Saturday, September 23, 2017

House approves creation of coconut industry trust fund on 2nd reading | BusinessMirror

"x x x.

House approves creation of coconut industry trust fund on 2nd reading

-September 20, 2017

THE House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a measure creating the Coconut Industry Trust Fund.

The measure, which seeks to create a Coconut Industry Trust Fund and amend Republic Act 6260, or the Coconut Investment Act that created the coconut-levy fund, was approved through viva-voce voting. The bill is expected to be passed on third reading next week.

Party-list Rep. Jose Panganiban Jr. of Anac-IP House Committee on Agriculture and Food chairman and one of the authors of the bill, said the Supreme Court declared in 2012 the coconut-levy fund as owned by the government, to be used solely for the benefit of coconut farmers and for the development of the coconut industry.

Based on the Supreme Court ruling in Cocofed, et al v. Republic of the Philippines (GR 177857-58), it declared the coco-levy funds and assets, which consist primarily of the 753,848,3312 shares of San Miguel Corp. and their accumulated dividends, are owned by the government in trust for the coconut farmers.”

Panganiban, citing the Bureau of Treasury, said, “The total amount of the coconut-levy fund is P62.5 billion in cash, deposited in a special account in the general fund, which is not earning interest because it cannot be invested, adding it needs a law in order to be utilized.”

The other amount of P13.09 billion is held in escrow and earning interest, he said.

It also provides that P10 billion of the initial trust principal be used within two years from the approval of the “Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan” by the President of the Philippines.

The measure said the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund Committee shall be created, under the Office of the President, which shall monitor the implementation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan and approve disbursements out of the trust fund.

“The Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund, hereinafter referred to as the trust fund, shall consist of the Trust Principal and the Trust Income. No portion of the trust fund shall accrue to the general fund of the national government. It shall be capitalized, managed, utilized and accounted for in the manner provided in this Act,” Panganiban said.

The trust fund shall be used exclusively for the ultimate benefit of coconut farmers and farmworkers, as embodied in the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan prepared under this measure.

All assets and/or properties derived from all coconut levy-recovered assets; and all dividends, interest earnings and incomes that are available upon the effectivity of the Act shall form part of the initial capital of the trust fund.

The trust fund shall thereafter be augmented. It with all proceeds of privatization/disposition of the coconut-levy assets remitted directly thereto by the PMO in accordance with the Act, including any and all forms of income, interests, earnings, yields, or any monetary benefit derived therefrom prior to the privatization/disposition of these coconut-levy assets.

In order to ensure the enduring character of the trust fund, the principal thereof shall be augmented by grants, donations and other lawful transfers by public or private entities.

It also provides for the naming of nine representatives from the coconut farmers’ organizations (three representatives each from Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao) as among the members of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund Committee.

The bill provides for the creation of an ad hoc committee that shall prepare every 10 years a plan of programs, projects and activities to be funded from the trust fund.

It also mandates the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to undertake a full accounting and inventory of all coconut- levy assets; and the Commission on Audit to audit the inventory of the coconut-levy assets prepared by the PCGG.

x x x."

The Supreme Court’s rulings on the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth | News | GMA News Online

"x x x.

As the country commemorates 45 years since Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law, the Presidential Commission on Good Government is still saddled with 282 pending cases that seek to recover ill-gotten wealth allegedly amassed by the late President, his family, and their cronies.

More than three decades after Marcos was ousted from Malacañang, the Supreme Court is still hearing cases involving the recovery of this wealth.

In at least three decisions, the High Tribunal already has forfeited in favor of the government some of the Marcoses' wealth. The High Tribunal also has ruled that the government can still recover other assets in a 25-year-old forfeiture case from where these rulings emanate.

These rulings forfeited in favor of the Philippine government at least US$658 million in Swiss deposits which Ferdinand and his First Lady Imelda Marcos allegedly stashed under the names of different foundations, more than US$3 million in assets and funds of their alleged dummy company Arelma SA, and a jewelry collection worth more than US$100,000.

The amounts are actually bigger: the figures are based on estimates as far back as 1983 (for the Arelma properties), 1991 (for the Malacañang Collection of jewelry) and 2002 (for the Swiss deposits).

All three decisions maintained that the Marcoses failed to show that these properties were legally acquired. The Supreme Court noted that the PCGG was able to establish that the assets and properties acquired by the Marcoses were “manifestly and patently disproportionate” to their aggregate salaries as public officials.

The rulings noted that from 1966 to 1986, Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos had accumulated salaries worth P2,319,583.33 or $304,372.43 when converted to the prevailing peso-dollar exchange rate at that time.

The Supreme Court said the Marcoses had “judicially admitted” in various pleadings and documents that they own the properties. The High Tribunal said the properties are deemed ill-gotten since they were out of proportion to their known lawful income.


In the first decision, dated July 15, 2003, the Supreme Court en banc forfeited in favor of the Philippine government Swiss deposits in the estimated aggregate amount of US$658,175,373.60 as of January 31, 2002, plus interest.

The Supreme Court denied with finality the Marcoses’ motion for reconsideration on November 18, 2003.

The second ruling, issued by the High Tribunal's Second Division on April 25, 2012, forfeited in favor of the government US$3,369,975 as of 1983, plus all interests and all other accrued income, from all assets, properties and funds belonging to Arelma, S.A., a Panamanian entity maintaining an account in Merrill Lynch, New York.

The third ruling is a resolution of the Supreme Court First Division on January 18 this year forfeiting in favor of the government pieces of jewelry known as the Malacañang Collection, so called because they were seized from Malacañang after February 25, 1986, when the Marcoses fled to Hawaii.

Based on the 1991 valuation of auction house Christie, Manson and Woods International Inc., the value of the Malacañang Collection was between US$110,055 to US$153,089.

The Arelma and Malacañang Collection rulings reiterated the findings on the Swiss deposits case on the Marcoses’ known lawful income.

Legitimate income

PCGG came up with the combined accumulated salaries of the Marcos couple from a certification issued on May 27, 1986 by then Minister of Budget and Management Alberto Romulo.

The certification showed that Ferdinand and Imelda had accumulated salaries in the amount of P1,570,000 and P718,750, respectively, or a total of P2,288,750 from 1966 to 1985.

It also showed that the spouses had combined salaries of P30,833.33 from January to February 1986. PCGG said these total P2,319,583.33 or $304,372.43 when converted to the prevailing peso-US dollars exchange rates during the covered period.

The Marcoses had reported P16,408,442.00 or US$2,414,484.91 in total income over a period of 20 years from 1965 to 1984. Almost 70 percent of this, or more than P11 million, allegedly came from Mr. Marcos’s legal practice.

In the 2012 decision, the Marcoses lamented that the government never took into account Ferdinand’s income from 1940 to 1965, when he was a practicing lawyer, congressman and senator, as well as other earnings until 1985. The Marcoses also noted that Mr. Marcos served as a war veteran with back pay and was a trader and investor.

They also said the government did not consider real properties that were auctioned off to satisfy the estate tax assessed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

But the Supreme Court said the Marcos family never raised the existence of these earnings and real properties at the outset in their defense. The Marcoses merely made general denials of the allegations without stating facts in their pleadings, the High Tribunal said.

No SALN, law office

The Supreme Court said the Marcoses failed to justify their earnings other than official salaries.

In the 2003 decision, the justices noted that the Marcos couple did not file any Statement of Assets and Liabilities, as required by law, from which their net worth could be determined.

The Supreme Court also noted in the same ruling that Mr. Marcos is barred under the 1935 Constitution from receiving any emolument from the government or any of its subdivisions and instrumentalities.

Under the 1973 Constitution, the decision said, Mr. Marcos as President could not receive any other emolument from the government or any other source during his tenure. “In fact, his management of businesses, like the administration of foundations to accumulate funds, was expressly prohibited under the 1973 Constitution,” the 2003 decision read.

The High Tribunal also said the Marcoses’ claim of the late dictator’s lucrative law profession has no basis.

“Marcos never had a known law office nor any known clients, and neither did he file any withholding tax certificate that would prove the existence of a supposedly profitable law practice before he became President,” the Supreme Court said in its 2012 ruling.

In the 2003 ruling, the PCGG had said Ferdinand “made it appear that he had an extremely profitable legal practice before he became a President (FM being barred by law from practicing his law profession during his entire presidency) and that, incredibly, he was still receiving payments almost 20 years after.”

However, the balance sheet attached to his 1965 income tax return immediately before he became President did not reflect any receivables from any client, the PCGG said, adding that there were no documents showing any withholding tax certificate.

There is also no record that will show any known Marcos client because he has no known law office, the PCGG said.

Mr. Marcos mentioned “Other Income” of P2.5 million from 1972 to 1976 that he referred to in his return as “Miscellaneous Items and Various Corporations.” The PCGG said there is no indication of any payor of the dividends or earnings.

The PCGG, citing findings of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, also noted that the Marcos couple did not declare any income from any deposits and placements which are subject to a 5-percent withholding tax.

The BIR did not find any record of tax transactions of the spouses in its revenue offices in Region 1 in Baguio City, Region 4A in Manila, Region 4B1 in Quezon City, Region 8 in Tacloban, Leyte and the Office of the Revenue Collector of Batac, Marcos’s hometown in Ilocos Norte. The BIR also said it did not find any record on any filing of capital gains tax return involving the couple from 1960 to 1965.

Less than US$1 million

The PCGG said that, based on its computation of official earnings and tax returns, the combined net worth of the Marcos spouses for the years 1965 to 1984 is US$957,487.75—“assuming that the income from legal practice is real and valid.”

This means that the Marcoses were able to account for just 30 percent—or their US$304,372.43 official salaries—of their wealth, the PCGG said.

“The combined salaries make up only 31.79 percent of the spouses' total net worth from 1965 to 1984. This means petitioners are unable to account for or explain more than two-thirds of the total net worth of the Marcos spouses from 1965 to 1984,” the 2012 ruling read.

The 2003 ruling was penned by then-Associate Justice Renato Corona and concurred in by then-Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. and then-Associate Justices Josue Bellosillo, Reynato Puno, Jose Vitug, , Artemio Panganiban, Consuelo Ynares Santiago, Alicia Austria-Martinez, Conchita Carpio-Morales, Romeo Callejo Sr., Adolfo Azcuna and Dante Tinga.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno authored the 2012 decision, when she was an Associate Justice, and the 2017 decision.

Swiss deposits

The US$658 million was lodged in five account groups using various foreign foundations in certain Swiss banks. They are the Azio-Verso-Vibur Foundation accounts; the Xandy-Wintrop Foundation accounts; the Charis-Scolari-Valamo-Spinus-Avertina Foundation accounts; Rosalys-Aguamina Foundation accounts; and Maler Foundation accounts.

The PCGG has said that it has evidence “very clearly and overwhelmingly show[ing] in detail how both respondents [Marcos spouses] clandestinely stashed away the country’s wealth to Switzerland and hid the same under layers upon layers of foundations and other corporate entities to prevent its detection.”

The PCGG said the Marcoses opened and maintained numerous Swiss accounts through their dummies/nominees, fronts or agents who formed those foundations or corporate entities.

Documents that the Marcoses left behind in Malacañang when they fled in February 1986 show that Ferdinand and Imelda, using the pseudonyms “William Saunders” and “Jane Ryan,” respectively, opened their first Swiss bank accounts in March 1968, two years into the presidency.

The PCGG said it was able to sue for only five accounts because it was difficult to detect and document all the Marcos secret accounts.

In January 2004, the PCGG remitted to the Bureau of Treasury P35 billion from the Swiss deposits.


The Arelma decision affirmed the ruling of Sandiganbayan dated April 2, 2009 granting the government's partial summary judgment declaring the assets, investments, securities, properties, shares, interests, and funds of Arelma Inc. forfeited in favor of the Philippine government.

The PCGG said Arelma was organized by the Marcoses for the sole purpose of maintaining an account and portfolio in Merrill Lynch, a New York-based brokerage company. Mr. Marcos allegedly ordered the transfer of US$2 million from his alleged Swiss accounts to Arelma.

Correspondence between Marcos crony Jose Campos and a Swiss Bank Corp. official in September 1972 show that the SBC office in Panama was instructed to create a Panamanian company, which became Arelma. It was organized in Liechtenstein. Arelma officers then opened a direct account with Merrill Lynch.

Ferdinand’s name does not appear in Arelma’s corporate records. But documents the Marcoses left in Malacañang include letters from an SBC official addressed “Dear Excellency.” Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have said that the properties do not belong to them and that they are mere beneficiaries.

The Merrill Lynch account started at US$2 million in 1972 and was already US$35 million when it was discovered in 2000.

Malacañang Collection

The Supreme Court also affirmed the Sandiganbayan's January 13, 2014 partial summary judgment declaring pieces of jewelry known as the Malacañang Collection as ill-gotten and forfeiting them in favor of the government.

The PCGG said the Marcoses acquired the pieces of jewelry during their incumbency as public officials between 1966 and 1986, particularly during their trips to Asia, Europe and the United States. The pieces of jewelry were in mint condition and most has never been used, the PCGG said.

The Malacañang Collection is the third and least expensive of the three collections of jewelry recovered from the Marcoses. A 1991 appraisal valued these three jewelry collections at US$5 to US$7 million.

The Hawaii Collection was seized from the Marcoses by the US Customs Service upon their arrival at the Honolulu International Airport on February 25, 1986. The Roumeliotes Collection was seized from Greek businessman and alleged Marcos crony Demetriou Roumeliotes on March 1, 1986 at the Manila International Airport as he was about to leave the country.

Not terminated

The assets in the three decisions are subject of Civil Case No. 0141, the petition for forfeiture of an estimated US$5 billion worth of properties allegedly illegally acquired by the Marcoses during their term. It was filed by PCGG before the Sandiganbayan on December 17, 1991.

The Arelma ruling notes that the 25-year-old case has not yet terminated since it refers to the recovery of all the assets enumerated in the petition for forfeiture.

This means that the government can still seek the summary judgment from the Sandiganbayan for the recovery of the other alleged ill-gotten properties of the Marcoses identified in the petition.

“With the myriad of properties and interconnected accounts used to hide these assets that are in danger of dissipation, it would be highly unreasonable to require the government to ascertain their exact locations and recover them simultaneously, just so there would be one comprehensive judgment covering the different subject matters,” the 2012 decision read.

A footnote in the 2017 decision identified the approximately US$5 billion worth of properties in Civil Case 0141. These were listed and clustered into 18 categories.

— BM, GMA News
x x x."

SC orders release of detainees still not charged after required period. - "But the High Court added that raising the issue of public security is "not a justification to trample upon the constitutional rights of the detainees against deprivation of liberty without due process of law, to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and to a speedy disposition of the case."

"x x x.

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the release of arrested persons who have been kept in detention even after the period of preliminary investigation for their cases have already lapsed.

The SC en banc's unanimous decision promulgated last July covers "all detainees whose pending cases have gone beyond the mandated periods for the conduct of preliminary investigation, or whose cases have already been dismissed on inquest or preliminary investigation, despite pending appeal, reconsideration, reinvestigation or automatic review by the Secretary of Justice."

These are the individuals arrested without warrant or kept detained even though charges have not been filed before a court.

Continued detention of these individuals is only allowed if prosecutors secure a waiver of Article 25 of the 1987 Constitution which states that a person arrested and detained without warrant should be placed under the judicial process within 12 to 36 hours, or else they should be released.

"The Court held that such waiver does not vest upon the Department of Justice (DOJ), Provincial Prosecutor's Office (PPO), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Philippine National Police (PNP) the unbridled right to indefinitely incarcerate an arrested person and subject him to the whims and caprices of the reviewing prosecutor of the DOJ," the SC said in a statement.

The SC said waivers of Article 25 should still coincide with Section 7, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court.

Under that provision, despite a waiver, a person arrested without warrant shall be allowed to apply for bail. The investigation must also be "terminated within 15 days from its inception."

"Detention beyond this period violates the accused's constitutional right to liberty," the SC said.

Drug-related case

The High Court acted on the petition of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Pangasinan, which represented drug suspect Jay-Ar Senin.

Senin was arrested in a buy-bust operation in 2015, then detained for 8 months without any finding of probable cause at the time. Drug charges are non-bailable. (READ: Supreme Court allows plea bargaining in drug cases)

Prosecutors initially dismissed the case against Senin at their level, but because the DOJ puts every drug-related resolution on automatic review, he was kept behind bars.

The Office of the Solicitor General said the IBP-Senin case was moot because probable cause was eventually established and charges were then filed in court.

But the SC en banc said it took the opportunity to clarify the guidelines and ensure that the right to liberty will no longer be violated.

"The Court held that the rule is that a person subject of a warrantless arrest must be delivered to the proper judicial authorities within the periods provided in Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), otherwise, the public official or employee could be held liable for the failure to deliver except in grounded on reasonable and allowable delays. Article 125 of the RPC, however, can be waived if the detainee who was validly arrested without warrant opts for the conduct of preliminary investigation," the SC said.

The DOJ's automatic review rule for drug-related cases has been in effect since 2003. But in January 2017, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II signed Circular No. 004 which says that an arrested person must be released when the complaint against him is dismissed, "notwithstanding the automatic review."

The SC said it issued the ruling despite Aguirre's circular to cement the guidelines due to the "possibility that the latest circular would again be amended by succeeding secretaries."

The SC said "it was aware that this decision may raise discomfort to some, especially at this time when the present administration aggressively wages its indisputably popular war on illegal drugs."

But the High Court added that raising the issue of public security is "not a justification to trample upon the constitutional rights of the detainees against deprivation of liberty without due process of law, to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and to a speedy disposition of the case."

The SC ruling was penned by now retired Associate Justice Jose Mendoza. Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa did not take part in the voting, the High Court said. –

x x x."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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PDEA files drug raps vs Faeldon, et. al. for P6.4-B shabu | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star |

"x x x.

Former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon faces a string of drug and criminal charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) after P6.4 billion worth of shabu slipped through the Bureau of Customs (BOC) from China last May.

In a 23-page complaint filed yesterday, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) sought the indictment of Faeldon and 11 other BOC officers for conspiracy to import illegal drugs and for protecting or coddling drug traffickers – a violation under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

It also charged them with obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree 1829 for “harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape” of the persons behind the shabu shipment, and for negligence and tolerance under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code.

The agency also accused them of violating Section 3 of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for “causing any undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”

Aside from Faeldon, the agency named in the charge sheet BOC directors Milo Maestrecampo and Neil Anthony Estrella; intelligence officers Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente; Manila International Container Port district collector Vincent Phillip Maronilla; Faeldon’s fiancée lawyer Jeline Maree Magsuci; BOC employees Alexandra Ventura, Randolph Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor.

The anti-narcotics agency alleged in the complaint that the importation of illegal drugs would not have been possible if not for the “incompetence and corruption of the Bureau of Customs officials,” which “effectively shielded and facilitated the escape of Chen Ju Long and prevented his immediate arrest and prospective prosecution.”

“As can be culled from the preceding discussion, the gross inexcusable negligence, manifest partiality or bad faith of Commissioner Faeldon, Dir. Maestrecampo, Dir. Estrella, Pinawin, Valiente, Atty. Maronilla, Ventura, Cabansag, Maniego, Cabildo, and Edillor made possible the importation of 602.279 kilograms of shabu and the evasion of Chen Ju Long from being arrested and prosecuted,” it further alleged.

In the same complaint, the PDEA filed illegal drug importation charges against Chen Ju Long, Chen Rong Juan, Manny Li, Kenneth Dong, Mark Taguba II, Teejay Marcellana, Eirene May Tatad, Emily Dee, Chen I-Min and Jhu Ming Jyun,who were identified as importers or facilitators.

It also charged Genelita Arayan, Dennis Nocom, Zhang Hong, Rene Palle, Richard Rebistual and Mary Rose dela Cruz – directors and officers of Hong Fei Logistics Inc., the warehouse where the shabu shipment was seized.

PDEA’s complaint is separate from the complaint for drug smuggling filed by the National Bureau of Investigation against the importers and brokers of the shipment, which is undergoing preliminary investigation before the DOJ. 

x x x."

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Monetary Board and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are not truly independent institutions.

Many think the chair and members of the Monetary Board and the governor and deputy governors of the Central Bank/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) are “independent" (a) because the Monetary Board was “created by the Constitution” and not by Congress and (b) because the BSP is under the control and supervision of the Monetary Board, a "constitutional creation".

On the contrary, and in a real political sense, the Executive controls these institutions and their officials, notwithstanding their managed image of “independence and professionalism”.

The Executive alone appoints the BSP governor, who is the chair of the Monetary Board. The Executive alone appoints the seven members of the Monetary.

Except for the BSP governor, the rest of the members of the Monetary Board are not confirmed by the Commission on Apportionments.

Only the BSP governor, who acts as the chair of the Monetary Board, is confirmed by the Commission of Appointments. (RA 7653, The New Central Bank Act).

Moreover, under RA 7653, the Executive may remove any member of the Monetary Board for cause.

The tendency of the pronouncements of the BSP governor and his subordinates during their regular press conferences is to support the political statements and economic projections of the Executive and his finance and economic team, i.e., the Department of Finance and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

Just like all salaried bureaucrats, the Monetary Board and BSP officials must protect their career.

The Monetary Board and BSP officials seem to ignore the contrary views, consensus, forecasts, and studies that have been presented by respected international risks assessment firms and creditworthiness evaluation organizations, e.g., Moody’s Investor Service, Fitch Ratings, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and global investments banks led by DBS Bank Ltd of Singapore, about the “overheating” Philippine economy.

In so doing the Monetary Board and BSP officials wittingly or unwittingly encourage the “credit bubble” that is silently forming in the Philippines like an economic cancer.

The Dutertenomics (“golden era of infrastructure”) of the Executive is based on (a) excessive domestic and foreign debt, (b) aggressive deficit spending and (c) reckless credit bubble.

The subservient statements of the BSP officials create false hopes and rising expectations among the Filipino people, who are misled to believe that everything would be alright with the Philippine economy, despite clear warnings to the contrary by respected international economic and financial experts and analysts.

All bubbles bust.

When they do, inflation, stagflation, unemployment, depression and recession follow -- all of which would mean great human sufferings.

The proper stance to adopt is one of prudence and conservatism in economic and financial management.

Read below the latest presscon of the BSP officer-in-charge.

“x x x.

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said fears of overheating due to strong credit and liquidity growth remain unfounded amid the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals.

BSP officer-in-charge Diwa Guinigundo said the growth potential of the Philippines has gone up compared to previous years as the economy has become more productive, particularly in terms of capital productivity.

“If you establish an analogy between growth and balloon, the balloon has grown. Even if you pump in more water or air, it can accommodate. It has a bigger capacity to do that without going into capacity constraint,” he said.

Guinigundo issued the clarification after flagged emerging capacity constraints such as labor shortages in certain sectors 
that could push up inflation.

“I don’t know where that observation is really coming from because the numbers are quite clear. We have been enjoying an increase in economic growth against a backdrop of stable prices,” he added.

He explained the labor market economics in the Philippines continue to be favorable amid the favorable demographic factors, with the young population and others joining the formal sector.

Aside from Moody’s, other debt watchers such as warned the Philippines was showing some signs of overheating.

The country’s gross domestic product growth improved to 6.5 percent in the second quarter from 6.4 percent in the first quarter, bringing the average growth to 6.4 percent in the first half of the year.

On the other hand, inflation averaged 3.1 percent in the first eight months of the year despite kicking up to a three-month high of 3.1 percent in August from 2.8 percent in July due to rising food and non-food prices.

“When you are going into capacity constraint, the tell-tale signs are very clear. If you have capacity constraint then that should tell on your inflation. In other words, inflation should be surging but it is not,” he said.

The BSP has set an inflation target of between two and four percent from 2017 to 2019. The central bank’s Monetary Board sees inflation averaging 3.2 percent in 2017 and 2018 before tapering off to three percent in 2019.

Furthermore, the BSP deputy governor said bank lending grew 19.2 percent while liquidity expanded 13.5 percent in July to support the country’s growing economy.

“Credit is rising no doubt because the economy is also expanding. You need credit and you need more liquidity to finance economic growth,” Guinigundo said.

According to Guinigundo, authorities continue to use some parameters to check whether credit growth is reaching serious proportions.

“Based on the parameters that we are using, we are far from those thresholds that should tell us that we are nearing serious proportion or a point where one can say that there is over extension of credit or overheating,” he added.

He said the movement of the peso against the US dollar is consistent with the economic fundamentals of the country.

Although the local currency has depreciated by more than two percent this year, he explained the peso has appreciated by 0.9 percent over the past 10 years.

X x x.”
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said fears of overheating due to strong credit and liquidity growth remain unfounded amid the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

"Main plunderer" theory

If a petition for bail is granted in a "nonbailable plunder" case -- where the penalty is death had it not been earlier abolished -- based on the theory that the accused does not appear to be the "main plunderer", if there is one, or that there does not appear to be a "main plunderer" at all, despite the finding of the court that there is sufficient prima facie evidence (probable cause) showing receipt by the accused of bribe money out of his multi-million peso pork barrel transactions, such a "main plunderer" theory is unconstitutional because it violates the constitutional command that, in a capital offense, no bail shall be granted if the evidence of guilt is strong. (Article III, Bill of Rights, 1987 Constitution).

The "main plunderer" theory finds no basis -- whether directly, indirectly or by analogy -- in any of the provisions of Rule 114 (bail) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.

The theory effectively rules that, despite the earlier "multi-determination of probable cause" by the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Ombudsman, and the trial court itself (judicial determination of probable cause phase) showing that a crime (corpus delicti) has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof, if there appears to be no "main plunderer" (main/senior co-conspirator or mastermind) the junior co-conspirators are entitled to provisional liberty (bail).

It contradicts the elementary doctrine that "in a conspiracy the crime of one is the crime of all."

The conspiracy doctrine does not qualify that it is inapplicable when the "main plunderer" or the "mastermind" or the "main/senior co-conspirator" allegedly does not exist or allegedly cannot be identified, despite the earlier finding of "probable cause" showing the "commission of the crime itself" by the indicted multiple accused.

The office of the special prosecutor of the Ombudsman should elevate this purely legal and constitutional issue to the Supreme Court based on grave abuse of discretion of the Sandiganbayan amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in order to resolve the matter with finality. (Rule 65, Certiorari, Rules of Court).
(2ND UPDATED) The Sandiganbayan ‪Special 5th Division says in its resolution that it granted the former senator's bail petition because the evidence, so far, does not point to him as a 'main plunderer'

Let us not allow Duterte (the modern day Emperor Nero who massacred the early Christians in Rome) to weaken our faith as the only Christian nation in Asia.

"Lex Talionis" means the "law of retaliation". It is the name of the law fraternity of Duterte as a student. He speaks often of the "law of retribution" in defending his deadly drug war. But the Gospel speaks of love and compassion for one's enemy, the sick, the prisoners, the outcasts of society, the misled, and the possessed.

I recommend that you watch and meditate on this touching and enlightening twelve-minute teaching of Caloocan City Bishop Pablo Virgilio David on the Law of God with respect to drug addicts and all those who are victims of all kinds of substance abuse.

Drug addicts, like alcoholics, casino addicts, and other patients suffering from substance abuse and all kinds of manic disorders, do not deserve summary death. They deserve compassionate healing. They deserve love.

Let us not allow Duterte (the modern day Emperor Nero who massacred the early Christians in Rome) to weaken our faith as the only Christian nation in Asia.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David criticizes Catholics who support drug war killings. David makes these remarks at the Family Rosary Crusade Marian Confer...

SC lifts TRO on P75-B coco levy fund | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star |

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SC lifts TRO on P75-B coco levy fund
By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 16, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued in 2015 that stalled the use of the P75-billion coconut levy fund.

In a 21-page decision, the SC said it has lifted effective immediately the TRO it issued on June 30, 2015, alongside the voiding of four sections of the Guidelines for Utilization of Coco Levy Funds.

In 2015, the SC stopped the implementation of Executive Orders 179 and 180 of former president Benigno Aquino III aimed at managing the coco levy fund.

EO 179 provides for the inventory, privatization and transfer coco levy assets in favor of the government. EO 180, meanwhile, mandates the transfer of the fund to the government for an “Integrated Coconut Industry Roadmap Program.”

The Court in full session ruled that Aquino “went beyond the authority delegated by law in the disbursement of the coconut levy funds” following the case filed by industry group Confederation of Coconut Farmers Organization of the Philippines (CONFED) versus the former president.

The Court partially granted the petition for prohibition and declared that sections on approval of roadmap, funding source, utilization of funds and implementing rules are not in conformity with the law.

“The provision of the Revised Coconut Industry Code is simply too broad to limit the amount of spending that may be done by the implementing authority. Congress must first provide a law for the disbursement of the funds, in line with its constitutional authority,” the SC said.

The High Court, however, held that EO 179 “does not create a new special fund but merely reiterates that revenues arising out of or in connection with the privatization of coconut levy funds shall be deposited in the special accounts in the general fund.”

Given the decision, the SC emphasized that there is no question that the coconut levy assets are public funds.

This means that the government may take the necessary steps to preserve them and to be able to utilize them.

“The most compelling reasons to treat coconut levy funds as public funds are the fact that it was raised through the State’s taxing power and it was for the development of the coconut industry as a whole and not merely to benefit individual farmers,” SC said.

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is optimistic that both chambers of Congress will come up with one unified law to be signed by President Duterte before the year ends.

Should the bill be signed by December, it would take about six months before the PCA can actually utilize and implement necessary programs.

The coco levy fund amounting to P75 billion is made up of taxes imposed on coconut farmers mandated by Presidential Decree 755 in 1975.

The taxes were supposed to be used for the construction of projects designed for the benefit of coconut farmers but were instead used to buy a large percentage of the bank now known as the United Coconut Planters Bank under Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.

The CONFED is the unified group of coconut farmers’ organizations nationwide, which is composed of the Philippine Association of Small Coconut Farmer’s Organizations, Pambansang Koalisyon ng mga Samahang Magsasaka at Manggagawa sa Niyugan and the Coconut Producer’s Federation. It represents more than 95 percent of the organized coconut farmers sector in the country. – With Evelyn Macairan

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