Stories posted 2012

Maguindanao Massacre, Year 3

Andal Jr. sells 8 big properties;
72 Ampatuans running in 2013

ON JUNE 6, 2011, a year and a half after the Maguindanao Massacre claimed the lives of 58 people, including 32 journalists, the Court of Appeals ordered the freezing of all the known assets of those accused of involvement in the crime: Andal Ampatuan Sr., his sons Andal Jr. and Zaldy, and 25 other Ampatuan family members and their associates.

The Court of Appeals Special Second Division headed by Justice Celia Librea-Leagogo issued the freeze order against 597 bank accounts, 113 real properties, 142 firearms, and 132 motor vehicles allegedly owned by the Ampatuans. Its objective: Prevent the frittering away of properties of one of the most powerful clans in the country while government pursues a civil forfeiture case against many of its members.


Young lawyer, big assets

ARNEL CORTEZ MANALOTO, the lawyer of Andal Ampatuan Jr. who purchased eight of his properties in Davao City, is actually a young, recently married trial lawyer based in Angeles City, Pampanga, roughly a thousand kilometers north of the home province of his more famous client.

How he became one of Andal Jr.’s principal lawyers is the question on many a Kapampangan’s mind. How he could afford to purchase eight significantly sized properties in Davao City all at the same time and just seven years after passing the bar examinations is yet another question begging to be answered.

Double Talk on Citizen’s Rights

Abridging Freedom of Expression,
Reneging on Freedom of Information

FREEDOM of expression (FOE) and freedom of information (FOI) are closely intertwined, fundamental rights of the people, not just in the Philippines but also in all democracies of the world.  Like two peas in a pod, these rights are spelled out in the same breath in international human rights laws, which the Philippines has signed […]

15th Congress

The Morphing of the Cybercrime Prevention Law

At least 11 bills related to cybercrime prevention were filed before the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress.

These were authored by Tarlac Rep. Susan A. Yap, Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric G. Singson Jr., Marikina City Rep. Marcelino R. Teodoro, Pampanga Rep. Gloria A. Macapagal-Arroyo, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo M. Angara, Pampanga Rep. Carmelo F. Lazatin, Buhay Party-List Mariano Michael M. Velarde Jr., Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez, and Antipolo City Rep. Romeo M. Acop.

Yap’s House Bill No. 5808 titled “Act Defining Cybercrime, Providing for Prevention, Investigation, Suppression, and Imposition of Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes” was later enacted into law as Republic Act No. 10175 on Sept. 12, 2012.

14th Congress

The Morphing of the Cybercrime Prevention Act

In the 13th Congress (2004-2007), at least four measures were filed to regulate and penalize cybercrime: House Bills No. 1246, 2093, 2528 and 3777, which were authored by Representatives Eric Singson, Amado Espino Jr., Nanette Castelo Daza, and Harlin Abayon, respectively.

In the 14th Congress, at least 10 similar House bills were filed.

Transparency, asset records, and the new CJ

SC discloses zero SALNs,
3 months after Corona trial

THREE MONTHS after Renato C. Corona was impeached as chief justice for his failure to declare and disclose the full and true details of his wealth, the justices of the Supreme Court remain unrepentant over their opaque ways of old.

Indeed, they have yet to show proof that transparency in regard to their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) has now become both principle and practice of the highest tribunal of the land.

Until last week, the personnel in charge of receiving requests for SALNs in the Office of the Clerk of Court say the Court has not yet released even a single SALN to any one of the 64 parties – media agencies (including PCIJ) and law students – who have filed requests for SALNs as of Aug. 17, 2012.


Still a House of secrets

IT impeached and prosecuted then Chief Justice Renato C. Corona for his failure to declare full and truthful details of his wealth in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN). Yet, three months after Corona was convicted, the House of Representatives has yet to let the public fully access the SALNs of all […]

Transparency & the new CJ

Will ‘Gods of Padre Faura’ bare SALNs at last?

THE FIRST WOMAN chief justice of the Supreme Court, Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno, will have 18 years to roll our reforms in the judiciary, or nearly as long as the regime in power of strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos, who ruled without transparency and accountability.

It is too early to call a verdict: Will the courts open up under Sereno? Will she deliver “very good 18 years” or “very bad 18 years” in a judiciary long used to keeping the asset records of “the Gods of Padre Faura” under lock and key?


Short-listed assets

PRESIDENT Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III said it best when he declared dissatisfaction over the short list of chief justice candidates that was handed to him by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) over a fortnight ago.

Indeed, despite the big hoopla about the live television coverage of the public interviews, citizens fielding questions via email, Twitter, and Facebook, the JBC’s recently concluded selection process can apparently stand vast improvement.

Push, Pass the FOI Act Now!

In 1986 at EDSA, the first people power revolt ended 21 years of a government so dark and so opaque, and ushered in one of light and transparency. The strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos was vanquished and democracy icon Corazon C. Aquino came to power.

A year later, the 1987 Constitution enshrined state policies of full transparency and accountability in the conduct of all public officials and employees, and of full public disclosure of information vested with public interest. The Constitution upheld the people’s right to know and be informed about all policies, projects, and programs of government that involve use of taxpayers’ money.

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