

· Incumbent COOP-NATTCO Rep, Cresente Paez

5. Bayan Muna, political party

· Incumbent Bayan Muna Rep.Teodoro Casiño

· Incumbent Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares

6. Abono, agri-based sector

· Incumbent Abono Rep. Robert Raymund Estrella

· Incumbent Abono Rep. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III

7. Anwaray, regional political party

· Incumbent AnWaray Rep. Florencio Noel

· Incumbent AnWaray Rep. Neil Benedict Montejo.

The party-list groups that are entitled to 1 seat each are:

1. Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines (AGAP), agri-based

· Acting chair of Audacious Services and incumbent AGAP Rep. Nicanor Briones

2. Alliance for Baranggay Concerns (ABC), baranggay development

· Leyte baranggay chairman Arnulfo Molero

3. Anakpawis (AP), multi-sectoral

· Incumbent AP Rep. Rafael V. Mariano

4. Kabataan Partylist (Kabataan), youth

· Incumbent Kabataan Rep. Raymond V. Palatino

5. Abante Mindanao (ABAMIN), regional group

· Former Ifugao governor and congressman Romulo B. Lumauig

6. Act Teachers, educators

· Act Teacher national chair Antonio Tinio

7. You Against Corruption and Poverty (YACAP), anti-corruption and anti-poverty

· Businesswoman and YACAP founding president Carol Jayne Lopez

8. Kasangga Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (Ang Kasangga), microentrepreneurs

· Teodorico Haresco

9. Bagong Henerasyon (BH), multi-sectoral group

· Quezon City 1st District Councilor Bernadette Herrera-Dy

10. Ang Galing Pinoy (AG), multi-sectoral group

· Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, son of President Gloria Arroyo

11. Agbiag! Timpuyog Ilocano (Agbiag), regional political party

· Former Cagayan 1st district Rep. Patricio Antonio

12. Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA), athletes

· Mark Aeron H. Sambar

13. Arts, Business, and Science Professionals (ABS), professionals

· Incumbent Catalina G. Leonen-Pizarro

14. Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), labor

· Raymond Democrito Mendoza, former Philippine National Oil Company board member and son of TUCP president Democrito Mendoza

15. Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para Mamamayan (Agham), science and technology

· Radio reporter Angelo B. Palmones

16. Democratic Independent Workers’ Association, Inc. (DIWA), labor

· Emmeline D. Aglipay, former student council president at De La Salle University

17 . Kapatiran ng mga Nakakulong na Walang Sala (Kakusa), penal system

· Incumbent Rep. Ranulfo Canonigo

18. Kalinga Advocacy for Social Empowerment and Nation Building Through Easing Poverty, Inc. (Kalinga), anti-poverty

· Abigail Faye Ferriol-daughter of Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ bishop Arturo Ferriol

19. Alagad party-list (Alagad), urban poor

· Incumbent Rep. Rodante D. Marcoleta

20. Ang Pamilya (1-Pamilya), multi-sectoral group

· Department of Agrarian Reform Senior Agrarian Reform Officer Reena Concepcion Obillo

21. Alliance of Volunteer Educators (AVE), educators

· Eulogio R. Magsaysay

The party-list groups that have garnered enough votes for a seat each, but which have yet to be proclaimed pending disqualification cases are:

AkoBicol Political Party
Buhay Hayaan Yumabong
1-Consumers Alliance for Rural Energy

Citizens Battle Against Corruption
LPG Marketers Association, Inc.
Ang Asosasyon San Mangunguma Nga Bisaya-Owa Mangunguma, Inc.

Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives
Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy
1-United Transport Koalisyon

Advocacy for Teacher Through Action
Cooperation, and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms
Butil Farmers Party.

Of the groups being questioned, 7 have held seats in the 14th Congress. They are: Buhay, Cibac, APEC, ANAD, 1-UTAK, Butil, and A- Teacher.

Most of the groups whose proclamation was postponed had been accused of having been created by the Arroyo administration to ensure her having allies in the House and secure the speakership.

Poll watchdog Kontra Daya had released a list of administration-backed groups early this year, most of them either have alleged ties with the president or had been included in a memorandum circular allegedly issued by Malacañang that hopes to fund the campaign of the Arroyo-linked party-list groups.

Among the proclaimed groups, 9 are in Kontra Daya’s list: Coop-Nattco; Abono; YACAP; Agbiag; Kakusa; AVE; TUCP; Ang Kasangga

Among the most controversial is Ang Galing Pinoy, which has the President Arroyo’s son Juan Miguel as top nominee. Juan Miguel, a former congressman of Pampanga, gave way to his mother in the district race this year.

Frontrunner AKB faces 2 cases alleging that it failed to observe the party-list guideline that only allows the marginalized and underrepresented sectors to participate.

AKB led the rest of the 187 groups by about 1.4 million votes or more than 5% of the partial tally of the the National Board of Canvassers. If proclaimed, AKB may send 3 representatives in the House.

Militant group Bayan Bicol accused the AKB of being funded by the companies of its chairman and business mogul Elizaldy Co. Although it identifies Co as one of its supporters, AKB president Rodel Batocabe said in an official statement, that AKB is not a sectoral party, but a regional party representing Bicolanos.

Another appeal questions Buhay party-list accreditation since its nominees are related to the El Shaddai Charismatic Catholic Movement. It has in its line of nominees, El Shaddai leader’s son Mariano Michael who would likely obtain a seat in the House. Buhay had been active in the party-list election since 2001.

Palace: PGMA, Gen. Verzosa still on good terms

March 22, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief director-general Jesus Verzosa are still on good terms, a Palace official said.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar said since Verzosa is still PNP chief, he still holds the president’s confidence.

“There is still a functioning and good relationship between Gen. Verzosa and his Commander-in-Chief,” Olivar said.

Speculations about a rift between Verzosa and the President arose after Verzosa was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer last March 11 as having said that he would not join any effort to install Mrs. Arroyo as holdover president in case of a failure of elections.

Read more>>

Pres. Gloria is Zaldy A’s airtight murder alibi

December 29, 2009

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan has an airtight alibi that could get him off the hook in the mass murder charges: President Arroyo.

He cited in his affidavit that on the day of the multiple murders, he was in Malacañang meeting with Arroyo herself.

Reports on the day the Maguindanao massacre broke also had then presidential adviser on political affairs Secretary Gabriel Claudio confirming that the Ampatuans were in Malacañang at a meeting with the President.

Alibis ranging from a medical mission to a personal audience with the President can be found in the counter-affidavits of the four Ampatuan clan members who had opted to answer the multiple murder charges against them for their alleged involvement in the Nov. 23, 2009 murders in Maguindanao, where some 59 civilians, among whom were some 30 journalists, were massacred, allegedly on orders of Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

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