Stories posted 2013

424 didn’t file, filed bad election expense reports

Comelec: 20 solons, 4 governors,
26 mayors must vacate positions

AT LEAST 20 congressmen, four governors, and 26 mayors elected in May 2013 should promptly vacate their office for failure to submit reports on their donors and expenditures within deadline and according to the prescribed forms, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc ruled this week.

In all, Comelec said 424 newly elected legislative and local officials — including 169 from the Liberal Party led by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and 44 from the National Unity Party (NUP) that is allied with the LP — should stay out of office until after they have submitted the appropriate Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).

Fake, spoiled, cancelled, missing?

SARO mess at DBM lingers — COA

GRAND OR petty corruption, fake or faked SAROs — which have been hogging headlines of late — are not the end of the story.

These faked SAROs or Special Allotment Release Orders, along with other accountable forms covering the release of millions of pesos in public funds, are just a sliver of many other systemic flaws and weaknesses in the systems and processes of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Honasan’s chief of staff writes PCIJ

SENATOR Gregorio ‘Gringo’ B. Honasan II’s chief of staff, Celia S. Marasigan, has sent a letter to PCIJ requesting a correction of a detail in PCIJ’s story on taxation and the May 2013 elections, titled “5 new senators, 8 losing bets did not register with BIR.”The story named Honasan as one of the 13 candidates […]

Maguindanao Massacre, Year 4

Media murders: Few suspects in jail, few cases in court, conviction rate low

AMONG THE 19 work-related media killings recorded by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) under the Aquino administration, the murder of broadcaster Romeo Olea has been classified as a cold case. No case against the killers of Olea has been filed in the court due to the lack of information that can lead to their identities.

Olea was on his way to work when he was gunned down in on June 13, 2011 in Iriga City, Camarines Sur by an unidentified man riding in a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.


A widow’s story

SOMETIMES, ANGELINA ‘Angie’ Cauzo chats with her husband in front of a small family altar in their modest house in Talavera, Nueva Ecija. As stereotypical marital conversations go, the talk is always one-sided, with the wife pouring her heart out to her silent husband.

But then Julius Cesar Cauzo, radio commentator, vice president of the Nueva Ecija Press Club, and Angie’s husband, has good reason to be unresponsive. He has been dead for a year now, assassinated in broad daylight by a gunman in a province long known for its history of political violence.

Maguindanao Massacre, Year 4

23 journalists killed in 40 months
of PNoy, worst case load since ‘86

HIS MOTHER is a former president who was widowed when her husband, a prominent opposition leader, was assassinated. And so when Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ C. Aquino III came to power on June 30, 2010, expectations were high that he would act with dispatch and resolve on the unsolved murders of activists, lawyers, church workers, and journalists.

Aquino himself promised as much — and more. In his first State of the Nation Address or SONA, he vowed that his administration would work to end the reign of impunity and extrajudicial killings. In its stead, Aquino said, his administration would usher in an era of “swift justice.”

Taxation and the May 2013 Elections

5 new senators, 8 losing bets
did not register with BIR

POLITICAL PARTIES and candidates spent billions of pesos in the last May elections, and it’s only expected that some of that money would have headed in the direction of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Yet even though ‘tis nearly the season to be merry, there still seems to be no joy in the tax bureau when it comes to collecting the appropriate taxes related to the polls held more than half a year ago.

That’s because before it can collect what could be a considerable pile of money, the Bureau will first have to plow through the documents filed with it and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) by some 45,000 candidates who vied for 18,503 elective posts last May.


Political parties in default, too

MAJORITY OF the 12 political parties that fielded senatorial candidates in last May’s elections were able to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), but most of them still have a lot of explaining to do with the tax agency.

Ang Kapatiran, Bangon Pilipinas, the Democratic Party of the Philippines (DPP), and Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) even failed to fulfill the most basic tax-related requirement for political parties: to register with the BIR.

Pork a la PNoy: How they spent P60B in 3 years

‘New mechanism’ = pork insertions
in budget of 6 implementing agencies

WHEN President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III announced the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), he apparently meant nothing near getting rid of the controversial earmarks for the local pet projects of lawmakers.

Practical details of the “new” scheme are still being ironed out, and any real improvement in the proposed system may be evident only after the 2014 budget rolls out. Nevertheless, the broad plan presented by the House of Representatives is raising concerns that it may not really be that different from the old, often abused system.


Blessed LGUs

MUTUALLY reinforcing interests — all too often political interests — between national and local politicians to this day drives the selection of which local government units (LGUs) should be blessed with generous servings of projects funded with pork.

It has been dressed up to be an “equalizer,” but the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or simply, pork, remains very much a political tool for senators and congressmen who spread the bulk of their pork pesos to LGUs governed by their mother, father, sibling, cousin, or ally.

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