pork barrel

The Independence Day Protests: An Eyewitness Account

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By Jose Paulo Gaborni

June 12, 2014 was a day of angst by people yearning for freedom against corrupt bureaucrats and against a system that protects them.

Most of these protesters marched from the US Embassy up to Liwasang Bonifacio, and eventually to Mendiola, and some raised posters featuring pictures of senators Enrile, Revilla, Estrada, as well as secretaries Abad and Alcala.

With their latest chants like “Noynoy Aquino, Pork Barrel King!” and “Pork Barrel tanggalin, Noynoy patalsikin!”, protesters from different organizations also called for Aquino’s ouster, citing his negligence in running state affairs, coddling corrupt bureaucrats with the latest Pork Barrel scam, and in failing to implement agrarian reform in Hacienda Luisita and other estates owned by the ruling classes.

The protest march includes an effigy of a pig reminiscent of the golden calf, paraded to the amusement of onlookers. It was first shown in last year’s anti-pork demonstration in Makati’s Ayala triangle.

Other than BAYAN, groups like Victims Against Crime and Corruption, as well as individuals like Bishop Oscar Cruz, NBN-ZTE Whistleblower Jun Lozada, Mae “Juana Change” Paner, and Blogger Tonyo Cruz expressed disgust against the present administration and the slow handling of justice against Napoles and corrupt bureaucrats.

Scarborough Shoal, EDCA, and costumed protest at US Embassy

Other than Pork Barrel, issues like the Scarborough Shoal and West Philippine sea were being discussed, stressing Philippine sovereignty over the contested rocks, shoals, and isles west of Palawan, as former Congressman Teddy Casiño said that BAYAN rejects “incursions of China in our Exclusive Economic Zone,” but also opposes a new agreement that will allow US troops to establish facilities inside Philippine military bases.

“All these are threats to our independence and sovereignty and we are here to defend them,” he said.

And prior to the march towards Liwasan, a group of protesters, dressed as Katipuneros, led the way in marching with the rest after a near-scuffle with the cops at the US Embassy, with the latter confiscating some of the props like wooden guns and bolos.

The protest near the US Embassy was about the agreements that protesters described as unequal and one sided, such as the Visiting Forces Agreement, Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, and the latest Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

People may misunderstand, if not altogether disregard the protests regardless of the topics discussed. Oftentimes, there are those trying to describe those protesters subjectively as ‘pro-Chinese’.

After the country celebrated its day of freedom against colonizers, the following questions are begging to be asked: What is independence if it means relying on a bigger country, rather than standing up on your own?

What is freedom if it means acting like a mendicant, aside from having a system that is indeed corrupt, with officials siphoning off money from the people?

Save for those who actually care about national concerns, do the people really care about national consciousness save for Pacquiao’s boxing rematches and the occasional beauty contests? Vietnam had similar problems with China but it resisted its northern neighbor on its own.

The struggle continues, as age-old problems continue to persist. Protests will still continue, as peasants still have no land, workers keep asking for their bread, and as people wish an end to all corruption, and for as long as this nation is still yearning for a just and lasting peace.

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.

A Weakened Presidency

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By Elcid Benedicto

WHILE many perceive the ruling of the Supreme Court, declaring the lawmakers’ pork barrel funds as unconstitutional as a setback for senators and congressmen, what others fail to recognize is the more serious consequence of the decision: a weakened presidency.

The pork barrel scam which unraveled before the eyes of the public the ills behind the manner in which some lawmakers make use of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), it also paved for the disclosure of the fact that the pork barrel is often used as a tool by the President to wield influence among Congress members in deciding on certain crucial issues.

A case in point, was the Corona impeachment trial where allegedly, President Aquino, through his minions, swayed some senators to vote for the conviction of ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona in the 2012 proceedings and on the issues as well on the enactment of the reproductive health (RH) law and sin tax, supposedly.


What will become now of the senators sans the PDAF? Senate insiders said it has now rendered an impossible task for some “enterprising” senators and some of their well-trusted staff the matter of yielding “commissions” from their “soft” and “hard” projects.

“There’s no more scholarship programs for them or projects that they can identify themselves. That’s the practical and immediate impact. In theory though, if there are some congressional districts or congressmen or local government officials that they would want to lend assistance, the (Senate) finance committee chair could opt to tell them to identify the projects early on and have it included in the budget. But there’s no more lump sum appropriations,” Senate sources said.

The possibility of availing of government funds is still there, by having to specify in the proposed national budget, during deliberations period, but it will no longer require the senator’s signature for certification or endorsement.

“Mas malinis na although technically can be viewed as another form of congressional insertions,” was how sources described it.
The scenario being given is that, in the entire budget process, lawmakers can still make some “congressional insertions” while the proposed national expenditure program for the following fiscal year is still in the stage of “budget call.”

New Scheme?

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issues the national budget call at the start of the budget preparation year to all agencies and contains the parameters set by the Development Budget Coordination Committee as well as policy guidelines and procedures in the preparation and submission of agency budget proposals.

“What will happen now? It will be a weakened presidency. If before, the Executive can dangle before the senators the release of their PDAF, what other option is available? A threat?” a Senate insider pointed out.

“The major effect (of the SC ruling) is on him and not on the senators, unless absolutely PNoy (President Aquino) will no longer consult them on what projects to pursue which they (Executive) can if they would opt to have it included in the budget call.

“It’s a weakened presidency because tinanggalan sya ng pambili (he cannot wield influence on senators and congressmen),” Senate insiders explained.
The power of the President allows him to make use of the issue of the release of the PDAF in the middle of the year which will be a different case in the year ahead.

“Ano na ang pambili nya ng boto on important issues, issues crucial to him ngayon na wala ng PDAF? Hindi na magagamit ang PDAF,” they said.

It’s possible that the Executive would create a new scheme, give PDAF a new name in the succeeding general appropriations bill (GAB) considering the fact that “what has been declared as illegal PDAF is those allocated for this year,” sources said.

Although technically, lawmakers are rendered to with only recommendatory powers which was “mandatory” under the pork barrel fund system, senators and congressmen could still pursue projects by requesting the availability of funds or appropriation before the proposed President’s budget is submitted before Congress, they explained.

Long-time and high-rank cited the possibility of such scenario, the matter of PDAF taking a different label, in the future by having items being requested by lawmakers in the national expenditure program (NEP).

Patronage System

The Executive could propose lump sum appropriations which members of the House of Representatives and the Senate can tap in identifying their programs.

“Unless doon pa lang sa budget call kasama na yung mga senador, pwede rin yun. But there’s no more discretionary powers for them because they can only recommend in the sense as to where some of these funds should be allocated. And when they do so, they can no longer change that, which means that those LGUs and other sectors seeking assistance or intervention from them on funding requirements after the budget bill is passed is no longer possible,” they explained.

Can the President resort to so-called party system? Will it strengthen the party system?

“Let’s see. Sometimes they dangle dangle the party chairmanship or other positions for prestige or honor. But one thing is for sure, they will have to be more creative now as to how to enrich themselves. In that sense, this one stops commission-basis. It lessened the patronage system,” they said.

The Unconstitutional PDAF

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by Ramon Orosa

THE recent decision of the Supreme Court finding the PDAF unconstitutional is a source of relief to the nation. Sorry that PNoy cannot claim any credit when he had the opportunity to do away with that particular monstrosity. In fact, one might conclude that he resisted every effort to abolish PDAF, which only betrayed his less than sincere commitment to the “matuwid na Daan” and that slogan figures way down in his scale of priorities. Some say he is just so hardheaded, refusing to listen to anybody. Probably true considering that he is surrounded by persons whose values are deeply troubled to begin with and so give advise that they think PNoy wants to hear, playing up to his ego considering his well known obstinacy.

Of course, part of the reason for his obstinacy is likely rooted in his own discretionary use of public funds from different sources, like the Maalampaya funds, the road users tax, dividends from government owned and controlled corporations, etc., etc. Not that he steals from them, but these discretionary funds enable him to buy political loyalty and cooperation for what he perceives to be his agenda, which, of course, nobody knows about, except from rather motherhood like statements.

Some critics suggest that the king has been shown naked, bereft of respect, honor and shorn of a sense of dignity except of the wrong kind, being born to a privileged family. I wonder why the story keeps going about that his mother Cory, was rather firm that she didn’t want PNoy to stand for the presidential office. But she passed away and all the other opportunists sensing they could ride the popularity of Cory, bamboozled PNoy into running for office, probably including most of the relatives. I guess they did not know PNoy as well as Cory or saw for themselves exalted “roles” as puppet masters should he win.

Stories abound that when Mar was still the leading presidential candidate, PNoy’s name was proposed as a vice presidential candidate and this was laughed off the table. Okay let us be more polite by saying the idea was given short shrift! Then Cory dies, and all of a sudden from being a rejected vice-presidential candidate, Mar is pushed down so they could ride the sympathy vote for Cory by making PNoy the presidential candidate.

I suppose the “experienced” politicians around PNoy felt they could gather the perception managers well and maneuver PNoy into whatever posture they felt was appropriate and that they could manage the rest of the bureaucracy (and, of course, gain all the unbidden advantages and fruits there from) . Unfortunately, failing to listen to the views of the mother, and substituting their own secret ambitions, they felt they had it in the bag.

The last three years are certainly proof that this rather brief narration is not without merit except that rather than a smooth flow they have found PNoy to be a rather difficult person to deal with but to whom they must pay obeisance or lose their favored positions. So the nation moves in a zigzag pattern, and the lack of capacity and experience of the king have been unmasked. In a continuing series of mishandled events, the evidence is rather telling that while perhaps personally honest, PNoy’s values are rather pedestrian and do not depart from the values of all the other politicians who believe that politics is king and winning the only consideration. Politics is a position of power to be sought and held on to by any means fair or foul and passed on as a family inheritance to succeeding generations regardless of their qualifications. Well, in some respects one could say that since sense of self is the only real enduring value, one does not need to be competent, moral or competent in the position. After all, those positions had already been retooled to become a lucrative sinecure by legal means or otherwise.

These politicians do not have any sense of love of country, a rather esoteric or abstract notion to begin with. Obviously our best schools have not been able to implant these values into them! Probably because the example of their parents were rather dysfunctional to begin with. Our culture is so conducive to contradictions and dysfunctions resulting in a great divide between reality or what is truly going on and the “public” image that is so carefully cultivated at great cost. I really don’t think the hypocrisy is lost on their children but the pressures to conform to such a lifestyle can be great and the conveniences of an abundant way of living hard to resist.

So, no matter how gained, money and power have become the gods. In truth, they suffer from an incredible love deficiency, not the pretended hypocritical kind. Internal images are distorted because if one were to truly analyze what is going on and we are willing to face truth, 80% of our national and local problems may be traced to poor parenting, especially of the “father” kind. So the self identity suffers from loss of worth and dignity, filled with insecurity and founded on fear which they try to overcome with money, guns, and goons. They seek honor and respect not because they deserve it but because of things outside of themselves. Things that never last and in the end don’t really matter.

They can’t add value to anyone and only seek to use everyone otherwise the others are no one! It is a sad realization of what truly ails our country and why there is no real change that takes place. It is only when we see our realities that we can begin the change process. PNoy was seen as the “savior” and most now see that he is not. Let us stop pointing fingers and getting angry. Let us begin with our own selves and realize that darkness is not fought with anger or bitterness. We each have to become a light in our nation to dispel the darkness that is getting darker each day. Our hope lies within us as we set our faces like flint to do good whenever we are given an opportunity to do so, no matter how modest it might be. Then life can begin to change and so will our nation. This revolution of goodness must start now.

Connectivity Factor

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by Francis De Guzman

DID you know that seven out of ten Filipinos did not benefit from the ranging controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)?

This congressional pork barrel, per the most recent survey released by the Social Weather Station (SWS) and published by the newspaper Business World (BW), used what is called the ‘face-to-face’ interview and got the views straight from a total of 1,200 Filipino adults nationwide.


This was taken following the heat wave from the fall out of the pork barrel, a direct consequence from the series of exposures made by whistle blowers who later on, became direct witnesses on the biggest scam of the year, perpetuated by Janette Lim-Napoles, et al.

A large number of Filipinos (67%) believe their respective communities never benefited from said PDAF-funded projects, while only 32% thought the opposite. The SWS survey, conducted between the periods 20-23 September, further revealed that Congressional representatives did not gain financially from said pork barrel fund. Here, you see that only 32 percent said funds, could have possibly been pocketed.

Likewise, respondents who thought that “a lot” of funds had been put to waste because of corruption, recorded the highest percentage in Metro Manila alone (where a strong middle class and civil society groups, led recent protest actions via people’s marches against the pork barrel scam) registering at 72 percent. This was closely followed by Luzon, which registered 61 percent, Mindanao at 57 percent and the Visayas, 54 percent.

Lately though, no less than President Aquino himself led the call on media ( at the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines), to be “more discerning” as he was quoted by a major daily, that the issues (pork barrel scam, etc.) specifically those “involving the public interest, may become more complicated in the days ahead.” This folks, is for all of us to be ever watchful, since the issue of corruption in our beloved country has indeed reached the very summit of destruction. We can only hope that the Chief Executive of the land would be enlightened to the realities of the times, and thus act with wisdom and truth.

The nation is also closely watching the events of the barangay elections, which has not been spared of political corruption in the grassroots level, where violence, plus the sin of covetousness and an envious spirit, has been prevailing for quite a number of years now. This is but the tip of the iceberg. Today, a growing number barangays, particularly in Metro Manila, have been corrupted and contaminated –from the top –the barangay chairmen down to the barangay councilors (one can count with his fingers the small number of the few upright ones).

It has become the “training ground” for future corrupt politicians, who would later on aspire for bigger government positions and the larger portion of the slice of the pie of corruption, and whereby “little political dynasties” become the name of the game. Indeed, when will the seemingly endless cycle of evil ever come to an end? God’s Judgment Call is nearer than you think. Take note of this folks, the most recent survey per media reportage, this time conducted by Pulse Asia (PA), revealed that a majority of Filipinos (77 percent) “believed that at least half of the budget of lawmakers for projects went to corruption.” What else is new?

GOOD news for all healthcare student, graduates as well as young healthcare professionals!
Kauri Academy, the first Filipino-owned education center in Auckland, New Zealand (NZ) opens its New Healthcare Program via courses intended for gaining qualifications to join the healthcare sector as Diversional Therapist, or in managerial position in healthcare setting.

Said healthcare course involve a two-step process, namely: first year is Diversional Therapy Course, and second-year is Healthcare Team Management Course. “Following compilation of the first program, the student gains the National Certificate in Health Disability and Aged Support (Level 3) and the National Certificate in Diversional Therapy (Level 4).  This will qualify said graduate to enter as a Diversional Therapist in NZ healthcare institutions. Said course is included in the list of skilled occupations and would qualify for points under the “Skilled Migrant Residence Visa Category of Immigration New Zealand.”

And since the student acquires a qualification after the first year, he/she has the option of not continuing to the second year course if one is able to be a Diversional Therapist. If students are not able to function as a healthcare worker, or as a Diversional Therapist, the student can be proceed by completing the second-year course in order to gain the National Certificate in Health, Disability and Aged Support (Team Management) (Level 5) which qualifies graduates to supervise or manage support workers in a health, disability, or home and community setting.

While studying, students are also eligible for securing part-time earning since classes are only for 2 1/2 days per week, giving them a more flexibility time-frame. After completing second-year program, students are then eligible for a one-year “open-work permit” under the Graduate Job Search Visa scheme.  Overall, students can stay in NZ for three-years, the first two-years as a student with part-time earning permit, and the additional one-year, under an “open-work permit.”

Kauri Academy owned by PNTC Colleges in the Philippines, has designed a comprehensive program for Filipinos who seek career path as Diversional Therapists, whether they are in a community, residential-home or aged care facility atmosphere. It is a profession that involves the organization, design, coordination and implementation of people-centered leisure-based activity program.  Free info/data is available at Kauri Academy, PNTC College, 5/F, Intramuros Corporate Plaza, Recoletos St, Intramuros, Manila, contact Marie at (632) 536-4916 / 0922-826-8441, Email: mvasquez@kauriacademy.ac.nz

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “Amid the disharmony of voices, journalists must be able to separate the important from the frivolous, the spin from the facts the malicious lies from the simple truth.” – (President Benigno ‘Nonoy’ Aquino -Speech at the Annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP)

WORD OF TRUTH: “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord, He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.” – (Psalm 37:39-40 KJV)
(For comments and suggestions, kindly e-mail: francisdeguzman55@yahoo.com) 

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.

This Week on OpinYon : SNAKE PIT

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“As expected, powerful forces are now on each other’s throat in what could easily be a warm-up fight for the presidential contest two and a half years from now. But if you think the war is between Malacañang and the opposition, you fail to see deeper into what is happening behind doors in the current pork barrel scandal. The war is now between forces inside Malacañang.” – Miguel Raymundo

Coming out this week! Available in National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and Fully Booked.

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.


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


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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.

(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