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.
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.
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.
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).
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.”
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.
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.
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.
BAGANGA, Davao Oriental – All his life, Edilberto Bohol lived off the sea. On good days, he catches just enough fish to provide for his family.
However, he and his colleagues struggle just to meet their basic needs. Edilberto catches fish in the traditional hook and line method, which can bring meager returns.
As a result, he, and many of the province’s 15,000 fishers, live below the poverty threshold. “I have been fishing since I was small. The same is true with my father. I only finished high school, and this is the only livelihood I know,” said Bohol.
Seeking to improve the plight of these fishing communities, government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) conducted agriculture and aquaculture training and distributed seedlings, fish fry and other production inputs to help improve livelihoods in the area.
Unfortunately, Typhoon Bopha (Pablo) struck the province before these programs could reap their intended results.
Profitable and Sustainable
And the very resources that these fisher folk relied on for their survival were wiped out. More than 400 fishing boats were damaged and almost all fish-rearing structures in Boston, Baganga, and Cateel—municipalities severely affected by Pablo—were decimated. Projects that were underway were likewise wiped out.
During the immediate aftermath of Pablo, local governments tried to focus on underlying poverty issues of their areas and resume daily fishing activities. There was an obvious need, however, to introduce alternative livelihood opportunities that could be more profitable and sustainable.
The U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program, supports this idea.
Following a rapid assessment, USAID designed and implemented a multi-component disaster recovery program in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces, under the oversight of the Mindanao Development Authority.
USAID/Philippines Mission Director Gloria D. Steele said, “The recovery program is part of the U.S. Government’s Php768 million disaster assistance to help Typhoon Pablo victims recover from the catastrophe.
This consisted of education, infrastructure, climate adaptation strengthening, agriculture and aquaculture livelihood assistance for the most severely affected municipalities.”
The multi-component approach included the introduction of high-value aquaculture to typhoon-affected fisher folk in both provinces.
The provincial Government of Davao Oriental was also provided with a high-value aquaculture industry development plan, which presents the results of a study on the viability of grouper (or lapu-lapu) production to help drive sustainable economic growth in the province.
The plan was formally handed over to Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon in August 2013. It notes that grouper is expected to give better returns to growers compared traditional aquaculture commodities, like milkfish and tilapia.
This target commodity presents the most potential for promotion and development in the area, considering its high market price, local and export market demand, availability of suitable mariculture sites and advances in technology.
The short to long-term strategies presented in the plan may also take off from the activities implemented by USAID through GEM.
USAID, in collaboration with the provincial government and BFAR, conducted a series of workshops on grouper farming for select growers associations in coastal towns. To help strengthen their climate resilience, the skills expansion effort included the construction of weather-resistant fish cages using locally sourced materials.
Fisherfolk in landlocked towns were trained on inland freshwater aquaculture.
They were also taught climate adaptation and mitigation techniques to address flooding and unstable oxygen levels that occur in fishponds when water temperature rises.
Majority of these growers received hatchery-bred grouper juveniles, milkfish fingerlings, formulated feeds and other start up materials from USAID.
“The project reached about 2,000 fisherfolk. The technologies we introduced are cost-effective, highly replicable and will also avert potential losses due to adverse weather conditions,” said Lauro Tito Ilagan, USAID-GEM Aquaculture Team Leader.
“Lapu-lapu farming can be very profitable and sustainable. At two production cycles per year, a four-compartment fish cage will allow a net income of as much as Php200,000,” Ilagan explained.
Edilberto and members of the Kinablangan Fisherfolk Association, which he chairs, are about to enjoy their first harvest of grouper.
“We can sell these at about Php500 a kilo,” he said, thanking USAID for helping his hometown. “We will reinvest part of our income to buy fingerlings and other inputs so that we can continue to improve our lives.”
Other growers groups that participated in the project, such as the Mabini Fisherfolk Association, are also on their way to recovery.
Prior to their foray into grouper production, the members were engaged in traditional cage culture of low-value milkfish which they sold for about Php100 per kilo in local wet markets. On their first cycle of production, they stand to earn approximately Php260,000.
“The seeds of recovery that we planted a year ago through a strong partnership between the Philippine and United States governments are beginning to bear fruit.
The U.S. Government will continue to work with our Philippine Government partners to help Typhoon Pablo-affected provinces recover and achieve lasting peace and greater prosperity for all of its residents,” Director Steele said.
By Ronald Roy
Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, unabashed self-proclaimed contender for the presidency in the 2016 elections, warned that keeping secret a new affidavit by Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged PDAF scam brains, would “empower her to manipulate public opinion one way or the other.” Perhaps. However, I don’t go along with his demand that she be summoned anew by the Blue Ribbon Committee for a scrutiny of her new statement.
There is no way the public will gain enlightenment from a senate investigation of the pork scam when the culprits alluded to by Napoles are the investigating senators themselves, not to mention those other guilty colleagues — bato bato sa langit ang tatamaan ay huwag magagalit — who quietly swivel in their cool armchairs expecting vindication in a process that they fully control. This asinine and expensive circus must stop. It serves no other purpose than to fuel more speculation, sow more confusion, and facilitate cover-up schemes.
Senators are not called “lawmakers” for nothing. By their every word and deed, and as their mandate would have it, they must exemplify sedulous adherence to the lofty requirements of respect for the Law, esteem for its institutions and processes, and fear of its rule. Accordingly, our senators should now terminate the subject investigation in order to allow the Ombudsman’s Office to exercise unimpeded control of the role it is ordained by the Constitution to discharge. No, there is no cogent reason for these upper-chamber legislators to distrust their own creation: the largely statutory criminal justice system.
Motorcyclists are the bane of patience. Being in total control of our streets, they freely violate traffic rules in pretty much the same way some politicians cavalierly breach the norms of delicadeza and rectitude. And can these motorcyclists quickly organize themselves into a mob at any accident site where one of them is involved! One should not find unfamiliar any of the following road situations.
Three years ago, I was driving on Edsa behind two buses that were a meter and a half apart. Suddenly, a motorcycle sped past me on my right side, surged ahead and, to my horror, raced through between the buses in a resolve to overtake them. As the buses moved toward each other, motorists and I following behind came to a screeching stop to see a gut-wrenching mishap that left the helmeted rider and his machine lying on the road in one gruesome twisted heap.
That was but one of numerous motorcycle misfortunes that had then been occurring at a very alarming rate, and the accidents have since increased without letup. Today, one wonders if authorities will ever buckle down to produce safety rules for the motoring public in general and the motorcyclists in particular, pedestrians and bystanders included.
For having been actually involved in two recent motorcycle accidents, I sometimes muse on the possibility that one day I will be a plaintiff or defendant in a reckless imprudence trial, notwithstanding the fact that in over 60 years behind the wheels, my extraordinarily diligent and defensive manner of driving has always seen me safely through — knock on wood. Hereunder are the two incidents.
As I remained at STOP position preparing to turn right to Hemady Street in Q.C., a motorcyclist drove up from behind and rested his machine between my right rear door and the embankment. From that position, he knew I would turn right since my signal lights were flashing. After the traffic light turned green, I proceeded to turn right along with the motorcycle. While I was executing the turn, the motorcycle suddenly swerved around in a split-second decision to change course.
I didn’t hit it, but its rider kicked my fender to avoid being struck. As a result of the force of the kick, he fell off his two-wheeler which scooted ahead and crashed against a concrete wall. He suffered a broken wrist and a badly damaged motorcycle. Luckily, patrol cops who witnessed the incident prevented a gathering mob of cussing motorcyclists from possibly lynching me. The hurt rider apologized for his reckless driving.
Then, another time when I was doing 30 kph on Aurora Boulevard, Manila, a motorcycle that had overtaken me suddenly crossed my path, and instinctively I swerved rightward to avoid hitting it. Unfortunately, I hit a cab. The culprit sped away and got lost in the traffic, and I gave the taxi driver a generous amount for slightly denting his fender.
This sort of road scourge cannot be totally eradicated. But authorities can control it by requiring motorcyclists to drive, at all times, directly behind a chosen vehicle, and allowing them to move therefrom only for the purpose of turning left or right to another street. Needless to state, strict enforcement and stiff penalties will produce eye-popping results, particularly in the dramatic reduction of riding-in-tandem killings. Hopefully.
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 rebirth of a Philippine world-class product
By Allysa Faye Greganda
By 2020, the world’s need for cacao beans is projected to increase by 30%, yet the country’s production has yet to meet the demand. If our cacao industry can do so, then there is hope for the Philippine agricultural sector.
While Filipinos crave for imported chocolates, better think again: first-rate quality cocoa can be grownin your backyard. It is the same reason why the Department of Agriculture keeps an eye on this delectable opportunity for the country’s agri-production.
This month, DA just handed an initial P14M for cacaoagri-business zones (CABZs) in Davao City.
Being endowed with such perfect soil composition and sun temperature, the Philippine’s cacao industry is a potential big exporter—only if more farmers would invest into it.
The truth is, cacao seeds do not grow in thewestern countries known to produce these mouth-watering chocolates, including Japan. Raising cacao trees haveclimatic requirements.
Rainfall should range from 1250 to 3000 mm per annum while 1500-2000 mm during dry season of not more than 3 months. Maximum temperature is 32°C and the minimum is 18°C. Altitude of the area must lie between 300-1200 meters above sea level.
Cacao thrives best in areas with evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. As of now, cacao plantations can be found in the areas of Mindanao specially Davao and CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) in Luzon.
The cacao industry has never grown into its full potential. Moreover, we even import 20,000 metric tons of cocoa beans from Africa last 2008 up to this date, costing $42 million a year.
During 1980s, Philippines has shared 20% of the world’s need for cocoa. The industry declinedaltogether with the rise of CARP.
Discovering these lost chances, the DA and Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) made partnerships with different companies to help boost cacao farming in the country.
BAR also collaborated with Cocoaphil for the Sustainable Cacao Program. The target now is to be able to produce 100,000 metric tons by 2020 from our usual production of 25,000 metric tons yearly.
As for the initial funding, P1.75 million has been allotted for the distribution of seedlings.
P2.5 million goes for production equipment’s and machinery. Post-harvest facilities and other infrastructure costs P6.22 million, marketing development services amounts to P200,000, while P615,000 budget allotted in training for new and current cacao industry players.
Made in the Philippines
“Dry like a full bodied well-aged red wine,” these were the words Shawn Askinosie of the world’s famous Zingerman’s Deli said to describe the Philippine Tablea (chocolate).
So far, there had been few who attempts in making it into the exporting world—all by themselves. Rob Crisostomo started as a simple farmer then eventually founded the Seed Core Enterprises in Davao.
He now exports container load of Philippine cacao to Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest supplier of high quality chocolate and cacao products. It just proves that cacao made in the Philippines is globally competitive.
This will not only give glory to the country but also provide livelihood for many families.
The secret of Philippine cacao beans is in how our farmers carefully process the seedlings from planting, harvesting and even in quality control phase. Filipino women are the usual laborers in cacao plantations. DA said that this type of farming is gender-sensitive, that is why women are the preferred laborers.
As of now, there are 20,000 hectares of cacao trees in Davao, and 70% of the annual production of the crop come from the same province. The industry has helped 16,000 farmers and 340 cooperatives, according to Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines.
Indeed, this industry has becoming a good source of livelihood for most Filipinos in the South.
It is a wise decision for DA to finally revive the cacao industry. This can even lift the country into poverty. We should focus more into utilizing our lands because the Philippines’climate and environment has the perfect set up for growing such crops.
Our true wealth is our agriculture because not all countries are capable of producing crops such as cacao beans. Our government has to realize that prosperity in our country does not merely relyon just ICT, business empires and technology.
It will be beneficial for the country’s economy if the budget allocation for this industry is increased.
(Ms. Greganda is a graduating student of AB Communication in the University of Perpetual Help System Laguna. She is currently working in OpinYon as an intern. She also loves sweets, including chocolate.)
A year after the May 13, 2013 elections, Vice President Jejomar Cabauatan Binay is still way ahead in the race for President in 2016. Pulse Asia conducted its regular Ulat ng Bayan Nationwide (1,200 respondents with a + or – 3 % margin of error.) Public Opinion Survey from March 19 to 26, 2014. If the national elections for President, Vice President and twelve Senators had been held then, the following would have been the results (Assuming that the candidates were the same ones on the list chosen by Pulse Asia below.):
For President (% of a hundred.): Binay 40, Poe 20, Santiago 10, Escudero 9, Roxas 6, Marcos 5, Cayetano 4, Kris Aquino 4, Revilla 3 and Lacson 2.
For Vice President (% of a hundred.): Poe 24, Escudero 20, Roxas 8, Trillanes 7, Cayetano 6, Marcos 5, Kris Aquino 5, Lacson 5 , Vilma Santos 5, Jinggoy Estrada 4, Bam Aquino 3, Revilla 3, J V Ejercito 2 and Leni Robredo 1.
For Senators: Sotto, Drilon, Roxas, Recto, Pangilinan, Lacson, Zubiri, Gordon, Marcos, Osmena, Madrigal, Pacquiao (12th), Hontiveros, de Lima, Kris Aquino (15th), Lino Cayetano, Herbert Bautista, Jackie Enrile, Tootsie Guingona, Mitos Magsaysay (20th), Lani Mercado, Ruffy Biazon, Gwen Pimentel, Ed Hagedorn, Leni Robredo (25th), Shalani, Dingdong Dantes, Gina de Venecia, Dinky Soliman and Teddy Casino (30th).
The above results belong to the portion of the survey for public release. These are the subject matter and answers to questions that are regularly formulated and included by Pulse Asia in their regular surveys. However, there are subject matter and questions that are included and initiated and therefore paid for by individuals or organizations for their own purposes. These are not released to the mass media and to the public for a certain period of time.
In the said private portion of the above survey was the same question regarding who the respondent would vote for for President if the elections were held during the period of the survey. However, the list of candidates included former President and present Manila Mayor Joseph “ERAP” Ejercito Estrada. ERAP made it to second place, behind Binay but ahead of Poe.
As a matter of public disclosure, I would like to put on record my campaign preference and voting record for all the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections since I was born on October 12, 1948.
1948 – No memory of any political consciousness, preference or activity on my part.
1953 – Ramon Magsaysay for President. Contempt and hatred for Elpidio Quirino. No consciousness or preference for Vice President.
1957 – PPP*. Manuel Manahan for President, Uncle Vicente Araneta for Vice President.
1961 – United Opposition Party (LP/PPP/GA). Vice President Diosdado Macapagal for President, Emmanuel Pelaez for Vice President. Raul Manglapus and Manuel Manahan for Senators.
1965 – PPP*. Raul Manglapus for President, Manuel Manahan for Vice President.
1969 – I turned twenty one in October 1969. I must have registered and voted but cannot remember for whom – the NP Marcos/Lopez or the LP Osmena/Magsaysay. I volunteered for CNEA with Jimmy Ferrer, Chino Roces, Charito Planas and my classmate Edgar Jopson. I remember operating in the Quirino Ave, area of Quezon City. As early as November 1969, I already felt and foresaw that Marcos’s reelection and victory would lead to a pressure cooker effect in our society.
1973 – We were for consolidating the Moderate and Reformist Political and Protest Movement with the active and organized sectors like the farmers and labor (We did so under the Kapisanan ng mga Anakpawis ng Pilipinas.). We were united under the KAP with the FFF, FFW, PAFLU, PHILCONTU and YCW. We intended to coalesce with the LP under the Presidency of Senator Gerardo “Gerry” Roxas. We were pushing for a South North tandem of Roxas (Capiz) and Manglapus (Candon, Ilocos Sur).
1986 – LABAN/UNIDO. Cory Aquino and Doy Laurel.
1992 – PRP. Miriam Santiago and Jun Magsaysay.
1998 – Kakampi ni … . ERAP and GMA.
2004 – FPJ and Loren Legarda. After Binay took over the campaign from the ASO (Angara, Sotto and Oreta.) during the Holy Week of 2004 and after he and ERAP led the UNO and together with the NP’s Senate President Manny Villar won a majority of the Senate seats in the 2007 Senatorial elections, I believed that Binay should run for Senator in 2010. My biggest ever mistake in political analysis was believing that Binay had no chance at all of winning as Vice President in 2010.
2010 – Noynoy for President. Balimbing (sometimes Binay, sometimes Mar.) for Vice President. Binay won, beating Noynoy’s LP running mate, Mar Roxas, as well as long time leading Vice Presidentiable Loren Legarda. Loren and Chiz Escudero had led in Vice Presidential surveys for the past three years since 2007 until 2009.
After his unexpected victory in the 2010 elections, Binay was way ahead of everybody else for President in 2016. There was nobody else tall enough to challenge him on the horizon. For three years, he even led President Pnoy in popularity and satisfaction ratings in the two major survey outfits: SWS and Pulse Asia.
However, in 2012, PNoy learned his politics. He bribed the members of the Lower House to Impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona. He bribed the majority of Senators to convict him. Despite his sliding popularity, he was able to cobble together an opportunistic coalition for the 2013 mid elections. He made bilateral alliances with the Nacionalista Party, the LDP and even the Magdalo. He neutralized the Lakas and GMA’s allies and stalwarts.
He won nine out of twelve Senate seats: Poe, Legarda, Cayetano, Escudero, Angara, Bam Aquino, Trillanes and Cynthia Villar.The UNA got only three seats: Nancy Binay in fifth place, JV Ejercito in eleventh and Greg Honasan in twelfth place.
For the past year, he has managed to stifle most of the Truth in the Pork (PDAF) Scam and Scandal. A year ago, Ben Luy had already been rescued from Janet Lim Napoles’ benevolent detention. The MOST connection was at work to control the NBI investigation. However, the information was leaked to the PDI, which came out with a series of exposes on or about July 20, 2013.
The Administration still managed to manipulate the evidence (including COA investigations and reports) and the witnesses to focus on those in the opposition: Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla. Meanwhile, information implicating Senators, Congressmen and Executive officials belonging to the Administration have been kept from the Mass Media. The NBI, DOJ and the Ombudsman have pussyfooted on the investigation and prosecution of the guilty who belong to the LP and the Administration.
Pinoy has given Mar Roxas and his cohorts all the budget, exposure and power to help the LP position its favourite but weak Presidentiable for the 2016 race. On the other hand, they have done everything to deprive Binay of the budget, exposure and power that he deserves as the President’s appointee as HUDCC Chairman and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipinos.
Four years on since the May 2010 National Elections, Binay has maintained his lead. The lead is so big that even if Binay, Erap, Grace Poe, Bongbong Marcos and Bong Revilla were too all run together with all the LP and Administration candidates that can be put up, Binay would still win. If you were to total all the percentages of the Administration candidates for President, this would come out to 43 – 45 %. On the other hand, Binay, Miriam, Bongbong and Bong would total 55 – 58 %.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to organize two editions of the Sikat Pinoy National Food Fair (NFF) this year. The first one just finished last March 26 to 30 while the second edition is on December 3 to 7, in time for the Christmas season.
DTI sees a big potential in the food sector for generating employment and developing various backward and forward linkages aside from attracting wholesale and retail buyers.
“Trade fairs have been and by far, DTI’s most effective promotions strategy especially for food products. It must be noted that 50% of MSMEs belongs to the food and beverage sector. In addition, the food sector has tremendous potential to generate employment. So the DTI Sikat Pinoy National Food Fair allows us to focus on the sector where we have a competitive advantage,” DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo said during the opening ceremony on March 26.
In its March event, DTI, through the Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT), in cooperation with DTI Regional and Provincial Offices and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), has showcased three pavilions, namely, pili nuts, seafood and coffee.
With the tagline “Piling-piling Pagkaing Pilipino”, it featured specialty foods and beverages from all over the country, including such products as fruit wines and liqueurs, herbal teas and health supplements, spices and condiments, snacks and pastries, and a Filipino kitchen to prepare mouthwatering delicacies.
During the opening ceremony of the fair, BDT Director Rhodora Leaño noted that the total number of exhibitors already exceeded their target, from 220 to a number close to 240 exhibitors.
With its two editions this year, DTI aims to showcase more of the best of the country’s food products and to provide more business and employment opportunities to SMEs.
Another highlight of the event was the signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DTI, represented by Regional Operations and Development Group Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya and the SM Malls, represented by its Executive Vice President Ricky Lim for the establishment of DTI Business Service Centers in all SM Malls nationwide. The DTI Business Service Centers will initially cover 25 SM Malls in Metro Manila as well as SM Malls in Bacoor and Dasmariñas in Cavite, Santa Rosa and Calamba in laguna, Marilao in Bulacan, and Masinag in Antipolo.
The event also featured Awareness Seminars on online marketing, licensing of food establishments or food business operators, guidelines for registration of processed and cooked foods, and duties of MSMEs as responsible taxpayers.
Cooking demonstrations and a cooking contest were staged by Cook Magazine during the trade fair.
For more information on the fair, you may contact the DTI through the Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT) at 751.3223, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The BDT is at the ground floor of the Trade and Industry Building, 361 Senator Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City. You may also visit the fair’s website at http://www.sikatpinoyfairs.com, or “like” its Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SikatPinoyFairs.