Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 05 July 2017

Port fees put Customs, PPA on collision course

Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has opposed several provisions of a proposed Customs Administrative Order (CAO) that seeks to establish temporary storage facilities for overstaying and abandoned cargoes at the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Port.

PPA Assistant General Manager Hector Miole, in a recent position paper, said the draft CAO diminished the jurisdiction of the port authority, particularly in relation to the provision that would allow the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to impose rates for storage services in identified Customs Facilities and Warehouses (CFW).

Miole said Section 2.5 of the draft order ‘‘may imply that the BOC will issue guidelines for storage rates as well.”

 

He said the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) provided that the customs bureau may impose an annual supervision fee to operators of CFWs and Customs bonded warehouses (CBW) but not for warehousing and storage services.

“The guidelines for the applicable storage period, the rates, as well as violations thereof are functions that are still lodged with the concerned port authorities,” he added.

The proposed CAO, which will implement Section 307 of CMTA, has been widely criticized by various stakeholders who warned that the order will only encourage corruption and lead to higher prices of goods in the long run.

Miole said the draft order must be amended to make it clear that it was the PPA and not the BOC that had the corporate duty to provide warehousing and storage services, and fix the rates.

‘‘Allowing the BOC to issue guidelines on storage and the rates would result in having two guidelines on the same subject matter issued by different government agencies,” he said.

Miole, citing the need to ‘‘avoid duplicity of functions,” also rejected the BOC’s plan to declare the customs warehouses as ‘‘part of Customs premises” since these facilities were under the PPA.

‘‘PPA is of the view that the BOC may exercise its authority over CFWs for purposes of enforcement of Customs and tariff laws. The issuance of guidelines as to storage period, rates, and penalties are operational concerns of a port, and the same do not necessarily involve customs enforcement,” he said.

During a recent forum organized by the bureau to discuss the draft order, several stakeholders expressed concerns that the bureau wanted to earn revenues from the temporary storages while passing on the cost to CFWs and depriving the PPA of its lawful revenue share.

 

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Family of three in DepEd to face ill-gotten wealth forfeiture proceedings


By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab - Reporter / @MJcayabyabINQINQUIRER.net

A family of three working for the Department of Education (DepEd) Region 4 will face forfeiture proceedings before the Sandiganbayan for alleged ill-gotten wealth.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Office of the Ombudsman said it had ordered the filing of a petition to initiate forfeiture proceedings against former DepEd Regional Director Jesus Nieves; his wife, former Supervisor Segunda Nieves; and their stepdaughter, former Data Controller III Gwendolyn Sola.

Their statements of assets and liabilities networth (SALN) showed that their declared income from 2005 to 2007 amounted to P1,953,597.50, but their combined wealth during the period shot up to P10,601,402.50.

 

The Office of Ombudsman also found the following undeclared properties – a commercial lot in Kamuning, Quezon City, registered in the name of Segundina and valued at P7.6 million; a residential lot in Batasan Hills, Quezon City, registered in the name of Gwendolyn and valued at P3.5 million; and a Toyota Fortuner registered in the name of Gwendolyn and valued at P1.54 million.

Ombudsman investigators also found that the P1.54 million Fortuner was bought by Gwendolyn in cash.

In a joint resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman said these properties were “prima facie presumed to have been unlawfully acquired as the amounts thereof are manifestly out of proportion to respondents’ salaries as such public officers.”

The Ombudsman said there was “reasonable ground to believe” the former regional director unlawfully acquired properties in violation of Republic Act 1379, “in conspiracy with his wife and stepdaughter,” especially because he had no registered business interests and other legitimate sources of income.

Besides the forfeiture proceedings, the Jesus Nieves was also indicted for perjury for allegedly failing to declare his Kamuning property in his 2007 SALN. He will to be charged with perjury before the Sandiganbayan.

Meanwhile, Gwendolyn Sola was indicted for three counts of ethical breach in violation of Section 8 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act 6713), for allegedly failing to file her 2007 to 2009 SALN. Due to her lower salary grade, her case would be lodged before a municipal trial court. /atm

 

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Ex-cop escorts Atong Ang, Gretchen Barreto through Naia — BI

By: Tetch Torres-Tupas - Reporter / @T2TupasINQINQUIRER.net

Photo: Charlie ‘Atong’ Ang. INQUIRER FILE

A former policeman escorted Charlie “Atong” Ang, actress Gretchen Barreto and company through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) when they arrived from a trip to Bangkok, Thailand, on Sunday, a Bureau of Immigration (BI) memorandum said.

A certain “retired SPO4 Ciriaco Peralta” told BI personnel under the Border Control and Intelligence Unit (BCIU) that he would be escorting Ang, who was with Barreto, according to the memo by Marc Red Mariñas, acting chief of the Port Operations Division (POD).

Peralta “approached the BCIU on duty informing that he will be assisting Mr. Ang,” said the memo submitted to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.

 

The BI said Peralta allegedly wore a pass from the airport’s pass control office when he met Ang, Barreto and company and escorted them to the immigration counter of the NAIA 1 terminal.

The report described Peralta as “a media practitioner” and added that he was “reportedly an employee of the Rustan’s retail stores.”

Meanwhile, Ang is a businessman engaged in gaming. He operates an online jai alai numbers game through Meridien Vista Gaming Corp.

The BI ordered an investigation following reports that Ang, Barreto and their companions were given VIP treatment at the airport.

Mariñas stressed that no immigration officer or BI or POD employee was involved in escorting Ang and Barreto.

Morente said that he would ask Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal to investigate the incident and take appropriate action to prevent its recurrence in the future.

Subsequently, the BI on Wednesday reminded its men that they were prohibited from giving VIP treatment to passengers.

Morente said immigration areas in all international airports nationwide were off limits to unauthorized persons.

 

In his memorandum, Mariñas reminded bureau personnel to strictly observe the “no travel facilitation, no loafing and no loitering” policy.

He warned that employees who disobey the directive will be dealt with severely and meted with stiff disciplinary action. CBB

 

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Sotto, Ejercito offer Trillanes an ‘honorable way out’


By: Julliane Love De Jesus - Reporter / @JLDejesusINQINQUIRER.net

Ejercito, Sotto fire back at Trillanes' 'offensive' remarksNews

Apologizing would be “an honorable way out,” Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III told his colleague Senator Antonio Trillanes IV after he made a controversial statement calling the Senate a “puppet” of President Duterte and his administration.

Sotto initially refused to comment if he would demand an apology from Trillanes but he later said, “Instead of saying it’s the easy way out, it’s the honorable way out.”

Sotto said agreeing with the policies of the Duterte administration does not make them lapdogs of the President.

He maintained that the President never dictated any of the senators nor compelled them to support his policies and programs.

“Medyo mali siguro ‘yung mga terms na ginagamit kaya nagiging offensive kasi pag sinabi mong ‘puppet,’ ang ibig sabihin nun ang Malacañang ang nagdidikta kung ano ‘yung mangyayari (The terms he’s using is wrong, which is why it’s offensive, because if you say ‘puppet,’ it means the Malacañang dictates what happens)… For example the declaration of martial law, and you agree with the declaration of martial law, puppet ka na no’n (that immediately makes you a puppet)? Hindi naman siguro (Not really),” he said.

Senator JV Ejercito, for his part, said Trillanes has to apologize not to the senators, but to the Senate as an institution.

“An apology would be good for the institution. Not for me, it’s for the institution. We have to maintain decency. We have to maintain parliamentary ethics in the Senate,” Ejercito said in the forum.

But he said, once a person apologizes, “end of story. Hindi po tayo ‘yung nag-sorry na sige pa rin, hindi ka pa rin titigil (We don’t say sorry yet still continue doing it).”

Although he is not keen on filing an ethics complaint against Trillanes, Ejercito cited the rules an unruly member of the Senate is violating.

Ejercito cited a portion of the Rules of the Senate, particularly Section 97 which says, “Upon the recommendation of the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, the Senate may punish any Member for disorderly behavior and, with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of the entire membership, suspend or expel a Member. A penalty of suspension shall not exceed sixty (60) calendar days.”

 

“Kaya nga meron mga rules ang Senado, there are rules of the senate to maintain proper decorum, maintain proper behavior,” he said.

Trillanes criticized some of his colleagues for being “cowards” as they refuse to investigate issues that would hurt the Duterte administration.

“‘Yung senado na dating last bastion of demoracy, ngayon wala na. Para na rin kaming mga tuta ng administrasyon na ‘to (The Senate used to be the last bastion of demoracy, but now it’s not. It’s as if we’re lapdogs of the administration),” Trillanes said during the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel forum on Monday.

“Ni ayaw magimbestiga eh. Dito ka makakakita ng mga Senador na takot. Kaalyado ka na lang kasi ayaw mong aminin na takot ka eh (They don’t want to investigate. You can see senators who are afraid. You’re just an ally because you don’t want to admit you’re afraid),” he said. JE/ac

 

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Martial law an urgent measure for nation’s survival — SC

By: Tetch Torres-Tupas - Reporter / @T2TupasINQINQUIRER.net

Photo: DUTERTE UPHELDThe Supreme Court justices, shown in this June 13 photo taken on the first day of oral arguments on President Duterte’s martial law declaration, have voted to affirm it. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ


The Constitution gives the President the authority to place any part or the entire Philippines under martial law, the Supreme Court said in its decision declaring as valid Proclamation 216 or President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law proclamation in Mindanao.

“There is no constitutional edict that martial law should be confined only in the particular place where the armed public uprising actually transpired. This is not only practical but also logical,” the Supreme Court said in its 82-page decision written by Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo.

“Martial law is an urgent measure since at stake is the nation’s territorial sovereignty and survival,” the high court added.

Ten other justices concurred in the decision including Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo – De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires and Noel Tijam – and all submitted their concurring opinions.

The high court pointed out that the President need not wait for the armed conflict in Marawi to spread to other areas in Mindanao.

“The President has to respond quickly… The President’s duty to maintain peace and public safety is not limited only to the place where there is actual rebellion; it extends to other areas where the present hostilities are in danger of spilling over,” the high court added.

“Clearly, the power to determine the scope of territorial application belongs to the President,” the high court said.

The high court said while its duty was to determine the sufficiency of factual basis in the declaration of martial law, it only has to rely on the same information given to the President.

It pointed out that it has no capacity to verify every intelligence data which has become the basis for the proclamation.

”The Court found that there was sufficient factual basis for the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus over the whole of Mindanao,” read the decision which was released in line with the 30-day deadline for the SC to resolve the petitions filed last June 5.

 

”The entirety of Proclamation No. 216 and the Report submitted to Congress suffice to show that there was an armed public uprising, the culpable purpose of which was to remove from the allegiance of the Philippine Government a portion of its territory and to deprive the Chief Executive of any of his powers and prerogatives. This led the President to believe that there was probable cause for the crime of rebellion and that public safety required the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” it added.

Petitioners said that there were information used as basis in the proclamation which, upon verification did not actually happen.

But the high court pointed out that they should also not expect absolute correctness of the facts stated in the proclamation and in the President’s Written Report as the President cannot be expected to verify the accuracy and veracity of all facts reported to him due to the urgency of the situation. To require precision in the President’s appreciation of facts would unduly burden him and therefore impede the process of decision making.

The Court noted that the sufficiency of the factual basis should not be affected if subsequent events show that the situation had not been accurately reported to the President since the Court’s review is limited to sufficiency, not accuracy, of the factual basis.

Three justices voted to partially grant the petitions: Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa. They believed that while there was factual basis for declaration of martial law, it should be limited in scope and should have not covered entire Mindanao.

In her 51-page dissenting opinion, Sereno said martial law should only cover the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Sulu.

She disagreed with the majority opinion that the discretion on the coverage of the martial law should be left to the President as it is an executive duty.

“Martial law is an extraordinary measure necessitating the exercise of extraordinary power. Nevertheless, the President, in the exercise of his commander-in-chief powers, does not have unbridled discretion as to when, where and how martial law is to be declared,” Sereno explained.

Only Associate Justice Marvic Leonen voted to grant the petitions and declare the proclamation as invalid for lack of factual basis.

Leonen believed that the government failed to justify the necessity for declaration of martial law and why other powers of the President – including the power to call out the military – would not suffice to address the problem in Mindanao.

He said the respondents represented by Calida “failed to show what additional legal powers will be added by martial law except perhaps to potentially put on the shoulders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines the responsibilities and burdens of the entire civilian government over the entire Mindanao region.”

Leonen said the situation in Mindanao involves only “acts of terrorism which should be addresses in a decisive but more precise manner.”

“Never again should this Court allow itself to step aside when the powerful invoke vogue powers that feed on fear but could potentially undermine our most cherished rights. Never again should we fall victim to a false narrative that a vague declaration of martial law is good for us no matter the circumstances. We have the courage to never again clothe authoritarianism in any disguise with the mantle of constitutionality,” read his 92-page dissenting opinion. CBB

 

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