Harry Roque files bill allowing Ombudsman to deputize private prosecutors

Rep. Harry L. Roque on Tuesday filed a bill amending the Ombudsman Law to authorize the Office of the Ombudsman to deputize the prosecution cases to private lawyers and law firms.

House Bill 4754 amends the Republic Act 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) to allow the services of private lawyers to be deputized by the Ombudsman, in cooperation with, and under the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

“This is a proffered solution to the spate of dismissals of cases filed by the Ombudsman before the Sandiganbayan,” Roque said.

“Unlike in ordinary criminal cases where private prosecutors are allowed to prosecute the civil aspect of the case, private lawyers cannot do so in the Sandiganbayan,” he added.

Under Roque’s proposal, the deputized lawyers will work under the Office of the Special Prosecutor and shall remain under its supervision and control, upon authority of the Ombudsman.

A compensation structure based on the work evaluation studies shall be instituted, subject to the Ombudsman’s approval.

“The Ombudsman shall prepare a compensation structure to conform as closely as possible to the principles for in Republic Act 6758 or the Salary Standardization Act.”

In his exploratory note, the lawmaker said the conviction rate of the Office of the Ombudsman has historically been very low, ranging from 10 to 25 percent, depending on the year and source.

“Of late, it is most worrisome that the Office of the Special Prosecutor had lost cases against so-called ‘big fish,’ three of which are cases that were either filed by the undersigned, or cases where the undersigned had involvement in the filing of cases; to wit: the NBN-ZTE scam, the fertilizer fund scam, and the Malampaya fund scam,” Roque said.

“These cases were dismissed despite the fact that both the Senate and the Ombudsman had previously investigated them and found the evidence to be sufficient,” he added.

Boosting Therapeutic Communities for Youth-At-Risk with President Digong

I am happy to report that President Duterte has accepted my commitment to support his war on drugs, particularly in rehabilitating urban youth at risk. We also discussed initiatives to improve the pillars of the criminal justice system.

We met with the president at Malacanang on Dec19 to discuss the projects of our 20-year old foundation, which has been quietly running 36 shelters in Metro Manila.

The president has expressed his support and assistance with the faith and community-based projects of our foundation to rehabilitate urban youth at risk.

Ron Salo in panic mode because of anamalous license plate deal

Today, Rep. Ron Salo’s camp issued a press statement saying that I am being investigated by the Kabayan Board for my alleged “dishonorable behavior” in the House Committee on Justice investigations on Senator Leila De Lima’s links to the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.

Rep. Ron Salo is obviously in panic mode after he was indicted for his role in the anomalous Php 3.8 billion Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program (MVLPSP) at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) during the Aquino administration.

To begin with, I do not recognize the legality of this so-called Board organized by Rep. Salo for his own benefit and protection.

Second, if there is anyone who should be investigated by Kabayan and booted out of the party-list, it should be Rep. Salo himself who is already facing charges in court for estafa through falsification of documents.

Another complaint, this time for graft and corruption, was also filed against him and other personalities in connection with the same anomalous deal that has prejudiced millions of Filipino vehicle owners, not to mention the government itself.

Not only that, a plunder case is also reportedly being readied against Rep. Salo in the DOJ.

Rep. Salo has earned for himself the ignominy of being a criminal participant in one of the Aquino administration’s – and the Liberal Party’s – worst legacies.

Atty. Salo was indicted for his role as corporate counsel to Power Plates Development Concepts Inc. (PPI) and Dutch company J. Knieriem B.V. Goes (JKG), the Joint Venture that won the bidding for the license plate deal.

The DOJ had found probable cause to charge him for falsification of documents after he and a cohort passed off as JKG’s year 2011 audited financial statement what was later established to be the corporation’s annual report of accounts for the same year. For public bidding purposes, a participating corporation is required by law to submit an audited financial statement showing that it is actually financially capable of implementing the project.

Media reports about the case failed to capture three important things: one, that Atty. Salo is now an honorable member of the House of Representatives; two, the head of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) who approved the contract was his former boss here at the House of Representatives, Joseph Emilio Abaya; and three, a warrant of arrest has already been issued against Rep. Salo in connection with the estafa case.

Atty. Salo used to be part of the legislative staff of Mr. Abaya when he was still a law student.

Still, the news reports did note that a second complaint had just been filed with the Department of Justice against Abaya, Rep. Salo and several others in connection with the same anomalous deal, this time for graft and corruption.

From the looks of it, the questioned deal was a cozy arrangement for Atty. Salo, given his past ties to Mr. Abaya, who, until recently, was president of the Liberal Party.

It’s quite a meteoric rise indeed for Rep. Salo from being a lowly legislative staff to being part of a criminal enterprise responsible for defrauding government and the Filipino people in a contract worth Php 3.8 billion.

I challenge his so-called Board to investigate their principal – who fashions himself as a lay preacher of the Christian gospel – for his hand in this immoral and illegal deal.

Statement of Rep. Harry L. Roque on the cancellation of the bilateral talks of Presidents Obama and Duterte

I stand behind and admire President Duterte’s espousal for an independent foreign policy. I am concerned, however, that the President’s undiplomatic language may unnecessarily cause diplomatic wrinkles, much like the cancellation of his bilateral talks with President Obama. An independent foreign policy need not result in the disturbance of friendly relations with our traditional allies. […] More →

Harry Roque files bill renaming Libingan ng Mga Bayani

Kabayan Party-list Representative Harry L. Roque filed a bill on Wednesday seeking to rename the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (LNMB) to Libingan ng Mga Bayani at Mga Dating Pangulo. Roque filed  House Bill 3287 in connection with President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to bury the remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the LNMB. “It appears […] More →

Statement of Rep. Harry L. Roque on President Duterte’s threat to withdraw the Philippines’ membership from the United Nations

The threat of President Duterte to withdraw the Philippines’ membership from the United Nations (UN) is impulsive, imprudent, and contrary to the interests of the nation. The UN is an organization that embodies fundamental principles of international peace and cooperation. The Philippines has relied on the UN and its Charter in its defense against China’s […] More →

Charter change will not help poor

Charter change will not help poor Originally published on July 6, 2016 10:30 pm by Llanesca T. Panti, The Manila Times Charter change will not help poor – lawmaker Amending the 1987 Constitution to implement federalism— a system wherein regions will be self-governing under a federal government—will not solve widespread poverty, a lawmaker said Wednesday. […] More →

Maligayang pagbati, Onesimo!

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Maligayang pagbati sa mga nagtapos sa mga programa ng Onesimo Foundation!

Dumalo si Atty. Harry Roque ng KABAYAN Party List sa graduation ceremonies ng Onesimo Foundation.

“Sa lahat ng aking mga layunin at adbokasiya, ang Onesimo Foundation ang isa sa mga pinakamalapit sa aking puso. Ang Onesimo ay isang faith-based organization na tumutulong sa mga urban youth. Ang organisasyon na ito ay itinaguyod namin ng aking kaibigan na si Chris Schneider halos dalawang dekada na ang nakalipas. Si Chris ay isang Swiss na tapat ang pagmamahal at paglilingkod sa mga Pilipino. Nagsi More →