corruption

BLAME GAME

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By ElCid Benedicto

Beyond the controversy over the “Napolist” or the list provided by alleged brains behind the pork barrel scam, Janet Lim Napoles, on those lawmakers supposedly in cahoots with her scheme misusing their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), was the legal implication of the “exposure” of what most observers consider as a malicious document.

The Senate blue ribbon committee released the two versions of the “Napolist” immediately after it was furnished to the panel, one provided to former Sen. Panfilo Lacson by Napoles’ husband Jimmy and the other that she herself allegedly have given to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Some members of the House of Representatives who have raised howl for having been dragged into the issue have reportedly considering of filing a class suit against a major publication while there are those also from the Senate contemplating of taking legal action against Napoles herself and other media entities.

The blame game is just starting and as to who will carry the brunt will likely be the members of the media who took the bait of publicizing the tons of documents coming from both camps of Napoles and principal whistleblower Benhur Luy.

Some Senate observers took note of some apparent lapses on the part of blue ribbon committee chair Sen. Teofisto Guingona III in releasing the documents even before his panel could take it up in a formal hearing.

A senior Senate member admitted that such act by Guingona could constitute a libelous act, acceding to the assertions of some upper chamber observers that their colleague should have at least circumspect by having the documents first entered into the records of the committee proceedings releasing it publicly.

This was on the account of the Napoles list provided by Lacson that was not signed by her or accompanied by any other document attesting to her ownership of it.

Based on the assertions of some, Guingona, in effect, caused the publication and distribution of information on a malicious imputation of a crime that is not even contained in an official document.

Another senator, an ally of the Aquino administration, on the other hand, came to the defense of Guingona saying that the blue ribbon chair could not be made to any criminal offense since he did not cause the publication and distribution of the information but the media entities.

“He ordered the release of the documents, being the committee chair, but he did not tell you (members of the media) to have it publicized. More importantly, he’s not the ‘author’ of what could be considered as a libelous material,” the senator-lawyer pointed out.

“Didn’t you notice? He made no utterances regarding the content of the documents, meaning lifting anything from it,” the senator further pointed out.

Such argument makes sense, in a way as this was the same issue raised by the Supreme Court in the case of Alonzo v. Court of Appeals, saying that that what is material is that a third person has read or heard about the libelous remark, for “a man’s reputation is the estimate in which others hold him in, not the good opinion which he has of himself.”

As such, the elements of libel are: imputation of a discreditable act or condition to another; publication of the imputation, identity of the person defamed; and existence of malice.

It can be noted that senators and congressmen enjoy immunity from prosecution even if they defame or accuse anyone of any wrongdoing in their privilege speeches or any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions.

No less than Senate President Franklin Drilon himself pointed out the documents should have been substantiated before it was made readily available to the public,

“Dati ko nang sinasabi na tayo ay pabor na ilabas ang listahan, ngunit dapat ay sana may pruweba mula sa isang testigo, at hindi allegation lang. Yung listahan ay puro pangalan, walang malinaw na dokumento. Hindi naman yata tama na ilabas yang mga pangalan na walang basehan, dahil ang reputasyon ng isang tao ang nakasalalay,” Drilon said in one of the interviews.

“Katulad nga ng sinasabi ni Sen. (Francis) Chiz (Escudero) , nasa listahan siya ng isa (Napoles list provided by Lacson), pero wala siya sa iba. Ipinasa na ni (former) Sen. Lacson sa blue ribbon committee ung affidavit daw ni Napoles, pero meron pang ibang listahan. Kaya po iyan ay uulitin ko lang, kailangan may pruweba ang listahan,” he stressed, during an interview with dzMM.

In another radio interview, the Senate chief reiterated the same, emphasizing that he does not stand opposed to disclosing the contents of such documents supposedly from Napoles provided that it’s backed up with proof or testimony to substantiate the allegations contained therein.

“Mag-ingat tayo sa mga listahan na walang detalye, dahil ang reputasyon ng mga tao ang nakasalalay diyan,” he said.

The documents comprised of unsigned supposed sworn affidavit of Napoles, a typewritten notes of sort and a “list” of names of senators, congressmen, government officials and alleged “agents” was accompanied by a mere cover letter signed by Lacson.

“As agreed earlier, I am hereby transmitting to your office the following documents: draft affidavit of Janet Lim Napoles; narration of events; and list of senators, congressmen and other personalities that she allegedly dealt with in connection with the PDAF. Please acknowledge receipt of the foregoing documents. I hope that these documents will assist the investigation being conducted by your committee and address the clamor of our people for transparency in public service,” Lacson said in his letter to Guingona dated May 13.

Unlike in the case of committee members whom Sen. Koko Pimentel emphasized have every right to be given copies, including such unsigned documents although he pointed out that insofar as probative value is concerned, there’s none.

“It’s just a list. Let us be more concerned with evidence…it’s useless
kung ganun lang. It has no probative value at meron na kasing draft and signed Senate blue ribbon report eh. If we feel na may additional pa, let’s start a new one, a new investigation na lang.

At that time when Pimentel made the statement prior to the submission of De Lima’s version of the “Napolist” as well as Napoles’ two sets of affidavits.

He pointed out that the Napolist, on its face, was useless as it “has no probative value at meron na kasing draft and signed Senate blue ribbon report eh. If we feel na may additional pa, let’s start a new one, a new investigation na lang.”

Also, calling Napoles to testify on the list provided by Lacson then, was viewed by Pimentel as premature, adding that it should have been accompanied by a sworn affidavit, which De Lima eventually provided.

Pimentel said that those mentioned in the “Napolist” can avail of a legal remedy by filing perjury charges, considering that Napoles, in her appearance before the Senate blue ribbon issued a flat denial regarding her involvement in the pork scam.

CONSPIRACY

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By Miguel Raymundo

Yearly, the government allots billions of pesos in taxpayer’s money to build roads, but it’s the private contractors who are making a killing at public’s expense.

Take the 94-km North Luzon Diversion Road, built in 1996 by the government which has fattened the pockets of its new owners, Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group.

Renamed North Luzon Expressway, the project has emerged as a cash cow of listed Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the group’s infrastructure unit in the Philippines.

Last year alone, the MPTC saw profit bursting at the seams, surging sharply, thanks – or no thanks – to the government’s benevolence in allowing with impunity the company to jack up its toll rates amid mounting protests from motorists.

Buoyed by robust revenues, the Salim firm even went to the extent of proposing to stretch its franchise to cover the lucrative Manila-Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway under a 50-50 revenue sharing deal with the government.

Bottomline
But the proposal hardly took off the ground, shot down in no time at all by a government wizened to the profiteering ways of private contractors.

Typical of its insensitivity to public welfare, the state-run Toll Regulatory Board allows a toll road operator every two years to raise its rates without the need for the agency’s prior approval.

Cashing in on a hefty traffic volume, the MPTC’s bottomline, up by a hefty 32 percent to P2.784 billion year-on-year, only showed how the government’s infrastructure program has turned out to be big business for the private contractors.

In short, a conspiracy exists between government and the private contractors by cashing in on the commuters’ gullibility to take any toll rate increase without raising a whimper.

Admittedly, the privatization of public utilities only leads to huge profits for big foreign and local corporations – and, effectively, widen rich-poor gap.

Other than TRB’s automatic approval of any toll rate increase every two years to allow operators a fair return on their investments, another contentious issue is the 12 percent value-added tax on toll approved by the Supreme Court which has been passed on by operators to the already financially burdened commuters.

Benchmark
Ultimately, the country’s public roads and highways should be taken over by the government to prevent corporations from increasing their profits at public’s expense.

The toll road operator’s wallowing in profits amid complaints of rising rates could have provided a benchmark, a caution for the government in tempering privatization of its public infrastructure projects.

But that appears not to be the case as more and more projects are up for grabs, ranging from toll roads to ports, airports, to the highest bidders in the private sector.

Apparently, profitability is key reason why there’s a mad rush among the country’s corporate titans to bid for the proposed P35.42 billion, 44.6-km Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calex).

Auctioned off by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the project has attracted four qualified bidders, including powerhouse San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

Best Deal
Jockeying for the highly lucrative contract is so intense that the Salim Group has sought SMC’s disqualification for allegedly submitting a non-compliant bid.

The Indonesian group has argued that SMC’s bid did not contain a valid bid security, a bond that protects the government in case a winning bidder decides not to proceed with the project.

But SMC, which has adopted infrastructure as an integral part of its core businesses, has disputed its rival’s contention.

“We are compliant. We have a very competitive bid and we are confident we can give government the best deal for the benefit of the taxpayers and the country,” it says in a statement.

Irked over the rivals’ raising of petty issues, the conglomerate admonished them not to waste energy pulling each other down, saying “we want our countrymen to get the best price from several, not a few bidders.”

Cavite-Laguna
Other bidders expected to give competitors a run for their money are the joint venture of Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Group and Malaysian infrastructure firm MTD Bhd.

Part of the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) program, the project starts from Kawit, Cavite, and ends at the Mamplasan interchange of the South Luzon Expressway in Biñan, Laguna.

Based on DPWH’s terms of reference, private investors will finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the expressway that will connect Cavite and Laguna directly, greatly reducing travel time between the two provinces.

The two highly industrialized and urbanized provinces are home to hundreds of international and multinational electronic, semiconductor, automotive and manufacturing companies, in addition to residential developments.
With infrastructure deemed as a key component of economic growth, the government is projected to invest about P750 Billion for projects between 2011 and 2016.

Budget
Separately, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is also proposing about P403 billion in infrastructure projects in 2014 to boost the country’s competitiveness, spur investments, create jobs and improve the country’s economy.

The budget outlay would result in a five percent infrastructure spending in relation to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio and increase revenue effort to 17.1 percent by the year 2016.

But somehow, the government has rationalized what it says is the essential role of the private sector as the main engine for national growth and development.

Under the PPP, the government will provide incentives to stimulate private resources for financing the construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure projects.

To a large extent, the government is even willing, on a project basis, to protect investors from certain regulatory risks such as court orders or decisions which prevent them from adjusting tariffs to contractually agreed levels.

Risks and Regulations
Such regulatory risk insurance could take the form of make-up payments from the government to PPP investors, other guaranteed payments, and adjustments to contract terms.

The specifics of the type of protection to be offered by the government, and the mechanisms through which such protection will be offered will be part of the contract terms for each project. Such protection will only be offered for solicited projects which undergo a competitive bidding process.

But certain advocacy groups had criticized the PPP, saying the public is being held hostage by private corporations whose overriding purpose is only to amass profits as much as possible.

In effect, the responsibility to build roads is being handed over by the government to private concessionaires who are only too eager to squeeze money from the financially depressed people.

Why and Who are Persecuting the Ejercito Estradas?

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By Linggoy Alcuaz

“When it rains, it pours.” That is what the Ejercito Estradas must be feeling nowadays. The latest open hunting season on the Ejercito Clan started three weeks ago. The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s Chairman, Senator Teofisto “Tootsie” Guingona III, started to subpoena and receive “Napolists” and JLN narratives.

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, former PNP Director General, former Senator and now Secretary Ping Lacson submitted his unsigned copy and/or version of the “Napolist”. A day later, Wednesday, May 14, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima, submitted her signed “Napolist”. However, she requested and was given a week or until two weeks ago to submit Napoles’ signed affidavit. She submitted the first affidavit on schedule and the supplementary affidavit just last week. Last week also, the NBI submitted their copy of the Benhur Lim Luy Computer Hard Drive with about 30,000 files and 3,000 folders.

Surprise of all surprises! Freshman Senator J V Ejercito Estrada was included in the list of incumbent and former Senators as a Senator and not as a former Congressman. JV is a former Jaycees National President. He was elected for three three year terms as Mayor of San Juan. Then, he served a single term as Congressman of San Juan City. Fortunately, JLN retracted and cleared JV.

Two weeks ago, Wednesday, May 21, the COMELEC En Banc ruled to disqualify Laguna Governor E. R. Ejercito for overspending. They gave him just five days to secure a TRO from the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court merely asked the COMELEC to comment and reply to E. R.’s legal recourse, but did not issue a TRO, they unseated him. Last week, Tuesday, May 27, they swore in the Vice Governor to take ER’s place.

Two weeks ago, the news broke that the Supreme Court had scheduled Mayor Estrada’s disqualification case for deliberations. Both parties were given a month to submit their respective memoranda.

Then, we have the ten and a half month drawn out Trial by Publicity of the three Opposition Senators – Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, known also by their code names “Tanda”, “Seksi” and “Pogi”. The long awaited filing of Plunder Cases against them by the Ombudsman before the Sandigan Bayan, has been delayed because of the following reasons.

The defendants asked to be provided with copies of certain documents filed by the DOJ with the Ombudsman. The latter acceded but gave the defendants just five days to review and comment on the said documents. Meanwhile, Ombudsman Carpio Morales went abroad. My educated guess is that they are just waiting for the next Congressional recess before filing the first wave of cases at the Sandigan Bayan.

Jinggoy was born on Feb 17, 1963. He became Vice Mayor of San Juan from 1988 to 1992. Then, he served three three year terms as Mayor from 1992 until 2001. In the aftermath of the 2001 EDSA II, Mayor Jinggoy Estrada was also charged and arrested and jailed like his father. However, unlike his father, he was granted bail and acquitted eventually.

With four Ejercitos being simultaneously prosecuted/persecuted, one wonders why? Although, they all belong to the Opposition, they had not been critical or uncooperative with PNoy’s Administration before they were the ones at the receiving end of political maneuvers and vendetta.

Although, the political persecution is now peaking, it started more than a year ago. In the May 13, 2013 National Elections for twelve Senators, JV ended up number eleven with Greg Honasan and Jackie Enrile behind him. All three of them had done better in the poll surveys during the previous year. On the other hand Admin Candidates Grace Poe, Sonny Angara and Bam Aquino were substantially and surprisingly ahead of what the surveys had indicated. Even Nancy Binay with much less experience and exposure than JV was six places ahead of him in fifth place.

Then, in the months of September, October and November, Jinggoy, Erap and E. R. took their turns as Administration Targets. In the Napoles, PDAF and Pork Scandals, JPE, Jinggoy and Bong Revilla were singled out repeatedly for trial by publicity as well as Prosecution by Persecution. “Iyon pala”, there were twelve to twenty five incumbent and former Senators involved depending on what list you believed in. Out of so many winning candidates in the same boat, E. R. was singled out to be ousted for election overspending.

While Erap has been defending and praising PNoy and his Administration, PNoy’s boys have been maneuvering to oust him from Manila and restore Fred Lim. When the results of the May 19 – 26 Pulse Asia “Ulat ng Bayan” Survey came out, PNoy’s boys panicked. The public survey which does not include Erap, shows that non Administration Presidentiables have 58 % of the vote. The Admin Presidentiables have a mere 42 %. In the private survey which includes Erap, the non Admin total increases to 2/3 and the Admin total decreases to one third. In both Vice President Binay is way, way ahead.

In their desperation, PNoy’s boys are trying to pull down Binay by demolishing his allies including JPE and the Ejercitos. However, the latest twist in the political drama for 2016 is that the last desperate Strategy of the Roxas camp is to drive a wedge between Erap and Binay and get the two of them to run in 2016 for President. The objective is to split the Opposition vote. However, the surveys show that even if Binay, Erap, Poe, Bongbong and Bong all run, Binay would still win. In second place now, is Erap. In third place is Poe.

The best thing that PNoy can do for himself is to support Binay or Erap. That way, he would not go to jail like Erap and GMA did.

As for Grace Poe, I believe that if she inherited some basic character traits from FPJ, she will not immediately run for President.

My Fearless/Fearful JLN Forecast!

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As of our Press Deadline, Janet “Jeny” Lim-Napoles was still at the Ospital ng Makati. While the World was questioning why she had not been returned to her court designated place of detention at the PNP SAF camp in Santa Rosa, Laguna, the Authorities were pointing fingers at each other.

The Makati RTC Branch presided over by Judge Almeda said that there was no need for a Court Order to return her to where the Court had committed her. Her custodian, the PNP, said that she had not paid her hospital bills and therefore could not get a discharge or release order from the Ospital ng Makati. The Ospital ng Makati said that they had already issued a discharge order. Besides, they said that it is against the law to hold a patient because of non payment of medical bills or expenses.

Then we hear that JLM wants to stay in the hospital for at least three months. That is what the rich and infamous always want to do. Former Presidents Estrada and Arroyo were committed to the Presidential Suite of the Veterans Memorial Hospital. Former PCSO Chairman and Director Manoling Morato stayed at the SLMC, QC. Gov. Antonio Leviste and Rolito Go spent a portion of their sentences in various hospitals as well as special accommodations at the National Penitentiary at Muntinglupa.

My Fearless Forecast is that if JLM is brought back to Santa Rosa, her list of Senators, Congressmen and Executive Officials involved in the the PDAF/Pork Scandal will come out in its entirety. My Fearful Forecast is that if JLM continues to be detained at the Ospital ng Makati, her list will again be censored, evaluated and manipulated to implicate PNoy’s enemies and protect his allies, friends and KKK’s.

My very educated guess is that while JLN (born January 15, 1964) started out in business dealings with the government fifteen years ago, she made it big when she learned and graduated to the level of PDAF.  This was during the GMA Administration between January 2001 and June 2010. She and her husband, Marine Major Jaime “Jimmy” Napoles, were charged in connection with a 1998 3.8 million peso Kevlar Helmet Procurement Contract divided among seven dummy corporations. Her husband was dropped from the case. Janet was acquitted in 2010.

By the time of the May 2010 National Elections, JLN had accumulated huge sums of money from the multi billion peso Ghost Deliveries of fake Projects of JLN NGO’s. My Guess is that JLN gave the Noy – Mar/LP Campaign a big campaign contribution in the hundreds of millions of pesos. And that is why JLN’s Scam phased in effortlessly into the Aquino Administration of the “Matuwid na Daaan”.

The Expose of the JLM PDAF Scam was triggered by the serious illegal detention of Ben Hur Luy from Dec 19, 2012 to March 22, 2013 by JLN and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim.  On the behest of Ben Hur’s parents, the NBI rescued him from a JLN house that was being used as a retrest house. While in NBI protective custody, Ben Hur started to about JLN’s operations. Meanwhile, JLN continued to harass Ben Hur and use influence and wealth in her favor. JLN retained the MOST Law Office.

However, on July 12, 2013, the PDI came out with a series on the JLN PDAF Scam. In the meanwhile, Social Media had discovered and encountered the high living lifestyle of the Lim – Napoles Family. A month later, on Friday, August 16, Netizens almost spontaneously called for a Million People March and Rally at the Luneta for Monday, August 26, a holiday.

Meanwhile, the NBI – DOJ – Ombudsman investigation and prosecution as well as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s Hearings focused on the three opposition Senators, namely Senators Enrile, Estrada and Revilla to the neglect of other Legislators, Executive Officials and NGOs.

Meanwhile, the serious illegal detention case filed by Ben Hur Luy against JLN and Reynald “Jojo” Lim matured under media and public watch from NBI Investigation to DOJ Prosecution and finally the issuance of warrants of Arrest by the Makati RTC versus Jeny and Jojo. This was followed by the posting of a reward for information leading to Janet’s arrest.

After hiding for several weeks, Janet surrendered to President Aquino and DILG Sec Mar Roxas in Malacanang after a nightime “Hide and Seek” with Presidential Spokesman Lacierda. Then, Noy and Mar escorted JLN to Camp Crame. The purpose of the whole charade was to secure JLN’s cooperation in the one sided Investigation and Prosecution of the three Opposition Senators.

Meanwhile there was the promise of comfort and leniency for the VIP Accused Criminal and Detention Prisoner. However, six months passed with no hospital arrest as promised. That is why the Lists started to threaten to come out.

The BI is Making Ribbons out of Red Tape

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By Dong Maraya

The Republic of the Philippines suffers from widespread corruption. Means of corruption include graft, bribery, embezzlement, backdoor deals, nepotism, and patronage.

According to a World Bank study in 2008, corruption in the Philippines is considered to be the worst among East Asia’s leading economies and the country has sunk even lower among those seen to be lagging in governance reforms. The 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index published by global watchdog Transparency International, showed that the situation in the country had improved slightly but still remained serious.

Corruption exists in all levels of the government, especially among high-level civil servants. Companies generally have little confidence in the Philippine judicial system, and this is due to the allegedly incompetent court personnel, corruption and long delays of court cases.

Transparency International-Philippines said some of the factors that contributed to the Philippines’ slight jump are the improvement in government service, and cutting red tape.

Red tape refers to the rules that government personnel must follow to accomplish a task. Sometimes the governmental process seems cumbersome to us, especially when we want a quick answer. Many feel that the government establishes far too many rules or procedures with their numerous departments particularly their frontline personnel, which are closer to and more quickly responsive to the public.

The battle against red tape and inefficiency in our bureaucracy is never an easy task.  Red tape has long been embedded in our culture with Filipinos having to deal with voluminous requirements and seemingly endless processes with government agencies.

Eliminating red tape and averting graft and corruption has far-reaching benefits for our economy, such as cutting costs of doing business in the country which will in turn improve investor confidence and heighten our global competitiveness.

In the past numerous efforts were undertaken to curb red tape but these did not cause dramatic changes in public service. In some cases, red tape even intensified.

Delays in official transactions are breeding grounds and provide opportunities for corruption. Delays alienate people from their government aside from hiking transaction costs. Corruption makes the country poor and living in it is oppressive.

The Anti-Red Tape Act or RA 9475 of 2007 aims to promote efficiency and transparency in government with regard to the manner of transacting with the public by requiring each agency to simplify frontline service procedures, to formulate service standards to be observed in every transaction and make known these standards to the public.

The Anti-Red Tape Act required all government agencies to adopt and formulate a Citizen’s Charter. This refers to an official document, a service standard or a pledge, that communicates, in simple terms, information on the services provided by the government to its citizen’s. It describes the step by step procedures for availing a particular service and the guaranteed performance level that they may expect for that service.

Although the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has formulated a Citizen’s Charter of its own, Commissioner Siegfred B. Mison has moved anew to cut red tape in the agency’s processing of various alien documentations.Mison, in a recent operations order, directed concerned Bureau offices to strictly observe timelines in the processing of applications for visa conversion/extension and ACR I-Card issuance/renewal designed to expedite and facilitate the processing of said applications.Under the order, all concerned offices are directed to review, evaluate and indicate recommended action within a specific number of working days upon receipt, depending on the type of transaction.The BI Chief said his order to set timelines is aimed to improve, facilitate and expedite the processing of the applications.

All applications received by the Central Receiving Unit (CRU), upon making sure that all documents are complete and in accordance with existing checklists, must be transmitted to the concerned offices within the same working day of receipt.“There is a need to enhance the existing procedures and guidelines in the processing of these applications to eliminate bureaucratic red tape,“ he pointed out.Mison said there is also need some key reforms for the issuance and renewal of the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) to avert graft and corrupt practices and improve the efficiency of delivery of such front-line services.He explained that, under the BI’s “Good guys in, Bad guys out” program, foreigners with bona-fide intention to apply for appropriate visa are presumed to be “good guys” which should be extended tourist and/or investment-friendly immigration services.

Bothered, Bewildered and Bewitched

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By Mentong Tiu-Laurel

“PEOPLE are always blaming circumstances for what they are. But the people who get on in this world are those who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.” – George Bernard Shaw

We’ve see the tragic result of this nation complaining about its circumstances but incapable of defining what it wants and taking steps to making them happen. Vision and planning – strategic thinking, without this activity is just as Einstein described – insanity, repeating a thing over and over expecting a different result. The Philippines has a history of natural calamities and tragedies from Ormoc in 1990 with 5,100 dead to Sendon’s 1300 dead in 2011, and now Yolanda’s 5,000 and still growing number of casualties. It was not always like this, in Marcos’s time government had helicopters, amphibious vessels, and the disciplined government machinery – then Edsa I and the Yellows arrived on the scene.

Bothered

In Yolanda’s wake we find this nation’s “dependent personality disorder” become a trait of the national psyche. A people bothered and blaming ceaselessly, many had in 2010 actually voted to power the inexperienced and clueless government they are blaming today. The circumstances they bellyache about today are also caused by two decades of Edsa I that a majority of the population also supported – including dismantling and privatization of the nation’s strategic assets (power, water, infra, etc.) to local oligarchs backed by global monopoly-finance-capital (Goldman Sachs, Salim, IMF, etc.) siphoning trillions out and leaving the people impoverished, a plundered economy and a government bereft of resources.

The bothersome mendicancy of the Filipinos and its government, was perfected since Edsa I for the resurgence of neo-colonial control by its traditional master – the U.S. which supports corrupt and inept political leadership (Amb. Thomas congratulated BS Aquino even before proclamation) performed with perfect ineptitude in the Yolanda crisis, allowing the “international community” to takeover all aspects of rescue and recovery to smother the last breath of national dignity and sovereignty. The petty Philippine “social media” joined in self-deprecating everything Filipino, contributing to CNN’s blog the insults damning all Filipinos as an incapable of changing their corrupt rulers.

Bewildered

Dependency pervades the Filipino mind, including its bewilderment on climate issues led by environmental groups controlled by Western interests and institutions. Remember W.H.O. peddling the 2009 Swine Flu panic for global Big Pharma’s multi-billions sales of vaccines; the panic was baseless. The IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is another, peddling a “consensus” on Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming (AGW) where there is none, while the global financial institutions rake it in on “cap-and-trade” of carbon credits. Haiyan/Yolanda became the “strongest” typhoon to dramatize the Warsaw Climate Change Conference and further instill in Filipinos the false AGW theory.

Meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue at Weather BELL Analytics, LLC, Florida, formerly with Naval Research Laboratory, Twitted: “Over past 1,000 years, Philippines have been hit by 10-20 thousand tropical cyclones. Don’t be so arrogant to believe Man caused Haiyan.” And demolishes claims that Typhoon Haiyan was ‘strongest storm ever with the “‘Fact: Haiyan is 58th Super Typhoon since 1950 to reach central pressure of 900 mb (1 millibar = 0.145 lbs. /sq. inch) or lower from historical records’ — Maue: ’50 of 58 Super Typhoons with pressure of 900 mb or lower occurred from 1950-1987 — only 8 in past 25 years’” but Philippine media and crying Yeb Sano claims it is the strongest ever.

Bewitched

Bewitching PMSM, Phil. MainStream Media, serves Western propaganda and discounts China’s view, as in “US bombers enter China’s claimed air defense zone” highlighting U.S. spokesman Jen Psaki “This will raise regional tensions … “. ADIZes are not new, from Wiki:  “An air defense command … was developed in 1950 … The Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is an area – in which the ready identification, location, and control of civil aircraft over land or water is required … under … North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) … aircraft entering an ADIZ is required to radio its planned course…” Jets and missiles fly 60 km. per minute, crossing China’s ADIZ takes only 3 minutes.

From Yomiuri Shimbun Nov. 27, 2013, “Countries such as Japan, the United States, South Korea and Taiwan have set their ADIZ in areas surrounding their airspace, asking aircraft that pass through the zones to give prior notice for the purpose of confirming whether such aircraft pose a threat.” But as far as PMSM is concerned the Western interpretation of news is highlighted and China’s ADIZ is treated pejoratively. PMSM is also biased for dumbing down the pubic, like making boxers heroes (like Pacquiao) and quibbling over his tax tiff with government while scant priority is given to meager salaries of weather experts who are thus leaving the country in droves for high paying foreign jobs.

Also, befuddled

News touted the World Bank’s $ 500-M loan for Yolanda assistance, but in July 2012 the Philippines lent $ 1-billion to Europe! Media trumpets that GDP will not be direly affected by Yolanda, yet the P 2-Billion the privatized NGCP’s (National Grid) will charge taxpayers for damage to its grid in Yolanda’s wake – that goes into the GDP “growth”. A business daily headlined “National government debt drops to P 5.61T” – fantabulous good news, but behind the lead is the real story: “The total national government debt, however, increased by 7.6 percent if compared to the P 5.213- trillion recorded in September last year.” Arroyo’s 2010 debt was P 4.9-T, Aquino added almost P 600-billion in three years.

The Filipino is really befuddled in his economics. The U.S.-Iran “detante” changing the face of Middle East politics has brought down world oil prices. U.S. gasoline prices have gone down as a consequence, equivalent to P 42/liter in peso terms, but in the Philippines gasoline is still P 52/liter while auto LPG has gone up by almost P 2.00/liter. People complain not about this but about the BIR’s Pacquiao tax persecution (reportedly because he didn’t drop by Malacañang after winning vs. Rios). Two top Inquirer columnists wrote about Pacquiao, i.e. “Being a hero” and “TKO” but nothing on these befuddling material issues (get it?). No wonder this nation is befuddled in almost all the important matters.

Strategic thinking

The Filipino nation is bothered, bewitched, bewildered and befuddled because it has no strategic view – a strategic vision – of what it wants, how to attain it and who can lead the nation with intellectual honest and executive ability. Observe the leadership choices in the past five elections and two coup d’états disguised as “People Power” – the social elite, the PMSM (mainstream media), the social media and its core of “civil society” political-socialites defined the circumstances. The people were hoodwinked to accept BS Aquino, they’ll be hoodwinked again with a new set of false hopes (especially one poe-seur) who are from the same storeroom of puppets of the Status Quo.
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The People’s Struggle should be focused on clarifying this strategic vision and leadership. Keep reading this space for it. (Watch “Nature’s defence for shoreline communities” with environmental “Bakawan” advocate Jaime Layug: GNN Destiny Cable Channel 8, Skycable Channel 213, www.gnntv-asia.com Sat., 8 p.m. and replay Sun., 8 a.m.; tune to 1098AM, Tues. to Fri. 5pm; ; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com; and text reactions to 0923-4095739)

CHRONOLOGY OF THE RIFT: Pacquito Ochoa VS. Mar Roxas

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November 28, 2009 – Benigno Aquino III and Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II file for candidacy as President and Vice President.

marochoa

June 30, 2010 – Atty. Pacquito Ochoa Jr., handler of Aquino’s legal affairs since his run for Congress in 1998, is chosen to be Aquino’s Presidential Executive Secretary. Atty. Ochoa’s father (former mayor of Pulilan, Bulacan) is a longtime close friend of Aquino. Ochoa is a partner in the Marcos-Ochoa-Serapio-Tan law firm (MOST), with Atty. Liza Araneta-Marcos, wife of Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. and cousin of Jose Miguel ‘Mike’ Araneta Arroyo, former presidential husband.

May 10, 2011 – May 13, 2011 – Political analysts and veteran government officials Ernesto Maceda (ex-Marcos executive secretary and former senator) and Albay Gov. Joey Salceda (ex-Arroyo chief of staff) predicted in an interview with ABS-CBN that a clash between the Ochoa and Roxas camps are inevitable. Maceda previously stated similar concerns in his Philppine Star column.

June 29, 2011 – In an interview with Newsbreak, Ochoa denies influencing Aquino in his appointment of Roxas as incoming DOTC chief rather than as supposed Chief Of Staff, as insinuated by Aquino in past press interviews.

June 30, 2011 – Despite public expectations that Mar Roxas will be appointed as Aquino’s Chief Of Staff, Roxas accepts Aquino’s offer to take on the then-recently vacated position of Secretary of Transportation and Communications, right after former DOTC head Ping De Jesus resigned.

August 31, 2012 – Aquino appoints Roxas as new DILG chief, and Cavite Rep. Joseph ‘Jun’ Abaya as new DOTC head.

September 3, 2012 – DILG Secretary Mar Roxas and Ochoa gave contradicting statements to the public on DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno’s exit. Roxas claimed that the President is giving Puno a different assignment, while Ochoa insisted that no such decision has been made by the President yet.

August 25, 2013 – Malacañang dismisses Brian Raymund Yamsuan, consultant to Ochoa, after being mentioned as the one who brokered the meeting between Napoles and the editors of Philippine Daily Inquirer.

September 10, 2013 – Ochoa denies link to Janet Lim-Napoles. His law firm MOST used to represent Napoles, as indicated by NBI affidavits with the MOST imprint in them.

November 4, 2013 – Palace denies rumors about infighting within the Aquino administration’s ranks. Mar Roxas and Pacquito Ochoa appear together in public, beside each other, during an awarding ceremony for the soldiers in the Zambo siege.

Nov. 6, 2013 – According to Francisco Tatad’s column in Manila Standard, “Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa was quoted in this paper as saying it was Roxas who had pushed Aquino to make that widely derided ‘I am no thief’ speech on television, which has now become the latest national calamity under the Aquino administration.”

-Compiled by Eric Fabian