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WPP bid won’t affect Napoles cases, says Chiz

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00 Published in Headlines

Plunder cases on businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles before the Sandiganbayan will not be affected by her provisional admission under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DoJ), Senator Francis Escudero said.
Napoles is the alleged “brains” behind the P10-billion pork barrel and the P900-million Malampaya fund scams.
Escudero said on radio that since it was the DoJ’s decision to consider putting Napoles under the WPP, the case filed by the Ombudsman against her remains.
Napoles’ lawyers also asked the Sandiganbayan last Friday to transfer her custody to the WPP.
In a three-page urgent motion filed before the Sandiganbayan, the lawyers of Napoles said she should be transferred from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Camp Bagong Diwa to the DoJ following her provisional admission to the WPP.
The camp of Napoles attached a certification from the DoJ, which states that Napoles “has been provisionally covered by the Witness Protection Security and Benefit Program effective Feb. 27, 2018.”
Escudero said unless the DoJ requests the Ombudsman that she also be made state witness for cases filed against her, Napoles’ provisional WPP coverage will not have an effect on cases pending with the Sandiganbayan.
“Those cases will be pursued and any changes that will be sought will have to  be brought before the presiding judge,” Escudero said.

Motion to quash pends
Last March 13, Napoles has asked the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the graft and malversation cases filed against her on the so-called P900-million Malampaya fund scam since she is not a public official.
In a 21-page quashal motion dated Feb. 20, and filed before the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division, Napoles said she should not be facing 97 counts each of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and malversation of public funds, which could only be committed by a public officer.
She argued that the anti-graft law and malversation, as defined under the Revised Penal Code (RPC), only prosecute government officials who control public funds and have conspired with other public individuals to misappropriate them.
“This element can only be committed by a public officer charging administrative, judicial, or official function. Not being public officers, herein accused could not possibly commit the acts that they are charged with,” Napoles said.
“The charge of malversation is misplaced and absolutely baseless. As defined, the accused cannot be made liable for malversation. She is a private individual and the crime of malversation can only be committed by a public officer,” her motion added.
Napoles is a co-accused of former Department of Budget and Management secretary and incumbent Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., and former Department of Agrarian Reform secretary and now Masui City, Lanao del Sur Mayor Nasser Pangandaman.
The case arose when they allegedly misused P900-million worth of Malampaya funds from the relief operations, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of areas affected by Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng through the Napoles-led foundations between 2009 and 2010.
Napoles argued that the Office of the Ombudsman “miserably failed to establish conspiracy” between her and her co-accused.
She added the Ombudsman had failed to clearly state the place and date in its charge sheet as to when the alleged crime took place, thus disabling her ability to defend herself.
“Certainly, it would be perplexing for the accused to admit or face the charge, by not knowing how, when, and where, during the span years, were the alleged ‘over criminal acts’ have been committed,” Napoles’ motion read.

Front Page

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00 Published in page one

Mr. 2% in trouble anew

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00 Published in Editorial


Rabble rouser Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is back in a familiar situation after being slapped with inciting to sedition charges as a result of his suggestion for the military to go against the popularly elected President Duterte.
Trillanes has been exploiting local and international media that are hostile at Rody to do his greatest damage while at the same time hoping to maximize media mileage for himself, which are what demagogues do.
As a result of his futile efforts to bolster his hidden wealth allegations against Rody, he uttered “if the soldiers see this (hidden wealth), they will use an M60 machine gun on you (Duterte) because these are many. The magazines will be emptied if you’re looking for P40 million,” he said in a privilege speech.
Prior to this, Trillanes came up with a new fake figure of 20,000 extrajudicial killings (EJK) also in a privilege speech.
This was a bold ramping of the already discredited numbers of 13,000 or 14,000 EJK which government figures have disputed.
New outlet overseas, however, cares little for official figures and have started to use the figures supplied by Trillanes.
“While the country continues to laugh at the lewd jokes of Duterte, more than 20,000 of our countrymen have been killed,” Trillanes said.
Trillanes appears used to cloak and dagger roles that make him a danger, being in government service.
In a televised plenary debate in the Senate in September 2012, then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile berated Trillanes for working for Chinese interest amid a standoff between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea claims.
Trillanes was the backchannel emissary of Noynoy and Enrile revealed that Trillanes wanted to restrain Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and prevent the United States from being involved in the regional dispute.
Enrile then proceeded to read what he said were notes of Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady about a meeting with Trillanes in Beijing, in which Trillanes allegedly told the Chinese that the Philippines cannot enforce its coastal protection, and that the Philippines does not have any interest in the Scarborough Shoal which caused Trillanes to retreat and walk out of the confrontation.
He was thereafter charged with treason and espionage in May 2016 for his series of 16 secret meetings with officials in Beijing and providing information which resulted in the immediate occupation of Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands by China in 2012.
Trillanes also persistently uses supposed bank transaction records allegedly sourced from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), despite the AMLC’s disclaimer that the documents did not come from them.
The AMLC also belied that it supplied the purported bank transaction documents, of which Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang also claimed that these are in his possession. His boss, Ombudsman Carpio backed him up, despite knowing that these were the fabricated bank records.
Trillanes’ sole claim to his being senator, which appears to remain the case despite his many years in the Senate, was being a failed putschist.
The Senator who was then a dismissed Navy officer, was involved in coups d’ etat during the Arroyo administration which are the Oakwood Mutiny in July 2003, the Marine standoff last February 2006 and the Manila Peninsula siege in November 2007.
Trillanes and other members of the Magdalo mutineers were charged with rebellion but they were cleared after being granted amnesty by Noynoy.
Trillanes also continued to use the demand for a bank secrecy waiver as a propaganda tool since Rody had stressed that a waiver he executed prior to the elections remain effective while the Ombudsman has the authority to open bank accounts even without the permission of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
Trillanes had also alleged the Ombudsman junked the investigation into Duterte’s alleged ill-gotten wealth because the ALMC refused to cooperate.
During the impeachment trial of Corona in 2011, the Ombudsman opened the chief magistrate’s bank accounts and the Office of the Ombudsman could have even opened Duterte’s bank accounts already but nothing was found.
Amid all his allegations, Trillanes has failed to present even one authenticated document as proof.
Mr. Duterte himself said he would immediately step down if authenticated documents are presented on the alleged ill-gotten wealth of his family.
Instead, Trillanes again sought to exploit the Senate for his ends after he called for a Senate probe on ill-gotten wealth allegations which were the same fake issues he raised during the campaign period prior to the 2016 polls.
“What documents does Senator Trillanes have? He doesn’t have authenticated documents. AMLC already said that the documents he has with him did not come from them and the data on his documents are wrong,” Roque had said.
Instead of generating an outcry, the attacks of Trillanes may have contributed to the string showing of Duterte in recent surveys. The result of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) 2017 Fourth Quarter Survey showed that the president has regained his “excellent” trust rating at 83 percent.
As for Trillanes, nobody seems to repose trust on him resulting in his poor showing of a mere 2 percent vote when he aspired for the vice presidency.



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