Roxas to Versoza: Don't cover up for De La Paz

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas on Saturday said Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Jesus Versoza has muddled further the "Euro general" controversy with his explanation that the 105,000 euros from retired PNP comptroller Deputy Director General Eliseo de La Paz in Moscow came from the PNP's intelligence funds.

Roxas said Versoza, having assumed his position as PNP chief only recently, should not allow himself to be used to cover up for De la Paz.
"The people are waiting for the PNP Chief to be a vanguard of the truth, not the protector of falsehood." he said.

"Itong pagpapaliwanag nila ay lalong lumabo ang isyu. Imbes na luminaw ay nadagdagan lang ang mga tanong (This explanation only muddled the picture further. Instead of clarifying it, the explanation only opened more questions)," the senator said.
Roxas branded Versoza's explanation as a "crude attempt to silence the Senate investigation" and proves his point on the "extremely cavalier attitude" of the PNP leadership on the misuse of public funds.
"Ganito ba sila bumili ng mga armas at intelligence equipment? Cash? Walang bidding? Ganito ba na ang mga mga bumibili ng mga mahalagang gamit ng PNP ay isang retiradong opisyal? (Is this how they buy arms and intelligence equipment? Cash? No bidding? Do they really allow a retired official to buy sensitive equipment?), Roxas asked.

"Lalo lang silang nababaon dito. Sa paggamit nila ng intelligence funds na dahilan para kay De la Paz ay isinasabit pa nila pati ang Pangulo (They are only burying themselves with this explanation. In using the excuse that De la Paz' money came from the intelligence funds, they have dragged the President into this mess)," Roxas said.
Roxas pointed out that regulations issued by the Commission on Audit required presidential approval of the use of all intelligence fund, as this fund is not subject to COA audit and can be looked into only by the Chairman of the COA itself.
"May kasabihan na sa bibig talaga nahuhuli ang isda. Kaya nanawagan ako kay General Versoza na huwag nang magpagamit sa mga nasa likod nitong isyu na ito at huwag nang mangdamay ng iba pa (We have a saying that the fish is caught by its mouth. That's why I'm calling on General Versoza not to allow himself to be used by those behind this mess and not to involve others anymore)," he said.
He said this is prime reason why he and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee investigating the issue, agreed to reject Versoza's request that an executive session be called in the next hearing of the Senate on the issue.
"I disagree with the request of PNP Chief Director General Jesus Versoza that we hold an executive session in the next hearing of the Senate on this controversy. Any and all information related to this case must be shown and be made known to the public. What is there to hide from the public when it concerns public funds and public time?" he stressed.
He said it was important that the public is duly informed of the circumstances surrounding the controversy involving De La Paz, who was held by Russian authorities for carrying 105,000 Euros (about P7 million) in the hand-carry bag of his wife on their trip back to the Philippines after attending an Interpol meeting in Moscow.
"This incident has severely affected public trust and confidence in the ability of the PNP to enforce the law, especially as it was committed by a high ranking police official in wanton disregard of the guidelines on the use of public funds and restrictions on travel of government officials," he said.
Versoza had written Roxas a letter dated October 24 requesting for an executive session in the next Senate hearing as "necessary because of the security implications of the circumstances surrounding the incident."

Roxas said he would quiz Versoza, Police Superintendent Samuel Rodriguez, disbursing officer for the Directorate for Intelligence, and Police Senior Superintendent Tomas Rentoy, chief of the budget division of the PNP directorate for Comptrollership, who authorized the withdrawal of the funds from the PNP's intelligence fund.

He noted that Section 20 of the 2008 General Appropriations Act specifies that "no amount in this Act shall be released or disbursed for confidential and intelligence activities unless approved by the President of the Philippines or specifically identified and authorized as such confidential or intelligence fund in this Act."

Roxas likewise pointed out that the same provision mandates that "confidential and intelligence funds provided for in the budgets of departments, bureaus, offices or agencies of the national government, including amounts from savings authorized by special provisions to be used for intelligence and counter-intelligence activities, shall be released only upon approval of the President of the Philippines."

He also questioned Versoza's claim that De la Paz was authorized to purchase "intelligence equipment and similar products" as the retired PNP comptroller never headed the PNP Logistics Command and the PNP Intelligence Command.

Digitalizing Cebu in just one night!

"Digitalizing," that's the word!

The DigitalFilipino.Com Club and Bloggers Cebu Networking event held last October 23, sponsored by PAGCOR and organized by Ms. Janette Toral, was a very successful event! No doubts with it!

Around 5PM, I arrived at Figaro in IT Park because that was the assembly area of the Cebu Bloggers Society (CBS). I was there first, and then later CBS members came gradually. I also borrowed Jerry’s laptop because I had to make a new Powerpoint presentation about CBS for the night’s event. I made one in the school but no one had a flash drive! By 6PM, we decided to proceed to the venue and prepare of minds in figuring out where in Watefront Cebu is Teatro Casino. Most of us weren’t familiar of the place. I was glad to know that Francis, who works in the said hotel, guided us to the place. If not for him, we might have kept going up and down, left and right and maybe all around the place.

Upon arriving at the venue, I was surprised to see Orville sitting at the table, whom I expected to miss the event. I called him earlier and he told me that he can’t make it because he’s going home for a vacation to their province. But due to an unexpected event, he came. I also met Annalyn Jusay, whom I also know because of her article featuring and talking about blogs. I made a comment on her blog post about the 2008 Philippine Blog Awards wherein she referred to this blog as the blog of Senator Mar Roxas and clarified her that it’s blog and not of Sen. Roxas’. I told her that it was just a small matter of clarification and it was nice to meet her.

I invited a bunch of people, especially Cebu-based bloggers and even non-bloggers. I’m glad they came! Although there were some who were not able to make it due to fortuitous events, for my part (and probably to Ms. Toral and Winston), the efforts paid off.

Food was overflowing, familiar faces were almost everywhere and people whom I know online but haven’t met them personally, well, there were lots of them. But I had to continue my CBS Powerpoint presentation! It’s not yet done, so I hurried finishing my food. Damn that waiter who took my glass of softdrink. I wasn’t done yet! Anyways, time was running out, so I just didn’t care if it hadn’t animation. It was just a “short” presentation but the information contained on it was worth listening to, promise! Then came the introduction of everyone and when it was my turn, I gave out my best and promoted my blog as well. It was my time to shine!

After Ms. Toral presented the Top 100 Blogs listed in Ratified.Org who had made significant moves in the year 2008, in which this site, the Mar Roxas for President in 2010 blog, was at No. 37, she asked me (and Winston whose blog was in No.50) to share my “secrets” in front to the event’s participants on how I achieved it. It was unexpected and I didn’t prepare for it but I remember quite a few of my words in my interview with Ms. Toral. I told them that I was just simply blog hopping and trying to comment on topics relevant and some irrelevant to my niche. I also emphasized the importance of bloggers attending bloggers’ events so that they can meet other bloggers and have some link love a few days or even hours later. It was quite a hard thing to talk about the achievement of my blog in Ratified.Org because of its partisan tone. I’m blogging about Mar Roxas for President in 2010 and expect that not all might have the same presidential bets in our mind. But I tried to break that barrier by making myself instead of an election/political blogger into a simple student blogger blogging something that someone doesn’t expect to.

Later, I returned in front to present my Powerpoint presentation promoting CBS. Some people were already asking about the group when they saw our t-shirts! I told the audience about the background of the group, shared our meet-up pictures, discussed about the group’s logo and encouraged them to join our group. It was a bit nerve-wrecking moment but I had to overcome it. Many people are listening to my presentation and I have to make it good.

Upon returning to my chair as the talk ended, a few people came to me and talk about CBS matters. I also came across with different people and talked blogging topics. PAGCOR presented an Audio-Visual Presentation about their history and achievements and later, a live band and music filled the event. Then the cam-whores took pictures to almost everyone who came out with their shutters and clicks. They were almost all around!

After the event, Paul and I (although what Paul held was of Atty. Ethelbert) betted on a game in the casino. I had no idea on how it works, but because of Paul's thinking skills on probability and statistics, we won P1,000! Where did that went? We ate pizzas at Da Vinci's in IT Park. I brought home a few leftovers.

So what more can I say? It was a great event and one of the biggest exposure of CBS to Cebu’s professionals on business and of internet. Hope to have another event like this that would foster better relations of bloggers and the Cebuano society. Congratulations to everyone who made the event successful and that includes the attendees.

Roxas: Crisis a time for gov't to undertake drastic changes

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas yesterday said the Arroyo Administration must use the current global economic turmoil as a chance to reexamine its way of governance, or else plunge the country further down the abyss of socio-economic ruin.
The crisis we are facing is huge. We still have time to prepare. The government has to own up to the magnitude of the crisis, to use it for catharsis, a drastic correction of the way it functions,” said Roxas during the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), in which he was guest speaker, in Makati.
He criticized the lack of transparency and accountability in the executive’s operations, which has led to great distrust among the populace for their leaders.
Our people are getting the sense that no one is in charge. No one is on the driver’s seat. No one is steering and calibrating the course of our nation,” said Roxas, citing among other instances the recent failed peace agreement between the government and Bangsamoro representatives, as well as the Philippines failing the corruption control standards set by the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corp., falling from the 76th percentile two years ago to the 47th percentile this year.

More than ever, we must spend properly and prudently. The government’s ability to use public spending to protect the vulnerable from greater misery, exploit opportunities in a downturn, and advance our further development despite the challenging environment will be a prime imperative,” he said.
Roxas has pushed for changes in the budget amounting to P100 billion that would direct government spending in the most effective manner to neutralize the worst of the economic crisis’ worst effects. For the Ilonggo senator, the budget should focus on food security, job security, and health and education services, as well as strengthening of the country’s financial institutions.
Any strategy will be useless, though, if our government fails to regain the trust of the people, because more than anything else, this global crisis is above all a crisis of confidence in institutions,” he said.

The impact of the turmoil will not be isolated to the stock or financial markets. It is likely to have real effects: on the demand for our exports of goods and services, on the flow of foreign direct investments and OFW remittances, and ultimately, on jobs and household incomes,” he said, noting that the US was still the number one market for Philippine imports and business process outsourcing services, and the top source of remittances of OFWs.
Roxas has also filed bills for a temporary increase in protection of bank deposits, a moratorium on home foreclosures and early withdrawal penalties for bank accounts of a five-year term or less, and a three-year income tax credit program for employers hiring new regular or permanent employees.

The Mar Roxas 2010 Blogger having fun with Samsung's Fun Club Day

I was so early at SM City Cebu that I was strolling around the Food Court and finding other Cebu Bloggers Society members. No one was still there yet! I waited for almost an hour and Mark came. Nice! Then, a few minutes later, Clarence arrived with his digicam! Yipee! We can now take pictures of our selves... (I'm also a cam-whore!)

We decided to proceed to the Samsung Fun Club (SFC)booth, in celebration of their Samsung Fun Club Day, dedicated not just for "Samsungers" but also for non-Samsung phone users. It was a respond to the call for a service that allows phone users to maximize the capabilities of their Samsung phone. It's a global brand and it's in the Philippines since 2005.

SFC is promoting an interactive and techie lifestyle among its members. Lucky, I am now one of those together with other blogger friends of mine.

After we finished touring the booth, we were given SFC Mugs each. Nice Mug! We were supposed to proceed to the SM Northwing that time when Iggy arrived. We decided to stay and guide him to the booth. When he was done, we sat on the wide couch provided by SFC. It was for everyone's use but we made it ours! Whahahaha!

After Mark and Iggy went back to their own errands, only Clarence and I were left. After an hour, Winston, the one who invited us, arrived together with Ms. Hazel of Samsung Philippines Marketing Department. Clarence and I at that time haven't yet ate our lunch and Ms. Hazel said that she'd treat us. Kewl! I was so coy to choose the food that I want to eat. She told us to order what we like. Winston was already satiated at that time. We went back to our seat and ate our food. Then, Ms. Hazel told me that Stephanie Chua (I don't know if we're related to each other) of Samsung Philippines is coming. I hurried up eating my food and finished my list of questions to her.When Ms. Stephanie arrived, I asked her about the purpose of the event, her reaction on the people's response to the SFC, their products, and more. After all those questions, she left us for some important matters. We waited in the SM Foodcourt for about 2 hours for other bloggers to arrive, one of them was Jorich. Then came Sinjin, but had to go later for some important matters. Nick, Zigfred, Beejing, Paul, McBilly, Jerry and other bloggers came later.

Making the long story short, it was a worthwhile event for Cebu bloggers. Hope to have more events like this!

Don't forget, it's

Sunday, October 19, 2008 | posted in , , , | 2 comments [ More ]

Will there be a Second Roxas in the Malacañang?

As of this blogging, I had done watching Senator Mar Roxas' interview with Strictly Politics' Pia Hontiveros in ANC. But before this, I didn't know that he would be Strictly Politics' guest for their episode tonight. It just happened that I saw the TV plug by channel surfing from CNN to BBC, and from ABS-CBN to GMA. I saw the plug somewhat before ANC's Primenews.

The program started a bit late (it started about 8 minutes late) but Pia's introduction compensated my long wait.

OMG! My blog was mentioned in Pia's introduction by saying that "there's now a Mar Roxas for President in 2010 Blog" (and it's this blog) and it contains Senator Roxas' statements on different current issues like the "E-VAT on oil, Claudio Teehankee's release, financial crisis..." Thanks for the mention Pia!

The first topic was mainly on 2010 where Senator Roxas is presumed to be running for President in 2010. Pia kept on asking if he's really running for President. Senator Roxas told her about his philosophy in life. He said that he is ready for anything and if ever it would be the Presidency, then he's willing to take it. He further said that he never expected to be in the political arena. It just happened that his brother, Dinggoy, the former Congressman of Capiz died early and he had to replace him. It might be his political pedigree and experience that made him this far. That's why the program's topic was "Will there be a Second Roxas in the Malacañang?"

In the economy topic, which Pia referred to as the issue that is "close to your (Senator Roxas) heart", Senator Roxas made known to the public his proposed plans on how to cushion the effect of the "financial tsunami" that is slowly hitting the Philippines amidst the economic crisis in the United States as well as in Europe and in Japan. He has proposed a P100 billion economic stimulus package which would revitalize the economy. He told Pia that it might take about 2 years for the world economy to recover from this crisis. We were lucky that we were not immediately affected by the first wave, he said. But the second and third wave might do as it will hit heavily on our export industry and the Overseas Filipino Workers. One thing inside his proposed stimulus package is to give a P5,000 income tax credit to each of the 4 million workers so that they can stabilize their family's budget and they can spend it on their basic needs. It would cost the government P20 billion but he assured that it can still pay-off because the purchases that the people would be making would be "VATable".

Another proposal of him is to pour additional money on education. He said that it's a long-term goal in improving our country but it would surely pay-off. Investing in education would be a worthy investment that the government can enter as it would prepare the next generation in handling the country properly. He noted that only a few graduate in elementary so does in high school and only a few of that already few would enter or succeed in college. For me, that's really alarming and the government must take action on this. These statistics are not new. We've been hearing a lot of these but no one has ever given a workable plan except Senator Roxas who proposes to focus the DepEd budget on a specific aspect every fiscal year. For example, in one fiscal year, the DepEd budget can be focused on supplying educational materials while on the next fiscal year, it can be focused on establishing and improving educational facilities. He doesn't want to make the budget in "tingi-tingi" or a few for these and a few for that. He believes that by giving a "bulto" or a whole to a specific thing, we can address the shortcomings of our educational system. As of this time, of all the potential presidential candidates, only Senator Roxas has a clear plan for uplifting the quality of our education.

On the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), he felt vindicated that he was fighting for the right thing as the Supreme Court declared that the MOA-AD of the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was unconstitutional. He was being called as a warmonger by several groups which I tend to disagree. He just hates the way how President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo does things. He said that Mrs. Arroyo wants to do everything that way she likes it even if it would be unconstitutional and wants the people to challenge her in the courts if they disagree with her. Indeed, from EO 464 to Proclamation 1017 and from Calibrated Pre-emptive Response to the People's Initiative, all of these were declared unconstitutional or partly unconstitutional.

Speaking of his ambition, Pia asked if ever he wanted to become President. Senator Roxas insisted that he would do everything that he can in whatever position he may be. He made a good point in saying that he is not consumed by his ambition. Although having an ambition would be good, but having your entire life consumed by it would destroy you. It would be like achieving something or nothing that you would commit suicide if you won't achieve your ambition. For him, if the Presidency is destined for him, then he'll give all his best. If not, then why insist?

The interview was quite a good one as it is Senator Roxas' second major one-on-one interview in ANC (the first one was with The Big Picture's Ricky Carandang). Though it was "bitin", it was worth watching. That's all I got for you pipz! I’ve got to sleep.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | posted in , , , , , , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Prepare for financial tsunami, not Cha-Cha, Roxas tells GMA

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to squelch renewed attempts to tamper with the Constitution by her political allies and to order them instead to help put in place safety nets that will soften the impact on Filipinos of the financial tsunami that has hit major markets in the world.

Roxas dismissed the renewed attempts at Charter Change as untimely and divisive at a time when Filipinos need to see the entire government united and ready to shield them from the impact of the global financial crisis.
Paulit-ulit na ipinipilit ang Cha-Cha sa atin samantalang namumrublema ang bansa sa darating na krisis sa ekonomiya (They keep on pushing Cha-cha while the rest of the nation worries over looming impact of the economic crisis),” Roxas said.

Imbes na hatiin na naman ang bansa, ang dapat gawin ni GMA at ng mga kakampi niya ay paghandaan ang magiging epekto ng financial tsunami na parating na sa ating bansa (Instead of dividing the nation, GMA and her allies should prepare the nation for the dire effects of the global financial tsunami),” he added.
Roxas earlier urged President Arroyo to call a multi-party summit so that leaders of administration and opposition parties could sit down and agree to a recasting of the proposed 2009 national budget so that funds can be reallocated to programs that will soften the impact of the global financial crisis.

Roxas, the Liberal Party president, said the Congress and Malacanang should realign programs in the proposed 2009 national budget so that more funds could be allotted to efforts to boost jobs, agricultural production and ensure food security, improve the quality of education and encourage small businesses through micro-lending.
Nangangamba ang taumbayan na uunahin na naman ng Malacanang at ng mga kakampi nito ang pulitika. Kailangan ipakita ni GMA sa taumbayan na mas mahalaga ang proteksyunan sila sa magiging masamang epekto ng financial crisis (The people are afraid that Malacanang and its allies will give priority to politics as usual. GMA and her allies have to prove they can protect the people from the negative effects of this financial crisis),” said Roxas, chair of the Senate trade and commerce committee.
Roxas is meeting next week with a group of economists and budget experts to consult them on priority programs that the government need to implement to prepare the nation from the impact of the global financial crisis.

The global financial crisis has prompted swift action from the G7 group of developed nations, with US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warning that an “aggressive action plan” was needed to prevent the global economy from sinking further.

This was evident in Wall Street Friday when the Dow Jones plummeted by 700 points immediately upon opening, but recovered by the end of trading day to just down by 128 points. Analysts have noted that the Dow Jones has lost 25 percent of its value just a month ago since the US financial crisis triggered a global debt crunch.
While the entire world is getting worried increasingly because of the financial crisis, we see administration people dancing to the tune of Cha-cha instead of doing something to assure our people and our industries that the government is prepared to meet the challenges of this global financial crisis,” said Roxas.

In these times of crisis, we need unity and action, not politics,” he added.
Roxas insisted that the Constitution would only allow for a constituent assembly if this is agreed on by the House and Senate voting separately on the matter. He added that it was a misinterpretation of the intentions of the 1987 Constitutional Commission to say that the House and Senate will vote as one in agreeing to convene a constituent assembly.
Hinding-hindi pwedeng tumawag ng constituent assembly ang iisang kamara lamang, at ang pagboto rito ay gagawin ng House at Senate nang hiwalay. Kahit sinong constitutional expert ay hindi sasang-ayon na ang mga senador ay may isang boto lamang sa daming miyembro ng Kongreso (A constituent assembly really couldn’t be called for by just one chamber, and the vote of this must be done by the House and Senate separately. Any constitutional expert would disagree that a senator would have just one vote to the many votes in Congress),” he said.

Sunday, October 12, 2008 | posted in , , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Roxas: After JPEPA ratification, "time to roll up sleeves"

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas yesterday said the government and the private sector must now start working to maximize the opportunities and mitigate potential threats resulting from the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), ratified by the Senate last Wednesday.

"At this time of uncertainty due to the global financial slump, we must be protecting our competitiveness relative to our neighbors in the ASEAN and provide a predictable and stable environment for business, and for jobs, to thrive," he stressed.

"Hindi naman malalaglag na lang sa langit ang biyaya dahil ipinasa na natin ang JPEPA. It’s time that the government and the private sector roll up their sleeves and take action to make sure that the benefits of this treaty are realized," he said.

"Meanwhile, the threats seen or even the ‘doomsday scenario’ painted by those against the JPEPA may happen anyway with our without JPEPA. Weak enforcement of safeguards, wrong prioritization when it comes to funding—these are wrongs that must be corrected, with or without JPEPA," he said.
Roxas, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce and co-sponsor of the JPEPA, said the government must deliver on its commitment for an P18.8-billion five-year competitiveness fund relative to JPEPA.

"If they say we will be helping our agricultural producers and manufacturers compete in the Japanese market, then the government must put its money where its mouth is," he said.

"Ang pangako ng gobyerno, may P18.8-bilyong competitiveness fund para sa limang taon. Hahanapin namin ang alokasyong ito sa mga darating na budget hearings sa Senado," he said.
The Development Budget Coordination Committee had already committed last year to provide a program to enhance the competitiveness of local industries and to put in place necessary safety nets. The P18.8-billion JPEPA Competitiveness and Safety Fund will be supplementary to existing budgets of agencies, for programs in line with JPEPA to be carried out in a five-year plan.

"We can no longer shirk away from the globalized economy. It is best that we are equipped with the necessary tools not only to retain our standing in the world economy, but to increase it. JPEPA is just the start. In the end, the most important thing is the welfare of Filipinos in the global market," he said.

Friday, October 10, 2008 | posted in , , , , , , | 0 comments [ More ]

Roxas: No justice in Teehankee release

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas on Tuesday criticized the early release from prison last week of Claudio Teehankee, Jr. after the celebrity convict served 14 years for three heinous crimes committed in 1991, as he lamented the patently unequal application of justice in the country.
"Itong si Teehankee, after 14 years pinalaya na. Ilang mga mahirap na preso ang nakakulong ng mas higit pa sa 14 taon dahil mahirap sila at walang abogadong umaayos ng kanilang paglaya?" he said.

"Mali ito. Hindi pantay ang hustisya sa mahirap at mayaman, kaya wala nang tiwala ang mga tao sa hustisya sa bansa natin. Dapat pantay-pantay ang aplikasyon ng hustisya dito sa ating bansa," he said.
Roxas’ reaction was prompted by the admission of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez that Teehankee’s release was facilitated by a visit of his brother, Philippine Representative to the World Trade Organization Manuel Teehankee, a former Justice undersecretary, to intercede and seek early release of his jailed older brother.

Following the former DOJ undersecretary’s visit, Gonzalez said he ordered the Bureau of Corrections and the Board of Pardons and Parole to recompute Claudio Jr.'s credits. President (Gloria) Arroyo thereafter granted Claudio Jr. executive clemency in late September.
"Nakalulungkot lang na mas mabilis aksyunan ng ating mga opisyal ang mga aplikasyon para sa clemency at pardon ng mga mayayaman at maimpluwensiyang preso. Nakakaawa naman ang maraming preso na tumanda na sa kulungan pero hanggang ngayon ay naghihintay pa rin ng awa ng gobyerno," he said.

"Dapat ipaliwanag ng gobyerno sa publiko ang dahilan kung bakit pinalaya nang maaga si Teehankee. Ipakita nila kung bakit nararapat ang maagang pagpapalaya na ito. Dahil kung hindi, at magpatuloy ang ganitong larangan ng palakasan, talagang durug-durog na ang rule of law sa ating bansa," Roxas said.
He urged the Justice Department to also review the cases and applications for clemency and pardon of other convicts, particularly the elderly who have no financial resources for the quick facilitation of their applications.

Roxas seeks US agencies' aid in recovering fertilizer funds

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today sought the assistance of various US government agencies in recovering the P728-million fertilizer fund or parts of it believed to have been deposited in bank accounts and assets of former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante in the United States.

In separate letters to three US agencies involved in finding illicit funds, the Roxas asked “for an exhaustive and comprehensive financial investigation” on Bolante’s bank accounts and assets in the US in line with the principles of truth and accountability in public offices.
Sa pagdulog ko sa mga ahensiya ng Estados Unidos, kampante akong hindi nila papalampasin ang ganito kabigat na krimen,” he said.
He addressed this appeal for assistance to, among others, Stuart Levey, Undersecretary, Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Department of Treasury; Mark Sullivan, Director, Financial Crimes Division, Secret Service; and Matthew Friedrich, Acting Assistant Attorney-General, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Criminal Division, Department of Justice.
Ginagawa natin ang lahat para maibalik dito si Joc-Joc para harapin niya ang batas sa lalong madaling panahon. Apat na taon na nating hinihintay ito. Kailangan nating ipakita na walang taong makakalusot sa krimen laban sa mamamayang Pilipino,” said Roxas.
He noted in the letters that although Bolante’s 32 known bank accounts had already been frozen, “there is strong probability that a substantial amount of the missing public fund has already been deposited to foreign banks or otherwise used to acquire assets in the United States. I fear that the Filipino taxpayers’ money, which has been illegally diverted to other uses, will never be traced and recovered,” he said in the letters to the US agencies.
Hindi biro ang halagang ito: P728 milyon na dapat sana’y napunta sa mga magsasaka. Hindi puwedeng mawala na lang ito na parang bula,” he said.
Roxas noted that the Senate, on March 1, 2006, had already released its report finding Bolante to be the “main architect” of the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, and recommended the filing of criminal charges against him.

The US Court of Appeals 7th Circuit has already dismissed Bolante’s petition for asylum in the US, and a final ruling affirming this is being awaited. Last September 18, Roxas wrote US Ambassador Kristie Kenney requesting for her assistance in ensuring Bolante’s deportation directly to the Philippines once the US courts rule with finality against the asylum petition.

Someone used my name but didn't know how to spell it!

I was informed by one of my blog readers faeriedust about a forum site wherein my name was used. The topic was all about Mar Roxas for President in 2010 but for heaven's sake, I was not the one who created that thread! He can't even spell my name correctly (the person used Kevin Rey Chu)! I also observed that the person used Cainta, Rizal as Kevin Rey Chu's location. He should know that I'm from Cebu.

It was probably that he can't associate any name other than mine to promote his own personal agenda called "MAREA FROM Heaven" which means that the next President would have a surname starting the letter "F" for "M" is for (Ferdinand) Marcos, "A" is for (Corazon) Aquino, "R" is for (Fidel) Ramos, "E" is for (Joseph) Estrada and "A" is for (Gloria) Arroyo. It predicts that the next president would carry the letter "F" and it would be (Bayani) Fernando. He advises Senator Mar Roxas not to run in 2010 because Fernando would win for President as ordered in the "MAREA FROM Heaven."

Well, that's his own thing. I don't have anything against his agenda. If he believes in that, it's up to him. I have nothing against Bayani Fernando. But what makes me outraged is that this person is using my name, and not his, in pursuing this thing. You've got to have some balls you coward!

Sunday, October 5, 2008 | posted in , , , , , , | 1 comments [ More ]

Roxas, TUCP ask SC to junk "half-baked" tax exemption

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, the Philippines’ biggest union federation, announced today they will contest before the Supreme Court the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s “half-baked” income tax exemption for minimum wage earners, contrary to Congress’ intentions under Republic Act No. 9504, enacted last June 17.
Binaligtad ng BIR at ng DoF ang intensyon ng mga mambabatas na bigyang ginhawa ang mga manggagawa sa pamamagitan ng income tax exemption. Una, sisimulan lang nila ang exemption sa July 6, imbes na sa simula ng taon. Pangalawa, ang mga minimum wage earner na may ibang sources of income ay hindi na ie-exempt. Bilang principal author nitong batas, ay lalabanan ko ang maling interpretasyon ng ehekutibo dito,” Roxas said.
He noted that minimum wage earners would stand to lose about P5,000 in exemptions from January to June, as a result of the erroneous implementing rules and regulations of RA 9504. This is P36 per day, or P792 a month, lost per worker. With about 500,000 minimum wage earners, a full-year exemption would mean a total of P2.5 billion given back to the people to help them cope with the high cost of living.
Napakalaking savings ang nawawala sa taumbayan gawa nitong half-baked tax exemption na gusto ng BIR at DoF. Katumbas ito ng isang kilong bigas, o tatlong lata ng sardinas bawat araw na mabibili sana ng isang manggagawa para sa kanyang pamilya. Maling-mali, switik at madaya ang pamamaraan ng BIR at DoF para makakolekta ng dagdag na buwis sa mga taong bayan,” he said.
Last week, Roxas wrote Finance Secretary Margarito Teves calling for the reconsideration of Revenue Regulations No. 10-2008, particularly the provisions providing for only a half-year exemption for minimum wage earners, and the limited scope of minimum wage earners eligible for the tax relief.
Hinihintay pa namin ang sagot ng DoF sa aking liham, pero maghahain na tayo ng petisyon sa Korte Suprema para masimula na ang proseso ng pagbasura ng half-baked income tax exemption na gusto ng BIR,” he said.

Statement of Senator Mar Roxas on the celebration of Eid Al Fitr

"My warmest greetings to the Muslim community as you celebrate Eid al Fitr.

"Today, we mark not only the end of fasting; we also celebrate the virtues that the Almighty has given us: patience, sacrifice, and humility.

"May this day rekindle the patience to break free from the grasp of corruption.

"Let us sacrifice for the good of our countrymen; let us work together to pull them up from the pit of poverty.

"Let us be humble and listen to the voices of all Filipinos—rich and poor, Muslim or otherwise. Let us bring an end to the misunderstandings that relentlessly divide us.

"We, Filipinos, share one dream: a nation one and undivided, where every citizen lives a decent and dignified life. May this day rekindle the virtues that will help us achieve that dream."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | posted in , , | 2 comments [ More ]

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