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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.” ― Archibald MacLeish

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“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The EQ Post 2015 "Pinoy of The Year": Ombudsman Conchita-Carpio Morales


Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales
The EQ Post 2015 "Pinoy of The Year"
Lady Justice Personified
Lady Justice is the symbol of justice. Lady Justice is depicted as a goddess equipped with three symbols of justice: a sword symbolising the court's coercive power; scales representing an objective standard by which competing claims are weighed; and a blindfold indicating that justice is (or should be) meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness. F
Good judges will have good character. 
They will be impartial and honest. Moses challenged the first judges with the following words.
Judge fairly, whether the case is between brother Israelites or between one of them and an alien. Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of any man, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it (Deut 1:16,17).
Moses required of those first judges that quality, rare then and rarer still today, of incorruptibility. The EQ Post
The Ombudsman
Morales revealed her eight-point agenda for the next seven years in order to combat graft and corruption in the government. These include resolution of high-profile cases, no backlog, improved quality of the results of fact-finding bodies, strict monitoring of cases referred, enhanced responsiveness to public assistance, better anti-corruption policy and program coordination within sectors, rationalization of the functional structure, and improved transparency and reliability.
Morales said she shall ensure efficiency, transparency, accountability and responsiveness of her office to combat graft and corruption. She vowed to prioritize high-profile cases involving top government officials and cases concerning huge amounts of money.
“I will not be satisfied with catching small fish as we must go after the school of big fish lurking in government offices,” Morales assured.
She also said she will resolve the more than 11,000 pending complaints she inherited before her term expires in 2017.
“The OMB will observe transparency in all its dealings with the public,” Morales declared.
She also assured the public that she will not give in to any compulsion or intimidation provided by Malacañang as it was President Noynoy Aquino himself who ordered her to be independent and do what is right.
 “History tells us that modern-day truth and exposés were considered heresies and blasphemies at their inception until after there were painstakingly challenged and distilled in the agora of ideas where sacred beliefs and sacrilegious opinions clash to produce that spark that enlightens.” 
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales
PROFILE
She was born on June 19, 1941 in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. She is the daughter of Lucas D. Carpio, a judge, and Maria Claudio Carpio.
In 1964, Carpio-Morales earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics at the University of the Philippines.
In 1968, she earned a Bachelor of Laws at the University of the Philippines College of Law.
From 1968 to 1971, she started her career in a Manila law firm where she was an Assistant Attorney.
In 1971, a former University of the Philippines professor of Carpio-Morales, Secretary of Justice Vicente Abad Santos, took her in as a Special Assistant at the Department of Justice.
From 1971 to 1983, Carpio-Morales worked at the Department of Justice as assistant, lawyer, researcher, assistant special lawyer and senior state counsel before she became a judge.
Between 1983 to 1986, President Ferdinand Marcos appointed Carpio-Morales as a Regional Trial Court judge in Pili, Camarines Sur.[1] On November 4, 1986, President Corazon Aquino appointed Carpio-Morales as RTC judge in Pasay City.
In 1994, President Fidel V. Ramos appointed her to the Philippine Court of Appeals. She headed the 7th Division of the Court of Appeals.
In 2000, Carpio-Morales was a bar examiner in legal ethics. She also conferred the Ulirang Ina Award for Law and the Judiciary by the National Mother's Day & Father's Day Foundation, Inc.
On September 3, 2002, upon the unanimous endorsement of the members of the Judicial and Bar Council, Carpio-Morales was appointed to the high court by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
On July 25, 2011, during his State of the Nation Address, President Noynoy Aquino announced the appointment of Carpio-Morales as Ombudsman of the Philippines.
From Wikipedia
From The PCIJ Blog
OMBUDSMAN CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES told the impeachment court that her initial findings showed the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona had a total of 82 US dollar accounts in five banks amounting to an aggregate value of at least 10 million dollars.
Moreover, Morales claimed that Corona appeared to have made “significant deposits and withdrawals” on some significant dates, including the 2004 and 2007 elections, and the day that Corona was impeached by the House of Representatives.
At the resumption of the impeachment trial this afternoon, Morales told prosecution lawyer Mario Bautista that she had listed several bank accounts in Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) and several other banks in Corona’s name.
Asked by Bautista how she had arrived at the figure of $10 million, Morales then proceeded to enumerate some of the transactions that she had taken note of.
Morales said she had listed all the different bank accounts that she had discovered, and started classifying them.
This was when she started noticing a pattern in the movement of the accounts, she said.
For example, Morales said she noticed that “one hundred thousand dollars were withdrawn in three tranches and then transferred to three different account, XYand Z,” Morales told the court.
Morales said she had several initial findings, which she listed down.
For one, Morales said Corona appeared to have at least ten million dollars in “transactional balances.”
In addition, Morales said there were “significant deposits and withdrawals including the 2004 and 2007 elections, and the week that he was impeached.”
For example, Morales said that on December 12, 2011, or the day that he was impeached, someone withdrew $ 480,000 from one account and transferred the money to a Bank of the Philippine Islands account in San Francisco del Monte in Quezon City.
At this point, defense lawyers objected to Morales’ testimony, saying it was already being done in narrative form, and in effect denying the defense the opportunity to object.
From Inquirer
June 6, 2014
MANILA, Philippines—The Office of the Ombudsman has formally filed plunder charges against the officials tagged in the pork barrel scam.
The Ombudsman on Friday afternoon filed before the Sandiganbayan the charges against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada for their alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso racket of diverting public funds to ghost projects for kickbacks.
This after the anti-corruption agency found probable cause to charge the senators and other government officials in the scam.
Also charged is alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, who is detained on charges of serious illegal detention.
Other pork barrel scam players are also implicated in the case.  Enrile’s co-accused is Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Estrada’s co-accused is Pauline Labayen, and Revilla’s co-accused is Richard Cambe. Co-accused for all three senators are Napoles and John Raymund De Asis. Co-accused for both Enrile and Revilla is Ronald John Lim.
Lim is Napoles’ nephew, while De Asis is her long-time employee.
According to Revilla’s case docketed SB-14-CRM-0240, Revilla with his former political adviser Cambe pocketed with Napoles, Lim and De Asis at least P224.51 million in Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).
According to Estrada’s case docketed SB-14-CRM-0239, Estrada with his former deputy chief of staff Labayen connived with Napoles and De Asis in plundering P183.79 million in PDAF.
According to Enrile’s case docketed as SB-14-CRM-0238, Enrile with his former chief of staff Reyes committed plunder in conspiracy with Napoles, Lim and De Asis. They were accused of pocketing P172.83 million in PDAF.
The Ombudsman said these officials and personalities “willfully, unlawfully, and criminally amass(ed), accumulate(d) and acquire(d) ill-gotten wealth.”
They were also alleged of “taking undue advantage… of their official positions, authority, relationships, connections and influence to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.”
The pork barrel in the form of PDAF has been seen as a tool for political patronage and corruption.
The practice of allotting billions of public funds to lawmakers for them to ease poverty in their constituencies was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional at the height of the investigation on the scam.
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) —
The Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of suspended Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay on Friday (October 9) after it found him guilty of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty in connection with the overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.
It also ordered the "perpetual disqualification from holding public office" of Binay.
In a statement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said that the strong evidence presented during administrative adjudication remained unrebutted. Binay was "found administratively liable for Grave
The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay, however, questioned the ombudsman's motives behind the order.
"Klarong-klaro ang panggigipit sa pamilyang Binay. Malinaw ang bias at selective justice ng Ombudsman na bahagi ng conspiracy ng mga government agencies kasama ang Senado at ang AMLAC na siraan at gipitin si VP Binay at ang kanyang pamilya dahil lang sa hangad nya na maglingkod sa mahihirap," Joey Salgado, head of the Office of the Vice President Media Affairs, said.
Makati Rep. Abigail Binay said her family would  appeal the decision. She said that her family plans to file a motion for reconsideration before the Office of the Ombudsman or to raise the matter to the Court of Appeals.
The solon also said that the real target was not her brother. The decision, she said, was an attempt to bring down the ratings of her father, who is running for president in the 2016 elections.
The vice president and his son, along with other city officials, are facing a graft complaint filed by lawyer Renato Bondal last July 2014.
Bondal, who used to be a political ally of the Binays, accused them of conspiring in overpricing the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II by P862 million.
The building project, undertaken from 2007 to 2013, was worth P2.28 billion.
From Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday ordered the preliminary investigation for the criminal and administrative charges against Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad.
According to its Twitter account, the Office of the Ombudsman has completed its fact-finding investigation on the utilization of the funds for the Disbursement Acceleration Program.
DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos will also be investigated in connection to the DAP fund.
Abad and Relampagos will face probe for the P400 million DAP releases from 2011 to 2012.
The DBM secretary allegedly illegally released funds worth 250 million to the House of Representatives while Relampagos released P143.7 million to the Commission on Audit.
A few weeks ago, the Ombudsman started an investigation on Abad and President Benigno Aquino III for the controversial DAP.
However, Malacañang reminded that the president is immune from lawsuit.
Carpio-Morales: 'I didn't want to miss history'
From ABS-CBN News
Marami ang humanga sa walang kagatol-gatol na testimonya ni Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales sa makasaysayang impeachment trial ni Chief Justice Renato Corona. Marami nang tumiklop sa pagtatanong ng lead counsel ng defense na si dating Justice Serafin Cuevas, pero hindi ang Ombdusman.
Unang gumawa ng kasaysayan si Carpio-Morales bilang kauna-unahang babaeng huwes na nagpanumpa sa isang Pangulo ng bansa noong June 30, 2010. Siya ang pinili ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino III sa halip na ang Punong Mahistrado, gaya ng nakagawian.
Bihirang magbigay ng panayam ang Ombudsman, ngunit naging mapalad ang aking programang Pipol, at kami ay kanyang pinaunlakan noong Oktubre 2010, ilang buwan lamang matapos siyang hirangin sa bagong puwesto.
Kuwento niya sa akin, masayang masaya siya sa karangalang makapagpanumpa sa Pangulo sa kabila ng kontrobersiya ukol dito.
“I was euphoric, people had been criticizing why I accepted it. People had been telling me I should decline it, and suggest it should be Chief Justice [Renato Corona] who should administer,” aniya.
“But who am I to suggest it? I could have declined, but to me it was an honor. It would have been hypocrisy on my part to decline it and miss history.”
Nauna dito, noong Marso 2010, si Carpio-Morales ang kaisa-isang Associate Justice ng Supreme Court na tumutol sa desisyon ng mayorya na nagpahintulot kay Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo na maghirang ng bagong Chief Justice sa kabila ng pagbabawal sa tinatawag na “midnight appointments.”
Isang buwan at kalahati bago bumaba sa puwesto si Pangulong Arroyo, nanumpa sa kanya si Corona bilang bagong Chief Justice. Tanong ko kay Carpio-Morales, “You must have nerves of steel to do that. What does it take to vote against your colleagues?”
Ang kanyang naging tugon, “It didn’t bother me, I had to do what I thought was right. And right or wrong, I had to decide. It was not difficult. I was happy writing [my dissenting opinion] because that was what I thought. If it turned out to be wrong, I’m sorry, that was what I thought.”
Sa tanong naman kung may pumigil sa kanyang desisyon, ito ang matapang niyang kasagutan,” No fortunately and even if there were I would have been I would have been unmindful of them. I am impervious to influence.”
Tinutulan ni dating Pangulong Arroyo ang appointment ni Carpio-Morales bilang Ombudsman sa dahilang magiging biased siya, pero sagot ng Ombudsman, “I have not, I am not, I will never be [biased]. I will go after the evidence.”
Sa nakaraang State of the Nation Address, inanunsyo ni Pangulong Aquino ang pagkakahirang sa dating Justice bilang Ombudsman. Sa pangambang magiging sunud-sunuran lang siya dito, buwelta ni Carpio-Morales, “I don’t think I get orders from the President. In fact, he told me after the SONA, ‘Maintain your independence.’ No instructions whatsoever.”