By Ray L. Junia, Publisher
Something scandalous about the nation’s power industry – it’s in the hands of few oligarchs!
From the Sys to Lopezes, Aboitizes and Consunjis, they are in control of a multi-billion peso industry, virtually placing millions of hapless Filipinos at their mercy.
In recent years, new players emerged with just one driving obsession – rake in billions of pesos in profits like literally squeezing blood from stone.
They include the old-rich Ayalas, banking magnate George Ty and, of course, listed retailer Meralco controlled by Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group through controversial “point man” Manuel V. Pangilinan (aka MVP).
From generation to transmission and distribution of electricity, the oligarchs are just everywhere, placing them in a vantage position to dominate – and dictate – the nation’s economy.
Like A Sore Thumb
Among industry players, Meralco prominently sticks out like a sore thumb, it being the most vilified for raising its power rates to exorbitant levels sans public consultations, in cahoots with an inept Energy Regulatory Commission.
While it cost the Salim Group billions of pesos to buy the Lopezes’ controlling stake in Meralco, their return on equity (ROE) had been awesome, if not mind-boggling.
Based on the firm’s annual reports, Meralco’s (ROE) and profit margin have risen several folds since 2008.
From just five percent in 2008, Meralco’s ROE steadily increased to 10 percent in 2009, 16 percent in 2010 and 25 percent in 2012.
This means that the ROE of Meralco has ballooned five-fold in a span of just five years.
In comparison, Meralco’s 2012 ROE of 25 percent is much higher than the entire power industry’s estimated average of around 15 percent.
From Filipino Pockets
Yet, Meralco has been stingy as far as complying with the government-mandated refund to its customers is concerned.
Apparently, Meralco’s foreign owners want to reinvest elsewhere such as in Singapore and Myanmar the profits they earned from the pockets of ordinary Filipinos.
In Singapore, Meralco acquired last February two brand-new natural-gas-fired 400-megawatt generators valued at US$1.2 billion with earnings from its Philippine operations.
Analysts say that had they been built in the Philippines, Luzon’s 8,000-MW capacity would increase by 10 percent and would have decreased incidence of brownouts and brought down Meralco’s high electricity rates.
Meralco’s defiance is an offshoot of the government’s glaring pro-business, anti-poor policy stance.
Blame, of course, rests squarely on the government’s lack of political will to resist the policy dictates of multi-lateral financial institutions which have a stranglehold on the government’s finances.
For instance, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) was passed by Congress in 2001 under threat by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank to freeze the bailout funds for the once debt-saddled state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor).
Epira was nursed in its infancy and continue to be protected by its principal author, Sen. Sergio Osmena, who has chaired the Senate committee of energy for the longest time now.
Meant to foster competition in the power industry, Epira turned out to be a toothless law, unable to check its rampant violations by profit-hungry power firms and protect consumer interests.
For more than a decade, Epira failed to check the unabated surge in power rates, one of Asia’s highest, the reason why foreign investors shied away from the Philippines.
Ironically, Epira bred the rise of twin evils of monopoly and oligopoly in the power industry, precisely the key objectives it wanted to eradicate to bring sanity to an industry which has gone berserk with endless rate increases.
Not content with just distribution, some players like the Lopezes and Meralco also ventured into generation and transmission, enabling them to dictate market prices at will. Here the family of the wife of Sen. Osmena and Meralco appears to have violated the law on cross ownership that will allow them to control prices.
Suspicions of shady deals also surfaced, largely attributed to certain loopholes in the Epira law on which some capitalists exploited to the hilt. In gist, Epira called for the fire sale of state-owned power assets even at grossly undercut prices from their appraised value.
How and why ethnic Chinese taipan Henry Sy ventured into power when his core businesses revolved around retail, his flagship that catapulted him to become one of the world’s richest.
It may be gleaned from how the cash-strapped government resorted to a fire sale just to dispose of its power assets as fast as it could.
From out of the blue, the cash-rich Sy has wrested control of the previously state-owned National Grid Corp. of the (NGCP), the company transmitting power to its franchise areas across the country.
Once Napocor’s money-spinner because of its extensive transmission network, NGCP – formerly called Transmission Corp. (Transco) – was sold to Sy for just US$3.95 billion in early 2000.
The taipan, known for his shrewd sense of business, made a down payment of US$987.5 million and promised to settle the balance of US$2.962 billion or P148 billion within 15 years. Why this was allowed had many guessing the answers but surely raised eyebrows while stirring suspicion of another sweetheart deal.
No Such Efficient Market
But reckoned with its strong balance sheet, the NGCP has been making P15 billion annually, hence its income in 15 years would work to P225 billion. That translates to P77 billion profits for Sy.
Amid the power industry’s bleak outlook, calls are mounting to repeal or amend the Epira law by nationalizing or de-privatizing the highly cartelized power industry.
By and large, the power industry is just too important to the national economy to be left to free market forces.
In most countries, power is highly regulated, owned by the state to a substantial degree, and subsidized by public funds.
Looking back, the EPIRA law was apparently enacted on the premise of an existence of an efficient free electricity market, uninhibited by government.
Unfortunately, there is no such market in the Philippines. Its electricity market is controlled by an oligopoly.
While debates are split on whether to nationalize or not the power industry by scuttling the Epira law, there are those who expressed caution against such move.
In a joint statement last week, some groups representing foreign businessmen believe that scrapping or amending Epira will not solve problems hounding the power industry, but will confuse investors regarding the investment climate in the country.
“If EPIRA is sent back to Congress for review, the uncertainty it will introduce into the regulatory regime of the power industry will lead to a potentially chaotic system, and worryingly put our future needs at risk at a time when our supply of power is marginal,” the statement read.
It warned that without stable rules and good investment climate in the energy industry, international and local investors will steer away from making investments in that sector.
But among lawmakers, there’s an emerging consensus that Epira has failed to promote free competition to benefit the consumers and likely to push for some changes in the government’s power privatization policy with a nationalization bias.
Any paradigm shift can’t gloss over the fact that the law has been used as smokescreen to hide patterns of collusion, monopoly and oligopoly among industry players to deceive the consumers without even knowing that they are being robbed.
by Raymund L. Junia
I GREW up in the biggest barangay of this small town, Tolosa, Leyte. This barangay, and the town proper, faces the Pacific Ocean. In our side of the country, a typhoon is no stranger. We’re used to typhoons. But this does not mean, we neglect any typhoon’s fury. I find the debate on storm surge interesting, the term not being understood. One journalist described it as a new phenomenon. Ted Failon, who comes from Leyte, admits he does not understand the meaning of storm surge. That really surprised me.
In my elementary days in the barrio, I remember every time there was a typhoon, we had our own “coast guards”. They took turns in watching the sea level and ready to issue a “bandillo” (public warning) on the rising of the sea level and imminent flooding of the barangay. There being no satellite warning on TV then, this was the method of early warning to prevent deaths from big waves and rising sea levels—a storm surge.
That many lives were spared and saved from Yolanda’s fury in my town, I think this primitive early warning system did it. Although folks way back home say San Miguel saved lives in the middle of Yolanda’s strike. On San Miguel saving the town, I very much agree. Our patron saint had always come to the rescue of this town. Another interesting fact is, until this writing, people in most Yolanda-ravaged areas are still asking where is government?
The dead littered the streets of Tacloban and nearby towns until the sixth day after the typhoon. Relief has not reached barangays and towns just 20 kilometers from Tacloban City. Relief was active only in media but zero at the ground. Media was well managed but not the relief operations. Media was managed not to tell the truth. Malacañang’s problem was that it could not manage foreign media like CNN, ABC news and others. They could not control social media also.
How media was managed could be seen from the reaction of ABS-CBN channel 2 over reports by CNN of absence of government at ground Zero. Korina Sanchez embarrassed herself in her refuting reports by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. She was swarmed in social media by accusations of her impartiality in defense of Pres. Aquino leadership and for lying bare faced on the true situation in Leyte.
Easily, Korina Sanchez stood out as a disgrace to Philippine journalism.
CNN is the new shining example if not the hero in true journalism and Channel 2 lost much of its credibility.
Enough lies please.
- Anderson Cooper to Korina Sanchez: Go to Tacloban (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Anderson Cooper’s report irks Korina Sanchez (entertainment.inquirer.net)
- Anderson Cooper-Korina Sanchez tiff goes viral on the Internet (technology.inquirer.net)
- Korina Sanchez : a Slipper Where Her Mouth Is! (aliwanavenue.com)
- Anderson Cooper Responds To Korina Sanchez’ Comment; Urges Her To Visit Tacloban [VIDEO] (entervrexworld.wordpress.com)
- An unlikely place for a graveyard (mindanews.com)
- Storm surge science: the funneling effect in Tacloban from typhoon Haiyan (VIDEO) (washingtonpost.com)
- Korina Sanchez reports from Ormoc, Anderson Cooper still in Tacloban (entertainment.inquirer.net)
- Korina Sanchez Lambasted by Netizens For Slamming CNN News anchor Anderson Cooper (entervrexworld.wordpress.com)
- WHAT IF? A Doomsday Scenario (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
by Ronald Roy
ON the eve of last All Saints Day, Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino lll delivered a hurriedly crafted twelve-minute damage-control speech that instead created greater damage to his plummeting popularity ratings triggered by his boners in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) imbroglio. I cannot fathom why, for the life of me, so much dissension has been generated by a prime-time discourse defending the administration’s indefensible DAP position.
DAP is unconstitutional, period; and no amount of sophistry from the finest of student councils can validate or rectify it — sophistry is the use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving –notwithstanding the supposed best of intentions behind its cryptic creation, along with their trumpeted beneficial results, if any.
DAP is unconstitutional because P-Noy, his fair-haired boy, Department of Budget and Mismanagement Secretary Butch Abad, and other sycophants unilaterally (i.e., without the required legislative participation) invented it, and there is absolutely no excuse for this culpable breach of the fundamental law.
A Machiavellian Offense
Wrong is wrong. For instance, a thief cannot be allowed to say, “You cannot sue me because I am not guilty of anything! I stole, yes, but I delivered the goodies to our pitifully impoverished countrymen. In fact, I did not in any material way benefit from my altruism.” Sadly, however, he is still criminally liable because Machiavellianism is anathema to our legal system that operates under the Rule of Law.
Needless to say, it is very devastating that the Machiavellian offender in the instant DAP case is no less than Pres. Noynoy himself. Now, is this not a very negative image that he has managed to portray of himself under the circumstances?!
I felt sorry for him as he addressed the nation either with such ignorance of the law or with outright defiance of it. I felt sorrier for myself, feeling like a hapless citizen held hostage by a madman gone berserk on survival mode. Wow, I mulled, this guy’s gonna be around for another two and a half years!
P-Noy’s delivery was expectedly fluid and rhetorical; a speech trait generally associated with the Aquino clan. No other Filipino president could have delivered the same piece with as much persuasiveness and elan.
This was, again, his big moment before the cameras, except that, this time, the more knowledgeable of his listeners and viewers could detect the deception, along with subtle reminders that the power that he had wielded to crush the impeached CJ Renato C. Corona could again be unleashed to silence his critics on the DAP fiasco. He irritatingly chose the issues, rattling off A B C D E F etc. while we wanted to hear him go through 1 2 3 4 5 6 etc. For instance, he intoned: “I am not a thief!” even if nobody was calling him one.
The Undelivered Message
What then would I have wanted to see and hear from P-Noy? Well, this: an angry and contrite President saying that he was sorry for all the pork barrel and DAP mess his administration had caused, that he had fired Abad, Agriculture Secretary Alcala, the notorious Ronald Llamas who has been widely rumored to be in constant touch with SC Associate Justices, and other lackeys. P-Noy seems to have forgotten that consigning Undersecretary Rico Puno to oblivion helped prop up his then sagging presidential image.
I also would have wanted to hear P-Noy say he was giving up his pork barrel in favor of line departments. Wow, if he had done all these, he probably would have primed himself up to becoming the greatest president our country has ever had!!
No, it would not be in P-Noy’s character to step down. He will hang in there until hell freezes over. Ever since he took “Cojuangco” out of his name, he has remained determined to be his own man, a president who gets what he wants and intends to leave behind a legacy all his own. You get 95 million citizens demanding his ouster, and he still will not budge an inch. P-Noy is just irreversibly bent on being his own man even if it means tempting Fate by doing so.
BANG is the awesome resonance caused by an assassin’s fury, and how well P-Noy the gun enthusiast knows it. Of course he should be aware his adamance could take him to an inglorious tarmac-like cul de sac, but he is pathetically too busy being his own man to sense any danger. Then again, perhaps he has deluded himself into thinking he has the sort of courage that is the stuff of martyrdom. Could he be crazy? Hmmm…Yes, maybe.
Politics, Politics, Politics
In any event, I hear its business as usual back at the Palace. Strengthening of the Liberal Party is up in the air. Sen. Ralph Recto has loomed as the strongest choice to replace the embattled Senate President Franklin Drilon, whose latest embarrassment is his being found out to be the chairman of a foundation organized for the mother of Janet Lim Napoles.
Incidentally, P-Noy has reportedly cautioned Drilon and former Sen. Ed Angara against indiscreet contacts with officials of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit. Also, being eyed this early is a probable Mar Roxas – Kris Aquino tandem for the 2016 elections. Repeat: this early. Ho-hum.
But it’s all up to P-Noy, really. I would not be surprised if he would choose to extend his term and his confreres gave way. Fools, these traditional politicians!
(http://musingsbyroy.wordpress.com. | 09186449517 | @ronald8roy | #musingsbyroy)
- Aquino’s half-baked legal defense (opinion.inquirer.net)
- The President’s speech (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Trouble at the top (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Give P’Noy the benefit of the doubt (leytesamardaily.net)
- Revilla, Estrada chime: ‘We too are not thieves’ (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Aquino may be going out on a limb over pork issue, say critics (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- P-Noy’s brother-in-law volunteers in relief drive (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Netizens jeer, cheer Aquino (technology.inquirer.net)
- Opposition sees Aquino speech to nation as damage control (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Fall and rise (opinion.inquirer.net)
by Francis De Guzman
DID you know that seven out of ten Filipinos did not benefit from the ranging controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)?
This congressional pork barrel, per the most recent survey released by the Social Weather Station (SWS) and published by the newspaper Business World (BW), used what is called the ‘face-to-face’ interview and got the views straight from a total of 1,200 Filipino adults nationwide.
This was taken following the heat wave from the fall out of the pork barrel, a direct consequence from the series of exposures made by whistle blowers who later on, became direct witnesses on the biggest scam of the year, perpetuated by Janette Lim-Napoles, et al.
A large number of Filipinos (67%) believe their respective communities never benefited from said PDAF-funded projects, while only 32% thought the opposite. The SWS survey, conducted between the periods 20-23 September, further revealed that Congressional representatives did not gain financially from said pork barrel fund. Here, you see that only 32 percent said funds, could have possibly been pocketed.
Likewise, respondents who thought that “a lot” of funds had been put to waste because of corruption, recorded the highest percentage in Metro Manila alone (where a strong middle class and civil society groups, led recent protest actions via people’s marches against the pork barrel scam) registering at 72 percent. This was closely followed by Luzon, which registered 61 percent, Mindanao at 57 percent and the Visayas, 54 percent.
Lately though, no less than President Aquino himself led the call on media ( at the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines), to be “more discerning” as he was quoted by a major daily, that the issues (pork barrel scam, etc.) specifically those “involving the public interest, may become more complicated in the days ahead.” This folks, is for all of us to be ever watchful, since the issue of corruption in our beloved country has indeed reached the very summit of destruction. We can only hope that the Chief Executive of the land would be enlightened to the realities of the times, and thus act with wisdom and truth.
The nation is also closely watching the events of the barangay elections, which has not been spared of political corruption in the grassroots level, where violence, plus the sin of covetousness and an envious spirit, has been prevailing for quite a number of years now. This is but the tip of the iceberg. Today, a growing number barangays, particularly in Metro Manila, have been corrupted and contaminated –from the top –the barangay chairmen down to the barangay councilors (one can count with his fingers the small number of the few upright ones).
It has become the “training ground” for future corrupt politicians, who would later on aspire for bigger government positions and the larger portion of the slice of the pie of corruption, and whereby “little political dynasties” become the name of the game. Indeed, when will the seemingly endless cycle of evil ever come to an end? God’s Judgment Call is nearer than you think. Take note of this folks, the most recent survey per media reportage, this time conducted by Pulse Asia (PA), revealed that a majority of Filipinos (77 percent) “believed that at least half of the budget of lawmakers for projects went to corruption.” What else is new?
KAURI ACADEMY (NZ) OPENS NEW PATHWAYS FOR PHL STUDENT COMPETENCIES
GOOD news for all healthcare student, graduates as well as young healthcare professionals!
Kauri Academy, the first Filipino-owned education center in Auckland, New Zealand (NZ) opens its New Healthcare Program via courses intended for gaining qualifications to join the healthcare sector as Diversional Therapist, or in managerial position in healthcare setting.
Said healthcare course involve a two-step process, namely: first year is Diversional Therapy Course, and second-year is Healthcare Team Management Course. “Following compilation of the first program, the student gains the National Certificate in Health Disability and Aged Support (Level 3) and the National Certificate in Diversional Therapy (Level 4). This will qualify said graduate to enter as a Diversional Therapist in NZ healthcare institutions. Said course is included in the list of skilled occupations and would qualify for points under the “Skilled Migrant Residence Visa Category of Immigration New Zealand.”
And since the student acquires a qualification after the first year, he/she has the option of not continuing to the second year course if one is able to be a Diversional Therapist. If students are not able to function as a healthcare worker, or as a Diversional Therapist, the student can be proceed by completing the second-year course in order to gain the National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support (Team Management) (Level 5) which qualifies graduates to supervise or manage support workers in a health, disability, or home and community setting.
While studying, students are also eligible for securing part-time earning since classes are only for 2 1/2 days per week, giving them a more flexibility time-frame. After completing second-year program, students are then eligible for a one-year “open-work permit” under the Graduate Job Search Visa scheme. Overall, students can stay in NZ for three-years, the first two-years as a student with part-time earning permit, and the additional one-year, under an “open-work permit.”
Kauri Academy owned by PNTC Colleges in the Philippines, has designed a comprehensive program for Filipinos who seek career path as Diversional Therapists, whether they are in a community, residential-home or aged care facility atmosphere. It is a profession that involves the organization, design, coordination and implementation of people-centered leisure-based activity program. Free info/data is available at Kauri Academy, PNTC College, 5/F, Intramuros Corporate Plaza, Recoletos St, Intramuros, Manila, contact Marie at (632) 536-4916 / 0922-826-8441, Email: email@example.com
QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Amid the disharmony of voices, journalists must be able to separate the important from the frivolous, the spin from the facts the malicious lies from the simple truth.” – (President Benigno ‘Nonoy’ Aquino -Speech at the Annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP)
WORD OF TRUTH: “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord, He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.” – (Psalm 37:39-40 KJV)
(For comments and suggestions, kindly e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Pinoys think pork barrel misuse continues under Aquino (rappler.com)
- Artists bAnd together over pork barrel issue (manilastandardtoday.com)
- 45% of Filipinos want pork junked – Pulse Asia (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Want to get rid of pork? Kick ‘pigs’ out of govt (manilastandardtoday.com)
- ‘Pork’ causes big drop in PNoy’s rating (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Senators try to downplay website hacking to protest pork barrel (technology.inquirer.net)
- [Statement] Pork Barrel Regime a bane to Filipino workers -NAGKAISA (hronlineph.com)
- 1 in 2 Filipinos in Metro Manila want ‘pork’ abolished, says survey (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- 77% of Filipinos believe pork barrel lost to corruption – Pulse Asia survey (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Teens against pork (opinion.inquirer.net)
by Ramon Orosa
SOMETHING is happening in this nation that is not easy to understand or interpret. Most people are wondering what’s next. Others are also wondering how PNOY sees and/or interprets what is happening. Most of the opinions are not so salutary.
When the protests began about the PDAF and began to reach a crescendo, the evident uncertainty of the Palace was discomforting. First was the kneejerk response of opposing the protest and defending PDAF. Then the position changed to being somewhere in the middle until the day of the protest when a declaration of support for the protest was made obviously to pre-empt the MPM protest march at Luneta.
Obviously, the responses suggested that the assessment was that the protests would somehow go away and that it should not be taken seriously. This was a mistake because what was hurt was PNOY’s own integrity. For someone who had planted on the masthead of his administration the “Matuwid na Daan”, his vacillation about truly pursuing the corruption exposed by the Commission on Audit report was disheartening to many people.
This revelation of such extensive malfeasance in the highest levels of the Legislative bodies and the Executive Departments, after the impeachment through somewhat dubious methods of the Chief Justice, sent tsunami-like waves over the whole nation. The ones who impeached Corona were guilty of even greater corruption! Proof once and for all that, with few exceptions, corrupt and dishonorable persons in just about every part of government are totally undeserving of any honor and have tainted so severely their positions. No delicadeza and they are still clinging to their posts, shameless if anything.
Remedial action was undertaken to try and pacify the protesters by inviting the somewhat motley leaders to a conference with the DBM head Butch Aquino and DSWD Sec. Soliman and a few others. It did not result in any real changes as was proven subsequently.
The people’s demands were essentially two. First, abolish the PDAF in both houses of Congress, meaning take away from them the power to initiate and control projects, their function being legislating. They are welcome to make suggestions, but cannot initiate projects on their own initiative. That work should be undertaken by the line departments and agencies with no overt or discreet interference.
Of course what resulted in the budgetary process was to simply change the collar around the pork but the initiative still rests with the individual legislator. In other words, sheer cosmetics, not substantive.
The second portion of the protesters demands was to charge everyone involved in the corruption, regardless of party affiliation. The report of the Commission on Audit indicated that over 200 legislators were somehow involved in the matter, some already out of Congress, many others still in. Well, up to now the charges have not been filed and it seems only three are being seriously considered at this time. The sad part is that legislators on both sides of the aisle are involved but PNoy is being true to his pursuit of only those that may represent a danger to him or else those that are in the opposition. So the protesters have given PNoy until sometime early December to file all the charges and otherwise prove that he is just like the other politicians and cannot stand on his declared slogan. He has been found seriously wanting. He may have a heart for the poor but all calculated for political gain.
I am not betting that with the exception of a very few samples, the others will be indicted at all. Again, it will be at the expense of PNoy’s integrity and commitment to doing the right thing! I suspect though that in formulating that slogan the ones who crafted his political postures never anticipated that all these revelations of corruption would ever be so public.
Next followed the Zamboanga incident and there are those that saw what happened as suspiciously orchestrated. Followed by PNoy’s physically staying in Zamboanga for a week, utterly neglecting all the other national concerns. Some interpret this as a somewhat escapist activity. Next came the earthquake in Bohol and so now PNoy is camping out in the area. This leaves a lot of people wondering that though the moves might have had some PR value, it did expose PNoy to accusations of limited capacity to undertake the stresses of office and face the very serious issues that need to be faced. So much for the people being the boss. Turns out to be sheer political blather.
These developments though smack of a very cynical sort of perception management considering the damage done to PNoy’s image by his waffling on the PDAF issue; protesters incidentally wanted the elimination of discretionary spending to be applied to what is tantamount to his own pork, a large percentage of the national budget at about 600 Billion of a 2 trillion budget, approved by a compliant Congress in 15 minutes as the media have reported.
Well, maybe not totally, but certainly much , much less than the current amount; the idea being let the amounts be allocated directly to the line departments who must give good account of how they spend it.
And so, PNoy’s principal slogans lie in tatters.
Well, I think it was naively undertaken and has proven virtually impossible to truly pursue. But it does raise issues about what is next. If the protests continue or if PNoy truly pursues the issue of corruption in the PDAF, he will have to deal as well with the claimed corruption in Malampaya funds, the Agriculture scam and a whole lot of others that have come to light.
Then, there is the corruption in many LGU units all the way down to the Barangay level. As I have commented before, we will probably need to enlarge our jails and holding places or else create a bonanza for hospitals as the favorite holding area of those who have some influence in this nation.
But this is not really the danger. If PNoy is pushed hard to the wall, what direction will he then take? We need the seers to come out and tell us what they see coming up next because I do not see the pressures abating.
- Save The Philippines (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- WORM’S EYEVIEW: Charade, Anyone? (mindanews.com)
- PNoy rating dip not remarkable (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Editorial : MVP for President (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- PNOY, PDAF, DAP and other things (meandmyficklemind.wordpress.com)
- Give P’Noy the benefit of the doubt (leytesamardaily.net)
- PNoy sets prov’l blitz to counter anti-DAP (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Taming the Estradas 2 (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Philhealth, BSP got P29-b of PNoy’s special ‘pork’ (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Catastrophe, Corruption and Compassion (jessfernando1.wordpress.com)
By Miguel Raymundo
MOST of us believe the pork scandal is a corruption issue. Yes it is, but to some high-risk political operators, this is just the start of the 2016 presidential campaign. The last three years in Malacañang has been the most dangerous, if not unproductive, for sitting President BS Aquino. Not only has he found himself abandoned, but also tamed even by his most trusted allies. As expected, powerful forces are now on each other’s throat in what could easily be a warm-up fight for the presidential contest two and a half years from now.
But if you think the war is between Malacañang and the opposition, you fail to see deeper into what is happening behind doors in the current pork barrel scandal. The war is now between forces inside Malacañang. Manila Standard Today reported that DILG Secretary Mar Roxas is to blame for the 12-minuter fiasco, the “I-am-no-thief” televised speech of PNoy. The Manila Standard also reported of a Laygo survey that said PNoy’s popularity rating is down by 35 percent, a major slip in his ratings. The broadsheet said Malacañang is in panic. The paper said they have a Malacañang insider for a source. OpinYon sources inside Malacañang say the Manila Standard story is half-true. It is true that there is a bloody war between forces of Executive Secretary Pacquito “Jojo” Ochoa and those of the Liberal Party led by Roxas. It is too bloody that PNoy has been reduced to become a victim of the ambitions, greed and fears of the Ochoa camp.
BOC: Cash Cow
The Ochoa camp is not ready to give up its control over Malacañang even after PNoy is gone. That is the ambition and the greed. The fear is should an enemy group take control of Malacañang, Ochoa and company could be joining another President behind bars. The fears of Ochoa’s group are not unfounded. There are persistent reports that some top Malacañang officials are in control of smuggling. Billions of pesos in lost taxes and government revenues end up in the pockets of the relatives of these Malacañang officials. Out of power, they will not only lose this cash cow, their boys might even be charged of corruption. The Bureau of Customs is the favorite cash cow of any political party in power. It has lately become a center of controversy and power play between Samar and Balay groups. Attempts by the Balay group to take control of BOC has always been derailed resulting in Ruffy Biazon keeping the post even with his dimwit performance. Also the agencies known for massive corruption like the DPWH are controlled by the Samar group. There is sharing of powers in some agencies that bring in the cash. The bigger pie almost always ends up with the Samar group.
In the elbowing in the power game, pockets and egos are bruised creating deep resentment and plotting between the two forces. The war inside Malacañang is a very interesting as regards the use of dirty tricks. Unbelievable it seems the claim that only the Roxas camp is to blame for the 12-minuter speech fiasco. The report said that PNoy delayed facing the camera for that “I-am-no-thief” speech to give time for corrections of the speech by Ochoa. Being the last official to tinker with the transcript, Ochoa should take the blame for the final copy. But the Manila Standard source from inside Malacañang said that Roxas takes the blame and played up the slant that he is bringing down the President.
Who owns Manila Standard?
An OpinYon source said it is the other way around. The almost perfect handling by dirty tricks operators of Samar is making Roxas the bad boy. Almost perfect is the handling in the demolition of Roxas except that the top broadsheets appear to be treating the story with suspicion. So does OpinYon, forcing us to sneak in and get our side of the truth. Why is Manila Standard on top of this “inside sources” trick? This brings us to ask: who owns Manila Standard? That paper is owned by the Romualdezes, who are actually the Marcoses. We encourage you to do your own math and we would end up with the same conclusion. Notice one story finding space and getting viral in social media: the Marcos wealth and insinuations that its return will solve poverty in this country. Another interesting side of this 2016 battle for the presidency is how the camp of Binay is being treated by these two forces inside Malacañang. It appears that a decision has been made that Binay is not a serious contender, if not an already destroyed potential enemy.
Binay, A Goner?
With Binay already reduced to ashes, ironically by his own acts and moves by Malacañang, the two groups are now on each other’s throats, suspecting that whoever takes Malacañang will have the other join the President behind bars. Roxas has minced no words in seeking the presidency come 2016, but speculations are rife that Ochoa may have a different agenda – backing the presidential bid of opposition Senator Ferdinand Marcos “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. The Ochoa-Marcos link is via a law firm – the Marcos, Ochoa, Serapio and Tan, thus the acronym MOST. Marcos refers to Liza Marcos, wife of Senator Marcos, while Ochoa is Aquino’s executive secretary and S and T for Edward Serapio and Joseph Tan, respectively. The law firm was recently tagged as lawyering for pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles, accused in a case of kidnapping and serious detention.
It should be noted, as well, that as early as Aquino’s 2009 presidential campaign, the salt to the wound has already been added. Members of the Balay faction of Aquino supporters, the one headed by Roxas, started blaming the Samar group under Ochoa for the failure of the Aquino-Roxas banner, after Chiz Escudero endorsed the Aquino – Binay tandem, without the knowledge of the said candidates. Escudero even went as far as to print t-shirts saying ‘Aquino-Binay’, which did not help the already widening division between the two groups that are supposed to be united under the Aquino flag. The publicity spin doctors in Malacañang were quick to rush and patch up the holes created by the infighting, but not fast enough that sources from inside were able to spread the knowledge that Aquino is running a divided political household.
Since Filipinos are known for putting premium on keeping up appearances, Ochoa and Roxas would come in public ceremonies together, standing side by side, just to make it appear that allegations of infighting are baseless. Other than the obvious nonverbal tension that one can observe in this play-acting to feign truce, we know that the Filipino public has seen the same political drama repeated over and over again, and they are not fooled.
As preparations for the 2016 elections begin, we see a repeat of the 2010 battle royale between these two groups. But this time, it will be bloodier and it might trigger the fall of Pnoy even before the 2016 elections.
Malacañang is now the most dangerous place to be: a snake pit.
- Trouble at the top (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Coloma tags MST report ‘speculative’ (manilastandardtoday.com)
- PDAF defeat prompts Aquino to fly back to Manila (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- An irrelevant president (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Aunt Tingting vs ‘Digi-President’ (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Coloma gains more air time in Malacañang (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- This Week on OpinYon : SNAKE PIT (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Palace mum on Roxas-Romualdez tiff (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Aquino moves to stem skid in ratings (manilastandardtoday.com)
- LP disowns mayor, mum on Drilon-Napoles link (rappler.com)
“As expected, powerful forces are now on each other’s throat in what could easily be a warm-up fight for the presidential contest two and a half years from now. But if you think the war is between Malacañang and the opposition, you fail to see deeper into what is happening behind doors in the current pork barrel scandal. The war is now between forces inside Malacañang.” – Miguel Raymundo
Coming out this week! Available in National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and Fully Booked.
- Aunt Tingting vs ‘Digi-President’ (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Incompetent, Dishonest? (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- COMMENT: At Random: Patronage Politics (1) (mindanews.com)
- Killing the Cartel (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Pork barrel issue far from dead (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- The President as spin doctor (rappler.com)
- Pork barrel issue: Palace not clear on dialogue’s objective (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Napoles transfer to regular jail up to court (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Editorial : MVP for President (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Refocusing on Local Governance (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
[By Al Labita]
BASED on Opinyon’s perceptions and social media surveys, the developing pattern of calls for change tilts towards those with a proven track record of integrity and competence outside the abominable dog-eat-dog world of politics.
Something’s Got to Give
At the rate the spate of crisis is laying siege on the three-year-old Aquino presidency, the betting is on whether it would last its six-year mandate. Unable to cope with the crushing pressures spawned by a harsh political climate, Pnoy appears to have lost his sense of control of a country teetering on the brink of becoming a failed state. As defined by Wikipedia, a failed state ensues when a central government becomes so weak or ineffective in stemming the rising tide of widespread corruption and a slumping economy. Another dimension of a failed state is erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions and inability to provide public services. Nowhere is such more exemplified than in Noam Chomsky’s book titled Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy.
That, in a nutshell, seems foreboding and may be ascribed to the prevailing state of the nation. The emerging scenarios are dreadful – either Pnoy resigns or forced out office. Banking on self-serving popularity rating only whetted the pent-up public clamor for a drastic change in government, given the onslaught of street protests. Neither Pnoy’s propensity to play the blame game has helped him abate his sinking fate nor did it curb the likelihood of a mob rule in a country polarized by clashing vested interests. From his jailed predecessor Gloria Arroyo, Pnoy has now turned to media as his latest favorite whipping boy in heaping blame for his misfortunes in public office. Addressing mid this week foreign journalists, he warned them against falling prey into a conspiracy trap meant to link him to the pork scam.
“Our media and our people are far too good—far too wise—to be grossly and brazenly led to the wrong issue, Pnoy said. “Plunderers should be taken to account,” he added, a stance only eliciting mixed views from hard-nosed newsmen.
Though Aquino enjoys the backing of the men in uniform, past bitter lessons showed how they hastily abandoned and dumped the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his predecessors Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo when their hold on power was no longer tenable in the face of mounting public outcry over corruption scandals.
Whether such tragic ending would eventually befall on Aquino remains to be seen as the country’s political complexion remains highly fluid.
While anything can happen, one thing is sure – Pnoy can’t keep his guards down.
Undoubtedly, the highly divisive pork barrel scam has sapped Pnoy’s political will to govern and only exacerbated the people’s loss of trust in him. This early, egging on the 53-year-old bachelor president to quit is like asking for the moon as most lawmakers in both houses of Congress had been exposed as Aquino’s paid hacks through the pork barrel system, the reason why calls for impeachment against him landed on deaf ears. Contrary to his self-projected image as an “incorruptible” president, Pnoy has already gained notoriety for resorting to money politics as evidenced by how he plotted the ouster of then chief justice Renato Corona. So far, there’s no palpable sign as yet on who the people would prefer to succeed Pnoy should current tensions lead to an abrupt end to his six-year reign in power. By operation of law, Vice president Jejomar Binay is next in line, but not necessarily as he has to reckon with the distortions and aberrations of the country’s political history. If we recall, the late senator Arturo Tolentino as the “duly-elected” vice president was supposed to succeed Marcos following the fraud-marred snap polls.
Quirks in Politics
But due to unknown quirks in politics, an unexpected civilian-backed 1986 military revolt intervened, catapulting then plain housewife Corazon Aquino to power notwithstanding her hesitance and inexperience. As in the case of the late democracy icon, an unlikely figure may yet emerge if the current pressure-packed political scene persists.
Who Could She/He Be?
Scanning the horizons, the people are understandably sick and tired of recycling the scalawags in politics – the old and new trapos. Topping the list are the two highly respected captains of the industry – Manuel V. Pangilinan and Ramon S. Ang, both at the helm of publicly listed consumer-oriented conglomerates. Like Pangilinan, Ang faced challenges in turning around San Miguel Corp. (SMC) from an inward-looking company to one of today’s formidable Asian corporate behemoths.
From traditional lines of business anchored on beer, packaging and food, SMC has diversified to cost-intensive strategic industries in what analysts described as a “calculated risk” in a highly competitive environment. Adding power, mining, telecoms, oil, aviation and other related ventures to SMC’s investment portfolio had paid off in that these broadened the conglomerate’s market base, both locally and internationally. Thanks to Ang’s bold forays, SMC has been raking in record-breaking revenues which currently translate to about 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, a corporate feat indeed for a homegrown conglomerate. Under Ang’s stewardship, SMC has set its sight on achieving what had long remained on its drawing board – whopping revenues of U$50 billion by 2018 as it plans to acquire new businesses and expand existing ones. By and large, the target is nearly three times what SMC made in 2011, when it ended the year with US$17.5 billion in turnover. Known for his management prowess, Ang initially pegged a US$20 billion revenue target for 2015 but revised it upward in that by end of 2012, the conglomerate had already achieved its goal.
Singapore and Thailand
“Before, when we set a target of US$10 billion, people said, ‘That’s unbelievable!’ But we were able to achieve that. It happened. So that’s why we increased our target. From US$20 billion, we are hoping to reach US $50 billion revenue in the next 5 years,” Ang told reporters.
An engineer by training, he led SMC last year in acquiring management control of the financially ailing Philippine Airlines (PAL) from the group of taipan Lucio Tan. From then on, the nation’s flag carrier underwent rapid changes, including a refleeting program estimated to cost SMC over US$1 billion in capital expenditure to sharpen its competitiveness in the global airline industry. Part of the deal includes PAL subsidiary Air Philippines, a budget airline. Critics may quickly hint of a possible conflict of interest should the tycoons take over the reins of power, an irritant that can be overcome in due time in a democratic setting. Though largely untested, technocracy, as evidenced by the country’s rapid corporate growth, may yet be the key to solving the nation’s decades-old problems of poverty, inequality and dispossession.
Singapore is a case in point. Most of its current crop of leaders — from the prime minister to cabinet members – was plucked out from the corporate sector and became popularly elected. With the stringent values of fiscal, ethics and management disciplines learned from their previous profit-driven businesses, they managed to transform the island city-state from what was once a “basket case” in the early ‘50s to a prosperous nation today with one of highest per capita incomes in Asia. Neighboring Thailand is another example, whose prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, comes from a family of corporate elites, the key drivers of the country’s rapid economic growth. Previously, her brother Thaksin, a tycoon, also served as prime minister.
In the Philippines, however, any sudden paradigm shift in a volatile and highly charged political atmosphere can be tumultuous, if not bloody.
- Editorial : Not So Perfect Alibi? (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- SC asked to stop PNoy’s dialogue on DAP (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Philippine Airlines Close To Getting a Partner (airlinenewsphilippines.wordpress.com)
- Ernesto Domingo (bigstory.ap.org)
- Ping bares PNoy govt’s ‘ugly side’ (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Standing on its own merits (benchpress86.wordpress.com)
- Billionaire Tan Considers Philippine Air Exit After Two Decades (bloomberg.com)
- Amid corruption worry, Aquino to reform govt fund (bigstory.ap.org)
- PAL flies to London (rappler.com)
THE race is on for the next Philippine President.
This early, eyed as potential candidates come 2016 are: Vice President Jejomar Binay (United Nationalist Alliance), Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas (Liberal Party), Sen. Bong Revilla (Lakas-CMD), Sen. Grace Poe (Independent), Sen. Francis Escudero (Independent) Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto (Liberal Party) and businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
Of these seven potentials, six have some sort of political lineage in their favor. Binay, the longtime mayor of Makati City has risen to the vice presidency quite spectacularly. Roxas, is the grandson of the late President Manuel Roxas. Escudero, also the scion of a political clan, is a consistent Senate topnotcher. Same with Revilla whose family rules the province of Cavite. Grace Poe, topnotcher in the 2013 Senate race, is daughter of the late movie legend and defeated presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. And Vilma Santos-Recto is the star governor of Batangas province and the wife of Sen. Ralph Recto.
And then there is businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan. Without political affiliation and any previous experience in public office (much like a Nancy Binay), political analysts see Pangilinan—or MVP as he is more popularly known—as a certified dark horse for 2016. And with good reason.
While Binay has no qualms about his dream of becoming President, MVP is quick to admit that “no political blood…runs through my veins.” But given his technocratic skills, MVP could probably fare better than the other potential candidates—whose only claim to fame and public office are their family names.
The chairman of PLDT, TV5, Philex Mining and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), MVP has “singlehandedly” built one of the largest business empires in the Philippines. MVP also has the education to back his business skills having graduated cum laude from the Ateneo de Manila University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and having earned an MBA degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Synonymous to telecommunications, media, power , water, mining, education, infrastructure, sports etc., MVP—given his reservations of running for public office–seems a very good choice for 2016. All he has to do is ride on a platform that promises lower electricity, telephone and water rates and he is a shoo-in for the Presidency in 2016.
As it is, MVP already has much of the country on his plate. If he runs and wins in 2016—he’ll be President and CEO of Philippines, Inc.
- Manny V. Pangilinan : Miracle Man (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- PLDT, Gokongwei expanding alliance (manilastandardtoday.com)
- The social cancer of Philippine society (rappler.com)
- Nearly 100 Philippine rebels killed or captured (bigstory.ap.org)
- Binay lambasted online for ‘epal’ relief bags (technology.inquirer.net)
- Editorial : MVP for President (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Cavitex investment pays off for MVP group (rappler.com)
- Torrential rains shut down Philippine capital (bigstory.ap.org)
- Saskatchewan Offers 14K jobs for PH Workers (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- FirstPac eyes Cojuangco mill (manilastandardtoday.com)
by Mentong Tiu-Laurel
AFTER almost two years of explosive controversy, the full facts of the Ballsy-Eldon Aquino-Cruz and the US$30-million mystery question surrounding the MRT3 deal may have come to light.
The BS Aquino government and the Czech embassy would like the public to think that a third-ranking level neophyte executive is the brain and mover in the MRT3 P4.5-billion project. The said executive being put on “indefinite leave” (which was rejected) is being made a “fall guy” and the story used to abort the awarding of the MRT3 “capacity expansion” project (additional train coaches) to the lowest bidder in the hopes of keeping the highest bid—the Czech trains—alive.
Instead of being the villain, the “fall guy” is actually the public’s champion. MRT3 General Atty. Manager Al Vitangcol conducted a comprehensive study with the MRT3 Technical Working Group consisting of Engr. Mike Narco, Ms. Natividad Sansolis and Eng. Raphael Lavides, and other professionals. Aquino’s DOTC secretary and LP politico, Emilio Abaya, issued a special order to include two personal factotums: Usec. Julianito Bocayon, a longtime buddy at the Naval Intelligence Group, and Honorito Chaneco an Abaya appointee and Philippine Science High School classmate, apparently to sway the technical committee.
The significance of the technical committee is that after thorough study is recommended government estimate of US$1.89 million/coach against the Czech Inekon’s US$3 million/coach. Vitangcol and the technical men in the Technical Working Group established the best and lowest government estimate for the project. Inekon’s bid for the LRV, light rail vehicle, started at US$3.3-million/coach in early 2012 negotiations.
The Inekon people and the Czech embassy had been working on the MRT3 deal years earlier and it is in this long series of deal-making effort that the “syndication” by the Czechs with the Aquino family is revealed. Among them are: the appointment as Inekon agent of Yorgis Psinakis, nephew of Aquino and Lopez clans’ crony Steve Psinakis; Aquino’s first cousin Jorge Aquino-Lichauco as “handmaiden”; DOTC Usec. Rene Limcaoco, brother of Cory-Gloria-Yellow stalwart Dodi; involvement of LP stalwarts in talks with Inekon and the Czech ambassador.
Jorge Aquino-Lichauco who has denied involvement actually acted as “handmaiden, and Usec. Limcaoco are caught with the “smoking gun” in a memo issued by the latter to Atty. Al Vitangcol, dated 10 April 2013, transmitting the “Sample Terms for LRV (light railway vehicle) Terms of Reference from Jorge Lichauco” who does not have any official role in the DOTC and with any of the parties involved in the MRT3 transactions but carries the weight of Usec. Rene Limcaoco’s official letterhead which “transmit” Lichauco’s “non-official” communication to a DOtC third rank official.
These have been reported by Charlie Manalo of the Tribune, who has been giving a blow-by-blow account of these since mid-2013 in the mentioned publication.
The MRT3 $ 30-million “kickback” story emerged after a radio network broke the news with unattributed sources claiming that Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Eldon Cruz, sister and brother-in-law of BS Aquino III, were involved in “extortion” of the Czech company for awarding of the MRT3 deal. The Czech Inekon’s chairman and CEO Josef Husek and ambassador Josef Rychtar had been asked repeatedly whom they were really “extorting” but persistently been coy in naming anyone beyond suggestive affidavits about “an informal dinner in a Makati restaurant on July 9, 2012”, and a meeting in Rychtar’s Forbes residence where al Vitangcol was not even present and quoting only a Mr. Wilson de Vera.
Why is Atty. Al Vitangcol being made the “fall guy” in the mainstream media when the Czech company Inekon’s officials, Josef Husek, and ambassador Rychtar have denied any direct accusation against Vitangcol while naming Wilson de Vera? In a Husek affidavit to the NBI on Oct. 5, 2013 is Mr. Wilson de Vera whom he stated, “While talking about the tender, Mr. Wilson de Vera suggested that we would be selected as (the) supplier of the tram vehicles and related services, provided that we (pay) to an unknown entity a certain amount of money. Mr. Wilson de Vera indicated such payment should amount to USD 30 million.”
Mr. Wilson de Vera is an LP stalwart in Pangasinan and a close friend of Eldon Cruz and Aquino aunt Tessie Oreta. Mr. Wilson de Vera is also a director of the MRT3 maintenance contractor PH Trams, which won the MRT3 maintenance contract over Sumitomo Corporation, evidence of the company’s clout with the new administration. Also in PH trams are Manolo Manalit who is also with the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (Pangilinan’s controlling shares MRT3) and Marlo dela Cruz who is reportedly the Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez connection and with the Liberal Party. PH Trams maintenance contract has been taken over by Global APT JV (Joint Venture) where Marlo dela Cruz also is.
The Liberal Party imprint on the operations of the MRT3 and the DOTC today is all-embracing, from the secretary down the organization and into its subcontractors. Central to the MRT3 extort scandal is the Ballsy Aquino-Eldon Cruz trip to the Prague and, allegedly, to the HQ of Czech company, Inekon. Jorge Lichauco was earlier speculated as the couple’s tourist guide to the country but later it is revealed that Yorgis Psinakis, Inekon agent, did the honors. The Czech ambassador eventually retracted and exonerated the Aquino couple from the “extort” allegations, but questions linger.
The Aquino-Cruz couple claim they were in Prague to pray at the famous shrine but given Inekon’s official agent making arrangements, and Inekon’s years of “syndication” with Aquino relations and Aquino controlled LP political cohorts, the exoneration and the diversion to a “fall guy” smacks of a cover up.
The lowest winning bid from Dalian Locomotive for the MRT3 capacity expansion project at $ 1.8-million and under the US$1.89-milliion government estimate is now under evaluation. The public’s concern is that the controversy is being stoked to whip up a cloud cover and scuttle the awarding, meanwhile keeping alive the deal seemingly “railroaded” since 2012, which has been working behind the Aquino and Liberal Party cover. Thus the vehemence with which the Czechs have tried to whip up controversy and create diversionary tactics is understandable, such as the “corrupt” fall guy ploy while the Liberal Party operators are allowed to go under the radar.
Does this explain the “bouncing Czech”?
If US$30 million or some amount had not exchange hands, would such vehemence be commensurate?
(Tune to 1098AM, 5 to 6pm, Tues. to Fri.; Destiny Cable, GNN Channel 8 and www.gnntv-asia.com, Sat. 8pm and Sun 8am; visit: http//www.newkatipunero.blogspot.com; text comments to 09234095739)
- Presidential sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz: Cleared (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- New turn in Philippine corruption case (praguepost.com)
- Prague, Czech Republic (ourtraveladventure.wordpress.com)
- Bc-autoslug (bigstory.ap.org)
- New Bohol Airport Has Final Masterplan (airlinenewsphilippines.wordpress.com)
- Aquino votes in barangay polls in Tarlac (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Sidelines (1rgcruz.wordpress.com)
- Amid corruption worry, Aquino to reform govt fund (bigstory.ap.org)
- A Worm’s-Eye View of the Current State of the Philippines (grbusinessonline.wordpress.com)
- $30 Million MRT Extort Reveals the Evils of RP’s Protectionism and Corporatism (vincenton.wordpress.com)