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Corruption

Filipinos witnessed cleaner election last May based on SWS survey

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Filipinos witnessed cleaner election last May based on SWS survey
Image Credit: Philippine Information Agency

Vote-buying, harassment of voters, flying voters and other poll-related irregularities are fast becoming a thing of the past in the Philippines, if the May 2019 national election is to be made as basis.

The Social Weather Station (SWS) reported that based on its recent survey, incidences of some election-related irregularities have dropped to insignificant numbers already.

For instance, the SWS survey showed that the number of Filipinos who personally witnessed harassment of voters dropped to 2% in the May 2019 polls from 4% in 2016. Those who said they read or heard about it fell to 4% from 7%.

Image Credit: @SocialWeatherStations / FB

The percentage of Filipino voters who said they personally witnessed cheating in the counting of votes in the May 2019 polls dropped to 1% from 3% in 2016. Those who read or heard about it plunged to 3% from 11%.

In the case of flying voters, those who said they personally witnessed it went down to 2% from the previous 4%, while those who read or heard about dropped to 4% from 7%.

Image Credit: @SocialWeatherStations / FB

The incidence of bribing of people to convince them not to vote also fell considerably to 1 percent in 2019 from 5% in 2016, while those who read or heard about it dropped to 4% from 11%.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Filipinos who said they personally witnessed violence on election day fell to 1% from 3%, and those who said they read or heard about it dropped to 1% from 6%.

Vote-buying was the only one on the list election irregularities that still had significant number of reported incidences. The SWS survey showed the percentage of voters who said they personally witnessed vote-buying was still at 10% in the May 2019 election, although it was a big improvement from the 19% in the previous polls. Those who said they read or heard about it from reliable sources fell to 15% from 23%.

Image Credit: @SocialWeatherStations / FB

These numbers are the results of the Second Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey conducted from June 22 to 26, with 1,200 adults interviewed face to face.

When asked: “What are the problems you encountered which pertains to voting in the last May 2019 elections?”, the respondents answered “very long lines” (53%); followed by “the Vote Counting Machine (VCM) malfunctioned” (16%); “the VCM did not read the ballot” (4%); there was “violence in the voting center” (3%); and “did not see their names in the voters’ list” (3%). One percent specified other problems, 35% said they did not encounter any problem, and 1% did not give an answer.

Results showed that the number of voters who said they did not encounter any problems this year went up from 23% in 2016. There were also fewer complaints about the VCM malfunctioned,  from 20% in 2016.

SC lifts TRO halting Aquino trial on Mamapasano massacre

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SC lifts TRO halting Aquino trial on Mamapasano massacre
image credit: PNA

Former President Benigno Aquino III could be facing trial before the Sandiganbayan soon after the Supreme Court (SC) lifted its halt order on the Mamasapano massacre trial, SC Spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka announced on Wednesday (August 6).

Aquino was earlier charged with graft and usurpation of authority before the Sandiganbayan for his alleged role in the botched police raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that led to the killing of 44 members of the Special Action Force (SAF) by Muslim separatists on January 25, 2015.

Also charged were former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima and former PNP-SAF director Getulio Napeñas Jr. Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales filed the charges on November 2017, but the SC issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the trial in February 2018 after issues were raised on the nature of the cases filed by the Ombudsman.

Relatives of the slain SAF members, now known as SAF44, informed the SC that they want to charge Aquino with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide instead.

“Upon verification with the Chief Justice, I would like to confirm that the Supreme Court has lifted the TRO on the Mamasapano trial before the Sandiganbayan,” Hosaka announced. 

Ombudsman Samuel Martires has already asked the Sandiganbayan to drop the graft and usurpation charges against Aquino, “without prejudice to the filing of appropriate charges against the accused after the conduct of preliminary investigation.”

This is because he also believes that the current cases are weak.

With the lifting of the TRO, the Sandiganbayan can now resolve the petition of Martires. 

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and the Office of the Solicitor General have asked Martires to charge Aquino with multiple homicides, which carries a harsher penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment for each count.

Senators to start Philhealth probe even sans Duque

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Senators to start Philhealth probe even sans Duque

Senators are bent on starting its probe on the reported multibillion-peso scam at the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) even if Health Secretary Francisco Duque III would not be able to attend the first hearing as he supervises efforts to address the dengue outbreak in the country.

Duque will be quizzed by members of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee for his alleged involvement in the overpayment of Philhealth benefits to hospitals and the reported dealings of his family-owned companies with Philhealth and the Department of Health (DOH)

Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee, said he wants hearings to start by Friday, with former officials of Philhealth and DOH already summoned to answer queries from the senators.

Gordon said they want to establish immediately how Philhealth funds are being managed and what led to the overpayment of benefits to hospitals that caused the state corporation to lose P154 billion.

In his State of the Nation Address last Monday, President Duterte said he already ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to identify all the officials of public and private institutions involved in the hospital bogus claims. 

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, wants Duque to explain to the committee why the DOH and Philhealth had contracts with corporations owned by the Health secretary’s family.

Lacson, according to a report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer,  criticized Duque for allowing Philhealth to lease a space in a family-owned building in Dagupan City, Pangasinan. The Duque-owned Doctors’ Pharmaceuticals Inc. (DPI), meanwhile, supplied medicines to DOH. Lacson, the report added, also linked Duque to the reported overpayments of PhilHealth to private hospitals, including one supposedly owned by a godson of the health chief. 

These, Lacson said, constitute a conflict of interest. 

It was Lacson who exposed the bogus claims scam involving Philhealth and certain hospitals and clinics.

Duque has already informed the Blue Ribbon Committee that he is currently too preoccupied with the dengue outbreak and will not be able to attend the Senate probe.

PCSO officials placed under NBI, PACC probes

in News/Tabloid PH News
PCSO officials placed under NBI, PACC probes

Manila, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been directed to identify erring officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in conjunction with the lifestyle checks to be conducted by the Presidential Anti-Crime and Corruption Commission (PACC).

According to reports of the Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer, to be covered by the probe are current and former officials of PCSO, including former general manager Alexander Balutan, current chairman Anselmo Pinili, and directors Marlon Balite, Sandra Cam and Ramon Ike Señeres. 

The PACC lifestyle check and NBI probe will not cover newly appointed general manager Royina Garma, who earlier discussed the corruption issues at PCSO with President Duterte, prompting the Chief Executive to suspend all gaming operations of the agency last Friday. On Tuesday, however, Malacanang said lotto operations will continue, as a preliminary probe showed lotto is not prone to corruption.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Palace also welcomes the congressional inquiries that will be launched by the Senate and House of Representatives.

Garma said foregone revenues from the suspended lotto operations alone already amounted to P250 million. Malacañang, however, gave the go signal to operate once again Lotto 6/42; Mega Lotto 6/45; Super Lotto 6/49; Grand Lotto 6/55; Ultra Lotto 6/ 58; 6-Digit Game; 4-Digit Game; Suertres and EZ2. Still suspended are the small town lotteries, Keno and Peryahan ng Bayan (PNB).

Last year, the PCSO earned P63.56 billion from its gaming operations, with P18.69 billion, or 30 percent, used to fund charity programs, including medical assistance to indigents. Its other revenues go to the national and local governments, as well as certain state agencies.

Sources:  www.philstar.comwww.inquirer.net

Photo Credit: PSCO

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