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By Amando Doronila
In the sordid saga of corruption in the Philippine government since the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos’ kleptocratic dictatorship in the 1986 People Power Revolution, no scandal has appalled the Filipino people more than the diversion of P10 billion in state funds earmarked for livelihood and public works projects, through the intervention of a private syndicate of nongovernment organizations, to dummy NGOs for alleged ghost projects during the past 10 years.
By Neal H. Cruz
Something is not right in the Department of Justice. In December 2012, after finishing its preliminary investigation of two criminal suits against top officials of the Standard Chartered Bank, the Makati prosecutor filed the cases. The DOJ took over jurisdiction of the cases, only to send them back to the Makati prosecutor, then take them [...]
By Solita Collas-Monsod
Better late than never. I’ve got to hand it to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. She did not waste any time trying to excuse herself or her department, or attempting to cover up. Instead, she described it as “an unfortunate and deplorable case of violation of the constitutional and human rights of the respondent,” and then immediately ordered an investigation to determine if any official is criminally liable for the “inordinate and inexcusable delay in resolving the automatic review of the Urbina case.”
By Peter Wallace
I think you’ll agree that the Philippines has more than enough laws. What we need is enforcement. It’s the executive branch that has to act, not Congress.
It has been about five years since the hapless victims of a preneed company filed complaints for large-scale or syndicated estafa with the Department of Justice.
Almost two years since a baffling report by a joint fact-finding panel of the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation cleared the military of any liability for the unfortunate deaths in a Leyte forest of top botanist Leonard Co and two of his aides, the Commission on Human Rights has restored the balance on the side of reason and justice.
DEEPLY DISTURBING. That may be the best way to describe the decision of the Special Fifth Division of the Court of Appeals invalidating the creation and thus the conclusions of a second panel of prosecutors that had investigated last year’s murder of Palawan environmentalist Gerry Ortega.
With the murder of state witness Alfredo Mendiola, a clear message was sent to the government: The car theft syndicate against which he testified is not one to pull its punches. The state of Mendiola’s corpse and two others (each bound, gagged, and with a bullet wound in the head) and the speed with which he was neutralized (not long after he gave his guards in the Witness Protection Program the slip) indicate that the reach and resources of the syndicate have not waned despite the arrest and incarceration of its leaders. The government should act swiftly to banish the impression that it is operating from a position of weakness.
ELECTIVE OFFICE is an escape route that has been used by criminals to avoid prosecution and conviction for many crimes. As the 2013 elections near, the Commission on Elections may find it worthwhile to work with the judiciary and the Department of Justice to stop criminal suspects from using this escape route. Many suspects in [...]
By Solita Collas-Monsod
The latest (February) data on the performance of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) should provide more than a small amount of comfort to those who are beginning to despair over the Aquino administration’s competence. While one month’s performance of these agencies is obviously no indication of a trend, it is still a very encouraging sign. Kim Henares of the BIR and Ruffy Biazon of the BOC deserve the applause of the Filipino people for jobs well done.
The Department of Justice has recommended the filing of a kidnapping case against retired general and former congressman Jovito Palparan and several military officers in connection with the abduction in 2006 of college students suspected of being members of the communist New People’s Army. The Melo Commission, headed by retired associate justice Jose Melo, had recommended in 2007 the filing of similar charges against Palparan by virtue of command responsibility since he was the head of the Army battalion allegedly responsible for the abductions. But the recommendation was not adopted by the former administration. Palparan was allowed to retire without a hitch and he even got the administration’s blessing to run as a party-list representative in 2007. He won, but he wasn’t reelected in 2010. Now the day of reckoning may have come.
By Michael L. Tan
Signs reading “Cave canem” (Beware of dog) were used by the ancient Romans. But for my column today, I refer not to barking and biting dogs, but to human underdogs. I was in a restaurant in a city in Mindanao watching the TV coverage of government officials blocking the departure of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [...]