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Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr. has asked the Sandiganbayan to dismiss a graft case filed against him over the alleged overpriced purchase of a second-hand vehicle in 2003 during his term as governor of Ifugao.
In a seven-page dismissal motion, Baguilat said the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division should dismiss his case, since it took the Office of the Ombudsman almost 13 years to determine his alleged criminal liability.
“Accused Baguilat respectfully moves that the instant case be dismissed due to the inordinate delay of the OMB (Office of the Ombudsman) in resolving the present case, thereby violating the Constitutional right of accused Baguilat to due process and speedy disposition of his case,” Baguilat’s motion said.
The Ombudsman has charged Baguilat with one count each of violation of Sections 3(e) and 3(g) of Republic Act 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”
Baguilat and two provincial officials allegedly conspired with one another when they purchased a second-hand Isuzu Wagon Trooper worth P900,000 from a certain Jose Man Singh of JMS General Merchandise.
The anti-graft court accused Baguilat and his co-accused of approving the procurement despite the lack of a public bidding and without proper budget appropriation.
The deal was already negotiated even before the purchase was made.
However, Baguilat said the complaint violated his right to a speedy disposition of the case, since the alleged crime took place in 2003 but he was only charged on Feb. 9, 2018. 

RP, Kuwait set to sign pact on OFW protection

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00 Published in Nation

The Philippine and Kuwaiti governments are set to sign this month the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
This, after labor officials from both countries approved the final MOU draft on Friday in Manila.
“In two weeks, the panels agreed to have the signing most likely in Kuwait,” said Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) Silvestre Bello III in an interview.
Prior to the approval of the final draft, the parties have difficulties in resolving issues on passport and employment contract.
But Bello said the two contentious issues were resolved, as the Kuwaiti representatives have agreed that the Philippine Embassy where the OFW is employed can keep the worker’s passport and should not be withheld by the employer.
As for the contract issue, the other party also agreed that the employment contract will be in accordance with Philippine laws.
“Contentious issues were resolved, no more deadlock,” he said.
On the other hand, both parties have agreed on other provisions in the draft MoU such as the $400 net per month salary of workers and that the employer will open a bank account where the salary of the worker will be deposited, as proof that the worker is being paid.
The provision allowing the Philippine embassy in the country where the OFW is employed to keep his/her passport and the one allowing the worker to have a cellphone are non-issue for the Kuwaiti government, Bello said.
“Also the transfer from one employer to another, the OFW must give a written consent and that transfer must also be approved in writing by our Labor Attache,” he added.
Bello noted that there is no guarantee that the deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait will be lifted once the MOU is signed as President Rodrigo Duterte wants justice to be served to OFW Johanna Demafelis, whose body was found inside a freezer in Kuwait last month.
“If you recall when President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the total deployment ban, he said, he will only consider lifting the ban if there will be the MoU and Johanna Demafelis is given justice,” he said.
The two-day negotiation between the two countries was held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on March 15 to 16. 

DoTr to open P2P routes from Cavite to Makati

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00 Published in Nation

IMUS CITY, Cavite — The Department of Transportation (DoTr) is set to launch by the second quarter of 2018 additional Premium Point-to-Point Bus Service (P2P) routes connecting the cities of Bacoor, Imus, and Dasmariñas, including Noveleta town, to Makati City.
In a telephone conversation Saturday, DoTr’s Assistant Secretary for Transport Mark Richmund de Leon said the P2P transport system, one of the DoTr’s priority projects to alleviate traffic congestion, is in response to the commuters' need for a safe, convenient, and comfortable transport system.
Aimed at connecting commuters from their home to workplace, this transport system introduced the “park and ride or kiss and ride concept.”
De Leon said the “park and ride” is for car owners who can leave their car parked in the mall then ride the P2P bus to their destination while the “kiss and ride” is for people, specifically parents/guardians, who may opt to bring their kids/loved ones to the terminal and kiss before boarding the premium bus ride.
The point-to-point service commitment prohibits frequent stops, as the buses will travel directly from the terminals to their drop off points.
DoTr is now in the final stages of selecting operators, “which we hope to release next week or the week after,” as interested players were done submitting all the legal, technical, and financial documentary requirements, as specified by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
“They must be financially capable, with money in the bank, and a garage),” de Leon said. 


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