napoles

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.

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INCOMPETENT, DISHONEST?

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[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.

This week's OpinYon cover story. Includes old news reports about the alleged Cory wire fraud.
This week’s OpinYon cover story. Includes old news reports about the alleged Cory wire fraud.

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

Dangerous Times

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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.

FOTO BANNER STORY PNOY for web

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

REFOCUSING ON LOCAL GOVERNANCE

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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.

kulepork
(image credit: Philippine Collegian – http://www.philippinecollegian.org/power-of-the-purse-probing-the-politics-behind-the-pork-barrel/)

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

What Next?

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(photo credit: Dr.Ligaya Acosta/http://www.hliworldwatch.org/?p=2923)
(photo credit: Dr.Ligaya Acosta/http://www.hliworldwatch.org/?p=2923)

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

AWOL

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(photo source: http://girleavesdropper.wordpress.com/)
(photo source: http://girleavesdropper.wordpress.com/)

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?

And where on earth is PNoy exactly? #OpinYon#CoverStory #Pnoy #AWOL

read cont | http://bit.ly/15srVOR

No to Pork! Yes to Hainanese Chicken!

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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