WAR IN THE PALACE
Tonypet J. Rosales | Editor
IT APPEARS the most bloated government department—the Communications Group PNoy—simply can’t get the job done. To arrest the President’s sagging image, the administration is bringing more people into the fray, a move that could spark new hostilities between the Samar and Balay groups in Malacanang.
Since 2010, despite an awesome PR machinery, Malacanang never really got a hold of the public relations game. A series of missteps, snafus, blunders and miscommunications (beginning with the mishandling of the Luneta hostage incident involving a tour bus filled with Chinese nationals) have kept the President’s team of spokespersons and speechwriters busy fending off critics.
On Tuesday, a newspaper report by that the Palace is in “PR crisis mode”, hiring the services of a foreign pollster and political strategist to help reinvent the image of the President after the government’s net approval ratings plummeted to a record low.
The report said a crisis management team under Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. (Samar Group) and a political strategy team under Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas (Balay Group) has been activated to help refurbish PNoy’s image which has taken hit after hit since assuming the presidency in 2010.
A Palace source said Roxas is bringing back one Paul Bograd, the political strategist said to be responsible for Mar’s “Mr. Palengke” brand which made the DILG secretary No. 1 senator back in 2004. Bograd’s assignment: to fix PNoy’s image which suffered massively because of the Supreme Court’s adverse ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
On the other hand, Ochoa has made changes in the Palace media group starting with the appointment of Presidential Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma as presidential spokesperson taking the place of Edwin Lacierda who is identified with Mar’s Balay group.
Ochoa is also said to have reactivated members of the Samar group involved in the 2010 campaign, including television director and PNoy cousin Maria Montelibano. Montelibano served as head of Radio Television Malacanang (RTVM) during the time of President Cory Aquino and was also the designated point-person for media in Noynoy’s 2010 campaign.
While Bograd’s appointment can be considered a slap in the face of Secretary Coloma, observers believe that recent turn of events is symptomatic of a leadership breakdown in Malacanang. The administration is slowly falling apart and may eventually cost the ruling Liberal Party (LP) the 2016 presidential elections.
Seed of Discord
The conflict between the Samar and Balay group started shortly after Mar Roxas lost the vice presidency to Jojo Binay. Balay is the the group that met regularly at the residence of Roxas and its core is composed of the LP leadership together with the Black and White Movement and Ronald Llamas’ Akbayan. Samar Avenue in Quezon City is where Montelibano’s media bureau and Ochoa’s legal team held fort. PNoy sisters Pinky and Ballsy and Sonny Belmonte also regularly joined the Samar meetings.
The difference between the two groups emerged when Balay members started blaming Samar for the emergence of the winning NoyBi (Noynoy-Binay) tandem. In 2010, Mar’s presidential candidacy was floundering (he was usually ranked 4th in the ratings) and things looked up only after he gave way to Aquino and ran for vice president instead.
However, in the last weeks before the elections, Binay eventually caught up with Mar in the ratings.
From sure winner, Roxas became a pathetic loser. The two camps exchanged barbs blaming each other for Mar’s loss with Balay—despite the polls—claiming the Binay win as a fluke. The seed of discord had already planted as early as 2010.
The latest polls showing the President’s net satisfaction ratings at an all-time low, forced both the Samar and Balay groups to reactivate their crisis management teams. The Palace is in panic and by racing to save the President and effect a quick turnaround—Pnoy and company could find himself in even deeper trouble.
Mar’s panic is understandable because his chance of becoming the LP standard bearer and winning the presidency in 2016 is directly proportional to PNoy’s pop ratings. If PNoy crashes and burns, Roxas might as well kiss his presidential aspirations goodbye.
Palace insiders say Ochoa is concerned with the way the LP has handled the DAP issue. The August 23, 2013 speech of the President defending the DAP was reportedly the idea of Roxas who managed to convince PNoy to deliver the speech on primetime television despite Ochoa’s protests.
“Ochoa believes the (Senate President Franklin) Drilon and (Budget Secretary Butch Abad are dragging the President down with them,” the Palace source said.
Abad is the architect of the DAP which has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Drilon—who failed on his promise to scrap the Senate pork—tried to make up for his failure with an attempt to salvage the impounded money by circumventing the TRO issued by the SC by having the funds declared as “savings” that the President can use in the event of a calamity. Drilon’s antics reportedly did not sit well with House Speaker Belmonte.
The situation has become a fight for the Aquino-Cojuangco clan’s life that even the “First Bunso” Kris has been put to active PR service.
Kris’ strategy jumps off from PNoy’s recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) where the camera cuts away to the gallery and catches the “Queen of All Media” wiping off her tears as her PNoy mouths off the sacrifices of their parents Cory and Ninoy in his impassioned speech.
On August 1, on the occasion of Cory Aquino’s 5th death anniversary, Kris even hinted on the potential martyrdom of PNoy. “He [Noynoy] can’t do it on his own. We need to stand by him and give him strength. Please pray with us also that he stays alive,” Kris told guests after the Holy Mass at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.
Kris, of course, was alluding to PNoy’s mentioning in his SONA of certain “dark forces” that were supposedly out to get him. While much of what makes the Aquino dynasty great has something to do with death, the idea of President Aquino dying to achieve a PR bonanza is totally out of the question.
If PNoy dies, then Vice President Binay becomes President defeating the whole purpose of initiating an ambitious PR mode to save PNoy’s neck and the LP from a public hanging.
What remains clear is that the scenario in the Palace remains as chaotic as ever with the administration content in plugging loopholes and providing band-aid solutions to the country’s problems. Common sense dictates that it is never wise to have two captains run a PR ship.
Right now, PNoy and company appear secure and safe—just like the passengers of the Titanic.
THE DEL ROSARIO-MVP CONSPIRACY
By the OpinYon Research Team
Are members of President Benigno S. Aquino’s family of officials serving the interests of the country? Some in the President’s cabinet are loyal to the country. Some are likely serving business interests, like Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert Ferreros del Rosario and Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras.
In the case of Almendras, his alliance with Senator Sergio Osmeña on the energy crisis that the country is facing is an open secret. Almendras, former DOE head until his transfer to his current post as cabinet secretary, is known to be the inside guy of the Aboitiz business group, while Sen. Osmeña is married to a Lopez sibling. Both Aboitiz and the Lopezes are big players in the power sector.
Almendras and Osmeña, despite their pro-people posturings, fail to fool the people of their true color. But at least, they have not led us to an almost shooting war with a superpower.
In the case of del Rosario, OpinYon brings you back to 2012, when we almost went to war against China. Here, the OpinYon research team picks up a “secret” leak sent to us.
The Scarborough Incident
Last April 2012, tensions arose around Scarborough Shoal when Philippine Navy and Coast Guard vessels had a stand-off with Chinese Marine Surveillance vessels.
Although the situation eventually normalized after a couple of months, the fiery exchange of rhetoric between the two countries continue. Leading the charge on the side of the Philippines is none other than its Foreign Affairs head, Secretary Albert del Rosario.
While Sec. del Rosario reaped praises for his patriotic stance against a rising superpower, information about his true motives, however, started leaking out.
What is Sec. del Rosario’s true agenda? Is he truly a patriot?
In a meeting in Malacañang sometime in early May 2012, Secretary del Rosario was asked by President Aquino, who authorized the trip of Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) to China to talk to Chinese officials?
Secretary del Rosario owned up to the responsibility when he said that he “sort of encouraged Pangilinan to go and open another channel to China through the private sector since the political channel has failed.”
However, instead of talking to Chinese officials to defuse the situation in Scarborough Shoal, MVP talked to the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) officials to pursue personal business interests. His report to the President is detailed in the following Aide Memoire:
Manny V. Pangilinan is the chairman of Philex Mining, which owns 65 percent of Philex Petroleum, which in turn owns 60.49 percent of Forum Energy.
Forum Energy owns 70 percent of the Service Contract 72, a seven-year exploration contract in the Reed Bank awarded by the Philippine government in 2010. By August 2013, it is committed to dig two wells in Sampaguita under its work program with the government.
Based on the estimate of Forum Energy PLC in 2011, the Sampaguita field contains 2.6 trillion cubic feet of contingent in place gas resource and 5.5 TCF of prospective in place gas resource.
The Del-Rosario-MVP Connection
Sec. Albert del Rosario has been involved in companies run by MVP, being director of the Philippine First Pacific Co. (Hong Kong), PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk, the largest food company in Indonesia; Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Philex Mining Corp., Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp., Manila North Tollways Corp. and ABC Development Corp.
Sec. del Rosario has headed the development of Pacific Plaza Towers, Metro Pacific Corp.’s signature project. He is said to have introduced Pangilinan to the Salim family of Indonesia, which is behind First Pacific.
MVP as chairman and chief executive officer of Philex Mining Corp, owns 74.79 percent of Philippines Petroleum Corp. Philex Petroleum owns 64.45 percent of Forum Energy Plc. (FEP), an oil and gas exploration company incorporated in the United Kingdom with focus on the Philippines.
Forum Energy has secured a two-year extension from the original deadline of August 2013 for its work program under Service Contract 72 in light of the territorial dispute between Philippines and China.
In December 2012, DOE announced that it has deferred to the Department of Foreign Affairs the decision to grant permits concerning the exploration and drilling activities at the highly contested Recto (Reed) Bank because the area was part of the disputed waters being claimed by China.
In short, the go signal for the drilling activities of MVP’s Forum Energy lies in the hands of his best friend, Secretary Albert del Rosario.
(SOURCE: http://business.inquirer.net/104849/oil-drilling-group-gets-2-year-extension; http://www.interaksyon.com/business/50708/doe-serves-notice-that-oil-gas-projects-in-contested-territories-would-face-delays)
Why is MVP, through Sec. del Rosario, delaying the exploration drilling of Service Contract 72?
Sec. del Rosario is using the tension in Scarborough Shoal as a pretext to suspend the exploration drilling of SC 72. However, in light of the fact that the situation in Scarborough has normalized, plus the fact that MVP’s Forum Energy is in partnership with CNOOC of China, then obviously this is not the true reason for the delay.
What now is the real reason for the delay?
Findings of US Energy Information Administration
Several countries have overlapping territorial claims to portions of the South China Sea, which stretches from Singapore in the southwest to Taiwan in the northeast. The Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands are two of the most contested areas (see dark blue islands on map above). However, unlike other parts of the South China Sea, these areas have not been assessed to hold large (conventional) resources of oil and natural gas. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, ownership of habitable islands can extend the exclusive access of a country to surrounding energy resources.
EIA’s analysis shows that most fields containing discovered oil and natural gas are clustered in uncontested parts of the South China Sea, close to shorelines of the coastal countries, and not near the contested islands. Industry sources suggest almost no oil and less than 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves exist in fields near the Spratly Islands. The Paracel Island territory has even less natural gas and no oil.
(SOURCE: US Energy Information Administration, http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=10651)
In addition to proved and probable reserves, the South China Sea may have additional hydrocarbons in underexplored areas. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimated in 2012 that about 12 billion barrels of oil and 160 trillion cubic feet of natural gas might exist as undiscovered resources in the South China Sea, excluding the Gulf of Thailand and other adjacent areas. About one fifth of these resources may be found in contested areas, particularly in the Reed Bank at the northeast end of the Spratly Islands, which is claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. These additional resources are not considered commercial reserves at this time; extracting them may not be economically feasible.
(SOURCE: US Energy Information Administration, http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=10651)
Based on the above, it is clear that it is in the interest of business partners, MVP and Sec. del Rosario, to delay the drilling in SC72 (Reed Bank) because Forum Energy had bloated the gas and oil reserve estimates of SC72 (2.6 trillion cubic feet of contingent in place gas resource and 5.5 trillion cubic feet of prospective in place gas resource) and, therefore, had grossly overvalued their stocks.
Once the drilling starts, the true value of the reserves in SC72 would be known and MVP’s partners/stockholders at Forum Energy would start bailing out. MVP stands to lose billions.
This explains the antagonistic stance of Sec. del Rosario (through DFA) towards China. He just needs a continuing pretext to delay the drilling until MVP finds an unwitting buyer of their stake and leave their other partners/stockholders holding the empty bag.
Sec. Albert del Rosario is no patriot after all.
Editorial: Time to do an FM
Editorial cartoon by Sonny Boy Surnit
PERHAPS Ferdinand Marcos had good reason to abolish Congress back in 1973.
With the extent and amount of thievery in Congress and the plunder of public funds reaching unbelievable proportions and spanning several decades, there is more than enough reason to shut down the operation of what critics and a newspaper columnist-magazine publisher describe as the “largest crime syndicate” of the land.
Throughout history, Congress has seen several evolutions and shifts from a unicameral to bicameral system. Marcos abolished Congress in January 1973 with a shift to the parliamentary system of government and the bicameral system was only reintroduced in February 1987 after Corazon C. Aquino assumed the presidency with the ouster of Marcos.
The primary role of Senators and Representatives is—supposedly—to draft and pass laws for the advancement of the nation and the protection of its people. Lawmakers are not supposed to have direct access to public funds. Well, not until the creation of the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Originally called the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) in 1990, the PDAF is designed to allow legislators to fund small-scale infrastructure or community projects which fell outside the national infrastructure program—which was often limited to large infrastructure items. But over the years, the PDAF has been used for things other than countrywide development. It’s been used as a tool for blackmail, coercion as a reward for political loyalty and has been the object of plunder.
Currently, each of the 24 senators has access to PhP200 million in PDAF while the 289 or so representatives receive PhP70 million a year. In total, some PhP25.03 billion of the national budget goes to our honorable men and women in Congress.
Public outcry over the CDF led to reforms in the CDF and its evolution into PDAF. But nothing has changed. The PDAF remains prone to administrative abuse and plunder. And we’re not even talking about the Disbursement Acceleration Package (DAP), which is a different matter altogether but also involves the possible misuse of billions in government money.
PNoy and his administration is in deep trouble. Maybe it’s time to do an FM.
PNoy: Most Guilty
By Miguel Raymundo
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III’s Disbursement Acceleration Package (DAP) renders Congress useless. DAP is PNoy’s signature and declaration to the Filipinos that he has no need for Congress.
Filipinos spend tens of billions of pesos a year for salaries of congressmen and senators and to underwrite their stealing. Thievery in this Congress has gone too far that a weekly business magazine rightly described it as a crime syndicate.
Who needs a crime syndicate for a Congress? Even PNoy, by his acts, says he does not need Congress, except perhaps to impeach a Supreme Court Chief Justice.
Then will somebody please simply abolish Congress for failing the Filipino people for decades now?
First, Congress failed to protect the people from the biggest crime syndicate in the country led by the President himself.
The President misappropriated some PhP174Billion in forced savings from the budget of executive offices. He pooled these savings to form an illegal fund called the DAP. The Use of these savings is a product of technical malversation—a crime with defined penalties that include a jail term and dismissal from service.
This is PNoy’s biggest crime so far, a thievery ten times worse than that of the PDAF scandal supposedly masterminded by one Janet Lim Napoles.
While PNoy could be the most dishonest President this country has ever had by the magnitude of stealing now going on, his is a long list of dishonest acts from abandoning campaign promises to allowing subalterns to run away with billions of government funds.
PNoy promised us Daang Matuwid. With runaway corruption in the government service, no one but his yellow allies believed this. But of course Daang Matuwid meant a straight path of billions of pesos to the pockets and bank accounts of these yellow allies.
PNoy promised to wipe out poverty. Poverty incidence has gone up as we slipped deeper in international ratings on the measure of success in the fight against poverty.
PNoy said “Pag walang corrupt walang mahirap” and we see the reason why the “mahirap” has increased in numbers.
The people pay over P35Billion in keeping Congress. In return, Congress enacted insignificant laws, like in 2012 a bill on reproductive health and the postponement of elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, according to election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.
Every year, the only significant bill passed is the General Appropriations Act (GAA) or the national budget, the obligatory congress action to legalize government expenditure.
Under PNoy this GAA is not the bible in his spending, this is a scrap of paper that does not merit his attention or, worse, his respect. And, for circumventing the provisions of the budget and violating the Constitution, PNoy ought to go to jail.
According to Macalintal, the PhP35Billion savings from abolishing Congress could be used for other purposes.
But wait, should Congress be abolished, there will be absolute control of the purse by the executive branch.
Remember, Mr. Macalintal, the lawmakers are simply beneficiaries of theft by the executive branch. Remember that the process of stealing starts from Malacanang, passes through Congress and, finally, actually disbursed by the executive branches controlled by the Palace.
So Congress is just one step in the process of theft. Most guilty are those in the executive department, especially people in Malacanang.
Every step in the way in the disbursement of government funds has safety measures against acts of thieves.
I was the chief of budget division and management services division during the martial law days in one office attached to the Office of the President. I had this case of the top official ordering me to transfer funds from capital outlay to maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).
I refused to obey the order, advising the boss it was technical malversation. I briefed him, thinking that being new the government service he did not know our duties. I told the boss this was against the law and I could go to jail if I followed his order.
The national budget defines how the government funds must be used, I told him and I have a duty to my position as budget officer. Of course I resigned few months after that briefing for too suddenly it became very hot in the kitchen.
The system is not rotten. The people in the system are. In solving the corruption in Congress, you don’t kill the system. The solution is for us to stop electing the corrupt to Congress.
Those elected and continue with their thieving ways should be charged in court and put to jail. That is assuming our justice system is working, but that is another story.
The presidential is system is not rotten. It is working fine in other countries like the United States of America. The person in the position makes the position of President rotten.
In the case of the Philippines, our President has shown how he has ruined the image of his position, being most guilty in the PDAF-DAP crime. He should be impeached for everyone to again respect our system.
He is the puppeteer, the one using government cash as strings in the public dance to massive corruption.
Now, if you think stealing from the government coffers is the only form of corruption hurting the economy so much, think again.
Yes corruption has hurt so much the economy that when PNoy and budget secretary Florencio Abad were pooling forced savings to create DAP, the GDP growth went down to half at over 3%.
The forced savings meant putting a stop to infrastructure projects and other people welfare initiatives, pulling out from the national spending over P170Billion.
The ripple effect of this dip in national spending was slow down of economic activities by suppliers to government projects and no jobs. Government spending is also intended to inject life to the economy, to create employment by direct hiring by government and suppliers. Downstream, even the sari-sari stores had to suffer. The net effect of reduced government spending is reduced cash in circulation, reduced disposable income of families.
In the dip in disposable income, government holding down disbursements of public funds has a temporary effect on disposable income. This dip is offset when the hijacked funds are released to fund massive corruption.
The worst source and reason disposable income is on the dive is the cost of basic necessities and utilities like food, power, water, transportation and others.
In the privatization of utilities, corruption in government is not noticed, this form of corruption deliberately moved away from public attention by the taipan-controlled mainstream media.
How bad business succeeds in bleeding dry the middle class and the poorest in this country is a long story of corruption in our congress and our President who is even more corrupt.
THE Aquino administration is in a quandary.
Shortly after putting senators Bong Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada behind bars for their alleged involvement in the PhP10-billion pork barrel scam and issuing a warrant against former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, government is now beset with a problem bigger than pilferage of the PDAF—that of the issue of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Designed as a stimulus package to fast-track public spending and economic and push economic growth—which was supposedly being hampered by a prevailing under-spending in government disbursements—President Aquino approved the DAP in October 2011 upon the recommendation of the Development Budget Coordination Committee and the Cabinet Clusters.
From its approval and throughout 2012-2013 government spent a total PhP142.23 billion in realigned savings from different government agencies on a total 116 DAP-funded budgets. And in declaring the practice to be in violation of the Constitution, the High Tribunal cites the culpability of the proponents and implementers of the illegal government program.
The chief architect of this budget impounding system is Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, the same person whom some quarters have accused of orchestrating and providing tutelage to the players and con artists of the PDAF scam.
If the PDAF scam lists senators and congressmen as possible conspirators, the DAP tags the Office of the President—President PNoy—for approving a program that is against the fundamental laws of the land.
In defense, Malacanang said it “acted in good faith” when it spent hundreds of billions in public funds circumventing the provisions of the Constitution via the DAP. Also, being unconstitutional—in the words of Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda—should not be equated to criminality. Acting in good faith could be taken as the government’s admission of incompetence or an ignorance of the law, with both providing no excuse for the commission of an illegal act.
Because the DAP is very similar to the PDAF in many respects including the funding of projects identified by lawmakers, it is not easy to accept that the line that DAP was money well spent and the thievery was limited to the PDAF.
The PDAF involved an amount less than one percent of the total national budget and the DAP spending is ten times that of the money that Janet Lim Napoles and her co-accused were able to stick their fingers into.
If PDAF is just “pocket change”—Napoles and company are just petty thieves. An audit of the DAP and national budget could lead us to the big-time crooks and the smooth criminals in government.
The Fate of Jojo Binay
By Ado Paglinawan
JOJO Binay is doomed.
His intentions for the presidency surfaced too early and unlike Cory Aquino, so to speak, he did not “keep his options open”. Because of this, his prospective run for the Presidency in 2016 is doomed from the outset.
Why? Because in a political atmosphere where corruption is key to being despised by the Filipino constituency, the bevy of his wife’s pending plunder cases await him at every corner.
He is able to maintain his Makati dynasty despite this Damocles sword because of the “controlled” political environment he inherited from the late former Mayor Nemesio Yabut.
I dare say if Yabut did not die in 1986 leaving a vacuum of leadership in that city just as Marcos had just left for Hawaii, there would be no Binay at all. Binay expanded the projects of Yabut in order to gain power and fame for his “entitlement” programs. I know because I was Yabut’s strategic consultant since he was first elected in 1971 to the time of his death. Only Yabut’s oldest son, King could have prevented the Binay ascendancy, but the boy did not challenge him and instead fielded his half-brother Toro Yabut to run for councilor.
That proved to be an irreversible error because when Toro had mayoralty ambitions and his half-brothers Ricky and finally King had theirs, Binay was already well-entrenched.
Only in Makati do the poor registered voters get free full medical care including hospitalization, laboratory work and pharmaceuticals and the non-poor are charged nominally according to their income brackets. Seniors have special privileges and go to movies for free and children are guaranteed free education up to college.
The police are well-equipped and provided for. There is a small sports complex in almost every barangay that also houses well-staffed councils that are ever-present in their respective territories making sure every resident or new resident of voting age are properly identified in their periodic census. Fire and emergency brigades also abound.
Again to clarify, Binay did not start these programs, he only expanded and added juice to them like a check for PhP1,000 every six months and a birthday cake for senior citizens. He has also issued a blue card for residents so that they become “arrest free” within the city.
This of course has a powerful appeal to non-Makati residents. In fact, it was even able to propel his obscure daughter to the Senate in 2013, despite her only experience being to count the weekly loot the Binay family gets from the exercise of their elective positions and laundry the filthy money into a foundation.
The reason for this was her daughter ran for one of 12 available positions in a campaign where name recall and TV advertising counts the most. Even Grace Llamanzares was severely way behind the polls when she had not yet added the magical surname “Poe” identifying her to her adoptive father of the late action king “Fernando Poe” to her “official nomenclature” as a candidate. And of course, Jojo Binay has all the cash to buy those lucrative TV spots.
Winning the Count
One may argue, however, that Binay won the vice presidency. Hello? Binay was never truly elected by the people. He came out with almost Php400 million to buy the position when Mar Roxas reneged on his contract with the Comelec “operators”, thus failing to protect his votes. Mar led by a long mile in 100% of all the pre-election surveys and exit polls. Binay lost the elections but won the count.
Like BS Aquino who is a digital president, Binay is a digital vice president, courtesy of Smartmatic and the corrupted automated election system. In fact, there is not a single public official in government today that has not been digitally elected.
Pending in the Supreme Court today are nullification cases that I have filed or helped file for the 2010 and 2013 elections.
So stop this romantic notion that Binay is electable. The dung his wife Elenita acquired when she left the city after her term as mayor ended will haunt him no end.
Binay does not even have ground troops outside of the Alpha Phi Omega and some cities that he has adopted as sister cities of Makati sharing with them some entitlements. His groundswell was just fictionalized in order to apply smoke and mirrors on how he bought his own election. But I am willing to concede to you if no one stops Comelec Chairman Sixto Brilliantes from reinventing Smartmatic into another automated cheating system for 2016.
By the way, the recent barangay elections were conducted manually. Are you aware of any electoral protests? The reason why the powers-that-be are addicted to automation is because it has made buying the presidential election a lot easier—you only have to corrupt the person who controls the system and you do not have to do any cheating anymore in more than 100,000 precincts nationwide.
That disputes your entire article about a dilemma because there is no dilemma. Binay must kiss the ass of BS Aquino who has Brilliantes in his tank in the same way the village idiot got elected in the first place.
Controlling the polls
BS Aquino controls the electoral system. Gloria Arroyo cleared Ronnie Puno to giving Pinky Aquino Abellada, Noynoy’s sister, the source code and thus control to the Smartmatic system on May 5, 2010 or five days before the 2010 elections.
The Arroyos are forever corrupt. Only God knows how much money changed hands, but soonest BS Aquino got proclaimed and sworn into office, he turned his back on Arroyo, propped up plunder cases against her and proceeded to put her behind virtual bars and effectively a hostage at the Veterans Memorial Hospital to keep her away from power politics.
BS Aquino got them by the balls and blackmail greed prevents them from squealing. Did you notice how Mike has confined the Arroyo defenses within the legal structures politics? Despite this “political persecution”, Arroyo’s Kampi and KGMA supporters complain no end that they cannot get any funds from the former president.
This fatal mistake has stuck to Gloria because she forgot Noynoy comes from a pedigree of quislings.
His maternal great grandmother stole the war chest of the Katipunan entrusted to her by General Antonio Luna. Her grandfather cheated the government and farmers in order to acquire and control Hacienda Luisita.
His paternal grandfather was a Japanese collaborator, and of course his own father was an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) whose flipside spells IBM, for which her sister worked for. Remember how Ninoy Aquino used the New People’s Army against government in order to leverage the Americans?
Her own mother the former president but who was without a political machinery rode on the Unido coalition to win the presidency but who later betrayed Unido’s leader Vice President-elect Salvador Laurel whom she promised will serve as Prime Minister of the parliamentary form of government they inherited from Ferdinand Marcos.
In order to protect the gruesome relations of her husband with the communists, she released Jose Maria Sison and gave him safe passage out of the country.
And then to appease the US, whether CIA or IBM, Cory Aquino instead chose to rule under a revolutionary government and returned the government structure to the American presidential system that ended up accidentally deleting the two-party system that is causing all the schizophrenia in today’s Philippine governance.
There is no dilemma. Binay only has to pander to BS Aquino (and of course the Americans) and obediently serve as their altar boy.
The Americans are once again omnipresent in Philippine affairs, but I am not too sure they will agree to electing the first black Filipino president after it seems that the first black US president they twice put into office seems to be more interested in his ideology transforming the American political culture rather than serving their country’s national interest and the vested interests of the US establishment before that.
This is how complicated the situation is.
THIEVES IN GOVERNMENT
By Ray L. Junia, Publisher
THIEVES continue to steal the future of this country.
Nothing can be more unreal than the government claim of economic gains trumpeted by Malacañang spin masters as the best in our part of the world.
The latest gesture of courtesy by an honored guest to his host, a World Bank top official saying the Philippines is on its way to become Asia’s economic tiger, made the headlines in our national media. This made us laugh. This WB seer is either the worst prophet or best in PR that envoys are trained to be.
Motoo Konishi, WB country director for the Philippines, cited macroeconomic strength of the economy for his trust in our future. He fails to see the sick trees inside what appears to be a beautiful forest. This is unfortunate as we expect bankers to be more forthright and honest and if they cannot be honest they better just shut up.
The Philippines is doomed to become tail ender in the race for economic gains in Asia if not the world. It is our destiny to be always poor. We have our reasons to believe so.
Corruption is the root cause of the country’s economic miseries. Cost of living, driven by high cost of basic necessities, is too high, seventy percent of the population has been declared poor.
Stealing from government coffers has not abated, even got worse with the President illegally spending Php177 Billion on DAP from the national budget. To think that other agencies are victims of the same thievery that ultimately ends up with the people suffering.
This thievery and corruption is the first reason responsible investors are not coming in and may even be packing up.
Latest report from the Philippine Statistics Authority on the foreign investments (FI) shows a sharp decline in the first quarter of 2014 compared to same period last year.
In the first quarter of 2014, FIs approved by seven investment promotion agencies amounted to Php37.4 Billion. This is 25.6 percent lower than the take in the same period last year. In 2013, FIs were Php50.3 Billion.
FDIs tell the story
On foreign direct investments (FDI), the Philippines is the tail ender, far way below the second lowest.
The average take by the country on FDIs between 2002 and 2012 was US$2.7Billion, the lowest while Singapore, a city state, got the highest at US$52.8Billion. Vietnam got second lowest with US$8.5B, better by over US$5B.
Even the numbers on FDIs in relation to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can cause investors to shy away from us. In the first two years of the Aquino administration, we registered again the lowest in ASEAN countries.
In 2010, net FDI was 0.7 percent of GDP and this declined to 0.6 percent in the following year, 2011. Compared with neighbor countries our net FDI was the worst and almost sick situation. Our neighbors did much better: Singapore 25.1%, Vietnam 6.2%, Malaysia 4.3%, Thailand 2.8% and Indonesia 2.2%.
In the measure of impact of the FDI to population or per capita shares, it will tell a clearer picture of the cause of our economic woes. On this measure, our FDI per capita is lowest at US$ 13.3 while Singapore registered the highest at US$ 12,347.00.
These figures covering the period ended 2011. Three years after, when poverty incidence has gone up and prices of basic goods and services have hit the ceiling, this situation could be lot worse.
The first look at our numbers will not encourage serious investors to come in. discouragement will set in when they find out why we are the cellar. The reason is massive corruption that has worsened during the Aquino administration.
It’s corruption, stupid!
Pulling down interest and trust by foreign investors in our country and national leadership are several reasons: high cost of electricity, lack of infrastructure and worsening peace and order and corruption.
While corruption is last in the list of reasons, it is the principal cause of reasons the country is losing the trust of investors.
The cost of electricity in the Philippines being highest in Asia and second highest in the world can be traced to massive corruption in the highest offices of the land, from Malacañang to Congress, down to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
On infrastructure, the national leadership has turned over this responsibility to the private sector. From supply of power, to supply of water, to use of roads, to building of transport, and airports, these are all now being given out to private investors.
Our national leaders call this Public-Private Partnership or PPP. This is one marriage that was intended to legitimize rape.
How else would one describe a situation like what the Filipinos are going through now. Before privatization, cost of electricity was one of the lowest in Asia, roads were free to use, cost of water was affordable and cost of living allowed free money to spend outside of the essentials.
The national economy is now controlled by forty families. Eighty percent of national wealth is owned by 10 percent of the population. Ninety percent share the remaining 20 percent of national wealth. This situation has led to daily “rape” of every poor Filipino’s right to a decent living.
Now we have to pay for use of highways we call toll roads. The national leadership intentionally stopped building big roads to the big city to justify entry of toll roads.
What happened to cost of electricity and cost in use of roads are examples of well planned grand robbery. Government neglected building new power stations while neglecting national roads, stirring consumers to demand for better services. Privatization became the only solution, offering lower cost that never happened and, worse, cost doubled if not tripled.
Government leaders said privatization saves the government of funding services that are obligations of government. These government duties are supposed to be supported by our taxes. This cost transfer led to savings that allowed Malacañang to “steal” Php177 Billion for DAP and tens of billions for PDAF.
Theft came from many points: at the privatization arrangement when investors would show interest and put his money where his mouth is. Second, at the national budget that would have been spent for these basic services given to the private group. This savings turns out be pork barrel of Malacañang, in the case of Aquino is Php177 Billion in two years, misappropriated and misspent.
Even when privatization became a solution to our infrastructure needs, still serious investors are saying the country is short of what are needed to gain their trust.
One leading complaint is our problem in communications. Even when Smart earns billions of pesos for Manny V. Pangilinan and Globe has multiplied several folds the billions of the Ayalas, the foreign groups are not still happy with our communications system.
Truth is not only the foreign investors are complaining but the locales are also complaining of being short changed by these telecom companies.
Privatization not free
Privatization is not free to the taxpayers. In 2012, President Aquino gave the DOTC Php8.6 Billion and the DPWH Php3 Billion for the preparation of business cases, pre-feasibility studies and feasibility studies for various PPP ventures.
In inviting private sector participation, the government waives many requirements that would have earned the national treasury billions of pesos. Of course these exemptions are always suspect to be products of under-the-table negotiations that line up the pockets of government executives and legislators.
The sum total of reasons this country will not move forward and bring economic relief to the poor is we have elected officials who serve the interests of their masters and not the interests of the people. We have national leaders who boldly steal, unmindful of constitution and laws, as if the public does not exist.
The “theft” of Php177 billion by Malacañang is just a symptom of a more serious malady. The effect of this disease is a society that will always be abused and used to enrich further enrich the billionaires and make new millionaires of those we trust to lead our government. This is because we have elected thieves to run our government.
By Ronald Roy
It’s understandable that for high-profile actor-politicians, nothing is more humiliating than being arrested, handcuffed, brought inside a patrol car with head being shoved into it by a strong hand, fingerprinted, made to pose for mugshots, then locked up in a high-security cell like a “common criminal”.
And the ironic humiliation is devastating for senators, particularly Sen. Bong “Pogi” Revilla and Sen. Jinggoy “Sexy” Estrada, top cinema action stars who not only play roles risking life and limb in heroic defense of the oppressed poor, but were also 2016’s top contenders for president and vice president, respectively, until they were implicated in the scandalous pork barrel scam.
It’s pretty certain that it was Revilla’s bruised pride that made him design and fund his voluntary surrender cum theatrics and fanfare, his egotistical tact fixated on redeeming a tarnished image or worse: delusively reliving his glory days with captive voters with an announcement he might seek the presidency in 2016 . Love him or hate him, you just have to admire the guy’s chutzpah — an attribute that shows that his die-hard fans had elected an unfit person into the senate.
But, well, there’s nothing in the law that prevents Pogi from becoming the first prisoner to run the affairs of our country as its president. After all, he’s still presumed innocent until proven guilty, ‘di ba? That way, he gets to be the first president to pardon himself — hahaha — ‘di ba? But wait, this scenario is not as loony and farfetched as it looks! Seriously, with crazy votes snowballing for him and P-Noy’s popularity steadily vanishing, the indictee’s dream may yet come true!
Reform comes best from the worst of misfortunes like Ondoy’s havoc, Yolanda’s wrath, bloody revolutions, and the Lord’s crucifixion. Yes, no less than the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth was imposed by his Father to reform a sinful world; so, if it takes a catastrophic Revilla presidency to wipe out this generation, then by all means let’s welcome the opportunity to warn the next generation that it will not pay to vote clowns and showbiz “celebs” into public office.
But what if, by some celestial miracle, the Revilla presidency turns out to be a smash hit?! Then, jolly by golly wow, we’ll have to respect the so-called vox populi despite its stupidity, and let all the laugh be on me and other Pogi-bashers!! After all, Dimas the thief and Cupertino the dullard were not barred from becoming saints.
Over a month ago, scuttlebutt had it that, by a vote of 8 to 6, the Supreme Court had thumbed down as unconstitutional the Disbursement Acceleration Program, or DAP, for short, also derisively taken to stand for Drilon, Abad and P-Noy. Shortly after that, rumor circulated that alleged pork barrel brains Janet Lim Napoles had advanced the sums needed to be granted to those senator-judges who had voted to convict then impeachment respondent Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, reimbursable from the DAP fund, which incidentally has come to be known as President Noynoy’s discretionary kitty.
It taxes the imagination to contrive a refutation that the president — who incidentally was the knowledgeable Chair of the Budget Committee when he was a solon — had nothing to do with the DAP’s creation, an act in flagrant violation of the constitution’s express and unequivocal mandate that only Congress can appropriate funds for the operations of government. He adamantly remains in denial mode, although his camp once posited that the DAP’s constitutionality issue had become moot and academic since they had already stopped using the fund. What??? “You cannot arrest me now because I already stopped killing people last year”???
In fairness to Drilon, it may be doubted that he is a co-inventor of the DAP. But, holy macaroni, the heinous culpability of P-Noy and Abad here is as manifest as Satan’s horns, tail and hooves!! It’s an open-and-shut case. No ifs or buts about it, they are both answerable to all Filipinos this very instant!! Huh??? The high tribunal has scrapped, back-burnered or revised its 8 – 6 resolution for hundreds of millions of reasons???
Sorry, but I don’t buy that. These robed men and women of the high tribunal are made of honorable stuff. They are learned and incorruptible. Call me naive, but I prefer to laze in a comfort zone seeing them that way. On the other hand, P-Noy will be hard-pressed to deny that he had made an attempt to cross government officials’ palms with silver. And this is explained by two public perceptions: his notorious temerity for bribing officials, like Corona’s impeachment senator-judges, and his visceral disdain for minority leaders.
Hmmm…who can be certain that the president’s downfall isn’t now being foretold by his own unmitigated chutzpah?
By Erick San Juan
President Benigno S. Aquino III went to Japan the other day to re-affirm a collective self-defense agreement between the Philippines and Japan in their territorial disputes with China. China’s leadership has metamorphosed from a sleeping dragon into a fire dragon behaving like a bully to cover its internal problem which many pundits believe will implode soon.
President Aquino’s short trip to Japan was quite fruitful especially when Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vows easier entry to Japan for Filipino tourists. But I felt bad and pity the Japanese victims of the multiple explosions at Fukushima’s nuclear plant when a friend emailed me an article from Counterpunch written by Harvey Wasserman of nukefree.org entitled “Fukushima’s Children are Dying.”
Wasserman said that some months after the explosions at Fukushima, thyroid cancer rates among children in the area and nearby have skyrocketed to more than 40 times normal.
“More than 48% of some 375,000 young people and nearly 200,000 kids tested by the Fukushima Medical University near a smoldering reactors suffer from pre-cancerous thyroid abnormalities, primarily nodules and cysts. And the rate is accelerating.”
“More than 120 childhood cancers have been indicated where just three would be expected.”, according to Joseph Mangano, the executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project.
Wasserman explained that the nuclear industry and its apologists continue to deny this public health tragedy. “Some have actually asserted that not one person has been affected by Fukushima’s massive radiation releases which for some isotopes exceed Hiroshima by a factor of nearly 30. But the deadly epidemic at Fukushima is consistent with impacts suffered among children near the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island and the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, as well as findings at other commercial reactors.”
Wasserman narrated that atomic power could cause such epidemics which has reportedly confirmed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which says that an increase in the risk of childhood thyroid cancer would accompany a reactor disaster.
“Nearby children are not the only casualties at Fukushima. Plant operator Masao Yoshida died at the age 58 due to esophogeal cancer. Yoshida heroically refused to abandon Fukushima at the worst of the crisis, thus saving millions of lives. Public anger is rising over local government plans to force families, many with small children, back into the heavily contaminated region around the power plant.”
At the Three Mile Island’s accident in 1979, owners denied the reactor had melted but a robotic camera confirmed otherwise.
A wide range of independent studies confirm heightened infant death rates and excessive cancers among the populace. Excessive death, mutation and disease rates among animals were confirmed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and by local journalists.
At Chernobyl, Wasserman stated that a compendium of more than 5,000 studies has yielded an estimated death toll of more than one million people. Physicians for Social Responsibility and the German chapter of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War have warned of parallel problems at Fukushima. “The situation can only get worse. Radiation from three lost cores is still being carried into the Pacific. Management of spent fuel rods in pools suspended in the air and scattered around the site remains fraught with danger.”
Wasserman confirmed that Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe regime wants to re-open the remaining 48 reactors. It has pushed hard for families who fled the disaster area to re-occupy irradiated homes and villages.
Scientists believe that the Fukushima cleaning system is unable to conduct a full decontamination of the accumulated volumes of liquid radioactive waste nor reduce the nominal concentration of radiation that Japan intends to dilute with clean water and then pour into the ocean. This process does not reduce the final amount of radioactive substances entering the environment and therefore could harm the region’s ecology.
Pouring of water with high content of radionuclides into the Pacific Ocean for a long time will cause serious harm to the region’s environment. It could create a real threat to the economy and food security of neighboring states including the Philippines. It could also lead to the accumulation of harmful to human health isotopes in seafoods, making them unfit for consumption.
I hope that the Japanese government can still do something about it and give the world the true state of the plague and it’s environmental threat.
PNoy Has Learned How to Fool Us!
By next week, June 30, 2014, PNoy will be a four year old President. He will be two thirds through his six year Presidency. Instead of a Bumbling Fool that he was when he entered Malacanang on June 30, 2010, he will be an accomplished and experienced “Manloloko”. By then, he would have made fools of us several times over. How many more times will he be able to do that to us before he steps down?
Four years ago, PNoy was standing tall on top of PCOS. PCOS had proclaimed him as the winner of the May 2010 Presidential Elections. According to PCOS, he had thirty per cent of the votes of the registered voters. According to PCOS, he was short of a majority, but had won with a respectable plurality. Still according to PCOS, he had beaten Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada 3 to 2 and Manny “Villarroyo” Villar 3 to 1. These were leads of five and ten million votes.
As a matter of comparison, GMA officially beat FPJ by a mere million “Hello Garci” votes in 2004. Fidel Valdez Ramos officially beat Miriam Defensor Santiago by less than a million votes in 1992 in a seven (FVR, MDS, Cojuangco, Mitra, Salonga, Marcos and Laurel) cornered fight. Again, Carlos P. Garcia beat Jose Yulo by less than a million – 800,000 votes – in 1957 in a four (CPG, JY, Manuel Manahan and Claro Mayo Recto) cornered fight.
As far as I can remember, in 1998, 1953, 1939 and 1935, Erap, Ramon Magsaysay and Manuel L. Quezon won by big landslides, while in 1986, 1969, 1965, 1961, 1949 and 1946, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Diosdado Macapagal, Elpidio Quirino and Manuel Roxas beat their opponents and won in close and tightly contested electoral fights. If Marcos had not declared and implemented Martial Law in September 21 – 23, 1972, the November 1973 Elections would have been a bloody and close fight.
Coming back to more recent history, a year ago, from March to June of 2013, the most exotic if not the biggest scandal under the Aquino Administration, the so called Ten Billion Peso Janet Lim Napoles PDAF/Pork Barrel Scam had not yet been exposed. The “Daang Matuwid/Walang Mahirap Pag Walang Kurakot” Aquino Administration was playing blind to it but had at least two fingers – both Balay and Samar – in it.
No one in the Aquino Administration was properly carrying out intelligence gathering, investigation, prosecution or even media preliminary bombardment (leaks and trial balloons), regarding the biggest and widest burglary and plunder of the people’s money. This included Aquino appointed heads and members of Constitutional Bodies like the Commission on Audit and the Ombudsman.
However, many Aquino officials were involved in perpetuating traditional Pork Schemes – PDAF and Congressional Insertions. Some were even inventing new ones like Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The latter was extensively used in the bribery of Congressmen in the Impeachment and Senators in the Conviction of Chief Justice Renato Coronado Corona.
The future Imbroglio was still at the level of a Serious Illegal Detention (of Benhur Lim Luy) case filed by the NBI on March 23 against JLN and her brother, Reynald “Jojo” Lim. At least two Extortion attempts on the part of Atty. Levito Baligod on the accused JLN and RJL had failed in meetings on March 25 and 27 with Atty. Villamor and JLN. JLN wrote President Aquino on April 17 for assistance against the extortion attempts. JLN’s lawyer in the preliminary investigation of the case was Atty. Jean Paul Acut of the MOST (the O representing Ochoa as in Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa) Law Firm.
On May 28, Atty. Alfredo L. Villamor accompanied by Atty. Plaridel Bohol met with NBI Director Nonnatus Roxas. On June 10, 2013, the DOJ came out with a Resolution dismissing the Serious Illegal Detention case for lack of Probable Cause. On July 2 and 5, the private complainants and the NBI filed Motions for Reconsideration. On Aug 6 without additional arguments, basis and/or evidence, the MR’s were granted and the finding of Lack of Probable Cause was reversed in a DOJ Review Resolution. On Sept 2, NBI Director Nonnatus Roxas resigned irrevocably.
What had caused the “Daang Di Na Matuwid” to enjoy a little straightening was the July 12-15, 2013 Philippine daily inquirer four part series on the P 10 Billion Janet Lim Napoles PDAF/Pork Scam. On April 28, 2013 Benhur’s parents Gertrudis Lim and Arturo Luy, accompanied by their children and his siblings, Arthur and Annabel, went to the PDI office. They sought the PDI’s assistance for Benhur’s expose of JLN’s scam. They brought Benhur’s computer hard drive with JLN financial records (20,103 files in 2,156 folders.) from 2002 to 2012. The PDI made a copy of all of these. These was the basis not only for the July 12-15, 2013 series but also for the more recent and more numerous front page articles on the JLN Scam.
Had the Luys not gone to the Inquirer, the past year would have been quite different. The March 25 and 27 Negotiations cum Extortion between Baligod and Villamor and JLN probably failed because the amount demanded grew from 38 million pesos in the first meeting to 250 to 300 million pesos plus one and a half million dollars plus 30 million pesos plus Canadian visas for the Luy family. Most probably, JLN would have agreed to the 38 million pesos.
However, when the amount grew to about 400 million pesos, she may have considered cheaper options. She may have thought that the better alternative was to fix the case with the investigators and prosecutors. Thus, Sandra Cam claims that 150 million was given to the DOJ and NBI for the June Resolution including the suppression of media leaks. Sandra also claims that 30 of the 150 million went to NBI Director Roxas and that that is the reason why he resigned irrevocably without a public explanation.
To be continued …