Airlines Seek Customs Overtime Padding Probe

Airline industry is willing to cooperate with the Ombudsman in investigating a complaint filed by airport Customs examiners against their immediate seniors for apparently stuffing their overtime claims with airline companies, and pocketing, instead of distributing properly, the money that is being collected.

The spokesman for the Board of Airline Representatives (VBAR), Mr. Bayani Agabin, mentioned yesterday that the complant supports “our longstanding suspicion of overcharging and abuse of this overtime arrangement. We are thankful that the present administration has decided to do away with the backward practice of a single shift from 8 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon plus overtime, and instead operate 24/7 on three shifts at key ports as is done worldwide.”

Airlines paid airport Customs approximately P2 billion since the early 1990s until 2005, unfortunately when they decided to stop paying, airport Customs sought them to double their charges.

There about 200 Customs employees at the airport. Which then the airlines challenged the overtime practice in court, arguing that Customs employees are government staffs, not theirs.

The complaint before the Ombudsman was filed in August 2009 by some examiners who did not get their share.

Agabin said that it will send a strong message to stumbling civil servants and that the resolution of this case would resound across the government.

Agabin also mentioned that the Ombudsman should find out if the check payments from individual airlines were deposited to the government accounts and it is properly accounted and distributed, whether the recipients professed that these are part of their taxable compensation income.

“If they encashed the checks and divided it among themselves, then this constitutes malversation which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment,” he said. “This may also amount to a violation of Civil Service Commission rules on double compensation, Commission on Audit rules on accounting and disbursement of funds, and tax laws on payment of taxes on income.” Agabin added.

According to the complaint, Customs collectors prepare two sets of payroll.

One is presented to the airline that shows the complete list of examiners even if some are actually absent, on leave or had been transferred, while the other is the “final payroll” where those actually absent were taken off the list and their share is allegedly pocketed by the superiors, the complaint said.

The airport Customs personnel is also been abused this overtime practice by adding meals and transportation allowances to their billings, and charging four times if four planes land for the same hour they serve, he said.

‘Justice Is Alive In The Philippines’

This was the principal emotion of Filipino citizens on the Supreme Court’s final decision ordering the distribution of almost 5,000 hectares of land to Hacienda Luisita farmer-beneficiaries.

Hacienda Luisita became a trending topic on Twitter on Tuesday after the ruling was released.

Twitter user Marin Jabin said, “Justice has finally served the people who deserve her!”

User Lar T tweeted, “Hacienda Luisita finally to be distributed to its rightful owners. Buhay ang hustisya sa Pilipinas (Justice is alive in the Philippines).”

While, Twitter user Stephanie Lim said she was happy for the farmers. “I hope that the distribution will happen as soon as possible.”

Television personalities also shared their thoughts through Twitter.

Actress Assunta de Rossi, who is married to Negros Occidental Representative Julio “Jules” Ledesma IV,  said, “Finally, Hacienda Luisita farmers will get what they deserve. Yes to land distribution! No to greed!”

“So happy for the farmers of Hacienda Luisita. Well deserved!” Claudine Trillo tweeted.

Posts on social networking site Facebook also praised the high court’s ruling.

‘Yellow men’

“After a lengthy war, the farmers finally get a taste of vengeance,” said Facebook user Ian Kim P. Gahoy.

“JUSTICE,” said Facebook user Gabriel Borlongan.

Facebook user Jom Pineda said, “The SC justices voted 14-0 for Hacienda Luisita land distribution. Rejoice to Luisita farmers!”

There were also users who were skeptical about the decision.

Twitter user Dinz Francisco said, “Luisita finally to be distributed but I don’t think the yellow men will agree. They will bend all the rules to take it back.”

Hoping for no flip-flop

The sprawling sugar-estate is owned by President Benigno Aquino III’s Cojuanco clan.

Chief Justice Renato Corona has said his impeachment “is a revenge and a shameless attempt to stop the distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands.”

“If this is really the end of this case, just how long will it take to distribute the land to the farmers? 1 year, 5 years, 20 years? In the Philippines, the law moves slower than a Carabao,” said user Jon in a comment on INQUIRER.net.

“Hope the SC won’t flip-flop on this. Congrats to the farmers. Use the land wisely,” said user magsasakasanayon in another comment on the Inquirer website.

In the articles of impeachment against Corona, Article 3 refers to the lack of probity, integrity and independence resulting in flip-flopping decisions.

BIR: No More Deadline Extension

Respective individuals and corporations received a reminder coming from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that they have only until today to file their 2011 income tax returns (ITRs).

Ms. Kim S. Jacinto Henares, BIR Commissioner, provided specific instructions to all revenue deputy and assistant commissioners in supervising the tax filing operations on the regional and district levels, mainly those in Metro Manila where a lot of taxpayers are based.

Including the 25% surcharge and 20% interest per year, she highlighted that April 16 is the deadline and will not be extended, if so, fines will be obligatory on late filers.

BIR chief uttered that in case of purposive or intentional neglect to file a return, the present surcharge will be increased to 50 percent of the tax due.

Whether single or married, an individual taxpayer is allowed of the basic personal immunity of P50,000 plus P25,000 for each dependent child but not exceeding four. Only the other half reporting income can get the personal immunity.

The supplementary exemption for children shall be obtained by the husband, unless he waives his right in favor of his wife.

In the case of legally separated spouses, the supplementary exemption shall be claimed by the spouse who has safekeeping of the dependents.

Required to file ITRs are Filipino citizens residing here, Filipinos residing abroad but earning income here and foreigners residing and deriving income from the country.

An individual is excused from filing an ITR if his revenue does not surpass his total personal and additional exemptions and whose income has been subjected to final withholding tax.

Also exempted from this are the minimum wage earners and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) as far as their earnings from such employment are concerned.

An OFW is however required to file return and pay taxes if he derives income from sources within the country, say operating a grocery store and apartment houses.

An individual is not required to file ITR but may voluntarily submit one for purposes of loans and foreign travel requirements.

FPGMA to transfer in Veterans Memorial


Manila, Philippines- Former president Gloria Arroyo expressed her grieve that she was pre-judged by the Aquino administration, in an interview aired on 24 ORAS with Arnold Clavio on Thursday.

“I was prejudged by the new administration. They even resorted to demagoguery so that they can demonize me. Of course, if I am portrayed as bad he will look good,” the Former president told Arnold Clavio.

Arroyo said she maintains peace of mind amid accusations and that she drew strength from her family, especially her two grandchildren.

“Malinis ang aking konsensiya sa aking pagkapangulo. My only duty is to serve our countrymen. Nobody can quarrel with me over my industriousness,” added by Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Former president said that she is still recovering from her three neck operations, but she is still unable to get an official diagnosis on her disease. “Eto, gumagaling na itong operasyon ko bagama’t hindi natin alam kung tuluyang hindi na babalik dahil wala pa tayong official diagnosis doon sa sinusupetsahang metabolic bone disease.”

“I think she’s come to accept the reality that she will be transferred (to VMMC) but I can see that she’s depressed. She’s just a little over 90 pounds now,” her husband said. Mr. Arroyo said the Pampanga representative has just recovered from a bout of colitis or inflammation of the large intestines and the family as well as her doctors have been prodding her to eat more to regain her strength.

GMA said her faith in God remains strong. Her spokesperson Ma. Elena Bautista-Horn said the Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has requested that a small altar be put up in her suite.

PNP will be in charge of the transfer of Arroyo from the SLMC, while security at the VMMC will be the responsibility of both the police and the military. Chief Superintendent Miguel Laurel, deputy chief for administration of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said 150 policemen would be deployed to secure the convoy of Arroyo.

Laurel, head of Task Force FPGMA (Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo), said additional policemen were deployed yesterday at the SLMC following reports that militant groups and anti-Arroyo forces would stage a protest rally at the hospital.

China to execute Filipino on December 8


Manila, Philippines- An OFW faces once again a death sentence in China on December 8, after being arrested at Guilin International Airport while trying to smuggle 1.495 kilos of heroin into Guangxi province from Malaysia back in September 13, 2008.

The High People’s Court (HPC) of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region informed the Philippine Consulate-General in Guangzhou Wednesday that the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in Beijing affirmed the lower court’s decision on the carrying out of the death penalty on the Filipino.

President Aquino has asked Chinese President Hu Jintao, that the 35 year old Filipino National be given a less severe sentence.

We have exhausted all legal efforts. We have exhausted all efforts and the sentence would be carried out on Dec. 8,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

We recognize the decision of the judicial authorities in China. It was made based on the evidence that the Filipino national was carrying heroin and, therefore, based on their law, it was subject to the death penalty. Again, it was done in compliance with their legal processes, we respect that. And I believe that in the same manner that the three Filipinos who were previously executed, this should not cause a hiccup in Filipino-Chinese relations,” he added.

President Benigno S. Aquino III instructed Vice President Jejomar C. Binay to go to Beijing and appeal the scheduled execution of the Filipino.

Vice President Jejomar Binay is set to leave for China to personally hand over the letter appeal of President Aquino to Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is now making the necessary arrangements for Binay’s trip to China “at the earliest time possible.”

US envoy apologizes to DFA ; Palace says no need to apologize to the President

US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr.

US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr.

After stating that 40% of male tourists visiting the Philippines come only for sex tourism, US ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. sent an aplogy text message to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

Del Rosario said that he received the text message from Thomas last Friday, October 6, 2011, stating that the US Ambassador is sorry for not backing up with statistics and figures about his statement.

Thomas’ also extended his apologies to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima whose department was tagged as the source of the statistics regarding the sex tourism.

“There are two things involved here: Having no statistics to back it up, we believe that we have confronted… we don’t have a policy of inviting tourists here for sex purposes. Number two, notwithstanding that, we recognize that there are certain people who come here and engage in those services and that’s the reason why we continue to prosecute these people.” Pres. spokesperson Lacierda said.

Sec. Lacierda also pointed out the removal of the Philippines from the Tier 2 watch list in the 2011 State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released by the US government last June.

“The fact that we were able to remove ourselves from the list shows the effort of this present government to combat all these nefarious acts,” he said.

Malacañang also accepted the apology of Thomas and declared the issue closed.

“I think the statement of Ambassador Thomas clearly showed that he was not able to back up the statistics and hence he apologized to Secretary Del Rosario and to our government.” Lacierda said.

“We, in fact, thanked the ambassador for his statement.” Lacierda said.

Lacierda also said the Ambassador’s remarks did not affect the strong relations between close allies Philippines and the US.

The Anti-Planking Act of 2011 creates stir online and among student orgs

Students "planking" along Espanya Blvd.

In line with the transport holiday staged last Monday in the Philippines wherein members of the League of Filipino Students “planked” in the middle of the busy street of Espanya that caused heavy traffic and irritated motorists, Quezon City Representative Winston “Winnie” Castelo has filed a bill called the Anti-Planking Act of 2011.

Under the proposed Anti-Planking Act of 2011, Castelo proposed the creation of a universal Code of Student Conduct “where planking as a form of redress of grievance be strictly prohibited and appropriate sanctions be applied for violations thereof.” The proposal for the bill came after the representative became worried as a parent and feared that the act will be a “template” to imitate during protests.

“I was also a UP (University of the Philippines) student and I sympathize with them. It is normal to air their grievances and I welcome that as a lawmaker. However, as a parent, we have to see to it that their lives are protected as well. If you have plankers in the middle of the street, it will disrupt traffic. While we recognize their right to express themselves, you have to respect the rights of the riding public” he told abs-cbnNEWS.com. He also said Congress will also need to determine what sanctions could be imposed on ordinary citizens who conduct planking protests.

However, Castelo said the bill will not prohibit the constitutional right of freedom of expression since it only seeks to ensure the safety of protesters. The congressman is also not keen on punishing “plankers” who conduct their protests on sidewalks or areas where they will not be put in danger.

“As long as there is no disruption to the public, I think we will liberal about that. As I mentioned, I am more inclined to (allow them to) air their grievances than curtail their freedom,” he said.

Meanwhile, campus-based youth groups on Tuesday criticized Castelo’s proposed anti-planking bill, calling the proposal “ridiculous and anti-democratic”.

“This is a cheap attempt at publicity and with the sole intention of abridging the rights of the youth to freely express themselves. The Anti-Planking bill is very anti-democratic and definitely ridiculous.” said Carl Reyes, Sanlakas Youth spokesperson.

Jico Santos, chairperson of UP Diliman-based student group KAISA, added, “These politicians should instead get themselves busy in crafting laws that will ensure the exercise of the people’s rights like the Freedom of Information and Reproductive Health bills. Planking is covered by our freedom of expression. Cong. Castelo, wala namang basagan ng trip.”

Social media users such as Facebook and Twitter also raised eyebrows about the possible bill stating a general sentiment that the government should focus on important house bills such as the Right of Information Bill and the controversial Reproductive Health Bill.

The sections of the propsed Anti-Planking Act of 2011 are as follows:

AN ACT PRESCRIBING A UNIVERSAL CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT WHEREBY PLANKING BY A STUDENT OR GROUP OF STUDENTS DURING STREET RALLIES OR SIMILAR PROTEST ACTIONS AS A FORM OF REDRESS OF GRIEVANCE BE STRICTLY PROHIBITED AND APPLYING APPROPRIATE SANCTIONS THEREOF

September 20th, 2011

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. This Act shall be known as the “Anti-Planking Act of 2011″.

SEC. 2. A universal Code of Student Conduct is hereby prescribed where planking as a form of redress of grievance be strictly prohibited and appropriate sanctions be applied for violations thereof.

SEC. 3. Under this Act, planking is when a student or group of students lies face down in unusual locations especially in streets or other public places, keeping the hands along the body and the feet outstretched and especially where such act is meant as a form of redress of grievance against government.

SEC. 4 Every bonafide student from any school, college or university shall conduct himself with high degree of discipline and propriety.

SEC. 5. The Department of Education in the case of elementary and high school students and the Commission on Higher Education in the case of college students shall draft a universal Code of Student Conduct to carry out the provisions of this Act.
Further, DepEd and CHED, respectively shall issue appropriate rules and regulations to effectively carry out intent and purpose of this Act.

SEC. 6. This Act shall take effect ninety (90) days after its publication in the Official Gazette and in at least three (3) newspapers of general circulation.

Approved,

Andi Eigenmann Finally Named the Father of Her Unborn Child

Andi’s page: “#welliwasneverreallytheconventionaltype: I remember, just months ago, I was so into setting up a tea party even by myself, while waiting for the ceremonial “I do’s” of Prince William and Kate. I was dreaming with my eyes open as I envisioned myself having my wedding similar, with only less of a budget difference, as compared to theirs. Now, I have to stay home and deal with feeling like a planet, while I wait for the ultimate due date. I thought, maybe thinking about how my life should be right now, like the freedom and lightness of dreaming of the next wedding of the century, would readily bring me to tears again. Tears of regret in terms of being fully aware of the greatness and success that should have been. But no. No, because God really does love me. 

As soon as I have learned to embrace the fact that instead of having a child at the age of 29, it was blessed upon me as early as now, all those points that would usually bring me to endless tears, have remained to be dreams, STILL highly possible from coming true. This just goes to show that, yes, amidst the lack of maternal instincts and no ounce of being nurturing or maternal whatsoever, I am now undoubtedly ready to raise a child on my own. Of course this comes with being lucky enough to have the best set of supportive family members. Sadly, in life, not everything has to go our way. God didn’t create us to be immature spoiled brats who have to get everything as planned. Nothing’s perfect, but I can assure you one thing: God is awesome and He knows whats best for us, without a doubt. Though not everything may go our way, things will always end up to be just what would keep us happy and contented. The key I guess, is to not expect things way too much. This will only lead to our hearts being bruised and then scarred. I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak and pain, and I must admit, they didn’t go so well at all. But it’s not like Im the daughter of Satan walking the streets of Earth to help let evil overpower this world. I go about each and everyday making sure, I do things that I want, and believe is right, specially without hurting anyone. I never intend to come off as a bad person, in any way whatsoever. And so this state I’m in is something I shouldn’t and wouldn’t be ashamed of.

EDITED: Maybe instead of feeling bad that the baby daddy (-_- really?) left me to take on this responsibility by myself, I should thank him for giving me the opportunity go out and find genuine happiness once again. I’d obviously love for him to be around eventually. You know, to save myself the struggle to find a good way to explain his absence to his child. At the same time, I’d understand. Cus after all, I have no idea who or what kind of a person all the fame and fortune has turned him into now. All I hope is that he’s well.

ORIGINAL : “Maybe instead of feeling bad that Albie left me to take on this responsibility by myself, I should thank him for giving me the opportunity go out and find genuine happiness once again. I’d obviously love for him to be around eventually. You know, to save myself the struggle to find a good way to explain his absence to his child. At the same time, I’d understand. Cus after all, I have no idea who or what kind of a person all the fame and fortune has turned him into now. All I hope is that he’s well.

So what about walking down the isle in my awesome white gown? With make up i would try to do myself, just like royals, Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth have done? What about my goal of having the next wedding of the century with lovely guests wearing the trendiest hats? What about grabbing even half as much acting awards as my mom and dad? What about that goal to set out and make a difference? What about that entire journey to genuine happiness through success? What about them all? The answer to that isn’t even that there are better things planned out for me. Its– I just need to wait patiently for the perfect time. Everything will soon fall into place.”

These are the prevailing words that Andi expressed in a very revealing blog post published Last September 4, 2011 on her blog. After 3 months of keeping mum, young actress Andi Eigenmann named Albie Casiño as the father of her unborn child.

As we may already know, Andi and the Eigenmann family remained silent for quite some time about naming the specific person behind Andi’s pregnancy issues. For the longest time, the identity of the father of Andi Eigenmann’s baby remained the big question mark in her pregnancy. It was a toss between Jake Ejercito and Albie Casiño. Andi Eigenmann quickly eliminated Jake from the equation after revealing that the son of former president Joseph Estrada was not her boyfriend then. That left Albie. Still, Andi refused to say it was he. What made matters more interesting is Albie’s (or in this case, his mother’s) denial that he had anything to do with the unplanned pregnancy. His camp even challenged Andi’s camp to a paternity test which the latter cooly declined. But in Andi’s Blog, she revealed that Albie Casiño is the father of Andi’s baby. But edited yesterday September 5, 2011. Andi purposely edited her published blog post and removed Albie’s name where he was mentioned for the reason that some “haters” violently reacted against her. This blog aims to inspire those who want to be inspired. This blog does not need nor care about the idiosyncratic haters, because of the fact that it is non- showbiz and it does not aim to be one. says Andi, backed with the hashtag #WARNING.

Marcos family has agreed to Ilocos burial

Foermer President Marcos

Former president Ferdinand Marcos might soon be buried, but not in the ‘Libingan ng mga Bayani’ where his family originally wanted him to be.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, is the one responsible to submit a recommendation to Malacanang about the matter months back.

“Pumayag na ang Marcos family na sa Ilocos ilibing si dating Pangulong Marcos,” Binay said in a statement Tuesday.

“Yong ikalawang part (military honors) na lang yung dapat nating plantsahin at malapit nang mangyari ‘yon,” said Binay.

However, Marcos family have yet to receive “official communication” from Malacanang to polish fully the plan of Marcos burial.

“The family has not received any word from Noynoy about it so the family has nothing to react to. But we are always open to any compromise, proposals,” the Senator said.

Joey Salgado, Binay’s spokesman, had said that Marcos family has no objection regarding the Ilocos burial, even before the recommendation to Aquino was made.

Salgado said there were representatives from the Marcos family during the negotiations.

Marcos died in Hawaii on September 28, 1989 due to kidney failure. His body was returned to the Philippines in 1993, almost a decade after his ouster.

His embalmed corpse is still in a mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

Source: Binay: Marcos family has agreed to Ilocos burial

Cory Aquino 2nd Death Anniversary August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011 is the second death anniversary of the first woman president of the republic and the icon of Philippine democracy, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution in EDSA, which toppled the Marcos dictatorship. She was the first woman president of the Philippines and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. In 1986, TIME Magazine named her Woman of the Year. She stepped down from the presidency in 1992, but continued to be active in politics. In early 2008, she announced she had colon cancer and was undergoing treatment. She died at age 76 on August 1, 2009.

Cory Aquino Quotes
Quotations from the former Philippines president
“I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life”

“As I came to power peacefully, so shall I keep it”

“It is true you cannot eat freedom and you cannot power machinery with democracy. But then neither can political prisoners turn on the light in the cells of a dictatorship”

“The only thing I can really offer the Filipino people is my sincerity.”