Wednesday, July 23, 2014


MANILA-Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today described the plunder complaint filed against him as devoid of factual basis and connected to the 2016 presidential elections where he is widely seen as the frontrunner.

The Vice President also revealed that the complainants, all local political opponents of the Binays, are backed by a known group of lawyers who has been trying to resurrect dismissed cases against him.

In a speech before the Financial Executives of the Philippines (FINEX) and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Binay said the complainants have a routine of raising non-existent issues against his family during election season.

“This complaint is no exception, although we have been informed that this time around, our local opponents have been provided with the needed resources, financial and otherwise, by certain national interest groups, particularly a group of lawyers closely identified with a national personality,” he said.

The Vice President said the group – which he did not identify – “has been trying in vain” to resurrect the dismissed cases against him.

Binay also said he expects more complaints and issues to be raised against him in the coming months.

Believe me, this is only the beginning. We expect more to come. And like the one filed yesterday, these complaints will be devoid of facts, devoid of legal basis, and fueled by the dirty politics that was supposed to have been swept away with the previous administration,” he said.

The Vice President expressed confidence that the complaint will be dismissed. He also said he will continue focusing on his work in government.

“In a fair and impartial evaluation, this complaint, and all the others that we know for a fact are in the pipeline, will be dismissed. Nonetheless my commitment to advance the interest of our overseas Filipino workers, provide shelter for the poor, and assist our fellow Filipinos in need will remain undiminished by these false and politically motivated accusations,” he said.

The Vice President also said those behind the complaint intend to sow intrigue between him and President Aquino by spreading the word that the complaint was a Palace move.

“And it appears that there is a deeper agenda at play. We have been told that those who are pulling the strings want to sow intrigue between President Aquino and myself. They want me to think that the Palace is orchestrating the filing of this baseless complaint against me and my son to divert attention from the impeachment complaints filed against the President,” he said.

“Gusto nilang isipin ko na pakana ito para isalba si Pangulo at dahil dito ay magtampo ako at sumama ang loob sa ating Pangulo. Sa madaling salita, gusto nilang pag-awayin kami ng ating Pangulo,” he said.

The Vice President also pointed out that the complainants focused only on his allies in Makati, and dropped the names of their allies who attended City Council sessions.

“They only included the names of our allies. But their allies and partymates were part of the city council and were present when the council approved the ordinances they cited, so why exclude them? Your guess is as good as mine but that, for me, is undeniable proof of the selective, frivolous and political nature of this co-called complaint,” he said.

P50.2-B new prison facility to generate 53,800 jobs in NE

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–The plan to transfer the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City to Nueva Ecija through the construction of a P50.2-billion regional prison facility (RPF) is expected to generate at least 53,800 jobs to Novo Ecijanos, its proponents said yesterday.

          In a project presentation of the proposed NBP at the Sierra Madre Suites here yesterday, architect Armando Alli, adviser of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center, said the two-storey new facility will be constructed under the build-transfer-maintain structure at a 500-hectare area in Barangay Nazareth in Gen. Tinio town inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation.

          The project was presented during a public hearing called by Gov. Aurelio Umali amid concerns over its environmental and socio-economic impact in the province.

          The project will be a joint undertaking of the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Corrections.

Alli said that based on estimates, the construction will require 40,000 workers, some 4,800 custodial and rehabilitation officers and 9,000 people for prison maintenance.

Umali said the national government should prioritize Novo Ecijanos for employment and source of construction materials.

He said Novo Ecijanos should carefully weigh the pros and cons of the project amid issues over its environmental impact in the adjoining communities.

Teodora Diaz, BuCor assistant director, said the facility will have a maximum capacity of 26,000 inmates. She said they expect the project to be approved by the Investments Coordinating Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority within this month and by the NEDA Board of Directors next month.

The bidding has been set in February 2015, contract-signing in April 2015 and actual construction will start in October 2015. Construction will take three years.      

          To be transferred are 20,000 inmates from the NBP and 2,000 from the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City.  

          President Aquino earlier indicated he wants to have the NBP to be transferred by year-end to the FMMR.

DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan, the department’s  supervising official on the BuCor and the NBP, said the new facility  will follow international standards.

He said that at present, prison conditions in the various penal facilities in the country leave much to be desired, citing those in Muntinlupa, Palawan and Davao.

“I saw correctional facilities in Japan, Canada and Australia and our facilities pale in comparison, he said, adding that Muntinlupa, for one, does not look like a prison facility at all and constitutes cruel and degrading punishment to the prisoners.

The 551-hectare NBP in Muntinlupa , which opened in 1940, is now heavily congested as it houses 14,500 prisoners in its maximum security detention area alone although it was programmed to accommodate only 8,400 inmates. All in all, the NBP houses around 20,000 inmates.        

The government plans to convert the Muntinlupa penitentiary, valued at around P42 billion,  into a mixed-use commercial area.

The plan to transfer the NBP to the province dates back to a decade ago. Umali recalled that as early as 2004, his predecessor, then-governor Tomas Joson III, had been scouting for a site in Talugtug town but the plan did not push through.   

In May 2012, the Aquino administration has been working to carry out the transfer of the NBP and the CIW.

The plan to transfer the 20,000 inmates from the NBP and 2,000 inmates from the CIW was pursued after local officials in Tanay, Rizal opposed an earlier order to transfer them there.

In 2006, Aquino’s predecessor, then-president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order 568 authorizing the transfer of the NBP to a 272-hectare reservation in Barangay Cuyambay in Tanay.

The public hearing was attended by city and municipal mayors and vice mayors and other local officials. (Manny Galvez)


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