Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370
  • Office of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman
  • Tel No. 4155455
  • Mobile No. 0918-9120137
  • 24 September 2010

 

          While the House of Representatives is inordinately protective of its power of impeachment against perceived intrusions of the Supreme Court, it forfeits with alacrity its power of inquiry in aid of legislation purportedly in deference to the Office of the President.

          The House leadership uses two contrasting standards in resisting the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review in impeachment proceedings, on the one hand and abandoning to the Executive its primary function of conducting Congressional investigations, on the other.

          I propose that the Committee on Public Order and Safety must immediately proceed in conducting an investigation together with the Committee on Good Government on the hostage rescue fiasco which occurred on 23 August 2010.

          The proposal is contained in a letter dated 23 September 2010, one month after the hostage-taking incident, to Rep. Pablo John Garcia, Chairman of the Committee on Public Order and Safety, with copies furnished to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II.

          It should be recalled that the Committee on Public Order and Safety deferred its own investigation reportedly in deference and courtesy to the then projected investigation to be conducted by the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) as ordered by President Benigno Aquino III. The IIRC has already rendered its report, albeit without furnishing a copy to the House of Representatives.

          No less than 11 resolutions have been filed by concerned Members of the House of Representatives urging the conduct of a legislative probe on the fatal hostage-taking incident, all of which have been referred by the Committee on Rules to the Committee on Public Order and Safety.

          The House leadership cannot simply disregard and shield these resolutions reminiscent of the precipitate pigeonholing of dozens of bills proposing the postponement of the barangay elections simply because the President wanted the village polls to push through as scheduled this October.

          The House must forthwith conduct its own inquiry for the following reasons:

          1.  It is the inherent right of the House to hold investigations in aid of legislation which is not the same purpose of the inquiry conducted by the IIRC constituted by President Aquino.

2. The House has also the authority to investigate, through the Committee on Good Government, acts of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance committed by government officials and employees.

3.  The House has not been furnished until now with the full IIRC report.

4.  The IIRC report is incomplete, inadequate and faulty even as it failed to investigate ranking members of the Cabinet who may have been responsible and accountable for the fiasco and exempted them from possible culpability.

              The House probe will not duplicate the IIRC investigation but would instead improve and amplify the same even as the principal purpose is in aid of legislation.The question is not whether the House would ultimately receive the full report but that propriety and courtesy demand that a co-equal body like the House must be given immediately the complete and unabridged report as submitted by the IIRC to the President one week ago and also by the Department of foreign Affairs to the Chinese ambassador.

  • Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
  • 22 September 2010
  • 0916-6406737 / 0918-9120137

 

           No concrete assessment could be made of the IIRC Report on the hostage rescue fiasco as long as President Benigno Aquino III withholds disclosure of the more substantial portions on “Conclusions on Accountability” and “Recommendations”.

           If the President holds the major aspects of the report close to his breast longer, popular clamor for their immediate and full disclosure may burn his chest.

           But what is apparent is that the reported culprits could be classified into four sectors: (1) officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) like former Director General Jesus Verzosa, Chief Supt Rodolfo Magtibay, Chief Supt. Leocadio Santiago, Supt. Orlando Yerba,  and Senior Inspector Santiago Pascual; (2) officials of the local government of the City of Manila like Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno; (3) representatives of broadcast media and television networks; and (4) Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III.

           The alleged culprits in the first three groups are directly under the responsibility and accountability of Secretary Jesse Robredo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government with respect to concerned police and local officials and to Secretaries Herminio Coloma and Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Group with respect to broadcast media.

           The Philippine National Police and the local government units are under the jurisdiction of the DILG Secretary.

           On the other hand, media practitioners and officials claim that they would have heeded advice from Malacañang officials like Coloma and Carandang to observe caution and proper protocol on hostage taking coverage but there was neither instruction nor coordination from these top officials.

           It would be recalled that a day after the fatal hostage-taking, I led the call for the resignation of Robredo, Coloma and Carandang.

           A thorough, fair and judicious investigation report should have ensnared Robredo, Coloma and Carandang for culpable acts of omission and negligence and for failing to exercise command responsibility.

           If heads must roll, bigger heads must roll.

  • Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
  • 21 September 2010
  • 0918-9120137 / 0916-6406737

 

                                                     ‘SERIALIZED’ HOSTAGE REPORT

                                                  OFFENDS PEOPLE’S RIGHT TO KNOW

         The serialization of the Incident Investigation Review Committee (IIRC) report on the hostage rescue fiasco violates the people’s right to know the full and unabridged report.

         This abangan ang susunod na kabanata reportage, apparently upon the instructions of President Benigno Aquino III, deprives the Filipino people of the right to be informed without delay of the full report, particularly the more substantial portions on “Conclusions on Accountability” and “Recommendations” which have been omitted or deleted in the President’s official website.

         Pages 61 to 83 on “Conclusions on Accountability”, “Recommendations”, “Highlights” and “Epilogue” were deliberately not posted.

        This partial disclosure aggravates the President’s decision to first give the report to the Chinese authorities before even allowing the sovereign Filipino people a glimpse of the report.

         Apparently, the Chinese government has already received the full report, albeit tentative, because it is still subject to the final review by Malacañang’s legal advisers.

         The Filipino nation has the right to know immediately the “conclusions” and “recommendations” of the IIRC for its appreciation or depreciation simultaneous with the review being conducted by Aquino’s legal staff.

         It would appear that if Aquino’s legal minds would reject or only recommend a partial adoption of the report, the people would only get to know a modified or deodorized sequel on the “conclusions on accountability” and “recommendations”.

         This calibrated dissemination of the report offends the tenets of transparency and fairness as the substantial parts of the report are held hostage even as it trivializes the report of the President’s own investigation committee.

  • Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
  • 0918-9120137 / 0916-6406737
  • 18 September 2010

 

            A total of P6.750 billion in five years can be sourced from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Members of the House of Representatives alone to boost the country’s chances of achieving by 2015 Millennium Development Goal No. 5 on improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality.

House Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman proposed to earmark and utilize annually at least P5-million from the PDAF of each Member of the House of Representatives or a total of P1.350-billion yearly for related programs and activities to help achieve MDG 5 in their respective districts and constituencies.

 Lagman lamented that “among all the eight MDGs, the least likely to be achieved is Goal No. 5.” He underscored that worldwide, the least progress has been in the area of reducing maternal mortality and improving maternal health.

 “This mirrors the low status accorded to women in most societies because the goal that specifically protects and promotes their health and wellbeing is the one where the commitment of majority of the signatory-countries is at best, faltering and at worst, feeble and half-hearted,” Lagman said in a speech before participants to the WomenDeliver Conference.

 The Albay solon emphasized that allocating funds through the PDAF for basic and emergency obstetric care and information campaign to avoid high-risk pregnancies will lower maternal mortality and morbidity.

 “If we collectively adopt and implement this proposal starting 2011, we shall be able to harness P1.350 billion annually or P6.750 billion in five years in the House of Representatives alone,” Lagman said. The deadline for achieving the MDGs is 2015.

 Lagman added that “the enactment of a rights-based, development-oriented and health-driven law on reproductive health that is well-funded and national in scope will help ensure that the miracle of life will not mean death for so many mothers.”

 In the Philippines, 11 women die daily of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. The country’s current maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is pegged at a high of 162 deaths for every 100,000 live births while the MDG target is an MMR of 52 by 2015.

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Lagman seeks P6.7 billion for maternal health
By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) Updated September 19, 2010 12:00 AM

 Link: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=613298&publicationSubCategoryId=63

 

Lagman urges use of lawmakers’ ‘pork’ to cut maternal deaths

Saturday, 18 September 2010 19:24

Link: http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/national/18547-lagman-urges-use-of-lawmakers-pork-to-cut-maternal-deaths.html

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