MANILA STANDARD: BONG'S WORLD

He is the bleeding hero, fallen and apparently conquered. But he is not giving up and he will rise again. He is the ultimate underdog. This basically sums up what Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. tried to do at the Senate on Monday, as he made a privilege speech upon being charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan in connection with his supposed channeling of his pork barrel funds through bogus NGOs and on to his personal pockets. To complete the package, Revilla’s congresswoman-wife sat by a corner of the gallery, weeping dutifully and cinematically. This is the same woman who famously said she was perfectly fine with pork barrel being stopped just as long as those needy constituents stop pestering her for help. Revilla’s arrest warrant—as well as those of fellow oppositionists Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada—may be due out soon, and who knows what kind of spectacle the public will be treated to upon their arrest. The senator from Cavite has always vehemently denied misusing his Priority development Allocation Fund. He has dismissed allegations as a way to frustrate his political future, and to persecute the Aquino administration’s political opponents. We believe, too, that the Aquino administration is being selective over the pork barrel mess, and hypocritical as well. That does not change the fact however that what Revilla did—playing a music video of an awful song he said he had composed, thanking his “friends”— was a new low for the Upper Chamber. Revilla, a movie star before he was a politician, built a solid political base from his fans. To them, he was always the good guy who somehow always found himself thrust in challenging situations and battling monstrous foes. In the end, he defeats them all—and gets the lovely girl besides. Unfortunately for us Filipinos, it has been difficult to snap out of this archetype mentality. We always look for stories even in real-life things like running a government. We have been conditioned to adore the scion of prominent ancestors, for instance, or abhor the wicked witch with the unpleasant voice, or support the lonely fight of an unlikely champion against wrongdoing. It’s good versus evil. Right versus wrong. Black versus white. READ MORE...

(ALSO) Former Prsident FVR: Philippine Independence, citizenship, and leadership

Citizenship, as we all know, is neither a just part-time job nor a casual hobby. It is an everyday obligation. Concerned citizens like you and me and our national and local leaders must, therefore, work harder then ever before – to develop more powerful Weapons of Mass Upliftment (WMUs) to be applied against mankind’s real enemies, foremost of which are poverty, corruption, greed, selfishness, complacency, disease, and climate change. Our WMUs begin with good governance, quality education, teamwork, creativity, pro-action, international cooperation, environmental protection, and other empowering qualities that lead to our country’s greater competitiveness and sustainable development in our fast-changing world. Once – some 116 years ago – we Filipinos were the models for all Southeast Asians in terms of attaining independent nationhood. Our nationalist revolution sparked by Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and Emilio Aguinaldo whose struggles led to colonial Asia’s first free and sovereign Republic. And there was a time – during the mid-1950s – when we seemed headed for long-term economic success, next only to a MacArthur-engineered Japan. The Early Katipunan -It is important for Filipinos to recall the early beginnings of our revolution against Spain – if only to appreciate the tremendous odds against its eventual success. History books tell us that on 12 April 1895 (Good Friday), a group of leaders of the Katipunan met in the secrecy of the Pamitinan Cave in Sitio Wawa, Montalban (now Rodriguez, Rizal Province) and inscribed on its walls: “Viva La Independencia de Filipinas!” There, the rebel leaders conspired to revolt for the cause of freedom. But more than just committing to rise against the Spaniards, they also organized a fighting force to spearhead the overthrow of the regime. They chose as their symbol of defiance the letter “K,” and in the battles that followed that symbol would be a potent weapon in itself – a badge of valor and image of what had, for centuries, been the people’s secret longing for independence. Today, as we reflect on these historic footsteps of the Katipunan made holy by its covenant with God, country and people – as manifested in its “Decalogo” (10 Commandments), we realize that the Katipuneros were driven by both their patriotic fervor and a holy cause – that of Pamathalaan – or Pamamahala na Kasama si Bathala (Governance with God as Companion). What took place at Pamitinan Cave was, essentially, a blood compact and commitment to a future of sacrifice and possible early death. Within months, the Katipunan under Andres Bonifacio had gathered enough strength to challenge the Spaniards, and launched a series of battles around Manila starting with the “Cry of Pugad Lawin” on 23 August 1896. Good Governance The Crucial Element -Our people’s strengths are our country’s strengths – but government’s weaknesses have become the nation’s weaknesses. The alarming but logical conclusion is that the primary blocks to Philippine modernization are the government’s dysfunctions. READ MORE...

(ALSO) Carmen N. Pedrosa: The chink in Aquino’s armor; Amal mom’s interview with ex-President GMA

It might have been a slip of the tongue if he were delivering his speech extemporaneously. But since he was reading from a draft, it means that he or his speechwriter had time to think about what he says. The chink in the armor is not so much about his alleged disdain for entertainers who would use their popularity to get into politics. Given the high office he has acquired without the necessary credentials, the finger would have been pointed at him. So why should he say it? Because it sounds nice, because it is reformist and would appeal to all those who have decided that he is a reformist and incorruptible. The chink I am talking about is his sincerity when he makes speeches. He seems to be rote-reading them (of course, with the help of the teleprompter) that it makes one wonder whether he means what it says. There has been more than one occasion when his spokespersons have had to “correct” what he said. So he comes out as insincere at best or a liar at worst. The offending part of the speech on Independence Day in Naga was against entertainers. “We do not need those whose words are merely dictated by scripts, nor do we need talented dancers or fantastic singers. Instead, it is our duty to create a Philippines more just and prosperous than that which we have come to know,” Aquino said. OMG. What a faux pas, coming from him whose sister is the prime example of entertainment popularity that helped him become president or the borrowed popularity from his parents. Did he have anything to show for his years as a congressman and as a senator that should have qualified him for the post he holds? He was, of course not talking about his election but the election of a president in 2016. Among names being tossed around as the Liberal Party candidate I don’t see any that would meet his qualification of a candidate “who could fight for the welfare of every citizen in the face of any kind of adversity.” * * * For the moment, plans for the wedding of Amal Alammudin and George Clooney are still unknown although movie magazines and bloggers are in a frenzy guessing where it will be held. One suggestion was the Highclerc Castle of Downton Abbey fame because Clooney loved the TV series; another is his fabulous house in Lake Como in Italy, or a quiet chapel in Montreal, Canada to ward off papparazis. There was even a suggestion that it will be held in Lebanon but this was pure hogwash from a blogger wanting to inject politics so it was quickly turned down. CONTINUE READING...

(ALSO) Babes Romualdez: Wiping out corruption or the opposition?

While the majority of Filipinos all over the world want to see justice served in the pork barrel scam, there is also a large number of Filipinos who are aware that there are many more involved outside of the three accused senators. Overseas Filipino workers groups in particular are being vigilant, monitoring the progression from the time it first broke in July 2013 to the Senate hearings, the disclosure and emergence of several lists containing the names of individuals. They are convinced that Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla are not the only ones involved but many more particularly allies of the administration. A large majority of Filipinos want to make sure that all those involved are made accountable. While they see it as a positive sign that charges have been filed by the Ombudsman, there is no doubt in people’s minds that there are many more individuals who took part in such a gargantuan scam that has obviously been going on for at least a decade. Just how deeply this issue goes can be seen in the clamor from multi-sectoral groups for President Aquino to prosecute everyone – and that means from the ranks of both the opposition and the administration – involved in the pork barrel fund scam regardless of political color or affiliation. One concern is that while the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (a.k.a. pork barrel) is unconstitutional, there is strong perception that the practice of “political patronage through budgetary allocations” continues and that it has merely taken on a new face and a new name with new mechanisms to allow people to go around the pork prohibition. CONTINUE READING...

(ALSO) Amado P. Macasaet: JPE, lawyer

Juan Ponce Enrile is the only one among three lawmakers indicted for the crime of plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam who has not said one word in his defense. Neither has be blamed anybody for his indictment. His case has been raffled to the first division of the Sandiganbayan. His silence does not send a message to the public of his innocence of guilt. He hardly talks to anybody about his case. I might have earned his friendship probably for listening to his wisdom about the law and the hardships he went through being a love child who grew up in utter penury until, according to his biography, his mother Petra Furugganan of the town of Gonzaga in Cagayan, told him his father was a famous lawyer. There were few occasions when I cried to him because my mother was also a love child who was completely neglected, ignored and for all purposes disowned by her well-to-do father. My mother went up to Grade II, not because her mother did not have money for her to go up to Grade III. She had to help in harvesting of palay so they can have enough to eat. They lived in the same barrio where I have a small farm up to this day. Don Alfonso Ponce Enrile summoned his son Juanito to his home in Malabon, Rizal to send him to school. After finishing law in the University of the Philippines he qualified for a masteral degree in Harvard University where he met Rafael Salas. They both served the Marcos government. That much I knew before Juan Ponce Enrile wrote his biography. He confided to me the hardships he went through in life. None of these, however, is remotely related to his being a brilliant lawyer. His rich experience in the court while working in the law office of his father who had a American partner named Perkins, must have helped him better understand the reality that what is said outside the court about a case does not necessarily bind the judge. Every time I told him about his plunder case, then still under investigation by the Sandiganbayan, he pointedly said “I will defend myself only in the courtroom, not anywhere else.” That explains his refusal to talk about his case in the Senate investigation and in media. He is fully aware of the fact that whatever is said of the accused outside the court does not necessarily have what lawyers call evidentiary value in the mind of a judge trying the case. CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Bong’s world
 

MANILA, JUNE 16, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) By Manila Standard Today - He is the bleeding hero, fallen and apparently conquered. But he is not giving up and he will rise again. He is the ultimate underdog.

This basically sums up what Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. tried to do at the Senate on Monday, as he made a privilege speech upon being charged with plunder before the Sandiganbayan in connection with his supposed channeling of his pork barrel funds through bogus NGOs and on to his personal pockets.

To complete the package, Revilla’s congresswoman-wife sat by a corner of the gallery, weeping dutifully and cinematically. This is the same woman who famously said she was perfectly fine with pork barrel being stopped just as long as those needy constituents stop pestering her for help.

Revilla’s arrest warrant—as well as those of fellow oppositionists Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada—may be due out soon, and who knows what kind of spectacle the public will be treated to upon their arrest.

The senator from Cavite has always vehemently denied misusing his Priority development Allocation Fund. He has dismissed allegations as a way to frustrate his political future, and to persecute the Aquino administration’s political opponents.

We believe, too, that the Aquino administration is being selective over the pork barrel mess, and hypocritical as well. That does not change the fact however that what Revilla did—playing a music video of an awful song he said he had composed, thanking his “friends”— was a new low for the Upper Chamber.

Revilla, a movie star before he was a politician, built a solid political base from his fans. To them, he was always the good guy who somehow always found himself thrust in challenging situations and battling monstrous foes. In the end, he defeats them all—and gets the lovely girl besides.

Unfortunately for us Filipinos, it has been difficult to snap out of this archetype mentality. We always look for stories even in real-life things like running a government. We have been conditioned to adore the scion of prominent ancestors, for instance, or abhor the wicked witch with the unpleasant voice, or support the lonely fight of an unlikely champion against wrongdoing. It’s good versus evil. Right versus wrong. Black versus white.

This may have consigned us to this state of affairs where we continue to pin our hopes on those who have made themselves out to be larger than life. And impose their trite compositions on us, by the way.

People are complicated. They are good and bad at the same time. But there are sound decisions and unsound ones. Sensible action and intolerable ones. People’s decisions should be made based not on personalities but on the quality of thoughts and actions their officials are capable of doing. What Revilla did does not make him a hero. It makes him a laughingstock.

FROM THE MANILA DAILY BULLETIN

Philippine Independence, citizenship, and leadership by Former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos June 14, 2014


by Former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos

Citizenship, as we all know, is neither a just part-time job nor a casual hobby. It is an everyday obligation. Concerned citizens like you and me and our national and local leaders must, therefore, work harder then ever before – to develop more powerful Weapons of Mass Upliftment (WMUs) to be applied against mankind’s real enemies, foremost of which are poverty, corruption, greed, selfishness, complacency, disease, and climate change.

Our WMUs begin with good governance, quality education, teamwork, creativity, pro-action, international cooperation, environmental protection, and other empowering qualities that lead to our country’s greater competitiveness and sustainable development in our fast-changing world.

Once – some 116 years ago – we Filipinos were the models for all Southeast Asians in terms of attaining independent nationhood. Our nationalist revolution sparked by Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and Emilio Aguinaldo whose struggles led to colonial Asia’s first free and sovereign Republic. And there was a time – during the mid-1950s – when we seemed headed for long-term economic success, next only to a MacArthur-engineered Japan.

The Early Katipunan

It is important for Filipinos to recall the early beginnings of our revolution against Spain – if only to appreciate the tremendous odds against its eventual success. History books tell us that on 12 April 1895 (Good Friday), a group of leaders of the Katipunan met in the secrecy of the Pamitinan Cave in Sitio Wawa, Montalban (now Rodriguez, Rizal Province) and inscribed on its walls: “Viva La Independencia de Filipinas!”

There, the rebel leaders conspired to revolt for the cause of freedom. But more than just committing to rise against the Spaniards, they also organized a fighting force to spearhead the overthrow of the regime. They chose as their symbol of defiance the letter “K,” and in the battles that followed that symbol would be a potent weapon in itself – a badge of valor and image of what had, for centuries, been the people’s secret longing for independence.

Today, as we reflect on these historic footsteps of the Katipunan made holy by its covenant with God, country and people – as manifested in its “Decalogo” (10 Commandments), we realize that the Katipuneros were driven by both their patriotic fervor and a holy cause – that of Pamathalaan – or Pamamahala na Kasama si Bathala (Governance with God as Companion).

What took place at Pamitinan Cave was, essentially, a blood compact and commitment to a future of sacrifice and possible early death. Within months, the Katipunan under Andres Bonifacio had gathered enough strength to challenge the Spaniards, and launched a series of battles around Manila starting with the “Cry of Pugad Lawin” on 23 August 1896.

Good Governance The Crucial Element

Our people’s strengths are our country’s strengths – but government’s weaknesses have become the nation’s weaknesses. The alarming but logical conclusion is that the primary blocks to Philippine modernization are the government’s dysfunctions.

So what are citizens to do?

In our globalized world, good governance has become the crucial element in a country’s competitiveness. We must insist that government – in its every branch, every department, every agency, and every local government unit – should begin dealing seriously and consistently with the hindrances to our people’s competitiveness in the world. We, the sovereign and concerned citizenry, must make Philippine governance worthy of the Filipino.

If countries need iron ore, financial capital, scientists, or whatever, they can nowadays “outsource” such essential requirements. Manpower, materials, capital, and even intellectual resources no longer hold the key to competitiveness – because countries which lack any of these resources can “import” or “outsource” them.

The only thing that countries cannot outsource is good government – which must be homegrown – along with national solidarity, competence, teamwork, and other cherished values.

Good governance must be developed and strengthened in-country – and we Filipinos must require it as the unswerving duty of leaders in order to attain our better future. To make this happen, we must raise our collective voices, integrate our collective efforts, and use our collective votes.

Strategic Tasks of Government

The government we need is one that knows its priorities – and which is both tough enough and smart enough – to achieve them. We see government’s urgent, continuing priorities as the following:

First – government should strive, earnestly and decisively, to help the Filipino poor help themselves – because poverty is the mother of our problems. As our revolutionary leaders demonstrated, self-help and self-reliance are powerful WMUs. Direct action against mass poverty should focus on poor people’s most urgent personal needs: avoiding illnesses, having decent homes, completing basic education, accessing equal opportunities to climb upward, and having enough food every day.

Second – government’s basic role is to provide the framework within which people’s enterprise can flourish. That framework has four components:

(a) Political stability and civil order, without which no enterprise can prosper sustainably;

(b) The rule of law that assures a level playing field of competition and the validity of business contracts;

(c) A sound macro-economic policy environment which guarantees predictable planning factors, a stable currency, and reasonable prices for people’s basic needs; and

(d) The physical infrastructure needed for people’s mobility which private industry cannot itself provide. This includes not only telecommunications, roads/bridges, uninterrupted power supply, seaports/airports, water systems, etc. but also investments in human capital – in healthcare, education, skills training, cultural assets, technology transfer, and the like.

Our priority economic principle should be to reduce government’s power to decide winners and losers in business, by curtailing its authority to award or withhold incentives, subsidies, concessions, and franchises. But “free enterprise” should not mean enterprise free of public accountability.

Fighting Corruption

Apart from mass poverty, corruption is the other major drag on the Philippine economy which, ultimately, affects the higher quality of life to which we all aspire. Corruption in government today has become endemic and pervasive.

How are we to check it? The obvious starting point is an honest-to-goodness “back-to-basics” program within government that would instill a greater sense of patriotism, ethical behavior and accountability in public service.

Life-style checks on officials at all levels must be made regularly, without fear or favor. On the other hand, authorities must detect, expose, and punish bribe-givers who are perennially greedy and unmindful about others.

The discretionary power of the administrative bureaucracy we must reduce by greater transparency in policy-making – and by institutionalized monitoring and control thru citizen participation.

We should also reduce, if not eliminate, the influence that “money politics” exerts on our fragile democracy – particularly now that pork barrels, financial scams and narco-profits are assuming alarming dimensions.

National reforms we must complement with similar efforts at the local level. The local government unit, after all, is the face of State authority and leadership that ordinary people see most often.

Competing In The “Knowledge Society”

Basically, we need to prepare our young people to compete and prevail in the “knowledge society.” Scientific discoveries and technological inventions are opening new frontiers for humankind in today’s world.

Value today is created by “productivity” and “innovation” – both of which are applications of knowledge put to work. And, the most successful economic groups are those who best know how to allocate knowledge to productive use.

What each young Filipino will get out of education should, ideally, be an open and active mind that keeps one eager to discover things for oneself. Indeed, an inquiring mind is the best companion not only for one’s initial ventures – but for a lifetime! The higher purpose of education is to teach young people to teach themselves. And, after acquiring formal education one continues to cultivate habits of curiosity and study, then that fortunate person will be learning throughout his/her lifetime.

That is why dialogue and consultation plus books, newspapers, magazines, radio-television networks, and multimedia in its totality constitute one of mankind’s most powerful WMUs.

DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY

IF WE ARE TO IMPROVE OUR CIRCUMSTANCES, WE MUST HAVE THE COURAGE TO CHANGE OURSELVES. IN OUR FINEST MOMENTS AS A PEOPLE, WE FILIPINOS HAVE PROVED OURSELVES CAPABLE OF HEIGHTS OF COMPETITIVENESS, PATRIOTISM, HEROISM AND SACRIFICE.

OUR COURAGEOUS STRUGGLES OF TWO CENTURIES AGO WERE HIGHLIGHTED BY OUR NATIONALIST MOVEMENTS FOR INDEPENDENCE CULMINATING WITH THE AGUINALDO DECLARATION AT KAWIT, CAVITE ON 12 JUNE 1898; BY THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY IN BATAAN, CORREGIDOR AND COUNTRYWIDE DURING WWII FROM 1942 TO 1945; AND BY OUR PEACEFUL PEOPLE POWER REVOLUTION THAT ENDED DICTATORSHIP IN FEBRUARY 1986.

WE CANNOT REST AFTER EACH TRIAL THAT TESTS OUR RESILIENCE AS A PEOPLE. NATION-BUILDING IS A NEVER-ENDING ENDEAVOR. SUCCESSOR LEADERS AND YOUNGER GENERATIONS MUST CONTINUE TO COMPETE, ADVANCE AND SUCCEED BETTER THAN THEIR ELDERS AND PREDECESSORS.

STRIVING EVER UPWARD TO THE NEXT HIGHER LEVEL OF EXCELLENCE SHOULD BE THE LOGICAL PROCESS FOR FILIPINOS IN ORDER TO ATTAIN A BETTER FUTURE.

KAYA NATIN ITO!!!

AND, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY AND GRANDFATHER’S DAY TO ALL OF US!!!

Please send any comments to fvr@rpdev.org. Copies of articles are available at www.rpdev.org.

FROM PHILSTAR

The chink in Aquino’s armor; Amal mom’s interview with ex-President GMA FROM A DISTANCE By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 15, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


By Carmen N. Pedrosa

It might have been a slip of the tongue if he were delivering his speech extemporaneously. But since he was reading from a draft, it means that he or his speechwriter had time to think about what he says.

The chink in the armor is not so much about his alleged disdain for entertainers who would use their popularity to get into politics. Given the high office he has acquired without the necessary credentials, the finger would have been pointed at him. So why should he say it? Because it sounds nice, because it is reformist and would appeal to all those who have decided that he is a reformist and incorruptible.

The chink I am talking about is his sincerity when he makes speeches. He seems to be rote-reading them (of course, with the help of the teleprompter) that it makes one wonder whether he means what it says. There has been more than one occasion when his spokespersons have had to “correct” what he said. So he comes out as insincere at best or a liar at worst.

The offending part of the speech on Independence Day in Naga was against entertainers. “We do not need those whose words are merely dictated by scripts, nor do we need talented dancers or fantastic singers. Instead, it is our duty to create a Philippines more just and prosperous than that which we have come to know,” Aquino said. OMG. What a faux pas, coming from him whose sister is the prime example of entertainment popularity that helped him become president or the borrowed popularity from his parents. Did he have anything to show for his years as a congressman and as a senator that should have qualified him for the post he holds?

He was, of course not talking about his election but the election of a president in 2016. Among names being tossed around as the Liberal Party candidate I don’t see any that would meet his qualification of a candidate “who could fight for the welfare of every citizen in the face of any kind of adversity.”

* * *

For the moment, plans for the wedding of Amal Alammudin and George Clooney are still unknown although movie magazines and bloggers are in a frenzy guessing where it will be held. One suggestion was the Highclerc Castle of Downton Abbey fame because Clooney loved the TV series; another is his fabulous house in Lake Como in Italy, or a quiet chapel in Montreal, Canada to ward off papparazis. There was even a suggestion that it will be held in Lebanon but this was pure hogwash from a blogger wanting to inject politics so it was quickly turned down.

The case for the human right violation in the incarceration of former President without conviction is now in the hands of Amal’s law firm, the redoubtable Doughty Street Chambers which has become known for taking up the most difficult and controversial cases.


Fled: Baria and Ramzi Alamuddin fled war-torn Beirut with their young daughter Amal and moved to the UK. Baria now lives in Buckinghamshire, UK, while Ramzi moved back to Lebanon in 1991 PHOTO COURTESY OF DAILY MAIL DOT COM DOT UK

It is Amal’s mom, my beautiful friend Baria who was a frequent visitor to Manila and has interviewed every Philippine President (except the present one) since the Edsa Revolution. She interviewed former President GMA as well.

In this interview the former president focused on her valedictory as president of the Philippines for nine years. Western and local media portray her as the most unpopular president of the Philippines but this is not the whole picture. She may be unpopular but as she has said she did not become President to be popular. She pushed many unpopular measures to put the country in the right direction.

“The job is unfinished but in our presidential system the centerpiece of democracy are elections no matter how counter productive. It forecloses on stability and continuity that would have been possible if we had a parliamentary system.

She ends her administration with a high note of 7.3% GDP in first quarter of the year, one of the highest in decades when she bows out. That is the benchmark that the incoming administration will have to match.”

* * *

MISCELLANY: Do we have another Paulino Alcántara, the Filipino who became a legend in football history, in the making? I saw the post among football fans in FB about Alexander de Guzman who is a Dutch professional footballer who plays for Swansea City. He is said to be on loan from Villarreal CF, as an attacking midfielder.

According to Wikipedia “De Guzmán is Canadian born, but made himself available for the Netherlands after he gained Dutch citizenship in 2008. He was capped four times for the Netherlands U21, scoring three goals and was active on the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. De Guzmán progressed through the Feyenoord Academy, making his first team debut in 2005 and has played over 100 matches for the club from Rotterdam. In the summer of 2010 de Guzmán signed a three-year contract with RCD Mallorca following a free transfer. The following summer he was purchased by Villarreal.

De Guzmán is also known for being a free-kick specialist.

And of importance is the entry that says De Guzmán was born in Scarborough, Ontario and is of Jamaican and Filipino descent. His father, Bobby, is from the Philippines, and his mother Pauline, from Jamaica. The De Guzman family came to Canada when their children were very young. He has other siblings in football, Guzmán’s older brother, Julian de Guzmán, is also a professional football player, who currently plays for Skoda Xanthi F.C.

It makes one wonder why with Filipinos making world records in football that not enough effort in making it the national sport instead of basketball.

“His father first wanted his sons to play basketball, but due to the brothers’ short height, they started to focus on other sports. Once they started playing football, the brothers fell in love with the sport completely: “After school, all we did was playing football. That was pretty unusual in Canada, because almost nobody of our age did it. Canada is not a football country, we were exceptions.” This should be a boost to Correct Movement’s Shift in Sports, Shift in Politics. Look into it in www.bayanko.org.ph

* * *

We received an invitation to a press conference to announce the winners of the 2014 Search for the The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS) of the Metrobank Foundation. The foundation is working together with the Rotary Club of Makati for the awards.

For the past 15 years, MBFI, in partnership with RCMM, annually holds the Search for TOPS “to honor the gallant men and women of the Armed Forces who go beyond expectations, and to highlight their achievements and efforts toward nation building and development.”

Wiping out corruption or the opposition? BABE’S EYE VIEW By Babe Romualdez (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 15, 2014 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


By Babe Romualdez

While the majority of Filipinos all over the world want to see justice served in the pork barrel scam, there is also a large number of Filipinos who are aware that there are many more involved outside of the three accused senators.

Overseas Filipino workers groups in particular are being vigilant, monitoring the progression from the time it first broke in July 2013 to the Senate hearings, the disclosure and emergence of several lists containing the names of individuals. They are convinced that Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla are not the only ones involved but many more particularly allies of the administration.

A large majority of Filipinos want to make sure that all those involved are made accountable. While they see it as a positive sign that charges have been filed by the Ombudsman, there is no doubt in people’s minds that there are many more individuals who took part in such a gargantuan scam that has obviously been going on for at least a decade.

Just how deeply this issue goes can be seen in the clamor from multi-sectoral groups for President Aquino to prosecute everyone – and that means from the ranks of both the opposition and the administration – involved in the pork barrel fund scam regardless of political color or affiliation.

One concern is that while the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Priority Development Assistance Fund (a.k.a. pork barrel) is unconstitutional, there is strong perception that the practice of “political patronage through budgetary allocations” continues and that it has merely taken on a new face and a new name with new mechanisms to allow people to go around the pork prohibition.

What the administration needs to avoid is the perception that there is selectiveness in prosecuting and indicting individuals.

“There seems to be selective justice. We are all aware that many people are involved and yet only three are charged,” said Integrated Bar of the Philippines president Vicente Joyas, in obvious reference to the other legislators included in the “lists” of star witness Benhur Luy and alleged pork scam queen Janet Lim Napoles.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has also come under fire for what people say has been “piecemeal” disclosure and the “by batch” (or “by botch” as some call it) filing of cases believed to be connected with the P10-bilion pork barrel scam allegedly pulled off by Janet Napoles.

De Lima’s revelation that “a little more” lawmakers compared to the first and second batch of cases would be covered was also received with a bit of skepticism and comments about “overpromising and under-delivering.”

If one could recall, the first batch of cases named 39 respondents, eight of whom are former and current legislators. In the second batch, 34 were covered with seven of them revealed to be former Congressmen.

And yet people are incredulous, their sentiments articulated by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo who asked, “Why is it they focus on the three senators in the opposition though we know there are also those in the administration who should be held accountable, too?”

In any case, many Filipinos see the filing of charges as a good development, since many were getting restless at what they perceived to be some kind of “foot dragging” as far as the progress of the case is concerned.

On the other hand there are also many who are advocating caution, believing that “haste makes waste” and giving in to pressure (from where or whom people can only guess at) will result in weakening the case.

Some people have suggested the creation of two special courts or two special divisions from the Supreme Court to “exclusively try and conduct continuous trial” of the anticipated large number of pork barrel-related cases expected to be filed.

However, there are also legal luminaries who are convinced it is not wise to create two special divisions precisely to avoid the perception of politics from coloring the treatment of the cases.

No less than Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has also weighed in on the issue, reminding everyone not to take shortcuts, to let the rule of law prevail and due process take its course.

“While I understand your impatience and your desire to see action, the process is not that simple because we have chosen to submit ourselves to the rule of law. We must avoid shortcuts,” she said in the vernacular, reiterating that this is the only way to solve the deep-seated problems in our society and government.

Those who agree with Chief Justice Sereno also point out that “mob mentality” will only set us back, remembering the impeachment trial of then president Joseph Estrada and that infamous walkout by Senator-Judges that resulted in the so-called Edsa Dos that gave Gloria Arroyo a nine-year term as president.

People complain about VIPs getting special treatment and comfortable accommodations in prison, but in the same token, just because the accused senators are VIPs doesn’t mean they should be tried in special “express” courts either. This could very well be interpreted as exacting retribution by shortcutting due process and the rule of law.

With only two years left for this administration, there is a strong possibility the trial of these cases will not be concluded by 2016.

The key to this whole exercise is for people to see that Lady Justice remains blind and will not tip the scales to one side or another because of political color — “red” or “yellow.” What everybody wants to see is wiping out corruption – not wiping out the opposition.

FROM MALAYA BUSINESS INSIGHTS

JPE, lawyer By Amado P. Macasaet | June 16, 2014 MALAYA


By Amado P. Macasaet

Juan Ponce Enrile is the only one among three lawmakers indicted for the crime of plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam who has not said one word in his defense. Neither has be blamed anybody for his indictment. His case has been raffled to the first division of the Sandiganbayan.

His silence does not send a message to the public of his innocence of guilt. He hardly talks to anybody about his case.

I might have earned his friendship probably for listening to his wisdom about the law and the hardships he went through being a love child who grew up in utter penury until, according to his biography, his mother Petra Furugganan of the town of Gonzaga in Cagayan, told him his father was a famous lawyer.

There were few occasions when I cried to him because my mother was also a love child who was completely neglected, ignored and for all purposes disowned by her well-to-do father.

My mother went up to Grade II, not because her mother did not have money for her to go up to Grade III. She had to help in harvesting of palay so they can have enough to eat.

They lived in the same barrio where I have a small farm up to this day.

Don Alfonso Ponce Enrile summoned his son Juanito to his home in Malabon, Rizal to send him to school.

After finishing law in the University of the Philippines he qualified for a masteral degree in Harvard University where he met Rafael Salas.

They both served the Marcos government. That much I knew before Juan Ponce Enrile wrote his biography. He confided to me the hardships he went through in life.

None of these, however, is remotely related to his being a brilliant lawyer. His rich experience in the court while working in the law office of his father who had a American partner named Perkins, must have helped him better understand the reality that what is said outside the court about a case does not necessarily bind the judge.

Every time I told him about his plunder case, then still under investigation by the Sandiganbayan, he pointedly said “I will defend myself only in the courtroom, not anywhere else.”

That explains his refusal to talk about his case in the Senate investigation and in media. He is fully aware of the fact that whatever is said of the accused outside the court does not necessarily have what lawyers call evidentiary value in the mind of a judge trying the case.

The judge, needless to say, renders a ruling based on the evidence presented before him by the litigants. He is not bound to rule based on what he hears in Senate investigations and media reports.

Juan Ponce Enrile, accused of plunder in connection with the pork scandal, is aware of that fact having masterfully presided over the impeachment court that convicted Chief Justice Renato Corona.

It is worth noting that JPE was Senate President in the last years of the Arroyo regime.

President Aquino had his allies in the Senate. Why President Aquino decided to keep him as Senate President is a question that only the Chief Executive can answer. He has not been asked. He does not explain.

President Aquino has been accused of rigging the filing of plunder charges against JPE and two of his junior colleagues.

If the accusation has any tinge of truth, President Aquino is an ingrate. He caused the filing of charges against the man who presided over the impeachment court that impeached the Chief Justice he seemed to hate with a passion, probably on the belief that if Corona were to be allowed to stay longer as Chief Magistrate he would herd his court towards the acquittal of many charges to be filed against Gloria Arroyo.

Enrile never thought that President Aquino owes him a favor in convicting Corona. He did his job as judge of the impeachment court, not for the Chief Executive but for the law.

He explained to his peers in the senate sitting as judges in the impeachment trial the import of evidence against Corona and how it violates the Constitution and the laws.

The Senate convicted Corona. The conviction removed a thorn from the President’s neck. JPE is now on trial. He will defend himself.

He will present to the Sandigan evidence of his innocence while the prosecution tried to prove his guilt.

The resolution of all cases is a battle of evidence, not by the volume of noise generated in the Senate investigations.

Enrile is coming close to being a centenarian. His mind is sharp as ever. One day, he recited to me Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in the Country Church Yard. I retained in my memory one of two stanzas of the famous poem. I told JPE to stop. The poem is too long.

I thought I had to make known the fact that as lawyer JPE knows he will be acquitted or convicted base on how the collegial first division of the Sandigan will evaluate the evidence for him and against him.

Nothing else matters to the case or to the minds of the collegial court.

As the shadows of life lengthen on Enrile, he has not lost the meaning of the difference between politics and the law.

The law will reign supreme over politics. He will rise or fall on that belief, a belief that only lawyers like Enrile never forget.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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