[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 3 February 2011 Thursday

SLB slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Feb 3 17:43:39 PHT 2011

Newsbriefs 3 February 2011 Thursday

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

New witness testifies on military corruption (abs-cbnNEWS.com)

MANILA, Philippines - A former aide of former military comptrollers appeared before the Senate on Thursday attesting to the widespread corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

A teary-eyed Lt. Col. Antonio Ramon Lim appeared before lawmakers as he appealed for protection for his family. He went on to affirm the statements of his former boss, ex-budget officer George Rabusa.

In a prepared statement, Lim said in Filipino, "ever since news broke out regarding the search for truth, I started to think myself.I also want to tell the truth."

He said the security of his family as well as his remaining 9 years in the Air Force kept him from coming out earlier.

However, Lim said his conscience got the better of him, as he armed himself with the promise of a "daang matuwid" from the Aquino administration.

Senators press Ombudsman to withdraw Garcia deal (ABS-CBN News)

MANILA, Philippines - Senators on Thursday were able to pressure Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to ask the anti-graft court to file a manifestation that there is a recommendation from the Senate to review the plea bargain agreement with former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

Watch ANC live stream of Senate hearing on Garcia plea deal at www.abs-cbnnews.com/ancliveevents

After a series of questions from Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Franklin Drilon delving into the testimonies of former state auditor Heidi Mendoza before the House of Representatives and former budget officer George Rabusa before the Senate, Drilon asked Gutierrez if she may file a motion to withdraw the motion to approve the plea bargain deal as the Ombudsman reviews new testimonies that can be used in its case.

Gutierrez had initially indicated that a panel she created is still looking into the testimonies but they don't have copies of it yet.

Drilon noted that both statements are under oath, and the Ombudsman may instead get those transcripts to form part of new evidence that could bolster the case against Garcia.

The Ombudsman had argued that weak evidence was the reason they went into a plea bargain agreement with Garcia.

Ombudsman to file bid to hold motion on plea bargain approval (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez on Thursday said they would file a manifestation before the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court to hold the approval of their earlier motion on the plea bargain agreement with former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

Gutierrez made the statement at the hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee when pressed by senators to do so, saying that new witnesses who could bolster the case against Garcia have surfaced.

"Yes, we will file the manifestation," said Gutierrez in response to a suggestion by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, in lieu of a motion that was repeatedly asked by Senator Franklin Drilon.

Reyes asks 4 senators to inhibit from hearing (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines - Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Angelo Reyes on Thursday asked four senators to inhibit from a Senate hearing on the alleged corruption in the military, saying they have lost their "cold neutrality."

The four senators requested to inhibit from the hearing by the Senate blue ribbon committee investigating the issue were Senators Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, Antonio Trillanes IV, Francis Escudero and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The request was contained in a letter of Reyes' lawyer, Bonfiaco Alentajan, to the committee. It was read by the committee chairman, Senator Teofisto Guingona III.

House seeks joint Senate hearing on AFP corruption (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

HOUSE leaders on Wednesday urged their Senate counterparts to jointly investigate claims of widespread corruption in the military, and even as President Benigno Aquino III's civil society allies urged him to move quickly to clean up the Armed Forces.

House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman said a joint investigation rather than separate probes would save Congress time and resources and enable both chambers to pass laws aimed at reforming the military.

"We want to know if there are indeed missing funds and where these funds went," Lagman said, referring to the P270 million in Armed Forces money that former state auditor Heidi Mendoza said had gone missing.

Businessmen worried about AFP corruption (www.philstar.com)

MANILA, Philippines -  Business managers are "appalled" by revelations of "massive" corruption in the military and are calling on President Aquino to form an independent body to investigate the allegations.

"We strongly request the President to act with speed and use the full force of the law against all involved in these anomalies," the Management Association of the Philippines said in a statement yesterday. "We, in the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), are appalled by the alleged massive corruption in the AFP."


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