MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang assured former Chief Justice Renato Corona that the distribution of lands at the Hacienda Luisita is ongoing and suggested that he focus instead on answering the tax evasion raps against him and his family.
In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte laughed off Corona’s recent query as to why the lands have not been distributed to the farmers of the Cojuangco-managed land amid a final decision when he was still chief justice.
Valte said, “It would be better if he answer first the tax evasion raps against him.”
MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 2) Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo refused to enter a plea at the Sandiganbayan for the arraignment of her plunder case. Thus, the court entered a not guilty plea on her behalf.
The plunder case stems from Arroyo’s alleged misuse of over P300-million in funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Also at the Sandiganbayan are Arroyo’s co-accused, Sergio Valencia and Benigno Aguas.
According to Sandiganbayan spokesperson Renato Bocar, the arraignment is open to the public but their courtroom can only accommodate a limited number of persons.
MANILA, Philippines – The chair of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Audit Committee implicated former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the controversial alleged misuse of the P360 million operational funds of the charity agency.
In her testimony before the justices of the Sandiganbayan’s First Division, Atty. Ma. Aleta Tolentino said there were at least 7 instances where the former President approved the requests of then PCSO Chairman Rosario Uriarte for additional intelligence funds for the agency.
The requests, Tolentino testified, were also approved by the Board of Directors of PCSO prior to sending the said requests to Malacañang.
The prosecution showed Tolentino the 7 letter of requests from 2008 to 2010 with the approval of Arroyo and she verified it as true.
SULTAN KUDARAT - The Philippines’ top rebel leader warned a peace deal signed by his group could only end the armed conflict if the wider Filipino Muslim community supported it.
Under the pact the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would give up its quest for an independent homeland in the south in return for significant power and wealth-sharing in a new autonomous region there to be known as Bangsamoro.
Authorities and MILF leaders must work to convince the large Muslim minority that the October 15 accord was a step forward for them, the front’s chairman Murad Ebrahim said recently.
MANILA, Philippines - Public satisfaction with the administration of President Benigno Aquino III is back in very good territory, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
The survey, conducted last August 24-27 and first released in BusinessWorld, showed that 72% of Filipino adults were satisfied with the administration compared to 10% dissatisfied and 17% ambivalent for a “very good” net rating of +62.
This is just 2 points short of the administration’s record high of +64 in September and November 2010.
The administration’s performance was buoyed by an “excellent” +73 rating on the issue of helping the victims of disasters, especially after a series of storms and monsoon rains hit the country.
MANILA (UPDATE 1) - The Supreme Court (SC) affirmed with finality the validity of the Commission on Elections’ (COMELEC) P1.8 billion purchase of election systems provider Smartmatic-TIM’s precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for next year’s mid-term elections.
Well-placed ABS-CBN News sources bared that with a vote of 8 out of 11 justices present in its en banc session, the high court junked the motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by the Automated Election Systems Watch (AES Watch), one of four petitioners that challenged the deal, thereby affirming its June 13 ruling.