Headlines for Thursday, August 21, 2014

Francis “Chiz” EscuderoWhat happened to NorthRail?
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero is urging the government to run after the persons accountable for the scuttled North Rail project saying the government has already lost a total of P9 billion for a project that Filipino taxpayers did not even benefit from. The NorthRail project is an 80-kilometer railroad that was supposed to link Caloocan with Clark in Pampanga. In 2003, the Arroyo administration had contracted the China National Machinery and Equipment Corporation (CNMEC) for the project with an original contract cost of $421-million. Escudero said that project was funded by a government loan of $400 million from China’s Exim Bank and the balance to be sourced from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

SC ruling on DAP difficult to reverse - former CJ
MANILA, Philippines - It might be difficult to reverse the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision declaring some acts under the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) as unconstitutional, a former Chief Justice said. “I think, the Supreme Court will not reverse itself, especially in a high profile case like this one,” Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban said on the sidelines of a forum organized by the Far Eastern University Public Policy Center last Wednesday. “It is very difficult to overturn a unanimous decision in the same case,” he added.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.COA tells Bongbong Marcos: Return P10M pork
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Audit (COA) has disapproved for being “illegal and irregular” the P10 million channeled by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to a livelihood project in Nakar town, Quezon province, through a foundation headed by pork barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy. A notice of disallowance was issued by COA audit team leader Romeo B. Limara and supervising auditor Wilhelmina R. Cabuhat to Nakar Mayor Leovegildo R. Ruzol on June 30, ordering the return of Marcos’ P10 million, which was drawn from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and transferred to Luy’s Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (SDPFFI) for the implementation of a project called “organic farming for high value crops.”

Militants use Ninoy Aquino Day to blast PNoy’s Charter change plans
On the 31st anniversary of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.'s murder on Thursday, several militant groups asked President Benigno Aquino III to remember his father's firm stand against dictatorship. Members of the Promotion of Church People’s Response gathered on Thursday at the Ninoy Aquino Monument in Quezon City to protest the President's announcement that he was open to Charter change to balance the powers of the Supreme Court and even to extend his stay in power.

Evangelina PalparanPNoy ignored my husband’s phone call – Palparan wife
Retired Army general Jovito Palparan would have surrendered immediately, had President Benigno Aquino III taken his call in 2011. At least, that’s what his wife, Dr. Evangelina Palparan, says. “Tumwag [siya], gusto niya mag surrender, kaso inignore siya ni President Aquino,” Mrs. Palaparan said in an exclusive interview with GMA’s Dano Tingcungco aired on GMA News TV's State of the Nation with Jessica Soho on Wednesday night.

Final Bangsamoro Basic Law submitted to Aquino
MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - A final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was finally submitted to President Benigno S. Aquino III after months of review, a senior government official said today. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said that the final draft of the BBL was handed over by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-led Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to the president through the Office of the Executive Secretary on Wednesday night. The BTC is the 15-man body that initially drafted the BBL. The draft BBL was signed by MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, who also heads the BTC.

Sharon CunetaSharon Cuneta admits going through one of the lowest times of her life, career
MANILA, Philippines–Actress Sharon Cuneta reached out to her fans on social media and revealed that she had gone through a midlife crisis. “I have nothing to lose by telling you that I have made mistakes that have affected all that I have worked for, bled for over the past 36 years,” Cuneta said in an emotional Facebook post. “I feel that I have let you down. I let myself go, I allowed myself to get fat and stay fat. I became complacent… and I never lost faith in God, and in you, but I ignored the fact that I had lost faith in myself. It was I who let myself become affected by the fact that I had turned 40, not my public,” she said.

DOJ completes new criminal code
MANILA, Philippines - A draft new Criminal Code of the Philippines has been completed at the Department of Justice (DOJ). After three years, the DOJ’s code committee has completed Book 2 to provide a simple, updated and modern criminal law to aid law enforcement and improve the administration of justice. In a statement yesterday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the code would lead to increased access to justice, especially for the marginalized sectors. “We responded to the call of the President to undertake a codification project and for the first time in our history, we have a draft criminal code developed by justice stakeholders that is reflective of our societal norms,” she said.

Employment in BPO sector hits 1-M mark
Employment in the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry has already hit the one million mark, or 1 percent of the population, as more and more foreign firms outsource work in the Philippines. Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) president and chief executive Jose Mari P. Mercado told the Inquirer that this year’s target of 1.04 million jobs would likely be attained by end-September.

PNoy’s uncles supporting Binay in 2016 – Butz Aquino
After President Aquino’s sisters, come his uncles who now expressed their support for the 2016 presidential bid of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay. The uncles’ support for Binay was declared yesterday by former Sen. Agapito “Butz” Aquino at the observance of the 31st death anniversary of his brother, former Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. – the father of President Aquino. Butz said it was not only President Aquino’s sisters who are supporting Binay’s bid but also his uncles – him and his brother Paul Aquino, as well as former Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., the youngest brother of President Aquino’s late mother, former President Corazon Aquino. Asked to comment, a chuckling Binay told reporters: “Kung ano na lang narinig niyo, yun na yun (Whatever you heard, that’s it).”

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