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]
THE guessing game is on. Will PNoy finish his term?
The answer to that question is not a dare to impeach him, but also how deep the Filipinos are hurt by an incompetent and dishonest President.
“Impeach me!” President Benigno S. Aquino III dares the people.
Believing in “doctored” surveys, Aquino is confident—and deludes himself that the people love him and his family so much that they can empty with impunity this poor country’s coffers and that still more Filipinos will keep them on the pedestal.
He is likely to lose this dare as the middle class has taken to the streets and is now leading the march to stamp out corruption in government and bring behind bars those who have stolen people’s money. #OpinYon #PNoy #Incompetent #Dishonest#Philippines
read cont | http://bit.ly/15UPQqq
- Sins of Cory (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Aquino dare smacks of political arrogance – militants (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- PH ups penalties for animal cruelty amid ‘crush video’ fury (rappler.com)
- HK newsmen heckle PNoy; axed at APEC (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Aquino warned to heed call to scrap ‘pork’ or face ‘point of no return’ (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Aquino, other gov’t execs in plunder raps (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Rappler Newscast | October 2, 2013 (rappler.com)
- Filipino troops retake 70% of rebel-held villages (bigstory.ap.org)
- PNoy rules out second term even if Charter allows it (manilastandardtoday.com)
- PNoy dares critics: Impeach me (rappler.com)
By Al Labita
NOT A FEW are alarmed over the danger signs of a creeping political upheaval threatening to cut short President Aquino’s six-year-term in office.
For one, the “anti-pork “protest movement—the so-called “Million People March”—has snowballed, setting the stage for what could be a prelude to another “people power.”
From Aparri to Jolo, more and more are joining the crusade, the biggest challenge so far to the 53-year-old bachelor president, now in his third year as president of a country known for ousting a leader linked to corruption.
For those in the business sector, they are wary that the current political brouhaha over the pork scam may deteriorate to an Edsa-type revolt.
Though the economy is doing well, history shows that it usually turns ugly whenever the going gets rough in the political scene. #OpinYon #business
read cont | http://bit.ly/15SBve7
- Where do we go from here? (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Bishop Iñiguez: More rallies, media exposés to end pork barrel system (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- The Anti-Pork Barrel Movement’s Protest in Makati City (ireport.cnn.com)
- Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop (ericpgranada.wordpress.com)
- Thousands gather in Manila to protest pork barrel funds (channelnewsasia.com)
- Signs of a maturing democracy (rappler.com)
- WORM’S EYEVIEW: How about a quiet revolution? (mindanews.com)
- What’s next for the ‘porkbusters’? (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Aquino slammed before father’s monument (rappler.com)
by: Ike Señeres
THE bottom line of the pork barrel issue is local governance. In theory, the purpose of the pork barrel is to fund local development needs that could not be “seen” by Congress as it approves the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for each fiscal year. Pursuing that theory, the Congress apparently came up with the legal fiction that whatever could not be “seen” by them as a whole assembly could be seen by the district Congressmen from their own local vantage point.
According to newspaper reports, the Lower House of the Congress has already decided to “scrap” the old pork barrel system, apparently replacing it with a new system that would focus more on line item budgeting, although it seems that the Congressmen could still “recommend” their own local projects subject to the approval of the appropriate House Committee and the corresponding implementing line agencies, i.e. the National Government Agencies (NGAs). #OpinYon #business
read cont | http://bit.ly/15HOA4F
- Abolition of congressional pork a sham (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Palace shows Joker Arroyo’s letter requesting P47M (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Burial assistance among Leyte solons items on their pork barrel (leytesamardaily.net)
- Professor Emeriti Briones and Monsod “grill the pork” in UP PDAF Forum (socialwatchphilippines.wordpress.com)
- Who is guiltier, JLN the fixer or the senator who hired the fixer? (leytesamardaily.net)
- An open letter to President Noy: Abolish pork, seriously. (rappler.com)
- Aquino, Abad, solons: Are you listening? (opinion.inquirer.net)
- The future of the barrels of pork (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Ayala anti-pork march to focus on alternatives, concrete actions (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- ‘Scrap pork barrel, buy pork chicharon,’ vendors say (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
by: Ramon Orosa
THE successful holding of the Million People March has caused such reverberations in the political life of our nation. The march has sent a strong message to the political leaders that people have reached a point of such disgust in the guileless and unconscionable corruption being so broadly practiced in the higher reaches of our land. Reforms must happen and all individuals involved must be charged and held to judicial account and, I might add, made to make restitution of what had been obtained fraudulently.
Real changes. Not the cosmetic variety which some politicians are still trying to bring forth to calm the people down, meaning fool them even more, but let’s keep the system going because we must not ruffle the feathers of the legislators who are good at grandstanding at the Administration’s expense. Or else, let us see if we can give the pork another collar or disguise it in another account title in the Budget and announce with much fanfare that PDAF has been eliminated. But, he…he…he…now we have greater control of the funds and thus improve our persuasive power and hold over Congress! #OpinYon #opinion
read cont | http://bit.ly/18oPxCQ
- The “Reform” Argument on the PDAF (socialwatchphilippines.wordpress.com)
- Interactive Communication (ckalisky.wordpress.com)
- PDAF scam – – a way to manipulates us all (collideanddecline.wordpress.com)
- Palace, solons ask SC to lift TRO on ‘pork’ (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Roles played by few political leaders under scanner (assamtribune.com)
- House of Cards: Episodes 1 & 2 (gethimtothegreek820.wordpress.com)
- Social media (thehindu.com)
- Regaining the people’s trust (opinion.inquirer.net)
By Miguel Raymundo
PRESIDENT Aquino’s choice to stay in the Zamboanga war zone and away from Malacañang is taking a toll on his Presidency.
With much of Zamboanga’s commercial and business facilities shut down because of continued fighting between government forces and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels, the President is unable to attend to other issues of import that require his immediate attention.
Away from the public eye since Sept. 14 when he left the Palace for Zamboanga City, many are wondering what the President is doing there and who’s running the government’s affairs while he is away.
Is the President still in control? Has he gone AWOL to escape public censure over the P10-billion pork barrel scandal? Is he just sitting around playing his video games—content to sit in the sidelines while the lives and livelihood of the people of Zamboanga lie in the balance?
read cont | http://bit.ly/15srVOR
- Schools reopen in Zamboanga (channelnewsasia.com)
- Classes resume in 149 schools in Zamboanga City (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- PNoy: Zambo standoff ‘getting closer to an end’ (mindanews.com)
- Financing Misuari (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Truce talks fail (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Aquino in Zamboanga for 5 days: No newspapers to read, no stand on key issues (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- P3.89B to rebuild Zamboanga City, says Aquino (rappler.com)
- President on top of things from Zamboanga – Coloma (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Zamboanga City: The Death of Army 2nd Lt. Meneses (5secondsofsummerfacts.wordpress.com)
- Malacañang condemns Zamboanga City attack (rappler.com)
by: Ramon M. Borromeo
MY wife and I received a last minute invitation from our dining partners to join them at what is practically a hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Happi Hen on Aguirre Avenue in BF Homes Paranaque. I forget the corner street it is on but it is right beside Panaderia Pantoja.
When we got there rather late, thanks to traffic, our hosts and their granddaughter had already ordered ahead. Since we tend to eat a lot more collectively, my wife and I ordered an additional order each of what was already on hand.
On hand was the house specialty, Hainanese Chicken (a whole quarter for P130.00), which is a complete meal in itself. Hainanese Chicken is simply simmered in initially boiling water with salt and ginger for a little less than 30 minutes. Thereafter the chicken is removed and plunged in ice water until it is no longer hot. Around 12 to 15 minutes should be adequate time. The chicken is then removed and hung to drip dry. Later on, the chicken is to be served at room temperature with hot flavoured rice and soup. #OpinYon #Living #food
read cont | http://bit.ly/19CJHuB
- hainanese chicken rice at the montien (foodiejoanie.wordpress.com)
- Malasyian supper (bernicechung.wordpress.com)
- Hainanese Chicken rice with Ziamese Pandan tea (ceffood.wordpress.com)
- Hainanese Chicken Rice (culinaryfashion.wordpress.com)
- Baba’s at hu’u Bar: Baba’s Nasi Ayam Singapura (babaliciousblog.wordpress.com)
- Food:Chicken Rice (danieljuniorlee.wordpress.com)
- Baba says, you can never have too many choices: Baba’s Nasi Ayam Singapura (babaslicious.com)
- Hainanese Chicken Rice – Chef Saimon Recipe (chefsaimon.wordpress.com)
- In Search of the Best Hainanese Chicken Rice…. (redpointing.wordpress.com)
- Baba says, you can never have too many choices… (babaslicious.com)
BY MIGUEL RAYMUNDO
PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III is surely feeling the heat with some of the country’s top technocrats forming an alliance to make him answerable for the billions of pesos in government funds under his control.
Former national treasurer Leonor Briones says the legislators’ pork barrel is just a “coin purse” while Malacañang, that is PNoy, holds the” power of the purse”.
According to the group of Briones, the President has control of over PhP1 trillion in government funds. The national wrath over the lost PhP10 billion in pork is a small percentage to what Malacañang could be liable of with those trillions.
The question is can we trust PNoy to use that money for the good of the country?
Many think PNoy cannot be trusted. Everyday more Filipinos are added to those who do not think PNoy can be trusted in his office. And there is a reason for the growing distrust.
Blasted in Social Media
In the social media, blogs and posts denounce PNoy’s inappropriate interest in protecting the country’s most hated “queen of the pork barrel” Janet Lim-Napoles.
His apparent coddling of Napoles sent signals to the public that something was cooking. This sparked suspicions that PNoy was “too frightened” of Napoles. This also generated some angry questions that got even angrier answers.
And the anger against the un-presidential caring of and protection given to Napoles, “queen” of ten-billion robbery of the countryside development funds entrusted to legislators and bureaucrats, grew louder as stories of the past are brought back to life.
The people are reminded of the sins of the mother of PNoy, the former President Cory Aquino, who has been sold to the Filipino people as saint and martyr.
OpinYon finds it fit to run some of these reminders to the Filipino people. In this issue we pick from the controversialfiles.net.
Scandals of the Cory Era
One of the biggest urban legends of recent times in the Philippines, is the story that the Cory Administration was supposedly the “cleanest” among the Administrations in the last three decades.
Thanks to Nostalgia, and the fact that her Administration was at the dawn of the internet age, much of the negativities of that Administration has been largely forgotten, and people tend to remember only the “good” things about that Administration.
Well, thanks to Noynoy Aquino’s “holier-than-thou” campaign strategy, much of the “unpleasantries” during Cory’s time are being brought back to the surface slowly, but surely. Here are some that we have managed to dig out:
- UNTOLD STORY: Scandals During The Corazon Aquino Administration (thecontroversialfiles.net)
- EDITORIAL: No Killing the Pork (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Aquino warned to heed call to scrap ‘pork’ or face ‘point of no return’ (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Photo of PNoy with Napoles’ daughter authentic – Palace (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Aquino photo with young Napoles means nothing – Palace (rappler.com)
- Demeaning the Presidency (opinyon2010.wordpress.com)
- Malacañang released pictures of PNoy with Napoleses (rojan88.wordpress.com)
- Janet Lim Napoles’ brother relieved by sister’s surrender (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Aquino legacy in peril (rappler.com)
- Protest vs pork progresses from #MillionPeopleMarch to #ForwardMarch (bulatlat.com)
WHISTLEBLOWER Benhur Luy is the man of the hour.
Not a few were impressed—if not shocked—by the apparent casualness of Luy’s testimony as he described details of how Napoles managed to get her dirty little hands on the millions of pesos in government funds.
Luy’s lurid tales of forgery and collusion with lawmakers comes as a direct affront to the millions of Filipinos mired in poverty. A slap in the face of the jobless, the underpaid workers and, most of all, to the taxpayer who religiously pay their duties only to have the likes of Napoles steal it away.
While most of us are busy with the daily struggle of making ends meet, Napoles and her cohorts in Congress splurge on public funds and lead lives of unimaginable wealth and luxury. And to think that Napoles is just one of many involved in this decades-old scam, is enough to make you sick–sick of all the rotten, dirty scumbags who run our government.
Calls have been made to scrap the pork barrel system. Well and good. Even if there is nothing wrong with the system in the first place. But, considering the perks of being in power and how politicians spend, cheat (even kill) in this country to win an election, it is very hard to imagine a Congress without its pork. Napoles’ cohorts in government may be cringing in fear of impending implication—but the horror of being without the PDAF to a crooked lawmaker is a hundredfold greater.
(Image source: http://everyoneisstupidbutme.com)
Everything was roses until Luy had a falling out with his employer Napoles, who also happens to be his relative. Like whistleblowers before him, Luy is now state witness, a mob insider-turned-squealer. Like all whistleblowers before him, his courage to spill the beans on the pork barrel scandal is admirable. But killing the pork will be easier said than done. Its fate, after all, rests in the hands of people who are in the same club as those accused of abusing it. #OpinYon #Editorial #Philippines
- Plunder cases vs Napoles, lawmakers for P10-B pork barrel scam to push through (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- ” Unraveling the Pork Barrel Queen “ (carnecerannarose.wordpress.com)
- Rappler Newscast | September 18, 2013 (rappler.com)
- It’s no-pork diet for ‘pork’ scam suspect Napoles (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Kapunan: Napoles is scapegoat of corrupt lawmakers (rappler.com)
- INFOGRAPHIC: Pork barrel trail – how gov’t funds end with Napoles (rappler.com)
- The principal whistleblower in the P10 billion pork barrel scam Benhur Luy on Thursday testified that his former boss, Janet Lim Napoles, shared 50-50 with… By Macon Ramos-Araneta | September 13, 2013 (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Santiago: Napoles has ‘pork warriors’ (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Pork Barrel (cedricmondero.wordpress.com)
- “Pork barrel”! (michaelabaluyut04.wordpress.com)