Tag Archives: plunder

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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Poll body junked DQ case vs. Yap

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Joyce Cabral and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines- The Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has junked the disqualification case filed by the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) against former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.

Pamalakaya received a copy of the 10-page resolution penned by Comelec second division presiding Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, 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.

“We must take note of the fact that prior to his running for a House seat; he was the secretary of agriculture serving as alter ego of the President. Close proximity to Malacanang entails regular visits to the Metropolis. To maintain properties in furtherance of his profession could not be seen as an indication of non-abandonment of his previous domicile as held in Fernandez vs. HRET case,” the Comelec asserted.

But Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Pamalakaya-vice chairperson Salvador France, both petitioners in the disqualification case said the fight for the disqualification of Sec. Yap is far from over, and in fact’ the protracted fight against the removal of the former agriculture secretary from public office has officially started.

“The junking of our disqualification case against Secretary Yap is highly predictable from the very start. It is not surprising to us that Comelec had junked our case against Yap. It will be a major surprise of the election season if Comelec decided on our favor,” the two Pamalakaya leaders said.

However, Hicap and France said they would ask their lawyer on what would be the next legal action to be taken in connection with the Comelec decision. They said a motion for reconsideration may be filed before the Comelec or they may bring the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

“We see the junking of the disqualification case against Yap as an opportunity rather than a tragic defeat. The venues for the all out exposition of and opposition to secretary Yap as a power hungry and opportunist bureaucrat capitalist and corrupt public official will further go places including but not limited to Comelec and other appropriate courts,” the Pamalakaya officials added.

Pamalakaya said 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,” the group said.

Prior to the May 13 decision of the poll body, 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, Pamalakaya will send appeal letters to incoming congressmen and senators 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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Fishers slam DA plan to buy P 1.5 B worth of ice makers anew

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Sugar Hicap and Lollipop delos Reyes

Manila, Philippines- Icing protest vs. P 455 million ice making machine scam Complainants to the plunder case filed against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Agriculture secretary Arthur Yap and officials of National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) in connection with the controversial P 455 million overpriced ice-making machines project said the government through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor) will purchase 300 more units of ice-making machines at the same overpriced rate of P 4.6 million per unit or roughly P 1.5 billion in taxpayers’ money.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said an insider from agriculture department told him that the government is scheduled to purchase 300 more units of ice-making machines in addition to 98 units previously bought at P 4.6 million per unit or P 2.3 million higher than the prevailing industry rate.

Hicap said DA and Nabcor will join the same private supplier- the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) for the importation of additional 300 units of ice-making machines under the P 1.5 billion ice making project.

“Something must be done to stop this multi-billion ice making scam. We ask the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives to immediately convene a special session, investigate and stop the commencement of another high crime of corruption in the agriculture department. This is money making and grand raid of public funds perpetrated by the super corrupt people in the Arroyo administration,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

To substantiate his claim that another first-rate crime of corruption at DA and Nabcor is in the making, the Pamalakaya official cited the latest findings of the Commission on Audit which said that some P 7.14 billion of taxpayers’ money were wasted by the agriculture department in 2008 due to bungled project implementation or missing and diverted funds.

In the report, COA said a total of P 5.19 billion farm-to-market road project of the agriculture agency remained incomplete as of Dec. 31, 2008.

Hicap reminded lawmakers that although it is now election period, the season does not prevent them from conducting special sessions, and that they are duty bound to probe and effectively stop any government transactions that are checkered with corruption and irregularities.

“P 1.5 billion is P 1.5 billion. That’s a lot of money for electoral campaign. It can be used as a standby fund by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to corner the speakership in the House of Representatives,” he said referring to Arroyo’s alleged plan to seek the speakership post once officially elected as congresswoman of the2nd district of Pampanga.

Last January 6, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis leaders led by Rep. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod filed the plunder and other criminal and administrative charges against President Arroyo, Sec. Yap and 13 other public and private officials

Pamalakaya said the agriculture department through Nabcor awarded the government contract to a lone bidder—the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) on September 2, 2009, which will provide the ice-making unit at P 4,650,000 per unit, or about P 2.3 million higher compared to prevailing industry price for the ice-making machine.

“The same corrupt actors are behind this P 1.5 billion upcoming ice-making machine scandal. We will not allow this icing on the cake ice making machines scam. We will pursue another case in the Office of the Ombudsman. We will write lawmakers to investigate this latest raiding of taxpayers’ money, we will ask the Supreme Court to stop this plunder adventure of Arroyo and Yap and we will aggressively explore the parliament of the street to demand truth, justice and accountability,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

“We will even ask and appeal to the Chinese community in Ongpin and Binondo to denounce and disown this Chinese bureaucrat capitalist in the person of Secretary Yap for tarnishing the names of the Filipino-Chinese businessmen who want fair play and conduct honest-to-goodness business in the country,” added Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list asserted that the P 455- million ice making machine scam is chiefly authored by President Arroyo and members of the syndicate operating in and out of Malacanang and in and out of the agriculture department and that Secretary Yap performed his role to the hilt as the lead actor in this newest high crime of corruption orchestrated by the ruling Mafia in the Palace.

As agreed by parties to contract, the government will pay IRSS the sum of P 455,700,000 for 98 units of ice-making machines with liquid freeze capability which will be supplied to selected municipal fish ports nationwide. But the complainants said the government can obtain 98 units of ice-making machines for P 225 million to P 230 million, or half of the quoted and agreed price with IRSS.

According to information gathered by Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list, NABCOR conducted a preliminary bidding last August 26, and IRSS which won the bidding, was only incorporated on August 25, a day before the preliminary bidding was conducted.

The groups said under Republic Act 9184 (Procuring Law), Section 37.1, the bidder must submit a copy of its single largest completed contract over the past 3 years, and such condition is impossible for IRSS, which was only incorporated on August 25, this year, a day before the preliminary bidding. The contract was finally awarded last Sept.2. #

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Activists staged “holiday on ice” protest vs. P 455-M ice machine scam

By Chocolate Moose Fernandez and Billy Javier Reyes

Manila, Philippines-Some 50 activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Anakpawis party list blocked the main gate of the office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) with 30 blocks of huge ice cubes to protest the agency’s procurement of 98 units of ice-making machines for P 4.65 million per unit for a total of P 455 million, which the groups said were overpriced by more the P 2.3 million per unit for a total of P 225 million.

“This holiday on ice protest is not meant to please nor promote Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holiday on ice adventure. This is a highly agitating protest denouncing the money making scheme perpetually perpetrated by Malacanang and the agriculture department. Imagine, the Filipino taxpaying public will pay for P 455 million scandal ridden ice-making machine project, and worse, Secretary Arthur Yap and his gang mates are using our fisherfolk’s name to justify this multi-hundred million crime of corruption,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Hicap, also the fisherfolk representative in Anakpawis party list national council, said the agriculture department through the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) awarded the government contract to a lone bidder—the Integrated Refrigeration System and Services (IRSS) on September 2, 2009, which will provide the ice-making unit at P 4,650,000 per unit, or about P 2.3 million higher compared to prevailing industry price for the ice-making machine.

“In the name of national interest and public trust, Secretary Yap should immediate revoke the contract because it is highly disadvantageous to the national government and to the taxpaying public. Imagine taxpayers will pay more than P 225 million of hard-earned taxpayers’ money to pave way this high crime of corruption. This highly inflammatory, mind-boggling and totally unacceptable,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The Pamalakaya official said the government will pay IRSS the sum of P 455,700,000 for 98 units of ice-making machines with liquid freeze capability which will be supplied to selected municipal fish ports nationwide. But the group said the government can obtain 98 units of ice-making machines for P 225 million to P 230 million, or half of the quoted and agreed price with IRSS.

“P 225 million is P 225 million. That sum of money can be used to finance any kind of sinister agenda or cruel intention by the present power holders in and out of Malacanang. The money might also be used to finance the electoral campaign of Mrs. Arroyo’s national and local bets in 2010 elections. This is money making in aid of electoral campaign for 2010 polls,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list asserted that Secretary Yap is lawfully and morally bound to revoke the contract. “Secretary Yap can revoke the contract and send NABCOR officials to the firing line for subscribing to this highly irregular and grossly scandalous agreement with IRRS. The secretary can do it at any given time of the day,” the group said.

According to information gathered by Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list, NABCOR conducted a preliminary bidding last August 26, and IRSS which won the bidding, was only incorporated on August 25, a day before the preliminary bidding was conducted.

The groups said under Republic Act 9184 (Procuring Law), Section 37.1, the bidder must submit a copy of its single largest completed contract over the past 3 years, and such condition is impossible for IRSS, which was only incorporated on August 25, this year, a day before the preliminary bidding. The contract was finally awarded last Sept.2.

Pamalakaya threatened to file a plunder case against Secretary Yap and other officials of NABCOR if they will not cancel the contract with IRSS on or before the end of 2009.

“Secretary Yap has 9 days to correct this multi-hundred million peso mistake. If he will not do his job, then we will file a plunder case against him before the Office of the Ombudsman and we will charge him and his conspirators of plunder and violations of anti-graft and corrupt practices act along with their private clients,” Pamalakaya said.

Aside from Secretary Yap, Pamalakaya said it will include in the plunder charge sheet the top officials of NABCOR namely Alan A. Javellana, President; Romulo A. Relevo, Chairman of the Bids and Awards Committee; Dennis Lozada, Winston Azucena, Melody de Guzman and Encarnita Cristina Munsod, all members of Bids and Awards Committee, and owners and operators of IRSS.

Earlier, Allan V. Ragasa, a complainant had filed charges against Sec. Yap and officials of NABCOR and officers of IRSS headed by its chairman Alexander Leung before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the questionable awarding of contract to IRSS. The complaint in violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 9184 was filed on Nov.18, 2009. #

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