‘ECONOMICALLY BENEFICIAL’ | Recto: Ph-China oil deal ‘off to good start’

November 24, 2018 – The projected oil deal between the Philippines and China is off to a good start, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.

The Senator said this in a statement after Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alberto del Rosario Recto claimed that the interests of the Philippines are “safe” and “nothing is being given away” by the country in the said agreement.

“This seal of a good agreement from two eminent experts bodes well for the eventual forging of a constitutionally-compliant venture that is economically beneficial to us,” Recto said.

“Because the memorandum that was signed respected our sovereignty, then the joint venture started off on the right foot, and not with the foot of one party pressed on the back of the other. It showed the way forward,” he added.

He noted the country’s urgent need for ‘energy independence’, adding that Malampaya in Palawan may run out of natural gas in 2024.

“This spectre of energy starvation is what should drive the renewed hunt for new gas and oil fields within our seas,” he added.

Malampaya supplies 40 to 50 percent of the energy in Luzon. It also fuels five baseload plants in Batangas with a capacity of 3,211 megawatts.

“If the plants’ fuel source go dry, then substitutes will have to be imported, until we hopefully strike gas in a territory believed to contain large deposits of it,” Recto said.

“It is not easy to walk on this tightrope, of cooperating with another nation and contesting some of its actions at the same time. We are caught between a dark future and a powerful force,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation of oil and gas development during latter’s state visit to the country last week.

(Read Also: DEAL EXPLORATION | PH, China sign deals on oil and gas development)

NOT YET EXECUTORY | Imelda Marcos may still run in 2019 polls amid guilty verdict

NOVEMBER 9, 2018 – Former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos can still pursue her gubernatorial bid in the 2019 midterm elections, an official from the Office of the Ombudsman said.

Assistant Special Prosecutor Ryan Quilala said Marcos has still legal remedies which she can avail of amid the guilty verdict of Sandiganbayan for seven counts of graft.

READ ALSO: AFTER 27 YEARS | Imelda Marcos found guilty of graft – Sandiganbayan

“Puwede niyang i-akyat sa Supreme Court kapag may nakita siyang grave abuse of discretion, hindi pa po siya final and executory,” Quilala told reporters in an ambush interview on Friday.

The arrest warrant ordered against the widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos may also be set aside if she appears before the anti-graft court. Quilala moved for the release of warrant following the absence of Mrs. Marcos in the reading of verdict.

“Binigyan siya ng 30 days to explain her absence… Pwede naman pong i-lift ang warrant of arrest kasi nga may remedies pa po siya na available,” the prosecutor said.

Quilala said there may be a possibility that the Marcos’ camp chose not to attend as they felt the court’s decision will be against them.

“I’m not saying alam na nila, baka may pakiramdam sila kasi hindi sila present. And the accuse was given several oppotunities to even deny the allegations against her, hindi sila nag-avail nun,” he added.

Amid this, the prosecution considers the Sandiganbayan decision a victory even if Marcos was acquitted in three counts of graft involving her financial ties with local foundations.

“We presented former Prime Minister Cesar Virata, and according to his testimony, hindi naman directly ma-pinpoint ‘yung participation ni First Lady, so hindi ganoon kasama ang loob namin as to the local corporation,” Quilala said.

NOT PART OF CULTURE | Sexual assault of PNPA freshmen an isolated case -PNP

(OCTOBER 24, 2018) – The PNP on Wednesday insisted that the alleged sexual misdemeanor of three Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) cadets against two freshmen, was only an isolated case and not part of the culture within the institution.

PNP Spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana, Jr. said the involved cadets are now being investigated after two plebes claimed that one of the upperclassmen demanded them to perform oral sex last Oct. 6 as punishment for several violations.

“I think this has to be emphasized that what happened, the sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by the upperclassmen, is a fluke. This is an outlier. We believe that this does not reflect the culture within PNPA,” Durana said in an interview with One News’ Agenda.

He also assured that the erring cadets are now being probed and sanctions would be given as soon as the investigation is completed.

“The PNP encouraged the two victims to file cases against these upperclassmen, and I’m sure right now there’s an ongoing investigation to find out if there are some administrative lapses committed,” Durana added.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, PNP Chief P/Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde floated the possibility of a lack of proper discipline and leadership training among PNPA cadets.

“Sa tingin ko, there is a room for improvement talaga rito. Kailangan talagang ma-improve ‘yung level of education, discipline, and leadership,” he told reporters. “Kaya namin pinipilit na ma-transfer sa PNP para makita natin kung ano talaga ang pagkukulang at kung anong quality ng officers dapat ang meron tayo.”

In August, the Senate approved on third and final reading a measure that seeks to transfer the training of all police personnel under the control and supervision of the PNP.

According to the bill, the training of police recruits, which is currently facilitated by the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) along with PNPA officials and the National Police Training Institute, would be assigned to the PNP.