Philippines

News Briefs: Sept. 17, 2018

GMA a very hands-on Speaker, says Nograles

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Vilified for wresting the leadership in the House of Representatives, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has swiftly proven her worth as she helped the 292-member legislative body navigate through issues besetting it, according to Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles.

“Based on my experience working with her, she’s very quick in making decisions,” Nograles told an Inquirer forum on Thursday.

“When I [consulted her about] a problem with the budget, it took only three minutes for the Speaker to make a decision … She’s really that fast,” he added.

Barely two months after unseating President Rodrigo Duterte’s close friend, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Nograles said the former President had shown the work ethic she was known for during her nine-year stay in Malacañang.

Despite her age, he said the 71-year-old Speaker had been attending hearings of various House committees, including the impeachment complaints against Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and six other Supreme Court justices.

“She’s very hardworking,” Nograles said. “I presume that despite her busy schedule, she allocates a certain time to go around the different committees. She would ask what were being discussed by the committees.” —Marlon Ramos

Cotabato’s Lala Mendoza acquitted of graft charges

The Sandiganbayan has acquitted Cotabato Gov. Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza of graft charges in connection with the province’s alleged purchase of P2.3-million diesel fuel from her mother’s gas station. In a 35-page decision dated Sept. 14, the court’s First Division said the Ombudsman prosecutors failed to prove that Mendoza took advantage of her position and favored her mother’s business for the supply of fuel for heavy machinery used in the province’s infrastructure projects. It noted that it was actually the bids and awards committee (BAC), not Mendoza, that recommended that the fuel be sourced through direct contracting with Taliño Shell Station, instead of public bidding. Although Mendoza approved the BAC resolution, the court said there was no proof that she influenced or interfered in the BAC proceedings.  The court said it was reasonable for the governor to rely on the BAC resolution, especially as it did not even state which specific gas station would be chosen as the supplier. “The court, then, could not conclude that accused had intended to favor Taliño Shell Station when she approved the BAC resolution using the alternative mode of procurement,” read the decision. —VINCE F. NONATO

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