AMONG the achievements of his administration President Benigno Aquino 3rd is likely to flaunt in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) today is the hastily assembled tax evasion cases filed against former chief justice Renato Corona and the questionable dismissal of chief special prosecutor Wendell Barreras-Sulit.

    Sulit, the lead trial lawyer in the Office of the Ombudsman, was administratively charged in connection with the plea-bargaining agreement of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller Carlos Garcia with the Sandiganbayan Second Division. Sulit was relieved on Friday.

    The Supreme Court stopped the implementation of the deal early this month. Under the agreement reached in 2010 with then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, Garcia pleaded to lesser offenses instead of plunder and was allowed bail.

    A well-placed source of The Manila Times said Sulit’s case was railroaded so that it can be included in President Aquino’s accomplishment reports which he will announce to the nation today.

    The Special Prosecutor questioned the disciplinary authority of the Palace over the deputies of the Office of the Ombudsman, saying the case is pending before the court. Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez described Malacañang’s move as subjudice.

    “The case of Sulit was clearly railroaded. How can Malacañang dismiss her from service when her plea-bargaining case has not yet reached its final ruling?” Gonzales said.

    Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has allegedly ordered the release of the resolution indicting the former Chief Justice for tax evasion.

    The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) accused Corona of not paying P120.5 million in taxes. The former chief justice says the charges are meant to persecute him and his family.

    Malacañang has urged Filipinos to take time out today to listen to the President’s SONA.

    Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that Aquino’s speech will be broadcast live over state-run PTV-4, Radyo ng Bayan, and over the Internet via live stream at www.gov.ph.

    “I’ll ask the CBCP [to]listen to the SONA. Don’t have any prejudgments. Don’t have any analyst tell you ‘this is what the President is going to say, this is what the President is not going to say,’” Lacierda said.

    Aquino will address the joint session of Congress Monday afternoon.

    Some legislators on Sunday said that they would like to hear the President lay down a clear-cut agenda on inclusive growth and transparency in government.

    Aquino’s SONA last year took all of one hour and 27 minutes and is considered to be the longest post-martial law SONA. But he never mentioned the freedom of information (FOI) bill, despite the fact that it was one of his campaign promises.

    Two senators insisted that President Aquino should make a stand on the FOI bill in his SONA today.

    Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito Estrada said Aquino should include the bill in his priority list of legislation.

    “The right to information is our protection against government abuses as it is also our power to make government accountable,” he said.

    Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano also considers FOI as one of the three measures that must be signed into law in order to make the campaign against corruption more effective.

    He said that ensuring the right of the people to access transactions made by the government is important.

    At the House of Representatives, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat also hopes the President will mention the FOI bill in his SONA.

    Baguilat, who is considered as the main advocate of FOI bill in the House, has started asking his colleagues, including new members, to support the bill and include it in their priorities.

    The Senate has passed its own version of the FOI measure.

    Sen. Loren Legarda she said she would like to listen to the President discuss inclusive growth.

    “I look forward to hearing how the 7.8 percent economic growth will translate to better support for the working middle class, more opportunities for the marginalized sectors, and better services for the poor,” she said.



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    1. Poverty and Unemployment are the main issue in our country. Pnoy is focusing on GMA too much. Tama na…vengeance… Magtrabaho kana lang mabuti. Stop praising yourself.

    2. At the very start I have high respect with BSA. As time passes it came to the point that I lost my interest on his program on transparency as well as the future of the Filipino citizens.

      What I want to hear from him what his plan that will be implemented that will uplift the living conditons of his citizens. He had not much time left to make our country not to be a laggard in foreign investment. He focused too much on previous administration, instead of focusing what shall be done to uplift his people and PHILIPPINES. Let the other agencies of his government do their work whom he entrusted. Why did he assigned or placed those individual if he do not trust them to do their job,? Are they incompetent that they are not able to their job? Just look at the CUSTOM, BIR, PUBLIC WORKS, WATERWORKS as well as they MILITARY.

      HE will ask CONGRESS to enact a law from discontinuing infrastructures that had been started or have a ROADMAP of infrastructures that will enhance the country for future sustainability. Lost time and resources is not recovered so let us not waste our time and resources…

      We don’t care less whether Pnoy SONA script for today is a recycled material from his past SONASES so long that it is the original (JAPANESE SONA) house-to-house arrest during the occupation.

    4. cheekygadfly on

      “hastily assembled tax evasion cases”

      How long do you think does it take to charge a person before a court of law?

      It has been more than a year since he was impeached and convicted. Corona was charged with tax evasion on August last year. Do you think tax evasion investigations ought to last more than a year?

      Or are you just so used to a justice system so slow, you find it odd that due process cannot be achieved if the investigation did not take years or may be even decades to be properly procesuted?

      And about Manila-times’ “well-placed source,” can he or she provide a statement that can stand judicial scrutiny and shed light on the supposed shoddy investigation?

      You and your source may be protected by the Sotto law, but it would take more than the statement of an unnamed source to verify the veracity of your claim.

      Is the statement admissible as evidence? Give us details. Show us documents or any other tangible proof (besides statements of unnamed sources) that would corroborate the claim.

      If a case is based on questionable evidence and poorly conducted inquiry, it will fail. No amount of self-serving SONA report can trump case after case of acquittals.

      The public shall decide whether an investigation was done “hastily.” We do not need journalistic assertions based on unconfirmed reports by unidentified sources.