Tag Archives: House Speaker Prospero Nograles

House Speaker’s sorry on freedom of info bill rejected

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

MANILA, Philippines- “We don’t need your sorry.” This was the reaction of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on reports quoting outgoing House Speaker Prospero Nograles that the fourth highest official of the land was sorry for the failure of 14th Congress to pass the Freedom of Information Bill. Nograles said he was sorry for the fate of the Freedom of Information Bill and that did his best to have the controversial measure passed by Congress but there was no quorum at the time the Lower House was set to approve the freedom of info bill.

“We were not born yesterday Mr. Speaker. The Freedom of Information Bill according to the narrow sentiment and interest of Malacanang was designed for a grand massacre,” said Pamalakaya.

“House Speaker Nograles wants to take the truth and justice seeking people of this country to another roller coaster ride. This aging and has-been politician from Davao City will go down in history as one of those shameless and lowlife political prostitutes of all time,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said House Speaker Nograles could had grabbed the opportunity and redeem himself by leading the congressmen to vote in favor of the legislative measure that will empower the Filipino public to source information about contracts and transactions entered into by government agencies and officials, which are deemed disadvantage or inimical to public interest.

“Mr. Speaker opportunity knocks only once. But you did not open the door of the House because that will put the ruling but outgoing occupant in Malacanang and their partners in crime in and out of the Palace and in and out of the House of Representatives in the name of political and legal immunity of the Arroyos and their close associates,” added France.

Pamalakaya said the failure of Congress to pass the Freedom of Information Bill will prevent the group from asking reports and documents from different government agencies concerning government officials and offices involved in big time crimes of corruption.

The militant group is set to demand next Congress to pursue investigations and legislative inquiries pertaining to still unresolved complaints of corruption against President Arroyo, favored cabinet members like former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and top military and police officials implicated in controversial anomalies involving huge public funds.

Pamalakaya earlier said it will ask the next Speaker of the House of Representatives to pursue the investigation of several anomalies involving President Arroyo and Sec. Yap and other top officials of the agriculture department regarding millions of pesos of missing funds at the agriculture department.

One of the issues of corruption which the group will raise is the P 455-million ice making scandal which Pamalakaya said was perpetrated by Malacanang and ex-agriculture secretary and now elected congressman (Bohol, 3rd district) Yap.

“It will be hard for us to secure documents and reports from DA just like the old times, because the law that should have given us the legal franchise to exercise our constitutional right to basic information is thwarted by the Arroyo-Nograles syndicate,” Pamalakaya lamented.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya challenged leading presidential candidate
Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to certify the approval of the Freedom of Information bill in 15th Congress and make it as one of the prioritized legislative agenda in the first 100 days of his administration.

But some quarters are saying it would still be an uphill battle for the controversial measure, since majority of the allies of President Arroyo who are allergic to the freedom on info bill would still exact political influence in Congress under the Aquino administration.

Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III is optimistic presumptive Philippine president elect Aquino would be fully behind the FOI bill that seeks to improve transparency in government transactions and to make it easier for the public to get the data they need.#

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Manila journalists hit Congress kill of freedom of info bill

By Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-The vigilant Manila based media group–National Union of Journalists in the Philippines scored top leaders of the House of Representatives for failing to pass the Freedom of Information Bill.

In a press statement, a copy of which was obtained by http://www.allvoices.com, the NUJP said the Filipino people should remember well the leadership of the House of Representatives of the 14th Congress who betrayed their mandate and democracy by killing the Freedom of Information bill.

“The travesty in the House session hall on June 4, 2010 was clear proof that outgoing Speaker Prospero Nograles had never had any intention of ensuring the ratification of the measure that would give reality to the constitutionally guaranteed right of the people to information of public interest,” the media group stressed.

The NUJP added: “The only conclusion one can draw about the badly scripted drama that Nograles and his accomplices – Majority Leader Arthud Defensor and Camiguin Representative Pedro Romualdo – acted out is that, even in his last moments as Speaker, the political expediency that characterized the outgoing administration continued to trump our long suffering people’s hopes for good governance and an end to corruption.”

For his part, Bayan Muna party list Rep. Teodoro Casino also assailed lawmakers allied with outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, adding that the killing of what is supposed to be a landmark act of legislation was orchestrated by Arroyo and her officials in and out of Congress who are currently facing charges of high crimes of corruption and other big offenses against the 94 million Filipinos.

In an interview with dzMM radio station, the activist lawmaker who is a staunch supporter of the bill, said there were not truth to reports that there was no quorum, accusing pro-administration solons of intentionally boycotting the session that
is scheduled to debate and approve the right to information measure.

“There was a quorum. There were about 140 congressmen yesterday. But many of them went on self-hiatus inside their airconditioned rooms at the expense of truth, justice and national interest,” Bayan Muna’s Casino said.

Casino, a media practitioner and alternative journalist himself during his heyday as President of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) said the fight for Freedom of Information Bill is not yet over.

The militant lawmaker said the FOI bill can still be refiled in the 15th session of the Congress on July 26 this year.

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Militant group sees Nograles hand in Palparan’s fresh anti-Left campaign in Davao City

By Chocolate Moose Fernandez and Akihira Tatchu

Manila, Philippines-The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday said the fresh deployment of rabid anti-communist crusaders Bantay party list Rep. Jovito Palparan Jr., Jun Alcover of Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) in Davao City has the seal of approval of House Speaker Prospero Nograles.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Speaker Nograles is the current godfather of Palparan, tagged by activists as “butcher” responsible for the hundreds of cases of political killings and enforced disappearances of activists during his stint in Mindoro island, Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon.

“It is an open book to all political circles that Speaker Nograles is now the chief political-military benefactor of Gen. Palparan. The Butcher of Mindoro, Eastern Visayas and Central Luzon is strong ally and partner of the Speaker in terrorizing all political activists and members of the opposition in the city,” added Hicap.

The activist fisherfolk leader issued the statement after reports reached its office in Quezon City that Palparan and Alcover resumed their anti-Left and counter-insurgency driven black propaganda against legitimate people’s organizations like Bayan Muna, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Gabriela, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and other activist groups.

Reports said Palparan had been spreading anti-communist propaganda branding leaders of militant groups in Davao City as either leaders or supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing– the New People’s Army operating in the Southern Mindanao Region, and therefore legitimate targets of military operations.

“Palparan is endorsing anew the Arroyo government’s campaign to assassinate leaders and members of militant party list and people’s organizations in Davao City. The Commission on Elections and even the House leadership should step in and stop this criminal frenzy of Palparan backed by his benefactors in and out of Malacanang, in and out of AFP and in and out of Congress,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said Speaker Nograles—the former human rights lawyer turned coddler of Palparan and Alcover connived with another rabid anti-Left and pro-GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) military official Brig. Gen. Eduardo del Rosario in attacking and demonizing progressive groups and personalities who are also opposed to Nograles’ plan to become the next mayor of Davao City due to his subservience to President Arroyo and the ruling military clique in Malacanang.

“Nograles thru people with criminal minds like Palparan, Alcover and del Rosario wants to score a back-to-back win for the government’s anti-insurgency program known as Oplan Bantay Laya 2 and for his mayoralty bid in Davao City,” said Hicap.

Last year, Pamalakaya called on Nograles to expel Palparan from Congress because the latter was using his seat as party list representative to attack the eight militant congressmen—Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casino and Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares, Anakpawis party list Rep. Joel Maglunsod and Rafael Mariano and Gabriela Women’s Party reps. Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

But Nograles junked the call for Palparan’s expulsion from Congress. Prior to Palparan’s joining of Congress as party list representative, the controversial retired army general where seen a couple times visiting the office of Speaker Nograles.

“The Nograles- Palparan connection has been established long before this criminal lawmaker entered the House of Representatives as party list representative of the pro-Arroyo military clique in the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” added Hicap. #

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Militant solons to challenge “1959” in Congress

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times and Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines- Eight activist party list lawmakers comprising Makabayan coalition bloc in the House of Representatives have vowed to spearhead the fight against Proclamation 1959 in the House and are filing a resolution tomorrow seeking to revoke the President’s imposition of martial law in Maguindanao.

In a press statement sent to The Pamalakaya Times, the Makabayan coalition in the House of Representatives led by representatives Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna; Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela, Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod of Anakpawis and Raymond Palatino of Kabataan Party will file a resolution urging the Lower Chamber to revoke the controversial proclamation placing Maguindanao under Martial Law.

The Makabayan solons said they would do everything humanly possible to oppose what they called an emerging Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo dictatorship.

They reiterated their stand that Proclamation 1959 was unconstitutional as there is no rebellion or invasion in Maguindanao. They also said it was unnecessary since a state of emergency had already been declared in the area and the AFP, PNP and other government agencies had enough powers to deal with the aftermath of the Maguindanao massacre.

“We believe that Proclamation 1959 is meant to be a precedent. It is an attempt to impose martial law even without the requirements specified in the Constitution. If the GMA gets away with this one in Maguindanao, she can get away with it in any other province or the whole country,” they said.

They said they would make sure Proclamation 1959 would not go unchallenged in Congress or in the Supreme Court.

“We demand that Congress act immediately to revoke Proclamation 1959 and protect our people from similar threats to their democratic rights and freedoms,” they said.

The bloc also said they would join and support all rallies and demonstrations against Proclamation 1959 and for the resignation or ouster of Pres. Arroyo.

Meanwhile, leftwing militants identified with the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday warned congressmen allied with Arroyo that the House of Representatives will face dissolution if congressmen will not reject the imposition of Martial Law in Maguindanao province.

In a a separate statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said pro-GMA congressmen should rise above the occasion and quell the grand plan of Malacanang and the National Security Council to slowly but surely place the entire country under Martial Law with the Maguindanao massacre as a laboratory for eventual declaration of martial rule all over the country.

The Pamalakaya leader said the statement of House Speaker Prospero Nograles justifying Proclamation 1959 is politically dangerous, asserting that the top house leader is toeing the Palace line for the across-the-nation imposition of Martial Law that will soon lead to the dissolution of the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate.

“Remember the imposition of Martial Law is one of the available legal measures for President Arroyo to perpetuate herself to power beyond 2010. Mrs. Arroyo and her ruling gangland will do everything, anything, whatever the cost is and come what may to justify martial rule and keep the reigning political syndicate to power,” said Hicap.

Pamalakaya said congressmen allied or oppose to President Arroyo should take cue from the Supreme Court which said that Malacanang has no basis to declare Martial Law in Maguindanao because the court system in Maguindanao is functioning.

“The Supreme Court is clear, the court system is working and in fact that judge in Kidapawan had issued six search warrants that authorized the raids on several Amputuan residences. The cruel intention of Mrs. Arroyo and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez is highly exposed here—they want the Maguindanao to jumpstart the well planned imposition of Martial Law all over the country,” the group said.

“It appears to us that the Maguindanao massacre orchestrated by the powerful Ampatuan clan had the official blessing if not tacit approval of the national security mafia in Malacanang to justify the possible declaration of national state of emergency or even Martial Law across the country. Palace think tanks believe the situation could be exploited to justify the martial rule not only in Maguindanao but also across the country in not so distant future,” Pamalakaya added.

The militant group asserted that aside from President Arroyo, Secretary Gonzalez and ex-defense chief Teodoro, previous defense secretaries and chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines should be made to explain why they allowed the proliferation of CAFGUs, armed Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) and private armies in Maguindanao and have them enlisted and functioned as military and security personnel and private armies of the powerful Ampatuan warlord clan in Maguindanao.

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Palace pressed to scrap midnight sale of gov’t assets

by TC Concepcion and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue an executive order mandating an across-the-nation freeze of supposed plans to privatize and sell government assets in the remaining months of her term to prevent the administration party from using the proceeds for the electoral campaign of Malacanang favored bets in the 2010 elections.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the Office of the President is politically, morally and lawfully obliged to stop the plan auction of state assets, particularly the sale of government-owned prime property in the Fujimi district in Tokyo, which houses the residence of the Philippine Ambassador to Japan.

Hicap made the proposal to Malacanang after Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. warned that privatization could fatten the campaign war chest of the Arroyo administration with the looming midnight sale of a Philippine property in Japan.

The opposition senator was referring to the government-owned property in Tokyo, which according to real estate insiders and the Department of Finance could net P 3 billion for the government.

The Fujimi property in Tokyo district is still in the government list for sale and privatization, although Malacanang denied that the property is going to be developed for commercial purposes. Sen. Pimentel argued that the government had entered into an agreement with a real estate firm to build a commercial multistory building on the Fujimi property, which was acquired by the Philippine government in 1943 through the efforts of then President Jose Laurel Sr.

“President Arroyo is transforming this country into a house of midnight sale extravaganza. We agree with the observations of the Senate Minority Leader that her government is on a rampaging money making campaign for elections by disposing government properties and shares of stocks to the highest bidders to satisfy the regime’s greed for fat kickbacks and in preparation for the 2010 electoral derby,” the Pamalakaya official added.

Hicap’s group had previously opposed the sale of government shares in Petron and Meralco, as well as the planned auction of military camps in Bukidnon (10,000 hectares), Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija (7,100 hectares) and Tumandok in Panay Island, asserting that these vast hectares of agricultural lands should have been distributed to landless farmers in the country.

Pamalakaya said the proposed executive order mandating concerned government agencies to stop the disposal of state assets should also cover the alleged plans to sell the sprawling complex of the National Center for Mental Health and Welfareville or Boys Town in Mandaluyong, the premises of the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City, the Home for the Aged in Quezon City and the Philippine Coastal Corporation.

The militant group also said the government should scrap the auction of the 103-hectare complex of the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) in Taguig City, which is expected to generate P 14 billion for the government, and the other plans such as the sale of government remaining shares in Petron, in San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and in the PNOC Energy Exploration Corp.

Last year, the Macapagal-Arroyo government raised P 90.6 billion from the privatization of state-assets- reportedly the highest ever recorded income for such transactions. The biggest asset sold last year was the National Transmission Corp. This year, the government intends to generate about P 80 billion from the privatization of power plants of the National Power Corporation.

Pamalakaya likewise pressed Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to issue a joint resolution calling President Arroyo or the Office of the President and its concerned government agencies to stop the privatization and sale of all state assets.

“This will effectively stop Ms Arroyo and the ruling gangland in Malacanang from public assets that were put up by the millions of the Filipino taxpaying public. We don’t want to wake up one morning and see for ourselves the entire Philippines is already sold to foreign clients of the Arroyo mafia,” the group said.

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Satur to poll body: Allow militant migrant group to run in 2010

By Sugar Hicap and Lollipop de los Reyes

Quezon City, Philippines- Party list coalition Makabayan today strongly urged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to reconsider its earlier resolution to remove Migrante Sectoral Party from the list of accredited party-list organizations participating in the 2010 elections.

“Thousands of overseas Filpinos are in danger of being disenfranchised by this COMELEC ruling. They who contribute so much from the economy have for so long been marginalized by the electoral system. Now, once again, they are being denied their right to representation,” said Rep. Satur Ocampo, president of Makabayan.

In an en banc resolution last October 13, 2009, COMELEC barred Migrante and 25 other party-list organizations from participating in the 2010 elections. Migrante, according to the commission, participated and failed to gain seats in two straight elections prior to the upcoming polls.

It is on record, however, that Migrante only participated during the 2004 elections and signified their intent not to run in 2007 while maintaining the option to run in the next election.

“It is clear from its track record that Migrante is a legitimate party-list organization, with the largest and broadest membership among overseas Filipinos and their families in the Philippines. It cannot be denied that to delist Migrante is to disenfranchise their constituency,” explained Ocampo.

The Makabayan president further pointed to COMELEC’s wild inconsistencies in its decision to delist and maintain party-list groups in its accredited list. For instance, groups like BISA, Pinoy Overseas Party and Banat were allowed to run in 2004 even as they failed to garner the required two-percent of total party-list votes to garner seats in 1998. These groups also failed to run during the 2001 elections.

The activist lawmaker lamented that groups with dubious representation like (Mike Arroyo’s sister) Ma. Lourdes Arroyo’s Kasangga Party-list and butcher general Jovito Palparan’s Bantay Party-list were allowed to participate in 2007 and defame the true spirit of the Party-List System Act.

“All these point to a political motive in the delisting of Migrante. After all, Migrante, along with the other progressive party-list organizations, have been the most vocal in criticizing government misdeeds and even exposing electoral fraud during the past elections,” said Ocampo.

Ocampo also urged the commission not to give in to pressure from Malacañang. He asked COMELEC to give progressive party-list organizations like Migrante a chance to finally run for House seats that would represent the millions of Filipinos long denied of due representation.

While Comelec was slapped with criticisms over its decision to delist Migrante sectoral party list, the militant Bayan Muna party list welcomed the statement of House Speaker Prospero Nograles expressing the urgent need to stop the abuses of oil cartel-Shell, Caltex and Petron.

Nograles also said that the Oil Deregulation Law fell short of its supposed intent to put an end to the monopoly of the big three on the oil industry.

“It’s good that Speaker Nograles has seen the light on this issue of oil deregulation. For the longest time, Shell, Caltex and Petron have been abusing the law by jacking up their prices at the slightest excuse. Oil deregulation has only made the cartel even more abusive, and consumers have been at their mercy since the law was approved in 1998. More than a decade later, we have all seen the disastrous impact of oil deregulation, and it’s high time that the law be repealed,” Bayan Muna secretary general Nathanael Santiago said.

Santiago said that despite Nograles’ assertion that there was no more time to repeal the law, he said that “it was still important for Congress to make the attempt.”

He said that “all it will take is strong and determined political will to repeal the law and send an unmistakable signal to the Big Three that their abuses are not being tolerated.”

“There is still enough time to fast-track measures to repeal the oil deregulation law. If bills pushed by Malacanang can be rushed and even passed in a series of overnight plenary sessions, why not a bill putting an end to oil deregulation? It would be a great service to once and for all repeal this law that has brought nothing but added economic burdens to the people,” Santiago said.

“Bayan Muna is certain that our many lawmakers are willing to sacrifice a few sleepless nights for this effort. The oil companies should be taught a lesson, and this could be a good first step towards regulating the oil industry,” he added.

“If Speaker Nograles will put his influence and clout behind calls for the repeal of oil deregulation law, it will be possible to junk the said law before the end of the 14th Congress,” Santiago said. #

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National inquiry on Ondoy tragedy sought

National inquiry on Ondoy tragedy sought

The militant alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday asked Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to immediately schedule a separate or joint national inquiry on the real causes behind the massive flood brought by storm Ondoy last Saturday that devastated the entire National Capital Region and the provinces of Rizal, Laguna, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Bataan,Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora.

“Let’s have a national inquiry on the Ondoy tragedy. Let us determine the real score behind this corporate induced and government sanctioned national disaster that killed hundreds of people and which sent hundreds of thousands of people homeless and displaced,” said Pamalakaya Vice-Chairperson for Luzon Salvador France.

The Pamalakaya leader suggested that following government agencies and officials to be summoned either by the joint congressional inquiry or separate congressional inquiry if Enrile and Nograles decide to push through with the probe on Ondoy tragedy.

– DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza
– DND secretary and NDCC chair Gilbert Teodoro
– MMDA chair Bayani Fernando
– DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno
– DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.
– PAGASA Director Prisco Nilo
– incumbent governors of Quezon, Aurora, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.

Pamalakaya’s France said the 6 government officials should also take immediately a leave of absence in their respective officers or tender irrevocable resignations once the Senate and the House of Representatives begin their joint or separate inquiry.

The militant leader also said logging firms, quarrying companies and other business groups operating in Sierra Madre particularly in the provinces of Quezon, Aurora, Laguna, Rizal, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan should also be invited to shed light on the recent national calamity, which Pamalakaya said is destined to happen because of big business eternal thirst for super profits and government officials’ gluttony for fat kick backs and huge commissions.

Pamalakaya said what happened in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces in Southern and Central Luzon was directly connected and due to the all-out big time logging activities in Sierra Madre, which is supposed to be the backbone of Luzon.

“What is common to all these affected areas is that all these areas are enjoined and connected by the Sierra Madre mountain range. The present devastated state of Sierra Madre due to logging, quarrying and other forms of privatization and sell-out as promoted by the Macapagal-Arroyo government will cause more tragedy to the people,” the group said.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) yesterday said death arising from typhoon Ondoy is now 240, and many of the victims drowned in the floods, while others were electrocuted or killed in landslides, the council said.

Thirty-seven people remained missing on Tuesday while five others were injured, according to the council. Ondoy affected 1.87 million of the country’s 92 million people, with 374,890 of them now sheltering in makeshift evacuation camps, it said. #

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