News Briefs: November 16, 2018
Dismiss Malampaya scam charges, Napoles brod pleads
Reynald Lim, brother of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, has urged the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the graft charges he is facing in connection with the P900-million Malampaya Fund scam. Insisting that he did not take part in the forgery of assistance request letters that triggered the release of the funds, Lim appealed the Oct. 5 resolution of the court’s Third Division that denied his motion to quash his charges for 97 counts each of graft and malversation through falsification. In a six-page motion for reconsideration, he asked the court to take a second look at his argument that prosecutors should have specified in the charge sheets the signatures and documents he allegedly forged in the scheme to divert the Malampaya funds to ghost projects of bogus foundations linked to his sister. He also claimed that the affidavits of Napoles’ employees-turned-whistleblowers did not contain any specific allegation regarding the documents he supposedly fabricated. —VINCE F. NONATO
Immigration intercepts 6 victims of human trafficking
Immigration authorities at Clark International Airport (CIA) in Angeles City, Pampanga, intercepted six suspected victims of human trafficking who attempted to leave for South Korea with bogus travel papers recently. Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the passengers, all women, were held before they could board a Jin Air flight bound for Incheon. The women, whose names were withheld, were later turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for investigation. They were recruited to work as club entertainers in South Korea. But the overseas employment certificates the women presented turned out to be dubious, and details indicated in the documents did not match their records in the Bureau of Immigration database. The women identified a certain Mercy, who lives in Cavite, as the one who helped process their travel papers. —TINA G. SANTOS
Duterte renews, extends franchises of 3 broadcast networks
President Duterte has signed a law renewing the franchise of Manila Broadcasting Co. (MBC) for another 25 years while extending for the same period the franchises of two other radio and television stations. The President signed on Oct. 30 Republic Acts Nos. 11109, 11110 and 11111, which granted the franchises to MBC, Bright Star Broadcasting Network Corp. and Vanguard Radio Network Co. Inc. The three measures were passed by the Senate and House of Representatives in August. The franchises allow the broadcast networks to construct, install and operate radio and television stations in the country, at least for MBC. The two other networds operate in Luzon. —CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO
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