July 22, 2018, 6:17 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.0687 UAE Dirham
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07203 Brazilian Real
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1 Philippine Peso = 2.19981 Algerian Dinar
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.33389 Egyptian Pound
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01606 Euro
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01429 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01431 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08962 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.88982 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 168.66816 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14005 Guatemala Quetzal
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.1468 Hong Kong Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 26.78638 Myanmar Kyat
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1 Philippine Peso = 6.64048 Mauritania Ougulya
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1 Philippine Peso = 2.04293 Nepalese Rupee
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1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 106.97905 Paraguayan Guarani
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.25122 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33483 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16573 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02554 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0143 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41538 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 153.38571 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.68088 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 393.68313 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16367 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.633 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24845 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.62252 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04952 Tunisian Dinar
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.08966 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12587 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57159 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 42.49906 Tanzanian Shilling
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.58277 Uruguayan New Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 10.52881 CFA Franc (BEAC)
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1 Philippine Peso = 10.52881 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
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Aquino indicted over DAP

THE Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file a criminal case for usurpation of legislative powers against former president Benigno Simeon Aquino III and former budget secretary Florencio Abad in connection with the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the two respondents violated the Revised Penal Code through the unlawful issuance of National Budget Circular (NBC) No. 541 which authorized the Department of Budget and Management to implement the DAP and subsequently, withdraw unobligated allotments of agencies with low budget usage for realignment to other priority programs and projects. 

Through such action, Morales said, Aquino usurped Congress’ exclusive discretion over the national budget. 

Investigators said the DAP issuances totaled P72 billion.

Abigail Valte, a spokeswoman for Aquino, said she was waiting for instructions from the former president before providing comment.

“We have yet to receive a copy of the Ombudsman’s decision. We’re quite curious to study how the Office arrived at a reversal of its previous decision finding no liability on the part of former president Aquino,” Valte also said. 

The ruling was issued by a special panel of investigators on May 22, 2018 and was approved by Ombudsman Morales last June 14, 2018.

In coming up with the indictment, the Ombudsman reversed its March 2017 ruling that cleared Aquino of any criminal liability while ordering the filing of a case only against Abad. 

The decision was a partial grant of the motion for reconsideration filed by complainants Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate (PL-Bayan Muna), Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Benjamin Valbuena, Dante LA Jimenez, Mae Paner, Antonio Flores, Gloria Arellano, and Bonifacio Carmona, Jr. insisting Aquino should be held equally liable as Abad.

Aquino may still file a motion for reconsideration since this is the first time he was indicted although he had earlier been asked to comment on the complainants’ appeal.

In the same Resolution, the panel of investigators denied the separate appeal filed by Abad and affirmed his earlier indictment for the same offense and his administrative liability.

They said they have found strong evidence that Aquino colluded with Abad to illegally disburse funds without passing through Congress.

“A re-evaluation of the case establishes that the individual actions of respondent Aquino and respondent-movant Abad showed a joint purpose and design to encroach on the powers of Congress by expanding the meaning of savings to fund programs, activities and projects under the DAP,” the investigators said.

They cited the “exchange of memoranda” between Aquino and Abad as evidence of the extent of their individual participations and the fact that it was the former President who gave the final approval for the issuance of NBC 541. 

They noted that in the memorandum dated June 25, 2012, Aquino wrote marginal notes stating his “unqualified approval” of the grant of omnibus authority to Abad to consolidate fiscal year 2012 savings/unutilized balances and their realignment; and grant of authority to withdraw unobligated balances of national government agencies for slow-moving projects/expenditures as of 30 June 2012 and their realignment.

“It is thus clear that respondent-movant Abad sought the approval of respondent Aquino on both the request for authority to pool savings to fund the DAP and the request for omnibus authority to pool savings/unutilized balances. In both instances, respondent Aquino knowingly gave his approval. His approval prompted the issuance of NBC 541,” they stressed.

They said Aquino’s marginal notes on the expenditure items and on the approval page “show meaningful discussion between respondents and not mere reliance of a superior on a subordinate. Thus, respondent Aquino cannot rely on the Arias doctrine.” 

The Arias doctrine allows the defense of good faith on the part of heads of offices on the principle that they have to rely to a reasonable extent on their subordinates.

Investigators said Aquino, as President, had the authority and the duty to study each item on the communication before signifying his approval. 

The Supreme Court in 2014 had declared the transfer of public funds as “illegal” and “unconstitutional.”

In a statement, Aquino’s Liberal Party said: “The DAP was crafted with the intention to deliver the services and infrastructure needed by the people and guided by the laws available to the executive. This is why former President Aquino gave his nod to the program.”

It expressed confidence Aquino can prove his innocence. “Before all courts and until the very end of the process, former Pres. Aquino will show that he did not commit any illegal act. He will respect the process, as he expects that his reasoning be also given due course.” – With Raymond Africa 
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