Thursday, 13 March 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Monday, March 3, 2014

Palace congratulates Fil-Am composer for Oscar win

Malacañang congratulated Filipino-American composer Robert John Lopez for winning the Best Original Song trophy at the recently concluded 86th Academy Awards in a ceremony held Sunday (Monday in Manila) at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

Lopez shares the award with his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, for the song “Let it Go” in Walt Disney Studios’ animated musical film “Frozen," which also won the Oscar Best Animated Feature Film.

“We certainly congratulate Mr. Robert John Lopez, and I think his wife, for their collaboration in coming up with the song ‘Let it Go.' And (when) I was in Washington, let me tell you that the cold didn’t bother me anyway,” Secretary Edwin Lacierda told a press briefing on Monday, alluding to a line from the song.

The song was performed by Idina Menzel, one of the film’s lead actresses, during the nearly four-hour award rites hosted by television host and comedienne Ellen de Generes.

Lopez is of Filipino descent but was born and raised in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York in the United States.

He now belongs to an elite group of artists who have been recognized in all four major American award giving bodies: the Emmys, the Grammys, the Oscars, and the Tony awards, otherwise known as "EGOT" in Hollywood parlance.

According to, Lopez won an Emmy for the television show “Wonder Pets,” a Grammy for his work on “The Book of Mormon,” and three Tony awards for “Mormon” and “Avenue Q”, joining the likes of Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, Mike Nichols, and Whoopi Goldberg as fellow EGOT winners. PND (hdc)

Palace: Prosecution of pork barrel scam culprits must go beyond 2016

Malacanang made an assurance Monday that the cases against lawmakers being implicated in the P10-billion pork barrel scam will continue even after President Benigno S. Aquino III steps down from office in 2016.

In a press briefing in Malacanang on Monday, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the Palace is hopeful that cases filed against those involved in the scam will continue in courts even after the President bows out of office more than two years from now.

“I think we can only speak till 2016. Beyond that I cannot speak beyond 2016, and I think it will be too presumptive for me. But I will certainly hope... we will certainly hope that the justice system will continue,” Lacierda said.

With regards to the pace of cases being resolved in courts, Lacierda said this is the reason why the administration wants judicial reform—so that justice is served those who deserve it.

“That's why we need the judicial reform na isang bagay na the President would also like to see happening. Ito ay isang bagay na gusto rin nating makita na mabilisan ang mga kaso sa korte.”

There is also a need to build strong cases so that they could stand trial in court, he said noting it’s the job of the Department of Justice to prepare such cases.

The entire judicial process should also function well, from the DOJ, the Office of the Ombudsman until the cases reach the Sandiganbayan for the eventual prosecution of the accused.

Lacierda also said the Palace supports a legislation being introduced by Sen. Franklin Drilon aimed at adding more courts in the Sandiganbayan for a more effective and faster litigation of cases.

“We hope that it would be faster but again this is the process of our justice system right now. And part of the reform process that is being done right now is a measure that, I think, Senator Frank Drilon has come up before the Senate that is to increase the number of courts in the Sandiganbayan,” he said.

“Hindi lamang dito sa PDAF cases, all cases that involves government officials. We only have a few divisions in the Sandiganbayan and now there is a proposed measure in the Senate to increase the number of courts in the Sandiganbayan.” PND (as)

Drivers’ attitude, not design to be blamed for Skyway fatalities, says Palace

The Palace said it doesn’t favor changing the design of the Skyway for safety reason after another vehicle fell from the elevated highway.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said they believe the problem is not the design but the attitude of the drivers as well as the lack of personnel enforcing traffic laws in the Skyway.

“You have two concerns: You have the drivers who should be observing the speed limit. Kasi ‘yung Skyway ang tendency it’s so free, the tendency is to speed up. But there are required speed limits there; it’s clearly shown there,” he said.

“It’s the attitude of the drivers, number one. Number two, we can improve the guards there, ‘yan ang sinabi ni Secretary (Joseph Emilio) Abaya sa akin noon. But in terms of changing the design of the Skyway, I doubt if that’s at all possible,” Lacierda told reporters in a press briefing on Monday in Malacanang.

A shuttle bus used to convey tellers of the Skyway to their booth fell off the elevated expressway after hitting a sports utility vehicle Sunday morning in Paranaque City.

The incident happened at around 5:17am in an elevated part of the Skyway in Sun Valley, Paranaque City.

In December last year, a Don Mariano bus also fell from the Skyway resulting to several fatalities and injuries. PND (as)