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STA. CRUZ, Laguna — Laguna province has incurred a debt of P1 billion under ousted Gov. ER Estregan Ejercito apparently due to unliquidated advances as indicated in a report by the  Commission on Audit (COA).
 
This was disclosed by Ejercito's vice governor, Ramil Hernandez, after he took over as governor of the province. Hernandez said he has ordered an investigation on where the funds went.
Ejercito has been ordered disqualified as governor by the Commission on Elections in a unanimous en banc resolution due to alleged flagrant overspending during the last elections where he was reelected by an overwhelming majority of votes.
 Ejercito initially resisted his ouster by barricading at the provincial capitol, but his uncle, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, convinced him to give up the post peacefully when he fetched him at his capitol office.
The Ejercitos hail from Pagsanjan, the town next to the capital Sta. Cruz, where Ejercito earlier served as mayor. Ejercito's wife is now the mayor of the town. 
"Walang masamang mangutang, kahit sa local government, walang masamang mangutang pero dapat yung inutang mo, inilagay mo sa maganda (There's nothing wrong with borrowing, even in local government, but the money should be spent in good use)," Hernandez said.
 
"Titingnan po namin, kunwari overspending, na-copy furnish po ako ng COA so maraming unliquidated dun talaga, maraming unexplained use of fund," he added.
The ousted governor has not reacted to Hernandez' claims.
Hernandez said he immediately looked into the provincial funds after assuming office following the Comelec decision to oust Ejercito. The former governor was found guilty of overspending for the May 2013 elections.
In its 2012 audit report on Laguna, COA cited deficiencies in the balances of inventories, land, property, plant and equipment accounts of the capitol.
 
Hernandez said, however, that he does not want to malign Ejercito, who accused him of colluding with Liberal Party member and political rival Edgar San Luis in filing the overspending case before the poll body.
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MANILA - An investigation by authorities on the business and individual financial transactions of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, members of her family and business firms, has started.
This as The US Justice Department was reported by GMA News program "24 Oras" to be now looking into two bank accounts under the companies owned by Napoles, 
 
Based on information gathered by GMA News as reported on its website, Napoles' company, Western Investment Corp., made eight dollar deposits to Hanmi Bank in the US from September to October 2006 amounting to $3.5 million.
 
Another company owned by Napoles, Western Ventures Management, meanwhile had eight fund transfers amounting to more than $1 million from October 2006 to July 2007 also to Hanmi Bank, according to GMA News.
 
The US Justice Department is now scrutinizing the two bank accounts in accordance with a request from the Philippines' Department of Justice (DOJ), the GMA news program “24 Oras” reported.
Aside from the dollar bank accounts of Napoles' companies, the US Justice Department is also investigating another dollar bank account under Napoles' brother Reynald Lim, who remains at large despite an arrest warrant for an illegal detention charge, according to the network.
 
The report added that the US Justice Department is also investigating an alleged fund transfer made to First American Trust dated July 14, 2011, amounting to more than $1 million which is believed to be the payment for the condominium unit of Napoles' daughter Jeane at the posh Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Los Angeles.
 
In an affidavit submitted to the DOJ on September 12, 2013, whistleblower Benhur Luy said the Napoles family has four bank accounts in California in the names of Napoles' daughter Jo Christine, brother Reynald Lim, nephew Jose Emmanuel, and Western Investment Corp.
 
Luy also said in his affidavit that Napoles used to buy dollars on the black market using her income from the pork barrel scam. Luy said Napoles used to buy dollars from a certain Hector Ang and a Michael Ty.
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MANILA -- The alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles will face other criminal charges.
This after Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing filed perjury charges against Napoles for involving him in the pork barrel scam.
Bagatsing filed the case before 4th Assistant City Prosecutor Benjamin Vermug Jr. after Napoles included his name in her 32-page sworn statement along with those involved in the pork scam, which was submitted to the Senate.
In his two-page complaint, Bagatsing said he could not have implemented a project involving the use of PDAF in 2007 as he assumed his position as congressman on June 30, 2007 and the first PDAF allocated to his district was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) through the Land Bank of the Philippines only on January 2, 2008.
 
Bagatsing said he filed the complaint in Makati since Napoles signed and executed a sworn statement at the Ospital ng Makati (OsMak).
Napoles was confined at the OsMak for almost two months for the treatment of a cyst in her uterus and was brought back to Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna last May 29, after Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 ordered her return.
Napoles is facing illegal detention charges filed by pork scam whistleblower Benhur Luy, her cousin and former employee.
Bagatsing said all documents linking him to the project of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) as the implementing agency of Napoles’ Masaganang Ani Foundation, are all fictitious with his forged signatures and falsified letterheads. Napoles mentioned a certain “Mina Nieva,” said to be daughter of late Manila Rep. Ernesto Nieva, as the one who received the 40 percent rebate for Bagatsing, under a project of TRC funded from his PDAF worth P1 million in 2007.
 
Bagatsing denied having known Nieva and said that she (Nieva) has already executed a sworn statement denying any involvement with him or Napoles with regards to the misuse of PDAF.
”I can prove beyond any shadow of doubt that I am innocent. I have concrete evidence to show that I did not misuse any allocation of the priority,” Bagatsing said, who is an incumbent congressman in the 16th Congress serving his sixth term as a representative of the 5th District of Manila from 2013 up to 2016.
Bagatsing added that he will file a civil case against Napoles in the coming days after implicating him in the pork scam.
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DAVAO CITY -- Recurring four to six-hour blackouts in the whole island of Mindanao have crippled many industries the last few months, according to Manuel Boniao, chief executive officer and president of Bonbor Poultry Corp. which runs a number of poultry farms in northern Mindanao.
Boniao said these blackouts are hampering the operations and production activities of large factories and manufacturing plants not only in northern Mindanao region but all over the southern Philippine island.
“This is something we’re beginning to live with -- to be able to continue our operations in the industry even with these blackouts, “ Boniao said.
Processing and manufacturing plants as well as all other businesses like shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, offices, have invested in their own power generators to continue operating despite the long recurring blackouts in Mindanao’s big cities like Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Zamboanga, General Santos, Butuan, etc., according to Boniao.
The National Power Corporation had warned a few years ago that power failures will start in 2014 since the combined power capacity of the Mindanao power grid can no longer cope with the fast-growing power requirements of the island.
Vicente Lao, one of island’s most prominent businessman who chairs the Mindanao Business Council, had been expressing this concern over the years about the island’s growing power requirements--and the inability of NPC to meet this power demand, unless private investors will start investing in big power plants in Mindanao.
Lao heads the Maharlika Agri-Ventures as CEO and sits as chair of the export market committee of the poultry industry in the northern Mindanao region.
Aboitiz Equity Ventures, which runs some of the country’s biggest power plants in Davao, Cebu and northern Luzon, has already started building a coal-fired power plant in Davao del Sur, in addition to its existing coal-fired power plant in Cagayan de Oro and a small hydro-power plant in Davao City.
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MANILA -- Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio has debunked the territorial claim of China over almost the entire South China Sea by citing historical facts.
The statement was made by Carpio during his lecture in the De La Salle University last Monday.
According to Carpio, if the ancient maps of China will be the basis, particularly the first map of China, the Hainan Island is its southern tip territory which had the ancient name of Zhuya, Qiongya and Qiongzhou.
The Hainan Island, Carpio said, in the last many centuries is part of Guangdong Province before it became a separate province in 1988.
Carpio added that the sea expedition of Chinese Imperial Admiral Zheng He from 1405 to 1433 cannot be made as basis for the territorial claim over the South China Sea.
He stressed that Spain and Portugal also cannot revive their 15th century claim over all the seas of the world despite the 1481 Papal Bull confirming the partition of the still undiscovered territories between Spain and Portugal.
Carpio pointed out that even the historical name cannot also be made as a basis for the territorial claim because in fact, the name of South China Sea did not originate from the Chinese sea voyagers, but rather, it emanated from the European sea voyagers.
He cited that the Indian Ocean cannot be claimed by India, the Gulf of Mexico also cannot be claimed by Mexico and the Philippine Sea cannot be claimed by the Philippines as well.
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