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    A call to end the uncertainty on the PH Free Tertiary Education Law

    February 22nd, 2018

    THE Free Eduk Watch, a coalition of progressive student organizations, on Wednesday asked the Philippine Commission on Higher Education to immediately release the Implementing Rules and Regulation of Republic Act 10931, otherwise known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education, to end the prevailing uncertainty concerning the law’s coverage of its supposed beneficiaries.

    The free tertiary education law is supposed to provide universal free access to college education to all high school graduates. However, the implementation of the intent of the law has been put ito doubt following President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission that there is not enough budget allocation for RA 10931, (Read More: and the CHEd’s last year’s announcement that only a limited number of community colleges are accredited hence covered by the UAQTE.

    To top it up, the CHEd also failed to live up to its promise to release today the much awaited IRR.

    “They could not make us blind forever. The fate of millions lie in the transparency and sincerity of the CHEd to provide universal access to college education for all Filipino youth as the law claims to provide,” said Free Eduk Watch convenor and KAISA-UP chairperson Shara Landicho.

    Landicho said the list of accredited schools should be made public soon “to end the atmosphere of uncertainty and continued spreading of a false sense of security.”

    It will be recalled that the CHEd announced late last year that only 23 of the country’s 118 community colleges are accredited and will benefit from the UAQTE.

    The small number of accredited schools, the deliberate lack of budget, the examination and retention policies and the rule on the completion of the undergraduate degree within the year after the prescribed period; are some of the many restrictions on the universal free education that is supposed to be provided by RA 10931, Landicho observed.

    “These restrictions run smack against the very name of the law which profess to provide universal access. It also discriminates against the community colleges that the CHEd allowed to exist in the first place,” she said.

    “Why are they making the poor students pay for their fault?” she also asked.

    Landicho explained that had the government empowered the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs); and did not perpetuate/tolerate the abusive practices of private universities, “the CHEd should not now be fearing the influx of community colleges and diploma mill school students to the SUCs.”

    Meanwhile, FREE Eduk Watch member and spokesperson of the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) Jade Lyndon Mata said a recent statement by CHEd Commissioner Prospero de Vera about the UAQTE is not correct.

    Mata is referring to an incident last week when De Vera was asked by reporters about the status of the UAQTE’s IRR.

    The CHEd official admitted that the IRR is still on the works as “[it] is a rather complicated law. We’ve never tried it [and] no developing country in the region has tried it….and so, a lot of the things that we’re intending to do, we’re starting essentially from scratch.”

    But Mata insists that “free tertiary education was not invented yesterday.” He noted that there are so many successful models to emulate from.

    “One of which is Sri Lanka, a developing country in South Asia, whose gross domestic product is only about one-third of the Philippines,” he said adding that “that country has been providing free tertiary education to its citizens since 1945.”

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    PH Police Commission approves expansion of national police

    February 21st, 2018

    Photo ©

    THE Philippine National Police Commission recently approved the creation of five additional battalions of specially trained policemen to beef up the operational capability of state security forces.

    In a statement, the NAPOLCOM said five new battalions will be added to the existing seven battalions of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force to augment its capability to curb criminality and terrorism. The increase is in compliance with the recent directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.  A battalion has between 300 to 1,000 men.

    According to its website, the PNP currently has 170,000 police officers. to beef up and enhance the operational capability of the PNP SAF in curbing criminality and terrorism.

    NAPOLCOM Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer Atty. Rogelio T. Casurao said the Commission approved the strengthening of the PNP-SAF last February 2 under Resolution No. 2018-027, based on the recommendation of the PNP.

    After a review of the PNP’s proposal, the Commission approved the creation of five (5) additional SABs in order to effectively carry out the mandate of the PNP to actively support the Armed Forces of the Philippines in internal security operations for the suppression of insurgency and other serious threats to national security pursuant to Executive Order No. 546, series 2006,” Casurao said.

    The Special Action Battalions are tasked to conduct long-range reconnaissance/surveillance operations deep into enemy territories through infiltration and extrication by air, land or sea. They are also mandated to provide support to other PNP units in their efforts to fight against syndicated crime groups.

    On the same day, the NAPOLCOM en banc also issued Resolution No. 2018-025 approving the restructuring of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in order to achieve a highly organized investigative unit of the PNP.

    The Commission likewise approved the renaming of the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Units (RCIDUs) to CIDG Regional Field Units (CIDG RFUs).

    The PNP CIDG is mandated to undertake monitoring, investigation and prosecution of all crimes involving economic sabotage, and other crimes of such magnitude and extent as to indicate their commission by highly placed and professional syndicates and organizations.

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    Philippine lawyers group condemned the killing of the lawyer of suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa

    February 20th, 2018

    IBP President Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajrado Image ©

    THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors on Tuesday condemned the killing in Cebu City of the lawyer of suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa whom he just got acquitted on illegal possession of firearms charges.

    “The IBP condemns the brazen killing of lawyer Jonah John Ungab,” the lawyer’s group, in a statement signed by its president, Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, said.

    Ungab was driving his car with his wife when waylaid by unknown assailants hours after attending a court hearing of Espinosa, the police said.

    The case stems from a buy bust operation that took place in Barangay Duljo-Fatima, Cebu City in 2010. The police operation yielded packs of illegal drugs and a .45-caliber pistol owned by Espinosa.

    Espinosa was then charged with violating Section 5 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and Illegal Possession of Firearms. In 2012, Espinosa was acquitted of the drug case.

    Last Monday, Espinosa was also acquitted of the illegal gun possession case but was convicted of violating the gun ban under the Omnibus Election Code.

    Aside from Espinosa, Ungab also served as lawyer of other controversial suspected criminals like alleged drug lord Alvaro “Barok” Alvaro and Chinese-Filipino businessman Kenneth Dong, who was tagged in a PhP6.4-billion shabu smuggling attempt at the Bureau of Customs last year.

    Ronda Vice Mayor Jonah John Ungab

    According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer report, Ungab was earlier identified by Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, former chief of the Albuera police in Leyte, as among the alleged drug protectors of Espinosa, allegedly the biggest drug lord in Eastern Visayas. He was charged at the Regional State Prosecutor’s Office in Tacloban City but was eventually cleared for failure of the police to present sufficient evidence against him.

    Meanwhile, the IBP, in its statement, explained that it “does not extol the lives of lawyers above anyone else because any other human life is equally sacred, and must not be treacherously snuffed out even for the most ardent of reasons.” However, it stressed that “the government exists precisely to maintain legal order, and to ensure that no person, regardless of his station in life, is deprived of his basic rights without due process of law.”

    Which brings us to the truism that lawyers are indispensable in a functioning criminal justice system. Due process requires that all accused persons be represented by counsel, preferably of his own choice. Only a lawyer can assist the courts in sifting through the evidence and the applicable law, and help forge a ruling that is the best approximation of justice duly served, the IBP said.

    “In this respect, the violent end to a lawyer’s life is doubly despairing. Atty. Ungab’s untimely demise is not only a grievous loss for his loved ones and his clients, it is also an affront of supreme irony to the rule of law and what remains of it in the current legal environment,” it added.

    Earlier, the IBP also condemned the slaying attempt on another lawyer, Argel Joseph Cabatbat, in Quezon City last week. (Read More:

    Meanwhile, the IBP condoled with Ungab’s wife.

    “We condole with Mrs. Ungab who had to witness the horrifying murder of her husband in broad daylight. We are thus making this call upon our authorities to solve this tragic killing only a week after we also bemoaned the unsuccessful ambush of another lawyer in Quezon City.”

    It also said that “only by bringing the malefactors to justice can the authorities claim that they are being true to their mandate, and that they have not allowed hired killings to flourish as a cottage industry under their watch.”


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    Sagot ay No sa Federalismo (Huling Bahagi)*

    February 16th, 2018

    UNA sa lahat ay hayaan ninyong ibahagi ng Usaping Bayan ang isa sa mga unang sulatin ng inyong lingkod kaugnay sa panukalang pagkakaroon ng isang pederal na porma ng pamahalaan. Gayun man ay pagpaumanhinan ninyo na ito ay nakasulat sa wikang Ingles.

    (Huling Bahagi)

    Not a simple matter

    Another thing to consider is that changing the system will mess up everything and could lead to economic and political chaos for a long time. Replacing the system is not as simple as changing our clothes.

    A number of laws, perhaps even the Constitution, need to be changed. Our judicial, legislative and executive systems will surely change, even the way we run for office and vote. Economic laws will also be made to conform to the new system. There will be a general overhaul of everything and this will most likely result to chaos and uncertainty and beside that, do we have the money to finance all these things, these changes?

    Why rock the boat and possibly sink it when there is no need to do so? An old saying says that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

    Have faith

    Just over a hundred years ago, a blink of the eye in historical time, there were foiled attempts to establish several republics in the Visayan region. Today, we still have several separatist Muslim groups existing in Mindanao. Our country, believe it or not, at this age and time is parceled and dominated by warlords treating their provinces or cities like their own fiefdom.

    Our society remains semi-feudal and as it is, we are still fragmented and divided along tribal lines. The true independent Filipino has yet to emerge.

    For now our safest bet to remain cohesive as a nation is to have a centralized form of government that slowly devolves power through the LGC. Yes, perhaps the LGC needed some tweaking so let us do it but we have to stop being harebrained by insisting to have a federal system of government for that could be the end of our republic and the unity of our people.

    Federalism now will only entrench vested interests, warlords and political dynasties. Worse, it will encourage the separatists tendencies of opportunists who are desirous to have political power at all costs.

    Have faith, say no to federalism, say yes to the exhaustive implementation of the LGC.

    * * *

    Ang kolum na ito ay inyo ring mababasa tuwing Miyerkoles at Biyernes sa pahayagang Hataw.

    * * *

    Kung ibig ninyong maligo sa hot spring ay maari kayong pumunta sa Infinity Resort sa Indigo Bay Subdivision, Brgy. Bagong Kalsada, Calamba City. Malapit lamang sa Metro Manila at mula sa resort na ito ay tanaw ninyo ang banal na bundok Makiling. Magpadala nang mensahe sa para sa karagdagang impormasyon o reserbasyon ng lugar.

    Salamat po.

    (Read More:


    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat. Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

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    Hidden wealth case vs. President Duterte terminated for lack of info – Ombudsman

    February 15th, 2018

    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales (left) President rodrigo Duterte (right) Screenshot ©

    THE refusal of the Anti-Money Laundering Council to provide a report or a confirmation on a vital data led to the closure and termination of the fact-finding or field investigation on the complaints filed against President Rodrigo Duterte.

    This was confirmed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales in a statement released to the media on Thursday after learning that Solicitor General Jose Calida, in a press conference, claimed that he only learned of the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman after he wrote the Overall Deputy Ombudsman (ODO) Melchor Arthur Carandang.

    SG Jose Calda. Image ©

    Calida, during a press conference, stressed that he has been informed of the closure and termination of the investigation, through a 12 February 2018 letter-response to his letter-inquiry dated 8 February 2018.

    Morales said the fact-finding or field investigation on the complaints filed against the President was closed and terminated on Nov. 29. She, however, clarified that by rule, “[a] closed and terminated field investigation is without prejudice to the refiling of a complaint with new or additional evidence.”

    At the same time, Morales, in her press statement, said “the Solicitor General raised certain questions which may be answered by his own declarations. He asked why the Ombudsman kept quiet about the matter. Oddly, he himself pointed out that the Ombudsman had inhibited herself from the investigation.”

    “The Solicitor General might want to consider whether it is proper for an official who inhibited from an investigation to remain involved therein. The Ombudsman posits that it is not,” the Ombudsman added.

    “In keeping therewith, the investigation was given free rein and proceeded without her intervention. In fact, the Ombudsman learned about such closure and termination only on 29 January 2018, upon an inquiry on the status thereof after learning that ODO Carandang was formally charged and placed under preventive suspension by the Office of the President,” Morales said.

    Furthermore, Morales explained that “the Ombudsman trusts that in the conduct of fact-finding investigations, efforts are exhausted to gather evidence and to comply with pertinent internal rules. Fact-finding investigations, under the rules, are generally confidential in nature.”

    Morales stressed that “the Office is not obliged to inform the subject of the fact-finding investigation about its outcome.”

    “The confidentiality of proceedings was, in fact, recognized by the Solicitor General when he cited the exception that the Ombudsman has the power to publicize certain matters (e.g., whether or not to act upon an inquiry ‘out of curiosity’ or media requests for case status out of journalistic duty). The Ombudsman could not have considered exercising such discretionary power relative to the complaints against the President due to her inhibition,” she reiterated.

    The Office, at the same time observed that “finally, the Solicitor General effectively recognized Carandang as the Overall Deputy Ombudsman through his official letter-inquiry dated 8 February 2018 addressed to ODO Carandang who, at such date, had been “supposedly” under preventive suspension. The Office sees this as a recognition of the unconstitutionality of the preventive suspension order.”

    Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

    Meanwhile, in spite of this development, Malacañang still expressed its annoyance with the Office of the Ombudsman for not promptly disclosing the status of its fact-finding probe into the alleged hidden wealth of President Duterte.

    According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the President was wondering why the agency had not disclosed the development sooner.

    “Even if the investigation was terminated and junked, why did the Ombudsman not announce it so that Sen. [Antonio] Trillanes would not keep on harping about it?” Roque said in a press briefing.

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    Keep the cities of the world healthy – The WHO

    February 14th, 2018

    THE World Health Organization urges world leaders to keep the cities of the world healthy by continually creating and improving their the physical and social environment through solutions that are often simple and affordable like having reliable public transport, bike paths, car-free zones, and safe green spaces for recreation among others.

    The WHO issued the appeal during the recently concluded WHO’s European Healthy Cities Network Summit of Mayors in Copenhagen, Denmark which was attended by 43 mayors and 85 other political representatives from Europe and Africa.

    During the two-day summit (Feb. 12 and 13), the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urges leaders to commit to healthier cities at the WHO’s European Healthy Cities Network Summit of Mayors. He noted that more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and that number is growing.

    Cities are places where human health can either flourish or be destroyed. Keep your city healthy by continually creating and improving its physical and social environment. The solutions are often simple and affordable – reliable public transport, bike paths, car-free zones, safe green spaces for recreation.

    WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urges leaders to commit to healthier cities at WHO’s European Healthy Cities Network Summit of Mayors. A healthy city is conscious of health and strives to improve it.

    The summit also witnessed the signing of the Copenhagen Consensus, which affirms political commitment to the role of cities in creating a healthier and happier future, and acts as a political mandate for the Network.

    Copenhagen Consensus

    The Copenhagen Consensus is based on eight key pillars:

    1. We commit to take action together to improve the health and well-being of all who live, love, learn, work and play in our cities.

    2. A healthy city leads by example, by emphasizing a human focus in societal development and by prioritizing investment in people to improve equity and inclusion through enhanced empowerment.

    3. A healthy city leads by example, with the social, physical and cultural environments aligned to create a place that is actively inclusive, and facilitates the pursuit of health and well-being for all.

    4. A healthy city leads by example, by ensuring the participation of all individuals and communities in the decisions that affect them and the places in which they live, work, love and play.

    5. A healthy city leads by example, by striving for enhanced community prosperity and strengthened assets through values-based governance of common goods and services.

    6. A healthy city leads by example, by promoting peace through inclusive societies that focus on places, participation, prosperity and the planet, while putting people at the centre of all policies and actions.

    7. A healthy city leads by example, by ensuring that the protection of the planet is at the heart of all city policies, both internal and external.

    8. We commit to act collectively with other cities in both the WHO European Region and globally, through a focus on people, participation, prosperity, planet, places and peace, for the health and well-being of all, to meet the urgent and transformative demands of the 2030 Agenda.

    Moreover, as a guide to world leaders in their quest to keep their cities flourishing, the WHO also released a Healthy city checklist.

    A healthy city aims to provide:

    • A clean, safe physical environment of high quality (including housing quality);

    • An ecosystem that is stable now and sustainable in the long term;

    • A strong, mutually supportive and non-exploitative community;

    • A high degree of participation in and control by the citizens over the decisions affecting their lives, health and well-being;

    • The meeting of basic needs (food, water, shelter, income, safety and work) for all the city’s people;

    • Access by the people to a wide variety of experiences and resources, with the chance for a wide variety of contact, interaction and communication;

    • A diverse, vital and innovative economy;

    • Connectedness with the past, with the cultural and biological heritage of city dwellers and with other groups and individuals;

    • A form that is compatible with and enhances the preceding characteristics;

    • An optimum level of appropriate public health and sickness care services, accessible to all; and

    • High health status (high levels of positive health and low levels of disease).

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    PH Ombudsman vs. House of Representatives?

    February 12th, 2018

    Omb Conchita Carpio Morales (left) and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. Image ©

    PHILIPPINE House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he will not implement the dismissal order of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales against former Cebu governor now provincial Representative Gwendolyn Garcia saying “there is no legal basis” for him to do so.

    Alvarez, a staunch ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, made known his stand shortly after learning that Morales issued the dismissal order against the lady lawmaker, which stemmed from a case filed against her.

    The House Speaker insists that there is nothing in the Constitution that allows him to implement the dismissal order.

    “In fact, it is not within the power of the Ombudsman to discipline, much more to remove, any member of the House of Representatives. So pag ginawa ko yan, I will be violating the Constitution since merong nakalagay sa Constitution na kami lang yung may kapangyarihan to discipline and remove any member from the House of Representatives,” Alvarez explained.

    “Yung dismissal order na yan, ang treatment ko diyan, yung dismissal as a governor, not as a congressman. Late yung decision, late yung order, dapat noon pa nilabas yan nung siya ay isang gobernador pa lang,” he added.

    Morales issued the dismissal order, which also carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits, after Garcia, who now represents the third district of Cebu, was found guilty of grave misconduct.

    Political pundits say Alvarez’ refusal to implement Morales’ order seems to be a retaliation for her recent refusal to implement a Malacañang issued suspension order against Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang. However, the Ombudsman, in refusing to implement the suspension order, cited a Supreme Court ruling which says that the President has no power over the deputy Ombudsmen, something Alvarez apparently failed to do in order to justify his current stance. 

    (Read More:

    Garcia. Photo ©

    It will be recalled that on June 11, 2008, Garcia purchased the controversial Balili property, a sprawling 249,246 square meter lot located in Tinaan, Naga, Cebu, for Php98,926,800.00. Local authorities later discovered that 196,696 square meters of the property were underwater and part of a mangrove area and unfit for the intended projects.

    In April 2012, the local government conducted a public bidding “for the supply and delivery of back filling materials and other incidentals of its submerged and mangrove portions.”

    The project was awarded to Supreme ABF Construction as the lowest calculated and responsive bidder with a total tendered bid of Php248.75/cubic meter. Based on the records, the provincial government released a total of Php24,468,927.66 to the winning contractor.

    Upon scrutiny, the Ombudsman found that Garcia had no authority from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP)when she entered into contracts with ABF Construction.

    While this Office finds merit on her assertion that the Php50million allotment for the airport/seaport and other economic enterprise site development program (a capital outlay expenditure that was carried over to the 2012 Annual Budget of the province), was a valid source of appropriation for the Balili project, such appropriation did not validly confer authority to respondent Garcia to enter into a contract with ABF Construction for the Balili project. She failed to point out the specific provision in the appropriation ordinance which supposedly authorized her to enter into the contract,” the Decision dated Jan. 15, 2018 said.

    The Ombudsman also added that “Garcia violated Sections 46 and 47, Chapter 8, Subtitle B, Title I, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 and Section 86 of the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, which proscribe entering into a contract unless a certification of appropriation and fund availability for the expenditure is issued. It is undisputed that the [certification of available funds] was issued only after the [second] contract was entered into by respondent Garcia.”

    Meanwhile, Garcia’s co-respondent, Provincial Accountant Emmanuel Guial was found guilty of Simple Neglect of Duty “for certifying in the subject [disbursement vouchers] that the supporting documents are complete when in fact they lacked the required authority from the SP for respondent Garcia to enter into contract.”

    He was ordered suspended for three months. In case of separation from office, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to Guial’s salary for three months.

    The administrative charges against Bids and Awards Committee Chairperson Marivic Garces; Vice-Chairperson Bernard Calderon; members Manuel Purog, Emme Gingoyon, Ma. Junelene Arenas, Cristina Giango, Rosalinda Jao; and Acting Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre were dismissed for lack of merit.

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    MMDA signs MoA with Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation for faster emergency response

    February 10th, 2018

    Image ©

    METROPOLITAN Manila Development Authority emergency vehicles will be fitted with Radio Frequency Identification sticker tags to facilitate their fast entry to major toll plazas in the south and the north.

    This was learned shortly after the MMDA and the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to that effect. Accordingly, 100 RFID sticker tags will be attached to 100 select government and emergency vehicles to allow easy ingress and egress on toll roads managed and operated by the MPTC.

    Under the partnership, the RFID sticker tags will bear an initial load of Php500.00. From now on registered government and emergency vehicles responding to fire, flood and other disasters, can enter and exit through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) toll areas in the north and Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) in the south without stopping for payment.

    MMDA chair Danilo Lim Photo ©

    MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim expressed gratefulness to the MPTC saying the partnership would help the government agency in delivering immediate metro-wide services to the 17 local government units of Metro Manila.

    He noted that at least five cities in northern and southern Metro Manila can be easily accessed via through Cavitex (Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Las Piñas) and NLEX (Caloocan and Valenzuela).

    “With the RFID stickers, our emergency vehicles can pass through gates without rolling windows down and pay for a ticket manually,” said Lim, during the MOA signing held at the MMDA headquarters in Makati City.

    For his part, Rodrigo Franco, MPTC president, said his corporation supports the government’s mandate to provide quick and efficient public service.

    “With this partnership with the MMDA, we can help the agency respond faster during times of natural disasters,” said Franco.

    EasyDrive (powered by EasyTrip) is the country’s first RFID sticker tag used for toll payment instead of manual cash payment.

    It uses the latest RFID technology in paper-thin battery-less sticker form that contains a chip and antenna attached to a vehicle’s windshield or headlamp, and can be used a EasyDrive dedicated or mix toll lanes at Cavitex.

    EasyDrive eliminates queuing at toll plazas as vehicles go through the lanes without stopping for payment.

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    Sagot ay “No” sa Pederalismo (Ikaapat na Bahagi)*

    February 9th, 2018

    UNA sa lahat ay hayaan ninyong ibahagi ng Usaping Bayan ang isa sa mga unang sulatin ng inyong lingkod kaugnay sa panukalang pagkakaroon ng isang pederal na porma ng pamahalaan. Gayun man ay pagpaumanhinan ninyo na ito ay nakasulat sa wikang Ingles.



    Based on the foregoing, it is evident that the local government units have all the means and support to ensure good and productive governance. But because local government officials failed to utilize these means of good governance, either through criminal negligence or sheer ignorance, some are now taking advantage of these failures to advance their vested interests by calling for a change of the system.

    These opportunists say federalism is the way to the future citing American and some European experience. They want to transplant these type of governance to our shores with no guarantee that they would work in our economic, political and cultural settings. They make it sound like its the panacea that will cure all ills in our society concerning governance and corrupt politicians.

    But beware. Take note that we Filipinos are still in the process of building a nation. We have yet to reach that crucial point where we could safely claim that we are a united people. At this point there is still nothing that would justify the implementation of a federal system of governance. We have all the tools to satisfy the needs of the nation. All that we need is the political will to do what is right. All that is left to be done is to know and use the tools in our possession wisely.

    Don’t forget that it is this centralized system with limited autonomy that makes our economy the second best performing in Asia. It is this system that makes our democracy vibrant and unique.

    Whatever misfortunes we have experienced, i.e. exclusive economy growth where only the oligarchs benefited, the perennial transportation and traffic problems, the decades long insurgency in the countryside, the continuing banditry in Mindanao, corruption, illegal drugs problem, criminality etc.; can all be generally attributed to leadership failure and not to the “centralized system” that we have yet to fully utilize.

    (May kasunod sa Miyerkoles)

    * * *

    Ang kolum na ito ay inyo ring mababasa tuwing Miyerkoles at Biyernes sa pahayagang Hataw.

    * * *

    Kung ibig ninyong maligo sa hot spring ay maari kayong pumunta sa Infinity Resort sa Indigo Bay Subdivision, Brgy. Bagong Kalsada, Calamba City. Malapit lamang sa Metro Manila at mula sa resort na ito ay tanaw ninyo ang banal na bundok Makiling. Magpadala nang mensahe sa para sa karagdagang impormasyon o reserbasyon ng lugar.

    Salamat po.

    (Read More:


    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat. Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

    1 Comment "

    International Criminal Court is set to conduct preliminary examination on Philippine and Venezuelan situations

    February 8th, 2018

    THE chief prosecutor at International Criminal Court on The Hague is set to conduct a preliminary examination of the situations in the Philippine and Venezuela following allegations of state sponsored crimes against humanity.

    ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, in a press and video statement released on Thursday, said that “since 2016, I have closely followed the situations in the Republic of the Philippines and in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.” She also noted that “both countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute.”

    Bensouda added that “following a careful, independent and impartial review of a number of communications and reports documenting alleged crimes potentially falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, I have decided to open a preliminary examination into each situation.”

    Bensouda explained that “the preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines will analyze crimes allegedly committed in this State Party since at least 1 July 2016, in the context of the “war on drugs” campaign launched by the Government of the Philippines. Specifically, it has been alleged that since 1 July 2016, thousands of persons have been killed for reasons related to their alleged involvement in illegal drug use or dealing. While some of such killings have reportedly occurred in the context of clashes between or within gangs, it is alleged that many of the reported incidents involved extra-judicial killings in the course of police anti-drug operations.”

    It will be recalled that last year, lawyer Jude Josue Sabio, counsel of self confessed assassin and member of the so-called “Davao Death Squad” Edgar Matobato, asked the ICC to prosecute President Rodrigo Duterte for murder and crimes against humanity after his client testified before the Senate against the Philippine president and implicated him in the unexplained slaying of political opponents and suspected criminals in southern Philippines when he was still mayor of Davao City.

    Edgar Matobato (left) and lawyer Jude Josue Sabio (right)

    In a 77-page Philippine communication entitled “The situation of mass murder in the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte: The Mass Murderer” and addressed to ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Sabio accused Pres. Duterte of masterminding a virulent and bloody national anti-drug campaign which “has already resulted into the deaths of not less than 1,400 individuals in Davao City under his Davao Death Squad and not less than 7,000 individuals in his war on drugs at the national level.”

    (Read More:

    “The situation in the Philippines reveals a terrifying, gruesome and disastrous continuing commission of extrajudicial executions or mass murder from the time President Duterte was the mayor of Davao City,” Sabio, in his complaint, said.

    “Crimes against humanity are crimes of universal jurisdiction, but where a state like the Philippines fails to assume such universal jurisdiction for crimes against humanity continuously being committed in its very own territory, then the International Criminal Court will have to intervene [in] a situation that is grave by any human standard,” Sabio alleged.

    “These mass murders undertaken as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population of the Philippines, disproportionately an attack against the poor or impoverished civilian population, constitute a flagrant, wanton and willful violation of the nonderogable right to life enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international human rights laws,” he said.

    “The grim statistics of more than 7,000 drug-related killings cannot be anything but grave, especially if viewed in the context of just seven months since Rodrigo Duterte became the President, compared to only about 3,000 committed during the 20-year Marcos regime. These more than 7,000 drug-related killings translate to roughly 1,000 killings per month,” Sabio insists.

    (Read More:

    PH President Rodrigo Duterte Photo © AP Photo/ Aaron Favila

    At that rate and with impunity prevailing, the body count will reach 72,000 if Mr. Duterte completes his six-year term, Sabio claims.

    Sabio pleaded that in the interest of international criminal justice and of the thousands of mass murder victims, the ICC should “(1) to conduct a preliminary examination based on this communication and other relevant information from other reliable sources including international human rights groups like the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and (2) later to open a formal investigation with the conformity of the Pre-Trial Chamber, if warranted by the situation based on the standards provided for under the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court.”

    Moreover, Sabio said there is sufficient factual and legal basis for the ICC “(1) to confirm with Pre-Trial Chamber the proper criminal charges for crimes against humanity against President Duterte and his senior administration officials; (2) to apply with the Pre-Trial Chamber for the issuance of a Warrant of Arrest against President Duterte and his concerned administration officials for his arrest, surrender and detention pending trial at the Detention Facility at The Hague of the ICC in order to prevent them from continuing with the commission of mass murder and to prevent them from killing potential victims and witnesses, and (3) to pursue with the Pre-Trial Chamber the commitment of President Duterte and his concerned senior administration officials to the Trial Chamber for the appropriate trial, and for a conviction and sentence to a prison term or life imprisonment.”

    Sabio’s complaint relied heavily on the accounts of Matobato, confessed DDS leaders Arturo Lascañas and Ernesto Avasola, the reports of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch; Fr. Amado Picardal’s report titled “The Victims of the Davao Death Squad: Consolidated Report 1998-2015”; and media reports on the war on drugs quoting Mr. Duterte and his officials.
    Aside from Pres. Duterte, Sabio asked the ICC to prosecute Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II; the Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald dela Rosa; Police Superintendents Edilberto Leonardo and Royina Garma; Speaker of the House of Representatives Pantaleon Alvarez; former Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno; SPO4 Sanson “Sonny” Buenaventura; National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran; Solicitor General Jose Calida, and Senators Richard Gordon and Alan Peter Cayetano, who are known political allies of Pres. Duterte.

    Sabio accused these officials as Pres. Duterte’s accomplices in his alleged murderous campaign and crimes against humanity through either through the omission or commission of certain official acts, and of railroading legislative investigations to clear the president of any wrongdoing.

    On the other hand, Bensouda said “the preliminary examination of the situation in Venezuela, will analyze crimes allegedly committed in this State Party since at least April 2017, in the context of demonstrations and related political unrest. In particular, it has been alleged that State security forces frequently used excessive force to disperse and put down demonstrations, and arrested and detained thousands of actual or perceived members of the opposition, a number of whom would have been allegedly subjected to serious abuse and ill-treatment in detention. It has also been reported that some groups of protestors resorted to violent means, resulting in some members of security forces being injured or killed.”

    Bensouda, however, clarified that “under the Rome Statute, national jurisdictions have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes. I emphasize that a preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute. Specifically, under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, I, as Prosecutor, must consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice in making this determination.”

    At the same time, Bensouda gave assurance that “in conformity with the complementarity principle, which is a cornerstone of the Rome Statute legal system, and within the framework of each preliminary examination, my Office will be engaging with the national authorities concerned with a view to discussing and assessing any relevant investigation and prosecution at the national level.”

    She also said that “in the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate, my Office will also give consideration to all submissions and views conveyed to it during the course of each preliminary examination, strictly guided by the requirements of the Rome Statute.”

    “There are no statutory timelines on the length of a preliminary examination. Depending on the facts and circumstances of each situation, I will decide whether to initiate an investigation, subject to judicial review as appropriate; continue to collect information to establish a sufficient factual and legal basis to render a determination; or decline to initiate an investigation if there is no reasonable basis to proceed,” she added.

    “I reiterate that my Office undertakes this work with full independence and impartiality in accordance with its mandate and the applicable legal instruments of the Court. As we do, we hope to count on the full engagement of the relevant national authorities in the Philippines and Venezuela,” Bensouda reiterated.

    The ICC investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

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    Sagot ay “No” sa Pederalismo (Ikatlong Bahagi)*

    February 7th, 2018

    UNA sa lahat ay hayaan ninyong ibahagi ng Usaping Bayan ang isa sa mga unang sulatin ng inyong lingkod kaugnay sa panukalang pagkakaroon ng isang pederal na porma ng pamahalaan. Gayun man ay pagpaumanhinan ninyo na ito ay nakasulat sa wikang Ingles.


    Consequently, according to fellow Beyond Deadlines writer, former Senator Jose Lina, in his Sagot Kita Bayan column which was posted last June 29, “…as a result of the foregoing devolution of powers and functions, the national government is left with the following powers and responsibilities: foreign policy, national security and defense, power to declare war, foreign relations including the ratification of treaties; foreign trade, customs and quarantine; currency, fiscal and monetary system, taxation, budget and audit; immigration, emigration and extradition; national government public works and infrastructures; postal; national air, sea and land transportation; intellectual property and copyright; meteorology; standards of weights and measures; grants-in-aid to local governments; census and statistics; cloning, genetic research and engineering; penal system, offenses defined in the Revised Penal Code, and crimes under special laws.”

    The powers left with the national government, I should say, does not directly affect the way local governments are governed. Most importantly, the LGC makes the local executive accountable to the people.

    Chapter 1, Section 1, Paragraphs b and c of the LGC states:

    (b) It is also the policy of the State to ensure the accountability of local government units through the institution of effective mechanisms of recall, initiative and referendum;

    (c) It is likewise the policy of the State to require all national agencies and offices to conduct periodic consultations with appropriate local government units, non-governmental and people’s organizations, and other concerned sectors of the community before any project or program is implemented in their respective jurisdictions.

    In short the elements that make a federal system attractive is already provided for by our existing laws.

    (May Karugtong sa Biyernes)

    * * *

    Ang kolum na ito ay inyo ring mababasa tuwing Miyerkoles at Biyernes sa pahayagang Hataw.

    * * *

    Kung ibig ninyong maligo sa hot spring ay maari kayong pumunta sa Infinity Resort sa Indigo Bay Subdivision, Brgy. Bagong Kalsada, Calamba City. Malapit lamang sa Metro Manila at mula sa resort na ito ay tanaw ninyo ang banal na bundok Makiling. Magpadala nang mensahe sa para sa karagdagang impormasyon o reserbasyon ng lugar. Salamat po.

    (Read More:


    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat. Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

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    President Rodrigo Duterte, a weaver of lies and false hopes?

    February 4th, 2018

    Members of the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan in one of their protests actions Image ©

    A STUDENT organization over the weekend has accused President Rodrigo Duterte of “weaving lies and giving false hopes” to lumad parents by claiming that free education will be provided by his administration through the recently passed Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Tertiary Quality Education Act.

    In an e-mailed statement, the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) and KAISA-UP both observed that RA 10931, which is expected to be implemented this coming school year, was passed by Congress without allocating any budget for it, a fact acknowledged by Duterte.

    However, despite the lack of funding, Duterte last Thursday told lumad parents in Davao City that they need not worry about sending their children to college as the government would now defray the cost of their education.

    “If you want your child to go to Ateneo or La Salle or my school, San Beda, go ahead. Whoever want to do that, it’s free,” he said in a speech delivered before some 1,000 lumads attending the two-day Mindanao IP leaders’ congress.

    But the progressive student organizations noted that aside from the lack of funding, under the free education law, tuition and other school fees in state and local universities and colleges are to be subsidized by the State only for qualified students. They also said that there is also a Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) to augment the other costs of tertiary education.

    “Far from what state officials have been peddling, there is a huge disparity between the supposed intention of the law and its actual contents,” the student groups said.

    Jade Lyndon Mata, SPARK spokesperson, insists that under the law, “free education remains to be not free, inaccessible, and mentions nothing about the quality of education. It is totally unreflective of the law’s title.”

    Mata also said “the mere existence of the Student Loan Program (SLP) in the law attests that tertiary education not only is not free but it even profits from students through long-term loans which will be collected by the government through Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) contributions.”

    “These loans and the voucher system only reinforces the existence of private higher education institutions (HEIs) and ensure their profit while having no aim to further capacitate public learning institutions,” he added.

    Student leader and chairperson of KAISA UP Shara Landicho, on the other hand, pointed out that a big percentage of students from poor families will be unable to access the perceived gains of the law.

    She said that “given the current situation of the entire education system, those who came from private or science high schools are the ones most likely to be awarded free education. This scheme will not allow the students from poor families who need it most to avail of free tuition.”

    “Another glaring flaw of the law is the absence of an automatic appropriation provision to fund the law annually. It leaves its implementation unstable and questionable similar to situation of the Reproductive Health law. This inadequacy is a major flaw if it genuinely seeks to provide universal access to those who wish to pursue tertiary education,” she asserted.

    The SPARK and KAISA-UP concluded that without major amendments to the Free Edcuation Law, Duterte’s statement to the lumad parents “remains to be empty words meant only to simulate or project a reform-oriented and sincere stance.”

    “Come enrollment time, many will be staggered that they shall not be able to access the much-vaunted Free Education of Duterte,” the progressive students warned.

    As this developed, SPARK and KAISA-UP called on all students to unite, demand and work for a “free tertiary education for all.”


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    Thumbs up for the PH FDA – EcoWaste Coalition

    February 3rd, 2018

    FDA main office ©

    THE Philippine based environment and public health watchdog EcoWaste Coalition gave the country’s Food and Drug Administration a thumbs up for its decisive move against toxic school supplies that are not only harmful to health but to the environment.

    In a statement, the coalition cited the series of FDA public advisories against the purchase and use of art materials laden with dangerous chemicals like mercury, lead and cadmium; and its call to attention of the sellers about these products.

    Nevertheless, these toxic items remain in the market prompting the coalition to urged the FDA to issue notice of violation against erring stores. The call was made after the group was able to purchase some of the banned products from legitimate retail establishments, notwithstanding the public health warnings issued by the FDA.

    In test buys conducted on January 28 and 29, the coalition managed to procure banned Artex, MPC Classique and Xiao Yiren water color sets, Fairyland crayons, and Leeho glitter fabric paint pen from dealers of school supplies in Divisoria, Tondo; Quiapo and Sampaloc, all in the City of Manila.

    Thony Dizon ©

    “The public health warnings issued by the FDA on school supplies laced with hazardous substances above permissible levels are crucial tools that can inform and guide consumers in making sound and safe buying decisions,” said Thony Dizon, EcoWaste Coalition chemical safety campaigner.

    At the same time, Dizon pointed out that the “FDA’s action to take lead-containing art materials off store shelves, in particular, promotes industry compliance to DENR’s Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, which prohibits lead in the production of school supplies.”

    Since 2014, the FDA has banned three brands of water colors, two brands of crayons, a brand of pencil and a brand of fabric paint pen, some of which are marked with the “non-toxic” claim on the packaging.

    Last week on January 24, the FDA banned “12 in 1 Pencil,” “Fairyland 16 Crayons,” and “Leeho Glitter Fabric Paint Pens” for containing unacceptable levels of heavy metals, including cadmium, lead and mercury.

    The FDA, last year, also banned “MPC Classique Water Colors,” “Xiao Yiren Water Colors” and “Ultra Colours Jumbo Crayons” after laboratory analyses confirmed lead content above the maximum allowable limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

    In 2014, the FDA, after being alerted by the EcoWaste Coalition, banned “Artex Fine Water Colors” for containing lead up to 5,089 ppm.

    According to Dizon, “the advisories are extremely useful as the names of the products that have been verified to contain violative levels of prohibited or restricted chemical substances are specifically named with matching photographs.”

    “The advisories provide helpful information about the health effects of the chemical substances in question and the consequences of exposure,” he added.

    “The advisories also direct commercial establishments not to distribute the non-compliant products, and request local government units and law enforcement agencies to ensure that such products are not sold in their areas of jurisdiction,” he said.

    To ensure the advisories are strictly enforced and that the banned products are duly withdrawn from the market, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the FDA go after non-compliant wholesale and retail stores.

    The group also exhorted local government and police authorities, consumer protection groups and other sectors to actively back FDA’s efforts to crack down on violators.

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    Sagot ay “No” sa Pederalismo (Ikalawang Bahagi)*

    February 2nd, 2018

    UNA sa lahat ay hayaan ninyong ibahagi ng Usaping Bayan ang isa sa mga unang sulatin ng inyong lingkod kaugnay sa panukalang pagkakaroon ng isang pederal na porma ng pamahalaan. Gayun man ay pagpaumanhinan ninyo na ito ay nakasulat sa wikang Ingles.


    Let us take a look and try to understand…

    .With the passage into law of the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC), the ideals that our Constitution represents were given life. The process of the must sought decentralization has began. It specifically provides, among others, the needed autonomy for all “territorial and political subdivision” of the country to develop their own economic and political system, and culture (Article X, Sections 1, 2 and 11 of the Constitution). Being autonomous, they also have the right to govern their respective territories and decide what is good for them.

    Thus, it is not surprising that we currently have the special Cordillera Autonomous Region in Northern Luzon and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao because of the unique characteristics of their culture. We also have Sharia law in Muslim dominated provinces as a judicial court. Moreover, under our sectarian laws, it is provided that more special autonomous regions could be created if the necessity arises (Article X, Sections 15 and 18, of the Constitution).

    The centralized system also gave its autonomous local governments more than enough powers necessary in decentralizing governance (Chapter 1, Section 2a of the LGC).

    For instance, LGU are not controlled by the central government, only supervised; they have the power to tax local businesses, they could name important landmarks like schools, hospitals and streets among others; they have effective governance over those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare, they have the power to generate and apply resources, they could exercise the power of eminent domain, they have corporate powers, they have the authority to negotiate and secure grants, local government executives exercise operational supervision and control over the police as provided for in Republic Act 6975 (the DILG Act of 1990), etc.

    (May kasunod po sa Miyerkoles)

    * * *

    Ang kolum na ito ay inyo ring mababasa tuwing Miyerkoles at Biyernes sa pahayagang Hataw

    * * *

    Kung ibig ninyong maligo sa hot spring ay maari kayong pumunta sa Infinity Resort sa Indigo Bay Subdivision, Brgy. Bagong Kalsada, Calamba City. Malapit lamang sa Metro Manila at mula sa resort na ito ay tanaw ninyo ang banal na bundok Makiling. Magpadala nang mensahe sa para sa karagdagang impormasyon o reserbasyon ng lugar. Salamat po.

    (Read More:


    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat. Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

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    PH Supreme Court affirms dismissal of PNP officers in anomalous helicopter purchase

    February 1st, 2018

    Supreme Court of the Philippines building Photo ©

    THE Supreme Court has affirmed the dismissal of high-ranking officers of the Philippine National Police involved in the 2009 controversial helicopter purchase.

    In a Decision received by the Ombudsman on January 15, 2018, the high tribunal reinstated the Ombudsman’s May 30, 2012 Joint Resolution ordering the dismissal from the service of Police Directors Leocadio Santiago, Jr. and George Piano; P/Senior Superintendents Job Nolan Antonio, Edgar Paatan, Mansue Lukban and Claudio Gaspar, Jr.; Police Chief Superintendents Herold Ubalde and Luis Saligumba; Police Superintendents Ermilando Villafuerte and Roman Loreto; P/Chief Inspector Maria Josefina Recometa; SPO3 Ma. Linda Padojinog, PO3 Avensuel Dy and Non-uniformed Personnel Ruben Gongona.

    It will be recalled that in 2012, the Office of the Ombudsman found the said PNP officers guilty of Serious Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. Aside from their dismissal from the service, the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits were likewise meted on them.

    Records showed that Ombudsman investigators found that in 2009, the PNP purchased from Manila Aerospace Products Trading Corporation (MAPTRA) two standard Robinson R44 Raven I light police operational helicopters (LPOH) worth P62,672,086.90, and one fully equipped Robinson R44 Raven II LPOH worth P42,312,913.10.

    Jose Miguel Arroyo. Photo ©

    Based on procurement documents, the PNP-approved specifications required the helicopters to be brand-new, air-conditioned and with a minimum of three hours’ endurance. Upon project implementation, however, MAPTRA delivered only one brand new Robinson Raven II LPOH, while the two standard Robinson Raven I were pre-owned by the former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

    Aggrieved by the 2012 Ombudsman’s dismissal order, Piano filed a petition for review before the Court of Appeals (CA). On 28 May 2014, the CA issued a Decision exonerating Piano from the administrative charges. The matter was then elevated by the Ombudsman to the SC for the reversal of Piano’s exoneration.

    In its Decision, the SC found that “the CA erred in exonerating [Piano] of the charge of Serious Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service as found by the Ombudsman.”

    Respondent [Piano] is the Chairman of the PNP Inspection and Acceptance Committee (IAC). The IAC plays a very important role in the procurement process of the agency, since it has the responsibility of inspecting the deliveries to make sure they conform to the quantity and approved technical specifications in the supply contract and the purchase order and to accept or reject the same. Notably, only after the IAC’s final acceptance of the items delivered can be supplier be paid by the PNP,” stated the Decision.

    The High Court took note of Piano’s role in the chopper deal when he signed Resolution No. IAC-09-045 claiming that “after inspection and evaluation, the Committee found the said items to be confirming [with] the approved NAPOLCOM specifications and passed the acceptance criteria.”

    The PNP’s Weapons Tactics and Communications Division submitted a report disclosing the non-conformity of the delivered helicopters to the approved technical specifications, however, respondent Piano, as IAC Chairman, failed to make further inquiries or validated the lack of compliance and deviation from requirements.

    Piano’s act of signing the Resolution No. IAC-09-045 “is a distortion of truth in a matter connected with the performance of his duties,” stated the High Court.

    The SC added that “the 1987 Constitution itself underscores that public office is a public trust and that public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people. This imposes upon the SC the responsibility of holding public officers accountable for their blatant disregard of the high standard of ethics, competence, and accountability demanded of them.

    Moreover, the high court said those in public service, such as herein respondent P/Director Piano, are thus, cautioned to act in full accordance with this constitutional standard, for this Court will not shirk from its duty of upholding administrative sanctions against erring public servants.


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    Sagot ay “NO” sa Pederalismo…*

    January 31st, 2018

    UNA sa lahat ay hayaan ninyong ibahagi ng Usaping Bayan ang isa sa mga unang sulatin ng inyong lingkod kaugnay sa panukalang pagkakaroon ng isang pederal na porma ng pamahalaan. Gayun man ay pagpaumanhinan ninyo na ito ay nakasulat sa wikang Ingles.

    The argument

    The main argument against the current “centralized system” of the Philippine government is that the permissible autonomy within its framework is “limited” and does not solve the perennial problem of impoverishment in areas far from the “imperial” capital city of Metro Manila. Thus, economic federalism, whatever that means, has become a byword among politicians interested to “slice the cake” so to speak.

    But what is that that the newly converted federalists under the Duterte administration could detest so much under the current “centralized system” of governance that they want to change the system? Note that many of these longing for a federal state are traditional politicians belonging to political dynasties.

    Let us take a look and try to understand

    The 1987 Constitution, in its preamble says “We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy…”

    Clearly, the intent of the law when it says that it intends to “build a just and humane society” is to respect our individuality and the establishment of a system that will secure the common good, which is actually a process where a centralized system of governance was created to ensure an orderly decentralization of powers.

    (May kasunod po sa Biyernes)

    * * *

    Ang kolum na ito ay inyo ring mababasa tuwing Miyerkoles at Biyernes sa pahayagang Hataw

    * * *

    Kung ibig ninyong maligo sa hot spring ay maari kayong pumunta sa Infinity Resort sa Indigo Bay Subdivision, Brgy. Bagong Kalsada, Calamba City. Malapit lamang sa Metro Manila at mula sa resort na ito ay tanaw ninyo ang banal na bundok Makiling. Magpadala nang mensahe sa para sa karagdagang impormasyon o reserbasyon ng lugar. Salamat po.


    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat. Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

    1 Comment "

    PH Ombudsman Morales does not recognize unconstitutional suspension of a deputy ombudsman

    January 31st, 2018

    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales

    OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales said on Wednesday her office will not betray her sworn duty to uphold the Constitution by recognizing the unconstitutional 90-day suspension that Malacañang imposed on Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang.

    In a statement sent to the media, Morales stressed that the recent spate of events poses a great cause for concern. She also said that with the institutional significance and national interest involved, she is constrained to now state her position on the matter.

    Morales said “like any government official, the Ombudsman has sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. The Ombudsman will thus not allow herself to betray her sworn duty to uphold the Constitution by recognizing what is patently unconstitutional as ordained by the Supreme Court en banc in Gonzales III v. Office of the President (G.R. No. 196231, 28 January 2014).”

    Morales explained that “in Gonzales III, the Supreme Court categorically declared unconstitutional the administrative disciplinary jurisdiction of the President over deputy ombudsmen.”

    “The Ombudsman cannot, therefore, seriously place at risk the independence of the very Office which she has pledged to protect on the strength of the constitutional guarantees which the High Court has upheld.”

    Morales further said that “it has become clear that the act of the Office of the President in taking cognizance of the complaints against the Overall Deputy Ombudsman (Arthur Carandang) and ordering his preventive suspension was not an inadvertent error but a clear affront to the Supreme Court and an impairment of the constitutionally enshrined independence of the Office of the Ombudsman.”

    “In a society founded on the rule of law, the arbitrary disregard of a clearly worded jurisprudence coupled with a confident stance that it will be changed should never be countenanced,” she added.

    Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang ©


    Malacañang on Monday formally charged Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang and suspended him for 90 days for allegedly prematurely disclosing “unauthenticated” documents about the bank transactions of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family members.

    Spokesperson Harry Roque. Image © PCOO

    Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a press conference in Malacañang, the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) has “formally charged” Carandang with “grave misconduct” and “grave dishonesty.” He added the OES found Carandang guilty of “divulging valuable information of a confidential character acquired by his office or by him on account of his position.”

    Roque said the charges stemmed from Carandang’s announcement wherein he claimed various transactions involving Duterte’s bank accounts amounted to P1 billion and that these transactions were indicated in documents from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

    “We have found probable cause to charge him and he’s now made to answer in 10 days,” said Roque.

    The presidential spokesperson said there is nothing unconstitutional with the suspension order even after reporters cited the Supreme Court ruling on Gonzales III vs the Office of the President (GR No. 196231).

    (Read More:

    Moreover, Roque insists that only the Ombudsman is an impeachable official, not so the deputies.


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    Only a 3rd third of all examinees passed the PH police promotional examinations

    January 30th, 2018

    NAPOLCOM Vice Chair Rogelio Casurao.

    ONLY 419 of the 1,253 examinees who took the recent Philippine National Police promotional examinations for Inspector and Superintendent categories passed, according to the National Police Commission.

    NAPOLCOM Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer Atty. Rogelio T. Casurao, in a statement released to the media, said the number of passers represents a total 33.44 percent. He that this percentage is 6.41 percent lower compared to the number of passers who took the promotional test last April.

    The low passing rate in both exam categories may be attributed to the Commission’s continuous upgrading of standards on its police examinations in line with its sustained effort to professionalize the PNP by ensuring that only the most qualified PNP personnel are promoted in the police service, Casurao explained.

    In a further breakdown of the numbers, Casurao said the passing percentage rate for the Inspector Exam is 35.81 percent (376 of 1,050 examinees) while for the Superintendent Exam is 21.18 percent (43 of 203 examinees).

    The list of successful examinees is now posted at the 7th Floor, NAPOLCOM Central Office located at the DILG-NAPOLCOM Center, NAPOLCOM Bldg., EDSA Corner Quezon Avenue, West Triangle, Quezon City and in all 17 NAPOLCOM Regional Offices, and can be viewed at the NAPOLCOM website at

    Individual report of rating will be mailed to all examinees. Verification of test results is being entertained at the NAPOLCOM central office and its regional offices nationwide.

    The Commission earlier released on January 15, 2018 the list of successful examinees in the PNP Entrance and Promotional Examinations (Police Officer and Senior Police Officer categories).

    1 Comment "

    Save the PH mercury lamp recycling project – Ecowaste Coalition

    January 29th, 2018

    Image ©

    A PHILIPPINE based environment and public health watchdog today asked Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to prevent from turning his department’s multi-million peso mercury lamp waste recycling project into a white elephant.

    In an e-mail sent to Cusi, the EcoWaste Coalition has expressed serious concern over the non-operation of the lamp waste recycling facility which is capable mercury recovery. The facility was procured for USD$1.37 million by the DoE in 2013 as part of the Asian Development Bank-funded Philippine Energy Efficiency Project.

    The DoE successfully operated the Swedish-supplied equipment during the pilot phase in 2013-2014. Nevertheless, the DoE has yet to find a public or private entity that would operate the facility on a full-scale basis.

    According to the project description, the DoE “aims to provide a facility where all spent mercury-containing lamps shall undergo recycling to recover mercury and other by-products (to) avert residual mercury from entering the food chain through landfill leaching into groundwater.”

    The recycling facility has the capacity to treat six million lamps per year for 8-hour daily operations, retrieving 88% glass, 5% metals, 3% powders with rare earth, 0.005% mercury and 4% other materials (including resinous materials).

    DoE Secretary Alfonso Cusi. Photo ©

    In its e-mail, which was endorsed by 80 environmentalists, the coalition asked Cusi to convene an emergency multi-stakeholders meeting to address the barriers to the facility’s full operation.

    “We urge your office to seriously look into this matter, and ensure that the facility will not become a white elephant while the problem with the unsafe disposal of mercury lamp waste in the country persists,” the coalition pleaded.

    “The facility has been idle for years while the arbitrary disposal of busted mercury lamps continues unabated,” noted Thony Dizon, EcoWaste Coalition chemical safety campaigner.

    Moreover, Dizon emphasized that “the lack of a sufficient program to safely manage mercury lamp waste from collection, storage, recycling to disposal is a serious environmental and health challenge that must be resolved.”

    “Improper disposal of spent fluorescent lamps such as by dumping or burning can result in mercury spilling out of their glass tube, contaminating the surroundings with mercury and endangering waste workers, the general public and the wildlife,” he explained.

    The United Nations Environment (formerly known as the UN Environment Programme or UNEP) issued a similar statement.

    “When products containing mercury are disposed of and broken or burned and the mercury escapes from them, the mercury begins to circulate in the biosphere,” the UNE said.

    Among the common sources of mercury in the municipal solid waste include mercury-containing batteries, light bulbs, electrical and electronic equipment, skin whitening cosmetics, and dental amalgam fillings.

    According to the EcoWaste Coalition’s photo investigative report entitled “The Toxic Silence of the Lamps,” the haphazard disposal of mercury-containing lamp waste is widespread in Metro Manila’s 17 local government units.

    Furthermore, the report said “the indiscriminate disposal of busted or spent fluorescent lamps as common trash is not only polluting the surroundings but is also exposing waste handlers, informal recyclers and the public to mercury, a potent neurotoxin, which can lead to acute and chronic intoxication even at low levels of exposure.”

    The Minamata Convention on Mercury, which the Philippines has yet to ratify despite signing it in 2013, provides for, among other targets, the phase-out by 2020 of compact fluorescent lamps equal to or less than 30 watts containing more than 5 mg mercury per bulb. Other types of mercury-containing lamps are also subject to the same phase-out period.

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    PH business group proposed a 100 percent in OJT man-hours

    January 27th, 2018

    Image ©

    A PROGRESSIVE youth organization characterized as despicable a proposal of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry to lengthen the on-the-job training hours for grade 12 students by 100 percent.

    In a statement, the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) said the PCCI’s proposal is “an outright attempt to siphon more free labor and profit from K-12 students.”

    Under the proposal of the biggest business organization in the country, the on-the-job training man-hour requirements for Senior High students should be increased by 100 percent from the current eighty hours to eight hundred (roughly five months at a 40-hour work every week) to make them “work-ready” upon graduation.

    The proposal, the SPARK observed, would also entail a change for the worse in the currently neo-liberal and exploitative orientation of the K-12 curriculum.

    Moreover, the SPARK noted that in 2015, the PCCI in collaboration with the Department of Education initiated the integration of the dual training program in the K to 12 curriculum to address the “gripes of the business sector – that graduates of our education system are not in tune with the skills required by industries.”

    “The PCCI is part of those who formulated the internship program for their member-companies to benefit from and now it wants to expand the program and further turn students into slaves,” the SPARK said.

    The group, at the same time, alleged that the PCCI is conditioning the mind of the public that “the current OJT program is insufficient.”

    SPARK insists that if the proposal is granted, “it would depress the wages and give rationalization to unjust employment practices like contractualization.”

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    Former Iloilo Representative Rolex Suplico to be prosecuted for alleged PDAF-related graft

    January 26th, 2018

    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales

    OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales said her office found probable cause to file graft charges against former Iloilo Representative Rolex Suplico and two other persons before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the anomalous utilization of his 2007 Priority Development Assistance Fund.

    Morales, in a statement sent to Beyond Deadlines, said Suplico violated Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). She added that Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) Director General Antonio Ortiz and AARON Foundation Philippines Inc (AARON) President Alfredo Ronquillo were charged as Suplico’s co-accused before the same anti-graft court.

    Former iloilo Rep. Rolex Suplico. Photo ©

    Case records showed that right before the 2007 elections, Suplico received Php14,700,000.00 as part of his PDAF on 04 May 2007. The funds, which were intended for livelihood and development projects in the 5th district of Iloilo, were transferred to the TLRC, as implementing agency, and later released to the AARON Foundation, as NGO-partner, for the implementation of the projects.

    Based on an audit conducted by the Special Audit Office of the Commission on Audit (COA), the PDAF remains unliquidated.

    The COA also reported that the project implementation and the NGO-selection process were not compliant with the provisions of COA Circular No. 2007-01 and Government Procurement Policy Board Resolution No. 12-2007.

    Moreover, the Office of the Ombudsman also found that no business permit had been issued to AARON since 2004 and that its business address is located in a vacant lot, thus, casting doubt as to its existence and legitimacy.

    According to the Ombudsman Resolution, “there is no evidence showing that respondent Suplico exerted efforts to ensure that AARON liquidated the Php14,700,000.00 which could only mean that he benefited from the transaction or that he was grossly negligent. It is emphasized that respondent Suplico is accountable for the funds because he has control and actual custody of the funds as these funds cannot be released without his consent and directives. Such failure/refusal to liquidate the Php14,700,000.00 clearly casts doubt as to the validity, propriety and legality of the transaction between respondents, causing undue injury to the government and giving unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to AARON.”

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    January 26th, 2018

    HINDI maubos maisip ng Usaping Bayan kung bakit kailangang bigyan ng pagkilala si Communications Undersecretary Mocha Uson ng University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association Inc. gayong malinaw pa sa sikat ng Haring Araw na mas nakararami sa kanyang mga Tomasino ang higit na karapat-dapat sa pagkilala.

    Napakinggan ng Usaping Bayan ang panayam kay Henry Tenedero, ang nagbitiw na pangulo ng USTAAI, sa isang himpilan ng telebisyon at halatang namimilipit siya sa pangangatwiran kung paanong bibigyang hustisya ang pasya ng asosasyon sa ginawa nitong pagkilala kay Uson.

    Matatandaan na naging kontrobersyal si Uson dahil sa kanyang pananatiling “die hard” na supporter ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa kabila ng mga ulat na malaganap na patayan at korapsyong may kaugnayan sa illegal na droga na umano ay maikakawing sa administrasyon nito.

    Dahil sa pagiging masigasig na taga-sunod ni Duterte ay ginawa siyang isa sa mga mouthpiece ng kanyang administrasyon.

    Matagal na ring lumulutang ang mga ang usapin kaugnay ng kawalan ng kakayahan ni Uson na gampanan ang tungkulin bilang responsableng taga-pagsalita ng administrasyon dahil kung ilang beses na umano itong nagtatagni-tagni at naglalabas ng mga hindi totoong balita.

    Tiyak ng Usaping Bayan na laksa-laksa ang sasang-ayon sa isinulat ng isang komentarista at UST alumnus na si Philip Lustre Jr. sa kanyang Facebook page na si Uson ay isang “distinguished purveyor of fake news, lies, and deception.”

    Sinabi ni Tenedero na dalawa lamang ang kanilang ginawang batayan sa pagpili ng mga binigyan ng pagkilala. Ito ay ang pagiging 1) UST graduate at 2) dapat ito ay kasalukuyang naglilingkod sa pamahalaan. Wala umanong pulitika sa kanilang pagdedesisyon.

    Gayun man ay inamin ni Tenedero na hindi nila kinonsidera ang moralidad at pagkatao (morality and uprightness) ng kanilang mga binigyang pagkilala. Sinabi rin niya na ang pagkilala ay hamon sa mga nabigyan nito na isabuhay ang UST Core Values.

    (Basahin pa:

    Si Tenedero ay nagbitiw sa pagkapangulo ng USTAAI dahil sa matinding batikos na inabot niya at ng asosasyon mula sa mga kapwa Tomasino. Pero sa kabila nito ay nanindigan siya na hindi babawiin ng asosasyon ang pagkilala kay Uson.

    * * *

    Sa ginawang pag-amin ni Tenedero na hindi nila kinosidera ang moralidad at katauhan ng kanilang mga binigyang pagkilala ay lumabas na walang kwenta ang pagkilala kaya marapat lamang na gayahin ng mga nakatanggap ang ginawang pagsasauli sa USTAAI ng parangal ni Akbayan party-list Rep. Tomas Villarin (UST AB Eco 85).

    Ayon kay Villarin:

    I am returning the Thomasian in Government Service Award given to me last January 21 by the UST Alumni Association because I refuse to buy into their recent justification for awarding Mocha Uson that one only needed to be a graduate of our Alma Mater, and be part of government. If that were true, then all Thomasian civil servants should have also been given such an award.

    But here is something that’s undeniably true: It is shameful and unpleasant for someone to accept the award when one’s actions go against the core values of Thomasians, “truth in charity” as well as public accountability and transparency in government. Uson is a purveyor of fake news, an unrepentant violator of ethical standards in journalism, and a free-flowing fountain of foul language and obscenity. Indeed, she has corrupted the values that Thomasians hold dear.

    At first, I decided to accept the award in good faith and was in fact even humbled by such gesture. But awards should distinguish role models from the rest based on merit. Awards should stand for something but if they can mean anything, then they are nothing.

    I firmly believe that Thomasians are and will always be challenged to stand for truth in channeling genuine charity for others, in whatever way they can, with or without recognition.

    * * *

    Ang kolum na ito ay inyo ring mababasa tuwing Miyerkoles at Biyernes sa pahayagang Hataw.

    * * *

    Kung ibig ninyong maligo sa hot spring ay maari kayong pumunta sa Infinity Resort sa Indigo Bay Subdivision, Brgy. Bagong Kalsada, Calamba City. Malapit lamang sa Metro Manila at mula sa resort na ito ay tanaw ninyo ang banal na bundok Makiling.

    Magpadala nang mensahe sa para sa karagdagang impormasyon o reserbasyon ng lugar. Salamat po.


    *Ang mga pananaw sa artikulong ito ay sa sumulat.  Maaring hindi ito ang opisyal na posisyon ng Beyond Deadlines.

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    Tall is good but now short is alright

    January 21st, 2018

    Filipino policemen in formation. Image ©

    THE Philippine National Police Commission has removed the height requirement for aspiring lawmen as long as they are bachelor’s degree holder, not more than 30 years old and have passed the Philippine National Police entrance examination.

    This was learned from NAPOLCOM Vice Chairman and Executive Officer lawyer Rogelio Casurao while announcing the activation of the On-Line Examination Application Scheduling System (OLEASS) in the commission’s website at or for the nationwide conduct of the PNP Entrance and Promotional Examinations (PNP-EPE).

    Casurao said starting with the police examinations on April 22, there shall be no more height requirement for police examination applicants.

    The online application schedule is on January 29 to February 2 for the PNP Entrance exam; February 5 to for Police Officer (PO) exam; and February 12 to 16 for Senior Police Officer (SPO), Inspector (INSP) and Superintendent (SUPT) exams.

    The OLEASS shall be opened beginning 12:00 noon on January 29 for the Entrance exam, February 5 for the PO exam and February 12 for the SPO, INSP and SUPT exams.

    Acceptance of applications shall be on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis and, upon due notice, may be stopped even ahead of the deadline.

    “To expedite the processing of exam applications, the NAPOLCOM shall start implementing the enhanced OLEASS which now has features for on-line filling up, submission and printing out of an electronic exam application form,” Casurao explained.

    Applicants with confirmed schedule shall be sent an auto-generated email informing them to access the on-link and enter all the required information in the application form. Only applicants with printed confirmation letter and filled-out electronic exam application form shall be entertained at the NAPOLCOM Regional Offices during their scheduled appointment date.

    The period of filing of application is from February 19 to March 19, 2018.

    The OLEASS allows entrance exam applicants to choose the examination center where they want to take the exam regardless of their place of residence. But for the promotional exam applicants, the examination center is automatically assigned by the computer system based on the home address or unit/assignment address provided by the police applicants.

    “These innovations in the administration of the NAPOLCOM examinations is intended to streamline existing procedures geared towards fostering a more client-friendly front line service delivery environment,” Casurao said.

    The PNP Entrance Examination is open to all Filipino citizens who are not more than 30 years old and bachelor’s degree holder. Police Officers I (PO1) whose appointments are temporary for lack of appropriate eligibility are also required to take said entrance exam.

    Meanwhile, the Promotional Examinations are open exclusively to all qualified uniformed members of the PNP who meet the minimum qualification standards for examination in terms of rank and eligibility.

    Civilian applicants must bring the printed confirmation letter and electronic application form; two recent, identical and color 1”x1” ID pictures with white background and complete name tag (for PNP members, the name tag should indicate the rank before the name); one legal size window envelope with P17 worth of mailing stamp; transcript of scholastic record with Special Order issued by CHED and diploma; and birth certificate in security paper issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) or certified true copy of the birth certificate issued by the Local Civil Registrar and duly authenticated by the PSA. For a PO1 with temporary appointment, a certified true copy of Attested Appointment, Plantilla Appointment or Special Order is also required for submission.

    Applicants for the Promotional Examinations should submit the first three requirements mentioned above; a certified true copy of Attested Appointment, Plantilla Appointment or PNP Absorption Order; and a Report of Rating/Certification issued by the NAPOLCOM Central Office, CSC Certificate of Eligibility and/or PRC Board Certificate.

    Examination fee is Php400 for the PNP Entrance and Police Officer exams; Php450 for Senior Police Officer exam; Php500 for Police Inspector exam; and Php600 for Police Superintendent exam.

    NAPOLCOM clarification 01232018:

    The National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) clarifies that the removal of the height requirement is only for the purpose of taking the PNP Entrance Examination and not for PNP Recruitment purposes.
    The requirements for taking the PNP Entrance Examination are distinct and separate from the general qualifications required in the recruitment of qualified applicants for Police Officer 1 (PO1) which include the height requirement of at least 1.62 meters for male and 1.57 meters for female.
    \The NAPOLCOM emphasizes that taking and passing the PNP Entrance Examination is not a guarantee for automatic entry into the police force. Only those who possess the general qualifications specified under Section 14 of Republic Act No. 8551 are qualified for appointment as member of the PNP.
    To set the record straight, the Commission reiterates that the removal of height limit applies to examination purposes only, and not to police recruitment as reported by some media entities.
    Height requirement is still included in the set of basic qualifications of the PNP that must be complied with by qualified applicants who aspire to become police officers.


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    PH Drug Enforcement Agency pledged to be transparent in its operations

    January 21st, 2018

    Image ©

    THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency will ensure a culture of transparency in its anti-drugs operations.

    Thus pledged PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino as he disclosed the agency’s recent acquisition of additional surveillance, communication, protective, and office equipment, and motor vehicles worth more than PhP90.4 million.

    “With the persistent threat of illegal drugs in the country, PDEA continues to build up its capabilities, augmenting its operating units and Drug Enforcement Officers with the essential resources to thrive well in the war against drugs,” Aquino said.

    PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino with Chief of Staff Ms. Irish Calaguas inspects body cameras and handheld radios. Photo © PDEA

    To better monitor drug suspect/s and their illegal drug activities and to strengthen the agency’s intelligence and information-gathering and investigative capabilities, Aquino said the PDEA purchased surveillance/intelligence and communication equipment consisting of 20 remote controlled aircraft (drones), and 166 hand held radios, with a total worth of Php10,270,000.

    “In addition, the PDEA procured 100 body cameras worth P2,900,000 to be worn by our agents during operations. They will be accompanied by members of the press/media presence during these operations to ensure a culture of transparency,” Aquino added.

    PDEA also bought 753 tactical helmets and 23 reloading machines, amounting to P25,714,995.

    PDEA’s newly acquired drones. Photo © PDEA

    “The firearm reloading and protective equipment are the newest addition to PDEA’s armory. These will increase our armaments in drug law enforcement and will provide our operatives better protection during actual engagements,” Aquino noted.

    To boost the PDEA’s productivity of its personnel, the Agency also purchased 470 printers and 100 laptop computers worth P11,293,245 while to better their mobility, the agency also acquired 38 Hyundai H100 (personnel carriers) and 38 units of Yamaha SZ 150cc motorcycles, amounting to P40,227,700.

    “Logistics is the lifeblood of every organization. PDEA has put premium on the modernization of equipment and supplies to better equip itself in waging an all-out war against illegal drugs,” the PDEA chief said.

    PDEA has spent a total of P90,405,940 in the acquisition and funding of the said equipment and vehicles which will be distributed to PDEA National Offices and 17 PDEA Regional Offices across the country.

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    1987 Constitution is bicameral to ensure check and balance – lawyers remind PH Senate

    January 20th, 2018

    Image ©

    THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines 23rd Board of Governors reminded the Senate that the bicameral feature of the 1987 Constitution is meant to ensure check and balance.

    The reminder was issued by the lawyer’s group following an official query by the Senate concerning the proposed changes to the 1987 Constitution.

    “To us it is clear, however, that the intent behind bicameralism continues to be check and balance between the two houses, so designed for the enactment of better laws,” the IBP-BoG said.

    The IBP-BoG, however, expressed its preference for a Constitutional Convention over a Constitutional Assembly should major revisions to the 1987 Constitution are to be made.

    “Ours is a rigid Constitution, made so as a protection against firebrand changes – and major revisions designed to substantially alter the balance of power in government must be proposed by a more circumspect Constitutional Convention and not by an overweening Constituent Assembly,” the IBP-BoG noted in its statement.

    Thus the IBP-BoG insists that the revision must be set forth by the two house of Congress voting separately, in keeping with the deliberative nature of our bilateral legislative body.

    The Constitutional text providing for the process is ambiguous on account of the retention of the corresponding provision under the 1973 Constitution which was made suitable to a unicameral legislative body, the IBP-BoG said.

    Last month, according to a Reuters report, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order creating a 25-member panel to propose specific amendments to the charter in a bid to setup a federal system of government for better governance.

    The Duterte administration has been itching to establish a federal system of government to allegedly pave the way for peace and economic development.

    But the task of changing the form of government is fraught with unforeseen dangers, a number of political observers and Human Rights Defenders claimed.

    They said a federal form of government in the Philippines would only further entrench the existing political dynasties that has ruled over the country since colonial times.

    A federal form of government would also fragment Filipino society as it would further encourage existing regionalism, they added.

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