pork barrel

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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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.

People’s Uprising

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By Richard James Mendoza

JUST a few weeks ago, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno introduced the idea of crafting a law abolishing all kinds of pork barrel by means of a people’s initiative through Republic Act 6735, also known as theInitiative and Referendum Law. Multiple sectors have expressed their support for the people’s initiative; among those who have thrown in their support are the Catholic Church through the CBCP, as well as the transport sector and various militant groups—with the latter two planning to hold gatherings to gain signatures to help meet the required number of signatories.

(photo credit: http://www.theosophy.ph)
(photo credit: http://www.theosophy.ph)

Malacanang on their part wasn’t too receptive of the idea, with Sec. Coloma saying that the people’s initiative “presupposes that the Legislative and the Executive branches of government are unwilling to enact and implement laws that will prevent the misuse of public funds.” Well thank you very much, Captain Obvious (or should I say Captain Oblivious?)! It should have been apparent by now that under the present administration, the Executive and Legislative branches of thegovernment are unwilling to enact and implement the laws preventing the misuse of public funds, whatever they may be.

No amount of deception created by your multi-headed Communications Office can cover the fact that a culture of impunity is being maintained by those in power. These people know that under such conditions they can get either get away with their crimes scot-free, or receive a mere slap in the wrist should they get their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar.

Personally, I’m skeptical about the outcome of this people’s initiative. After the Oct. 4 rally in Ayala, all of a sudden CJ Puno shows up with this idea. Though CJ Puno’s people initiative is a welcome move that warrants its support, it should be taken with a grain of salt for the possibility of the move being hijacked (or even supported) by outside forces is very much real and shouldn’t be easily ignored. And no, it’s not going to be the ND Left like what the Million People March organizers have always insinuated with their statements.
I’m talking about the US imperialists of course, with the CIA along with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as well as their related surveillance fronts like the US Aid, The Asia Foundation, etc., in coordination with the Yellows in power.

Besides, the proposed people’s initiative is merely reformist in nature; it seeks to change the present circumstances within the framework of the corrupt system. Yet, it is interesting to note thatthe people’s initiative was described by CJ Puno as “…the last peaceful alternative for the people to take charge of their destiny” and that “no other option would be left” should this option fail. Doesthis call for a more radical undertaking?
After the past several months of public outrage against the pork barrel system that manifested an underlying problem in the present political system of the Philippines; from the so-called “MillionPeople March” and the humorous failure of “EDSA TAYO!,” to the #ScrapPork network consisting of various anti-corruption coalitions and groups that were formed in the midst of the outrage against pork,now comes the next step of the plan.

Though there are a few exceptions, I don’t think that the people are falling for the lies of the Aquino regime. As of press time, the President had just finishedhis little defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) on live TV, insisting that it’s not pork barrel and that it’s the fault of the opposition, the progressive Left, and of course his favoritescapegoat Gloria Arroyo.Based on personal experience, the power of collective action to bring concrete results is uncontested. It’s time to raise the level of discussion in order to arouse the people about the issues that faceour country, organize them into units, and then mobilize under a united front.

It’s now time to push for a more direct and perhaps radical solution. Because until the ruling classes continue to thriveon the exploitation of the oppressed masses, they won’t even bother to listen to our demands let alone take action for this issue. When our backs are pushed against the wall, what else can be done? Do we just ask the oppressor to stop?Reflecting the call of Anakbayan, let us work towards a people’s uprising to abolish ALL kinds of pork and to advance genuine social change through the national democratic revolution.

Punish the plunderers and the corrupt that benefitted from exploiting the masses composed of the Yellows and their ilk, the large bourgeois-compradors and landlords, the bureaucrat-capitalists; in other words, those whoare at the top of the social triangle. Let’s reverse the triangle upside-down and place those at the bottom of the triangle, the workers and the farmers, on top and lead a new country free from the threeills that currently plague our country.  Only then will we have achieved our victory.

Save The Philippines

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[By Al Labita]

BASED on Opinyon’s perceptions and social media surveys, the developing pattern of calls for change tilts towards those with a proven track record of integrity and competence outside the abominable dog-eat-dog world of politics.

Something’s Got to Give

At the rate the spate of crisis is laying siege on the three-year-old Aquino presidency, the betting is on whether it would last its six-year mandate. Unable to cope with the crushing pressures spawned by a harsh political climate, Pnoy appears to have lost his sense of control of a country teetering on the brink of becoming a failed state. As defined by Wikipedia, a failed state ensues when a central government becomes so weak or ineffective in stemming the rising tide of widespread corruption and a slumping economy. Another dimension of a failed state is erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions and inability to provide public services. Nowhere is such more exemplified than in Noam Chomsky’s book titled Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy.

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Scary Scenarios

That, in a nutshell, seems foreboding and may be ascribed to the prevailing state of the nation. The emerging scenarios are dreadful – either Pnoy resigns or forced out office. Banking on self-serving popularity rating only whetted the pent-up public clamor for a drastic change in government, given the onslaught of street protests. Neither Pnoy’s propensity to play the blame game has helped him abate his sinking fate nor did it curb the likelihood of a mob rule in a country polarized by clashing vested interests. From his jailed predecessor Gloria Arroyo, Pnoy has now turned to media as his latest favorite whipping boy in heaping blame for his misfortunes in public office. Addressing mid this week foreign journalists, he warned them against falling prey into a conspiracy trap meant to link him to the pork scam.

Conspiracy

“Our media and our people are far too good—far too wise—to be grossly and brazenly led to the wrong issue, Pnoy said. “Plunderers should be taken to account,” he added, a stance only eliciting mixed views from hard-nosed newsmen.

Though Aquino enjoys the backing of the men in uniform, past bitter lessons showed how they hastily abandoned and dumped the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his predecessors Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo when their hold on power was no  longer tenable in the face of mounting public outcry over corruption scandals.
Whether such tragic ending would eventually befall on Aquino remains to be seen as the country’s political complexion remains highly fluid.
While anything can happen, one thing is sure – Pnoy can’t keep his guards down.

Highly Divisive

Undoubtedly, the highly divisive pork barrel scam has sapped Pnoy’s political will to govern and only exacerbated the people’s loss of trust in him. This early, egging on the 53-year-old bachelor president to quit is like asking for the moon as most lawmakers in both houses of Congress had been exposed as Aquino’s paid hacks through the pork barrel system, the reason why calls for impeachment against him landed on deaf ears. Contrary to his self-projected image as an “incorruptible” president, Pnoy has already gained notoriety for resorting to money politics as evidenced by how he plotted the ouster of then chief justice Renato Corona. So far,   there’s no palpable sign as yet on who the people would prefer to succeed Pnoy should current tensions lead to an abrupt end to his six-year reign in power. By operation of law, Vice president Jejomar Binay is next in line, but not necessarily as he has to reckon with the distortions and aberrations of the country’s political history. If we recall, the late senator Arturo Tolentino as the “duly-elected” vice president was supposed to succeed Marcos following the fraud-marred snap polls.

Quirks in Politics

But due to unknown quirks in politics, an unexpected civilian-backed 1986 military revolt intervened, catapulting then plain housewife Corazon Aquino to power notwithstanding her hesitance and inexperience. As in the case of the late democracy icon, an unlikely figure may yet emerge if the current pressure-packed political scene persists.

Who Could She/He Be?

Scanning the horizons, the people are understandably sick and tired of recycling the scalawags in politics – the old and new trapos. Topping the list are the two highly respected captains of the industry – Manuel V. Pangilinan and Ramon S. Ang, both at the helm of publicly listed consumer-oriented conglomerates. Like Pangilinan, Ang faced challenges in turning around San Miguel Corp. (SMC) from an inward-looking company to one of today’s formidable Asian corporate behemoths.

Risks

From traditional lines of business anchored on beer, packaging and food, SMC has diversified to cost-intensive strategic industries in what analysts described as a “calculated risk” in a highly competitive environment. Adding power, mining, telecoms, oil, aviation and other related ventures to SMC’s investment portfolio had paid off in that these broadened the conglomerate’s market base, both locally and internationally. Thanks to Ang’s bold forays, SMC has been raking in record-breaking revenues which currently translate to about 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, a corporate feat indeed for a homegrown conglomerate. Under Ang’s stewardship, SMC has set its sight on achieving what had long remained on its drawing board – whopping revenues of U$50 billion by 2018 as it plans to acquire new businesses and expand existing ones. By and large, the target is nearly three times what SMC made in 2011, when it ended the year with US$17.5 billion in turnover. Known for his management prowess, Ang initially pegged a US$20 billion revenue target for 2015 but revised it upward in that by end of 2012, the conglomerate had already achieved its goal.

Singapore and Thailand

“Before, when we set a target of US$10 billion, people said, ‘That’s unbelievable!’ But we were able to achieve that. It happened. So that’s why we increased our target. From US$20 billion, we are hoping to reach US $50 billion revenue in the next 5 years,” Ang told reporters.

An engineer by training, he led SMC last year in acquiring management control of the financially ailing Philippine Airlines (PAL) from the group of taipan Lucio Tan. From then on, the nation’s flag carrier underwent rapid changes, including a refleeting program estimated to cost SMC over US$1 billion in capital expenditure to sharpen its competitiveness in the global airline industry. Part of the deal includes PAL subsidiary Air Philippines, a budget airline. Critics may quickly hint of a possible conflict of interest should the tycoons take over the reins of power, an irritant that can be overcome in due time in a democratic setting. Though largely untested, technocracy, as evidenced by the country’s rapid corporate growth, may yet be the key to solving the nation’s decades-old problems of poverty, inequality and dispossession.

Singapore is a case in point. Most of its current crop of leaders — from the prime minister to cabinet members – was plucked out from the corporate sector and became popularly elected. With the stringent values of fiscal, ethics and management disciplines learned from their previous profit-driven businesses, they managed to transform the island city-state from what was once a “basket case” in the early ‘50s to a prosperous nation today with one of highest per capita incomes in Asia. Neighboring Thailand is another example, whose prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, comes from a family of corporate elites, the key drivers of the country’s rapid economic growth. Previously, her brother Thaksin, a tycoon, also served as prime minister.
In the Philippines, however, any sudden paradigm shift in a volatile and highly charged political atmosphere can be tumultuous, if not bloody.

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

UNUS INSTAR OMNIUM

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by: Francis De Guzman

THE above is Latin, and translated in the English language to mean –“one for all.”

This is seen as the very essence that embodies the ‘soul of democracy’ if it were to be taken in the context of socio-political realities of our times.

pigsleep

The success of the “million people’s march” as this writer would term the recent turn of events in the country, which was birthed by a unified call to the nation against the excessive evils of corruption that has reached the highest echelons of political power, is but the tip of the iceberg that could hopefully bring about true transformational change.

Based on the final outcome of those tasked to investigate the said “Mother of all Scams” and how the truth and nothing but, will now determine the future course of events for this nation of more than 90 million Filipinos. #OpinYon #opinion

read cont | http://bit.ly/172ukuI