Saturday, September 15, 2012

Drilon lauds CJ Sereno’s effort to fill up court vacancies

MANILA, September 16, 2012-Senator Franklin M. Drilon has been assured by Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno of the efforts being undertaken by the Supreme Court to fill up around 600 court vacancies.

In CJ Sereno’s letter to Drilon, she said the SC is committed, under the present leadership, to fill up all existing vacancies in the Judiciary within a reasonable time frame.

“I have been meeting with the members and staff of the Judicial Bar Council, as well as of the Office of the Court Administrator, to address, with all due attention, this matter of common concern,” Sereno said in the letter.

“This filling-up of vacant positions will go hand-in-hand with the judicial reform initiatives that are being undertaken,” said Sereno.

Drilon, also the Senate Finance Committee chairman, welcomed the new developments and likewise lauded the resolve shown by the newly-installed Chief Justice to firmly address the problems in the judicial system.

“The very slow pace of dispensing justice in our country continues to be a challenge to the Judiciary, and the very slow delivery of justice is attributed to the vast number of vacancies that are now in the judicial system notwithstanding adequate funds that have been provided to them,” said Drilon.

He noted that as of January 2012, there are almost 600 vacant positions in court, and said: “I challenge the Supreme Court to be more innovative and attentive to the filling up of vacancies because this affects the backlog of cases in the court.”

In 2013, the Judiciary will get P17.77 billion, including automatic appropriation, from P15.71 billion, or an increase of 13.08 percent, noted Drilon.

“The proposed 2013 budget will support the resolution of about 324,434 cases pending in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Court of Tax Appeals, as well as to address the needed developments in the Judiciary,” said Drilon.

Of the proposed budget, Drilon said, P15.72 billion will go to the Supreme and Lower courts, an increase of 12.86 percent from P13.93 billion, while P1.32 billion will go to the Court of Appeals, P181.22 million higher than its present budget of P1.144 billion.

Also, P392.44 million will be for the country’s anti-graft court, the Sandiganbayan, P35.18 million higher than its 2012 budget of P357.26 million; P244.33 million to the Court of Tax Appeals, P31.41 million higher than its present budget of P212.92 million; and lastly, P90.94 million will go to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, P16.42 million higher than its 2012 budget of P74.52 million.

Senate OKs new proposal to strengthen career executive system in gov’t

MANILA, September 16, 2012-The Senate has approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 3125 which seeks to strengthen the career executive service (CES) in the government and protect it from political interference.

The CES is comprised of the senior managers and executive officers of the Government, who constitute the “third level” in the Career Service System.

The primary purpose of the bill is to correct structural flaws in the system stemming from the overlapping functions of the Career Executive ServiceBoard (CESB) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) through the transfer of the administrative supervision and management of CESB personnel under the CSC. The bill was authored by Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV, who as Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization also served as the principal sponsor of the bill.

“Also, through this measure, it is expected that the principles of merit and fitness will be the prevailing norm among our career executive officers. It is hoped that the improved Career Executive System… will provide checks and balances and insulate the Career Executive Service and the Career Executive System Board from political interference and encourage the professionalization of our government managers and executives,” Trillanes said.

Suspect in 2010 rape-slay of Fil-Swiss coed nabbed in NE

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija,  September 15, 2012–The prime suspect in the brutal rape-slay one-and-half years ago of a 20-year-old Filipino-Swiss was arrested by operatives of the local police in Palayan City Friday.

          Police Superintendent Eli Depra, station commander, identified the suspect as Felix Lasala, alias Piting, 43, of Puerto Galera, Occidental Mindoro.

          Lasala is listed as Parañaque's fifth most wanted man with a P200,000 reward for his arrest.

          Lasala was arrested in his hide-out in Barangay Atate, Palayan by a 15-man arresting team personally led by Depra himself at 2 pm Friday. The suspect, who was unarmed, did not resist arrest.

          Lasala was tagged for the rape-slay of Glaudia Schnelli, 20, a graduating student at the Lyceum University in Manila on December 3,2010. Schnelli was found naked with multiple stab wounds in her home at Matias Street, Better Living Subdivision, Parañaque City.

The suspect has since gone on hiding.

Depra said Lasala has been employed with the Schnellis and reportedly developed a relationship with the victim's mother.

A warrant for the crime of rape with homicide has been issued on February 11, 2012 by Parañaque RTC Branch 257 Judge Rolando How for Lasala's arrest. No bail was recommended for his provisional liberty. 

Depra said before his arrest, the latter's presence in Palayan was tipped off by an informant who watched a segment of the TV program “Soco” hosted by veteran broadcaster Gus abelgas over ABS-CBN.

“Our informant told us that Lasala closely resembles somebody he has seen in Atate so we laid the dragnet for his arrest. It turned out that the guy  our informant has sighted was Lasala himself,” he said.

Depra said prior to his arrest, Lasala has been able to elude lawmen, including agents of the National Bureau of Investigation who combed his possible hide-outs in Bicol, Batangas, Marinduque and Camarines.

Depra said that under tactical interrogation, the suspect owned up to the killing. Lasala said that he blacked out after a heated confrontation with Schnelli who, he claimed, called him “useless.”

He said this prompted him to grab and knife and stabbed the girl repeatedly.

But Lasala denied raping Schnelli who, he said, he had been taking care of since she was five years old. He claimed the victim's body was covered only with a towel when recovered inside their home, which led Soco operatives to conclude she was raped.

“Sir, I did kill her but I did not rape her,” Depra quoted Lasala as telling him. (Manny Galvez)   

Legarda Joins in Celebrating National Teachers' Month

MANILA, September 15, 2012-In light of National Teachers’ Month 2012, Senator Loren Legarda today urged Filipinos to express their solidarity by campaigning for the passage of the proposed Magna Carta of Teachers and Non-Teaching Personnel Act.

“With the increasing rate of enrolment especially in public schools and massive educational reforms through the K-12 System, National Teachers’ Month should not be about rhetoric but about clear decisions and actions to provide better lives for our unsung heroes,” said Legarda, author of the proposed Magna Carta of Teachers and Non-Teaching Personnel Act or Senate Bill 10.

“This proposed Magna Carta ensures for our teachers and non-teaching personnel the security of tenure, timely payment of their salaries on a monthly basis regardless of semestral or summer vacations, annual salary adjustment to mitigate the effects of inflation, and gratuity benefits for those who retire before reaching the compulsory retirement age of 60,” she explained.

“Our teachers are the most reliable and dedicated public servants. They are being constantly called upon by officials of the local and national government to assist in various civic activities which contribute to the welfare of the community and the country, most notable of which is when they perform their functions during election period, and assist the National Statistics Office in gathering data even in the remotest places,” she stressed.

Legarda added that without appropriate legislative measures, more teachers may be persuaded to seek employment abroad.

“Despite the difficulties that continue to confront their profession, they remain fiercely loyal to their responsibility in molding the values and character of the new generations. It is only fitting that they be respected, protected, and given the privileges that they deserve,” Legarda concluded.


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