[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 14 April 2011 Thursday

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Thu Apr 14 17:57:21 PHT 2011

Newsbriefs 14 April 2011 Thursday

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


Plunder raps filed vs 3 ex-AFP chiefs, 14 others (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) Whistleblower George Rabusa filed on Thursday a plunder complaint against three former chiefs of staff, two former comptrollers and 10 other former military officials and two government auditors over the fund anomaly in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Named main respondents were AFP chiefs Efren Abu, Diomedio Villanueva and Roy Cimatu; and comptrollers Jacinto Ligot and Carlos Garcia.

"This is a case against 17 people - 15 senior military officers, including three former chiefs of staffs and two comptrollers and two civilians from the COA," Rabusa's lawyer Noel Malaya told reporters.

Aside from the complaint, Rabusa presented to the Department of Justice (DoJ) over 20 volumes of evidence containing receipts, checks and other documents signed by the respondents.

"We have documents to prove our allegations, testimony of the persons involved. I think we have a strong case," he added.

Ex-AFP officials 'innocent until proven guilty' -spokesman (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines- Former military officials embroiled in plunder charges "are innocent until proven guilty" and that the public must not judge them this early, a military spokesman said Thursday.

"Remember that these officers, just like any other accused, are innocent until proven guilty by competent authority," said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brigadier General Jose Mabanta.

"There is no result yet. We'll just have to wait for the result," he added.

Sandiganbayan freezes properties of Ligot family (www.gmanews.tv)

In pursuit of a civil case filed in 2005, the Sandiganbayan's Fourth Division on Thursday froze some P135 million worth of selected properties of former Armed Forces comptroller retired Lt. Gen. Jacinto C. Ligot and six other co-respondents.

In Civil Case No. 0197, the anti-graft court is petitioning for forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth, allegedly accumulated by Ligot and his relatives, including, wife, Erlinda, children Paulo, Riza and Miguel, brother-in-law Edgardo Yambao, and sister Miguela Ligot-Paragas.

Penned by Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Jose R. Hernandez, the resolution ordered Sheriff Romulo Barrozo to attach a defined list of "the real and personal properties of the respondents located in the Philippines."

The list, submitted by Deputy Special Prosecutors Robert E. Kallos and Cornelio Somido, included buildings, condominium units, farmlands, residential lots, and vehicles.

The anti-graft court explained that the Ligot's frozen assets would be enough to cover the government's efforts to get back P135,280,822.11, the estimated value of properties allegedly amassed by the former military comptroller as spelled out in the 2005 complaint.

Senator chides gov't for 'lukewarm' reaction to SC ruling on coco levy (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines-Senator Joker Arroyo finds "very revealing" the government's "lukewarm" reaction to the Supreme Court decision declaring business tycoon and Presidential uncle Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco as the owner of the 20 percent shares of San Miguel Corp.

"Predictably, the government's lukewarm reaction to its defeat by the Supreme Court, which it loves to hate, is very revealing," Arroyo said in a statement on Thursday.

The senator also questioned why it took 25 long years for the court to decide on the issue.

"This case passed through seven high courts, starting with the Teehankee, Fernan, Narvasa, Panganiban, Puno and the Corona courts, only for the farmers to be told that they have no claim," he said.

'Merci's trial should not drag until her retirement' (ABS-CBN News)

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile does not want the impeachment trial of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to drag on for a long time -- and worse, reach her retirement in 2012 and be rendered moot.

Without giving a specific timeframe, Enrile said Thursday the trial would finish within a "reasonable time" before year-end, "or maybe even shorter."

"This will be unacceptable to the people if their Congress cannot finish their impeachment case within a reasonable time," he told reporters in a forum. "I, for one, am not ready to accept that we cannot dispose this case within a reasonable time."

Plunder raps being prepared vs. Zaldy Ampatuan (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said plunder charges are also being prepared against former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the accused in the Maguindanao Massacre.

Aquino told reporters in General Santos City that this is just the first complaint to be filed against Ampatuan.

The criminal charges stemmed from the findings of the Commission on Audit that some P1 billion is missing from the P5 billion issued to the ARMM under his term as governor.

This only accounts for one year, Aquino noted.

"It would be a long process. We need to get all the pieces of evidence. The Department of Justice is now studying the matter," he said.

Pay hike after Labor Day (www.philstar.com)

MANILA, Philippines -  Workers in Metro Manila may receive a much-awaited increase in their take-home pay, but this can happen only after Labor Day.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NPWC) has confirmed the declaration of a "supervening condition" in Metro Manila, which serves as a go-signal for the wage board to immediately start hearings and deliberations on pending wage petitions despite a one-year prohibition.

"What is very clear is that the process has started," Baldoz said.

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