DPWH usec, 2 others hurt in ambush

PUBLIC Works Undersecretary Ramon Aquino was wounded yesterday in an ambush staged by two motorcycle-riding men in front of the DPWH main office in Port Area, Manila.

Aquino, chief of staff of Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, was hit in the chest and abdomen but is in stable condition at the Manila Doctors Hospital, said Undersecretary Rafael Yabut.

Physicians are also checking damage to Aquino’s liver, he said. Aquino’s aide Antonio Caneleta was hit in the face while his driver Victor Salonga was wounded in the right cheek.

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SEC official ordered to go on leave

SECURITIES and Exchange Commissioner Jesus Martinez was ordered by President Arroyo to go on leave over allegations that he received bribes from the Legacy Group.

Arroyo’s gesture is seen as empty, however, because Martinez is retiring tomorrow after serving a full seven-year term in the seven-man body.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Arroyo also ordered Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez and Presidential Anti-Graft Commission chair Constancia de Guzman to conduct a separate investigation.

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Losing war vs corruption

THE numbers are in and the grafters and the corrupt clearly are winning.

In the last 10 years starting 1999, the Office of the Ombudsman filed 4,056 indictments against public officials, down 66 percent from 11,933 cases filed between 1989 and 1998.

This at a time of widespread perception that corruption has become worse than it was during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos.

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‘Gutierrez sat on WB report’

SEN. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II yesterday said Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez sat for 15 months on the World Bank report finding collusion in the bidding for road projects it is funding.

He said this was the impression he got when World Bank officials told senators during a briefing on Tuesday that they transmitted the report to the Ombudsman precisely for action.

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