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Wednesday, 02 September 2015 10:53

Sound Snipings

BY Jimmy Cabato

Is it as simple as this for Sec. Butch Abad to escape from indictment in the PDAP and DAP messy scandal? “Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio Abad asked the Sandiganbayan Third Division to exclude him from graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam as sought in a motion filed by Antonio Y. Ortiz,

Ortiz, former director general of the Technology Resource Center (TRC), is a co-accused in two out of 15 graft cases against Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. Lawyer Bonifacio Alentajan, the counsel of Ortiz, had filed the motion to implead that sought that Abad be placed as principal accused in the two cases where Ortiz is charged.

The lawyers of Secretary Abad opposed the Ortiz motion, saying, “The decision on who to prosecute is an executive, not a judicial, prerogative.” They asked that the motion to implead Abad as principal accused be denied for lack of merit. (MB)

That is an intriguing argument, whether the graft court accepts or denies the motion. No wonder Abad has always appeared unperturbed on the matter of the scam, for as supposedly “who decides  to prosecute is an executive, not a judicial, prerogative.” then they must be boldly relying on the chief executive of the land to whom Abad is an indispensable personage.

Lucky guy, don’t you think?

* * * *

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. continues to be consistent on his stand on the BBL. He emphasized yesterday the substitute bill of the controversial proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) contains strict safeguards against reckless appropriation and use of government funds.

Marcos, principal author of the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” (BLBAR) or Senate Bill (SB) No. 2894, the substitute of BBL, stressed this to make it clear that the Commission on Audit (COA), a constitutional body, should audit the funds.

In the same breath, Marcos, chairman of the Senate local government committee, projected that the Upper House might be able to wrap up its discussions on the BLBAR in  record six weeks.

“He, however, stressed that this is not a deadline he imposed on himself or on the Senate ‘’but an estimate based on the pace of the on going interpellation and the expected length of the amendment period, which is the next step in the process.” (MB)

The Marcos consistency truly builds on. In another forum, he again touched on the BBL thing, citing that “the executive order recently issued by President Benigno Aquino 3rd extending the life of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) beyond the enactment of the proposed Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) changes nothing, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Monday. (TMT)

He even took a snipe on the Aquino move, saying that the only change the latter’s EO 187 will bring is for government to continue spending for the BTC even if the work of the board shall have ended.

* * * *

The protest action of the Iglesia ni Cristo has fortunately ended sans any violence that could have easily occurred. What with the rage raised by the protesting personalities versus government. Accordingly, the mass action was thankfully defused  as both the government and the church group kept their cool before  a third party could infiltrate their ranks and provoke a perilous scenario.

The manner by which the setting was resolved should serve as a precedent in handling such grumpy scenarios, same source said..

The INC made clear their position in protesting. “There were supposed irregularities in the way Justice Secretary Leila de Lima handled the review of the kidnapping and serious illegal detention case involving leaders of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ), according to sources of The Manila Times–including two former secretaries of Justice and ranking prosecutors.”

Such being the case, the way de Lima frontlined in the investigation is suspect. Per normal court processes, as divulged by knowledgeable sectors, when a case is in the preliminary investigation stage, only prosecutors up to the Prosecutor-General are the ones in charge. In effect therefore, Sec. de Lima did show special interest on the matter at hand, by allegedly handling  the case herself that involved big-named personalities. (With excerpts from a TMT editorial)

* * * *

Here is one more PNoy folly… The standoff in the  Freedom of  Information bill (FOI). A group calling themselves  “Right to Know. Right Now! Coalition: (RKRN) massed up in Mendiola to protest the unrelenting failure of Congress to pass the FOI bill. The protesters carried a coffin representing the demise of the FOI.

Bluntly, the RKRN Coalition laid the blame on Pres. Aquino and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, saying no excuses can conceal their “failure of leadership” and being “the principal culprits” in frustrating the efforts of pro-people legislators and advocates who have championed the passage of the FOI bill which continues to collect dust in the House of Representatives. The Senate had much earlier passed the bill.” (TMT)

The RKRN further said both the  president and the Speaker are known to have marshaled their alliance to prioritize on several bills. “But on the FOI Bill, all they heard were mere intermittent false piety, minus any bold move to see to the passage of the FOI bill.

* * * *

Erstwhile winless South Korea, downed Gilas Pilipinas, 82–70, coming from a win over Taiwan. Even the heroics of rising star Terrence Romeo went to naught.

Scoreless for close to six minutes during the crucial period of the fourth quarter, the Filipinos were dealt their first loss in two games. The games are being played at the Xinchuang gymnasium in Taiwan.

The efforts of Romeo, who scored nine of his game-high 23 points in the fourth period, and starring in a couple of high spot plays again, proved futile as he got mediocre support from everyone else.

The Filipino loss was a big win for South Korea as it was winless in its 1st two games.

Clearly, the shining star of Gilas, Romeo remained humble, “It doesn’t matter what I did in the fourth quarter because our team still lost,” Romeo, who now has an average of 20.5 points in the first two games, told reporters. “We need to learn from our mistakes and make the team win.” (TMT)

* * * *

Just as I wrote yesterday, “Who’s Afraid Virginia Woolf”, so articulates the chief of staff of Senator Grace Poe, contradicting the veiled threat of a dismissed Iglesia Ni Cristo minister that she could be accused of graft for supporting the religious group’s protest rallies against Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

“Senator Poe did not persuade, induce or influence Secretary De Lima to commit any violation of the law,” Nelson Victorino said in a statement to reporters.

He said there was “no legal and factual bases” to charge Poe for violating the anti-graft law for allegedly backing the anti-De Lima rallies.

Trixie Cruz-Angeles, the lawyer of dismissed INC minister Isaias Samson Jr., earlier said Poe might have violated the anti-graft law when she backed the INC’s protest rallies against De Lima.

* * * *

The city’s known Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) leader is Cong. Celso Lobregat.

Reading this bit of news, I hardly think the LDP stalwart is bothered one bit, “The LDP) is not fielding its candidates for president and vice president in next year’s elections.”

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, son of former Senate president Edgardo Angara who founded LDP in 1988, said that the party is presently not supporting any candidate nor is it planning to field or adopt one.

Angara said LDP leaders would meet next month after the filing of certificates of candidacy to discuss their next move. He is also unsure if the party would remain a coalition partner in the 2016 elections.

If that is true, will Lobregat be party-less? I doubt. But why am I saying that I find it hard to believe congressman is bothered.

Connections, that’s what. Recall his masterful move in the 2000 polls. Back in that year, he amassed the top three political parties all to himself, leaving the Monsi dela Cruz group paralyzed.

I predict a repeat of sort.