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Draft Senate report backs plunder case against BinaysAccording to the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating allegations of corruption against Vice President Jejomar Binay, “There was a grand conspiracy to milk the construction of the Makati City Hall [Building II] for every peso that it could yield through massive, unconscionable overpricing.” The subcommittee, through its draft report, recommended that plunder raps be filed against the Vice President, incumbent Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, and members of Makati’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC): Hilmarc’s Construction Corp. president Mr. Robert Henson, board chair Mr. Efren Canlas, Mana Architecture and Interior Design Co. owner Mr. Orlando Mateo and the Vice President’s longtime aides Mr. Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan and Mr. Eduviges “Ebeng” Baloloy. The Senate subcommittee, headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, also recommended the filing of graft charges and charges of violating the government procurement law against the Binays and the Makati City officials.
GDP growth slows to 5.2% in 1Q2015The Philippines’ 1st quarter economic growth registered at 5.2% - the slowest pace in more than 3 years – due to lower-than-programmed public spending and flagging exports. The latest reading for gross domestic product (GDP) was the slowest since the 4% seen in the 4th quarter of 2011, the Philippine Statistics Authority showed. The economy grew 5.6% in the same quarter last year and by a revised 6.6% in the previous quarter. The 1Q result disappointed the loftier expectations in the market but not bad enough to make government abandon its full-year target and add monetary stimulus, officials said. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the 1st quarter slowdown in government spending was expected, as agencies are still preparing their plans for the year. But despite the weaker-than-expected outcome, Sec. Balisacan remains upbeat, saying it is “too early to abandon the target of 7% to 8% GDP growth for the year.” “To reach the low end target of 7%, the next 3 quarters should deliver an average 7.5% growth. It’s not impossible,” he added.