Sunday, 13 July 2014

PIA News Dispatch - Friday, June 27, 2014

President Aquino graces 123rd founding anniversary of the Philippine Bar Association

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday graced the 123rd founding anniversary of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) commending the lawyer’s group for “being a consistent voice for the rule of law.”

In his speech delivered before some 200 lawyers at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City, President Aquino lauded the PBA for constantly upholding the rule of law particularly during the Martial Law regime, the Arroyo administration and the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

He said same as his principles, the PBA has always considered the common good in upholding the rule of law.

The President particularly cited the advocacy of the PBA against human rights violation, which include the investigation into his late father’s assassination; the group's support for the restoration of democracy during the People Power Revolution; and questioning the "midnight appointments” during the Arroyo administration.

President Aquino recalled the supposed wrongdoings during the Arroyo government involving Corona including his supposed midnight appointment, his non-disclosure of Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth and the flip-flopping cases under his leadership.

"I made it a point to be here with your association today not just to thank you for taking a similar position with us, but to thank you for being a consistent voice for the rule of law,” he said.

"Even when so many other lawyers’ groups seem so willing to add to the noise and clamor, your association remains sober and measured in its statements. This is what sets the Philippine Bar Association apart from all other groups. Even in disagreement, you do not pander to public sentiment, but raise the level of discourse and uphold the rule of law—in all situations, you have found that there is only one answer to the question, “Does this redound to the common good?” he added.

President Aquino extolled the audacity of the PBA lawyers for supporting the administration’s impeachment case despite knowing that such action would jeopardize their careers.

He said ensuring equity and justice is a duty not just by the government but by the lawyers as well, expressing confidence that the PBA will continue to uphold its integrity in serving the Filipino people.

"Whether as lawyers today, or as judges and justices, each time you make a decision that redounds to the benefit of all—each time you choose the straight path, you are not only living up to the oath you swore when you were admitted to the Bar, you are also and more importantly helping to build a more just, a more fair society. Whether or not you are a member of the PBA, whatever your alma mater or area of practice, this is what must unite all those in the legal profession: a firm resolve to uphold both the spirit and the letter of the law, towards serving your fellowmen,” he said.

During the event, the PBA accorded President Aquino a resolution of support.

The Philippine Bar Association is the oldest voluntary national organization of lawyers in the Philippines. It traces its roots to the Colegio de Abogados de Filipinas organized on April 8, 1891 and the bar association organized by American lawyers in the Philippines in 1900.

On June 24, 1904 under the inspiration of Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano, the Colegio de Abogados de Filipinas and the association of American lawyers in the Philippines merged to form the PBA.

The PBA joined the nation in condemning the proclamation of martial law in 1972, mourning the assassination of Senator Ninoy Aquino on August 21, 1983, and welcoming the return of democracy on February 25, 1986. During martial law, the PBA investigated various violations of human rights and successfully won cases for the release of many detainees.

The PBA condemned the gruesome carnage in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009 where 58 people (mostly women, two of them female lawyers, and some journalists) were killed. They have urged authorities to punish the murderers.

The PBA was the lead organization that questioned the “midnight appointments” before the automated elections on May 10, 2010.

It likewise commended the Senate, sitting as an Impeachment Court under the leadership of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, for its May 29, 2012 historic decision — voting 20 for, 3 against — to remove from office then Chief Justice Corona. PND (jb)

President Aquino inaugurates various infrastructure projects in Iloilo City

(ILOILO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday led the inaugural drive-through of four bridges along the Iloilo Circumferential Road.

On board an open-type pickup truck, the President made the inauguration crossing of the Jaro Bridge II, signifying the ceremonial unveiling of markers of the other three bridges: Mandurriao I, Mandurriao II, and Iloilo Bridge II.

With the President were Senator Franklin Drilon, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

The Iloilo Circumferential Road, which passes through all four bridges, is 97 percent complete and is estimated to cost 1.9 billion pesos.

The four-lane concrete carriageway has bicycle lanes, concrete sidewalk, street lights, and slope protection works.

The 14.18-kilometer Circumferential Road aims to decongest traffic in Iloilo City’s major thoroughfare and reduce travel between the municipality of Leganes and Iloilo City from 45 minutes to 15 minutes.

The President also opened a two-kilometer portion of the Senator Benigno Aqunio Jr. Avenue-widening project in Barangay San Rafael, Mandurriao District, also in Iloilo.

The road was expanded from the original six lanes to eight lanes, with bicycle lanes and a two-lane service road.

When finished, it will stretch to 15.6 kilometers from the junction of General Luna Street up to the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo. The project will cost 424.2 million pesos.

The Chief Executive also led the inspection of the Iloilo Convention Center at the Iloilo Business Park in Barangay Old Airport, Mandurriao District, Iloilo City.

He was welcomed by Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) General Manager Mark Lapid, Megaworld Corporation Chairman Andrew Tan, and Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Director Engr. Edilberto Tayao. PND (ag)

President Aquino tasks police to look into possible cartel activities

(ILOILO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino III has ordered the import of rice to secure the country’s rice supply but has also tasked the police to investigate the possibility of cartels manipulating the prices of commodities.

“Meron rin yatang nagsasamantala at uulitin ko, suspicion ito, na bagamat kumpleto ang supply, wala kang nakikitang palengke na walang naibebenta. Mukhang may mga nakitang mababa ang supply ng NFA at sabi nila, baka para ito ang panahon na puwede tayong magtaas ng presyo artificially,” the President told reporters here Friday.

“Inatasan natin ang NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) na makipagtulungan sa PNP (Philippine National Police) na talagang siyasatin nang masinsinan itong posibilidad na may mga tinatawag na cartel, magsampa ng kaukulang kaso,” he said.

He also tasked the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to study the current problem on food security.

According to reports, rice production has increased by four percent, while consumption has risen by five percent.

“May diperensiya ng one percent, at medyo malaki-laki ang one percent na ‘yon. So lalo nating papaigtingin ang agrikultura,” he said, adding that he has likewise instructed the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to use satellite imagery to determine the size of rice farms in the country and estimate their average production.

“So uulitin ko lang, nag-i-import tayo para kung meron ngang magsasamantala, yung itatago nila yung kanilang supply, may pampalit tayo doon at siguraduhin nating malulugi sila sa ginagawa nila,” he warned. PND (ag)

President Aquino to study draft of Bangsamoro Basic Law

(ILOILO CITY) President Benigno S. Aquino said he will study the six-inch-thick draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law before it is submitted to Congress for ratification.

“I have to confess, it’s siguro about six inches thick, ‘yung the law itself and also ‘yung comments by both parties. I have reserved Sunday to go through each and every one of those pages and hopefully, I can be of help to get both sides to really be fully supportive of the measure,” the President told reporters here Friday.

He said that during their brief meeting in Hiroshima, he and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Murad Ebrahim discussed the output of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission.

“Now, we’re putting in all of the details and I asked him if it would be possible to meet sometime next week, either their panels or we, in particular, or our designated representatives to thresh it out and come up with the proposed measure and send it to Congress, even before the SONA (State of the Nation Address),” he said.

He noted that Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Teresita Deles met with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. on Thursday (June 26) to hasten the process of coming up with the proposed measure that both sides can fully support and endorse.

“But I can assure the Filipino people that we will be exerting all efforts to ensure that this measure is passed in a timely manner because the dream still is to give the new Bangsamoro government time to demonstrate its abilities… We’re hoping that all the steps will be done that they can sit in office by January 2015,” President Aquino said.

The draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law was submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Committee last May and is being studied by the legal team of the Office of the President and by the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel. PND (ag)