There’s no need to mince words here: Netflix’s first Philippine-made original drama meets the expectations of both people who are supportive of the Duterte administration’s War on Drugs as a valid means of cracking down on a long-neglected problem, and those fearful of its disregard for human rights, the presumption of innocence and the rule of law.
Akbayan Youth may have crafted a #FireMocha social media campaign that Liberal Party loyalists surely lapped up. But, is their administrative complaint seeking the dismissal of former sexy starlet Mocha Uson from the government solid enough to withstand the Ombudsman’s scrutiny?
Perhaps, few people outside the administration would defend Uson. But, try to look at things from a legal perspective.
For one, the 10-page complaint (click this link: Eala et al v Uson) filed on Monday—or at least the copies they showed—did not have a single annex, or piece of evidence.
Akbayan Youth, which is politically aligned with President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, chants: “How do you like your Mocha? Fired!”
There was not even a single screenshot of the social media posts, although to be fair, these were (understandably) already taken down by Uson after being called out and mocked by people who were not rabid fanatics of President Duterte.
This would not be the first time a complainant would come with allegations while expecting the Ombudsman to fill in the blanks—but complaints rarely come there without any evidence or sworn affidavits.
Akbayan Youth explicitly claimed Uson’s social media slip-ups were “deliberate,” and most people outside the Diehard Duterte Supporters’ echo chamber would likely agree. However, in legal proceedings, respondents are always presumed “innocent until proven guilty” and the burden of proof is always on the accuser.
SAF 44 kin tell Ombudsman: Aquino ‘proximate cause’ of Mamasapano deaths
Vince F. Nonato
Felicitas Nacino, mother of slain PO2 Nicky Nacino, breaks down as she urges Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales not to be “selective.” Photo: Vince F. Nonato.
“The SAF 44 were there due to the defective orders of a defective President, Respondent Aquino. He is thus the proximate cause [of their deaths].”
This was the argument of the relatives of the Special Action Forces commandos killed in the Jan. 25, 2015 Mamasapano clash, as they appealed the Ombudsman’s dismissal of the reckless imprudence complaint against former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
The bereaved relatives, together with the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, appealed on Wednesday the July 14 resolution, which approved Aquino’s indictment only for graft and usurpation of authority without directly holding him liable for the deaths.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales only found basis to charge Aquino for allowing his close friend, then-Philippine National Police Director-General Alan Purisima, to take the reins of the so-called Oplan Exodus, despite being suspended at the time pending a graft investigation.
In a 15-page motion for reconsideration, the complainants insisted there was probable cause to pursue charges for 44 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, which could carry a penalty totaling 176 years’ imprisonment.
The complainants disagreed with the Ombudsman’s finding that the “proximate legal cause” of the SAF’s deaths was the “intentional act of shooting by hostile forces.”
It explained that “proximate cause” refers to the first act that set off a chain of events that eventually resulted in the deaths.
“Who put the SAF 44 in the line of fire that made them easy targets for the guns of the hostile forces? Definitely not the MILF, the BIFF and the PAGs,” the appeal stated.
Speaker seeks to loosen procurement rules for calamities, cheap purchases
Vince F. Nonato
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has filed a bill proposing to loosen restrictions on negotiated procurement in cases of “extreme urgency and necessity,” as well as allow the government to skip public bidding in purchasing cheaper goods.
House Bill No. 5521 seeks to amend several provisions of Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which was enacted in 2003.
The law considers negotiated procurement and direct contracting as alternative procurement methods to public bidding. The former refers to the method used in extraordinary circumstances such as during the failure of bidding and in times of emergency.
Under Alvarez’s bill, negotiated procurement will be allowed “before, during, or after a calamity.” Currently, this mode is applicable “during a state of calamity,” which requires an actual declaration by the affected government unit.
Alvarez said in his explanatory note that current regulations “unduly delay and hamstring the delivery of services” in times of calamity.
Meanwhile, the measure also provides for an additional criteria to resort to direct contracting, which currently sees the agency ask for a price quotation from the exclusive supplier of goods of critical or proprietary nature.
Click this image to download the June 2016 and December 2016 Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of Vice-President Leni Robredo.
Robredo wealth shrinks by P2.175 M in her first six months
Vince F. Nonato
Vice-President Maria Leonor Robredo is worth P8,878,111.43 by the end of 2016, reporting that her wealth shrank by P2.175 million during the first six months of her term.
This was 19.7 percent lower than the P11,053,138 net worth Ms. Robredo reported during the time she entered office on June 30.
These figures were taken from the two Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth filed for 2016. The June 2016 figures were contained in her undated entry SALN marked received on August 1 last year, while the December 2016 figures were declared in her annual SALN filed this April 27.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer obtained the three-page SALNs from the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday, subject to a P30 processing fee.
Both SALNs disclosed Ms. Robredo’s business interest in Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) as “shares of stock” for “different years.” She did not specify just how much her stake at the corporation was.
Unlike President Rodrigo Duterte, Robredo did not give up her business interest.
Mr. Duterte’s assets grew to P28.43 million by the end of 2016, from P25.18 million when he entered office.
To compare, President Benigno Aquino III’s wealth increased during the first semester of his presidency by P4.8 million. According to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, his declared net worth are as follows: P54.999 million in December 2010, P50.19 million in June 2010, and only P15.44 million in December 2009 prior to the campaign period.
War on drugs: ‘Duterte’ and men sued for killing father and son
Vince F. Nonato
A mother and her daughter (veiled in black and peach cloth) sues eight policemen and their informant at the Office of the Ombudsman for murdering her husband and her son.
Will this be a case of People vs. Duterte?
A woman who lost her husband and son to the government’s bloody anti-narcotics campaign has sued eight Caloocan City policemen and their informant at the Office of the Ombudsman.
The policemen, led by Northern Police District Special Operations Unit (NPD-DSOU) chief Supt. Ali Jose Duterte, were accused of murdering Luis Bonifacio and 19-year-old son Gabriel Lois at their house on Sept. 15, under the guise of a purported buy-bust operation.
The supposedly unarmed Bonifacios were allegedly killed during the operation after fighting back against authorities—”nanlaban,” as the police would explain the ensuing bloodshed.