ARROYO'S AND CORONA'S ORDEAL: IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT HACIENDA LUISITA

In trying to explain the ordeal of impeachment that he and his family were subjected to by President Aquino and the administration, former chief justice Renato Corona bluntly declared that it was the Hacienda Luisita issue that was the principal reason for his impeachment and for the unusual maneuvers (fair and foul) taken by the President to secure his conviction by the Senate. In the Supreme Court’s en banc decision on the Hacienda Luisita case, which was handed down on Nov. 22, 2011, and which associate justice Presbitero Velasco penned, the high court ordered the total distribution of the hacienda to 6,296 registered farm worker-beneficiaries. The tribunal ordered and pegged the just compensation to Hacienda Luisita, Inc. based on the hacienda’s market price in 1989. It also ordered that the P1.33 billion proceeds of the sale of some 500 hectares of the land be returned to the farmers. Ten of the 14 justices who participated in the deliberations concurred with Velasco that the valuation of the lands should be computed according to the prevailing rates when Hacienda Luisita implemented the stock distribution option (SDO) on Nov. 21, 1989.
If Hacienda Luisita was indeed a major factor behind Aquino’s push to impeach Corona, it was arguably an even more compelling reason for Aquino’s relentless and non-stop campaign to indict President Arroyo on plunder and other charges, and to secure a conviction in court. Luisita: A tangled, troubled and tragic history Cases of this magnitude and importance, with high-profile personalities on the dock, do not materialize from nowhere. They have a history, and the beginning, without doubt, is Hacienda Luisita, the 6,453-hectare plantation and farmland in Tarlac, with its peculiar, tangled, troubled, and even tragic history. At an elemental level, those battling for control over the land are the Cojuangco family clan of President Benigno Cojuangco-Aquino 3rd, who have farmed, managed and profited from the property since the 1950s, and aspire to keep the rights to the land, and the over 6,000 farmer beneficiaries and their families, who seek to assert their rights to the land, by virtue of the original deed and conditions for awarding the land to the Cojuangcos and in line with the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court in November 2011. President Arroyo and former Chief Justice Corona are protagonists in this by virtue of the high offices they used to serve, and of their involvement in critical decisions by the government that bear heavily on the fate of the hacienda and the fate of land reform in the country.READ FULL COLUMN INCLUDING READERS' REPLIES...

ALSO: Palace’s pork conundrum

The Palace has placed the operation of Noynoy against three target opponents, Senators Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., in great peril with its pronouncement that the voluminous contents of the so-called Benhur Luy files have no probative value.
The effort to make the three senators as trophies for Noynoy’s good governance principle mainly depended on the evidence and testimonies provided by the whistle-blowers who are former employees of P10-billion pork barrel alleged scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles. The pieces of evidence are mainly the files, including supposed retrieved data earlier deleted, from the computer hard disks of the Napoles syndicate, including the one Luy allegedly transferred to a removable hard drive which was presented to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and earlier still, to a national broadsheet. The only other evidence that can be considered as such are the information and documents the Commission on Audit compiled in the 2007 to 2009 Special Report on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which is not only very questionable for being too arbitrary against the three target legislators, but also that the CoA report was merely made up of SARO (special allotment release order) numbers assigned to legislators and where thet went, through the notice of cash allotment, which goes directly to the implementing agencies, and not to the legislators. That hardly constitutes proof of wrongdoing, on the part of the legislators. The testimonies included the signed deposition of Napoles herself, the credibility of which the Palace has also questioned. If the Palace assertion would be believed then the whole Luy records have no value and the entire Napoles testimony cannot be relied on as evidence either. The credibility of the evidence and the testimonies can’t be selective in which it has no value in one aspect but it is entirely credible when it is used against the targeted personalities. The Palace obviously has been caught in a corner with the latest turn of events in the pork barrel scam saga in the divulgence of the Luy files and the testimonies of Napoles, both of which contained damning allegations and trails pointing to the very doors of the Palace. READ MORE...

ALSO: THE PRESIDENT IS ALSO A POLITICIAN

PRESIDENT Aquino has broken his silence on the supposed wrongdoing of two Cabinet officials who Janet Lim Napoles said were her co-conspirators in the billion-peso pork barrel scam. Show me the evidence, the President said. He said he knows Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala personally. The President extolled Abad saying the budget chief increased transparency in government by introducing bottom-up or participatory budgeting. “Walang ginawa si Secretary Abad kung hindi ilantad ng ilantad iyong proseso ‘nung paano magbu-budget, paano ginagastos,” he said. The President also said Abad stopped the practice of some people in using the General Appropriations Act to release funds even without a special allotment release order. Aquino said he could not understand how Alcala supposedly got involved in the scam. “At this point in time, I cannot see where there is direct involvement by Secretary Alcala in areas that are questionable.” Napoles, in her sworn statement submitted to the Senate, said Alcala had signed the release of pork barrel funds to her fake foundations. Aquino said from the start his administration was bracing for the possibility that Napoles would implicate countless individuals to muddle the issue. “Habang dumadami ng dumadami, dumadami ng dumadami iyong iimbestigahan natin. Dulo kakaimbestiga, kakaimbestiga na-time’s up na tayo,” he said referring to his six-year term. “Dati parang kinamumuhian si Mrs. Napoles. Ngayon, kapag nagsalita ka parang totoong-totoo ang sinasabi, paano kaya nangyari iyon?” Aquino asked. We would like to ask the same question, Mr. President. Despite her “special treatment” Napoles had the temerity to implicate two officials of the administration. ‘In the end, nothing will happen except immobilization of the three senators from the political opposition. Not even jail time.’ Category: Editorial THIS IS THE FULL REPORT...

ALSO: The manipulator and manipulatee

With so many lists, affidavits and deleted lists naming congressmen, senators, high officials, celebrities and media personalities who allegedly partook of the pork in the PDAF scam — the public is getting confused. But smart people know better — someone somewhere is pulling the strings and doing the manipulating, employing one of the strategies outlined by Sun Tzu in “The Art of War” where he said, “The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.” But when you look closely at the strategy, it seems to be working — people are beginning to doubt the veracity and authenticity of the affidavits issued by both Benhur Luy and Janet Lim Napoles. In fact, the opposition and the administration are accusing each other of manufacturing conflicting versions of the PDAF scam list. There’s the “Napolist,” the “Luystahan,” the “Ping me,” “ Oh Cam (on)” list, even the so-called “Na-delist.” People implicated are hollering, “Cover up!” and accusing Malacañang of protecting its allies being alluded to in the pork fund scam. On the other hand, the administration says the conflicting lists naming officials and politicians who supposedly received millions in kickbacks from ghost projects is an attempt to muddle the issues and discredit the investigation. Obviously, Janet Lim Napoles is the main player here. She already knows that she will never get immunity as a government witness — what with President Aquino himself already dashing her hopes when he said she appears to be the most guilty and hence, would not qualify as a state witness. Her credibility and her list’s accuracy are also being doubted because of the “mistakes” in the two “official” lists she submitted. The first official list included the name of Senator JV Ejercito as one of those who received pork kickbacks — but Napoles and her lawyer said an encoder mistakenly added the name of JV. And now here comes neophyte congressman Gerald Gullas who questioned his inclusion in the list submitted to DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima — with Napoles and her lawyer admitting a mistake was made, saying a secretary may have assumed it was the newly elected representative whom Napoles supposedly transacted with instead of his grandfather, former congressman Eduardo Gullas. Add to that the fact that names seem to be added on an “episodal” basis. READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Arroyo’s and Corona’s ordeal: It was always about Hacienda Luisita

MANILA, JUNE 2, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) by YEN MAKABENTA - In trying to explain the ordeal of impeachment that he and his family were subjected to by President Aquino and the administration, former chief justice Renato Corona bluntly declared that it was the Hacienda Luisita issue that was the principal reason for his impeachment and for the unusual maneuvers (fair and foul) taken by the President to secure his conviction by the Senate.

In the Supreme Court’s en banc decision on the Hacienda Luisita case, which was handed down on Nov. 22, 2011, and which associate justice Presbitero Velasco penned, the high court ordered the total distribution of the hacienda to 6,296 registered farm worker-beneficiaries.

The tribunal ordered and pegged the just compensation to Hacienda Luisita, Inc. based on the hacienda’s market price in 1989. It also ordered that the P1.33 billion proceeds of the sale of some 500 hectares of the land be returned to the farmers.

Ten of the 14 justices who participated in the deliberations concurred with Velasco that the valuation of the lands should be computed according to the prevailing rates when Hacienda Luisita implemented the stock distribution option (SDO) on Nov. 21, 1989.

If Hacienda Luisita was indeed a major factor behind Aquino’s push to impeach Corona, it was arguably an even more compelling reason for Aquino’s relentless and non-stop campaign to indict President Arroyo on plunder and other charges, and to secure a conviction in court.

Luisita: A tangled, troubled and tragic history

Cases of this magnitude and importance, with high-profile personalities on the dock, do not materialize from nowhere.

They have a history, and the beginning, without doubt, is Hacienda Luisita, the 6,453-hectare plantation and farmland in Tarlac, with its peculiar, tangled, troubled, and even tragic history.

At an elemental level, those battling for control over the land are the Cojuangco family clan of President Benigno Cojuangco-Aquino 3rd, who have farmed, managed and profited from the property since the 1950s, and aspire to keep the rights to the land, and the over 6,000 farmer beneficiaries and their families, who seek to assert their rights to the land, by virtue of the original deed and conditions for awarding the land to the Cojuangcos and in line with the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court in November 2011.

President Arroyo and former Chief Justice Corona are protagonists in this by virtue of the high offices they used to serve, and of their involvement in critical decisions by the government that bear heavily on the fate of the hacienda and the fate of land reform in the country.

***

It is a measure of Luisita’s significance that the cases and the tragic incidents associated with it have drawn considerable coverage from international and local media, including the New York Times, and most recently, the Al Jazeera international cable network.

GMA Network, in its popular website, has admirably put together a special report on Hacienda Luisita, that seems to me the most comprehensive, detailed and insightful overview on the Hacienda Luisita story and its attendant cases and controversies.

Written and reported by Stephanie Dychiu, it consists of five extensive parts, and it was first posted on January 18, 2010, to coincide with the presidential election campaign of 2010, in which one Cojuangco heir, Benigno Aquino 3rd, was a leading candidate.

Ms. Dychiu’s exceptional report admirably telescopes the key events, developments and dates in Luisita’s torturous story that help to explain the intense antagonisms that developed between Presidents Arroyo and Aquino, and between President Aquino and Justice Corona.

Part of this is due to the shifting of political alliances and objectives.

Part of this is also due to points of fact and law, and tragic incidents that clamor for justice and closure.
From allies to bitter enemies

From a careful reading of Ms. Dychiu’s report, particularly the timeline she provides, I am convinced that President Aquino’s hostility to President Arroyo is rooted in differences between them regarding the resolution of the ownership dispute between the Cojuangcos and the farmers, and certain unreasonable expectations that were not met.

How could two leaders, coming from the same region and erstwhile allies with each other, turn into bitter enemies?

At a media forum in Annabel’s Restaurant last year, I asked Arroyo counsel, Raul Lambino, what is the personal animus between Presidents Arroyo and Aquino that underlies the indictment of Arroyo on plunder and other charges, and the repeated filing of cases even after they have been dismissed or withdrawn.

Do Aquino’s actions and statements indicate a desire to exact revenge on GMA? If so, for what offense? I asked Lambino whether this had something to do with the decision of the Arroyo administration to revoke the stock distribution option (SDO) to implement land reform at Hacienda Luisita?

The timeline in Ms Dychiu’s special report is revealing and suggestive. Here are the most significant events and developments.
January 22, 1987—tragic shooting of 13 protesting farmers on Mendiola street, in front of Malacañan Palace.

May 18, 1988—the Court of Appeals dismisses the case filed in 1980 by the Philippine government—under Ferdinand Marcos—against the Cojuangco company TADECO to compel the handover of Hacienda Luisita. It was the Philippine government itself—under Cory Aquino—that filed the motion to dismiss its own case.

June 10, 1988—Cory Aquino signs the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. Soon after, Hacienda Luisita is placed under the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) that Aquino included in the law. Through the SDO, landlords could comply with the land reform law without giving land to farmers.

June 8, 1988—Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate Minority Leader, delivers a privilege speech questioning Aquino’s insertion of the SDO in her outline for the land reform law, and the power she gave herself through Executive Order No. 229 to preside over the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), the body that would approve stock distribution programs, including the one for Hacienda Luisita. Enrile also questioned the Aquino administration’s withdrawal of the government’s case compelling land distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmers. All these, Enrile said, were indications that the Cojuangcos had taken advantage of the powers of the presidency to circumvent land reform and stay in control of Hacienda Luisita.

December 4, 2003—Luisita farm workers file petition with the department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to have Luisita’s SDO agreement revoked.

January 25, 2004—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo greets President Cory on her 71st birthday, and sends her a cake with the dedication, “To Tita Cory, from your number one fan, Gloria.”

In the May 2004 elections, Cory and family throw their support behind Arroyo. Arroyo beats Fernando Poe Jr. in the presidential balloting.

November 16, 2004—7 farmers are killed near the gate of the sugar mill of Hacienda Luisita.

May 24, 2005—President Arroyo signs the EVAT into law, two weeks before the existence of the Hello Garci tapes was announced to the media by Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye on June 6, 2005.

June 30, 2005—Tarlac Representative Benigno Aquino 3rd votes against playing the Hello Garci tapes in Congress. The day before, the Philippine Star reported that Aquino called Arroyo’s televised apology (for calling an election official) a “good start” for her administration, and said Arroyo should be commended for admitting her mistake.

July 8, 2005—Cory and Noynoy Aquino withdraw their support for Arroyo and join calls for president Arroyo to resign. In 2005, GMA survives her crisis of survival, with the backing of former president Fidel V. Ramos and Speaker Jose de Venecia, and the support of the armed forces.

July 2005—Nasser Pangandaman is appointed as Agrarian Reform Secretary. He succeeded Rene Villa, who joined the Hyatt 10, and was busy lawyering for Janet Lim Napoles.

The Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) revokes the stock distribution option (SDO) of Hacienda Luisita, Inc (HLI) on the ground that the SDO failed to improve the farm workers’ lives within the 16 years of its operation. HLI must withdraw its petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court so the land can be distributed by the DAR to the farmer beneficiaries.

August 1, 2009—former president Corazon Aquino dies of colon cancer and is mourned by the nation.

August 2009—the SDO is formally abolished in the updated land reform law CARPER (CARP with Extensions and Revisions) that is passed in August 2009 by Congress and signed into law by President Arroyo.

February 9, 2010—Candidate Noynoy Aquino kicks off his presidential campaign in Concepcion, Tarlac and vows that his family would ensure the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmer-beneficiaries by June 2014—the extended deadline for agricultural lands to be turned over to qualified beneficiaries under CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extensions and Revisions).

Tomorrow. It will already be June 2014. The farmers will be ready to collect. But no one knows whether the agrarian reform department will deliver.

GMA earned CORY’s ire for not honoring SDO

Judging by this narrative of events, it seems highly likely that President Cory met her death, bitter and frustrated about Hacienda Luisita, and bitter toward President Arroyo.

Presidents after her, including Presidents Ramos and Estrada, sought to keep the goodwill of the Cojuancos by respecting the SDO at Luisita.

Estrada, according to Mark Cojuangco, bestowed on Congressman Noynoy Aquino a whopping pork barrel of P1 billion.

Under President Gloria Arroyo, the tacit agreement was apparently unhinged.

What evidently changed the situation was the masasacre of seven farmers at Hacienda Luisita in November 2004.

Although Noynoy Aquino had been elected as deputy speaker for Central Luzon, the reform of CARP was inexorably moving forward. President Arroyo gave her support to CARPER, which decreed the elimination of the repugnant SDO. The amended law was passed by Congress in August 2009.

Noynoy Aquino was by then a senator, and he could not stop the bill from clearing the legislative mill.

Having failed to force Arroyo’s resignation in 2005, the clan took to blaming her for its looming reversal of fortunes in Hacienda Luisita.

And then followed the deluge. The Supreme Court declaratively ruled in favor of the farmer-beneficiaries, and against the Cojuangcos, whose main tactic had been to avoid following the conditions for the deed of agreement

The enormity of this setback to the family no doubt fed into Noynoy’s feeling of vindictiveness toward President Arroyo and Chief Justice Corona—the one for being unwilling as president to stop the sword of Damocles from falling, and the other for being party to the principled decision of the Supreme Court.

The hunger for revenge fed into the psycho-profile of the young Benigno Aquino 3rd provided by the Jesuit psychologist Fr. Jaime Bulatao, who observed Pinoy’s evident obsession to punish all those who had done harm to his family.

From here, it is an easy jump to a policy of inflicting as much punishment and humiliation as possible on President Arroyo and Justice Corona. And to using all the powers of the executive to accomplish the purpose.

14 Responses to Arroyo’s and Corona’s ordeal: It was always about Hacienda Luisita

  1. Gloria M. Kuizon says:

    You make it sound, Mr. Makabenta, that President Aquino is a terribly vindictive person.

    The peasants of Hacienda Luisita are also saying so about the whole Cojuangco family.

  2. Andres R. Samson says:

    Personal gains and aggrandizement of all the family interests he swore himself to pursue and uphold.
    The reason why BSA 3 does not even wear the Seal of the Republic but instead a yellow ribbon of rabid devotion to those purposes.

  3. dustin says:

    I will tell you when i 1st saw juan ponce enrile was a thief, when i think it was the world bank or whatever bank that said for the philippines to remain a member they had to implement these new banking laws or procedures or they wouldnt be allowed to remain a member. He said & i quote ” who are they to tell us how to run our banking system “. Now these procedures were to help eliminate corrupt money & stolen money being made legal. But i didnt see a sing reporter here mention that or anything like that. I spoke of it to all my pinoy friends & they didnt have a clue & one of them is a bank manager.

  4. dustin says:

    Lets say you are right that coronas impeachment was all about that. Do you now after seeing how much illegal money he had in his dollar account that he is a fit & proper person to be the supreme court chief justice. Now surely before he was selected to that post by gloria shouldnt he have been checked out from top to bottom to show he was sqeaky clean. But it seems he was selected to possibly take glorias side on this. I will never really understand the hacienda case but i have no problems with corona being impeached as didnt he sack a woman with a low paying job in government because she didnt include her market stall in her saln. You have heard it said before what goes around comes around. He got what he deserved. Now if gloria is also squeaky clean she will be found not guilty or are you saying still your courts are dishonest & if so then jail the judges & start again.
    I have nnever seen such a country with such rag tag & bob tail people in all forms of control. You are all so devious from top to bottom & i know personaly i would never believe a word of what a pinoy said to me without proof as lying comes so easy to you people & those who lie are always backed up by all around them. These things are unheard of in my country, yes you get the odd scumbag there but here it seems its everyy single one of you.

  5. Samuel Santos says:

    (With apologies to Madame Roland): “O Hacienda Luisita! What crimes are committed in thy name!”

  6. Bravo, Yen. Your comment are very revealing and well presented. They are really the facts that you presented.

    It shows that who ever is in power can do what is wrong and what is right with the cooperation of the legislative and the judiciary.

    Democracy does not exist in the Philippines. I have seen in your column the difference between the rich and the poor. Greed, power, justice and the result of revenge.

    The whole thing that happened emanated on one main thing. By not following the deed by the Cojuangco’s.

  7. arabo says:

    Hacienda Luisita. Whatelse?

  8. Alejo Rosete says:

    Very well said – it is all Hacienda Luisita.

  9. arnel says:

    ..and the filipino people allows him to do so…how about ninoy himself, his ordeal and followed by his death, was there any dot connected to this to get back at marcos? before arroyo there was marcos…the truth is always out there under layers of lies, deceptions, etc….

    thanks for sharing this.

  10. Rodolfo V. Cabado says:

    One word: Bravo!

  11. Alouette4342 says:

    Quite an eye opener! It has provided a better understanding of whys and wherefores of the on goings at HL. Interesting!

  12. BS says:

    It’s not about Hacienda Luisita. It’s about CORRUPT officials in government!!!

  13. BS says:

    I believe the Filipino people can not be deceived by all these negative publicity to the President and his cabinet. I can understand the issues on Hacienda Luisita. There are failures with the Arroyos and Aquinos.But what matters to the Filipino people now is not about the past but the improvement of our economy, creating jobs, investing on infrustructures, industries that are sustainable and support further development of all industries, cleaning up the government, charging the legislatures who have rob the government and common people, etc. .

  14. butch hirro says:

    what’s new? that’s exactly what P-noy intended to do from the very start. vengeance was his from day one of his presidency. i wonder though if it would have been different if mar roxas did not give way to P-noy.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Palace’s pork conundrum Written by Tribune Editorial Sunday, 01 June 2014

The Palace has placed the operation of Noynoy against three target opponents, Senators Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., in great peril with its pronouncement that the voluminous contents of the so-called Benhur Luy files have no probative value.

The effort to make the three senators as trophies for Noynoy’s good governance principle mainly depended on the evidence and testimonies provided by the whistle-blowers who are former employees of P10-billion pork barrel alleged scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles.

The pieces of evidence are mainly the files, including supposed retrieved data earlier deleted, from the computer hard disks of the Napoles syndicate, including the one Luy allegedly transferred to a removable hard drive which was presented to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and earlier still, to a national broadsheet.

The only other evidence that can be considered as such are the information and documents the Commission on Audit compiled in the 2007 to 2009 Special Report on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which is not only very questionable for being too arbitrary against the three target legislators, but also that the CoA report was merely made up of SARO (special allotment release order) numbers assigned to legislators and where thet went, through the notice of cash allotment, which goes directly to the implementing agencies, and not to the legislators.

That hardly constitutes proof of wrongdoing, on the part of the legislators.

The testimonies included the signed deposition of Napoles herself, the credibility of which the Palace has also questioned.

If the Palace assertion would be believed then the whole Luy records have no value and the entire Napoles testimony cannot be relied on as evidence either.

The credibility of the evidence and the testimonies can’t be selective in which it has no value in one aspect but it is entirely credible when it is used against the targeted personalities.

The Palace obviously has been caught in a corner with the latest turn of events in the pork barrel scam saga in the divulgence of the Luy files and the testimonies of Napoles, both of which contained damning allegations and trails pointing to the very doors of the Palace.

***

The Luy files contain mostly junk but among the thousands of files in it, many pertain to transactions involving the closest allies of Noynoy. The names of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, certain references to Palace aides, Budget Secretary Butch Abad and Agriculture Secretary Processo Alcala were cited in the letters while many legislators who are allies of Noynoy including some Liberal Party stalwarts were also cited in the Luy files.

The best defense the Palace can come up with, and it had been the standard response, was for a denial and at the same time, destroying the credibility of the source of the allegations.

Such typical Palace response would have worked in the case of the Luy files had it not been also from which the plunder cases against the three senators largely hinge.

The Palace said no actions would be taken in response to the contents of the documents implicating Ochoa for requests on the use and possible diversion of the PDAF, the same way that it brushed aside Napoles’ sworn statement naming Abad as her mentor in setting up the elaborate racket of misappropriating legislators discretionary funds.

The reaction is expected, nevertheless, since allowing even a hint of the likely involvement of the two key men in the inner circle of Noynoy would have no other result than that of Noynoy being engulfed in the ever expanding vortex created by the pork barrel scam.

Dismissing the allegations against the Palace men, however, would erode the credibility of the good governance pretensions of Noynoy in the operations against his political opponents since it as an admission of the partisan nature of the pork barrel scam probe.

The options of Noynoy seem to get slimmer, the longer the pork barrel controversy is allowed to unfold its mysteries, the likely reason for the rush in the termination of the probe in the Senate but which the new testimonies of Napoles and the making public of the Luy files had forced its reopening.

The Palace needs to resolve its dilemma on the Napoles scandal quickly, before it sucks Noynoy and his whole administration. Published in Editorial

FROM MALAYA

THE PRESIDENT IS ALSO A POLITICIAN May 29, 2014 MALAYA EDITORIAL

PRESIDENT Aquino has broken his silence on the supposed wrongdoing of two Cabinet officials who Janet Lim Napoles said were her co-conspirators in the billion-peso pork barrel scam.

Show me the evidence, the President said.

He said he knows Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala personally.

The President extolled Abad saying the budget chief increased transparency in government by introducing bottom-up or participatory budgeting.

“Walang ginawa si Secretary Abad kung hindi ilantad ng ilantad iyong proseso ‘nung paano magbu-budget, paano ginagastos,” he said.

The President also said Abad stopped the practice of some people in using the General Appropriations Act to release funds even without a special allotment release order.

Aquino said he could not understand how Alcala supposedly got involved in the scam.

“At this point in time, I cannot see where there is direct involvement by Secretary Alcala in areas that are questionable.”

Napoles, in her sworn statement submitted to the Senate, said Alcala had signed the release of pork barrel funds to her fake foundations.

Aquino said from the start his administration was bracing for the possibility that Napoles would implicate countless individuals to muddle the issue.

“Habang dumadami ng dumadami, dumadami ng dumadami iyong iimbestigahan natin. Dulo kakaimbestiga, kakaimbestiga na-time’s up na tayo,” he said referring to his six-year term.

“Dati parang kinamumuhian si Mrs. Napoles. Ngayon, kapag nagsalita ka parang totoong-totoo ang sinasabi, paano kaya nangyari iyon?” Aquino asked.

We would like to ask the same question, Mr. President.

Despite her “special treatment” Napoles had the temerity to implicate two officials of the administration.

‘In the end, nothing will happen except immobilization of the three senators from the political opposition. Not even jail time.’ Category: Editorial

FROM PHILSTAR

The manipulator and manipulatee BABE’S EYE VIEW By Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2014 - 12:00am


Babe Romualdez

With so many lists, affidavits and deleted lists naming congressmen, senators, high officials, celebrities and media personalities who allegedly partook of the pork in the PDAF scam — the public is getting confused. But smart people know better — someone somewhere is pulling the strings and doing the manipulating, employing one of the strategies outlined by Sun Tzu in “The Art of War” where he said, “The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.”

But when you look closely at the strategy, it seems to be working — people are beginning to doubt the veracity and authenticity of the affidavits issued by both Benhur Luy and Janet Lim Napoles. In fact, the opposition and the administration are accusing each other of manufacturing conflicting versions of the PDAF scam list.

There’s the “Napolist,” the “Luystahan,” the “Ping me,” “ Oh Cam (on)” list, even the so-called “Na-delist.”

People implicated are hollering, “Cover up!” and accusing Malacañang of protecting its allies being alluded to in the pork fund scam.

On the other hand, the administration says the conflicting lists naming officials and politicians who supposedly received millions in kickbacks from ghost projects is an attempt to muddle the issues and discredit the investigation.

Obviously, Janet Lim Napoles is the main player here.

She already knows that she will never get immunity as a government witness — what with President Aquino himself already dashing her hopes when he said she appears to be the most guilty and hence, would not qualify as a state witness.

Her credibility and her list’s accuracy are also being doubted because of the “mistakes” in the two “official” lists she submitted.

The first official list included the name of Senator JV Ejercito as one of those who received pork kickbacks — but Napoles and her lawyer said an encoder mistakenly added the name of JV.

And now here comes neophyte congressman Gerald Gullas who questioned his inclusion in the list submitted to DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima — with Napoles and her lawyer admitting a mistake was made, saying a secretary may have assumed it was the newly elected representative whom Napoles supposedly transacted with instead of his grandfather, former congressman Eduardo Gullas. Add to that the fact that names seem to be added on an “episodal” basis.

On the other hand, Benhur’s “Luystahan” is also being questioned, with many politicians fulminating because of the inclusion of their names, saying both Napoles and Luy are probably crazy and hallucinating.

Many couldn’t help noticing the irony of the situation — with the administration now disowning the list of their star witness and principal whistleblower whose disclosures about the massive PDAF fund scam started all this in the first place.

Palace spokesperson Sonny Coloma already declared that the draft letters addressed to the President, Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa and some lawmakers have no “probative value.” So what happens next?

Instead of clearing the air, these affidavits and lists are simply provoking more questions than answers.

An example of just how crazy things can be is the inclusion of our friend Noel “Toti” Cariño in one of the digital files lifted from Luy’s computer as among those who allegedly transacted with Napoles in 2004.

I seem to recall that Toti holds the distinction of being the only Congressman who sat in office for just one day. He ran as Congressman for Pasig in 2001 – and spent two years and eight months protesting the results while his rival occupied what should have been his rightful place.

By the time the House Electoral Tribunal declared Cariño as the true winner of the 2001 Congressional contest and was subsequently sworn into office, it was already March 2, 2004 – the last session day of Congress. Which makes this Luy list look totally ridiculous and stupid.

How can congressman for a day Toti Cariño gobble up millions of pork in a single day?

The lawyers of Napoles aver she is “not the least guilty” but also insist that she is “not the most guilty” — something that many see is a clear admission by the accused pork scam queen that she is unquestionably guilty.

It could be that Janet Lim Napoles — despite projecting herself as a “humble” high school graduate who could not have conjured a syndicated scam of this magnitude — is really the manipulator working with some smart politicians as they cheat and con the manipulatee who are none other than the Filipino people.

Let’s face it, Janet Lim Napoles outsmarted the system for years and thought she could get away with it forever.

But like most stories, it always ends up with a Brutus or a Judas spilling the beans. So far the whistleblowers are enjoying immunity as star witnesses but in reality they, too, are manipulators who kept the systematic scam going for so many years.

A friend texted this message: “There are two kinds of people: taong manloloko, at taong naloloko. But there is also the third kind: taong luku-luko.

So the question is: Sino ba talaga ang niloloko nitong mga luko-luko?”

Double jeopardy

We received an emotional letter coming from a resident of Leyte who told us about the level of frustration and disappointment that has reached its limit. Feeling depressed and miserable because all that publicity about the billions pledged and donated by the international community — nothing has reached them.

“Our lives were ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda, but we are victims all over again — this time by public officials whose inadequacy and ineptitude in implementing the rehabilitation work is zero. We feel like rape victims – raped again by the very same people who are supposed to help us.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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