Friday, August 31, 2012

CBCP head gives Roxas ‘benefit of the doubt’

MANILA, August 31, 2012— Newly appointed Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas will have “big shoes to fill” but the head of the Catholic bishops’ leadership is giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo left an exemplary record but Roxas’ performance should not be prejudged.
He said they also want to give Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Transport Secretary Joseph Abaya similar chance to prove their worth, but will closely monitor their performance.
“We don’t know their plans. For the meantime, we put our trust that they would try to give their best and somehow approximate them the performance of a great man like Robredo,” Palma said.
Palma made the statement on the sidelines of the 2012 Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Annual Convention at the SMX Center in Pasay City on Friday.
In his homily during a Mass to end the convention, Palma praised Robredo for being a “good public servant.”
Palma then urged the new appointees to lead with integrity and advocate good governance in their new positions of power.
The archbishop added that he is praying that Roxas will continue the work done by Robredo, a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee who was an advocate of good governance and accountability in government.
“We just pray once more that knowing the task ahead he would give his best to continue the work done by Sec. Robredo and prove that like the secretary, his basic interest is for the benefit of the people and not for any alternative motive,” said Palma.
“I am not so familiar with the various work of the DILG but we know what it means to truly reach out to the needs of the community, of course the barangay people which were in a sense a priority of Sec. Robredo, and giving special barangay great role in trying to implement straight path,” he said.
Robredo died in a plane crash off Masbate province last Aug. 18  and his body was recovered three days after.
As for Sereno, Palma also said he expects the Chief Justice to judge with fairness and integrity and true to the spirit of the law.
“We don’t want to judge anybody until proven otherwise,” Palma said. “Let us give those appointed a chance to prove that they are true to their task and that is our prayer for the nation.”
Sereno will be deciding on cases that can affect the Church’s social concerns including mining laws, the reproductive health (RH) bill, and the Hacienda Luisita case. [RL/CBCPNews]

Drilon asks DoJ to intervene on recycling of seized drugs

MANILA, August 31, 2012-Senator Franklin M. Drilon has asked the Department of Justice (DoJ) to call a meeting with drug enforcement agencies and the Court Administrator to finally put a stop to the rampant cases of confiscated illegal drugs being recycled.

Drilon, also former Justice Secretary, lamented the poor implementation of a special provision in the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which is supposed to prevent the recycling of seized drugs.

“When I was Secretary of Justice, every time we present a policeman in court to submit evidence of confiscated drugs, the police officer would always say the drugs were either lost or eaten by rats,” said Drilon.

“We know that what happens is recycling of confiscated illegal drugs. There are recycled drugs especially when volumes and volumes of drugs are confiscated,” he added.

“I suggest that the Justice Department through the National Prosecution Service sit down with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Dangerous Drugs Board and the Court Administrator to come up with a circular or a memorandum which will enforce this special provision,” said Drilon.

Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano responded positively to Drilon’s proposal.

Under Section 21 of the Republic Act 9165, within 72 hours after filing of criminal case, the courts shall conduct ocular inspection of the confiscated drugs and the PDEA shall proceed with the disposition of the seized drugs within 24 hours, noted Drilon, who proposed the specific provision.

“This provision was designed to precisely prevent the recycling of the confiscated drugs. This is a clear policy that we want enforced and it is so frustrating to know the execution of this law is so lacking,” stressed Drilon.

Earlier, the Senate Finance Committee withheld the budget of the PDEA over the apparent inaccurate data on confiscated illegal substance.

For reference:

Section 21, paragraph 4 states: “After the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within seventy-two (72) hours, conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals, including the instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment, and through the PDEA shall within twenty-four (24) hours thereafter proceed with the destruction or burning of the same, in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ, civil society groups and any elected public official…”

Drilon: Comelec purchase of P1.19-B land without Congress approval culpable violation of Constitution

MANILA, August 31, 2012-Senator Franklin M. Drilon warned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that their purchase of a P1.19 billion property without the approval of Congress is a culpable violation of the Constitution and can lead to prosecution for technical malversation of funds.

“There appears to be a gross violation of the Constitution on the part of the Comelec when they decided to use their P3.5 billion savings to purchase a piece of land worth P1,188,865,295.82,” said Drilon.

He added the Comelec admitted having entered a contract with the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) to purchase that P1.19 billion property, and of the amount, P250 million has already been advanced to the PRA.

Drilon said the agency cannot invoke its so-called fiscal autonomy as a constitutional body and use its savings to purchase land and building without securing any approval of Congress who gives authorization for the government to spend money.

Drilon said the “Comelec’s position is totally wrong.”

Under the Constitution, the Comelec may, by law, be authorized to augment any item or in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the respective offices from savings in other items of the respective appropriations, noted Drilon.

He stressed the appropriations act clearly states that the Comelec can only use its savings to augment funding for projects that exist in the GAA or which the Congress has previously authorized, but the poll body cannot use its savings to fund and to create new projects such as the purchase of land and building without any authorization from Congress.

“What the Comelec did is that without any appropriation for a main building and field office in the 2012 General Appropriations Act, they re-aligned their savings to buy land and building, but this purchase is not authorized in the budget,” explained Drilon.

“There is no authority of whatsoever under the 2012 General Appropriations Act for Comelec to purchase land for a building. That is the role of Congress, the role of Congress is to appropriate to specific items,” he added.

“In other words, they became Congress by themselves. Labag po sa Saligang Batas na ilagay mo sa item na hindi existing, so iyan po ang nilabag ng Comelec,” ended Drilon.


MANILA, August 31, 2012-Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan congratulates partymates Manuel "Mar" Roxas III and Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya on their new appointments as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), respectively.

"We welcome the appointments of Secretary Roxas and Secretary Abaya and we congratulate them as they assume their new posts," Pangilinan says. "Continuity of policy is crucial as the administration pushes for necessary and urgent reforms, and we know that these two fine public servants will take to the task, as they have always done so in their previous roles." 

"We pledge to support them in their continued efforts to serve our nation," the lawmaker adds.

Malacañang on Friday announced the appointment of both Roxas and Abaya following the untimely demise of former Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo.


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