Former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya may be out of government, but he’s not yet off the hook as far as controversy surrounding the procurement of vehicle license plates worth P3.8 billion is concerned.

Not yet off the hook: Ombudsman orders Abaya to explain P3.8-B license plate fiasco

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Former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya may be out of government, but he’s not yet off the hook as far as controversy surrounding the procurement of vehicle license plates worth P3.8 billion is concerned.

Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc on Monday (August 29) revealed that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered Abaya to explain why several vehicle owners have yet to receive the license plates they paid for since 2014.

Also being held liable are six officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications (which has since become the Department of Transportation): Undersecretaries Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Rene Limcaoco, Julianito Bucayan, and Catherine Jennifer Gonzales; and assistant secretaries Alfonso Tan Jr. and Ildefonso Patdu.

The joint venture of Filipino Power Plates Inc. and Dutch J. Knierem B.V. Goes (PPI-JKG) has accused Abaya of graft, red tape and incompetence in bidding out the contract for the production of license plates.

The uproar over the delay in release of license plates has been compounded by the substandard quality of the plates that were initially delivered, with the metal crumpling in floodwaters.

During the Senate investigation on the license plates mess, it was discovered that Abaya already paid P478 million to PPI-JKG even if Congress had allotted only P530 million for it.

Abaya and the Filipino-Dutch consortium were charged with graft over the contract but the Ombudsman dismissed it on a technicality.

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POLITIKO / Across the Nation

POLITIKO / Latest News

Mahina kaso: Guevarra urged to free detained IP leader

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra should drop the murder case against indigenous leader Windell Bolinget, political prisoners support group Kapatid urged.

“While we ask the DOJ to heed the call of Windel’s family for due process of law and that his rights to fair and impartial trial be respected, we strongly assert that the case lodged against him should be dropped and that he should be freed as the case has no leg to stand on because it is built on nothing and as what we have been always saying, from nothing comes nothing,” Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim said in a statement.

Lim pointed out Guevarra “should be faithfully carrying out the DOJ’s mission of ‘effective, efficient and equitable administration of justice’ instead of doing the opposite by taking the lead in prosecuting and persecuting activists.”

Bolinget, chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), currently in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Baguio City.

He is among alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) charged over the 2018 murder case in Davao del Norte.

However, Lim pointed out Bolinget, who is also one of the petitioners seeking the declare the Anti-Terrorism Law as unconstitutional, has never been to Davao del Norte.

Meanwhile, Lim said Balinget’s legal counsel, lawyer Jose Molintas has sought before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 30 in Tagum City that the case be reinvestigated by the DOJ because the indigenous leader was not given the opportunity to appear during the preliminary investigation.

NBI set to end probe on Christine Dacera’s death

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is ready to conclude its probe on the investigation conducted over the death of flight attendant Christine Dacera, NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said on Tuesday (March 2).

Lavin pointed this out as the Dacera family has yet to turn over to investigators her mobile phone.

“With or without the phone, we will conclude the investigation,” he said.

Lavin said the family had earlier promised to hand over her mobile phone to investigators to undergo forensic examination.

The family strongly believes that Dacera was raped and killed when she was found last Jan. 1 in the bath tub of her room at the City Garden Grant Hotel in Makati City where she celebrated the new year with male companions.

“We are just being thorough in our investigation,” Lavin said.

“We are hoping we could get some leads from the phone,” he added.

Dapat voluntary! Labor group cries foul over ‘no vaccination, no work’ policy

By Billy Begas

The Associated Labor Unions (ALU) on Tuesday urged the government to outlaw the emerging mandatory ‘no vaccination, no work’ workplace policy being imposed by some employers and business owners on their employees.

ALU said it has been receiving complaints from its members who were told by their superiors in advance that they would be disallowed to report to work unless they participate in company-sponsored COVID-19 vaccination program.

Those who will not get vaccinated will be deemed unfit to work, said ALU.

Another group of employees told ALU that they would be asked to present certification as proof that they have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine before they are allowed to work.

ALU said some employers also forewarned their employees with reassignment and relocation to other branches if they would not participate in the company-sponsored immunization program. Others would be put on furlough or floating status until they are injected with the vaccine.

ALU national executive vice president Gerard Seno said the mandatory workplace policy is a form of coercion and discrimination, which violates the right of workers to freely decide and chose for themselves particularly with regards to their health and well-being.

“The ALU is advocating for the vaccination of all workers and pushing for the prioritization of essential workers to be inoculated with safe and effective vaccines to safely reopen our economy but these arbitrary actions taken by abusive employers are audacious acts of direct discrimination and straightforward coercion,” said Seno.

Seno said employees must never be subjected to any compulsion and the employers can only try to persuade its employees with the benefits and advantages of being vaccinated.

Before it becomes a norm, Seno said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) must respond quickly and provide protection measure by outlawing these unfair and unjust treatments of employees.



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