NEWS AT A GLANCE
Ex QC Mayor "Bistek" Bautista, 2 others charged with the Ombudsman
MANILA, January 27, 2020 - Former three-term mayor of Quezon City (QC), Herbert "Bistek" Bautista and two others face a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman. The complaint stemmed from a botched deal with the project Online Occupational Permitting and Tracking System project.
Former QC administrator Aldrin Cuna, Garry Domingo of the bids and awards committee were charged together with former QC Bautista in a complaint filed on Dec, 11m 2019.
Noel Emmanuel Gascon, who was working as an internal auditor of the QC Internal Audit System (IAS) filed the complaint with the Ombudsman, in which he alleged that the trio of Bautista, Cuna, and Domingo "accelerated the procurement and implementation of the project to cause the fraudulent release of the funds before the expiration of their term."
According to the mentioned project, it is a web-based application that provides the City's Business Permits and Licensing Department (BPLD), a comprehensive system for the online processing of occupational permits, and therefore, it requires an online component allowing applicants access to their occupational permits applications.
It all started in March 29, 2019, when former QC city administration Aldrin Cuna, as the "requesting party" sent the said purchase request in the amount to P35 million to Bautista as the "approving authority," after which, a month later, a bidding was held by the Bids and Awards Committee for the said project.
There was only one bidder, Geodata Solutions, Inc., who submitted the bid of P34.995 million, P5,000 less than the approved budget for the contract.
In this instance, a resolution from the bidding committee dated May 29, 2019, recommended the award of the project to Deodata Solutions, Inc. Two days later, Bautista issued a Notice of Award in favor of Geodata.
Bautista, on June 7, 2019, signed a Supply and Delivery Agreement with Geodata for the project.
In the complaint by auditor Gascon, he alleged that the ex-city mayor Bautista entered into an invalid contract because it required the prior approval of the Quezon City council.
Nonetheless, a week later on June 13, 2019, Geodata issued delivery receipts “indicating that the Online Occupational Permit Application” was delivered. The following week It issued a delivery receipt “for among other things, the manuals for the application,” the complaint stated.
On June 25, 2019, the QC Bureau of Permits and Licensing Department headed by Garry Domingo issued a certificate of acceptance of the delivery by the winning bidder, Geodata Solutions, Inc.
Gascon said it is highly improbable that the system could have been "fully delivered and implemented in such a short period of time."
It was further stated in the complaint that the Quezon City Internal Audit Service (IAS) found no evidence the project was ever deployed online, and therefore the amount of P32.1 million allotted by QC for this project "were unlawfully disbursed," and that Bautista was "guilty of evident bad faith when" he "intentionally expedited" the release of the full payment. (Edited by Ed Libranda)
Filipinos in Wuhan wants to go home,
worry about the corona virus
MANILA – Filipino residents in the province of Hubei, especially in its capital Wuhan are worried about contracting the coronavirus outbreak which has spread beyond Wuhan, including countries such as the Philippines, Japan, and the United States, although an official information from Center for Disease Control (CDC), a US federal health agency.
Filipino officials are now in a discussion regarding the evacuation of Filipino residents in the Wuhan province.
Some stores have ran out of face masks in Wuhan, including some entertainment centers and shopping malls, based on the information provided by a Filipino community leader, Chai Roxas, working as assistant manager at a trading company..
Supreme Court affirms junking of petition for same-sex marriage
Published January 6, 2020 5:11pm
By NICOLE-ANNE C. LAGRIMAS, GMA News
The Supreme Court has affirmed its dismissal of a petition seeking the legalization of same-sex marriages in the Philippines.
The court en banc denied with finality the motion for reconsideration appealing the ruling upon finding that it presented "no substantial arguments" that would warrant the reversal of the original decision.
"No further pleadings or motions will be entertained," the court said in a December 10 resolution, the notice of which was made public Monday. "Let entry of judgment be made immediately."
Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, an openly gay lawyer, asked the court in 2015 to strike down as unconstitutional of the provisions on the Family Code that limited marriage to a union between a man and a woman.
The justices in September last year unanimously found Falcis' petition deficient, ruling that he lacked legal standing, violated the principle of the hierarchy of courts, and failed to raise an actual, justiciable controversy.
Supreme Court resumes oral arguments on plea for marriage equality in PHL
Falcis, they said, never applied for a marriage license and was thus never rejected, which means he has not suffered a direct injury from the limitations set by the Family Code.
Despite mincing no words in pointing out the flaws in the petition, the court said same-sex couples "deserve legal recognition in some way."
The 109-page ponencia, written by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, said the Constitution, from its plain text, does not define or restrict marriage on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity of expression.
But the High Court said arranging state recognition for same-sex relations is an issue better left to Congress.
It warned that a sweeping decision in favor of same-sex marriages based on the Falcis petition "may do more harm than good to a historically marginalized community" and set back the struggle for equality.
Falcis had said he considers the loss a "temporary setback."
"In other countries from the US to Australia to Taiwan, they had to lose before they won marriage equality," Falcis said after the ruling came out.
"The Philippines will be no different. The future for the LGBT community is colorful like a rainbow," he added. —NB, GMA News