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Appeals court rules Piatco lawyer fees illegal

The Special 11th Division of the CA, in a decision dated June 4, upheld the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 31’s ruling that junked the government’s petition for recognition and reinforcement of the final award of the arbitration case......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarJun 8th, 2018

CA flip-flops, says fees paid to Sereno et al in Piatco case illegal

MANILA, Phillippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) ruled as illegal the hiring and payment of fees to the local and foreign lawyers of the government – including ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno – in the Philippine International Air Terminals Company Incorporated (Piatco) case from ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 8th, 2018

House panel tasks BIR to look into Sereno’s possible tax liabilities

Since the missing Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno remain missing, the House committee on justice that has been holding hearings on the impeachment case against the top magistrate in the High Court has directed the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to begin an investigation on the possible tax liabilities of Sereno, owing to her having failed to file her SALNs for 17 years when she was still a law professor at the University of the Philippines (UP). At the resumption of the impeachment hearing to determine probable cause on the complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Sereno, panel chair Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali asked BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa to produce a report on or before February 19 Sereno’s tax payments. Among the basis cited by Gadon in his complaint was Sereno’s alleged failure to declare in her SALN from 2010 to 2016 her earnings as one of the private counsels of the government in the expropriation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in the Piatco case amounting to P30 million. Based on documents Gadon was able to secure, Sereno reportedly filed her SALN in 1998, 2002 and 2006, even as she was employed as a professor by the UP College of Law from 1986 to 2006.Guballa, who submitted the Chief Justice’s income tax return from 2004 to 2009, said Sereno declared her income as a lawyer from a law office.Asked about Sereno’s income tax payments representing her earnings from the Piatco case, Gubala said they are still in the process of investigating this.“We can answer those questions when we will have conducted a formal investigation,” said Guballa, adding they will try to come up with a proposed deficiency or anything with regard to Sereno’s income in two weeks.“We are still collating information. We can answer those questions when we have conducted a formal investigation,” he said.“We will try our best in two weeks. . . . I will try my best to come up with a proposed deficiency or whatever we can made regarding the income the Chief Justice had made,” Guballa added.Sereno’s camp had said the Chief Justice received the Piatco fee in tranches so the full amount does not appear in her 2010 statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.The camp of Sereno had a statement explaining that “Chief Justice Sereno has accurately and properly declared all her earnings as government co-legal counsel in the PIATCO cases.”Lawyer Josa Deinla, serves as Sereno’s spokeswoman.Deinla added that the BIR has not served any deficiency assessment notice to Sereno during the years she filed her income tax returns.“This only means one thing: All her income tax filings when she was a private lawyer were accurate and proper,” she said.“We are confident that the plan of the House committee to have the CJ’s ITR filings looked into by the BIR would prove that the Chief Justice had paid the corresponding taxes for the income she earned while in private law practice,” she added.Gadon, in an interview at the sidelines of the hearing, lauded the order of the panel to the BIR saying this would bolster his complaint aganst Sereno.“First we got certifications she did not file her SALNs during her tenure with the UP College of Law. Now, we will get a clearer picture of how she might have avoided paying taxes for her earnings on the Piatco case,” said Gadon.“In fact, the statement of the BIR, CJ Sereno declared her earnings from 2004 to 2009 as income for her practice as a lawyer and not as a professor from a state university which is something she should have to explain, too,” the lawyer added.Gadon also said that the action of the justice committee directing the BIR to investigate the tax payments and tax compliance of Sereno is living proof of the principle that the law should apply to all, even to the highest magistrate of the land. Hearing on CJ’s IT consultantIt was also a time for the justice panel to hear from IT consultant Helen Macasaet, who has been paid hefty consultant fees, with a monthly paycheck much higher than what the Supreme Court justices get paid.Macasaet admitted before the committee that she was paid a hefty P250,000 a month as a consultant of the High Court, which is higher than what SC justices are earning.Macasaet defended her consultancy fee saying it was much lower than what she used to earn in her previous engagements.According to Macasaet, she used to earn P925,000 a month as an IT consultant for the GSIS. The House panel is on its 14th hearing on the impeachment case, this time, to determine if there was probable cause to impeach her.In a press statement issued by Gadon, it said that in the hearing conducted yesterday, it turned out that the IT contract of Macasaet was renewed without bidding despite changes in the terms of reference and increase of the amount of more than double the original contract. “It turned out also that the legal staff of Sereno had the whims and caprices of determining the amount of the increase and the renewals in violation of procurement laws . Worse, these violations and anomalies were done with the express approval of Sereno. Even worse , it turned out that the IT consultant was allowed to work at some point without the contract having been signed yet! All the procedures of procurement were clearly violated by Sereno, Gadon said.GMA Online reported that a court attorney from the office of the Chief Justice also yesterday during the hearing confirmed that it was the head staff of the high magistrate who had introduced the IT consultant allegedly anomalously hired by the Supreme Court.“At the resumption of the House Committee on Justice hearing, court lawyer Michael Ocampo from Sereno’s office admitted that he was the one who submitted the curriculum vitae of IT consultant Helen Macasaet who was allegedly hired by Sereno “with an excessive compensation and without public bidding.”He admitted that he submitted the CV of Macasaet to the BAC when he was requested to do so.But when asked if the court lawyer knew Macasaet personally, he said he did not but was introduced to him by CJ’s chief of staff as an IT expert,” referring to lawyer Oliveros.Oliveros eventually admitted that Macasaet is her friend.Oliveros said she can only recommend somebody’s character. I know nothing about the EISP (Enterprise Information System Plan) and about ICT.Oliveros narrated that Sereno told her that the court’s EISP had been stalled for a while, and the position of the chief of the management information system office was vacant at the time.“The chief justice requested a meeting precisely because she wanted to talk, exchange ideas with Ms. Macasaet regarding the state of the EISP. And after that initial meeting she wanted to meet Ms. Macasaet and introduce her to the person in charge of the EISP which was Atty. Michael Ocampo at the Office of the Chief Justice,” she said.Lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, one of Sereno’s spokesmen said there was nothing irregular in Macasaet’s hiring as IT consultant.“The Supreme Court hired Ms. Macasaet from among three choices through negotiated procurement because her services are highly technical in nature and, therefore, exempted from public bidding under Section 53.7 of the 2009 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9184,” he said in an earlier press statement.The House justice panel is conducting deliberations to determine probable cause in the impeachment complaint lodged against Sereno.    With GMA online report.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

CJ’s psych test result of 4 grade confirmed, rules call for her disqualification

Finally, after previous newspaper reports stated that then candidate for the position of Supreme Court chief justice, Lourdes Sereno, then a junior associate justice, obtained a low grade of 4, the second lowest grade, with 1 as the highest and five the lowest. This low grade was the result of her psycological and psychiatric tests, a prerequisite of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for every candidate for judiciary posts.These reports have finally been confirmed by a former clerk of court in the Supreme Court Wednesday admitted before the House committee on justice that Chief Justice Sereno obtained the second lowest grade in her psychological test, which under the JBC rules, she should have been disqualified for the top position in the High Court.It has not been explained by the JBC why, despite her low marks and disqualification for the post, Sereno’s name landed in the JBC list that was submitted by then President Benigo Aquino.Aquino also appointed Sereno first from a JBC list, despite her having no bench experience.Aquino did not pick any of the senior SC justices for the top post. Instead, he picked Sereno, then already a junior associate justice who would serve in the SC for at least 20 years.It was speculated then that President Aquino wanted Sereno as Chief Justice, for him to be protected by the incumbent justice.Sereno’s voting record in the SC mainly favored Aquino’s cases while he was president.Lately, her vote still favors Aquino, although hers is always a minority vote.Vidal almost failed to testifyFormer SC clerk of court Vidal almost failed to testify as the hearing dragged until late Wednesday night.It was only after Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte called the attention of the panel chair that Vidal had not yet been asked any questions.At that point, panel chair, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali asked Vidal regarding the results of Sereno’s psychological test.Although pointing to Sereno as having received the second lowest grade, Vidal, who was also the ex-offico secretary of the JBC at that time being the SC clerk of court then, said there were others who also got ratings of 4.She however said she could no longer recall their identities.This only means that no other candidate for the High Court’s top post made it to the JBC list submitted to Aquino save for Sereno.It will be recalled that the JBC refused to provide the justice panel with the results of the psychological and psychiatric tests of Sereno. Impeachment complainant lawyer Larry Gadon said Vidal’s testimony was a big boost to his case against Sereno as the JBC had earlier rejected his request for copies of psych exam report of the chief justice, citing confidentiality of records under its rules.In his complaint, lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon said Sereno failed the psychological exam administered by the JBC and under the existing JBC policy, ‘an applicant to any position in the judiciary with a grade of 4 is unfit for the job,’” his complaint stated.There quickly went Sereno’s defense, with the usual claim that such does not constitute an impeachable offense.Everything to Sereno and her defense team is not an impeachable offense, whether she failed to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALNs) for 17 years or whether she hired an IT consultant with at first a P100,000 a month negotiated contract, after which, Sereno’s consultant had her pay increased which meant revisions in the contract which pay went on without passing through the usual route.Macasaet’s fees had increased from P100,000 per month during her first six-month contract to over P252,000 per month after it was renewed.The head of the SC’s Management Information Systems Office testified that the continued renewal of the contract of the IT consultant hired by Sereno raised a red flag.IT consultant Helen Macasaet’s six-month contract was renewed for over four years, which enabled her to earn roughly P11 million in total.The point in all this establishes that indeed, Sereno is unfit for the job of chief justice, as she has been found to be breaking too many rules and does things without the nod of the other justices.Sereno claims that all the charges raised by Gadon are not impeachable offenses. A reported psychologically unfit Chief Justice is to be retained in her post and for the next 15 to 20 years or so.The two doctors will be attending the next session.At the same time, Gadon lauded the House panel’s directive to the BIR to probe on Sereno’s possible tax liabilities. “The action of the Justice committee directing the BIR to investigate the tax payments and tax compliance of Sereno is living proof of the principle that the law should apply to all , even to the highest magistrate of the land,” said Gadon.Gadon also cited the case of Sereno’s IT consultant whose contract was renewed without bidding despite changes in the terms of reference and increase of the amount of more than double the original contract. “It turned out also that the legal staff of Sereno had the whim and caprices of determining the amount of the increase and the renewals in violation of procurement laws,” Gadon said.“Worse these violations and anomalies were done with the express approval of Sereno,” he stressed.“Even worse , it turned out that the IT consultant was allowed to work at some point without the contract having been signed yet!” the lawyer said.Gadon stressed that Sereno had violated all known procedures of procurement. The head of the SC’s Management Information Systems Office testified that the continued renewal of the contract of the IT consultant hired by Sereno raised a red flag.IT consultant Macasaet’s six-month contract was renewed for over four years, which enabled her to earn roughly P11 million in total......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

CA rules against Mary Jane Veloso’s deposition in case against alleged recruiters

THE Court of Appeals (CA) has reversed a resolution by a local court allowing the deposition of convicted drug trafficker Ms. Mary Jane F. Veloso against her alleged recruiters Ms. Maria Cristina P. Sergio and Mr. Julius L. Lacanilao. Ms. Veloso is unable to personally testify in the illegal recruitment case against Ms. Sergio and […] The post CA rules against Mary Jane Veloso’s deposition in case against alleged recruiters appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 5th, 2018

Egypt court jails activist over ‘spreading false news’

CAIRO,Egypt --- An Egyptian appeals court on Sunday sent a rights activist to prison for two years over charges including "spreading false news", her lawyer and a court official said. The court also fined Amal Fathi, who was released three days previously in another case, 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($560). Fathi had been handed a two-year suspended jail sentence in September but she appealed. Her lawyer Ramadan Mohamed said Sunday her appeal had been rejected and that she would now serve jail time. Fathi is also accused of publishing offensive content, Mohamed said. The 34-year-old was arrested in May over a video she posted online, criticizing sexual harassment in Egypt and...Keep on reading: Egypt court jails activist over ‘spreading false news’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 31st, 2018

CA recommends filing of cases against Antipolo cops involved in EJK of alleged drug pusher

The Court of Appeals has recommended the filing of criminal, administrative and civil cases against Antipolo City policemen who were involved in what the appellate court believed as “extrajudicial killing” of a suspected illegal drugs pusher in 2016. CA recommends filing of cases against Antipolo cops involved in EJK of alleged drug pusher Source link: CA recommends filing of cases against Antipolo cops involved in EJK of alleged drug pusher.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2018

Death of Antipolo drug suspect an extralegal killing, rules court

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) ruled that the death of an Antipolo City drug suspect in 2016 was an "extralegal killing," prompting the court to recommend the filing of cases against the police officials involved.  In a ruling, the CA said the respondent policemen ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 23rd, 2018

CTA clears Ampatuan lawyer of P17 million tax raps

The Court of Tax Appeals has acquitted defense lawyer Arnel Manaloto of P16.67-million tax evasion charges in connection with the purchase of eight properties in Davao City from his client, Andal Ampatuan Jr., the primary suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 14th, 2018

Sandiganbayan grants Imelda bail

The Sandiganbayan 5th Division granted former First Lady Imelda Marcos a bail of P300,000 for her temporary liberty as she appeals her conviction for seven counts of graft. In a resolution released Thursday, the anti-graft court stated that Marcos will be “given 15 days to avail of post-conviction remedies under the rules, which would be […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 30th, 2018

Imelda brings case to High Court

Former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos filed a Notice of Appeal before the Sandiganbayan on Monday, intending to bring her conviction on seven counts of graft to the Supreme Court. Marcos filed the notice through her lawyer, former Court of Appeals Justice Manuel Lazaro, even if her Motion for Leave to […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 27th, 2018

De Lima to CA: Stop convicts from testifying against me in drug case

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED – Reverse a ruling that denied her plea to disqualify 13 convict-witnesses from testifying against her in connection with illegal drug trading charges filed by the justice department. This was what detained Senator Leila de Lima asked the Court of Appeals (CA) last week. De Lima asserted in ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018

It’s a stalemate for DOJ, Trillanes at Makati court

  The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the camp of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV have reached a stalemate after a Makati court denied their appeals on last month's ruling on the long-dismissed coup d'etat case against the lawmaker.   Judge Andres Soriano, of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 148, denied the motions for partial reconsideration filed by the DOJ and Trillanes' lawyer, affirming the victories that each camp won in his Oct. 22 ruling.   "The court has thoroughly reviewed all the evidence and pleadings presented and submitted by the parties, and it finds no reason to reverse or modify its findings, both factual and legal," wrote Soriano in his one...Keep on reading: It’s a stalemate for DOJ, Trillanes at Makati court.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 24th, 2018

Judge Andres Soriano junks appeals of DOJ, Trillanes

MANILA, Philippines – Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 148 Judge Andres Soriano has junked the government plea to have Senator Antonio Trillanes IV arrested, and the opposition lawmaker's motion to declare Proclamation No. 572 illegal. With the appeals of both Trillanes and the DOJ denied, Soriano's original ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 24th, 2018

Ex-Arroyo lawyer Batacan faces charges for alleging corruption in Ombudsman

  MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – When veteran defense lawyer Edna Batacan faced the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in June to apply for the post of Ombudsman, she admitted to paying illegal fees – inviting corruption and obstruction complaints against her. Ombudsman Samuel Martires, Batacan’s co-applicant at the time, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 21st, 2018

CA denies government bid to make Piatco pay P300 million

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) denied the government's bid for the CA to make the Philippine International Air Terminals Company Incorporated (Piatco) pay $6 million, or over P300 million, for the costs of international arbitration proceedings. The CA ruled that the arguments by the Office ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 11th, 2018

US appeals court rules against Trump on DACA immigration program | News

A US appeals court in California ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump's administration must continue a program begun under former President Barack Obama that protects hundreds of thousands of.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsNov 9th, 2018

PT& T appeals P444-million National Telecommunications Commission fees

Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. has filed a petition before the Court of Appeals to review the National Telecommunications Commission’s decision ordering the company to pay P443.79 million worth of supervision and regulation fee......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2018

Duterte s pronouncement vindicates Trillanes, says senator s lawyer

The camp of Sen. Antonio Trillanes said that the Palace’s pronouncement that President Rodrigo Duterte that he will wait for a court-issued warrant “vindicates” their statement that the arrest order is illegal......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 7th, 2018

Rappler Talk: Lawyer Ruben Carranza on holding Duterte accountable in ICC

Bookmark this page to watch and join the discussion live on Friday, September 7, at 11 am MANILA, Philippines – The communications and reports against President Rodrigo Duterte and his violent campaign against illegal drugs are piling up in the International Criminal Court (ICC). At the same ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 6th, 2018

Garcia questions Gica’s return as Dumanjug mayor, seeks review

FORMER mayor Nelson Gamaliel Garcia has filed a motion for reconsideration before the Court of Appeals (CA) to question the assumption of office of dismissed mayor Efren Guntrano Gica, which he described as illegal. In his motion, which the CA received last Aug. 24, Garcia said that with due respect, the CA has erred in… link: Garcia questions Gica’s return as Dumanjug mayor, seeks review.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsAug 25th, 2018