MANILA TIMES OPINION

EDITORIAL: DOES HE OR DOES HE NOT KNOW? 

AUGUST 5 --FOR all the criticisms of the Aquino administration and exposés of its corrupt doings while trumpeting its “Tuwid na Daan” moral thrust in The Times, we the editors have not ceased praying that the President miraculously decides to do what is really good for the people, the nation and the Philippine Republic. We fervently pray for him to become less mendacious about the state of our country and to do a better job in the less than 23 months as our president. That is our constant prayer. And it is so not only because it is our Christian duty to God and to ourselves to wish him well (for we fail to be doers of good and we sin if we don’t) but also because his success will mean reforming our government and our society, and a better life for the majority of the Filipino people who are poor and suffering. We strongly condemn the plan of some retired generals to incite our military men and women to join them in mounting a coup d’état to remove President Aquino from office.

We agree that the citizenry should manifest their anger at the crooked things in the Aquino administration through marches and demonstrations, expressions of dismay and disgust in both the social and in the mainstream media and calls for better governance, honesty and transparency. But we are against the People Power Revolt manner of accomplishing change. We are grateful to the President for having reformed in the matter of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. He had betrayed us all when he turned his back on the vows he solemnly made during the campaign that the passage of a good FOI law was going to be one of his topmost priorities as president. But now he has made up for his betrayal. An FOI law, the Palace has promised, will be passed and enacted soon because the President will work for it.
We fervently hope that he also gets converted away from his tendency to distort reality. In the end this simply means that he tells lies, about the state of our nation, the work his administration is doing and the state of the governance of the Republic. * READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Six more years of Aquino-Abad, maybe even more? 

IN WHICH social media networking service did President Benigno Aquino 3rd hear a clamor from netizens for him to be allowed to seek reelection for and win another term? Our Malacañang reporter writes that at a press conference yesterday Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the clamor has reached the President. And, Sec. Lacierda also said, that because the President “listens to the voice of his bosses” [which he has proclaimed to be “the people”] then it is not yet sure now if he will seek reelection or not. Mr. Aquino’s deciding to seek re-election will of course depend on the two houses of Congress holding a joint session as a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution and obliterate the one-six-year term limit on any president of the Philippines. It will also depend on this amendment’s being approved by the electorate in a national referendum. We have no doubt that Congress will quickly hold a constituent assembly and pass the desired Charter change and mobilize all the necessary forces to hold the referendum or plebiscite.

And we have no doubt that the result of the plebiscite will be a resounding victory for the desired constitutional amendment. The landslide victory is assured, not because the majority of the Filipino people will vote to allow Mr. Aquino to have another term, but because the Comelec is an ally of President Aquino. And the Comelec has the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines. These, as in the 2010 and 2013 elections, can be programmed to yield victory for any party or group of candidates or any side in a referendum. What clamor? The clamor cannot be heard or read in the most popular social media networking websites–Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, etcetera. That is why we asked at the very outset which social media websites’ clamor has reached the Palace spokesmen’s and then the President’s ears.
What is clear to us is that Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas has spoken of an extension of President Aquino’s rule as the best thing that can happen to our country. * READ MORE...

ALSO by Atty. Dodo Dulay: Presidential tears, a distraction  

Looking at what the social media world was talking about the day after PNoy delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), it was clear that the emotional content of the speech was more interesting than the substance—if there was any. The discussions and heated exchange among netizens were on matters like “did the President cry or did his voice simply crack”, or “why was presidential sister Kris wiping away tears?” “Was the President hurting?” or “Was the weight of presidency too much for him to carry”? “How many times did he cough?” and “Were the coughing simply meant to prevent himself from choking with emotions?” So, there you are. Clearly, the greater segments of the SONA’s audience, both those in the gallery and those watching and listening via media, were focused on the dramatics of the moment. If asked whether or not they understood what the real state of the nation is after PNoy’s speech, they probably would say, “We don’t remember him talking about it.” There are two possibilities regarding the apparent injection of heavy emotional content into the delivery of the SONA.

One is that it was not deliberate. The other is that it was done on purpose. Regardless, what was clear was that the speculation on the basis for the presidential tears served as a powerful distraction to the substance of the speech—or to the lack of it. But to those who chose to ignore the dramatics and focused on what was being said by PNoy, the scanty substance was disconcerting and alarming in many parts. Already, many have noticed that PNoy did not touch on the items that matter much to many Filipinos such as the Freedom of Information bill. The other items were delivered in a rather hurried manner that they apparently failed to register in the SONA audience’s mind. PNoy may have created the impression that since these items were just hastily enumerated by him, they were not really that important. In so doing, these items escaped the attention and scrutiny of many listeners. But not on all. One alarming item on the SONA which the presidential emotions may have clouded was PNoy’s take on his supposed accomplishments on water. PNoy boasted that his administration has prepared well for the future of our water supply. He enumerated the following as evidence that he has addressed this issue: the construction of the Kaliwa Dam Project in Tanay, Rizal, and the Water District Development Sector Project under the Local Water Utilities Administration. * READ MORE...

(ALSO by Rigoberto Tiglao) Aquino: Liar, inept, or both?

Read on, and you yourself judge whether President Aquino is: (a) An inveterate liar, who thinks Filipinos are so gullible he can fool them even at this time when his mask as the saint of democracy’s son has melted in the light of day; or (b) an inept President without the basic mental skills and too lazy to check the content of the speeches he reads. One or both could explain why Aquino would boast in his State of the Nation Address last week: “My administration has built roads that could stretch from Manila to Los Angeles.” That is what Aquino, in effect, said when he claimed that the length of roads built under his watch totals 12,184 kilometers, which is the distance as the crow flies between Manila and Los Angeles, USA.

His staff, or his speechwriter, though, appears to have been careful for Aquino not to doubt the figure when he put in the speech only a local comparison—that it is equivalent to four roads from Laoag City to Zamboanga City—which doesn’t make it seem so long. We are reporting it so plainly here. Aquino in his speech actually so excitedly bragged about the length of roads built under his watch, like a brat boasting about something, which turns out to be false:

“Hanep po talaga: …(N)aipagawa (ng DPWH) na kalsada mula nang maupo tayo, umabot na sa 12,184 kilometro. Nung nakita ko po itong numerong ‘to, napag-isip rin ako: Paano ko ba maipapaliwanag ‘yung labindalawang libo? Sabi po sa atin: katumbas ito ng apat na kalsadang nag-uugnay sa Laoag hanggang Zamboanga City. National roads lang po ito; wala pa rito ang mga local farm-to-market roads o tourism roads. * READ MORE...

ALSO: During the papal visit, PNoy should quit talking about GDP growth 

If the Aquino government truly understands what Pope Francis stands for, or the things he deeply believes in, it will surely impose a moratorium on the following during the duration of the papal visit.
• Boasting about impressive growth rates
• Boasting about the improved credit ratings from Standard & Poor and company
• Boasting about good governance
• Boasting about the stock market
• Boasting about monetary stability
Those things are peripheral issues to Pope Francis. First and foremost, he is for true economic justice. He lives and breathes to make lives better for the dispossessed, the hungry, those who suffer, the ones referred to in the Sermon on the Mount. While all the five things mentioned above—Mr. Aquino’s favorite spiels—are music to the ears of the Davos crowd, the five mean nothing to Pope Francis. Given the depressing numbers of Filipino families who live in abject poverty and given the high unemployment and underemployment rates, the Pope will be terribly saddened by a president boasting of growth rates and improved credit ratings amid so much poverty.

Choose your words carefully during the papal visit, Mr. President. You might get the now iconic stare that Pope Francis—during his years in Buenos Aires —directed at visiting dignitaries from Vatican who thrived on bling and pageantry.
If you still do not know this, I will repeat it a thousand times. Pope Francis is not like the last pope who visited us—the late Pope John Paul 11—who will not be out of place in a Reagan/Thatcher policy environment. Pope Francis is different and he is often called the “Pope of the Slums.” He abhors economic policies that place a primacy on market forces and—at every opportunity—he says so boldly and candidly. And even the minutest slip from President Aquino about the freedom of the markets here will get a stinging rebuke from the Pope. Good if the Pope can keep the disdain to himself.
What are the two things about national economies that are truly despised by Pope Francis?

Frist, is trickle-down economics which believes that growth at the top translates into benefits and gains across the board, down into the most depressed economic strata. Pope Francis says that trickle-down is bunk. The rich gets richer on the backs of the wage-earning masses or on the underserved income from capital and assets.
A rising tide lifts the yachts and sink all the rickety boats, the same rickety boats of small fishermen that often drown at sea during bad weather. Second is the supreme faith in market forces. Markets are often manipulated to the advantage of the capitalist class, according to Pope Francis. The call of Pope Francis for a reordering of economic orthodoxies is rooted on his abhorrence of market forces. * READ MORE...

ALSO: On ‘Obscene, Baseless Comments vs. Senate in Tiglao July 24 piece’ 

THIS IS FROM Sammy Santos; Print Media Director; Public Relations and Information Bureau; Senate of the Philippines; Senate PRIB Phils <prib.fb@gmail.com> [Manila Times OpEd Editor’s note: This letter was emailed to The Times on Aug. 3, 2014]

We take strong exception to Rigoberto Tiglao’s assessment of the latest Senate hearing on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in his July 24, 2014 article “A shameless Senate licks Abad’s boots,” where his journalistic opinion disappointingly devolved into a groundless and incredibly vulgar tirade against the Upper Chamber.
We especially take issue with the claim that the DAP hearing shows that the “Senate supported the President’s hijacking of its role over the budget,” especially when the column presents not a single iota of concrete proof to back such an allegation. We emphasize that Senate hearings serve not only to aid legislation, but also to inform the public about the full and comprehensive picture of the nation’s most pressing issues. That means, as reflected in the DAP hearing, that positive aspects of an issue will be discussed, alongside with its critical or negative aspects. It is undeniable that during the July 24 DAP hearing, senators who were critical of the administration’s use of the DAP were allowed to pose questions as freely as the senators who have expressed support for the program. We note that no less than Senate finance committee chair Francis Escudero has said that a subsequent hearing on DAP has been set, where more questions on the issue—such as those suggested by Tiglao–could be addressed.  READ MORE.... plus 19 READERS' RESPONSES INCLUDING TIGLAO AND SANTOS.


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Editorial: Does he or does he not know?

MANILA, AUGUST 11, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) FOR all the criticisms of the Aquino administration and exposés of its corrupt doings while trumpeting its “Tuwid na Daan” moral thrust in The Times, we the editors have not ceased praying that the President miraculously decides to do what is really good for the people, the nation and the Philippine Republic.

We fervently pray for him to become less mendacious about the state of our country and to do a better job in the less than 23 months as our president. That is our constant prayer.

And it is so not only because it is our Christian duty to God and to ourselves to wish him well (for we fail to be doers of good and we sin if we don’t) but also because his success will mean reforming our government and our society, and a better life for the majority of the Filipino people who are poor and suffering.

We strongly condemn the plan of some retired generals to incite our military men and women to join them in mounting a coup d’état to remove President Aquino from office.

We agree that the citizenry should manifest their anger at the crooked things in the Aquino administration through marches and demonstrations, expressions of dismay and disgust in both the social and in the mainstream media and calls for better governance, honesty and transparency. But we are against the People Power Revolt manner of accomplishing change.

We are grateful to the President for having reformed in the matter of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. He had betrayed us all when he turned his back on the vows he solemnly made during the campaign that the passage of a good FOI law was going to be one of his topmost priorities as president. But now he has made up for his betrayal. An FOI law, the Palace has promised, will be passed and enacted soon because the President will work for it.

We fervently hope that he also gets converted away from his tendency to distort reality. In the end this simply means that he tells lies, about the state of our nation, the work his administration is doing and the state of the governance of the Republic.

* The biggest of these lies, and which is the root of the illegal acts committed under the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), is that when he assumed office in July 2010, he found an empty treasury. That is what he unarguably meant when he said he found the “budget depleted” and accused the previous administration of corruption in his first SONA and asked the question “Where did the funds go?”

Because of this distorted, wrong and dishonest finding, he then decided to cancel ongoing and the scheduled-to-be-launched major projects.

All of these projects had funds for their implementation properly appropriated by the Congress. The funds for these cancelled and suspended projects were the cash resources that the President and Secretary of the Budget Florencio Abad turned into money for the DAP.

Alas, the result of the project cancellations was the sinking of the Gross Domestic Product growth rate in 2011 to 3.64 percent—from the high and internationally admired growth rate of 7.63 percent in 2010. This fast rate of growth was an achievement of the Arroyo administration, the Overseas Filipino Workers and the Bangko Sentral.

Another big lie is the justification for the Framework Agreement and the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro and the formation of a Transition Commission for the Bangsamoro, which the President gave absolute power to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law (or mini constitution).

There are many other lies. The latest one is the presence of several lump sum items in the President’s proposed national budget for 2015. One of these items is the P501-billion Special Purpose Funds. This and all the lump sum items go against the President’s original avowals of total transparency especially in money matters.

It mocks his Tuwid na Daan avowals. His administration is supposed to have no mysteriously hidden wealth, no money allotted for undefined projects and purposes. He and the Liberal Party heralded the “zero-based budgeting” system as the big difference between Aquino and Arroyo.

Like the DAP, this monster of a financial invention called the P501-billion Special Purpose Funds mocks “zero-based budgeting.” The President has to rework the 2015 budget proposal and make it more truthful, transparent and consistent with the high moral tone of Tuwid na Daan.

All of these lies, in the President’s effective delivery, sound so sincere. But they become painfully devastating betrayals when shown to be mendacities.

They lead us to wonder: Have his trusted men duped him into accepting these fabrications as the truth?

Or, did he himself concoct these falsehoods?

EDITORIAL: Six more years of Aquino-Abad, maybe even more? August 6, 2014 10:33 pm


GOOGLE IMAGE

IN WHICH social media networking service did President Benigno Aquino 3rd hear a clamor from netizens for him to be allowed to seek reelection for and win another term?

Our Malacañang reporter writes that at a press conference yesterday Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the clamor has reached the President. And, Sec. Lacierda also said, that because the President “listens to the voice of his bosses” [which he has proclaimed to be “the people”] then it is not yet sure now if he will seek reelection or not.

Mr. Aquino’s deciding to seek re-election will of course depend on the two houses of Congress holding a joint session as a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution and obliterate the one-six-year term limit on any president of the Philippines. It will also depend on this amendment’s being approved by the electorate in a national referendum.

We have no doubt that Congress will quickly hold a constituent assembly and pass the desired Charter change and mobilize all the necessary forces to hold the referendum or plebiscite.

And we have no doubt that the result of the plebiscite will be a resounding victory for the desired constitutional amendment. The landslide victory is assured, not because the majority of the Filipino people will vote to allow Mr. Aquino to have another term, but because the Comelec is an ally of President Aquino.

And the Comelec has the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines. These, as in the 2010 and 2013 elections, can be programmed to yield victory for any party or group of candidates or any side in a referendum.

What clamor?

The clamor cannot be heard or read in the most popular social media networking websites–Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, etcetera. That is why we asked at the very outset which social media websites’ clamor has reached the Palace spokesmen’s and then the President’s ears.

What is clear to us is that Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas has spoken of an extension of President Aquino’s rule as the best thing that can happen to our country.

* Secretary Lacierda also said yesterday that while President Aquino “has already made his position known on that [extending his term as president], the President also listens to the voice of his bosses [the people]… There are different opinions, with some saying he should continue [being president]. But if you will ask me…the President is sensitive to the voice of his boss. So let’s just wait for that.”

This to us very clearly means that the presidential spokesman could not definitely affirm that President Aquino is against making any moves to extend his term.

Why only a second term?

The fact is that Mr. Aquino wields immense power to get Congress to pass amendments to the Constitution and to have the Comelec use the PCOS machines to return a victory for the amendment in the referendum. It will be incredibly and uncharacteristically moral of them (the President, Secretary Abad, Senate President Drilon and the other members of the cabal making these maneuvers) to allow only one more term for Mr. Aquino. The charter amendment will most likely open the presidency to an unlimited tenure.

The talk of a coup d’etat. The AFP Chief’s lectures to our soldiers to be against a coup and for them to be loyal to Mr. Aquino. The Energy Secretary’s call for the President to use emergency powers to solve the imminent power crisis. These all seem to converge into the big push for a legal, constitutional—if fraudulently PCOS-produced—arrangement to prolong the Aquino-Abad-Drilon-Belmonte regime.

If this happens, our prayer would be for a miracle that turns them into moral, just, competent, patriotic and efficient rulers.

Presidential tears, a distraction August 5, 2014 12:14 am by ATTY. DODO DULAY
 MANILA TIMES


Atty. Dodo Dulay

Looking at what the social media world was talking about the day after PNoy delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), it was clear that the emotional content of the speech was more interesting than the substance—if there was any.

The discussions and heated exchange among netizens were on matters like “did the President cry or did his voice simply crack”, or “why was presidential sister Kris wiping away tears?” “Was the President hurting?” or “Was the weight of presidency too much for him to carry”? “How many times did he cough?” and “Were the coughing simply meant to prevent himself from choking with emotions?”

So, there you are. Clearly, the greater segments of the SONA’s audience, both those in the gallery and those watching and listening via media, were focused on the dramatics of the moment. If asked whether or not they understood what the real state of the nation is after PNoy’s speech, they probably would say, “We don’t remember him talking about it.”

There are two possibilities regarding the apparent injection of heavy emotional content into the delivery of the SONA.
One is that it was not deliberate. The other is that it was done on purpose.

Regardless, what was clear was that the speculation on the basis for the presidential tears served as a powerful distraction to the substance of the speech—or to the lack of it.

But to those who chose to ignore the dramatics and focused on what was being said by PNoy, the scanty substance was disconcerting and alarming in many parts.

Already, many have noticed that PNoy did not touch on the items that matter much to many Filipinos such as the Freedom of Information bill.

The other items were delivered in a rather hurried manner that they apparently failed to register in the SONA audience’s mind.

PNoy may have created the impression that since these items were just hastily enumerated by him, they were not really that important. In so doing, these items escaped the attention and scrutiny of many listeners.

But not on all.

One alarming item on the SONA which the presidential emotions may have clouded was PNoy’s take on his supposed accomplishments on water.

PNoy boasted that his administration has prepared well for the future of our water supply. He enumerated the following as evidence that he has addressed this issue: the construction of the Kaliwa Dam Project in Tanay, Rizal, and the Water District Development Sector Project under the Local Water Utilities Administration.

* There is nothing wrong with preparing future water sources. The Kaliwa Dam project is part of the originally-planned Laiban Dam, a controversial project that is facing stiff opposition from various sectors.

What PNoy did not say is what he is doing to ease the current woes of millions of Metro Manila residents struggling with the cost of water services imposed on them by the two giant concessionaires—the Pangilinan group’s Maynilad and the Ayala Group’s Manila Water.

He did not say what action he has taken on the issue raised earlier by an angry public protesting the “greedy” practice of these two giants of passing on to consumers expenses that should rightfully be shouldered by the concessionaires.

Among these are the passed-on corporate income tax and the millions of pesos in expenses for dining in fancy restaurants, buying gifts, give-aways and, as my favorite media colleague Teddy Boy Locsin would say, even flowers for their executives’ favorite “pom-pom girls.”

By distracting the public with future plans on water, PNoy may have skirted a more important public aspiration—lower water rates and the refund of these passed-on costs.

Water consumers have long expected him to side with them and champion their cause against two of the country’s most profitable business giants. Once again, PNoy failed them in that expectation.

Such public expectation is not without basis, after all.

MWSS regulators appointed by PNoy announced late last year that they had ordered the two giants to lower water rates.

That announcement was met with public applause. Yet, consumers in the areas served by the two are still being charged the same rate they were paying before PNoy-appointed regulators raised hopes following that pompous announcement of lower rates last year.

PNoy would have done the public justice if he had, in his SONA, directed the MWSS to implement the lower rates the agency had already decided and ordered.

The presidential tears may have caused many to overlook the apparent lack of importance he has placed on water issues.

Now, tears are starting to fall from our eyes, too.

Aquino: Liar, inept, or both? August 5, 2014 11:17 pm by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO MANILA TIMES


RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

Read on, and you yourself judge whether President Aquino is: (a) An inveterate liar, who thinks Filipinos are so gullible he can fool them even at this time when his mask as the saint of democracy’s son has melted in the light of day; or (b) an inept President without the basic mental skills and too lazy to check the content of the speeches he reads.

One or both could explain why Aquino would boast in his State of the Nation Address last week: “My administration has built roads that could stretch from Manila to Los Angeles.”

That is what Aquino, in effect, said when he claimed that the length of roads built under his watch totals 12,184 kilometers, which is the distance as the crow flies between Manila and Los Angeles, USA.

His staff, or his speechwriter, though, appears to have been careful for Aquino not to doubt the figure when he put in the speech only a local comparison—that it is equivalent to four roads from Laoag City to Zamboanga City—which doesn’t make it seem so long.

We are reporting it so plainly here. Aquino in his speech actually so excitedly bragged about the length of roads built under his watch, like a brat boasting about something, which turns out to be false:


tall-tales20140806

“Hanep po talaga: …(N)aipagawa (ng DPWH) na kalsada mula nang maupo tayo, umabot na sa 12,184 kilometro. Nung nakita ko po itong numerong ‘to, napag-isip rin ako: Paano ko ba maipapaliwanag ‘yung labindalawang libo? Sabi po sa atin: katumbas ito ng apat na kalsadang nag-uugnay sa Laoag hanggang Zamboanga City. National roads lang po ito; wala pa rito ang mga local farm-to-market roads o tourism roads.

* Why on earth would he say that when his claim can easily be checked on the website of the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) or those of the ASEAN Secretariat, and the Asian Development Bank?

If 12,000 kms of roads were built in the four years of his term he would rank as the greatest President we ever had that we should make him dictator for life: 12,000 kms of roads are more than a third of the country’s existing 32,227-km network, built gradually even starting during US colonial rule.

How many national roads were built under Aquino’s term so far?

According to data posted on the DPWH website, the length of national roads (which Aquino emphasized in his speech as what he was referring to) increased from end-2009 to 2013 by only 2,328 kilometers.

However, the biggest annual increase of 1,344 kilometers was in 2010. But half of that year was still during President Arroyo’s administration.

And most of the road construction work was during Arroyo’s half of the year.

Infrastructure activities typically slow down during the rainy months of July to August. Aquino, furthermore, stopped many DPWH projects when he assumed office in the second half of that year because of his mindset that these were negotiated during Arroyo’s watch, and therefore, were graft ridden.

But assume that at least a third of the roads built in 2010 were during Aquino’s first semester in office, which would be 448 kilometers.

The total roads that he could claim were built under Aquino’s watch would be just 1,432 kms., far from his “hanep po talaga” figure of 12,184 kms. Arroyo’s record was even slightly higher at 1,586 kms of roads.

(A more rigorous analysis could, however, make it actually shorter, since the DPWH data on the length of national roads from 2010 to 2013 includes local roads totaling 1,020 kms, which had simply been declared as national roads on the basis of executive orders in 2010.)

How can a President dare say lies in his speech in this wired world when anybody can easily check its veracity with a few clicks of his keyboard, and alert his fellow citizens?

The explanation would be that he is an inveterate liar, or an inept President, or both.

The grossly wrong information Aquino told the country and the world in his SONA could also indicate that his bureaucracy is decaying fast.

The Technical Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) auto-mechanic instructor Jonalyn Navarosa, whom Aquino claimed in his speech was one proof of his achievements, turned out to be a graduate of a facility Isuzu Motors Corp. set up in 2008, during former President’s Arroyo’s term, as I wrote Monday. (See “Another Aquino SONA, Another Lie, “ Aug. 1)

The speechwriter or his staff didn’t bother to ask the Tesda Director-General to get on camera one of the tens of thousands he claims are graduates of the agency’s facilities.

He simply googled the archives of the Philippine Information Agency’s press releases during President Arroyo’s term to get the information on Navarosa.

The speechwriter very incompetently used for his boss’ propaganda an item that had already been used for propaganda by the previous administration!

Or was this intentional?

Were these false items inserted by his staff in Aquino’s SONA deliberately, as a protest by Aquino’s own staff against his regime?

How these false items turned up in Aquino’s speech could also point touuu the fact that he has become such a paranoiac that his cordon sanitaire has become smaller and smaller, that only a few people were asked to read the draft, making it unlikely for errors of fact to be detected.

During the papal visit, PNoy should quit talking about GDP growth August 5, 2014 11:12 pm by MARLEN V. RONQUILLO MANILA TIMES


Marlen V. Ronquillo

If the Aquino government truly understands what Pope Francis stands for, or the things he deeply believes in, it will surely impose a moratorium on the following during the duration of the papal visit.

• Boasting about impressive growth rates

• Boasting about the improved credit ratings from Standard & Poor and company

• Boasting about good governance

• Boasting about the stock market

• Boasting about monetary stability

Those things are peripheral issues to Pope Francis. First and foremost, he is for true economic justice. He lives and breathes to make lives better for the dispossessed, the hungry, those who suffer, the ones referred to in the Sermon on the Mount.

While all the five things mentioned above—Mr. Aquino’s favorite spiels—are music to the ears of the Davos crowd, the five mean nothing to Pope Francis. Given the depressing numbers of Filipino families who live in abject poverty and given the high unemployment and underemployment rates, the Pope will be terribly saddened by a president boasting of growth rates and improved credit ratings amid so much poverty.

Choose your words carefully during the papal visit, Mr. President. You might get the now iconic stare that Pope Francis—during his years in Buenos Aires —directed at visiting dignitaries from Vatican who thrived on bling and pageantry.

If you still do not know this, I will repeat it a thousand times. Pope Francis is not like the last pope who visited us—the late Pope John Paul 11—who will not be out of place in a Reagan/Thatcher policy environment.

Pope Francis is different and he is often called the “Pope of the Slums.” He abhors economic policies that place a primacy on market forces and—at every opportunity—he says so boldly and candidly. And even the minutest slip from President Aquino about the freedom of the markets here will get a stinging rebuke from the Pope. Good if the Pope can keep the disdain to himself.

What are the two things about national economies that are truly despised by Pope Francis?

Frist, is trickle-down economics which believes that growth at the top translates into benefits and gains across the board, down into the most depressed economic strata. Pope Francis says that trickle-down is bunk. The rich gets richer on the backs of the wage-earning masses or on the underserved income from capital and assets.

A rising tide lifts the yachts and sink all the rickety boats, the same rickety boats of small fishermen that often drown at sea during bad weather.

Second is the supreme faith in market forces. Markets are often manipulated to the advantage of the capitalist class, according to Pope Francis. The call of Pope Francis for a reordering of economic orthodoxies is rooted on his abhorrence of market forces.

* The Pope’s statement on inequality and market forces has to be repeated in case All the President’s Men have skipped reading it. Here it goes:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.

“Meanwhile, the excluded are waiting.”

And here, in our specific economic context, President Aquino has been the Number One cheerleader for market forces. His keyboards, as we often said, cannot not even type the word “ inequality.”

Is he even aware that his most cherished social justice program, the CCT, goes to gin bulag and tong-its and not for health care and education support? He often speaks of “ inclusive growth “ but in the usual terminology of leaders paying lip service to empowering the neediest and the most helpless.

The President has this supreme faith that six years of sustained growth rates will spread gains all around and it would lift all lives—including those of the dregs. Wrong. This will never happen. There is a taboo word that should be placed at the front and center of economic policies and that word is Redistribution.

But what is taking place is upward redistribution. The main driver of modernization and growth, the PPP-anchored infrastructure build-up, will precisely drive what Pope Francis loathes.

If, during his visit, Pope Francis will make an inquiry into what undergirds the growth and modernization program of the administration, he will be terribly disappointed.

The PPP, just like trickledown, is part of the economic orthodoxies that Pope Francis does not believe in.

OK, one more important thing related to the papal visit.

Mr. Aquino should also be aware of the fact that Pope Francis was a joyful bus rider during his days as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He took joy in riding the bus and mingling with the Everyman. He shunned flashy cars as he shunned fancy livings arrangements. As Pope, he won’t even take the Pope mobile.

In this context, Mr. Aquino should never, never include MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino in the ad hoc committee that would prepare for the papal visit. Mr. Tolentino, under the guise of effective traffic management, has made it his mission to make the life tough for bus commuters.

The optics of pregnant women, senior citizens, persons with disability and young children suffering from the anti-commuters policies of Mr. Tolentino will bring extreme sadness to Pope Francis. Mr. Tolentino is the anti-thesis of Pope Francis.

The daily bludgeoning by Mr. Tolentino of bus commuters will have to be tackled in a full column.

On ‘Obscene, Baseless Comments vs. Senate in Tiglao July 24 piece’ August 3, 2014 11:20 pm

We take strong exception to Rigoberto Tiglao’s assessment of the latest Senate hearing on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) in his July 24, 2014 article “A shameless Senate licks Abad’s boots,” where his journalistic opinion disappointingly devolved into a groundless and incredibly vulgar tirade against the Upper Chamber.

We especially take issue with the claim that the DAP hearing shows that the “Senate supported the President’s hijacking of its role over the budget,” especially when the column presents not a single iota of concrete proof to back such an allegation.

We emphasize that Senate hearings serve not only to aid legislation, but also to inform the public about the full and comprehensive picture of the nation’s most pressing issues. That means, as reflected in the DAP hearing, that positive aspects of an issue will be discussed, alongside with its critical or negative aspects.

It is undeniable that during the July 24 DAP hearing, senators who were critical of the administration’s use of the DAP were allowed to pose questions as freely as the senators who have expressed support for the program.

We note that no less than Senate finance committee chair Francis Escudero has said that a subsequent hearing on DAP has been set, where more questions on the issue—such as those suggested by Tiglao–could be addressed.

* Even more revolting is how Tiglao wrote off the Senate as a “a well-paid prostitute under Aquino, willing to do any perverted sex act before the public as long as it gets its pork barrel money.” It is lamentable how a former diplomat and Cabinet member betrayed his status by resorting to obscene metaphors in conveying his disdain for a democratic institution.

It is disturbing to hear Tiglao, a former activist in the Marcos years, hint that the enforcement of the rule of law can be handled by “an enlightened people’s armed forces” instead of civilian rule, and to suggest such a militarist undermining of the country’s democratic institutions.

No less than Senate President Franklin M. Drilon has made it clear that the Senate will strive towards reforms to public governance, in order to regain public trust. That is why public hearings on contested issues like the DAP are encouraged and freely conducted.

While we respect and defend Tiglao’s right to express his views, newspaper columnists also have the responsibility to discuss national issues in a manner that would educate the public, promote rational dialogue and create solutions, rather than inspire demagoguery and hatred through baseless vitriol.

Sammy Santos
Print Media Director
Public Relations and Information Bureau
Senate of the Philippines
Senate PRIB Phils <prib.fb@gmail.com>
[OpEd Editor’s note: This letter was emailed to The Times on Aug. 3, 2014]

19 Responses to On ‘Obscene, Baseless Comments vs. Senate in Tiglao July 24 piece’
jason bourne says:
August 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm
There could be no other way to express the decadent and illegal acts by the Senate. Mr Tiglao is quit right to call them political prostitutes for thats what they are – they chose money before country & principles.
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Butch says:
August 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm
The truth hurts, and what Ambassador Tiglao writes is one hundred percent correct. I am one of your avid readers Ambassador, I will not leave your column. The adjectives in your column against these crooks are very mild. I can’t wait for the next one Sir.
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Rico Ramos says:
August 6, 2014 at 5:50 am
I agree Mr. Tiglao used words that are a bit harsh but bear in mind, that is from someone who is well educated how much more those who are not fortunate enough to get good education. Nevertheless, Mr. Santos/senate must address point by point raised by Mr. Tiglao. What happen in the senate inquiry in DAP was definitely a moro-moro and you want the people like us to beleive in the credibility of the senate as a whole. The fact is 13 justices voted against DAP including those Aquino appointees and the president still have the guts to fire his tirade in the Supreme court. No one is perfect he should have just accept it with humility. It is SIMPLY BRAT ATITTUDE!!
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e28 says:
August 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm
Im sorry Mr. Santos. But even without Mr. Tiglao’s commentary, people believed that we have a shameless senate. To this day since Jinggoy revealed it, no one has denied that they received pork from DAP. And no one even explained if receiving that fund influenced their decision or not to impeach CJ Corona.
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vg says:
August 5, 2014 at 8:11 am
The original article was right on. The response was off point. The response should have addressed the questions posed.
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JOEL ANOCHE says:
August 5, 2014 at 6:03 am
MR. SANTOS….Please do not be onion-skinned. The Fililipino People know that BSA used DAP to bribe the senators so please do not think we are that naive.
Drilon was the like a vintriloquist while you are now acting like a mouthpiece. May our Lord have mercy upon you all.
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victorts says:
August 5, 2014 at 5:23 am
Mr. Sammy Santos,
I am surprised you still believe what Drilon says. The biggest beneficiary of DAP unabashedly lawyered for Abad during the senate hearing. He has swallowed his pride and principles a number of times for power and possibly money when he switched parties every change of administration in favor of the one in power. When Noynoy’s term is over, I bet he will be licking the boots of the next occupant of Malacanang. With that said, how can one still believe anything that comes out of his pig-like mouth?
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JT says:
August 5, 2014 at 1:54 am
Mr. Santos is absolutely correct in rebutting Mr. Tiglao’s article as pure and simple “blowing smoke up in our arse”. Mr. Tiglao from day one is an opposition to the current government. What can you expect? He’s paid to throw dirt.
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lyneth dalisay says:
August 5, 2014 at 6:21 pm
JT,
It’s as if you were born only today. Anyway birds of the same feather flocks together am I right? So there you are pig drilon and ass santos are birds with same feather. How dare you closed your eyes on all the senate and congress shenanigans
Go, go Mr. Tiglao keep up the good work of educating the uneducated citizens of this country
Alfred Salon says:
August 4, 2014 at 8:51 pm
All Government projects must be or should be included in the General Appropriation Act (GAA) yearly. Absolutely scrap the DAP and PDAF.
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eddy tefilo says:
August 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm
The entire Legislative Branch, whose members are all thieves and robbers, just like the Executive Br., headed by the Thief Executive, should be abolish and replace by a Transitional Govt., minus all those crooks. They have not passed any legislation that would lower the cost of electricity, water, gas, rice, tuition fees, garlic, and legislation that will give jobs to jobless Filipinos. All of these investigations are all for show. Puro yabang at porma lang. Sayang ang pera ng taong bayan sa mga hayopak na ito. Wala silang ginawa kundi tumanggap ng pera na galing sa “unconstitutional na DAP”.
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allan says:
August 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm
ang puso mo sir ang puso mo..wait k lang pagtapos nila ikaw naman ang maging buwaya sa pagrerape ng kaban ng pinas sir..hinay hinay lang noh!!!
joros says:
August 4, 2014 at 10:15 am
Like it or not truth hurts, and it hurts really bad. ” Kung walang aBad walang mahirap” Pls. stop calling the senators honorable ang samang pakinggan.(sorry po kay Sen. Nancy and Sen. Grace you still have my respect).
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rigoberto says:
August 4, 2014 at 9:34 am
Mr. Santos,
Why don’t you just answer the issues I raised — among them, what Drilon thinks about that provision in the Constitution I cited, why he or the other lackeys didn’t ask why P2 billion was allocated to Tarlac, if there would be a detailed COA audit of DAP funds, was Drilon told that the P50 million he offered the senators orally before the impeachment decision and in in paper after, came from DAP, why P50 million in “local infrastructure projects” were disbursed to Iloilo local governments (the biggest funds LGU received) a few months before the March 2013 elections.
Why were personalities articulate against the DAP not invited to grill Abad since the senators refused to — among them former treasurer Brion, former senator Tatad, former budget secretary Abad, those who filed the case at the supreme court?
Why wasn’t Abad, and the other Cabinet secretaries, not asked to swear to tell the truth?
Why don’t you draw from some of your experience as a journalist in the ancient past and ask Drilon, Aquino, Angara, Escudero, Trillanes to confirm or deny whether they got DAP funds during the impeachment and in the months before the 2013 elections.
I am expressing the anger of what most thinking Filipinos feel after watching that hearing. The once-honorable Senate, a bastion of democracy has become a political prostitute, paid to do the most perverted political acts before nation.
Please read my many columns on the DAP, where I explain in detail why this is such a epic, scandalous attack on our democratic institutions so that you won’t claim I’m a demagogue.
And you’re concerned about harsh language?
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Sammy Santos says:
August 4, 2014 at 11:38 am
Dear Mr. Tiglao.
Please be assured that I have never stopped reading you since our journalism days in the ancient past. But what I miss are your sober analysis of social, economic and political issues wherein readers, like me, were enlightened by the balanced and fair presentation of facts from both sides of a story. But perhaps you would say: you were a journalist then?

Sammy Santos says:
August 4, 2014 at 11:41 am
By the way,
You must be referring to former treasurer Briones and former secretary Diokno. Regards.

Carlo L. Adan says:
August 4, 2014 at 7:52 am
I agree that most senators during the hearing lawyered for Sec. Abad and President Aquino’s dishonest DAP invention. And I also don’t quite like the ugly language Mr. Tiglao used to describe those senators’ betrayal of their jobs, functions and duties under the Constitution and under our laws. But unpleasant as Tiglao’s language was he wrote the truth.
I disagree with him about Senators Escudero and Recto. And we agree that Senators Binay and Poe were the ones who most exemplified the proper way senators should be in a hearing about the illegal and unconstitutional DAP.
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Inocent says:
August 4, 2014 at 1:26 am
Sammy Santos is just doing a job he is paid for. Go on Mr. Santos, keep on writing against critical media personalities until you will be tired of it. As one who also viewed the same stage-play, I am also appalled in the manner Sen. Escudero handled the hearing. It is really a face-saving moro-moro in behalf of Florencio Abad.
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pogipoint says:
August 5, 2014 at 7:45 am
Ako rin dati idol ko si chiz ngayon di na.


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