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Benjamin B. Pulta

Former Senator and vice president candidate, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’, who has filed an electoral protest before the Supreme Court acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) against Vice President Leni Robredo, said, through his camp that they have found data found in many of the SD cards that were retrieved from supposedly unused Vote Counting Machines (VCMs), which they said clearly strengthens their election protest.
During a break in the decryption of 26 SD cards found to have data at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros, Manila yesterday, lawyer Victor Rodriguez, spokesman of Marcos, said the fact that data were found in supposed to be untouched SD cards is proof that pol fraud had been committed in the May 2016 elections. “This strengthens our position that massive fraud was indeed committed in the last elections because SD cards from unused VCMs should be empty. 

“However, we have confirmed today that indeed they have data in them so that bolsters our position,” Rodriguez said.
The Comelec conducted the decryption of 26 of the 127 SD cards found in data during the stripping of 1,356 unused VCMs last October 2016.
The other 101 SD cards were not part of the decryption as they were set aside by the Senate Electoral Tribunal on motion by former MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino on his election protest before the Tribunal.
During the decryption, 13 of the 26 SD cards were found to have folders containing data in them. Decryption was still being conducted as of press time.
Rodriguez also said the data in the SD Cards also supported their contention that the VCMs should not have been opened or stripped until after the conclusion of Marcos’ election protest at the Presidential Electoral Protest.
“How can more than 120 SD cards have data in them when they came from VCMs kits that were not used? This is highly questionable. This also supports our contention that the VCMs should be preserved until the election protest is concluded in the PET because they represent an important aspect in the protest,” he said.
Marcos’ lawyers had earlier opposed the stripping of the unused VCMs as it was conducted in violation of the Protective Precautionary Order issued by the PET to preserve the integrity of the ballot boxes and other equipment used in the last elections.
Despite the objections of the camp of BBM, the Comelec still proceeded with the stripping and turnover of the VCMs on October 26, 2016.
Rodriguez stated that despite the many hurdles being thrown their way, they will continue to fight for truth and the integrity of the elections.
“Of course we will fight this until the very end because the integrity of the country’s election system is at stake here and we would not stop until we shall have exposed all the fraud and machinations they carried out and continuously carry out until the present,” he said. 

PNB exec ordered to pay damages for check fraud

Monday, 16 January 2017 00:00 Published in Metro

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered an official of the Philippine National Bank (PNB) to pay more than P2 million in damages for his part in  allowing the use by a depositor of a fraudulent check.

In a 12-page decision, the High Court ordered former PNB San Pedro Branch manager Pablo Raymundo to pay PNB actual damages in the amount of P 2.1 million with legal interest.
“Since PNB was unduly deprived of its use of the P2.1 million due to Raymundo’s gross negligence, the Court found it proper to impose interest at 12 percent per annum reckoned from the filing of the criminal information in May 1997 until June 30, 2013, the reduced interst of six percent per annum from July 1, 2013 until finality of the decision and the interest rate of 6 percent per annum from such finality until fully paid,” the Tribunal said.
The controversy first arose on July 30,1993 when Raymundo approved for deposit a foreign draft check in the amount of $172,549 issued by Solomon Guggenheim Foundation, drawn against Morgan Guaranty Company of New York, payable to Merry May Juan in the opening of the latter’s checking account.
A check booklet was subsequently issued to Ms. Juan who drew six PNB checks, five of which were made payable to C&T Global Futures and one payable to case. The six were approved for payment on the same day by Raymundo, without waiting for the foreign draft check intended to fund the issued check, to be cleared by the PNB Foreign Currency Clearing  Unit.
On August 6, 1993 and within the clearing period of 21 days for foreign draft checks, the PNB received a telex message that the foreign draft check was dishonored for being fraudulent.
When he came to know that withdrawals had been made on a deposited check which had no funds, Raymundo instructed bank staff to hold further withdrawals on the account. He likewise filed criminal charges against Merry May Juan. The case was decided in his favor and the accused was made to pay the amount of the check. There was no actual payment made however, prompting PNB to file a graft case against Raymundo.
The criminal graft case was dropped but he was still held civilly liable.

Former Nueva Ecija mayor in marriage scams acquitted

Saturday, 14 January 2017 00:00 Published in Nation

A former municipal mayor of Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija indicted for forging the certificate of marriage of two couples to make it appear that it was he who solemnized their marriage seven years ago, has been cleared by the Supreme Court (SC).

In a decision, the SC’s Third Division through Associate Justice Jose Portugal Perez and concurred in by Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Bienvenido Perez and Francis Jardeleza, the SC’s Third Division granted the petition filed by Amado Corpuz Jr. as it reversed and set aside the decision of the Sandiganbayan in two criminal cases against him.
“Petitioner…is hereby acquitted for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt,” the SC ruling said.
Records of the case showed that in October 2009, Corpuz supposedly took  advantage of his official position and falsified the certificate of marriage of Manny Asuncion and Dina Lumanlan as well as that of Alex Pascual and Esperanza Arizabal by certifying therein that it was he who solemnized their marriage when in truth, it was Thelmo Corpuz Sr., local civil registrar, who celebrated the same.
On February 27, 2014, the Sandiganbayan found Corpuz guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the said crimes and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment of four years and one day of prision correccional, as minimum, to eight years of prision mayor, as maximum, for each count, and to pay a fine of P5,000 for each case, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
The denial of his motion for reconsideration prompted Corpuz to seek redress with the High Court.
In its November 23, 2016 ruling but was released to the media only recently, the SC held that “in ruling that petitioner was not the one who solemnized the subject marriages, the Sandiganbayan relied heavily on the testimonial evidence of the prosecution’s witnesses, particularly on the common fact that they all witnessed an alleged ceremony conducted on said dates wherein Corpuz, the municipal registrar, was the one who acted as the solemnizing officer, and not petitioner.”
“It further considered the photos and photocopies of the invitations presented and offered as additional proofs to establish the aforesaid incidents which show spouses Pascual and spouses Asuncion standing in front of Thelmo,” the verdict said.
“Moreover, the testimony of Thelmo, being a rebuttal evidence to the claims of Alex Pascual and Manny Asuncion that it was petitioner who solemnized their respective marriages, was vastly recognized as acceptable and damaging to petitioner’s defense since the principle of res inter alias acta (the rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration or omission of another) does not apply in this case.”
The High Tribunal said the prosecution failed to establish the elements of falsification of public documents.
“With the prosecution having failed to discharge its burden of establishing petitioner’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt, this court is constrained, as is its bounden duty when reasonable doubt persists, to acquit him,” it added.


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