Tag Archives: Loboc

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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Yap takes 126 K out of 173K votes, but fishers group refuses to give up DQ case

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Chocolate Moose Fernandez and Trinity Biglang Awa

MANILA, Philippines-Controversial former agriculture secretary and unopposed congressional candidate in Bohol’s third district Arthur Yap has accumulated 126,390 votes out of 173,539 total votes cast and appeared shoo-in for the elective post.

However, Yap’s nemesis—the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), that filed a disqualification case against the former agriculture secretary on the question of residency refused to give up, stressing it will explore all available legal remedies to stop Yap’s illegal and immoral claim to represent the people of Bohol in the third district.

“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,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, one of the petitioners in the disqualification case against Yap.

In the latest manifestation submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the lawyers of Sec. Yap said the poll body should immediately dismiss the disqualification case filed by Pamalakaya on March 9, saying that their client was able to garner 126,390 votes out of 173,539 total votes cast. According to Yap’s lawyers, this represents 72.8 percent of the total votes cast or an overwhelming majority.

Citing a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Sinaca vs. Mula (G.R No. 135691, September 27, 1999, 315 SCRA 266,282), Yap’s legal counsel asserted that when a candidate has perceived popular mandate overwhelmingly and clearly expressed, all possible doubts should be resolved in favor of the candidate’s eligibility for to rule otherwise is to defeat the will of the people.

Ex-sec. Yap lawyers said, the determination of the true will of the electorate should be paramount, and that the voice of the people should prevail which is the essence of democracy.

Meanwhile, Hicap assailed Comelec Chairman Jose Melo over the latter’s continuing snub of the disqualification case they filed against Sec. Yap. The Pamalakaya official said the poll body has yet to tackle the disqualification case filed by his group two months before the May 10 elections.

“But Chairman Melo and the rest of the commissioners did not perform their assignment and constitutional mandate. They allowed Yap to run while there is an urgent case waiting for their final resolution ahead of the May 10 polls. This is terrible, really terrible,” the group sad.

“It seems to us Chairman Melo is afraid of Secretary Yap because the former agriculture secretary is no ordinary person for the poll chief and taking up Yap’s case is like entertaining a major fight with Malacanang and Yap’s political benefactors in and out of Malacanang,” said Pamalakaya.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya will send appeal letters to incoming congressmen to investigate cases of corruption involving Sec. Yap particularly the P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines. The militant group said they will also ask the new congress under the Aquino presidency to investigate the unchecked operations of the National Agribusiness Council (Nabcor), an attached agency of DA which is implicated the questionable importation of 98 quick freezing machines.

On top of the P 455 million ice making fund scam, Pamalakaya said Yap and other NABCOR officials 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.

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298 out of 11k Lobocanos confirmed Yap is man from Loboc

By Billy Javier Reyes and Sugar Hicap in Tagbilaran City, Bohol
and Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila

MANILA, Philippines-Some 298 Lobocanos signed a sworn statement affirming that former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, now running unopposed in the third district of Bohol is a true blue Lobocano entitled to run for congressional seat.

In a supplemental information filed before the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) national office in Manila, lawyers of Yap asserted that the sworn statement of 298 residents in Barangay Buenavista is strong proof that Sec. Yap is a legitimate resident in the village and his plan to run in the third district of Bohol is not questionable contrary to what petitioners Fernando Hicap and Salvador France, chair and vice-chair of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) had raised in the disqualification case they filed against their client on March 9.

The Yap camp had previously questioned the legal capacity of Pamalakaya to file the disqualification case, citing Rule 25 of the Comelec, that groups like Pamalakaya can only question and file disqualification case against national candidates and not on local candidates. They said Yap is running for a seat in the third district of Bohol, and only the people in the third district of Bohol could question his candidacy.

But Pamalakaya’s Hicap said Yap, although running in the third district of Bohol, is no ordinary person in local politics. The Pamalakaya leader said Sec. Yap is the former secretary of agriculture, an influential national figure and one of the most cherished members of the Macapagal-Arroyo cabinet.

“Secretary Yap is a national public figure and influential member of the Arroyo cabinet who has been hounded by high crimes of corruption over the last six years. His misrepresentation of Bohol’s third district is already a big crime. The Filipino public will not allow Yap to use his congressional representation in Congress to evade charges of super corruption against him. Therefore, it is in the national interest of the people to frustrate Yap’s bid for Congress and instead have him prosecuted for first-rate crimes of corruption on multiple counts,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said 298 Lobocanos who signed the sworn statement do not represent the 250,000 populace of the third district of Bohol. He said the town of Loboc has 11,000 registered voters and 298 is just about 2 percent of the registered voters.

More than a week ago, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared former Agriculture Secretary Yap a sure winner in the third district of Bohol, which the fisherfolk alliance viewed as a marching order to the poll body to junk Pamalakaya’s disqualification case filed against Yap.

“We were not born yesterday. President Arroyo’s political prophecy declaring Secretary Yap as congressman of third district of Bohol is a marching order from Malacanang to Comelec to kill the disqualification case against Yap,” the group said.

President Arroyo who was the guest speaker at the first anniversary of a housing project for squatters moved out of Pasig River and victims of typhoons in Marikina and Pasig cities said she was sure of Yap’s unopposed victory in the third district of Bohol.

“Even if he alone votes for himself, Arthur Yap will become congressman because he is unopposed,” said Ms Arroyo.“I asked Yap to sit with me because even if he was already a former government official and now in the private sector and will become congressman,” Arroyo said.

Two weeks ago, Pamalakaya asked the Comelec to immediately tackle the disqualification case against Secretary Yap, adding it was puzzled by the development that the poll body has yet to tackle the case against Yap.

The group likewise filed supplemental information to Comelec to beef up the disqualification case they filed against Sec. Yap. The supplemental information was signed by three officials of Barangay Buenavista, municipal of Loboc disproving Yap’s claim that he lives in the village and a resident of the far-flung barangay, which the former agriculture secretary claimed as his present address as shown in his certificate of candidacy.

The supplemental information carried the signatures of former Barangay Buenavista secretary Corbino Cuhit, incumbent barangay councilor Basilio Balog and resident Mateo Ratonel, brother of incumbent barangay councilor Boy Ratonel which said that Yap was never been a resident of the barangay and the controversial secretary just arrived in their village at the start of the election season.

The three said the house and the address referred by Sec. Yap as his official domicile in Buenavista, Loboc is a far-flung community which is not passable to any regular vehicle except single motorcycles due to rough road and mountainous curves.

In their 4-page disqualification case against Yap filed last March 9, Pamalakaya said the former agriculture secretary lacks qualification to run as congressman for the third district of Bohol because he is not a resident of province 3rd district. The group asserted the position for which Yap filed a certificate of candidacy requires that a candidate be a resident of the district (3rd District of Bohol) for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the May 10, 2010 elections.

Pamalakaya maintained Secretary Yap failed to meet the qualification because the former agriculture secretary still lives in Ortigas, Pasig City and there is no evidence or overt act that Yap abandoned his domicile of origin. The group said their case against Yap is similar to the recently concluded case decided by the poll body against actor Richard Gomez who was barred by Comelec from running in Leyte over the question of domicile.

“More than the issue of residency is the stockpile of graft charges filed by against Secretary Yap before the Office of the Ombudsman regarding irregular and highly questionable use of taxpayers’ money by the agriculture department. This disqualification case pertaining to lack of qualification to run on the basis of residency is just part of the whole process to unearth the truth on controversies surrounding this controversial cabinet of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” said Pamalakaya.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya filed plunder and other criminal and administrative charges against Yap in connection with the P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines. Included in the charge sheet are President Arroyo and other officials of the National Agribusiness Council (Nabcor), an attached agency of DA. On top of the P 455 million ice making fund scam is the P 7.14 billion which the Commission on Audit (COA) cited in its’ 2008 report was missing, diverted or bungled.

“We filed this case not to spoil the political ambition of Sec. Yap. We filed this case because we want truth and justice to prevail over the narrow interest of new breed of traditional and corrupt politician like Sec. Yap,” Pamalakaya added.

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