ROXAS' NEW TROPHY

Many people are already convinced that President Noynoy Aquino will do anything for his chief trouble-maker (I mean trouble-shooter, of course) Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. But Aquino’s undying love for Roxas may soon be tested if the President goes ahead and appoints a scandal-plagued Roxas ally to head up the cash-rich Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. Aquino has decided to play coy about the reputed plan to replace resigned PCSO Chairman Margarita Juico with former Cavite Gov. Erineo Maliksi. Perhaps Aquino wants to know first if he can safely pull off the appointment of someone who promises to be a lot more controversial than the woman he is supposed to soon replace. “Can we wait for the appointment?” Aquino pleaded last Sunday, when asked about Juico’s replacement. “We will come to it as soon as possible.” I can understand if Aquino is having cold feet about Maliksi’s appointment. Handing over PCSO to Maliksi, who ran in the elections last year to regain his old governor’s post but lost, could be interpreted as opening the henhouse to allow the entry of a ravenous, silver-maned fox. Maliksi is facing a P500-million plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing illegal commissions from the sale of right-of-way lands for the proposed extension of the Light Rail Transit from Baclaran, Paranaque to Bacoor, Cavite. The case, which was filed in 2012, remains unresolved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales – who has probably decided to simply take her sweet time because she knows that Maliksi is very close to Aquino and Roxas. READ MORE...

ALSO: Tacloban needs city builder, not czar

PHOTO OF AUTHOR: EFREN PADILLA --An exasperated friend just shared with me an update on the post-Yolanda reconstruction effort in Tacloban. And so, six months after the super typhoon destructively wiped out the area, there is no master plan yet to be had. Why is that? He asked. I told him, it is common sense. First, common sense will tell us that the answer to that question is as varied as the number of uncoordinated governmental and non-governmental interests that proliferate in the typhoon-hit areas. As it is, the urgency of rehabilitation is already challenging in itself. But when compounded by a plethora of individuals, groups, and organizations pursuing their own disparate priorities and sometimes overlapping activities, you have a perfect recipe for gridlock, if not, another man-made disaster-in-the-making. After a cursory review of the mission and vision statements of some groups and organizations involved in Tacloban’s post-Yolanda reconstruction effort, I am amazed by the sheer number of invented ideas that leads you to believe that they’ll never run out of ways to justify their need for existence in the disaster area, temporary or permanent. READ MORE...

EDITORIAL: What the straight path demands

PRESIDENT Aquino’s straight path policy lies in tatters four years after he came to power on its promise, exposed as false by the administration’s inexcusable actions over the pork barrel scandal. For anyone who believes, like the President’s most strident allies, that “the truth does not come in shades of gray,” the shadow cast by the alleged mastermind of the scam, Janet Lim Napoles, is problematic, to say the least. A black-or-white view of the world would clearly paint as evil the scheme by which lawmakers allegedly channeled their development funds to bogus projects in exchange for billions of pesos in kickbacks from Napoles. A straight-path interpretation would immediately rule out Napoles as a state witness. A righteous government with integrity would immediately rule out granting immunity to the woman at the center of the web of corruption, who was shown to have owned at least 28 houses, 415 bank accounts and more than 30 vehicles. But nine months after the scandal was first exposed, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is still peddling the toxic notion that Napoles might be an acceptable state witness and might be accepted into the Witness Protection Program. Considering what has gone before and what actions this administration has taken, we should not be surprised. READ MORE, INCLUDING 3 COMMENTS FROM READERS...


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Roxas’ new trophy

MANILA, MAY 19, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) By Jojo Robles - Many people are already convinced that President Noynoy Aquino will do anything for his chief trouble-maker (I mean trouble-shooter, of course) Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. But Aquino’s undying love for Roxas may soon be tested if the President goes ahead and appoints a scandal-plagued Roxas ally to head up the cash-rich Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Aquino has decided to play coy about the reputed plan to replace resigned PCSO Chairman Margarita Juico with former Cavite Gov. Erineo Maliksi. Perhaps Aquino wants to know first if he can safely pull off the appointment of someone who promises to be a lot more controversial than the woman he is supposed to soon replace.

“Can we wait for the appointment?” Aquino pleaded last Sunday, when asked about Juico’s replacement. “We will come to it as soon as possible.”

I can understand if Aquino is having cold feet about Maliksi’s appointment. Handing over PCSO to Maliksi, who ran in the elections last year to regain his old governor’s post but lost, could be interpreted as opening the henhouse to allow the entry of a ravenous, silver-maned fox.

Maliksi is facing a P500-million plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing illegal commissions from the sale of right-of-way lands for the proposed extension of the Light Rail Transit from Baclaran, Paranaque to Bacoor, Cavite. The case, which was filed in 2012, remains unresolved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales – who has probably decided to simply take her sweet time because she knows that Maliksi is very close to Aquino and Roxas.

Maliksi lost to incumbent Gov. Johnvic Remulla in last year’s elections despite the fact that Aquino himself stumped for him. In several rallies in Cavite, Aquino basically warned residents of the vote-rich province that they would not get anything from Malacañang if they did not bring back Maliksi to the governor’s office.

Incidentally, during the Arroyo administration, then-Governor Maliksi was suspended by the Department of Interior and Local Government after he was charged before the Ombudsman of making a P7.5-million “ghost purchase” of rice for his province. His suspension was lifted after a month, when the Ombudsman dismissed the charge for lack of merit.

But the new charges seem to have stuck to Maliksi, whom many believe lost to Remulla because Cavitenos now perceive him to be graft-prone. And yes, this is the same Maliksi that Aquino—he of the straight path —campaigned hard for last year and will soon put in charge of PCSO.

Maliksi will become eligible to be appointed to a position in government after the one-year ban on giving official jobs to election losers is lifted. His appointment to Juico’s old post is seen as an important part of Roxas’ campaign for the presidency in 2016, since the 76-year-old former governor will have access to billions of PCSO funds that go directly to the President’s Social Fund – one of the controversial “pork barrel” allocations of Aquino’s office.

In a recent interview, Maliksi has also decided to play coy, saying he has not been officially offered the PCSO chairmanship—even if he would accept it if it was offered. The former governor also denied Juico’s earlier claim that she quit after she learned that Maiksi has been publicly saying that he will take over from Juico as soon as the ban on appointing election losers ends.

* * *

Roxas’ backing of the plan to have Maliksi (who is a longtime ally of Roxas’ surrogate at the Department of Transportation and Communications, Cavite native Joseph Emilio Abaya) replace Juico places the recent spat between the presidential trouble-maker—I mean trouble-shooter—and the president of the exclusive Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club, Philip Ella Juico, Margie’s husband, in its proper context. Roxas’ alleged abuse of several lowly employees of the club (where he is a member) stems from his resentment of the Juicos’ closeness to Aquino and Margie’s chairmanship of PCSO, which Roxas needs to control in his bid to raise funds for his 2016 campaign for the presidency.

“Walang presi-presidente sa akin,” Roxas reportedly told the club employees who were asking him to pay the P5,000 green fee of his guest, which Roxas refused to do. Roxas was referring to Margie’s husband, the authority invoked by the Wack-Wack employees for asking him to pay.

When Philip Juico and his majority on the board of the golf club decided to suspend Roxas, I’ve been told, the interior secretary decided to go all-out in his campaign to remove Margie and to replace her with Maliksi. Roxas succeeded in forcing Margie Juico to quit reportedly by using her supposed refusal to cooperate when Roxas asked for the documents on a new game called Bingo Milyonaryo, which PCSO was touting as a legal substitute for the illegal jueteng numbers game.

Aquino, according to some reports, dressed down Juico—who was his mother Cory’s personal secretary when she was President—and told her to resign in so many words. Meanwhile, Maliksi started bragging that he would become the next PCSO chairman, having received the assurance of his patron, Roxas.

Roxas has once again displayed his immense power over Aquino with the removal of Juico. If Roxas gets Maliksi appointed to replace her, his victory in PCSO will be complete.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK


By EFREN N. PADILLA: Professor of Sociology & Social Services, California State Unive

Tacloban needs city builder, not czar By EFREN N. PADILLAMay 13, 2014 11:14am 24 0 0 201 Tags: Tacloban City

An exasperated friend just shared with me an update on the post-Yolanda reconstruction effort in Tacloban. And so, six months after the super typhoon destructively wiped out the area, there is no master plan yet to be had.

Why is that? He asked. I told him, it is common sense.

First, common sense will tell us that the answer to that question is as varied as the number of uncoordinated governmental and non-governmental interests that proliferate in the typhoon-hit areas.

As it is, the urgency of rehabilitation is already challenging in itself. But when compounded by a plethora of individuals, groups, and organizations pursuing their own disparate priorities and sometimes overlapping activities, you have a perfect recipe for gridlock, if not, another man-made disaster-in-the-making.

After a cursory review of the mission and vision statements of some groups and organizations involved in Tacloban’s post-Yolanda reconstruction effort, I am amazed by the sheer number of invented ideas that leads you to believe that they’ll never run out of ways to justify their need for existence in the disaster area, temporary or permanent.

I don’t want to prejudge the on-going proliferation of individuals, groups, or organizations in Tacloban that imaginatively mark their stakes in the reconstruction effort. However, I begrudge the fact that some people, groups, and organizations with no experience, no history, and no expertise in building cities or communities are allowed to operate or dominate the reconstruction effort without overall rhyme or reason to a comprehensive plan or master plan. Perhaps, it's the lure of money. Perhaps, it's the sentiment of compassion. Or both.

I only wish that when it comes to money and assistance being poured out into the reconstruction effort, they’d be spent judiciously and efficiently. For me, in the end, this means the actual implementation of the spatial relocation and the sustainable development of a new City of Tacloban. Still, when these individuals, groups, and organizations complain in the media they make you think that they are so cocksure and hold the answer to the problem. There’s that political appointee whining that he is not allowed by specific influential political figures from succeeding in his efforts. There’s that religious leader moaning that there are not enough carpenters in the disaster area. There’s that government functionary lamenting that he does not have enough skilled engineers for rehabilitation efforts. There’s that NGO worker lambasting the price gouging of construction materials in the affected areas. And the list of complaints goes on and on. Sometimes, it makes you think that we have more reasons for failure rather than reasons for success.

The interesting thing about these complaints while true, they are mere symptoms rather causes of inefficiency generated by the existing state of affairs of the post-Yolanda reconstruction effort.

Second, common sense will tell us that what is happening displays the notion of “Peter Principle” at work in the reconstruction effort. The principle is a concept in management theory named after Dr. Laurence J. Peter who co-authored a book with Raymund Hull entitled Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong.

Professor Peter observed that a promotion to the higher-ranking job position may not necessarily reveal the person’s competence because the new position may require different expertise and skill that one does not possess. He sums up the principle with the saying: "the cream rises until it sours." In short, people eventually get to positions where they reach their incompetence because of further promotion.

I have nothing personal against the President’s appointed czar for the reconstruction of typhoon-devastated Eastern Visayas. He is a hardworking man. And yet, despite his claim that he “ eats, sleeps, and dreams” of his work, the fact remains that this task is not his “cup of tea.” Apparently, he does not possess the education, expertise, or skill for city planning or disaster planning. Similarly, I say the same observation about some of the groups and organizations currently involved in the post-reconstruction effort. As the saying goes, one cannot expect a cherry tree from an acorn.

In the end, this is a matter better left to those who have the education, expertise, and experience in building cities. If ever this happens, we will overcome or even sidestep the inefficiency created by uncoordinated and “masterless” reconstruction activities. Sadly, our national government does not think that way. After all it is not the bedrock of meritocracy. Instead, being saddled by inherent problems of bureaucratization and politicization of decision-making, it is not meant to function effectively and efficiently.

And so, to my point.

Just imagine the comprehensiveness as well as efficiency of reconstruction efforts if leading private real estate developers are given the task by local government units. I have seen how the country's leading private land developers build. That is, how they integrate residential, commercial, waste treatment facilities, and other planning elements into the master plan.

Let’s say, if Tacloban’s local government unit can work in tandem with the country’s leading private developers in creating the comprehensive spatial plan for the relocation, land acquisition, site development of low-cost and medium-cost housing communities, the city will practically accomplish about two-thirds of the reconstruction efforts. And I know cooperatively they can accomplish the task of reconstruction more efficiently and more effectively. These developers can even create another Makati-like development in the Visayas and Mindanao if only our national government becomes more visionary and more creative and less partisan and less bureaucratic. Just saying. But that’s a topic for another blog.

This is a no-brainer. Right?

MANNILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

What the straight path demands By Manila Standard Today | May. 19, 2014 at 12:01am

PRESIDENT Aquino’s straight path policy lies in tatters four years after he came to power on its promise, exposed as false by the administration’s inexcusable actions over the pork barrel scandal.

For anyone who believes, like the President’s most strident allies, that “the truth does not come in shades of gray,” the shadow cast by the alleged mastermind of the scam, Janet Lim Napoles, is problematic, to say the least.

A black-or-white view of the world would clearly paint as evil the scheme by which lawmakers allegedly channeled their development funds to bogus projects in exchange for billions of pesos in kickbacks from Napoles.

A straight-path interpretation would immediately rule out Napoles as a state witness.

A righteous government with integrity would immediately rule out granting immunity to the woman at the center of the web of corruption, who was shown to have owned at least 28 houses, 415 bank accounts and more than 30 vehicles. But nine months after the scandal was first exposed, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is still peddling the toxic notion that Napoles might be an acceptable state witness and might be accepted into the Witness Protection Program.

Considering what has gone before and what actions this administration has taken, we should not be surprised.

First, it accepted Napoles’ surrender, with President Aquino meeting her and her husband at the Palace, and later accompanying her to police headquarters. Later, instead of a jail cell, she was detained in less oppressive conditions at a police camp in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, with taxpayers picking up the tab. The President and his apologists say none of this represents special treatment, but when was the last time a wanted criminal was welcomed at the Palace?

Second, armed with information and documents provided by Napoles’ former employee, who turned state witness against her, the government filed plunder charges against three opposition senators. Now we learn that there were at least 10 senators—including some administration allies—who were similarly implicated. Why were charges filed only against the opposition lawmakers?

Spouting platitudes from its discredited straight-path policy, administration officials insist that nobody—not even allies—will be spared from justice. But actions speak much louder than words, and in this regard, we’ve seen absolutely no action.

The President has even issued statements expressing his continued confidence in three Cabinet officials, including his own Budget secretary, caught up in the web of scandal.

Honest, law-abiding taxpayers would retch at the mere thought of giving Napoles immunity from suit. This government is licking its lips in anticipation, hoping this is one more way to nail the opposition and protect its allies—and keep those in the administration who are guilty from going to jail when a new President is elected in 2016.



Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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