senate hearing

Sen. Bam: For PH Rise, mahirap makipag-partner sa pasaway

Senator Bam Aquino said that the country must find research partners who will follow our rules, during the hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology on the Philippine Rise.

“Mahirap makipag partner sa pasaway. We should find partners who will follow our rules,” said Sen. Bam as he headed the Senate hearing.

Through Sen. Bam’s questioning, it was revealed that in previous years, China violated the country’s sovereign rights when it conducted hydrographic surveys in the Philippine Rise without required consent of the Philippine government.

During the course of their research, China found five features in the undersea territory, which they recently named through the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

Sen. Bam stressed that the government must explore all channels to overturn China’s move to name the five undersea features in the Philippine Rise.

The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) stated that the previous violation, alongside the ongoing dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, the Philippine government can call on the IHO to nullify its approval of the Chinese names.

China can also be requested to withdraw their naming rights. If they agree, Sen. Bam said this could be a show of good faith and friendship from the Chinese government.

“Let’s be more vigilant with the Philippine Rise. Ipaglaban naman natin ito,” Sen. Bam said.

In light of the China installations in the West Philippine Sea, Sen. Bam pointed out that we should be more cautious with foreign research expeditions in the Philippine Rise and ensure that our permits are strictly enforced.

Reinstatement of scalawags points to favoritism in DOJ, PNP

The return of Supt. Marvin Marcos and his men to service sends a bad signal to the public that anyone can get away with any wrongdoing, including murder, as long as they have close ties with high officials of the country, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

“What signal does this send? Kapag gumawa ka ng mali, as long as okay ka sa taas, ibabalik ka sa puwesto. That’s the signal being sent to the public,” said Sen. Bam during the hearing of the Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs on the downgrading of the murder case against Marcos and his men and their subsequent return to service.

According to Sen. Bam, the downgrading of the case against Marcos and company by Department of Justice (DOJ) Undersecretary Reynante Orceo came as a shock.

“The NBI report, the PNP-IAS report, the Senate report, the analysis of the medico-legal, and the original DOJ Panel Report – all point to murder. Bakit binaba to homicide? Bakit may reinstatement?” Sen. Bam asked DOJ Usec. Orceo and PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa.

 For their part, the NBI represented by Director Dante Gierran and the DOJ panel of prosecutors represented by Sr. Asst. State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Alejo, reaffirmed their conclusions in their reports, that the Espinosa slay was clearly premeditated and that murder charges should be filed against suspected members of the PNP.

 “We were shocked on the news of the downgrade, pero mas shocking iyong reinstatement,” added the senator, who also questioned the PNP chief on why he did not put Marcos and other police personnel involved on floating status or in the office instead of bringing them back to the field.

“Thanks to the downgrade to homicide, these murder suspects are out on bail and are back on the field.  Why are we risking the credibility of the police force for these individuals?” questioned Sen. Bam.


Bam backs PNP’s efforts to clean ranks of scalawags

Sen. Bam Aquino expressed support behind the efforts of the current Philippine National Philippine (PNP) leadership in cleaning its ranks from corrupt policemen, particularly those involved in illegal drugs.

“Napakahalaga talaga ng ating paglilinis sa ating hanay kasi kayo ang frontline at importanteng may tiwala ang tao sa ating frontliners. Kapag nakita ang PNP dapat alam nila mapagkakatiwalaan,” said Sen. Bam during the hearing of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs joint with Justice and Human Rights on the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.

According to PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa around 1-2 percent of policemen are involved in illegal activities, most especially in the proliferation of prohibited drugs and the campaign to clean the PNP of scalawags within its ranks is on-going

“Progressive ang pagpasok ng information kaya dahan-dahan din ang pagpasok ng information,” said dela Rosa.

Sen. Bam also assured the PNP chief that the Senate will help the PNP’s efforts to get rid of bad eggs in the organization through legislation.

 “Ano ang kailangan niyo mula sa Senado upang malinis niyo ang mga ranggo,” asked Sen. Bam.

 Dela Rosa urged the Senate to restore the PNP’s control over training institutions of policemen.

“Nakikita ko very crucial iyong development ng pagpasok ng pulis lalo na sa kanyang moral foundation,” said dela Rosa.

 “Kami lang ang police organization sa buong mundo na iyong police, hindi PNP naghahawak ng training. Paano namin ma-inculcate ang values at discipline na gusto naming mangyari,” he added.

Dela Rosa also wants the authority to appoint chief of police or provincial director be given to the PNP, eliminate the use of prepaid cellphones and implementation of national ID system.

“Dapat postpaid na lahat para registered kung sino iyong gumagamit ng cellphone dahil iyan ginagamit sa krimen,” said dela Rosa, making it easier for police to identify and arrest criminals.

Bam on the $81M Hearing: Nakakahiya sa Bangladesh

Transcript of the Ambush Interview after the Senate Hearing


Q: There seems to be growing frustration on your end. You’re the only Senator before Sen. Koko Pimentel spoke that really focused your attention on how to get the money back. It’s all about trying to dissect what happened and who is involved but to you, it’s really about getting the Bangladeshi people’s money back.

Sen. Bam Aquino:

That’s right. In fact, in all of the hearings, the ambassador of Bangladesh is there. To be frank, nakakahiya that we talk about everything but we’re not talking enough about how to get them the 81-million US dollars back.


I don’t think the previous hearings were able to cover where exactly the money is currently. Earlier, we found out that there is discrepancy in the testimony of Kim Wong and Philrem on the cash that was given out.


At the same time, we found out that some of the money was actually still in the casinos through their junket operators. We’re hoping to get to the bottom of this and if we can actually get that money back for Bangladesh.


Q: What’s your reaction to what the AMLC said about getting information before they file a freeze order to the court of appeals? Isn’t that putting a lot of layers to the bureaucracy when at this minute we have Kim Wong saying I can just give you the money and bring it to the BSP for safe keeping.


Sen. Bam Aquino:

Exactly. Many of these questions have not been asked and I understand that the focus would be the Filipino actors who were part of this scam. But I think, first and foremost, we should focus on securing the money, making sure it’s intact, and giving it back to the people of Bangladesh.


Can you imagine if that happened to the Philippines, if 81-million dollars of our money was stolen elsewhere? The first thing we would want to ensure is that it gets back to our own treasury.


I think the minimum that we need to do is to go through AMLC, go through the motion, and ensure that whatever money is found is held and eventually returned to Bangladesh.


Q: Do you feel that we have the moral obligation not only to investigate the matter but really return the money to the Bangladeshi people?


Sen. Bam Aquino:

Yes, yes. Definitely. And hopefully everyone will cooperate. If Eastern Hawaii through Kim Wong is willing to cooperate, that’s great.


Hopefully, we get to the bottom of how much cash was given out because currently it’s a contradictory story of how much was encashed and how much was given to Kim Wong and Weikang Xu.


If there is Bangladesh money in our casinos then maybe our casinos can also cooperate and be willing to return the money without going through a lengthy court procedure. AMLC said it is within the powers of the current laws to get the money and eventually file civil forfeiture cases against those involved.


But I hope we don’t reach that. If the money is still there and if it can still be returned, we should return it at the soonest possible time.


Q: We’ve already proven that the bank accounts are fictitious so what is there for the bank secrecy law to protect?


Sen. Bam Aquino:

Exactly. That was the subject of the first part of the hearing and Sen. Osmena was very frustrated with the answers given to him regarding the bank secrecy law specially considering that these are fictitious accounts and, more or less, it has been established that the money came from a theft or a heist.


So the Senate lawyers are looking into this further. Of course, it’s the position of the bank right now that even if it’s fictitious, you can’t disclose any of these amounts but definitely the committee and our offices are looking into this further.


Q: 3rd day of the hearing, who are you most likely to believe at this point?


Well, we don’t want to pre-judge. We’re often accused of pre-judging everyone. But if you listen to the hearings, it’s becoming clear that this could not have been perpetrated by just one person.


I don’t want to talk about guilt or innocence at this point but definitely you need a lot more people and a lot of moving parts to get this to happen. Whether they’re guilty of theft, money laundering, or negligence, that’s something we will uncover in the next few hearings. And AMLC is doing a parallel process to go after the people who perpetrated this crime.

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