News Briefs: July 23, 2019
Oil firms roll back prices of petroleum products
MANILA, Philippines — Pump prices of gasoline went down for the first time in six weeks as global prices fell due to increased fears of weakening demand and at the same time, rising surplus of supply.
Petron, Shell, Seaoil, Phoenix, PTT Philippines and Eastern announced price cut of 25 centavos per liter of gasoline and 20 centavos per liter of diesel, starting at 6 a.m. on July 23.
Petron, Shell and Seaoil also reduced prices of kerosene by 40 centavos per liter.
The price of Dubai crude oil dropped to $62.31 per barrel on July 18 from $64.62 per barrel on July 10. —Ronnel W. Domingo
SC suspends lawyer who ran off with tenant’s P1M
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has suspended for a year a lawyer who nearly ran off with P1 million from a tenant who trusted his word that he will sell the property.
On July 5, the court’s Third Division meted John Gerald Aguas a one-year suspension for using his knowledge of the law to take advantage of his tenant, Paz Sanidad.
Sanidad complained that Aguas gave his word in 2001 that he would sell her the house she was renting in Batasan Hills, Quezon City, for P1.5 million.
However, after she had paid P1.152 million in installments in 2011, Aguas reportedly sent demand letters for supposed unpaid rent and threatened to evict her if she did not pay.
When the Integrated Bar of the Philippines investigated him in July 2014, Aguas reported that he had already settled the case by giving the property title to his tenant without getting a single centavo as payment.
The Supreme Court found “outright outrageous” Aguas’ claim that he voluntarily gave up the title to the property without remuneration. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Sandiganbayan finds evidence vs ex-NIA exec strong
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has ruled that the evidence against former National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Carlos Somblingo Salazar was strong.
Salazar, along with his coaccused, private individuals and officials of A.M. Oreta & Co., Ricardo Khan Jr. and Greg Tupaz Jr. face graft charges for their involvement in the allegedly anomalous construction of the Libmanan-Cabusao Diversion Dam.
Salazar insisted that the bidding process was transparent, competitive and done in accordance with the law.
According to the information charge sheet filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, Salazar and Khan allegedly acted with evident bad faith and gross inexcusable negligence when they conspired with each other to award the contract to A.M. Oreto, despite the absence of the prior approval to implement the project from the National Economic Development Authority. —Patricia Denise M. Chiu
Retiring SC justice lauded for disposing of all his cases
MANILA, Philippines — A retiring Supreme Court member who was embroiled in a plagiarism scandal in 2010 was lauded by the court on Monday for disposing of all the 5,681 cases assigned to him during his 10-year tenure.
Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, who will retire on July 29 when he turns 70 years old, was cited for his “exemplary dedication to duty and work ethic” shown by his “zero backlog of both Division and en banc cases.”
He was also cited for authoring the Manual for Bar Examinations to guide magistrates who will chair future licensure exams for lawyers, and for leading the Justice on Wheels Program for the last nine years.
The program provides communities in far-flung areas with fast and free dispute resolution services through a traveling bus that serves as a courtroom and a mediation chamber. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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