De Lima NBP DRUG case – Ex-Bucor chief Bucayu, Joenel Sanchez at 2 pa pinaaaresto


MANILA, Philippines — Pinaaaresto na ng Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 si dating Bureau of Corrections Director Franklin Bucayu at tatlo pang kapwa akusado ni Sen. Leila de Lima. Bukod kay Bucayu, ipinaaaresto na rin si Wilfredo Elli, Joenel Sanchez na dating bodyguard ni de Lima at si Jose Adrian Dera na isa umano sa mga bagman noon ng mambabatas.

Sa kautusang inilabas ni Judge Patria Manalastas de Leon, nakitaan ng probable cause ng korte upang arestuhin sina de Lima sa kasong illegal drug trading. Walang piyansang inirekomenda para sa mga akusado. Pero dahil nakakulong na si de Lima at dating driver bodyguard na si Ronnie Dayan, itinakda na lamang ang arraignment ng dalawa sa December 8, alas 8:30 ng umaga.

Sa Bilibid naman, babasahan ng sakdal sa December 12, alas-2 ng hapon ang high profile inmate na si Jaybee Sebastian na kapwa akusado rin ni de Lima.

Paliwanag ng Korte, wala nang saysay ang pagtutol nina de Lima at Bucayu sa jurisdiction ng RTC matapos itong pagtibayin ng Korte Suprema kayat marapat lamang na ituloy na ang paglilitis sa kaso.

Aapela naman ang kampo ni de Lima sa kautusan ng Muntinlupa RTC.

Nag-ugat ang ikatlong kaso laban kay de Lima sa umano’y pagkunsinti nito sa talamak na bentahan ng droga sa Bilibid mula 2013 hanggang 2015.

Sinasabing nakatanggap si de Lima ng P70 million mula sa mga high profile inmate galing sa pinagbentahan ng iligal na droga.

#DeLima #WarOnDrugs #Duterte

De Castro: Sereno’s action on party-list TRO ‘grossly unprocedural’

Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro says she should have been consulted in the issuance of the 2013 TRO involving party lists

sereno 2016

MANILA, Philippines – Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro on Wednesday, November 29, said Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s actions in issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) on party-list proclamations during the 2013 elections were “grossly unprocedural.”

De Castro was speaking during the House justice committee’s hearing to determine probable cause in an impeachment complaint against Sereno.

Larry Gadon, the complainant, claims Sereno “tampered with and altered” the contents of the TRO sent by De Castro, who was the member-in-charge of the case. (READ: How Sereno answered her impeachment complaint)

“The case was not raffled to her. I am the member-in-charge so I should be the one consulted,” said De Castro, upon questioning by Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

Her “unprecedented” appearance before the committee, thus far, has revealed the processes behind Supreme Court decisions – as De Castro promised. It has also inadvertently revealed divisions in the Supreme Court under Sereno.

De Castro was the member-in-charge for the petition filed by the disqualified Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens party-list.

De Castro had wanted the TRO to cover only the Senior Citizens party-list but Sereno eventually issued a “blanket” TRO, which meant that all winning party lists could not be proclaimed.

The eventual TRO, and Sereno’s apparent failure to consult De Castro was “grossly unprocedural,” said the associate justice.

Exercise of discretion

In her verified answer to Gadon’s complaint, Sereno said: “Since Justice De Castro was merely ‘recommending’ a course of action to the Chief Justice, and further considering that the proposed ‘temporary restraining order’ was merely a ‘draft,’ the Chief Justice can wholly accept, modify or even reject Justice De Castro’s recommendation. The Chief Justice could not be accused of falsifying anything. In the exercise of her own discretion and authority to issue TROs when the Court is in recess, the Chief Justice elected to issue a temporary restraining order under terms she considered just and proper.”

De Castro rejected this argument. “I disagree because I am the member-in-charge and as I mentioned, under our rules, the member-in-charge oversees the progress in these cases. The Chief Justice only issues the TRO but she has no authority to act on the case on her own,” she said.

The associate justice added that even if the SC was in recess, Sereno still should have consulted her.

De Castro also seemed miffed, in particular because in the TRO, Sereno made a reference to a recommendation she made. “If she has her own idea or own assessment as to the scope of the TRO, she should have at least consulted the member-in-charge. In that case, she should have consulted me before issuing the TRO because the member-in-charge is the one who studied the case,” she added.

Asked by Siquijor Representative Ramon Rocamora if Sereno’s only fault was not consulting her, De Castro replied: “My objection is not just that in the fact that she did not consult me. If only she consulted me, I would have explained to her that she cannot include other parties.”

“The thing is, she wrote in the TRO that it was upon my written recommendation. So why did she put there that the TRO she issued was upon my recommendation? That is not true. What I’m saying is that if she wanted to change, then she should have issued it on her own authority without reference to the member-in-charge,” she added.

The hearing is still ongoing as of posting.

Thus far, De Castro is the only associate justice who has stood as resource person in the impeachment case. The committee has also invited Associate Justice Noel Tijam, retired justice Arturo Brion, and other Supreme Court employees. –

#CJSereno #Impeachment #SupremeCourt #SerenoImpeachment

SERENO IMPEACHMENT | Justice De Castro: En Banc ‘effectively’ overturned CJ’s misrepresentation of decision on RCAO

sereno umali

MANILA – (UPDATE 11:52 A.M.) Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro on Wednesday testified before the House Committee on Justice hearing the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, confirming the serious protest she had lodged against Sereno’s alleged misrepresentation of the en banc’s Nov. 27, 2012 deliberations on the creation of the Regional Court Administrator’s Office in Region 7.

Sereno’s alleged “fabrication” of a resolution that misrepresented the intent of the en banc on the RCAO 7 – merely to study the need for, not yet create the office – was one of the grounds for impeachment listed in the complaint by lawyer Larry Gadon.

Sereno’s Administrative Order 175-2012 revives the Regional Court Administration Office-7 (RCAO-7) in Cebu City. The order was meant to decentralize the Manila-based Office of the Court Administrator under Midas Marquez but was implemented without the required approval of the en banc.

Fielding questions mainly from Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Justice De Castro said that after she wrote Sereno to protest the issuance of a resolution that reflected the supposed “ratification” by the en banc, in its Nov. 27, 2012 deliberations, of the revival of the RCAO 7, the en banc met anew on the matter and issued a new resolution. Prodded by Fariñas, Justice De Castro said the en banc resolution “effectively overturned” the resolution issued by Sereno.

“The exchanges among the justice was clear, to just create a study group and the Chief Justice even said I will amend my Administrative Order, and I was relying on that,” De Castro said.

De Castro said she had also taken issue with Sereno’s move to designate Judge Geraldine Faith Econg – someone outside the Office of Court Administrator and accountable only to the Chief Justice – to head the RCAO 7.

Asked if Sereno replied to her letter protesting the apparent misrepresentation, De Castro replied, “Hindi po [No, sir]. She did not reply at all.” Even during the deliberations (the matter was again taken up on Dec. 7), she did not explain [why she issued ] AO 175, Sereno did not address the issue.

In the Dec. 11, 2012 deliberations, the en banc subsequently decided to form a study committee to revisit the need to revive the RCAO and decentralize the functions of the Office of the Court Administrator, and designated Associate Justice Jose Perez to head the study group.

“It is a subtle way of overturning” the Sereno’s issuance of her resolution, said De Castro, noting that “we didn’t want to embarrass” the Chief Justice.

“I’m not after putting her down, I just want to correct what has been done to put things in order as decided by the court in previous resolutions,” De Castro added.


Reacting to the proceedings at the House Justice committee Thursday morning, the lawyers for Sereno, who have been sending running commentaries to the media, asserted that the “SC en banc approved the creation of Regional Court Administrative Office (RCAO) in Region 7.’

Sereno’s counsel said: “It is false to say that the Chief Justice acted unilaterally and without the knowledge of the Court En Banc when she issued A.O. No. 175-2012. Precisely, the creation of said office, its budget as well as the designation of its staff, had already been approved and delineated in earlier Resolutions of the Court. The Chief Justice, after studying the problems besetting far-flung courts, simply implemented these earlier Court En Banc resolutions creating an RCAO in the seventh judicial region. Contrary to Complainant’s baseless allegations, there is no En Banc Resolution nullifying, superseding or otherwise “scrapping” the Supreme Court’s resolutions creating the RCAO-7, including the assailed 27 November 2012 Resolution in A.M. No.12-11-9-SC.”


Asked anew by Farinas if Sereno’s issuance of Administrative Order 175-2012 was a violation of the Constitution and the law, De Castro refused to answer.

Farinas added, reading De Castro’s letter, that the said administrative order “has transgressed the said constitutional authority of the court en banc and the statutory authority of the Office nof the Court Administrator.”

Farinas also noted that P.D. No. 828 (Creating the Office of the Court Administrator in the Supreme Court) stated that the Chief Justice can only appoint staff with the approval of the court en banc.

Court Administrator Midas Marquez, meanwhile, gave the lawmakers a background of why the RCAO concept came to be, during the term of Chief Justice Art Panganiban in 2006. It was a move to decentralize the OCA functions to boost its fiscal responsbility, accountability and efficiency.

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon | News5 | November 29, 2017


Supreme Court Associate Justice De Castro testified that Chief Justice Sereno GROSSLY MISREPRESENTED en banc decisions re Regional Court Administrative Office

Appearing at the House of Representatives Committee on Justice Supreme Court CJ Sereno IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS,  SC Associate Justice De Castro stated that the Chief Magistrate issued administrative orders regarding the formation of a RCAO (Regional Court Administrative Office) when in fact the said creation was NOT APPROVED by the en banc Supreme Court. Justice De Castro issued a memorandum citing the ERROR yet CJ Sereno REITERATED her already REPUDIATED interpretation of the en banc deliberations. Representative Kit Belmonte commented that the Chief Justice may have FABRICATED the minutes and inquired why such discussions were being conducted under public spotlight (rather than in the privacy of an executive session). Complainant Gadon said the Chief Justice FALSIFIED the court documents since the Sereno first resolution did not reflect what transpired in the deliberations. Reacting to the De Castro memo chiding the Chief Justice for the “error’, CJ Sereno supposedly said that she would correct the mistake or oversight, HOWEVER, the Chief Justice, instead of AMENDING her order, made a second resolution REPEATING her blunder.

sereno 2016


Sereno’s order on judicial office did not conform to en banc decision: De Castro

ABS-CBN News  Nov 29 2017 11:11 AM 

MANILA – Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita De Castro on Wednesday told the House justice panel that an administrative order by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno did not conform to the en banc decision of the high court.

De Castro said the en banc had adopted in 2006 two measures seeking to create a pilot Regional Court Administration Office in its decentralization efforts, but these were not reflected in an order released by Sereno in 2012.

“Both of these documents are en banc resolutions, which according to the Chief Justice she would like to implement, but when I compared the administrative order issued by the Chief Justice, it did not conform to the provisions of this administrative matter adopted by the court en banc,” she told lawmakers in the hearing of the House justice committee.

De Castro said she started investigating the matter after she and the other associate justices received an invitation from Sereno’s office to attend the reopening of RCAO in Central Visayas on November 29, 2012.

“I was taken aback because we are invited only to a launching of the Regional Court Administration Office in Region 7, and we were not at all consulted and made to participate in this decision to reopen the Regional Court Administration Office,” she said.

She found then that Sereno had issued Administrative Order No. 175-2012, “designating the head for Judiciary Decentralization Office in the seventh judicial region.”

“Even the heading of this administrative order shows that this is not meant to implement the RCAO as approved by the court en banc unanimously,” she said.

Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, in his impeachment complaint, also accused Sereno of culpable violation of the Constitution when she falsified Supreme Court resolutions, including one which revived RCAO-7.



SC magistrate De Castro appears at Sereno impeach hearing

ABS-CBN News Nov 29 2017 

MANILA – Associate Justice Teresita De Castro on Wednesday attended the hearing on finding of probable cause in the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

De Castro, who penned a temporary restraining order that Sereno allegedly tampered with, attended the hearing, alongside Court Administrator Midas Marquez.

“I welcome this opportunity because this will be the right time for me to explain to everyone the process that we follow in deciding cases in the Supreme Court,” De Castro told lawmakers in her opening remarks.

“I also believe this is the proper venue where I can correct the misinformation that has been spread many times during this period,” she added.

House Justice Committee Chairman Reynaldo Umali said their panel will allot the entire session day to De Castro’s testimony since she is one of the central figures in the allegations against the top magistrate.

The panel seeks to establish probable cause in the 27 points mentioned in the complaint against Sereno, including allegedly bypassing her colleagues in the issuance of administrative orders.

The Supreme Court has authorized De Castro to testify on 3 matters only: the issuance of the TRO in the seniors’ citizens cases and exchange of communication with Sereno; the merits of the decision on the clustering case involving the Judicial and Bar Council; and the merits of her separate concurring opinion in the case involving then Solicitor General and now Associate Justice Francis Jardaleza.

De Castro, Associate Justice Noel Tijam, and retired justice Arturo Brion have said they will attend the impeachment hearings once they get clearance from the SC en banc, according to Umali.

#CJSerenoImpeachment #SupremeCourt

De Lima NBP DRUG case: Ex-BuCor chief Bucayu, bagmen Elli and Dera, bodyguard Joenel Sanchez – ordered arrested

pnp matrix de lima photos and participation

MANILA, Philippines — The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 206 has ordered the arrest of former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director Franklin Bucayu along with three co-accused of Sen. Leila de Lima in connection with the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Judge Patria Manalastas de Leon found probable cause in issuing a warrant for the arrest of Bucayu, De Lima’s alleged bagmen Wilfredo Elli and Jose Adrian Dera, and De Lima’s former bodyguard Joenel Sanchez.

“After a thorough examination of the records and he preliminary investigation, the court finds probable cause for the issuance of warrant of arrest against all the accused, without bail,” De Leon wrote in the order.

In February, the Department of Justice filed three separate cases against De Lima before the Muntinlupa court over her alleged participation in the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP when she was justice secretary.

De Lima was charged with violating Section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 for allegedly allowing the trading of illegal drugs at the NBP in relation to Sections 3, 26 and 28 of the anti-narcotics law.

The National Bureau of Investigation and the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption recommended the filing of charges against De Lima based on testimonies during the House of Representatives’ inquiry into the alleged illegal drug trade in the NBP.

De Lima’s drug-related case was raffled off to Muntinlupa RTC Branches 204, 205 and 206.

At Branch 206, De Lima and Bucayu were charged with drug-related cases for allegedly tolerating the widespread drug trade inside the maximum security compound along with Elli, Sanchez, Dera and NBP inmate Jaybee Sebastian.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police is yet to receive a copy of the arrest warrant for Bucayu and the other accused.

The CIDG will implement the warrant of arrest once it is officially transmitted by the Muntinlupa court.

The Muntinlupa court also set the arraignment for De Lima and former bodyguard Ronnie Dayan on Dec. 8, while high profile inmate Sebastian will be arraigned on Dec. 12.

By Robertzon Ramirez and Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) November 29, 2017

#WarOnDrugs #DeLima #Bilibid #NewBilibidPrison #Dayan #Bucayu #BuCor

SC allows justices, employees to attend Sereno impeach proceedings

sereno 2016

The Supreme Court has allowed its justices and employees invited by the House of Representatives to attend impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Invited by Congress include Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Arturo Brion (retired) Information Chief Atty. Theodore Te, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and En Banc Clerk of Court Felipa Anama.

De Castro expressed willingness to cooperate with Congress but told the lawmakers that they need to seek permission from the high court en banc (full court).

During Tuesday’s en banc, the high court said De Castro is allowed to testify on the following:

  • Her exchange of communication with the Chief Justice regarding the case involving the Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens in the Philippines Party List;
  • The case on the appointments of Sandiganbayan justices;
  • On the petition of then Solicitor General, now Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza about the shortlist of candidates for the high court.

In all three cases, however, De Castro is not allowed to discuss the court’s deliberations.

With regards to the other officials of the high court invited by the House Committee on Justice, they are allowed to testify only on administrative matters.

“The Court is not requiring them but the court is giving them clearance if they so wish to appear and testify,” Te said at a press conference./je

Tetch Torres-Tupas November 28, 2017



SC allows justices to attend Sereno impeach hearings

ABS-CBN News  Nov 28 2017  

MANILA – (2ND UPDATE) The Supreme Court has unanimously voted to allow magistrates and employees to participate in the impeachment hearings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the high court’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

“Those who are invited to testify on administrative matters may do so if they wish. The court is not requiring them but is granting them clearance if they so wish to appear and testify on administrative matters,” Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te said.

The House justice committee invited SC magistrates and several employees to the hearings to answer allegations that Sereno bypassed her colleagues and falsified several court orders, including a temporary restraining order drafted by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro in 2013.

Te explained that Leonardo-De Castro has been authorized to testify on 3 matters only: the issuance of the TRO in the seniors’ citizens cases and exchange of communication with Sereno; the merits of the decision on the clustering case involving the Judicial and Bar Council; and the merits of her separate concurring opinion in the case involving then Solicitor General and now Associate Justice Francis Jardaleza.

De Castro, Associate Justice Noel Tijam, and retired justice Arturo Brion have said they will attend the impeachment hearings once they get clearance from the SC en banc, justice panel chairperson Reynaldo Umali told DZMM.

Lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, a spokesperson for Sereno, said the chief justice is confident that she has done nothing wrong.

“We’re confident about the position of the Chief Justice that she has not done anything wrong,” Lacanilao told ANC on Tuesday.

“Our attitude if all this comes out under a fair hearing, Chief Justice Sereno will be found saying the truth. We have no problems, worries, about people coming with documents because we have seen everything and there’s nothing there that will prove the case against CJ Sereno…” he added.

The SC’s move to allow its magistrates to participate in Sereno’s impeachment trial is a good decision, according to lawyer Tony La Viña, former dean of the Ateneo School of Government.

“That’s a good decision because they need to cooperate. It is important to have transparency. The important thing here is that they will also provide guidance, I think Justice Carpio has been asked to write the guidance particularly for internal documents. That’s very important how they will deal with documents that they considered confidential, only for their eyes,” he said.

La Viña meanwhile said he is “mystified” by the House hearings because he sees no impeachable offense.

“You know, I’m actually mystified by the hearing because the allegations, I’m not hearing how they could be impeachable. There is no allegation of corruption here, there is no allegation of deliberate intent. At most, allegations are lapses in judgment,” he said.

“What should we look out for? We do not embarrass, we do not belittle, we do not demean a person in an office just because of politics. So, this hearing should be in an utmost dignity,” he added.

Sereno is accused of misdeclaring her wealth and having an extravagant lifestyle.

Congressmen are determining if there is probable cause to pursue the impeachment case against the Chief Justice.

Sereno, who has denied any wrongdoing, refused to attend the hearings.



3 SC justices ready to testify at Sereno impeach hearings

ABS-CBN News Nov 28 2017 

(UPDATED) Three Supreme Court magistrates have expressed willingness to participate in the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the House justice committee said Tuesday.

Sereno is accused of bypassing her colleagues and tampering with several court orders, including a temporary restraining order drafted by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro in 2013.

De Castro, Associate Justice Noel Tijam and retired justice Arturo Brion have said they will attend the impeachment hearings once they get clearance from the SC en banc, justice panel chairperson Reynaldo Umali told DZMM.

“Sila po’y sumulat sa atin at sinabi nilang sila’y willling at naghahanda para rito kaya lang mayroon po silang prosesong dapat pagdaanan at hinihingi po nila ang pahintulot from the whole court,” Umali said.

The SC en banc is set to meet Tuesday as Umali’s panel holds its third hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to pursue the case against Sereno.

Justice Committee Vice-Chairman Doy Leachon said the high court should approve the justices’ attendance in the hearings “for the best interest of the proceeding, for the best interest of the court, for the benefit of the Filipino people.”

“To clear out the mess that’s been cast upon before the Supreme Court, I think the en banc members would definitely give the clearance for the justices concerned to appear before the House Committee on Justice,” he told ANC.

Congressmen, during Monday’s hearing, looked into Sereno’s statement of assets when she was still a professor at the University of the Philippines, and the taxes she paid after representing the government in an arbitration case.

The panel also grilled journalist Jomar Canlas about the source of his articles on the alleged tiff between Sereno and De Castro.

Sereno, who has denied any wrongdoing, refused to attend the hearings.


Aquino on Sereno IMPEACHMENT, DAP, RevGov, Chinese Telco and DESTABILIZATION plots

Aquino says Sereno distracted by impeachment proceedings

ABS-CBN News  Nov 27 2017

Dap  guilty

MANILA – Former President Benigno Aquino III said Monday the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is probably a way to harass her and that it has been distracting her from work.

“Malamang,” he said in response to reporters’ question if Sereno was being harassed with the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.

(That’s likely.)

“At the very least medyo nadi-distract si Chief Justice. Maraming mga issue sa harap ng Supreme Court. Baka may darating pang ibang issue na matindi na sana naka-concentrate ang Korte Suprema sa pagju-judge judiciously,” he said during the commemoration of the 85th birth anniversary of his father, Senator Ninoy Aquino, in Parañaque.

(At the very least, the Chief Justice is distracted. The Supreme Court is facing a lot of issues. There may be other pressing issues that would arise that the Court hopefully could concentrate on judging judiciously.)

Aquino said unlike the case of Sereno’s predecessor, Renato Corona, who was removed from power during his term, Sereno’s accuser has no personal knowledge in the allegations against her.

It was Aquino who appointed Sereno as Corona’s successor in 2012.

Aquino said evidence against Corona came from the late chief justice himself that he did not declare his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth publicly and misdeclared his bank accounts.

An impeachment complaint is also looming against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who Aquino also appointed.

“Hindi kaya dapat may iba tayong dapat pagka-abalahan?,” Aquino said of these moves.

(Shouldn’t we be focused on other things?)

Asked if he is satisfied with the Duterte administration, Aquino said there are things being done that appear to be the reversal of his administration’s point of view.

“Parang maraming bagay na tila baligtad sa pananaw namin. Sana ang pinagbabasehan nila mas tama sa pinag-basehan namin,” he said.

(It seems there are a lot of things where we have opposing views. Hopefully they are basis is better than ours.)

As an example, Aquino questioned the administration’s offer to a Chinese firm to be a telecommunications player, citing its implications to national security given a maritime dispute with Beijing.

“Mahirap naman yata yung communications infrastructure mo sa potential na baka magkaroon tayo ng actual na conflict,” he said.

(It could be difficult if your communications infrastructure is connected to a country where we have potential conflict). – With reports from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News


Aguirre orders NBI to probe Aquino, others over DAP

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News Nov 24 2017

Creates task force for DAP probe

(UPDATE) The Department of Justice(DOJ) has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate former President Benigno S. Aquino III and several other past and incumbent public officials for possible malversation of public funds in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II issued Department Order No. 749 for the purpose.

The justice chief also issued Department Order No. 751 directing the NBI to create a special task force which will be under the direct supervision of Justice Undersecretary Antonio Kho, Jr.

Former Manila City Councilor Greco Belgica and the Coalition for Investigation and Prosecution sought the probe, after they reportedly had a hard time securing the necessary documents pertaining to the DAP and 116 projects under the disbursement program.

Apart from Aquino, Belgica’s group sought an investigation against
former Budget Secretary Butch Abad, former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo, former Transportation and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Senator Franklin Drilon, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, former Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, and Atty. Yolanda D. Doblon (Director General, Senate Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office).

The DAP, instituted during the previous Aquino administration, was raised before the Supreme Court, with the high court striking down several acts and practices under the program as unconstitutional namely,

a) the withdrawal of unobligated allotment from the implementing agencies and the declaration of the withdrawn unobligated allotments and unreleased appropriations as savings prior to the end of the fiscal year and without complying with the statutory definition of savings contained in the General Appropriation Acts (GAAs);

b) the cross-border transfers of the savings of the Executive to augment the appropriations of other offices outside the Executive; and,

c) funding of projects and activities and programs that were not covered by any appropriation in the GAA.
The Supreme Court also declared void the use of unprogrammed funds under the DAP despite the absence of a certification from the National Treasurer that the revenue collections exceeded the revenue targets.

Belgica was one of the petitioners in this case before the high court.

In a statement, Belgica hoped all those responsible for alleged anomalies under the program be held accountable “regardless of political affiliation.”

“We only pray for truth and justice to be served. DAP is a crime that has been declared almost 4 years ago. Its investigation and the prosecution of its perpetrators have been since then by those who committed it and with many of those who still remain in power.

“DOJ and NBI can now use our template to build up cases against all culprits regardless of political affiliation and verify what we submitted. All our evidence have been submitted to DOJ… Parusahan ang dapat parusahan,” Belgica said.

The DAP was also said to have been used by the previous administration to “bribe” senators into ousting former Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial, but officials of the Aquino administration said the program was only intended to spur government spending and economic growth.

The Ombudsman early this year cleared Aquino from charges over the alleged illegal implementation of the P72-billion DAP. Former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was the only official found liable for its supposed illegal implementation.


Ex-Pres Aquino denies hand in alleged destabilization

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News Nov 27 2017

MANILA – Former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said Monday his camp had nothing to do with alleged attempts to destabilize the current government.

“Hindi sa amin nagmumula iyon. Baka dapat tumingin sila sa paligid nila,” he said in response to reporters’ questions.Ninoy Aquino in Parañaque.

(It did not come from us. Maybe they should look around them.)

Aquino, whose Liberal Party is associated with the opposition, said he had offered help to the administration, but he was refused and he could not do anything about it.

He said he wondered why all he did during his time was now being seen in a negative light.

Aquino also said he saw no basis for President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a revolutionary government since the processes provided for in the Constitution were still working.

“Napakalakas ng executive at pinadadama kung gaano kalakas ang executive so kung yung revolutionary government talagang yung buong sistema ay nag-fail na hindi magawa ang dapat gawin yun baka pwede pag isipan, ngayon hindi ko nakikita yun,” he said.

(The executive is very powerful and it is being felt. Under a revolutionary government, the entire system fails and what needs to be done can’t be done. I don’t see that now.)

“May pangangailangan ba? Talaga bang hindi na madaan sa mga prosesong nakasaad sa ating saligang batas?”

(Is there a need? Can’t we do it under constitutional processes?)

Aquino said he might take part in opposing the proposed revolutionary government but he would not take the lead.

“I will be taking part also but not in a central role.”

Duterte had brought up the idea of a revolutionary government on several occasions, where he cited alleged destabilization plots against him, but he has since clarified his stand on it.

Aquino led the commemoration of the birth anniversary of his father, martyred senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., with a mass at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat. He was joined by his sisters Ballsy, Pinky and Viel.

#Aquino #PNoy #PorkBarrel



2 Supreme Court associate justices willing to testify at Chief Justice Sereno impeachment hearing

Two Supreme Court Associate Justices have expressed their willingness to appear and testify before the impeachment proceeding against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives.

Associate Justices Teresita de Castro and Noel Tijam, in their letter of reply to the House justice committee last November 24, said they are willing to attend the hearings once they get clearance from the SC’s en banc, which is set to convene on Tuesday.

“May I request that I be given time to seek clearance from the Court, during the en banc session on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, to produce at the hearing all internal communications, memoranda and other documents relevant to the allegations in the verified in the impeachment complaint. As soon as the said clearance is granted, I shall honor your invitation to attend the aforementioned hearing,” De Castro wrote in a letter to Committee chairman Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali.

Meanwhile, Tijam, in his reply letter to Umali, wrote: “Rest assured that as soon as approval of of the Court en banc is secured and the pertinent documents are collated, the undersigned is willing to appear before the honorable committee.”

Umali, during the hearing, said the committee respects the internal processes of the judicial branch.

De Castro and Tijam were summoned to shed light on allegations that Sereno tampered with court documents and deliberately delayed the transfer of Maute cases to Taguig court.

Aside from the justices, former Associate Justice Arturo Brion asked the committee to give him time to wait for the high court’s word on the use of internal documents in proceedings outside the court.

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, SC’s public information office chief Theodore Te, and SC Chief Judicial Staff Officer Charlotte Labayani also responded to the invitation but said that they have to wait for the en banc’s decision.

Judicial and Bar Council Executive Officer Annaliza Capacite, meanwhile, asked to be excused from attending the hearings after the committee summoned her to substantiate allegations that Sereno manipulated the JBC short list to exclude former Solicitor General and now Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza for personal and political reasons.

“The undersigned would like to respectfully inform your honor that she is not in a position to answer the questions relating to the aforementioned allegation in the impeachment complaint for the reason that she was not present in any of the meetings wherein the JBC discussed the candidacy of then SolGen now SC Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza,” Capacite said. /kga, je

By: Jullianne Love de Jesus November 27, 2017


Sereno impeachment case: Justices need SC approval to testify in House

By: Marlon Ramos, Vince F. Nonato Team Inquirer November 27, 2017sereno umali


Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro may be cited for violating the high court’s internal rules if she testifies against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in the impeachment hearing at the House of Representatives without full-court approval, according to a spokesperson for the country’s top magistrate.

The same goes for other Supreme Court justices and officials who have been invited by the committee to testify at the impeachment hearings, although they are unlikely to appear before the panel on Monday as they first have to get clearance from the full court, said Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, the committee chair.

“The [Supreme Court] sessions are executive in character, with only its members present. The deliberations are confidential and should not be disclosed to outside parties, except if authorized by the court,” the spokesperson for Sereno, Aldwin Salumbides, said in a statement on Sunday.

Deliberations confidential

The policies spelled out in the internal rules of the Supreme Court “safeguard the confidentiality of sessions and internal documents” of the country’s highest judicial body, Salumbides said.

The rollos, or court documents, may be released “only upon an official written request from the judicial staff head or the chief of office of the requesting office,” he said.

“All [people] handling the rollos are bound by the same strict confidentiality rules,” he added.

Salumbides’ remarks came on the heels of an invitation from the House justice committee to De Castro to attend its hearing on Monday on the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against Sereno.

At the hearing on Wednesday, Gadon identified De Castro as the source of confidential information that he claimed was given to him by Manila Times reporter Jomar Canlas involving a temporary restraining order that was allegedly tampered with by Sereno.

But De Castro issued a statement as the hearing was going on, denying she released to Canlas “any information, report or document regarding the work of the court.”

Gadon may be liable for perjury if the information is proved to be false.

“This is under oath and so he will have to answer for his actions,” Umali told reporters after the hearing on Wednesday.

Lawmakers on the justice committee agreed to invite De Castro to testify at the hearing on Monday, but Salumbides said he did not believe she would appear before the panel.

Highly irregular

“As a lawyer, I find it highly irregular for a magistrate, for a Supreme Court justice, to go down and take the witness stand. It gives me goose bumps. It seems inappropriate for a justice to suddenly turn witness,” he said.

If she does without full-court approval, she may be cited for violating the high court’s internal rules, he said.

Besides De Castro, Supreme Court Associate Justice Noel Tijam, Court Administrator Midas Marquez, Public Information Office chief Theodore Te and full-court clerk Felipa Anama have also been invited to testify at the hearings.

But Umali, speaking in a radio interview on Sunday, said the justices and other Supreme Court officials would “most likely not” appear in Monday’s hearing because they needed to secure full-court approval first.

The full court meets on Tuesdays.

‘They are willing’

“They are willing, except that they need the approval of [the full court],” Umali said.

Gadon has accused Sereno of failing to declare her real wealth, buying a luxury car using government funds and making questionable decisions without consulting the rest of the court, among other charges.

Earlier, Umali’s panel had determined that Gadon’s complaint was sufficient in form and substance.

The panel is now trying to determine whether there is probable cause to impeach Sereno.

Gadon claimed Sereno called Tijam to manipulate the transfer of the cases involving members of the Maute terror group.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II may also not attend Monday’s hearing to testify on this issue.

Umali said “they [could be] accommodated on Tuesday” instead.

The justice committee would tackle another seven allegations against Sereneo after deliberating on seven accusations on Wednesday, he said.

Subpoena for Sereno

Umali said the committee was still “studying” if Sereno could be subpoenaed to answer the allegations, as she had repeatedly declined to face her accuser and pressed for her lawyers to represent her instead.

He said the committee had power to issue an arrest warrant for Sereno, if she would not heed the subpoena.

“If there are things that she should testify on, the committee might probably issue a subpoena. And a subpoena has coercive powers; if it is not followed, we would be obliged to issue a warrant,” Umali said.

“This is a constitutional power to pursue a constitutional mandate in which … the separation of powers [as a] coequal branch may not … be invoked in this particular instance,” he said. /atm /pdi

#Sereno #Impeachment


Rep. Umali says justice panel can order ‘arrest’ of Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno

House Justice Committee chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali said on Sunday morning that the panel has the power to issue an arrest order for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in connection with the impeachment complaint against her.

In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, Umali also said that the order doesn’t even need the approval of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Sereno has refused to appear before the committee to answer allegations against her in the impeachment complaint now being discussed in the House panel for the determination of probable cause.

PHOTO: Rep Umali, CJ Serenosereno umali

But this, Umali said, is the last resort.

In a separate interview on dzBB, Attorney  Carlo Cruz, one of the spokespersons for Chief Justice Sereno, said that the justice committee should consider the principle of separation of powers of the three branches of government.

“Dapat tingnan na ang bawat sangay ng pamahalaan ay may kasarinlan sa ilalim ng ating sistema,” he said.

However, Umali,  in the earlier interview, pointed out that Sereno is a respondent of an impeachment case.

But Cruz, said that Sereno is still the Chief Justice even if she is a respondent.

“Hindi naman nawawala ang kanyang pagiging punong mahistrado dahil nanging respondent siya sa impeachment case.”

Unopposed evidence

On Monday,  the House justice committee will continue with the hearing of the determination of probable cause of the impeachment case.

Last week, Sereno refused to appear before the committee to defend herself from the accusations, with her camp insisting the right to cross-examine the witnesses.

Umali said, “Ang first option is dahil hindi siya humarap e ‘di kung ano man yung ebidensiyang naihain na hindi na-controvert o hindi nakontra ay siyang mananatili at magiging basehan ng komite.”

“Now on the other hand, ‘pag meron talagang mga bagay na dapat niyang testiguhan ay marahil ay mag-isue [ang] komite ng ‘ika nga ay subpoena at siyempre ‘pag subpoena, coercive powers ‘yan at hindi po sinunod ay maoobliga tayong magissue ng warrant.”

He said that such “coercive power” can be used by the panel while separation of powers on a co-equal branch could not be invoked in the impeachment proceeding.

“Sa aking pananaw ay ang poder ng Committee on Justice at ng impeachment prosecutor ay…meron kaming poder para gamitin ika nga yung coercive power ng komite under the Constitution so this is a Constitutional power to pursue a Constitutional mandate of which yung respondent ay respondent,” Umali said.

“Therefore yung ganong power ang ibig sabihin separation of powers on co-equal branch may not be invoked in this particular instance,” he added.

Earlier, Sereno said that she had formally tasked her legal team to act on her behalf in all stages of her impeachment proceedings.

The top magistrate had also insisted on her right to counsel and cross-examine the witnesses that will be presented in the proceedings through her counsel.

But panel denied the Chief Justice’s legal counsel the chance to cross-examine the witnesses.

Sereno is being accused of culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust filed by Lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon.

The impeachment complaint against her has been determined sufficient in form, substance and also with sufficient grounds.  —LBG, GMA News


Projected issuance of arrest warrant vs. Sereno has ‘no legal anchorage’ —Lagman

A lawmaker on Monday said that issuing a warrant of arrest against embattled Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for not appearing in her impeachment hearing has “no legal anchorage.”

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman pointed out that Sereno’s appearances before the House Committee on Justice “will not serve any legal purpose.”

“[T]he projected issuance of a warrant of arrest against the Chief Justice has no legal anchorage. It is an empty and useless threat bordering on coercion and arbitrariness,” Lagman said in a statement.

He also reiterated that the top magistrate as a respondent in the pending impeachment proceedings has “inherent and constitutional rights” to “appear through her counsel and have her lawyers cross-examine on her behalf the complainant and adverse witnesses”. The panel, however, has denied her these rights.

This came in after House justice committee chairman Reynaldo Umali said that the panel has the power to issue an arrest order against Sereno if the Chief Justice continues to refuse to attend the hearing.

Umali said that such an order does not even need the approval of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, noting that Sereno could not invoke the separation of powers on a co-equal branch in the impeachment proceeding.

Meanwhile, Lagman said that the burden is on complainant Attorney Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon to prove the allegations in his complaint and not for the respondent to “disprove the same considering that Gadon has not even proved anything and his charges are utterly unfounded and based on hearsay.”

“Moreover, the accusations have been sufficiently traversed in the Chief Justice’s answer and other pleadings,” he added.

Sereno is being accused of culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes, and betrayal of public trust, in the complaint filed by Gadon.

The impeachment complaint against her has been determined sufficient in form and substance and also found to be with sufficient grounds.

The House justice panel is continuing its hearing on Monday as of posting time to determine the probable cause in the impeachment case against Sereno. —Marlly Rome Bondoc/KG, GMA News  November 27, 2017

Aguirre tags Aquino DBM Abad and DPWH Singson over P8.7-B road scam

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday tagged former budget and public works secretaries over a supposed multi-billion scam over road right of way in General Santos City.

LP abad singson

In a press conference on Friday, Aguirre said that a witness, a private citizen, has come forward to reveal the government may have been duped into paying P8.7 billion for a road right of way (RROW) scam in Mindanao. The National Bureau of Investigation was also tapped to conduct a case build up on the information.

The justice chief said that the NBI is looking into the “potential” liability of former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and former Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson for “approving” the payment of the dubious RROW.

Singson declined to comment on the allegation, saying that he has yet to read the case.

Abad, for his part, asserted that the “accusation is baseless and therefore not true.”

He added: “I and the [Department of Budget and Management] were never part of the negotiations for that transaction. The [Department of Public Works and Highways] will be in the best position to shed light on the issue.”

Singson and Abad served as cabinet secretaries under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.

Earlier on Friday, Aguirre revealed that the NBI is also conducting a case build-up on the former president’s involvement over the Disbursement Acceleration Program and pork barrel scam.

Aguirre, in a statement, said that the group’s scheme involves submitting “fake titles in the name of non-existent persons to allow them to claim from the DPWH the just compensation from the expropriation of land which will be supposedly occupied by government projects.”

Also tagged in the allegation are Wilma Mamburan, Col. Chino Mamburan, Merceditas Dumlao and Nelson Ti, who is said to be the group’s financier.

The justice chief said that the witness is already given provisional government protection.

He declined to provide more details on the allegations and said that he will ask permission to reveal the contents of the affidavit submitted by the witness next week.

By Kristine Joy Patag ( November 24, 2017


Abad, Singson linked to right-of-way ‘scam’

By: Marlon Ramos – Reporter / @MRamosINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer
November 25, 2017
The government spent some P8.7 billion for road right-of-way covered by alleged spurious land titles in General Santos City in a “scam” supposedly involving two trusted lieutenants of former President Benigno Aquino III, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Friday.

Aguirre said in a news briefing that a “member of a criminal syndicate” behind the scam had been admitted to the witness protection program of the Department of Justice after he volunteered information on the supposed modus.

He said the whistle-blower named former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and former Public Works Secretary Babes Singson as among those involved in the scheme, which supposedly started during the latter part of the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009.

Sought for comment, Abad dismissed the allegations as “baseless and therefore not true.”“I and the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) were never part of the negotiations,” Abad said.

Singson said he was deferring comment on the issue because he had not seen the witness’ affidavit.

If the allegations are true, the fund racket could top the P10-billion pork barrel scam involving businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and several senators and congressmen.

“This involved a series of transactions. I initially could not believe it when the witness (first) approached me. But this witness had complete and voluminous documents as evidence,” Aguirre told reporters.

“There is no place for corruption in government. President Duterte has made it very clear that stopping corruption in government is the centerpiece of this administration,” he said.

Asked if Singson and Abad had knowledge that the road projects in General Santos had bogus land titles, he said: “The witness said they were aware of the scam. That’s what the witness said when I interviewed him before he executed the affidavit.”

As to the possibility that the two former Aquino Cabinet members profited from the irregularity, the justice secretary said: “That’s the implication, that they really earned from it.”

Quoting the witness’ testimony, Aguirre said Singson recommended the expropriation of several private properties for the road projects in General Santos and asked for the release of the payment.

Abad, on the other hand, “apparently approved the release of the payment for illegal road right-of-way claims,” he added.

Aguirre urged other possible witnesses to come forward since it was possible that the same modus was also done in public infrastructure projects in other parts of the country.

“The witness said the release of the payment took just a few days,” Aguirre said.

“You can’t do that and collect a huge sum of money without everybody in conspiracy. That’s why there’s really collusion among the perpetrators,” he said.

He said the witness identified Wilma Mamburan, a certain Col. Chino Mamburan, Merceditas Dumlao and Nelson Ti as those who operated the scheme.

Ti, the group’s alleged financier, was said to be a relative of a Domingo Lee, the former Philippine ambassador to China and “is supposedly close to” Aquino.

“The members of the syndicate would submit fake land titles in the name of nonexistent persons, or not the real landowners. The syndicate would then secure payment (from the government) using fake land titles,” said the justice secretary.

Besides officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the DBM, Aguirre said executives of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Registry of Deeds, the Commission on Audit and the City Assessor’s Office of General Santos were also possibly involved in the crime.

#Duterte #Aquino #Abad #Singson #DBM #DPWH