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.

Mga terminal na mas malinis, may libreng internet pa

Hindi na maiinip at mahihirapan ang mga pasahero sa bus, jeepney at barko sa buong Pilipinas. Noong Miyerkoles, pinalabas na ng Malacanang ang kakapirma lang ni Pangulong Duterte na batas na nag-uutos sa mga operator ng transportation terminals na ipasiguro ang malinis na mga facilities, lalo na ang CR at dapat may libreng Wifi pa sa mga naghihintay ng kanilang biyahe.

Ibabawal na ang paniningil ng “donation” sa gumagamit ng mga CR at kailangan malinis ang lugar upang mas comfortable ang mga pasahero habang naghihintay ng pag-alis ng mga bus, jeepney o barko.

Isa itong malaking hakbang ng Duterte administration tungo sa upgrading ng mga public infrastructure at mabigyan ang mga mamamayan ng magandang facilities na dati-rati ay pinapabayaan lang ng pamahalan nasyonal. Talagang ibang-iba na ngayon ang gobyerno.

bus terminal

Maritime accident sa Recto Bank

Hindi muna ako nagbigay ng aking opinyon tungkol sa nangyari na banggaan ng Filipino at Chinese fishing boats doon sa Recto Bank na ginagawang isyu ng mga dilawan laban kay Pangulong Duterte. Hinintay ko muna luminaw kung ano talaga ang nangyari at hindi ako sumakay sa bandwagon ng media.

o, eto na ngayon, inamin ng kapitan ng Filipino fishing boat na hindi niya nakita kung sino ang bumangga sa bangka niya. Ibig sabihin, wala nga siyang basehan na bentangan ang mga Intsik na sila ang bumangga sa bangka ng mga Pinoy.fishermen in distress

Dapat natin tandaan na napakaraming maritime accidents na nangyari sa ating kadagataan. Ilang beses na nangyari ang aksidente ng malalaking barko sa dagat kahit na completo ito sa mga radar at iba pang gamit upang malaman kung may panganib na parating. Kahit na napakalawak ng dagat, may banggaan pa rin kahit sa araw.

Tama po ang naging pahayag ni Pangulong Duterte na isa itong maliit na “maritime accident” na hindi kailangan palakihin na maaring makasira sa relasyon sa gitna ng Pilipinas at China. We have to be cautious when it comes to our international relations. Hindi basta-basta’t sumigaw tayo na handa tayo pumunta sa giyera na hindi pa natin alam ang kabuohang katotohanan.

Simple arrogance

I came across an ANC interview with outgoing Senator Antonio Trillanes a week ago. He was asked about the possibility that the tables might be turned on him with the plan of Senator-elect Bong Go to summon him and grill him on issues on the alleged destabilization plot against the Duterte administration.

PHILIPPINES-POLITICS-CRIME-RIGHTS-TRILLANES

This photo taken on September 13, 2017 shows Philippine Senator Antonio gesturing during an interview at his office in the Senate building in Manila. After launching his political career from a jail cell, Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes believes it could end in a grave thanks to a relentless campaign against his “hitman” president. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Trillanes sounded more muffled than his usual self. The bluster that he tried to project was somehow hollow. As in the confidence that he always projected had diminished. But one thing was clear to me: Trillanes is still an arrogant person. The bad news is that when he is summoned to appear before the Senate, he would find himself in the same position as the late DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes, vulnerable to humiliation before the public eye.

Trillanes is without honor anyway, and no amount of public shaming for his evil deeds can ever lead him to do what Secretary Reyes did: commit seppuku.

My reply to Ping Lacson

“Don’t advertise our weakness.”

This, in gist, was the reaction of Senator Ping Lacson to the President’s statement on the collision incident involving Chinese and Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

“A maritime incident is a maritime incident. I will not issue a statement because there is no investigation and no result. Wait and give the other party the right to be heard. China, ano ba dito ang totoo (what is the truth here)?” Duterte said eight days after being silent on the issue,” the President said.

Lacson described the President’s statement as a “surrender”. The President should have explored other options like the Mutual Defense Treaty, he said.

Ping Lacson

“It’s bad enough that we’re weak but don’t advertise that we’re weak. Magtira ka naman ng konting baraha. (Leave some cards),” Lacson said.

My response:

First, there’s no need to advertise that we are weak military-wise. It doesn’t take a military strategist to figure this out. The Philippines is definitely no match to a military superpower like China.

Second, the President has information that most of us can’t get our hands on. The incident as told over media might not be like what it seems to be. He is the commander-in-chief, and he has solo prerogative on making a decision about what’s the best course of action.

If government wants to stop smuggling, then it should embrace XLOG technology

The country’s Bureau of Customs is leaking like a sieve, which explains why until now, smuggling of illegal drugs hasn’t abated. Shabu that is being sold on the streets of the archipelago are manufactured in China. There are no shabu laboratories in the country anymore. Several shipments worth billions of pesos have been intercepted, but this represents only a fraction of the shabu coming into the country. This leaves me wondering if President Duterte is raising his hands in surrender in the face of this pipeline of shabu flowing right under the noses of our customs bureau. Or put another way, it raises questions on whether the government even wants to stop smuggling of shabu.

This is rather tragic because putting a stop to smuggling could have been accomplished as early as the first quarter of 2018 with software developed by Filipino IT experts. Called “XLOG”, the software has been tested and retested, and consistently proved that the leaks in the system could be plugged permanently. It basically removes human intervention in the entire process, and with it, the opportunities for corruption.

If put to use by our Bureau of Customs, XLOG can eliminate delays in getting cargoes processed and released, and ensure that the government collects the right tariffs. What more can the government ask for? It will make exporters and importers happy, get rid of corruption, and increase collections. It’s a simple formula and it’s hard to understand why Customs officials refuse to embrace the technology.

On top of the crystal clear benefits it will bring to the government, XLOG is not even to cost the Bureau of Customs a single centavo. It is being offered entirely for free. All it needs to do is accept the technology, install the application at all ports of entry, and government will reap the rewards in one smooth movement. The technology has been proven effective in plugging the leaks in the present set-up. Government cannot possibly find a better solution to the smuggling problem and the corruption issue.

Of course, once in place, XLOG will eliminate corruption, which is perhaps the reason why there is resistance in the Bureau of Customs. No matter how many shake-ups will be carried out, the corruption will continue to plague the agency, for as long as officials are given broad discretion on letting a cargo shipment go through its checkpoints. Money, especially when it involves millions of pesos for a single transaction, can dilute the strongest of principles among officials.

Hence, we can only watch with despair as more and more smuggling take place on a daily basis at our ports of entry, both for sea and air cargo. We are losing the war, and government has only itself to blame. If Customs chief Isidro Lapena wants to change the situation, all he needs to do is get XLOG to come into the picture. It’s been waiting there on the sidelines. The picture can change in an instant: smuggling can be eliminated once the buttons for XLOG are pressed.

 

 

No public consultation

The public consultation process has been enshrined in our laws with regard to applications for environmental compliance certificates and the exploitation of our natural resources. Even small-time riverbed quarrying is subject to the social acceptance principle to make sure that development is always balanced with public welfare and sustainable utilization of natural resources.

Hence, it came as a big surprise, and shock, for me when I learned that the private port development project of the La Filipina Uygongco Corp. in barangay Ingore, Lapaz, Iloilo City did not go through a consultation with residents of the area. In an arrogant manner, Atty. Ana Lea Uy, chief legal counsel of the company, told local officials that the endorsement made by the City Council for this project four years ago was compliance to the public consultation requirement.

I’m sorry to tell Atty. Uy that it fails to satisfy that requirement. In fact, the city council should review its passage of the resolution because it was apparently done without much forethought about its long-term effects. The resolution was “muscled through” upon the intervention of a hefty politician from Iloilo City at the height of his power. Now, the short-cut taken by La Filipina Uygongco is coming back at them.

That’s because residents of Barangay Ingore are now up in arms over the anxiety and sleepless nights the hauling operations of the Uygongco company has brought upon them these last two years or so. Apparently, La Filipina Uygongco Corp. must have felt it was immune from public criticism now that they have the permit to operate the port.

That’s a wrong way of viewing the situation. The residents may have kept quiet for a while. But their suffering must have reached breaking point, and with the leadership of former Punong Barangay Ernie Poral, they filed a formal complaint before the City Council regarding the noise and road vibration during hauling operations. The issues raised are valid, and the City Council decided to convene as a Committee of the Whole to hear the complaint.

Several points were unearthed during the hearing on Thursday, July 12, 2018:

  • The company’s application for a Miscellaneous Lease Agreement (MLA) has as yet been approved. This is the legal instrument that would grant La Filipina Uygongco Corp. authority to utilize the 8,447 sqm. covered by its application and build a private port. Now it’s clearly of the cart before the horse. The port is finished and operating while the MLA application is still pending.
  • The PPA had issued a certificate of registration and temporary permit to operate to La Filipina Uygongco Corp. on January 14, 2017. But the port began operations in 2016, according to its own executives who attended the hearing. The company representatives claimed the PPA issued a provisionary permit to operate. They failed to present it during the hearing.
  • Company executive Francis de la Cruz insisted that the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) had given them a passing grade on the noise level in the area. He also said he has slept in the vicinity and didn’t experience sleepless nights. When asked exactly where had he slept, de la Cruz answered that it was inside the port complex itself, and not in the barangay where heavy trucks rumbled through the night.
  • A DENR official said just recently, Secretary Roy Cimatu had issued a policy that nobody will be allowed to enter an area subject of an MLA application until such time that it is approved. The company insisted that it was already given provisional authority to enter and develop their port.
  • And most important of all, this project obtained the requirements for the construction and operation WITHOUT PUBLIC CONSULTATION. This is a requirement enshrined in our laws. Just on that basis, I think Secretary Roy Cimatu of DENR should disapprove the MLA application and for the PPA to rescind the permit to operate. The PPA should then take over the operations of the private port. La Filipina Uygongco knew the risks of proceeding without fulfilling the requirements, especially the public consultatoin. It will have to pay for its gamble.

The City Council must take the first step of asserting the rule of law and protecting the welfare of its constituents. I would urge its members to withdraw the endorsement given to the project four years ago which was obtained through political strong-arm tactics. As concession, La Filipina Uygongco can be given preferential rights for docking, but the PPA should run it, and allow other foreign vessels chartered by other companies to dock there.

 

Duterte continues to enjoy people’s trust

Pulse Asia disclosed just today that President Rodrigo Duterte enjoys the full trust of 87% of the Filipino people.

Pulse Asia survey June 2018

The survey was conducted during the period June 15-21, 2018.

VP Leni Robredo’s trust rating was a far 56%.

Here’s the full report of Pulse Asia (just click on the link below).

http://www.pulseasia.ph/june-2018-nationwide-survey-on-the-performance-and-trust-ratings-of-the-top-national-government-officials-and-the-performance-and-trust-ratings-of-key-government-institutions/