Tuesday, September 20, 2011

De Lima should explain VIP treatment to former FG says Trillanes

MANILA, September 21, 2011-Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV urges Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to explain her apparent selective application of the law and her VIP treatment to former First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo.

Trillanes reacted on media reports that Mr. Arroyo left the country via Munich, Germany for medical reasons, saying that De Lima must explain why she decided not to place former FG Mike Arroyo in the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) watch list despite of the plunder charge filed by the Criminal Investigation Detective Group (CIDG) against him, in the same manner she has placed others with similar charges in the watch list.

“This is clearly contrary to the position she took in earlier cases, like the case of former PAGCOR Chairman Efraim Genuino and his children, who were all placed in the watch list on the basis of plunder charges filed against them,” Trillanes said. 

The senator recalled that two or three weeks ago, Sec. De Lima said in a press conference that she is studying the possibility of placing FG in the watch list.

“As usual, it was all just a press release.  Now the horse walked out of the barn because she left the barn door wide open,” Trillanes stressed, pointing out that by not placing former FG Arroyo in the watch list, she is allowing him to flaunt the law and leave the country unchallenged despite of the serious charges against him.

“De Lima should explain and take responsibility in case he does not return anymore to face the charges against him,” Trillanes added.    

Trillanes earlier demanded for the resignation of Sec. De Lima because of the supposed failure of the latter to pursue the numerous cases filed against former President and now Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo despite of the fact that she has been in office for more than fourteen (14) months. (Jason de Asis)

Aurora ecozone official bats to revoke architect Palafox’s license

MANILA, September 20, 2011-The Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO) calls to speed up the hearings on high-profile architect Felino Palafox, Jr. who has been accused of violating the code of ethics for architects and environmental planners and sabotaging the development of Aurora ecozone being developed in Eastern Central Luzon.

The APECO filed complaints last May 2011 with the two Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) board, stating that Palafox’s license to practice should be suspended if the Boards of Architecture and Environmental Planning under the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) find him guilty of breaching the code of ethics for architects and environmental planners.
APECO fired Palafox as master planner after the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) declared the plans he prepared for the ecozone unusable.

“Palafox, nonetheless, charged and collected P32 million for the unused plans,” APECO President Robbie Mathay said.

“Palafox did not only rob APECO blind, but also the communities that stand to benefit from the development,” said Mathay. “The lesson we have learned here is this: self-proclaimed gold is oftentimes dross,” he said, saying that Palafox’s sloppy work is proof that he is hardly the conscientious architect he pretends to be.

APECO awarded and signed a design services contract with Palafox Associates, which won the bidding for the master plan development of the ecozone last November 2008.

Last March 2009, Palafox Associates requested a supplemental contract from APECO covering hydrologic study and hydraulic design allegedly not covered by the original contract. Both parties signed the supplemental contract in June of the same year.

“A month later, Palafox Associates informed APECO of its outstanding balance amounting to almost P8.5 million in professional fees,” Mathay said.

APECO responded with a memorandum supported by the OGCC stating that the surveys under the supplemental contract were already covered by the original design services contract.

The CAAP and PPA also issued an opinion stating that Palafox Associates’ design placing the seaport in close proximity to the airport was ill-chosen, rendering the design useless.

APECO asserted that Palafox acted in bad faith when it insisted on a supplemental contract even before the original contract was fully completed, the complaint stated.

“Palafox claimed that the original contract could not be accomplished without the supplemental studies and surveys. However, Palafox Associates eventually submitted reports without actually conducting the surveys and studies it proposed, resulting in unusable and defective plans,” Mathay said, explaining that not content with the damages he had already caused APECO, Palafox still divulges information he acquired during his service to APECO, in clear violation of the confidentiality of information between the client and contractor.

“Palafox Associates acted in bad faith,” Mathay said. “They took advantage of APECO’s trust, inducing it to enter into an unnecessary supplemental agreement and practically robbing it blind, adding that Palafox failed to protect APECO’s interests as its client and even caused incalculable harm to the ecozone’s development.

“Until now Palafox continues to make malicious allegations and libelous statements against APECO; thus, Palafox must be disciplined and penalized once and for all,” Mathay ended. 

Prior to this, international architect Jun Palafox filed graft and corruption against Senator Edgardo J. Angara and 4 others in connection with the creation of the ecozone in Aurora. (Jason de Asis)

Angara slams graft raps filed by Palafox

BALER, Aurora, September 20, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara slams international urban planner and architect Felino “Jun” Palafox in the creation of the economic zone in Aurora province accusing Palafox for violation of ethics for architects and environmental planners and sabotaging the development of the ecozone that is being developed in Eastern Central Luzon.

“When Palafox and Associates was awarded the design contract for the master plan of the Aurora ecozone after a public bidding in November of 2008, we welcomed what we thought then was a piece of good news.  From his many TV interviews, Felino Palafox Jr. appears as a conscientious architect imbued with a civic spirit,” Angara said.

“How wrong we were,” he asked, saying that for a fee of P32 million, Palafox and Associates came  out with a master plan that was declared useless by three government agencies: the Philippine Ports  Authority (PPA), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).

“It was a sloppy piece of design work that proposed a seaport very near an airport. That shabby piece of architecture would endanger the whole project, according to the agencies that evaluated the technical and environmental soundness of the Palafox master plan,” Angara said in his statement. 

The veteran Senator said that instead of correcting the design of Palafox, the self-proclaimed “internationally-known architect” engaged in an accusing binge after the rejection of his master plan. He called the ecozone project—that was initiated to lift underdeveloped areas on the coastal areas of Central Luzon into the 21st century—a “scam”.

“He accused us of benefitting from the project, which belongs to the government and where our participation is a requisite of the law creating the ecozone, a project that has been considerably derailed by the faulty and shabby design work of Palafox,” Angara said, explaining that if there was anybody that benefitted from the project it was Felino Palafox Jr.

“Palafox useless design work with a billing of P32 million, the administrators of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority have decided to take action against Palafox Jr. They have had enough of this phony,” Angara said. 

Angara said that Palafox was accused of violating the code of ethics of architects before the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and violating the code of ethics of environmental planners before the Environmental Planning Board under the commission.

“The two charges seek to strip him of his license, which, hopefully, would strip of him of the moral perch he has been using as platform for his professional bankruptcy and phoniness,” Angara ended.

Prior to this, Palafox Jr. has filed in a 5-page graft and corruption complaints against Angara and four others for allowing the creation of the ecozone in Aurora before the Ombudsman.

It was stated in his complaint that Angara allowed the creation of Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) even if the area was prone to floods and landslides.

Palafox also raised the conflict of interest issue where the Angara’s relatives are supposedly members of the APECO board. (Jason de Asis)


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