Two of the Liberal Party senatorial bets who are reportedly at odds with each other crossed paths on Friday during a one day province-wide barnstorm to press hands and talk to Boholanos in a bid to further strengthen their chances for the May 9, 2016 national elections for senators.
Former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima first arrived Thursday morning for a day and a half visit meeting with Boholanos while Former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Joel Villanueva toured the municipalities of Bohol starting Friday afternoon.
De Lima admitted during her meeting with the media that as Secretary of Justice, she approved Â the filing of a graft complaint against Villanueva on the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) based on evidence culled from investigations conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Villanueva, for his part during an exclusive interview with theÂ ChronicleÂ yesterday before he boarded his flight to Manila said “the Commission on Audit never issued a notice of suspension or disallowance and I’m proud of it”.
De Lima who has been in the forefront in the battle against child abuse addressed a forum on child abuse described these cases as “heart wrenching” and pointed out the danger of online child abuse with the victims parents, close relatives and neighbors preying on the vulnerability of children.
But De Lima stamped her foot on proposed amendments to lower the age of criminal liability from age 15 to 12.
“No way. We are destroying their future by putting them in jail. Budgetary constraints are to blame for the non implementation of certain provisions of RA 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006”.
Admitting that our justice system is dysfunctional, fragmented and broken but acknowledged that unless we have a set of rules and procedures that do not reward delay, but are proper rules of engagement that are sensible and logical for us to reach the truth.
A former chair of the Commission on Human Rights and served as Secretary of Justice for five years, De Lima stressed “you cannot attain Justice without respecting human rights”.
De Lima also cited the Code of Conduct of Prosecutors to do away with unscrupulous prosecutors and the involvement in case building to lessen the dismissal rate of cases.
De Lima downplayed mutual animosity with PDP presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte whom she has crossed swords in the arena of human rights.
“We (referring to Duterte) have the same sentiments at criminals and those involved in the illegal drug trade. But I don’t agree with his decision to just kill criminials without proper trial. You can’t right a wrong with another wrong”.
De Lima is now the “new kid in the block” when she barged into the magic eight of the senatoriables in recent surveys.
JOBS, JOBS, JOBS
Meanwhile, Villanueva dubbed as the “Tesda Man” is basking in his achievements as chief of Tesda.
“I am happy to report that we trained 10 million and graduated 9 million and in Bohol we have 215,000 Tech Voc graduates”.
“We have achieved more than what we have expected thru our Tech Voc program and his acronym of Tesda – trabaho, edukasyon, serbisyo, dignidad and asenso”.
Villanueva still believes that the youth or the millenials is the present and future of our country as their life opportunities has been opened and expanded thru Tesda’s ladderized education program.
With Tesda playing a key role in the implementation of RA 10647 known as the Ladderized Education Act of 2014, Villanueva hopes that this pro poor pro students will serve as a springboard for the youth to get to higher learning.
The ladderized system of education will allow individuals to finish a tech voc course, work, and if they choose, get a college education, according to Villanueva
Villanueva who has his hands full improving his standings in recent surveys believes that the achievements he gained in his stint as Tesda Chief will be replicated all over the country.
The two Liberal Party senatorial bets touched base with all sectors of the community together with Governor Edgar Chatto and party stalwarts to boost their chances in the 2016 elections.Â (Chito M. Visarra)