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News Briefs: Oct. 11, 2018

05:22 AM October 11, 2018

PH wooing EU to invest in ‘Build, Build Build’ program

After being badmouthed by President Duterte for denouncing abuses in the war on drugs, the European Union (EU) is now being wooed by his administration to invest more in the country and increase people-to-people exchanges.

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Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno met with ambassadors from the EU delegation and nine EU countries on Tuesday, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Cayetano called the Eurepean Union and its 28 member states “very important partners of the Philippines.”

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“We look forward to actively and constructively engaging them so we can better understand each other,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

He encouraged more exchanges between the Philippines and the European Union, saying education and tourism “help promote understanding and improve relations.”

Diokno told the ambassadors that “now is the best time to invest” in the Duterte administation’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan

Duterte, GMA meet on coco bill, housing for cops, soldiers

President Rodrigo Duterte met with Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Malacañang on Tuesday night to talk about pending legislative matters, among them the proposed coco levy fund bill, which the lawmakers recalled after the President opted not to sign it into law.

Arroyo’s office said the two leaders spoke about the “conduct of a bicameral conference” on the coco levy fund bill.

It said the President also asked the Arroyo to allocate funds for the housing projects for soldiers and policemen amid the huge amount slashed by the Department of Budget and Management from the government’s shelter agencies.

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The Speaker said the President also requested for budget to be allocated for the water system in the housing projects for the survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

Arroyo said the House and the Senate would come up with a joint resolution extending the validity of a P19.6-billion fund for the rehabilitation of Marawi City until next year. —Marlon Ramos

Sandiganbayan proceeds with ex-Capiz gov’s graft trial

The Sandiganbayan will proceed with the trial of former Capiz Gov. Vicente Bermejo in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of four vehicles worth P1.95 million 11 years ago.

In an eight-page resolution, the court’s Sixth Division denied Bermejo’s motion to dismiss the case on the ground of inordinate delay.

He argued that it took the Ombudsman nearly eight years to indict him.

Roxas City Mayor Alan Celino’s filed the complaint against Bermejo on Sept. 23, 2010, but the charges were finally filed in the court only on Apr. 6.

However, the court said Bermejo’s right to a speedy trial was not violated since “the thoroughness of analysis must be considered as reasonable processes of justice.”

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Kevin Narce B. Vivero and concurred in by Associate Justices Sarah Jane T. Fernandez and Karl B. Miranda.

Bermejo’s case involved the alleged lack of public bidding in the purchase of three Mitsubishi Pajero Wagon units and one Isuzu Elf Manlift Truck from Philippine Pan Subic Ventures Inc., on June 12, 2007. —Vince F. Nonato

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