Category Archives: elections

House arrest proposed for Arroyo

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Trinity Biglang Awa and Bombshell Moran

MANILA, Philippines-Eight rural based groups today urged President Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III to immediately place former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo under house arrest as plunder and other criminal and civil cases against his predecessor and her other officials are expected to flood the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman beginning tomorrow July 1.

In a statement, organizers of the 100 Days of Peasant Camp- Out for Land and Justice composed of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), AMIHAN peasant women federation, Kalipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK), the Hacienda Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) and the Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) said there is an immediate need to place ex-President Arroyo under house arrest to prevent the former President from launching any daring escape from justice anytime beginning July 1.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said aside from placing Arroyo under house arrest, her passport and other travel documents should also be cancelled to make sure the former President who is facing pending cases of plunder and other criminal offenses and would face again similar cases on various counts will be present once the investigation of the Truth Commission started and the DoJ and the Office of the Ombudsman begins their respective parallel probe on complaints filed before the offices.

“The highest level of vigilance and engagement in the name of truth, justice and accountability is highly required and at the same time a political necessity because we don’t want our people’s collective interest and demand for the prosecution and immediate imprisonment of Arroyo to be sacrificed at the altar of political accommodation. We have also this strong gut feeling that the US government will intervene to stop the Aquino administration from pursuing the people’s cases against GMA,” Ramos stressed.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap shared the sentiment of the KMP official warning President Aquino of an across-the-nation outrage if his administration fails to prosecute and jail Arroyo within his first 100 days in office.

“Arroyo’s prosecution and eventual imprisonment can be done and finished with flying colors in the first 100 days in office of President Aquino. This job is as easy as ABC or basic arithmetic, all Mr.Aquino need is strong political will. In fact, Aquino does not need 100 days, he can do the job in two weeks time or before his first State of the Nation Address on July 26,” Hicap said.

On June 2004, about two weeks after the 2004 presidential elections, KMP and Pamalakaya together with their regional and provincial chapters filed a plunder complaint against President Arroyo and officials of the Department of Agriculture in connection with the P 728-million fertilizer fund scam.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya filed a plunder case before the Office of the Ombudsman against President Arroyo, former agriculture secretary Arthur Yap and other agriculture officials in connection with the P 455 million ice making machines, which the group claimed were overpriced by 100 percent.

In 2006, Pamalakaya also filed plunder and other criminal and civil charges against President Arroyo and other cabinet members in connection with the offshore mining activities in Central Visayas, the fish kill caused by Lafayette mining in Rapu-Rapu, Albay and the indiscriminate issuance of environmental compliance certificates in 2005 to more than 4,000 companies.

Meanwhile, Kasama-TK secretary general Guillermo Bautista and AMGL secretary general Joseph Canlas said aside from immediate prosecution of President Arroyo, the 100 days camp-out of farmers and fisherfolk from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon would demand immediate positive responses on agrarian disputes involving thousands of hectares in the regions.

The peasant leaders said they would submit a peasant agenda to President Aquino that demand concrete favorable actions from the newly installed government like land cases in Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas involving 8,650 hectares of prime agricultural lands now being developed for real estate projects of Manila South Coast Development Corporation, the 7,100 hectares of former sugar lands in Hacienda Yulo in Barangay Canlubang in Cabuyao, Laguna and the 6,453 hectare Hacienda Luisita sugar estate owned by the family of President Aquino.

They said Aquino should work for the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of these lands to farmer beneficiaries.

Kasama-TK and AMGL leaders will also press for the investigation of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of rural activists from 2001 to 2009 and will also urge the Aquino administration to drop all politically motivated fabricated charges filed against leaders of peasant and fisherfolk groups in Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon and other regions and the unconditional and urgent release of peasant political prisoners all over the country. #

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2 new books on outgoing RP President ridiculed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Joyce Cabral and Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap

MANILA, Philippines- Rabid critics of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dismissed as garbage the two books written for her by two of her closest allies in Malacanang. The books narrate how the scandal rocked Arroyo handled the different crises that hounded her administration and the good jobs accomplished during her nine-year stay in power but skipped two of the most controversial issues—the NBN-ZTE scandal and the Hello Garci election scandal in 2005.

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the books entitled “Beating the Odds” penned by Secretary Ricardo Saludo and Renato Velasco, a UP political science professor and current board member of Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and “Beat The Odd” authored by deputy Press Secretary Gary Olivar are nothing but a compilation of lies and should be regarded by the Filipino public and book lovers as stinking garbage.

“The high crimes of corruption, the extreme brutality and the first-rate puppetry of President Arroyo to Washington D.C is an open secret to 94 million Filipinos and all these lies peddled by Arroyo associates in their books will not score a giant kill at the political box-office,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France.

Secretary Saludo told reporters the books are all about governance which students and academicians could use as reference material. He said the books would be helpful to people in the academe and government. He said the two books which will be released anytime before June 30 were not an attempt to put the President in good light.

“Beating The Odds” authored by Saludo and Velasco tackles the July 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, the threat posed by the SARS virus, terrorism and illegal drug trade, as well as the budget deficit—and President responded to these challenges and passed the tests with flying colors. A newspaper ad on Thursday described the book as a “crisis-management bible for the 21st century.

“Let Arroyo and her gang fool themselves on periodic and perpetual manner. No one will believe these books are product of intellectual honesty,” Pamalakaya’s France added.

However, Pamalakaya suggested Mrs. Arroyo to write her own book detailing her sins and crimes to the Filipino people. The militant group even suggested a title for the book. “How about a book written by Mrs. Arroyo herself aptly titled “The Day I Robbed Your Glory”, I Am Sorry or “The Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Scandal” which will have Arroyo confessing her sins and top notch crimes to the Filipino people that include but not limited to NBN-ZTE scandal, Hello Garci and the bloody series of extrajudicial killings from 2001 to 2010.

“I guess the “I Am Sorry” is the more appropriate title for her book and this is a potential blockbuster that could rival the best-selling novel of all time,” Pamalakaya added.

Saludo said he and Velasco only “selected” the crises that happened between 2001 and 2004. “These were the topics that we felt we could handle,” they explained.

Saludo said he and Velasco felt the wiretapping scandal should not be lumped together with the other crises because it required a “more extensive treatment.”

The other book Beat The Odds,” is more about Ms Arroyo’s accomplishments and written by Olivar whose title is based on the acronym Ms Arroyo coined when she assumed power in 2001 to summarize her 10-point agenda. With a report from Trinity Biglang Awa.

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Aquino flirting with Arroyo, critics charge

By Bb. Joyce Cabral, Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) today warned President proclaimed Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to refrain from engaging in either open or discreet political flirtation with outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, saying the national interest and demand for truth and justice of the Filipino people should prevail over narrow factional interests and politics of accommodation.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said he was very worry over the turn of events that led to the proclamation of Aquino as the 15th President of the Republic.

The activist fisherfolk leader recalled that Aquino issued recent a statement that he was accepting Palace offer for smooth transition of power by June 30 and that Aquino received a phone call from Mrs. Arroyo congratulating him for winning the presidential derby in the last May 10 elections and that Mrs. Arroyo offered to tour the 50-year old bachelor president in Malacanang anytime Aquino at any given time before June 30.

“Mr. Aquino is a certified political flirt. And our worry is that his game of political flirtation would result to horse trading and political accommodation at the expense of public interest and collective sentiment of the Filipino people which is the urgent and unconditional prosecution of Arroyo over charges of crimes against humanity, election fraud and top notch corruption offenses,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap said.

The militant group wondered why Aquino became silent on his plan to form a truth commission which will probe scores of scandals that rocked the Arroyo administration over the last 9 nine years which include the series of extrajudicial killings and other grave human rights violations committed against political activists and critics of the previous administration.

“So what’s the truth about this Truth Commission? The US installed Aquino presidency should tell the truth and nothing but the truth about this truth commission hyped by the Aquino camp at the height of the May 10 presidential campaign season,” said Pamalakaya.

During his campaign in Alaminos, Pangasinan, Aquino said many people were volunteering to join the Truth Commission which he promised to establish to prosecute Arroyo on charges of big time corruption and human rights violations.

Pamalakaya recalled that Aquino promised to investigate scandals in Arroyo administration including the Hello Garci scandal in 2005, the P 728 million fertilizer fund scam, the $ 328.49 ZTE scandal and the scores of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by state security forces under Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and Oplan Bantay Laya 2.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya challenged Aquino on first day in office to come up with a presidential executive order declaring the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries within his first 100 days in office.

“Noynoy should face this issue fair and square in his first 100 days office. He should not evade the issues pertaining to Luisita and act like long-running political escape artist. An executive order can take place at any given time between 9 am to 5 pm at any given working day in Malacanang,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group noticed that the ongoing dispute of Hacienda Luisita was not among the issues Aquino included in his first order of business on July 1, the newly elected president’s first working day in office.

In an interview with reporters, President elect Aquino said among the issues his administration would attend to were the problems he would inherit from outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from budget deficit to speeding up of prosecution of criminal and other cases filed against President Arroyo and other government officials of the outgoing administration.

“To Mr. Aquino and company we dare ask—how do you solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita? This issue is a matter of life and death and they cannot escape this political calling searching an end to landlessness, exploitation and injustice inside the 6,543-hectare Cojuangco-Aquino sugar estate,” Pamalakaya said. #

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Hacienda Luisita out in Aquino’s first order of business

By Lady Michelle Adobe, Queen Shawn Dok and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-Newly proclaimed 15th President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III was asked by the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) why the resolution of the land dispute inside the Cojuangco-Aquino owned Hacienda Luisita was not listed among the urgent problems the Aquino administration should resolve in the first 100 days of the 50-year old elected official.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said President Aquino should immediately confront the issue of 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries demanding the urgent and unconditional free distribution of 6,453-hectare sugar estate in Tarlac province.

“The resolution of decades old agrarian dispute inside Hacienda Luisita is big must for the Aquino administration. Noynoy should face this issue fair and square in his first 100 days office. He should not evade the issues pertaining to Luisita and act like long-running political escape artist,” the Pamalakaya official asserted.

Hicap noticed that the ongoing dispute of Hacienda Luisita was not among the issues Aquino included in his first order of business on July 1, the newly elected president’s first working day in office.

In an interview with reporters, President elect Aquino said among the issues his administration would attend to were the problems he would inherit from outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from budget deficit to speeding up of prosecution of criminal and other cases filed against President Arroyo and other government officials of the outgoing administration.

President Aquino also reaffirmed his commitment against regressive taxation like imposing a tax on text messages and the enactment of the Freedom of Information Bill as a legislative priority.

“To Mr. Aquino and company we dare ask—how do you solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita? This issue is a matter of life and death and they cannot escape this political calling searching an end to landlessness, exploitation and injustice inside the 6,543-hectare Cojuangco-Aquino sugar estate,” the Pamalakaya official added.

Meanwhile, a composite of 50 peasant activists mainly Hacienda Luisita farm workers belonging to Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and from staunch allies Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Pamalakaya personally delivered a 2- page letter of appeal addressed to Chief Justice Corona.

KMP deputy secretary-general Willy Marbella said Chief Justice Corona and 14 other justices of the high tribunal anytime can lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) it imposed against the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to place Hacienda Luisita under land reform and have the sugar estate distributed to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.

“We humbly submit to your honorable office our appeal asking the Supreme Court to act with dispatch and resolve the controversial agrarian case of Hacienda Luisita in favor of agrarian reform beneficiaries,” Marbella said.

The two-page letter of appeal to Corona reads: “Dear Chief Justice, the honorable high court has yet to act on the collective interest of Hacienda Luisita farm workers to lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the move of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to place the 6,453-hectare under land distribution to landless farm workers.”

“Honorable Chief Justice, the Supreme Court ruling favored the sugar barons of Hacienda Luisita and the landed aristocracy of Cojuangco-Aquino. It is in the highest interest of the Filipino people and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita to end this long-running feudal reign and exploitation with the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries,” the farmer groups added.

In their appeal, the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid ng Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) also asked the Chief Justice to let the high tribunal investigate high profile cases of land reform reversals and big time denials of peasant land rights in Southern Tagalog region.

Kasama-TK was referring to the case of farmers in Hacienda Looc involving 8,650 hectare of prime agricultural lands, which was previously placed under land reform program but was reversed by the Department of Agrarian Reform to pave way for real estate projects of Manila South Coast Development Corporation, a sister company of SM Holdings Inc. and Fil-Estate Realty Corporation.

According to Kasama-TK, the conversion of Hacienda Looc will lead to the evictions of 10,000 farming families in Nasugbu, Batangas and their wholesale displacement from their farmlands and principal source of living. Such land reform reversal policy of the state exempting commercial farms and expanding with coverage for exemptions that now include coconut lands has become a long running nightmare for millions of landless farmers and still land seeking farmer beneficiaries across the country.

Kasama-TK also told Chief Justice Corona the incident two weeks ago involving some 50 heavily armed men who stormed peasant villages in Hacienda Looc and tore down 21 houses of helpless farmers in vain attempt to terrorize the farming communities and force them to leave the lands they cultivated for generations. Another case which was mentioned in the letter of appeal is the case of Yulo Estate in Canlubang, Calamba City involving 7,100 hectares of prime agricultural lands which are coconut lands in nature.

“Honorable Chief Justice, also two weeks ago, armed goons about 50-60 of them swooped down a farming village inside the hacienda and dispersed a crowd of farmers who set up a protest camp out against the plan of the Yulo family to convert the estate into an industrial and commercial zone,” Kasama-TK added.

The dispersal resulted to the illegal arrest and detention of 11 people were arrested- three of them were minors and 1 was a 71-year old peasant woman, 8 others were charged with fabricated offenses and hundreds of their peasant colleagues were hurt. “Honorable chief Justice, perhaps it is time for the high court to take a decisive intervention on cases involving agrarian disputes all over the country.

“Many hacienda owners and their private partners are behaving extremely nowadays starting with Hacienda Luisita and recently Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas and Hacienda Yulo in Canlubang, Calamba City, province of Laguna,” the farmer group said.

KMP said the continuing denial of peasant land rights and the left-and-right land reform reversals all over the archipelago are sending the high court a compelling signal to purse a thoroughgoing agrarian reform in aid of pro-people’s jurisprudence. We hope this letter of appeal would merit the attention of your honorable office and the offices of 14 other justices of the Supreme Court. #

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Makati Business Club exec entry in Aquino cabinet assailed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap and Cherry Pie Eggpie Sandoval

MANILA, Philippines-A leader of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday scored presumptive President elect Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III for appointing one of the top executives of the influential Makati Business Club as a member of his incoming cabinet.

“Mr. Aquino is playing the game of big business with the highly questionable entry of MBC Executive Director Alberto Lim to the incoming Yellow clique expected to rule Malacanang like a high prized political and economic syndicate in the next six years. This is unfair and totally inimical to public interest,” says Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

In an interview on dwIZ radio today, Lim refused to say what government position Aquino had offered to him but expressed willingness to serve the country by joining the Aquino government in its fight against corruption. Lim’s group supported Aquino in the presidential race and was perceived as influential among the groups which backed the 50-year old lawmaker in the last May 10 presidential elections.

Lim said he is not sure what position Aquino would offer to him although there were reports from some quarters that Aquino is considering him to head either the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“It is payback time for Mr.Aquino and it is happening at this very early with close associates dividing the spoils among themselves. Is this what the US-installed presidency has to offer to the 94 million Filipinos?” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader accused Aquino of dividing the spoils among the favored blocs in his camp that include but not limited to the Kamag-Anak Incorporated, a group which close relatives of Aquino who started their corrupt career during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino and the Hyatt 10 composed of former cabinet members and civil society groups formerly allied with outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who deserted the latter at the height of Hello Garci election fraud scandal in 2005.

Hicap advised the MBC official to turn down the offer of Aquino, saying he and his group would be in better, and in politically and morally correct position to act as watchdog for good governance and against corruption if Lim and his group would stay outside the Aquino camp.

“The Aquino camp is also being perceived as week and prone to high crimes of corruption. If Mr. Lim wants to fight corruption and promote good governance, he and his group could do it better if they maintain a high level of independence from Aquino and his upcoming gangland in Malacanang,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The MBC executive director is the fourth “confirmed” member of Aquino’s prospective official family, after Corazon Soliman as social welfare secretary and Teresita Deles (adviser of the government peace panel) and longtime friend Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa who is being groomed as the next executive secretary or justice secretary or presidential legal chief. #

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Incoming Philippine President urged to suspend debt payment

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Mimaropa France

MANILA, Philippines- Anti-debt activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday challenged leading presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to radically overturn the decision of the 14th Congress to allot P 726.63 billion for debt servicing this year.

“We strongly recommend to the incoming Yellow Republic in Malacanang to scrap the P 726 billion budget for debt servicing earmarked by his predecessor President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the inglorious money market bastards and corporate financial gangsters of International Monetary Fund and World Bank,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader added: “Mr. Aquino and the recycled Hyatt 10 economic managers can do that in their first 100 days in office. That can be done without much fanfare. We hope Noynoy and his self-proclaimed economic experts will face these all time money laundering giants and pursue the collective interest of the Filipino people”.

“Billions of pesos of hard-earned taxes by the 94 million taxpaying Filipinos go to payment of debts incurred by all time financial monopolies, business syndicates, money market gangs and bureaucrat capitalists. Aquino is hereby tasked to stop this modern day financial oligarchy and slavery,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya official advised Aquino to issue a marching order to Senate and the House of Representatives suspending debt payment this year. Hicap said Aquino can put to task the 23 senators of the Philippine Senate and the 270 members of the House of Representatives to review the approved 2010 national budget, and in aid of legislation passed a joint resolution suspending debt payment for 2010.

Pamalakaya said the next thing Mr.Aquino should do is to call Congress to amend if not repeal the automatic 40 percent appropriation to debt servicing as enshrined in the General Appropriations Act to empower Congress and the Office of the President to pursue the budget in accordance with public interest and opposed to the financial interest of foreign creditors and big financial groups here and abroad.

The militant group also learned the Philippine government is posed to allocate some P 829.41 B for debt servicing, which is P 102.78 B or 13.7 percent higher from this year budget for debt payment. Pamalakaya said of the P 829-B debt budget set aside for next year’s debt servicing program, P 367.28 B will go to interest payment, P 40.55 billion higher compared to 2010’s P 326.73 B.

The Bureau of Treasury said principal payment will reach P462.13 billion next year, 15.6 percent above the current year’s allocation of P399.9 billion. Of the total debt, treasury officials said P1.954 trillion was loaned from foreign creditors while P2.403 trillion was sourced from domestic creditors.

On the other hand, the Department of Finance (DoF) said the country’s total debt for 2010 would reach P4.83 trillion, higher than the previous forecast of P4.723 trillion. #

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Fishers say DQ case vs. Yap will reach SC

By Manila Legarda and Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap

MANILA, Philippines-

Pamalakaya activists accused former agri chief Arthur Yap of pocketing P 455 million in taxpayers money over purchase of 98 ice-making machine

The current legal battle involving the disqualification case filed by the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) may soon reach the Supreme Court according to petitioners Fernando Hicap and Salvador France, chair and vice chairperson of the activist fishermen group.

“Definitely we will challenge the decision of the Commission on Elections before the highest court of the land. The fight against unlawful and immoral claim of Mr. Yap to represent the third congressional district of Bohol will be vigorously pursued in any appropriate court, in the parliament of the streets and in the court of public opinion. There’s no turning back,” the Pamalakaya leaders said in a joint statement.

Hicap and France, the petitioners to the Supreme Court move will be presided by the filing of motion for reconsideration before the Comelec, and if the poll body rejected the motion, they will elevate the case before the high tribunal for proper legal disposal of the disqualification case.

“It is going to be lifetime nightmare for Secretary Yap unless this most favored Cabinet member of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo atone for his political, legal and moral follies and pay for his crimes against the Filipino public,” the Pamalakaya leaders said.

Pamalakaya is now preparing a people’s petition urging senators and congressmen of incoming Congress to investigate Yap on charges of big time corruption in the Department of Agriculture under his watch as secretary of the department.

“It is going to be addressed to the next Senate President and House Speaker of the House of Representatives. Imagine, Secretary Yap, the congressman of Bohol third district is being called to answer charges of top notch crimes of corruption,” the group said.

On January 6, Pamalakaya filed a plunder case against Sec. Yap and President Arroyo in connection with the P 455 million ice making fund scam, which the group said was overpriced by 100 percent per unit. Pamalakaya said Yap and other officials of National Agribusiness Council (NABCOR) should also be investigated on the P 7.14 billion which the Commission on Audit (COA) cited in its’ 2008 report was missing, diverted or bungled.

The Second Division of Comelec last week junked the disqualification case filed by the group.

Pamalakaya received a copy of the 10-page resolution penned by Comelec second division presiding Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer and members Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph dated May 13, 2010 denying the instant petition for disqualification of Yap.

“After thorough examination of the proofs presented by both parties, we are convinced that Respondent Yap has met such requirement. The term “residence” is to be understood not in the common acceptation as referring to “dwelling” or “habitation” but rather to “domicile” or legal residence, that is, “the place where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain,” the Comelec second division said.

The poll body further said: “It has been established that the domicile of origin of the respondent is in Metro Manila. When respondent Yap decided to make Loboc, Bohol as his residence, such a decision did not begin and end by his intimation to Judge Fernandez of his intention. In 2007, Yap was laying the groundwork for his transfer to the said municipality.”

The Comelec said Yap visited local government officials and neighboring towns whenever his regular visits to the place permitted him. The election body said Yap’s intention was made clearer when he finally purchased the house of his mother-in-law in Barangay Buenavista in Loboc, Bohol.

“Although property ownership is not an indicia of domicile, the fact that the respondent bought the property wherein he resides adds to his foothold to the municipality. His attendance in barangay assemblies as member of barangay is indicative of his desire to integrate himself in the community,” the poll body added.

The Comelec noted that Yap’s contributions in the community were recognized when he was conferred the title “adopted son of Loboc, Bohol by way of Resolution No. 131 adopted on October 24, 2005. The commissioners said the law does not state that in abandoning his domicile, the candidate must divest any and all of his properties and interest attached to his previous domicile.

“His electoral victory is a product of political horse trading, highly questionable and totally ridiculous. We will explore all legal remedies to stop Sec. Yap from misrepresenting the third district of Bohol and use his illegally acquired position to get away with high crimes of corruption he committed during his tenure as chief of the agriculture department,” Pamalakaya said. #

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