Hold order sought vs Reyes, ex-military brass

February 4, 2011

A Metro Manila lawmaker yesterday asked the House Committee on Justice to subpoena former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes for the resumption of the panel’s hearing this coming Tuesday on the plea bargaining agreement of former Major Gen. Carlos Garcia.

Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez, who delivered the privilege speech which triggered the congressional inquiry, said there is sufficient ground for the panel to consider his request after Reyes ignored the committee’s hearing last Tuesday.

At the same time, Golez asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to issue hold departure orders against Reyes and other former military officials who may be called to the congressional inquiry.

“I will therefore move that Reyes be subpoenaed in the next hearing of the House Committee on Justice. I will also ask the DoJ to already consider issuing a hold departure order against Reyes et al in view of their history of propensity for foreign travel,” said Golez in a text message.

“Reyes has chickened out in the face of the tons of testimonies and evidence against him and his wife, especially the additional damaging testimonies that are expected in today’s (Thursday) Senate hearing.”

Meanwhile, Citizens Battle Against Corruption party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna said Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez should not be sidetracked by legalities in pushing for the P303 million plunder case of Garcia.

“The Ombudsman should not shush the cry for truth and justice and not blot the writings on the wall,” said Tugna in a statement.

PNoy urged to tap PCGG to probe GMA

December 13, 2010

President Benigno Aquino III’s legal adviser has urged him to look into his late mother’s first executive order (EO) to address perceived defects in his first EO.

Retired Justice Magdangal Elma, presidential adviser for special concerns, is recommending the transfer of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) from the Department of Justice to the Office of the President.

She wants Aquino to direct the PCGG to investigate cases of graft and corruption under the Arroyo administration.

“The PCGG has more extensive powers to investigate, file and/or prosecute graft and corruption cases under EO No. 1, series of 1986, than the Philippine Truth Commission under EO 1, series of 2010, and that the PCGG’s powers had been recognized and/or settled in a number of cases decided by the Supreme Court,” she said.

Elma cited Section 2(b) of then-President Corazon Aquino’s EO 1, series of 1986, that allows the chief executive to assign cases of graft of corruption to the PCGG for investigation “from time to time,” aside from its task of recovering all ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

She added that the said EO is a law, having been issued by Aquino when she was still exercising legislative powers under the provisional or “freedom constitution.”

Elma pointed out the EO has not been repealed, and that funds are appropriated for the agency annually.

She cited a Supreme Court decision in Cojuangco, Jr vs PCGG et al, GR 92319-20, October 20, 1990, that states:

“Upon the creation of the PCGG under Executive Order No. 1 issued by President Aquino, the PCGG was charged with the task of assisting the President not only in the recovery of ill-gotten wealth or unexplained wealth accumulated by the former President, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates but also in the investigation of such cases of graft and corruption as the President may assign to the Commission from time to time and o prevent a repetition of the same in the future.”

Elma served as PCGG chairperson under the Estrada administration.

Leave PNoy’s love life alone, appeals Ballsy Aquino

December 11, 2010

Please stop poking into PNoy’s love life.

Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, the eldest sister of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, made this appeal to the public while attending the birthday party of former child star Andrea Bautista-Ynares, wife of Rizal Gov. Jun Ynares, over the weekend.

Like the President, Ballsy is also calling on the public to stop focusing on her brother’s personal life. Ballsy said people should “give him [the] space” due him.

This is also her Christmas wish, she said, for her family, especially Noynoy, to have a quiet Christmas.

“I really hope our family will have a quiet Christmas especially Noy. So, sana huwag na yang love life,” Ballsy said.

Ballsy was reacting to newspapers and online news that reported the supposed new woman in his life.

The new apple of his eye, according to reports, is an Ilongga stockbroker named Len Lopez, a friend of Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.

The President has already expressed his dismay over the media’s high-profile reports about his personal life.

He said: “Alam niyo, kaya naman hinihingi ko naman baka puwedeng itira na sa akin [ang privacy], wala naman akong ginagawang masama. Pero ‘yong perpetual na tanong na kung kelan ako ikakasal, wala namang gustong makipagkilala sa akin dahil iba-banner [headline] ninyo nga ng kaliwa’t kanan. Wala naman ho siguro ditong nagkaligawan na inimbita ‘yong buong bayan. Baka naman puwede ko ring matamasa ‘yong parehong pribilehiyo. Kung ‘di naman, kunsensya na lang niyo!”

Asked if he will have a “cold Christmas,” referring to a loveless holiday, he replied, “Sa ngayon, oo.”

Pressed for information about his supposed new date, Noynoy said he is just being friendly. “Ako po ay napaka-friendly na tao. Obligasyon ko po na maging friendly sa lahat.”

Television host and talent manager Boy Abunda, a family friend of the Aquinos, is already maintaining his silence when it comes to the President’s love life.

This after Abunda publicly confirmed that Noynoy and Uy were dating.

Palace officials are also keeping their distance from the President’s private life.

Meanwhile, comedienne Pokwang, a known supporter of Noynoy, said the President should not worry that he is spending his Christmas alone.

She said: “Huwag kang mag-alala, hindi ka nag-iisa. Kasama mo rin kami sa grupo ng malalamig ang Pasko. Paiinitin ka namin. (Laughs).”

Noynoy had a relationship with Valenzuela City councilor Shalani Soledad, but broke up a few months ago. He then dated Uy.

PNoy Aquino: We’re still looking for Jonas Burgos

December 11, 2010

President Benigno Aquino III said Saturday his administration is still looking for activist Jonas Burgos, who went missing in April 2007.

The President made the statement on a visit to Tarlac province, a day after he ordered the dropping of charges against 43 detained health workers

There are allegations that Burgos, a 37-year-old farmers’ rights advocate, was kidnapped by soldiers.

The Armed Forces have denied the allegations.

“Hindi namin inilalagay sa limot, hinahanap namin. Gusto namin malaman ano nangyari sa kanya among others (We have not forgotten him. We are looking for him. We want to at least know what happened to him, among others),” Aquino said.

Aquino added that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will sign a department order creating a task force that will review all reported and unresolved cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country.

The task force is mandated to recommend measures for the effective and expeditious investigation and prosecution of the cases.

4 from ‘Morong 43’ admit they are NPA now fear NPA death squad

December 11, 2010

Four of the 43 detainees who have been ordered freed by President Benigno Aquino III now fear for their lives after admitting their involvement in the communist movement.
Ellen Carandang, Cheryllyn Taoagon, Valentino Paulino, Jennyllyn Pizzaro, and John Mark Barrientos were among the “Morong 43” who were arrested by police and military troops in February during an alleged bomb-making training session.

While other members of the group are waiting to be released from detention, Carandang said she would rather stay in Camp Capinpin, where they are in military custody.

“Walang kapatawaran iyong ginawa namin pag-amin na NPA [New People’s Army] kami, at pagsabi na sila ay NPA din, markado na kami ng [communist execution squad], kaya ayaw namin umuwi,” she said.

Taoagon and Paulino share the same sentiment – and they want to join the military.

“Kasi marunong naman kami sa baril tapos alam din namin mag-organisa puwede kami taga-pagsalita,” Taoagon said.

“Sanay naman ako sa bundok kaya di nalalayo sa pagiging sundalo,” said Paulino.

Pizzaro, the youngest of the group, wants to continue her studies.

“Sa mga dati naming kasamahan, sana pabayaan kaming mabuhay ng normal,” she said.

The Morong 43 may finally gain their freedom next week, when the court is expected to formally withdraw charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against the health workers.

Donaire KOs Sidorenko, books Montiel title fight

December 5, 2010

Filipino bantamweight star Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. stayed on course for a planned showdown with world champion Fernando Montiel by punishing Vladimir Sidorenko via a 4h round stoppage.

Donaire came out hard and strong scoring a knockdown right before the first round ended.

He kept the upperhand in the second round with his brutal punches messing up Sidorenko’s face.

It was more of the same in the third round as Donaire outclassed his Ukranian foe.

In the fourth round, Sidorenko— face bloodied— went down again from a hard straight. By this time, the referee has seen enough, and stopped the fight.

Referee Marcos Rosales halted the bout after 1:48 of the fourth round.

With the win, Donaire took home the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight crown.

“I wanted to make a statement in this fight and I did,” Donaire said.

Former world flyweight champion Donaire, 28, stretched his win streak to 24 fights over 9 1/2 years, improving to 25-1 with his 17th early stoppage.

“We worked really hard for this fight,” Donaire said. “I was motivated and now the fight with Montiel is set. I knew I was able to dominate anybody if I’m motivated 100 percent.”

Former WBA world bantamweight champion Sidorenko, 34, fell to 22-3 with two drawn after the first knockout loss of his career. His only prior losses were by decision to Panamanian southpaw Anselmo Moreno.

“I felt I could take him out with one punch any time so that’s what I tried to stick to,” Donaire said.

Donaire wobbled Sidorenko only 75 seconds into the fight with a powerful right and the stinging left hook that followed. Continuous combinations kept the European staggering and struggling to defend the entire round.

In the final seconds of round one, Donaire landed a stunning left and a sledgehammer-like overhand right that knocked Sidorenko onto his back. Sidorenko rose to his feet and was rescued by the bell two seconds later.

“The first round I knew he was already out. I could see it in his eyes,” Donaire said. “I know I hurt him and he just kept coming. All respect to Sidorenko.”

Donaire switched to a southpaw stance late in the second round and landed a left-right flurry and then sent Sidorenko to the canvas again in the third round with a punishing left hand to the head with a minute before the finish.

A right to the nose midway into the fourth round sent Sidorenko staggering back and he took a knee. Rosales stopped the rout seconds later.

“I’m excited,” Donaire said. “Montiel, I’m coming for you.”

World Boxing Council champion Montiel, 43-2-2 with 33 knockouts, faces a 10-round non-title fight next Saturday against fellow Mexican Eduardo Garcia in their homeland before his scheduled February 19 showdown with Donaire.

DOJ chief wants guns for lawyers, judges

December 5, 2010

The Philippines’ justice secretary on Sunday backed calls to allow judges and lawyers to carry firearms amid a rising incidence of attacks targeting them.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said judges and lawyers were also being encouraged to improve practical shooting and driving skills as a precaution against possible ambush attacks.

“Their line of work make them natural targets of harassment and violence, especially because of weak enforcement of laws and a prevailing culture of impunity,” de Lima told AFP.

De Lima however said she favored only a “selective, on a case-by-case” basis to allow judges and lawyers to carry firearms.

“And only on a reasonable showing of security threats, and purely for self-defense purposes only,” de Lima said.

The National Union of People’s Lawyers, an association of human rights defenders, said at least 15 lawyers and judges were killed last year in attacks police believe were linked to their work.

Two lawyers were among 57 people killed in the country’s worst political massacre that took place in the strife-torn southern province of Maguindanao, the group’s spokesman Julius Garcia Matibag said.

Matibag welcomed de Lima’s suggestion, but said greater importance should be given to arresting, prosecuting and jailing suspects.

“That is a good way for lawyers for judges and lawyers to defend themselves if there are threats against their life,” Matibag said.

“But the best way for the courts to address this matter is to see to it that there will be a conviction, so that bad elements out there will not be encouraged to simply kill a lawyer or a judge,” he said.

Rights groups have said a culture of impunity pervades the Philippines, where there are more than 1.1 million unlicensed firearms, on top of the 1.3 million guns in the hands of authorized police and military personnel.

The combined tally means there is roughly one firearm for every 40 Filipinos.

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