Sen. Bam Aquino on DOJ’s failure to uphold justice

Sa loob ng isang linggo, napalaya ng Department of Justice ang mga drug lord at naipasok ang reyna ng pork barrel scam sa witness protection program.

Nasaan ang hustisya para sa mga biktima ng War on Drugs at para sa taumbayang nanakawan ng pinaghirapang yaman?

We’d like to remind the DOJ that their mandate is to enact justice for the Filipino people, not to protect drug lords and criminal masterminds.

For the ordinary Filipino to have any hope for justice, the DOJ must stop perpetrating the culture of impunity in our country and begin upholding the rule of law.

The President should put his house in order. Secretary Aguirre should resign to give way to a credible and capable Justice Secretary.

Bam on DOJ’s case vs Sen. Leila de Lima

Without a paper or money trail and with only contradicting testimonies from some of the worst criminals in our country, the administration files charges and seeks to arrest its staunchest critic.

 And while all of this is being done, government spends its resources trying to acquit the mastermind of the Pork Barrel Scam.

Clearly, there is something wrong with this picture. But it is our new reality.

This act of brazen harassment and perversion of our justice system should not be tolerated.

Bam to PNP, DOJ: Join forces in fight against rogue cops

Sen. Bam Aquino urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to work together to get rid of rogue policemen who put the law enforcement agency in bad light.

Sen. Bam said the PNP should not just relieve erring policemen from their posts but dismiss them from service while the DOJ must actively pursue criminal cases filed against them.

 The senator believes this two-pronged approach will help instill fear among scalawags to stop their illegal activities and restore the public’s confidence in the organization.

“Iyong paghahain ng criminal case ang kailangang bantayan. May kayang gawin ang PNP pero dapat umaksiyon din ang Justice Department at iba pang kasamang agency para makasuhan sa korte criminally ang isang pulis,” Sen. Bam said in a radio interview.

 “Palagay ko iyon ang hinahanap ng tao,  na hindi lang administrative o na-shuffle kundi masampahan sila ng kasong kriminal,” he added.

Sen. Bam also renewed his call to the PNP to weed out from their ranks bad elements who capitalize on the government’s intensified war against illegal drugs for their personal gains.

 “The controls need to be stronger. Inamin naman ng PNP na ang paglilinis is now a bigger priority dahil nakikita nila na may magsasamantala sa nangyayaring giyera kontra droga,” Sen. Bam said.

“Kailangan nating ibalik ang tiwala ng tao sa PNP. Siguraduhin natin na wala nang mangyayari pang ganito at tiyakin na ang mga taong gumawa ng masama ay makulong at managot,” the lawmaker added.

 As a means to eradicate bad elements in the PNP, Sen. Bam said he has filed a measure that will strengthen the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the PNP.

 Sen. Bam said Senate Bill No. 1285 or the PNP Internal Affairs Service Modernization Act will help instill better discipline and performance among policemen as they spearhead the fight against widespread proliferation of illegal drugs and other crimes.

 “It is of utmost importance to ensure that all members of the PNP Police clamp down on crime and corruption while fully abiding by the law,” Sen. Bam said.

 The bill was endorsed by the IAS and was subsequently filed by Sen. Aquino to help the PNP’s efforts to get rid of bad eggs in the organization.

 The measure strengthens the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), with provisions for autonomy and independence in its administration and operations.

 It mandates an IAS organization to instill discipline and enhance the performance of personnel and units of the Philippine National Police at all levels of its command.

DOJ, Private Businesses Welcome Passage of Bill Penalizing Cartels, Abuse of Dominance

Stakeholders, led by the Department of Justice (DOJ), welcomed the long-awaited approval of the Philippine Competition Act, a landmark legislation that will level the playing field for all types of businesses

In a statement, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima lauded Sen. Bam Aquino and Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua for their energy and dedication to work for the passage of the bill, which gathered dust for almost 25 years in the legislative mill.

Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, was the main author and sponsor of the measure, which is expected be signed into law by President Aquino.

“The Department will continue to support legislation that will level the playing field and inject fairness and transparency in dealings and transactions specially those affecting small businesses and consumers,” De Lima said.

“This legislation actually rewards good business practices and goes against those who exploit markets or engage in abusive behavior,” said DOJ Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy, head of DOJ-Office for Competition.

 “Building a competition culture across all sectors of society is key. We are happy that we finally passed it,” added Sy.

Under the proposed law, the DOJ-Office for Competition is assigned to investigate cartels that are considered criminal actions.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) expects a sustained strong economy with ratification of the Philippine Competition Act.

 “This law will push businesses to engage in a healthy rivalry so that they will gain more consumers. It gives us the incentive to be more efficient and to offer the public better quality products and services,” PCCI president Alfredo M. Yao said in a statement.

If enacted into law, Yao added that the Philippine Competition Act will encourage the entry of small firms into the market “with the expectation that rules will be applied equally to all.”

The European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, for its part, expressed full support behind the passage of a national competition law, saying it would “ensure a level playing field for business, protect consumer welfare and make the Philippine economy more competitive.”

“The passage of this landmark measure materialized through the collective efforts of the Senate and House and the full support of private stakeholders,” Sen. Bam said.

 Sen. Bam added that private stakeholders, such as the PCCI and the ECCP, were consulted in the crafting of the measure to ensure that the bill would be pro-business, pro-poor and pro-consumer.

Charge those Behind the Special Treatment of Prisoners – Sen. Bam

“Heads must roll, including those of top prison officials, for making a mockery of the country’s justice system.”

Senator Bam Aquino made this pronouncement as he called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure that all those behind the entry of luxurious items, cash and illegal drugs and the special treatment of prisoners at the national penitentiary will be punished.

“With or without their knowledge, top prison officials are still responsible for the presence of contraband and perks given to special inmates inside the prison cells,” Aquino stressed.

“Those accountable officials must be removed for this revelation that severely puts into question our country’s penal and justice system,” he added.

Aquino said the special treatment given to prisoners is unacceptable and unfair, saying they should be serving the punishment for their crimes against society.

“Isn’t it shameful that the system that is supposed to mete out justice mirrors how unjust our society is?  The prisoners who have the money can go around the law and enjoy perks inside the prisons, while the prisoners who are poor endure the worst,” the senator said.

Aquino also lauded Justice Secretary Leila De Lima for her determined effort to reform the country’s prison system.

However, the senator said De Lima’s efforts should not only focus on the NBP but also in other prisons under the Bureau of Corrections and the DOJ.

Aside from the NBP, other prison facilities under the DOJ are Correctional Institution for Women, Davao Prison and Penal Farm, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm, Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm and the Leyte Regional Prison.

The senator also called for the immediate implementation of Republic Act 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013 to modernize and professionalize the country’s prison system, as the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) have been signed already.

Implement Land Swap to Retain Children’s Hospital – Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino urged the National Housing Authority (NHA) to implement the land swap with the Department of Health (DOH) to resolve the ownership issue on the property occupied by the Philippine Children Medical Center (PCMC).

In 1992, the DOH agreed to swap its 5.9-hectare Cebu property for NHA’s Quezon City 6.4-hectare land where the PCMC currently stands.

However, Aquino said the agreement was realized only on one side because the NHA obtained and distributed the Cebu property through socialized housing while ownership of the Quezon City land was not transferred to the DOH.

“You already have the Cebu property. Would you agree to do a valuation and do the swap now?” Aquino told NHA officials, led by general manager Chito Cruz, during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Health on the issue.

Aquino also disputed NHA’s claim that the agency was just instructed by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to implement the socialized housing project in Cebu.

“When you disposed of that land to your constituents, you weren’t doing it for DOH. You were doing it as your land,” Aquino emphasized.

The senator also said that even President Arroyo’s 2001 memorandum acknowledged the property swap between the DOH and the NHA.

Cruz said the NHA is willing to convey the property to the DOH only if the Department of Justice (DOJ) declares that there is a consummated swap through a legal opinion.

Aquino also got a commitment from the DOJ to resolve the legal side of the issue by next month.

“Let’s make this an early Christmas gift, not just for officials and employees of PCMC, but to all poor Filipino children who enjoy quality free health services,” the senator said.

Earlier, Aquino filed Senate Resolution 266 calling on concerned government agencies to work collaboratively to resolve the PCMC issue.

“Let us set aside other issues and think of the welfare of thousands of poor Filipinos who rely on PCMC for their children’s health,” the senator added.


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