STANDARD EDITORIAL: DAY OF RECKONING

PRESIDENT Aquino may be so consumed by the impending plunder trial of three political opponents that he may fail to see that his own day of reckoning fast approaches. When that day arrives, he will be made to account for a litany of sins that he will no longer be able to blame on his predecessor. Certainly, he must be made to answer for the misuse of billions of pesos in public funds through the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program set up by his trusted lieutenant, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. In the guise of pump-priming the economy, the program enabled Mr. Aquino to funnel government funds to lawmakers who voted to impeach and convict his political nemesis, the sitting chief justice, in one stroke violating budget laws, threatening the independence of the judiciary and corrupting the legislature. Mr. Aquino will also be held accountable for protecting, then exonerating without investigating Abad and other cronies who were implicated in the pork barrel scam, making a mockery of his own “straight-path” policy. The President must also be held responsible for the rampant human rights abuses during his watch, including the murder of journalists, 27 of them to date since Mr. Aquino came to power, and other instances of summary executions and forced disappearances. The situation is so serious, in fact, that special rapporteurs from the United Nations are scheduled to visit the Philippines to conduct an independent investigation into the extrajudicial killings, escalating rights violations, government neglect, forced evictions and extreme poverty. READ MORE...

(ALSO) By Conrado de Quiros: Adulterated victory

Will the charge that P-Noy is coddling allies dilute the impact of the indictment of Johnny Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla? No and yes. An equivocation doubtless, but not an unjustified one. There are all sorts of angles, or nuances, here. The charge of course was made by the thousand or so activists who marched to Liwasang Bonifacio last Thursday to press for freedom from pork. Indicting the three senators is all very well, they said, but what about the others? Specifically, what about Butch Abad and Proceso Alcala who have been linked to the pork scam by Janet Napoles herself? “We are here to express our outrage over the current system… over government’s lack of political will in prosecuting the many plunderers who have emptied government coffers, who have stolen from the people. What we want is to hold everyone involved accountable.” President Aquino clearly had this at the back of his mind when he spoke in Naga City at the Independence Day rites. There was nothing political in the indictment of the three senators. “We could have done this in haste without any strong basis just to destroy the names of those linked to the controversy… But we followed the correct process. We opened an investigation, gathered evidence, and ultimately filed charges.” Is P-Noy believable when he says this? Yes. In so far as this goes, he has nothing to worry about. The notion that he had partisan political interests in mind when he went after the three senators will not find many converts. This has been altogether an exceedingly popular move, as seen easily from its obverse side, which is Bong Revilla’s exceedingly unpopular speech last week, where he tried to depict his and his fellows’ impending incarceration as an attempt by government to undermine the opposition. Most people have little doubt about P-Noy’s impartiality in this case—they were his allies after all in the impeachment of Renato Corona. As with Corona, most people have little doubt about their guilt. To belabor the point, this is what distinguishes Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s prosecution of Joseph Estrada and P-Noy’s prosecution of the three senators. In the first, naked self-interest was patent: Arroyo’s survival depended on doing away with Erap. In the second, who the hell cares about the so-called opposition? To go by the 2000 and 2013 elections, it existed only in the minds of the losers. Why want to do anything about an entity that is bent on self-destructing? READ MORE...

(ALSO) By Ninez Cacho-Olivares: In the time of dirty politics and justice

Sandiganbayan’s spokesman told media the other day that, despite the many motions filed by the accused, whose resolutions are seen to delay the issuance of the arrest warrants and arraignments, the justices know to fast track the resolution of the motions. The reality is, with millions of eyes focused on the Sandiganbayan, and the fact that these plunder and graft cases are highly political, the justices, who fear being criticized by the usual yellow crowd, as they may be seen, in the eyes of the yellows and anti-Enrile, anti-Estrada and anti-Revilla groups, as not doing what these yellows and the Palace tenant want, which is to have them arrested and detained at the soonest possible time.
Already, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VAAC) has come out to announce that it will stalk the homes and offices of the accused senators, and even ensure a citizens arrest. This is the same VACC that had accused Hubert Webb and other teenagers of raping and murdering a Vizconde girl, portraying and pronouncing them as guilty of the twin crimes, even when they should have been presumed innocent. In the end, after spending close to two decades in jail, the high court finally ruled that Webb and his co-accused were not guilty of the crime. Yet the VACC has not learned its lesson of placing in jail those who are innocent of the crime. The justices are expected to just deny whatever motions the senators have filed. There is even doubt that the justices will really read and study the motions or even rule on their merits. That’s the reality, given the fact that the cases are highly political and a president that wields influence over the courts. READ MORE...

(ALSO) Tribune Editorial: Noynoy’s royal seal

Even the influential Catholic Church has expressed its doubts over the true purpose of the filing of charges related to the pork barrel scam making it stand known that “when justice is selective, it is not justice at all.” Plunder charges were filed last Friday mainly on Palace-targeted senators Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. with their arrest imminent before the key State of the Nation Address (Sona) of Noynoy next month, which will be his second to the last before his term expires on 2016.
The Sona highlight would be predictably related to good governance and his administration’s campaign against corruption in government with the detained legislators as a backdrop of the speech. The economy is losing steam with a 5.7 percent growth in the first quarter, which was lower than all expectations, thus, putting a damper on plans to make it as a highlight of Noynoy’s Sona. The Church warning, despite general perceptions that its clout with the populace has all weakened, particularly reflected in the Reproductive Health debate which it clearly lost despite its warnings of hell and brimstone on those supporting it, remains significant since the population, 80 percent of whom are Catholics, has been waiting for guidance on the issue. The Church had made a stand during past protest actions that pork barrel in whatever form, or strictly all discretionary funds whether or not these are in the budget should be removed, including the P1 trillion pork barrel of Noynoy in the budget called the Special Purpose Funds and P150 billion in juggled funds to the Disbursement Acceleration Program. Its stand remains vague regarding the administration of Noynoy’s pursuit of the charges related to the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam suit. Noynoy is claiming moral high ground in the direction of the cases being filed saying that the charging of the three senators is but a natural consequence of the pursuit of clean governance. The double-standard, however, is very clear in the full-scale legal offensive of the government only against the three senators when the pork barrel scandal involved nearly all branches of government including 100 legislators and key Cabinet men of Noynoy. READ MORE...

ALSO: Bong, stop it, please

This is no longer funny. This is not another shallow movie wherein the leading man gets to toy, again and again, with the hysterical values of poor over-emotional fans. The censors board has no jurisdiction over this obscenity. But it’s the turn of the gullible public to stand up and be counted. * * * You owe it to yourself to preserve self-respect by rejecting this idiotic self-advertisement. Last heard of, actor Bong Revilla was seen rallying poor residents in a metro community to support him in his defense of the plunder case filed against him and two colleagues in the Senate, Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.A front page item in the Inquirer on Monday said Revilla “is making the rounds of communities to defend himself in the face of allegations that he plundered his pork barrel allocations.” Revilla explained that his tour of communities prior to his arrest would allow him to validate Malacañang’s “new media team’s findings that 99.93 percent of netizens had a negative reaction to his privilege speech on June 10,” the report added. “Our countrymen still love me even if a lot of minds have been poisoned in this pork barrel controversy,” Revilla said. * * * Enough is enough. CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Day of reckoning
 

MANILA, JUNE 23, 2014 (MANILA STANDARD) By Manila Standard - PRESIDENT Aquino may be so consumed by the impending plunder trial of three political opponents that he may fail to see that his own day of reckoning fast approaches.

When that day arrives, he will be made to account for a litany of sins that he will no longer be able to blame on his predecessor.

Certainly, he must be made to answer for the misuse of billions of pesos in public funds through the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program set up by his trusted lieutenant, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. In the guise of pump-priming the economy, the program enabled Mr. Aquino to funnel government funds to lawmakers who voted to impeach and convict his political nemesis, the sitting chief justice, in one stroke violating budget laws, threatening the independence of the judiciary and corrupting the legislature.

Mr. Aquino will also be held accountable for protecting, then exonerating without investigating Abad and other cronies who were implicated in the pork barrel scam, making a mockery of his own “straight-path” policy.

The President must also be held responsible for the rampant human rights abuses during his watch, including the murder of journalists, 27 of them to date since Mr. Aquino came to power, and other instances of summary executions and forced disappearances.

The situation is so serious, in fact, that special rapporteurs from the United Nations are scheduled to visit the Philippines to conduct an independent investigation into the extrajudicial killings, escalating rights violations, government neglect, forced evictions and extreme poverty.

The special rapporteurs will also look specifically into the government’s slow response to the needs of the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda, seven months after the killer typhoon flattened Eastern Visayas, despite the outpouring of aid from the rest of the world.

But Mr. Aquino is accountable for even more than that. Now lawmakers, many of them administration allies, are demanding an accounting, too, of international aid donated in the wake of tropical storm Ondoy, which inundated Metro Manila in 2009. Of the estimated P16 billion in donations that came in for climate change management after Ondoy, P15 billion came into the country after Mr. Aquino came to power, yet his government has not accounted for how all this money was spent.

Finally, Mr. Aquino must answer for his dismal record of infrastructure development and his complete failure to ensure that industries and consumers alike have access to reliable and affordable electricity.

When his term ends in 2016, Filipinos will want to know what Mr. Aquino did with the six years that were given him—and they will no longer be appeased by the jailing of a former president and three opposition senators.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Adulterated victory By Conrado de Quiros Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:01 am | Monday, June 16th, 2014


By Conrado de Quiros

Will the charge that P-Noy is coddling allies dilute the impact of the indictment of Johnny Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla?

No and yes.

An equivocation doubtless, but not an unjustified one. There are all sorts of angles, or nuances, here.

The charge of course was made by the thousand or so activists who marched to Liwasang Bonifacio last Thursday to press for freedom from pork.

Indicting the three senators is all very well, they said, but what about the others? Specifically, what about Butch Abad and Proceso Alcala who have been linked to the pork scam by Janet Napoles herself? “We are here to express our outrage over the current system… over government’s lack of political will in prosecuting the many plunderers who have emptied government coffers, who have stolen from the people. What we want is to hold everyone involved accountable.”

President Aquino clearly had this at the back of his mind when he spoke in Naga City at the Independence Day rites.

There was nothing political in the indictment of the three senators. “We could have done this in haste without any strong basis just to destroy the names of those linked to the controversy… But we followed the correct process. We opened an investigation, gathered evidence, and ultimately filed charges.”

Is P-Noy believable when he says this?

Yes. In so far as this goes, he has nothing to worry about. The notion that he had partisan political interests in mind when he went after the three senators will not find many converts. This has been altogether an exceedingly popular move, as seen easily from its obverse side, which is Bong Revilla’s exceedingly unpopular speech last week, where he tried to depict his and his fellows’ impending incarceration as an attempt by government to undermine the opposition.

Most people have little doubt about P-Noy’s impartiality in this case—they were his allies after all in the impeachment of Renato Corona. As with Corona, most people have little doubt about their guilt.

To belabor the point, this is what distinguishes Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s prosecution of Joseph Estrada and P-Noy’s prosecution of the three senators.

In the first, naked self-interest was patent: Arroyo’s survival depended on doing away with Erap.

In the second, who the hell cares about the so-called opposition?

To go by the 2000 and 2013 elections, it existed only in the minds of the losers. Why want to do anything about an entity that is bent on self-destructing?

The fact that the three senators have been indicted, which makes it possible for them to be arrested anytime, negates the idea that government lacks the political will to prosecute plunderers.

Arguably, it’s not all the plunderers, arguably it does not include—or hasn’t as yet included—government allies. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and indicting the three senators (and sundry congressmen) who first figured in the scam is the best place to start.

First come, first served. Not quite incidentally, it wasn’t government that put them first in line, it was the exposés, not least the Inquirer’s. If this does not dispel the charge of selective justice, it at least greatly diminishes it.

But now comes the tricky part. Government hasn’t yet investigated and prosecuted possibly erring allies. But the question is: Will it ever do it? That’s where government’s resolve to ferret out and punish all evildoers falls under a cloud of doubt.

Arguably, no ample, detailed, and unassailable evidence has been laid out against P-Noy’s allies, in particular Abad and Alcala. Other than the word of Napoles herself. \

But you can always show at least an openness to investigate it. More than that, you can always bestir yourself to investigate it. After all, you believed Napoles when she said those things against Johnny, Jinggoy and Bong. Which brings us to the real problem, one that hasn’t escaped the general public, quite apart from the activists.

Attitude.

The attitude specifically of being loath to touch allies. No, more than that, the attitude specifically of dismissing accusations against them and defending them to death. It’s knee-jerk. It’s reflex.

Look at the way P-Noy himself greeted Napoles’ revised version of her list, which included Abad and Alcala.

Which was to sweep it aside and say Napoles was simply trying to confuse the issue to divert the public’s attention from the three senators. For reasons only she can say, which are likely unsavory.

Is it possible? Yes. Jun Magsaysay had nothing to do with it and found his name there. But the unwillingness to even look, let alone askance, at the other names is pretty telling.

Indeed, look at the swiftness and vigor with which government defends allies when the evidence against them is fairly formidable.

Al Vitangcol was accused by the Czech ambassador of trying to extort money from them and Edwin Lacierda came out swinging—at the Czech ambassador.

The ambassador, he said, was just pissed off that a compatriot of his didn’t get a train contract. How many administrations, including Gloria Arroyo’s, has had officials that were openly accused by an ambassador of extortion? And did nothing about it?

I’ve no problems with focusing on Enrile, Estrada and Revilla. I’ve said it again and again, first things first.

But that principle draws its validity and power only from another principle, which is, second things second.

Jailing the three senators will be satisfying—and educational—in that it is not politically motivated and went through due process.

But not even entertaining that possibility for allies will be unfulfilling—and obfuscating—in that it will taint it with suspicions of selective perception, selective resolve, selective justice.

It will be a victory, but a much adulterated one.

In the time of dirty politics and justice Written by Ninez Cacho-Olivares Wednesday, 18 June 2014 00:00



Sandiganbayan’s spokesman told media the other day that, despite the many motions filed by the accused, whose resolutions are seen to delay the issuance of the arrest warrants and arraignments, the justices know to fast track the resolution of the motions.

The reality is, with millions of eyes focused on the Sandiganbayan, and the fact that these plunder and graft cases are highly political, the justices, who fear being criticized by the usual yellow crowd, as they may be seen, in the eyes of the yellows and anti-Enrile, anti-Estrada and anti-Revilla groups, as not doing what these yellows and the Palace tenant want, which is to have them arrested and detained at the soonest possible time.

Already, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VAAC) has come out to announce that it will stalk the homes and offices of the accused senators, and even ensure a citizens arrest.

This is the same VACC that had accused Hubert Webb and other teenagers of raping and murdering a Vizconde girl, portraying and pronouncing them as guilty of the twin crimes, even when they should have been presumed innocent.

In the end, after spending close to two decades in jail, the high court finally ruled that Webb and his co-accused were not guilty of the crime.

Yet the VACC has not learned its lesson of placing in jail those who are innocent of the crime.

The justices are expected to just deny whatever motions the senators have filed. There is even doubt that the justices will really read and study the motions or even rule on their merits. That’s the reality, given the fact that the cases are highly political and a president that wields influence over the courts.

The fact that the Philippine National Police (PNP) already knew even a month before just where the senators and their co-accused will be detained and even before the justices have made a decision where the accused will be detained. This is already proof that it is the Palace that dictates just where the opposition senators will be detained, not the courts. Theirs is not to question why. Theirs is to do and get promoted.

And there was the PNP, proudly showing to media the quarters where the senators would be detained.

It won’t be long for the media to again claim that the accused should be treated the same way the other detainees are treated — in squalid jails, ignoring the fact that detainees are not convicts, and therefore, still have rights, and be presumed innocent until proven guilty, in which the convicted can be transferred to Muntinlupa.

As detainees, the accused can even install air-conditioners in their cells, as long as they pay for it and their electricity they consume.

The police know just where, even before the court decides where, to detain the accused? And just who is the commander in chief of the PNP, if not Noynoy? And just who is the Interior secretary, if not Mar Roxas, the presidential anointed of Noynoy and the Liberal Party, all of whom are ensuring that the opposition senators eyeing higher office would be jailed and demolished, with their reputations tattered?

The fact that Leila de Lima, who has no business telling Sen. Bong Revilla not to run in the 2016 presidential polls, was quoted by the media as saying Bong should not run, since plunder is a serious crime.

It is the right of Bong, even as a detainee to run for higher office, if he wants to, if only to prove to Palace that he has voters who still believe in him, and that he is being framed by Noynoy and de Lima, as well as the Ombudsman, applying selective justice, which is injustice and a run for him may well be upsetting Noynoy and Mar’s plans to stay in in Malacañang.

As for bail, no matter what the legal and constitutional arguments presented by the accused’s lawyers, it is certain that bail will not be granted by the Sandiganbayan — certainly not at this time where politics rules, and where a vindictive president who has no achievements to speak of, wants to have, as his exhibit of his hypocritical daang matuwid his political foes, as another achievement.

Unfortunately for him, Mar and his LPs, with them absolving their allies, such as Butch Abad, Frank Drilon, Proceso Alcala and even Joel Villanueva, the public sees only too clearly that selective justice has been applied against their foes.

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Noynoy’s royal seal Written by Tribune Editorial Monday, 09 June 2014 00:00

Even the influential Catholic Church has expressed its doubts over the true purpose of the filing of charges related to the pork barrel scam making it stand known that “when justice is selective, it is not justice at all.”

Plunder charges were filed last Friday mainly on Palace-targeted senators Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. with their arrest imminent before the key State of the Nation Address (Sona) of Noynoy next month, which will be his second to the last before his term expires on 2016.

The Sona highlight would be predictably related to good governance and his administration’s campaign against corruption in government with the detained legislators as a backdrop of the speech.

The economy is losing steam with a 5.7 percent growth in the first quarter, which was lower than all expectations, thus, putting a damper on plans to make it as a highlight of Noynoy’s Sona.

The Church warning, despite general perceptions that its clout with the populace has all weakened, particularly reflected in the Reproductive Health debate which it clearly lost despite its warnings of hell and brimstone on those supporting it, remains significant since the population, 80 percent of whom are Catholics, has been waiting for guidance on the issue.

The Church had made a stand during past protest actions that pork barrel in whatever form, or strictly all discretionary funds whether or not these are in the budget should be removed, including the P1 trillion pork barrel of Noynoy in the budget called the Special Purpose Funds and P150 billion in juggled funds to the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

Its stand remains vague regarding the administration of Noynoy’s pursuit of the charges related to the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam suit.

Noynoy is claiming moral high ground in the direction of the cases being filed saying that the charging of the three senators is but a natural consequence of the pursuit of clean governance.

The double-standard, however, is very clear in the full-scale legal offensive of the government only against the three senators when the pork barrel scandal involved nearly all branches of government including 100 legislators and key Cabinet men of Noynoy.

What made it worse is Noynoy’s effort to shield Budget Secretary and Liberal Party strategist Butch Abad, whose culpability is undeniable after pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles named him as his mentor in setting up the PDAF racket.

But at the same time, it is also Abad who is covering up for Noynoy’s involvement in the pork scam, as congressman and senator and now as president, with his P1 trillion pork.

Noynoy dismissed the claims of Napoles on Abad but at the same time expressed belief that the scam mastermind is telling the truth when it comes to implicating the three senators.

A counter-balance to Noynoy’s twisted sense of justice is needed and the Church now is saying that everybody culpable, whatever their political affiliations may be, should be investigated and, if so warranted, indicted, may provide the equalizer.

A huge rally is planned on Independence Day against massive corrupt practices in government that Noynoy hopes to neutralize through a stepped up campaign against the three senators.

The effort to deflect public rage is evident in the pronouncement of the Palace that the administration of Noynoy is one with the protesters aim of stamping out corrupt practices in government.

Justices will be served against those stealing government funds, according to the Palace.

The catch, however, is that Noynoy applies a separate standard of justice on political opponents and allies.

Noynoy, in giving his seal of confidence becomes the difference between guilt and innocence.

And all the machineries of government including the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman recognize the royal seal.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Bong, stop it, please Bare Eye By Recah Trinidad Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:04 am | Thursday, June 19th, 2014


By Recah Trinidad

This is no longer funny.

This is not another shallow movie wherein the leading man gets to toy, again and again, with the hysterical values of poor over-emotional fans.

The censors board has no jurisdiction over this obscenity.

But it’s the turn of the gullible public to stand up and be counted.

* * *

You owe it to yourself to preserve self-respect by rejecting this idiotic self-advertisement.

Last heard of, actor Bong Revilla was seen rallying poor residents in a metro community to support him in his defense of the plunder case filed against him and two colleagues in the Senate, Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.

A front page item in the Inquirer on Monday said Revilla “is making the rounds of communities to defend himself in the face of allegations that he plundered his pork barrel allocations.”

Revilla explained that his tour of communities prior to his arrest would allow him to validate Malacañang’s “new media team’s findings that 99.93 percent of netizens had a negative reaction to his privilege speech on June 10,” the report added.

“Our countrymen still love me even if a lot of minds have been poisoned in this pork barrel controversy,” Revilla said.

* * *

Enough is enough.

So what does Revilla sell this time around, after he has been wholly exposed as a fraud, a false hero who had won votes riding on stolen heroism and borrowed biographies?

Has he, for example, done something noble?

Does he own a speck of genuine heroism he could honestly peddle to the public?

* * *

Look, if it’s, say, Manny Pacquiao doing this wooing of the masa, the boxing superhero would have no problem.

As has been noted, Pacquiao is the real thing, a self-made hero who did not have to rely on false side burns and rented heroism to be adored by the public.

Pacquiao did not have to poison poor people’s mind with shameless lies.

He won acclaim and adulation through blood, sweat and tears, risking his life and limb in foreign arenas to bring honor to the country.

* * *

Bong Revilla, sorry about this, is an exact opposite.

Not this time, again.

You’ve fooled the public more than twice.

Not this time around, please!

* * *

PACQUIAO TAX PLEA DENIED: Veteran newspaperman Jun Ramirez reports that the Burea of Internal Revenue has rejected the appeal of world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao to “either reduce or dispense with the P4.9 billion surety bond imposed by the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) for the lifting of the BIR’s freeze order on his bank deposits.”

According to lawyers, the report continues, the surety bond may be reduced if the litigant is indigent or incapable of paying the bond.

Based on his 2013 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), the report says, “Pacquiao is the richest Congressman with a total net worth of P1.4 billion.”

Read more: http://sports.inquirer.net/156400/bong-stop-it-please#ixzz356lDND7s
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