|12 May 2016|
|Palace distances itself from Abalos’ acquittal over controversial NBN-ZTE broadband deal|
|Malacañang has belied the statement of Jun Lozada that the government had used him in prosecuting former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) commissioner Benjamin Abalos regarding the controversial NBN-ZTE broadband deal.
Lozada, former technical adviser to then socioeconomic planning secretary Romulo Neri, had revealed that Abalos took US$130 million in kickbacks for brokering the deal.
Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shelved the deal in late 2007 following allegations of overpricing and corruption.
“Wala pong batayan at walang katotohanan,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said in an interview at the Palace on Thursday, in reaction to Lozada’s comments.
“Ang tinutukoy po kasi natin dito ay isang proseso ng batas na kung saan ang ginagamit na batayan sa pagpapasya ng hukuman ay ebidensiya.”
Secretary Coloma noted the separation of powers between the executive and judicial branches of government.
The Office of the President, he said, does not meddle in the functions of the courts.
“At dahil po sa pamantayan ni Pangulong Aquino ng good governance, kailanman po ay hindi nanghimasok o nakialam ang Ehekutibo sa mga proseso ng Hudikatura, maliban na lang doon sa pagganap ng tungkulin ng ating mga government prosecutors,” he said, adding that the court based its decision on the truthfulness of the evidence presented.
Lozada expressed sadness over the Sandiganbayan’s decision to acquit Abalos of graft charges over the scuttled $329-million NBN-ZTE broadband deal.
The Sandiganbayan First Division on Wednesday cleared Abalos of the charges, saying the Office of the Ombudsman had failed to come up with evidence to prove his guilt. PND (as)
|COMELEC is the right body to address election concerns, says Malacañang official|
|Those who are complaining about the result of the recent election must approach the proper authorities, the Palace said on Thursday.
The camp of Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has been complaining about possible election cheating and has raised concerns regarding the transparency server and hash code.
In an interview with reporters on Thursday, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the executive branch’s participation in the election was as a deputy to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
The COMELEC, he said, is the constitutional body that has the primary responsibility of ensuring the conduct of free and honest elections in the country.
With regards to the issue on the hash code, Secretary Coloma said there are citizen watchdog groups that are well versed in the issue and they are in constant coordination with the COMELEC.
“Basta ituwid lang po natin. Ang buong automated election system ay nasa pangangasiwa ng Commission on Elections,” he said.
“Wala pong partisipasyon ang Executive branch kabilang na ang Tanggapan ng Pangulo at lahat ng sangay ng pambansang pamahalaan diyan sa paggamit ng iba’t ibang aspeto ng digital technology o ng automated election system.”
He said that those who have questions on the conduct of the election as well as the counting of votes must approach the right authorities to address them.
Asked about the President’s observations regarding the recently concluded national election, Coloma said he has not had the chance to ask the Chief Executive about it.
However, based on his message prior to the election, President Aquino was hoping for a peaceful, free and credible election, the Palace official said.
“At kapag pinagsama ang mga saloobin ng mga mamamayan, diyan natin makukuha kung ano ang resulta ng halalan,” he said.
“Kaya masasabi naman natin na ang Pangulo ay tinitingnan ang lahat ng developments na ito with equanimity and objectivity.” PND (as)
|President Aquino signs order creating Presidential Transition Committee|
|President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed an order creating the Presidential Transition Committee and other agency transition committees in a bid to ensure the continuity and maintain the efficiency of government services.“In order to have a smooth transition, the outgoing Administration must ensure that the new Administration is assisted by an orderly government that is ready to continue to serve the Filipino people,” read Administrative Order No. 49, signed on Thursday (May 12).
“There is a need for transition committees to work closely with the representatives of the President-elect in order to ensure a peaceful, orderly and effective transition on 30 June 2016,” it further read.
The Presidential Transition Committee (PTC) is chaired by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. Its members are the director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority, the respective heads of the departments of Budget and Management, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Public Works and Highways, and the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
The Presidential Management Staff will provide secretariat support to the PTC.
The PTC will serve as the overall and central coordination committee of all executive departments, agencies, bureaus, government-owned or -controlled corporations, and other instrumentalities as regards the various aspects of the transition to the new administration.
It will also oversee the preparation and implementation of the government agencies’ transition to the new administration, to ensure the continuity and maintain the efficiency of government services.
Administrative Order No. 49 directs government agencies to establish their respective Agency Transition Committees, which shall be chaired by the secretary or head of agency, vice-chaired by a senior undersecretary or deputy head of agency and shall have senior career officials as members.
In a statement on Wednesday, President Aquino said he has talked to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s executive assistant Christopher “Bong” Go to “relay to Mayor Duterte that an Administrative Order is being drafted designating the Executive Secretary as head of the transition team”.
“I further offered that the Cabinet stands ready to brief his team on any and all of their concerns. Lastly, we are committed to effecting the smoothest transition possible,” President Aquino said. PND (kt)
|Presidential Transition Committee to meet on Friday afternoon|
|Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. is scheduled to meet with the members of the Presidential Transition Committee (PTC) at the Office of the President on Friday afternoon.
President Aquino has named Executive Secretary Ochoa as head of the transition committee tasked to brief the team of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
“Ang batid ko ay nagpatawag na si Executive Secretary Ochoa ng pagpupulong bukas ng hapon,” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. told reporters at the Palace on Thursday.
The PTC consists of the director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority, and the respective heads of the departments of Budget and Management, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Public Works and Highways, and the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
President Aquino has communicated with Mayor Duterte’s executive assistant, Christopher “ Bong” Go regarding the designation of Ochoa as head of the transition committee.
The President also assured that his Cabinet is ready to brief the president-elect’s team to ensure “the smoothest transition possible”.
The members of Mayor Duterte’s transition team are outgoing Senator Pia Cayetano; Leoncio Evasco, Duterte’s national campaign manager; Peter Laviña, Duterte’s spokesperson; businessman Carlos Dominguez, the campaign finance chief; lawyers Salvador Medialdea and Lorieto Ata; and Go. PND (jm)
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