Probe of Aquino ‘cronies’ sought | Inquirer News

Probe of Aquino ‘cronies’ sought

By: - Reporter / @cynchdbINQ
/ 05:13 AM June 17, 2011

At least 34 opposition lawmakers have filed a resolution in the House seeking an investigation into the government’s failure to impose disciplinary actions on public officials appointed by and known to be close to President Aquino and pilloried as his “Kaibigan (friends), Kaklase (classmates) and Kabarilan (shooting buddies).”

The resolution deplored the administration’s inability to discipline, suspend or dismiss officials allegedly involved in graft and corruption and other wrongdoing.

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It called for an inquiry into the activities of known cronies of the President, namely, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Ricardo E. Puno; Assistant Secretary and Land Transportation Office (LTO) Chief Virginia Torres; Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima; and former Director Ernesto Diokno of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

Stressing that no one was above the law, the resolution said that public officials and employees must at all times maintain integrity, competence and industry in order to remain in public office.

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It called attention to Section 1, Article XI of the Constitution, which provides: “Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”

The resolution said that the President’s “KKK” who had run afoul of the law and/or had committed palpable and culpable malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance had remained unaccountable for their misdeeds in the performance of duties despite adverse findings and recommendations of independent and impartial investigating and/or fact-finding bodies against some of them.

The “KKK” officials, the resolution said, were either “cleared” at the instance of President Aquino; exonerated motu propio by the President; adverse recommendations against them had been disregarded; and that no criminal or administrative charges had been filed against them.

It pointed out that the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) created by the President and headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had found Puno liable in the bungled rescue operation of the Aug. 23, 2010 hostage-taking incident at the Rizal Park that resulted in the death of eight Hong Kong tourists.

The resolution noted that the IIRC recommended the filing of administrative proceedings against Puno for gross negligence under appropriate civil service laws, rules and regulations, and also recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the appropriate government agency against Puno for possible criminal liability.

However, it said, the President created a Malacañang legal tandem to review the IIRC recommendations, which eventually cleared Puno.

On another instance, the resolution said, a Department of Justice investigating panel recommended the filing of charges against, and eventual dismissal of Torres for her complicity and partiality in the failed takeover of the office of information technology contractor Stradcom at the LTO. Yet the President ignored the recommendation, the resolution said.

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Purisima, it said, admitted that he failed to file income tax returns (ITRs) for the years 2007 and 2008, and that while he reported a net worth increase of P10,650,000 from 2008 to 2009, his joint net income with his wife, Mrs. Cora Purisima, as reflected in their ITR for 2009, was only P3,697,767 or a difference of P6,952,233 in net worth.

It said that the “convenient” resignation of Diokno due to living-out-prisoners scandal that rocked the BuCor during his watch did not exempt him from both criminal and administrative liabilities.

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Bureau of Corrections, cronyism, Graft and Corruption, investigation, President’s KKK
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