M. RONQUILLO: 'SIPAG AT TIYAGA' IS CRAP. SUCCESS IS ABOUT SURNAMES

Across societies that are free, there is this belief that one’s station in life is not shaped by genetic determinism. Plus the belief that opportunities are limitless for those with drive and talent—with some lucky breaks. After all, free societies with universal education and the safety nets are supposed to thrive with “up-from-the-bootstrap” narratives. In these societies, the mantra is that for those determined to scale the ladder of upward mobility, for those who aim to rise in the world, it is not the surname, the one passed on to you by your forefathers, that counts. Rather, it is the talent, the drive and the determination to succeed. Very much like the “Sipag at Tiyaga” spiel of former presidential candidate Manny Villar. Gregory Clark, an economic historian at UC Davis, has written a book, “The Son also Rises—Surnames and the History of Social Mobility” that dispels upward mobility as either junk or is very slow across generations. The issue of slow mobility resonates in the Philippine context and it is the driving force behind the efforts to rein in political dynasties. Some political families have been in control over specific political territories for over a century. Which means a political control that even preceded the proclamation of the republic in 1946 The critics of the Ortegas of La Union say that the family has been in control of La Union politics for over a century. The critics of the Fuentebella family in the tough-luck part of Camarines Sur also claim that the family has been in power of the Partido section of CamSur since time immemorial. Of the 10 Filipino dollar billionaires recently listed by Forbes magazine as among the wealthiest in the world, just one or two would be classified as “self-made” but this would mean stretching the meaning of “self-made” very far. Mr. Villar, who would be in a list of top 100 wealthiest Filipinos indeed expended a lot of “Sipag at Tiyaga” to get to where he is now, but his life story can’t be told without stating two things: he married into a wealthy and politically-connected family and he was trained in money matters at the best university in the country. READ IN FULL BELOW...

E. TULFO:
De Quiros, the righteous one?

I almost fell off my seat laughing when someone informed me that Conrad de Quiros, a columnist of another major daily, wrote that it was improper for me as a radio commentator to sell my profession or engage in business using my work as a broadcast journalist. De Quiros was referring to the check that was paid to me by the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) for a legitimate advertisement but was misconstrued, or shall I say made up, by his newspaper as a payoff.
Somebody should tell the man that the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) allows its broadcasters to look for commercials or ad placements for their programs in the form of “premiums” as a supplement to their salaries. However, big networks such as TV5 do not allow their regular broadcasters to have “premiums” as they get paid very well.
A news organization or company survives through advertisements especially in print since newspaper sales alone will not be enough to pay for its daily operations and wages. De Quiros reportedly wrote that we, as journalists, should not engage in advertisements since we are in the news profession. So, does this mean that his newspaper, which is very much into news business, should be exempted from this practice? But what really made me burst into laughter upon hearing about his article against me is the fact that this man still has the guts to write against officials or personalities who are wrongfully accused of something improper but closes his eyes on the irregularities allegedly committed by one of his two brothers holding key positions in the Aquino government. Social Security System (SSS) President Emilio de Quiros, the said columnist’s brother, was the subject of complaints by the SSS workers union late last year for giving hefty bonuses to himself and his board of directors amounting to millions of pesos even as the said pension agency was hard on cash since it asked for an increase in the monthly contributions from its members. Emilio’s frequent trips abroad was another issue raised by the union claiming waste of SSS members’ money or funds. Lo and behold . . . Conrad de Quiros was silent regarding the charges leveled against his brother last year even as the SSS union have documents to prove that their boss, Emilio de Quiros, abused his position.

C. de Quiros: Physician heal thyself

This time around, it’s the journalists. Two broadcast journalists in particular have been named by Nabcor (National Agribusiness Corp.) whistle-blowers, Rhodora Mendoza and Vicente Cacal, as having gotten payoffs from the pork funds a tribe of lawmakers poured into Janet Napoles’ nongovernment organizations (NGOs). They are Erwin Tulfo, a TV5 host, and Carmelo del Prado Magdurulang, a GMA7 radio commentator. Tulfo, according to the whistle-blowers, got a check for P245,535 on March 10, 2009, while Magdurulang got three checks totaling the same amount in 2009. All the checks were cashed in the Ortigas branch of UCPB. Mendoza and Cacal actually named a third journalist as a beneficiary of the Nabcor scam, and a much bigger one—he got P2 million from it. But they did not have the documents to prove it, they knew it only from talk at the office about who was supposed to get it. This payoff took the form of cash, which they themselves did not deliver, and indeed which was delivered only to a bagman. Which is the only reason this journalist has remained unnamed in reports. Tulfo and Magdurulang have denied it, and their defenders have directed their ire at the Inquirer, not least for equating “advertising expenses,” which was how Nabcor justified the expenditure, with “payoff.” But at the very least, how else call “advertising” money given to a journalist by a company, public or private? You’re a journalist, you’re not supposed to advertise anything. You’re only supposed to tell the truth as best you can. At the very most, a check is not easy to get away from. Tulfo says, “Somebody could be using my name, I want to investigate who cashed the check.” He’s perfectly free to do so, but that need not preclude the authorities from investigating it themselves. Surely it can’t be too hard to ascertain the truth of it with banking laws having been liberalized to prevent laundering.

J. Robles:  Mar’s latest snafu

They say that those who live in glass houses, especially in the Cubao area, shouldn’t throw stones. This is particularly true if they intend to run for President and pick socialites with controversial parents for bridesmaids at their wedding. The name of Divine Lee, socialite daughter of very controversial—and very much arrested—real estate developer Delfin Lee, has been trending on social networks since last weekend. The younger Lee, you see, was one of the bridesmaids of broadcaster Korina Sanchez when she wed candidate Mar Roxas in 2009. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Divine Lee being a bridesmaid of Korina and Mar, except that Roxas —in his current incarnation as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government— has made a very public dare to his supposed main rival in the 2016 presidential elections, Vice President Jejomar Binay. Roxas demanded that Binay substantiate his claims that some people in government were protecting Delfin Lee, who has been the subject of a long manhunt for allegedly pulling off a scam involving the funds of the Pag-IBIG fund, which Binay now heads as government housing czar. Meanwhile, Roxas’ other involvement in the Delfin Lee case has been just as suspicious: As the Executive official in charge of the national police, Roxas approved the “promotion” of the head of PNP Task Force Tugis, Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa, to the position of deputy chief of the regional police office in Cebu. While Roxas’ fingerprints are supposedly all over the case of Delfin Lee, he is also being linked to another brewing controversy by those who subscribe to the theory that Mar is also running another department concurrently with DILG. I’m talking about the scandalous attempt by the Department of Transportation and Communications of the P17.5-billion contract to repair, rehabilitate and expand the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

‘Sipag at Tiyaga’ is crap. Success is about surnames



By Marlen V. Ronquillo

MANILA, MARCH 31, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) by Marlen V. Ronquillo - Across societies that are free, there is this belief that one’s station in life is not shaped by genetic determinism. Plus the belief that opportunities are limitless for those with drive and talent—with some lucky breaks. After all, free societies with universal education and the safety nets are supposed to thrive with “up-from-the-bootstrap” narratives.

In these societies, the mantra is that for those determined to scale the ladder of upward mobility, for those who aim to rise in the world, it is not the surname, the one passed on to you by your forefathers, that counts. Rather, it is the talent, the drive and the determination to succeed. Very much like the “Sipag at Tiyaga” spiel of former presidential candidate Manny Villar.

Gregory Clark, an economic historian at UC Davis, has written a book, “The Son also Rises—Surnames and the History of Social Mobility” that dispels upward mobility as either junk or is very slow across generations. Clark’s book says that it takes ten to 15 generations for wealth to dissipate, or some 300 to 450 years, and not much can be done to break that chain. The accepted longevity by most social scientists is three generations.

The poor? Well, they stay poor because of that condition of slow mobility. It takes that long period, 300 to 450 years, to get out of poverty. The books just falls short of admitting that, well, if you have lost in the lottery of inherited status and wealth, you will be condemned to that status forever.

Clark did not just base his book on mobility in America. He studied mobility in modern Sweden and feudal England and the Qing Dynasty. Using surnames of people, he made some interesting conclusions such as:

Despite Mao’s purge of the elite during the Cultural Revolution, the surnames with relatively high social status before the purge are the same families with relatively high social status today. Even one of the bloodiest and the cruelest cleansing of the elite in recent history did nothing to change the status of families in China.

English surnames listed in the Domesday book of 1016 (Sinclair, Percy and Beauchamp), names associated with the Norman conqueror, are blessed with a present generation that has a 25 percent higher chance of matriculating at Cambridge or Oxford.

If you are a present-day adult American that descended from an Ivy league graduate between 1650 to 1850, it is twice likely that you are included in the Directory of Physicians that is compiled by the American Medical Association.

Even Sweden ‘s original aristocrats, the original members of its “House of Nobility” are still the same families with high social and economic status in Sweden. Sweden, take note, has a reputation of a country with inspired and sustained social mobility.

Birth predicts the income and status of individuals by more than 50 percent

The issue of slow mobility resonates in the Philippine context and it is the driving force behind the efforts to rein in political dynasties. Some political families have been in control over specific political territories for over a century. Which means a political control that even preceded the proclamation of the republic in 1946.

The critics of the Ortegas of La Union say that the family has been in control of La Union politics for over a century. The critics of the Fuentebella family in the tough-luck part of Camarines Sur also claim that the family has been in power of the Partido section of CamSur since time immemorial.

At the Senate, at least from Clark’s reckoning of longevity, there is one surnamed Recto and another surnamed Osmeña.
President Aquino’s great grandfather was a revolutionary general. His grandfather was a senator and cabinet member.

His father was a senator and would-be-president. In the next 300 to 450 years, we will have a leader surnamed Aquino. In fact, right now one is a senator who might one day run for president.

At the other end, which means below, here is a three generation narrative of my family: Grandfather was a herdsman and occasional sharecropper, Father was a sharecropper, the present generation (myself) remains a farmer. This is a typical story of a peasant family. Will the peasant Ronquillos rise up in this world and break away from the peasant/OFW bondage? Maybe in 300 years.

Of the 10 Filipino dollar billionaires recently listed by Forbes magazine as among the wealthiest in the world, just one or two would be classified as “self-made” but this would mean stretching the meaning of “self-made” very far.

Mr. Villar, who would be in a list of top 100 wealthiest Filipinos indeed expended a lot of “Sipag at Tiyaga” to get to where he is now, but his life story can’t be told without stating two things: he married into a wealthy and politically-connected family and he was trained in money matters at the best university in the country.

You can’t take away the attributes of “smart and driven” from the Filipino wealthiest. But it would be a stretch to say that they truly represent true and genuine narratives of amazing and spectacular upward rise in life.

Better, in a society that swoons at the lives of the rich, at what Pope Francis calls “the deification of money,” there is neither anger nor envy from the general public on their great wealth. Ours is one of the few countries in the world that are blissfully oblivious to the great chasm that divides the wealthy and the poor.

The public would rather punch at the excesses of their preferred villains—politicians and corrupt public officials—leaving the “ malefactors of great wealth” free from public wrath and criticisms.

De Quiros . . . The righteous one? March 25, 2014 11:12 pm by Erwin Tulfo


Erwin Tulfo

I almost fell off my seat laughing when someone informed me that Conrad de Quiros, a columnist of another major daily, wrote that it was improper for me as a radio commentator to sell my profession or engage in business using my work as a broadcast journalist.

De Quiros was referring to the check that was paid to me by the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) for a legitimate advertisement but was misconstrued, or shall I say made up, by his newspaper as a payoff.

Somebody should tell the man that the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) allows its broadcasters to look for commercials or ad placements for their programs in the form of “premiums” as a supplement to their salaries.

However, big networks such as TV5 do not allow their regular broadcasters to have “premiums” as they get paid very well.

I am sure everyone in the media trade, whether in print or broadcast, knows that a commercial or advertisement is needed to pay for its operations particularly the salaries of its editors and reporters, including its columnists like de Quiros.

A news organization or company survives through advertisements especially in print since newspaper sales alone will not be enough to pay for its daily operations and wages.

De Quiros reportedly wrote that we, as journalists, should not engage in advertisements since we are in the news profession.

So, does this mean that his newspaper, which is very much into news business, should be exempted from this practice?

De Quiros believes that all news and public affairs programs on TV and on radio with government ads are not clean or straight because they accept payments from government entities for its advertisements or commercials.

Does this also mean that all media outfits now, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer, are receiving “payoffs” from various government agencies because they have government advertisements from PCSO, Pag-IBIG, Pagcor and Department of Health, Mr. Dequiros, sir?

But what really made me burst into laughter upon hearing about his article against me is the fact that this man still has the guts to write against officials or personalities who are wrongfully accused of something improper but closes his eyes on the irregularities allegedly committed by one of his two brothers holding key positions in the Aquino government.

Social Security System (SSS) President Emilio de Quiros, the said columnist’s brother, was the subject of complaints by the SSS workers union late last year for giving hefty bonuses to himself and his board of directors amounting to millions of pesos even as the said pension agency was hard on cash since it asked for an increase in the monthly contributions from its members.

Emilio’s frequent trips abroad was another issue raised by the union claiming waste of SSS members’ money or funds.
Lo and behold . . . Conrad de Quiros was silent regarding the charges leveled against his brother last year even as the SSS union have documents to prove that their boss, Emilio de Quiros, abused his position.

By the way, a friend who works at a TV station as an executive told me that the columnist de Quiros, allegedly moonlighted before as a consultant to a wealthy businessman, who used to own a TV network.

Finally, are the appointments of your two siblings to juicy government positions, a returned favor from PNoy for reportedly acting as his PR man before and after the Presidential election of 2010?

Is this the reason Mr. de Quiros that prevents you from writing against this administration? Just asking.

It’s amusing to read de Quiros’ articles these days but hard to believe if it is still factual or a mere figment of his imagination brought about by old age.

It behoves Tatang Conrad, as he is fondly called by some journalists, to just write his memoires instead, as time may run out on him when the Good Lord finally waves him in to His side. :)

FROM THE INQUIRER

There’s the Rub
Physician, heal thyself By Conrado de Quiros Philippine Daily Inquirer


By Conrado de Quiros

This time around, it’s the journalists.

Two broadcast journalists in particular have been named by Nabcor (National Agribusiness Corp.) whistle-blowers, Rhodora Mendoza and Vicente Cacal, as having gotten payoffs from the pork funds a tribe of lawmakers poured into Janet Napoles’ nongovernment organizations (NGOs).

They are Erwin Tulfo, a TV5 host, and Carmelo del Prado Magdurulang, a GMA7 radio commentator. Tulfo, according to the whistle-blowers, got a check for P245,535 on March 10, 2009, while Magdurulang got three checks totaling the same amount in 2009. All the checks were cashed in the Ortigas branch of UCPB.

Mendoza and Cacal actually named a third journalist as a beneficiary of the Nabcor scam, and a much bigger one—he got P2 million from it. But they did not have the documents to prove it, they knew it only from talk at the office about who was supposed to get it. This payoff took the form of cash, which they themselves did not deliver, and indeed which was delivered only to a bagman. Which is the only reason this journalist has remained unnamed in reports.

Tulfo and Magdurulang have denied it, and their defenders have directed their ire at the Inquirer, not least for equating “advertising expenses,” which was how Nabcor justified the expenditure, with “payoff.” But at the very least, how else call “advertising” money given to a journalist by a company, public or private? You’re a journalist, you’re not supposed to advertise anything. You’re only supposed to tell the truth as best you can.

At the very most, a check is not easy to get away from. Tulfo says, “Somebody could be using my name, I want to investigate who cashed the check.” He’s perfectly free to do so, but that need not preclude the authorities from investigating it themselves. Surely it can’t be too hard to ascertain the truth of it with banking laws having been liberalized to prevent laundering.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima specifically proposes to do it. Where the justice department finds cause, she says, it will charge the journalists who profited from the pork scams along with the public officials. “If you’re a member of the media, you’re a private individual, you’re not a public official. But if it concerns public funds and you are in the company of public officials, you are part of it. You can be charged with such offenses as direct bribery and malversation of public funds.”

I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, I’m hoping the third journalist will get named as well and other whistle-blowers will step forward to provide evidence against him. It’s not entirely true that transactions of this sort where they are carried out with sophistication or where there is no clear-cut documentation are untraceable. There are people who approve them, there are people who deliver the payoffs, there are people—the direct recipient or the intermediary—who receive them.

Where there are people, there are witnesses. Subpoenaing them, where they do not step out voluntarily—and we presume Mendoza and Cacal know them—should help do the trick.

The accused and their defenders say the reporting of Mendoza’s and Cacal’s accusation is irresponsible and puts journalism in a bad light. That’s silly, and merely attempts to conscript other journalists, honest and corrupt alike, into circling wagons around their beleaguered colleagues to defend their favorite profession. Journalism is not under attack, individual journalists are. In fact what puts journalism in a bad light is not journalists—or at least people in media, it burns the mouth to call them journalists—being accused of corruption, it is the lack of it.

I myself wouldn’t mind a whole tribe of media practitioners being dragged to court for this. If you’re a fairly honest reporter or editor or commentator, someone who tries to make both ends meet on the modest, if not meager, pay that journalism affords, you’d get very pissed off having to breathe same air as those who sell their profession to the highest bidder and parade their ill-gotten wealth before the world in cars, properties, and lavish eating places to impress the impressionable with their apparent success and bigness and importance. You conduct a lifestyle check on people with suspicious incomes and a lot of media practitioners will fall like leaves in autumn.

Arguably, the sums involved here, except in the case of the unnamed media person who got P2 million, are relatively small—paltry even, relative to the millions the bigger media players routinely get for their “advertising” services.

The news that two broadcast journalists, one of them fairly well-known, tripped on P245,535 has not shocked the media community, it has vastly amused it. That they should trip moreover by way of checks has sent it into howls of laughter:

How lo-tech can you get?

But if that’s what it will take to draw the media into a Lenten introspection about the extent to which they have turned their temple into a merchant’s bazaar, the house of prayer into a den of thieves, then I’m all for it. Or since media’s capacity for introspection in that respect is limited—it’s never been a question of ascertaining the corruption in its ranks, it’s always been a question of wanting to do something about it—if this is what it takes to put the fear of God or Leila de Lima in the hearts of the wayward, then I’m all for it.

If journalists—by definition, the more reputable ones, the more honest ones—are to allow themselves to be conscripted into anything, it might as well be into approval or praise of those who flail at the merchants, of those who mean to cleanse their house. People who take on righteous tones in crucifying erring cops and public officials had best be prepared to live reasonably righteous lives.

I myself don’t mind people telling us: Physician, heal thyself.

Mar’s latest snafu By Jojo Robles | Mar. 19, 2014 at 12:01am

They say that those who live in glass houses, especially in the Cubao area, shouldn’t throw stones. This is particularly true if they intend to run for President and pick socialites with controversial parents for bridesmaids at their wedding.

The name of Divine Lee, socialite daughter of very controversial—and very much arrested—real estate developer Delfin Lee, has been trending on social networks since last weekend. The younger Lee, you see, was one of the bridesmaids of broadcaster Korina Sanchez when she wed candidate Mar Roxas in 2009.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with Divine Lee being a bridesmaid of Korina and Mar, except that Roxas —in his current incarnation as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government— has made a very public dare to his supposed main rival in the 2016 presidential elections, Vice President Jejomar Binay. Roxas demanded that Binay substantiate his claims that some people in government were protecting Delfin Lee, who has been the subject of a long manhunt for allegedly pulling off a scam involving the funds of the Pag-IBIG fund, which Binay now heads as government housing czar.

Meanwhile, Roxas’ other involvement in the Delfin Lee case has been just as suspicious: As the Executive official in charge of the national police, Roxas approved the “promotion” of the head of PNP Task Force Tugis, Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa, to the position of deputy chief of the regional police office in Cebu.

Capa first shot to prominence when his men arrested Delfin Lee inside a hotel in Manila, long after the high-flying real estate developer was sued by government for making fictitious claims on behalf of Pag-IBIG members. In so many words and in various fora, Capa has since accused his superiors—everyone from PNP Chief Alan Purisima to officials of Malacañang Palace—of actually demoting him to a deputy’s post because he was able to arrest Lee.

Roxas has since clammed up on the issue of Lee. “Stonewall” Roxas has been known to do that every time he opens his mouth and inserts his foot into it, like the time he went to Tacloban City to remind the mayor that he is a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino.

It’s a good thing for Mar that his President is so solidly behind him that he will never really want for protection, much like Divine Lee’s dad. Of course, if and when Roxas decides to go it alone in 2016, it will be a different matter altogether.

* * *

While Roxas’ fingerprints are supposedly all over the case of Delfin Lee, he is also being linked to another brewing controversy by those who subscribe to the theory that Mar is also running another department concurrently with DILG. I’m talking about the scandalous attempt by the Department of Transportation and Communications of the P17.5-billion contract to repair, rehabilitate and expand the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Of course, another Cabinet secretary, Joseph Emilio Abaya, is supposedly in charge of DOTC. But anybody who knows anything about how Mar runs DOTC, his old post, by remote control through the senior bureaucrats he appointed when he led the department—and who take orders from no one but Mar—suspect that he may have something to do with what’s going in Cebu, as well.

I’m not really a fan of Senator Serge Osmeña, but the lawmaker from Cebu has gotten my attention for threatening to sue DOTC for insisting on awarding the contract to the consortium of GMR-Megawide, despite the fact that the proponent has already been exposed as being in a conflict of interest situation. Osmeña has even responded to President Noynoy Aquino’s snide remark about “ampaws” seeking to succeed him by saying that it is Aquino’s people in DOTC who most resemble the sweet-on-the-outside-but-empty-on-the-inside delicacy.

Osmeña, who still claims to be a staunch ally of Aquino, has also questioned the financial capability of GMR-Megawide, noting that the local partner does not have the financial capability (or the ability to raise the money through local banks) to fund the project. Another Cebuano lawmaker, Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa, pointed out that Megawide, the local partner of the consortium, only has P8 billion in resources during the recently held Congressional hearing conducted by the committee on transportation on the Mactan Airport bidding project.

DOTC has hedged on reports that the contract to rebuild the Cebu airport has already been awarded to GMR-Megawide. But the Public-Private Partnership Center, led by Cosette Canilao, has announced that the deal has already been sealed.

(Canilao’s PPPC seems hell-bent on pushing the approval of the Cebu airport deal because her agency still doesn’t have a serious, big-ticket PPP project four years after Aquino announced his flagship program. Really.)

When Aquino said that Roxas would run “80 percent of my government” after his election in 2010, perhaps you were one of those who think he was actually joking. Well, it turns out that Aquino was deadly serious in giving us a sneak preview of a Roxas presidency, if it ever happens.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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