Benenta na ba nila ang kanilang kaluluwa?

Judging from the actions and statements coming from a number of Senators and Congressmen and -women, it would seem that they have swept aside standards of ethical behavior to accommodate a panicky oligarch-owned television and radio network in its bid to obtain a new franchise from Congress.

For instance, Senator Grace Poe is breaking the rules on the grant of legislative franchises in pushing for an early hearing on the network’s renewal application which has remained stuck in the Lower House. Alam ni Poe na hindi makagalaw ang Senado hanggat na-approve na ng House of Representatives ang bill para sa panibagong franchise. Sa ngayon, wala pa kahit bill. Application pa lang.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who acknowledges that ABS-CBN cannot operate without a franchise, is trying to introduce a band-aid solution by filing a Joint Resolution to give the network authority to operate until December 31, 2022. Baka lang kinakalawang na si Manong Frank, pero franchise po ang kailangan. Sir, alam mo yan na hindi mapalitan ng Joint Resolution ang franchise. Wala naman sa batas ang temporary legislative authority, di po ba?

Dalawang bagay lang yan.

It’s either takot sila sa ABS-CBN, or lobby money is at work.

This is the tragedy of this Republic. Meron pa rin tayong mga elected officials na nakakalimot ng kanilang totoong tungkulin, at ito po ang maglingkod para sa mamayan at hindi para sa mayayaman.

PRESS FREEDOM: Hindi panangga ito sa ginawang kasalanan

Wala tayong mahanap na provision sa 1987 Constitution na nagbibigay sa mga media organizations o mga kasapi nito ng karapatan na mag-violate sa mga batas ng bansa by just invoking PRESS FREEDOM.

The Constitution protects freedom of the press. Ibig sabihin, kailangan mabigyan ang ating media ng sapat na kalayaan sa pag report ng balita o pagbigay ng mga kommentaryo tungkol sa mga pangyayari sa lipunan. But even that right is not absolute. May libel laws tayo na nagbabawal ng mga malisyosong pag print o broadcast ng mga bagay na maaraming maka-sira sa pangalan o pagkatao ng iba. Hindi porket totoo ay puwede na nating isulat at post sa Facebook o Twitter o ilabas sa media.

Ang kaso na isinampa sa ABS-CBN ay walang kinalaman sa kung anuman ang mga pahayag nito sa television.

Natuklasan ng Office of the Solicitor General na marami silang nagawang violations sa ating batas. Malalaking krimen. Panlilinlang sa mga subscribers nito. The network is alleged to have ripped off hundreds of millions of pesos from illegal transactions. HIndi pa nga yata kasama diyan yung pag-WRITE OFF, o pagbura, ng utang nito sa Development Bank of the Philippines. Utang nila galing sa pera ng bansa, hindi na siningil.

SO WHAT ASSAULT ON PRESS FREEDOM ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, ABS-CBN?

At malinaw na binibigyan sila ng DUE PROCESS. Pinapadaan ito sa Supreme Court, ang pinakataas na hukoman sa bansa. May pagkakataon itong mapahayag ang panig. Kung talagang wala naman silang ginawa na kasalanan, di ma di-dismiss ang kaso. At wala itong kinalaman sa kanilang application for renewal of franchise. Ang mga Congressmen ang kausapin nila tungkol diyan, hindi si Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Sa madaling salita, huwag niyong gamitin na SHIELD, o panangga, ang pangalan ng PRESS FREEDOM upang maka-iwas kayo sa mga pananagutan sa batas na inireklamo ni Calida sa Supreme Court. Fight on the merits of the case.

ILOILO CONVENTION CENTER: Mother of all DAP scams

Press release

January 30, 2020

Front view

 

ICC lease contract ‘onerous’ – Mejorada

 

The lease contract awarded to an Iloilo-based company to operate and manage the Iloilo Convention Center four years ago is “onerous, lopsided and grossly disadvantageous to the government”, former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada said.

In a six-page complaint filed with the Office of the Solicitor General on Tuesday, Mejorada said the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) can expect to generate only P74 million in rentals over a period of 25 years, which is less than 10 percent return-on-investment (ROI) based on total expenditures of around P750 million.

Mejorada asked Solicitor General Jose Calida to conduct a review pursuant to a directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to look into onerous contracts between the government and private entities.

The contract should be “rescinded, revoked and nullified”, Mejorada said.

“This contract is the mother of all scams,” he said.

Mejorada also wrote a similar letter to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

In his complaint, Mejorada said the lease, operate and manage (LOM) contract signed by and between TIEZA and Premier Islands Management Corp. on March 11, 2016 violated the terms of reference (TOR) issued for this purpose.

The TOR, for instance, used only P330 million as the “asset valuation” for the ICC, which is less than half of the actual expenditures, he said.

He said the actual expenditures of P750 million came from then TIEZA Assistant Chief Operating Officer Jethro Nicolas Lozada.

He said TIEZA removed the P300 million that was spent for the project from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in order to bring down the asset value and make the lease payments feasible to potential bidders.

“There was no legal basis in just writing off the P300 million from the books of TIEZA for the ICC,” he said.

It appears that then DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson waived off the recovery of the DAP money spent for the project during a meeting of the TIEZA board, he said.

“That is a blatant violation of COA rules and regulations in the disposition of public funds, an act constituting economic plunder,” he said.

Moreover, he questioned the adoption of P330 million as asset valuation.

With the actual expenditures placed at P750 million, and the write-off of P300 million, there is still P120 million that is not accounted for, he said.

It is common practice among real estate developers to recover the capital investments after 4 to 6 years, he said.

“That means within that period, a 100% recovery of the capital is achieved,” he pointed out.

In the case of the ICC, the total amount of fixed annual revenues and percentage share of gross sales won’t even reach 10% after 25 years, Mejorada said.

Mejorada said this asset valuation doesn’t take into account the value of the 1.7-hectare lot on which the ICC stands.

At a conservative price of P30,000 per sqm., the lot itself was worth P510 million, he said.

“In real terms, the real value of the ICC for purposes of computing the ROI should be P1.25 billion,” he said. “And that is a conservative amount,” he added.

Mejorada said the TIEZA violated the TOR in awarding the contract to PIMC.

“First, the indicative fixed annual revenue of 1% of the asset valuation was P3.3 million for the first year,” he said.

However, the contract set the fixed annual revenue for the first year at only P1.2 million, he said.

He said the percentage share from gross revenues in the ICC operations was fixed at 15% for each year.

But in the contract, the percentage share was only 5%, he added. (30)

 

 

Picking the next PNP chief

I was writing this article when news came out on my Google feed that President Rodrigo R. Duterte was coming home earlier than scheduled due to “unbearable pain” that apparently was caused by his motorcycle accident last week.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Tuesday posted a picture of the President with his head resting on a cane that he had been using while attending the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in Japan. He is scheduled to see his doctor upon arrival in Manila.

I am praying this pain is not due to a life-threatening injury as a result of the accident.

An important decision also needs to be made by the President upon his arrival. With the resignation of erstwhile PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde, the Philippine National Police needs to regain traction and restore the morale of its policemen and -women in the entire archipelago. The charges that Albayalde had covered up for the ninja cops and even put them in key positions when he became PNP chief seriously damaged the PNP’s image as an institution. Respect for the badge and uniform was undermined.

With this in mind, President Duterte needs to choose carefully from among the nominees submitted by DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano. Three of the front-runners are PNP OIC Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa, deputy director for operations, P/Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan and directorate staff chief P/Major General Guillermp Eleazar.

As an Ilonggo, and a Filipino, I am pushing for General Cascolan.

I have known Punky since he was a P/Chief Inspector more than 20 years ago. He has an unblemished track record. His performance has consistently been excellent. He is also actively campaigning for better benefits for retired Philippine Constabulary and PNP personnel. His heart is close to the men in the field. Respect for Punky is high.

The last aspect is critical at this point in the history of the PNP.

What the PNP needs is a leader with unquestioned integrity, an individual who has earned the trust and confidence of every man and woman in the organization. Cascolan is the man of the hour. His proven integrity will quickly repair the tarnished image of the organization. There isn’t a shadow of involvement in wrongdoing in his entire career as a police officer.

If the President doesn’t feel he wants Cascolan to be the PNP chief, then I believe the incumbent Officer-in-Charge, Lieut. Gen. Gamboa is equally capable and competent.

I watched his press conference a few days ago when he announced the dismissal of three policemen involved in the Nov. 29, 2013 fake drug buy-bust over another serious offense, I saw that he is cool and composed under fire. He is a good communicator, which is also a key skill that the next PNP chief needs to get it out of the rut.

As to P/Major Gen. Eleazar, I must confess that I don’t trust the guy. Besides, he was kicked upstairs by Albayalde just before his downfall in an apparent move to place him in contention for the position he was set to vacate.

Right now, anybody with a stain from Albayalde’s hand shouldn’t be given a key position. With the little I know about Eleazar, I could sense that he is clone of Albayalde. Even their moves, especially their penchant for bringing the media to document their surprise inspections, come from the same template. He isn’t an officer I would want to see as chief of the PNP.

Unclear

There has been a great deal of discussion about the legal ramifications of the directive issued by President Rodrigo Duterte for nearly 2,000 convicts released under the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law during the last several years.

President Duterte wants a review of the circumstances under which these convicts obtained their freedom in the wake of allegations that corruption was what drove prison officials to issue release orders en masse.

The convicts who have since been given back their liberty were ordered to “surrender” not later than today, September 19, 2019.

Quite a number of convicts have already reported to the nearest police stations in compliance with the directive. Nobody wants to mess around with the President’s order.

But there is a question on the status of convicts who were paroled, which is an entirely different process than getting freed under the GCTA.

In Iloilo, there’s a 79-year old man who was freed from prison two years ago after being paroled. Is he still required to be brought back to a penal colony in Mindoro while officials check his papers?

The PNP is not sure. It’s not their call to make a determination on that, the new Iloilo provincial director, Col. Roland Vilela, said. The PNP wants to be on the safe side and just remit the convicts to the BuCor facility in Mindoro.

Perhaps the Department of Justice should take cognizance of such cases and issue the corresponding clarification. It would be unfair for these individuals who have faithfully served out their minimum sentences to be sent back to jail again.

Bakit hawak pa ni Del Rosario ang diplomatic passport?

Teka, teka.

Matagal nang hindi Foreign Affairs Secretary itong si Alberto del Rosario, di ba?

Bakit hawak-hawak niya pa ang kanyang diplomatic passport? Sa pagka-alam ko, entitled siya sa diplomatic passport habang nasa serbisyo siya bilang DFA secretary. Dapat yan sinasa-uli sa gobyerno pagkatapos ng kanyang panunungkulan bilang DFA secretary. Kung baga sa driver’s license, expired na yan.

At wala namang kaugnayan sa gobyerno ang kanyang pagpunta sa Hongkong. Hindi lamang mga diplomats ang binibigyan ng diplomatic passports. Pati na rin ang mga matataas na opisyal ng national government. Ito po ay privilege upang hindi sila kailangan dumaan pa sa mahahabang pila sa immigration pagdating sa isang bansa.

Sobrang abuso na talaga itong mga dilawan.

Del Rosario

Dapat alam na ni Del Rosario kung ano ang aabutin sa HK

Malaking hasol ang nangyari kay dating DFA Secretary Alberto del Rosario doon sa Hongkong airport pagkatapos hindi ito pinayagan na makapasok sa bansa at pinabalik sa Pilipinas. Itinigil ng mga immigration officials ng Hongkong ang pagpasok ni del Rosario at pinasa-ilalim sa mahabang proceso na na-uwi lang sa pagtanggi ng entry. Walang dahilan na ibinigay ang HK authorities kung bakit pinabalik si Del Rosario.Del Rosario

Pero alam ng lahat na si Del Rosario, kasama si dating Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, ang naghain ng reklamo laban kay Chinese President Xi Jingping sa International Criminal Court. At alam naman natin na iba ang batas at kultura sa China. Nangyari na noong buwan ng Mayo na hindi rin pinapasok sa bansa si Carpio-Morales.

So dapat pinasok na yun sa kaisipan niya na ganoon rin ang mangyayari sa kanya pag-sinubukan niyang pumasok sa Hongkong, na sakop na territoryo ng China.

Ito kasi ang problema sa mga dilawan. Akala nila magagawa nila ang kung ano man ang gusto nila pero ayaw rin nilang tanggapin ang negative reaction laban sa kanila.