MANILA TIMES EDITORIAL/OPINION

EDITORIAL -- GLOBAL WARMING: THE TIME IS NOW! 

Our planet is warming to dangerous levels and we are largely to blame. That in essence is the underlying message in the report released on Sunday by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). The United Nations agency warned that greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest in more than 800,000 years, and unless drastic steps are taken to curb those emissions, Earth faces a catastrophe like it has never experienced before.For the IPCC, the fate of the planet and its inhabitants hangs on one measure of temperature: 2 degrees Celsius. Global warming must be limited to 2 degrees C if we are to avert the deadly fallout from climate change. IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri figured that to achieve that goal, “our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100.” The outlook is not good. The IPCC said the trend points to a 4 degree C increase, which is double the limit. A bigger concern for Mr. Pachauri is that there is “little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2 degrees C of warming closes.”

If the threshold is not maintained, expect an apocalyptic scenario of flood, drought, rising sea level and the extinction of several species, the IPCC said. There will be a desperate scramble among humans for food and other scant resources.
Chaos and conflict will rule. Kill or survive will be the order of the day. The frightening thing is that we are making that scenario happen. It is not the first time the specter of global warming has been raised; there have been countless warnings in the past. Every time, the international community duly expressed its concern and offered financial pledges. But when the issue waned, erased from the public consciousness, the interest slowly vanished. The prevailing thinking was global warming carries no immediacy. Its effects are not immediately apparent, not like an earthquake or a particularly destructive storm. Action on climate change can wait. The cycle is repeated today. The United States was one of the first to react to the IPCC report, with Secretary of State John Kerry describing it as “another canary in the coal mine.” * READ MORE...

ALSO Opinion: Soliman, Abad dupe ‘Open Government’ body 

Secretaries Corazon Soliman and Florencio Abad have accomplished a major feat that could be likened to pork-barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles winning a trophy as one of Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service. What the Soliman-Abad team achieved was to get the newly organized international body, “Open Government Partnership,” to confer the third highest award on President Aquino’s new version of the pork-barrel scheme, renamed “Grassroots Participatory Budgeting.” One can credit the two for their brazenness: Convincing an international body to grant an award for “citizen-empowerment” to an old scheme with a new name, through which local politicians obtain funding for their district’s projects that, existent or non-existent, serve as conduits for kickbacks. Soliman, as usual, became misty-eyed when she received the award in New York, and we, as a nation, stepped into a position vulnerable to receiving a black eye when that body realizes soon this Philippine government official pulled the wool over its eyes.

The gist of the award was that the Philippines’ Grassroots Participatory Budgeting system had “local government and civil society jointly allocating budgets for development projects.” That’s utter hogwash: Such joint allocation has and will occur in only a very small number of towns; the system is merely a necessary camouflage for the old pork barrel after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. The awards, the first undertaken by the new organization “Open Government Partnership,” were given to nine countries, with the Philippines being the only developing country to receive the honor. The other awardees were highly developed nations such as Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, and the US, known for their transparent and efficient states. (The OPG was organized in 2011 by eight nations, among which the Philippines and Indonesia were the only developing countries, “to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make government more open, effective, and accountable.”) That Soliman and Abad were lying about the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting is quite obvious in the description of the program which they submitted: (PHOTO OF Soliman receiving the award last month in New York with CODE-NGO Chair Patricia Sarenas.)

• “The program goes beyond mere consultation as decisions are made through a body composed of 50 percent government and 50 percent CSO (civil-society organization) representatives. CSO representatives are elected through a city/municipal level assembly. National government does not accept proposals that are not signed by CSO representatives.” • “Coverage was rapidly expanded from 30 percent of local governments in the first year to all local governments (numbering 1,634) by the third year. “ What the duo falsely portrayed is that the Philippines has become a civil-society paradise, with strong civil-society organizations in all of its 1,634 cities and municipalities, and having a say over how central government funds are used. That’s a downright lie. What assemblies? *CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: At last, somebody stands up to bullies 

PHOTO: Who blinked? Vice President Binay; Senators Trillanes and Cayetano. The bullies are Senators Antonio Trillanes 4th and Alan Cayetano, as well as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee itself. It should be more appropriately named the Yellow Ribbon Committee, since under this Administration, it has acted merely as President Aquino’ demolition crew.That ‘somebody’ is Vice President Jejomar Binay, who had refused to let himself be humiliated by a modern version of the Spanish Inquisition, where one is presumed guilty, and where there is even no clear procedure for proving one’s innocence. Binay correctly refused to be fooled by the argument that he must prove his innocence by following the Senate’s order for him to appear at the hearings. Do that in a kangaroo court?

And as the public has gone tired of the hearings, getting sick of a heavily-indebted gambler’s accusations, and irritated at the arrogance of the two brash senators, the Committee appears to have blinked, with its chairman, Teofisto Guingona 3rd, saying two days ago that he would no longer “invite” the Vice President to the hearing. An Ernesto Mercado, who has admitted stealing hundreds of millions of pesos when he was Makati vice-mayor, hurls accusations against the vice president who had stopped dead the ex-vice mayor’s political career because of his graft, and there is no procedure for cross-examining him by the accused representatives? Huge video screens are used to label the Vice President a thief, and this is called a hearing “in aid of legislation?”

We should be grateful, though, that Trillanes and Cayetano demonstrated so amateurishly their vitriolic bias against Binay and showed too transparently that their motive was not in “aid of legislation,” but to get rid of the vice president as a contender in the 2016 presidential election. Because of their arrogance and total disregard of fair play in the hearings on Binay, Trillanes and Cayetano have unwittingly torn down the Senate Blue Ribbon’s disguise as a body of the legislative branch undertaking investigations in order to assist the entire Senate in making laws.* READ MORE,,,

(ALSO Opinion) Why corrupt politicians keep getting elected


Do you trust the government and its leaders? If you do, you are among a rare one in every nine Filipinos, or 11 percent of the public. That’s the finding of the Philippine Trust Index survey for 2014, conducted by public relations company EON and the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, which fellow front-page columnist Yen Makabenta cited this past Tuesday. The latest and first two PTI presentations are available on www.slideshare.net. The latest rating for the government is down from 15 percent in the second PTI, which rose from 7 percent in the first. Another 39 percent “somewhat trust” the authorities. By comparison, 75 percent have confidence in the Church, the most trusted institution, with another 19 percent somewhat trusting it. Even business did better than the state, with 13 percent trusting the sector, and another 55 percent somewhat trusting. The survey asked its 1,200 randomly chosen respondents what would give them trust in the public sector? Two out of every five said the key quality is being “not corrupt”. And only one-fifth strongly agree that the government is not corrupt.

Just in case that message isn’t clear, for non-government organizations, the key trust driver is also that NGOs “must be incorruptible.” So how come corrupt politicians keep getting elected? The survey gives clues — and suggests how honest and upright individuals can get into public office. This article looks at why sleaze wins elections; we will discuss how good guys can finish first next week. Why the corrupt win elections ---Besides honesty, other traits that don’t necessarily have much to do with trustworthiness actually help win trust. For substantial segments of the public, being a competent leader and providing basic needs for the poor (11.7 percent each), and giving decent jobs (10.1 percent) gain trust. Thus, if a congressman uses his pork barrel for a project that gives some employment to a poor community and a bit of help to the indigent, he would win the confidence of as many as one in three people, even if he pockets half the budget. Ditto the leader of a local government unit who gives doleouts and temporary work using kickbacks from the LGU budgets and Internal Revenue Allotment, another graft-ridden slush fund.

And the trust-building impact of such largesse is greater among poor communities. They give much more value to jobs and basic needs, or may be more easily impressed by speeches and vanity projects. So why won’t politicians skim off billions, then throw crumbs to the indigent while bankrolling publicity about their “competence”?
Being transparent and communicating win over another 5.7 percent of Filipinos. That also works for glib grafters with big public relations budgets who seemingly share governance information. Another confidence-building trait is implementing laws equally. The right PR can impart that quality to a politician, since voters can’t actually verify if laws are carried out without fear or favor. * READ MORE...

ALSO Opinion: A government Filipinos do not trust  

I have placed the Philippine Trust Index table at the top of this column so readers can quickly refer to it as I discuss the substance of the index, its survey base, and its startling conclusions on how our people view six key institutions of society, in terms of their level of trust in them. The presentation of the 2014 Index in Makati on October 27, was low-key and without fanfare. But in a sense, the event was just as dramatic and significant as the Supreme Court’s announcement last July of its long-awaited decision on the constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Its judgment was just as harsh as the SC decision. And its capability to discomfit Malacañang and its temporary occupant is just as real.

When a responsible communications company, aided by a reputable graduate school of business, publicly reports that based on its survey of public opinion throughout the archipelago, the Government of the Philippine Republic is viewed by our people as the least trustworthy institution in the country, it is an event of more than routine interest. It is news. And it is definitely a worthy subject for a column. Palace caught off-guard and speechless ---It gets more sticky when you delve into the survey’s findings. The survey’s main conclusions can be quickly summarized and could cause indigestion for some people. 1. Of six social institutions (the Church, academe, media, government, non-government organizations and business), the government is the least trusted by our people, with only 11 percent of respondents expressing trust in government. 2. In turn, the Church (encompassing all religions and congregations) enjoys the highest level of trust among our people, with 75 percent of respondents expressing trust in it.

A friend remarked to me that it was a good thing EON did not include in the survey non-formal institutions like jueteng, cockfighting and the CPP-NPA–they might rank higher than the government in the public’s esteem. In the face of the deflating survey results, the usually voluble spokesmen and spinmasters of President Aquino had nothing to say. They did not shrug off the index or challenge its findings; they did not parse or rationalize or pass blame to the Gloria Arroyo administration. In a word, they were just constipated, perhaps waiting for their master to get their juices flowing. * READ MORE...

ALSO Opinion: Pope Francis will visit a new but hauntingly familiar land 

HE will find shades of Evita and the real Imelda, grieving kin of desaparecidos and uncaring technocrats, etc. Argentina, Pope Francis’ land of birth and the base of his priestly duties until his ascent to the papacy, had historical chapters very similar to us. (I mentioned “land of birth” because his parents were Italian immigrants.) In 1976, for example, an army general, Jorge Rafael Videla staged a coup and ruled as a dictator until 1981. Mr. Marcos’s dictatorship, from 1972 to the People Power Revolution in 1986, was longer. But his rule and that of Videla’s happened in the same general period of coups and dictatorships that the great Western Powers sanctioned in the guise of containing socialist revolutions. And were we to inventory the horrific crimes that happened under their dictatorships, the list would be similar: extrajudicial murders, large-scale human rights abuses and the entry into the human rights lexicon of a tragic term—desaparecidos.

Even the economic legacies of both dictatorships sounded eerily familiar: devaluations, the surge in foreign debt, the overall debasement of the economy. (The brutality of Videla’s dictatorship, at one point, raised questions on where the current pope stood on the dictatorship issue— two Jesuits disappeared under his watch as head of the order in Buenos Aires—and reappeared after confirmation of torture.) Then this one. Former First Lady Evita Peron and the words that described her: Ambitious, ruthless, cunning-untiring, clever and strikingly beautiful. Words that critics say applied to Imelda Marcos. Much of the world know the familiar first names – Evita and Imelda. Post-dictatorship, what two countries had experimented to the hilt on the applications and central themes of the Washington Consensus? If your answer is “Argentina and the Philippines” then you have made an accurate answer. What two countries allowed US-trained technocrats and economists to have a free rein on economic policies under the guise of pursuing structural reforms, which brought periods of booms and busts? If your answer is the Philippines and Argentina, you have given another correct answer. * CONTINUE READING...to the end of the opinion and 2 Readers' Responses....

(ALSO) EDITORIAL: Starting not to be a ‘dedma nation’ 

FEIGNING unawareness is what the Tagalog street term “dedma” means. It is a Taglish construction. “Ded” is the rendering in Tagalog of the English word “dead.” And “ma” is the first syllable of the Spanish word for “malice” used in Tagalog as “malisya.” The Tagalog phrase “patay malisya” which means “no malice noticed” can therefore be expressed in Taglish as “dead malisya” and therefore can be abbreviated into “dedma.” Under the Aquino presidency the Philippines has become a “dedma” nation. During the Marcos regime the people seethed in anger over the excesses and corruption. But they were not dedma. And the government officials did not feign unawareness about malfeasances. Nowadays the often funny verbal gymnastics performed by the Palace are not about real wrongdoings but about trivial matters. Then the conscript newscasters, columnists and talk show hosts make them look like really serious political and governance issues.

But on the really grave problems the officials and the conscript media are dedma. The Palace and Cabinet members concerned do not talk about such matters as the true state of hunger and poverty. And neither do the conscript media. Corruption has risen to levels never seen before—not even during the Marcos regime. Smuggling, for one, has risen 500 percent—according to International Monetary Fund data—from that of the Macapagal-Arroyo and Erap Estrada years. The Palace and the concerned government officials don’t take the problem seriously. And with the exception of The Manila Times and its columnists everybody is dedma on this subject. Because of the crookedness of President Aquino’s hypocritical “Tuwid na Daan” (Straight and Righteous Path) citizens and clergy leaders have formed a National Transformation Council and issued the Lipa and Cebu Declarations asking the President to step down. Except for an obtuse and arrogant putdown of such ecclesiastical luminaries as Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, Bishop Arguelles and weighty Muslim and Protestant leaders, the Palace has treated the revolutionary stand of the NTC with dedma. And so have the most powerful broadcast and print media. * READ MORE...


READ FULL REPORTS HERE:

Global warming: The time to act is now
 


NEW YORK TIMES CARTOON

MANILA, NOVEMBER 10, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) November 4, 2014 12:39 am - Our planet is warming to dangerous levels and we are largely to blame.

That in essence is the underlying message in the report released on Sunday by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). The United Nations agency warned that greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest in more than 800,000 years, and unless drastic steps are taken to curb those emissions, Earth faces a catastrophe like it has never experienced before.

For the IPCC, the fate of the planet and its inhabitants hangs on one measure of temperature: 2 degrees Celsius. Global warming must be limited to 2 degrees C if we are to avert the deadly fallout from climate change. IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri figured that to achieve that goal, “our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100.”

The outlook is not good. The IPCC said the trend points to a 4 degree C increase, which is double the limit. A bigger concern for Mr. Pachauri is that there is “little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2 degrees C of warming closes.”

If the threshold is not maintained, expect an apocalyptic scenario of flood, drought, rising sea level and the extinction of several species, the IPCC said. There will be a desperate scramble among humans for food and other scant resources.
Chaos and conflict will rule. Kill or survive will be the order of the day.

The frightening thing is that we are making that scenario happen. It is not the first time the specter of global warming has been raised; there have been countless warnings in the past. Every time, the international community duly expressed its concern and offered financial pledges. But when the issue waned, erased from the public consciousness, the interest slowly vanished. The prevailing thinking was global warming carries no immediacy. Its effects are not immediately apparent, not like an earthquake or a particularly destructive storm. Action on climate change can wait.

The cycle is repeated today. The United States was one of the first to react to the IPCC report, with Secretary of State John Kerry describing it as “another canary in the coal mine.”

* French President Francois Hollande weighed in, calling global warming one of the “big challenges” the international community faces and pledging his country will act for the “wellbeing . . . of the planet”.

Expect other world leaders to deliver similar messages in the coming days.

But UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wants action, not mere pledges. “We must act quickly and decisively if we want to avoid increasingly disruptive outcomes,” Mr. Ban said.

The nations who are in the best position to fight global warming—the US and China, to name two—are reluctant to totally commit to the campaign because they insist they cannot shoulder the huge cost of reducing greenhouse emissions alone. They want developing nations to help foot the bill as well.

But Mr. Ban said the high cost of reducing emissions is a myth, and climate experts agree with him.

Perhaps there is a deeper reason why the wealthier nations are dragging their feet on the problem of global warming. To cut down on greenhouse gases means a dramatic shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. Weaning the world from carbon-based fuels could have a profound effect on the global economy and upset the delicate balance of oil supply and demand.

Oil producing and exporting countries feel threatened by such a shift.

Their reluctance to embrace clean energy will have tragic consequences for the planet.

AWARD GIVEN TO NEW PORK-BARREL SCHEME
Soliman, Abad dupe ‘Open Government’ body  by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO
November 4, 2014 11:02 pm


RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

Secretaries Corazon Soliman and Florencio Abad have accomplished a major feat that could be likened to pork-barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles winning a trophy as one of Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service.

What the Soliman-Abad team achieved was to get the newly organized international body, “Open Government Partnership,” to confer the third highest award on President Aquino’s new version of the pork-barrel scheme, renamed “Grassroots Participatory Budgeting.”

One can credit the two for their brazenness: Convincing an international body to grant an award for “citizen-empowerment” to an old scheme with a new name, through which local politicians obtain funding for their district’s projects that, existent or non-existent, serve as conduits for kickbacks.

Soliman, as usual, became misty-eyed when she received the award in New York, and we, as a nation, stepped into a position vulnerable to receiving a black eye when that body realizes soon this Philippine government official pulled the wool over its eyes.

The gist of the award was that the Philippines’ Grassroots Participatory Budgeting system had “local government and civil society jointly allocating budgets for development projects.” That’s utter hogwash: Such joint allocation has and will occur in only a very small number of towns; the system is merely a necessary camouflage for the old pork barrel after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.

The awards, the first undertaken by the new organization “Open Government Partnership,” were given to nine countries, with the Philippines being the only developing country to receive the honor. The other awardees were highly developed nations such as Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, and the US, known for their transparent and efficient states. (The OPG was organized in 2011 by eight nations, among which the Philippines and Indonesia were the only developing countries, “to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make government more open, effective, and accountable.”)

That Soliman and Abad were lying about the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting is quite obvious in the description of the program which they submitted:


Soliman receiving the award last month in New York with CODE-NGO Chair Patricia Sarenas.

• “The program goes beyond mere consultation as decisions are made through a body composed of 50 percent government and 50 percent CSO (civil-society organization) representatives. CSO representatives are elected through a city/municipal level assembly. National government does not accept proposals that are not signed by CSO representatives.”

• “Coverage was rapidly expanded from 30 percent of local governments in the first year to all local governments (numbering 1,634) by the third year. “

What the duo falsely portrayed is that the Philippines has become a civil-society paradise, with strong civil-society organizations in all of its 1,634 cities and municipalities, and having a say over how central government funds are used.

That’s a downright lie.

What assemblies?

* It is certainly strange that there has been no news report that “city/municipal-level assemblies” were called in all of the country’s cities and towns, in which CSO representatives were elected. The projects they were referring to, as I will explain below, are actually pork-barrel projects, which do not require the signatures of any CSO representative to be proposed and implemented.

Soliman is even confused on how long the program has been ongoing. Its first year was in 2013. Its third year, therefore, would be next year, 2015. How can they claim its coverage is “expanded” to all 1,634 cities and municipalities next year?

They also claimed: “Legislation institutionalizing the program is already making progress in Congress.” There is no such bill on that program filed in Congress.

Soliman and Abad said in their application for the award:

“All local governments are now engaging civil society and community organizations. More importantly, engagement is not merely through consultation, but rather through joint decision-making. The right mix of incentives is used to encourage local governments and civil society to work with each other. The process has resulted in 6,000 projects in 2013 (amounting to over US$200 million) and 19,000 projects in 2014 (amounting to over US$500 million) that are now being implemented across the country.” (Emphasis added)

All 1, 634 municipalities and towns have organized such assemblies and elections for CSO representatives? Have you, dear reader, heard of such assembly in your town or city where CSOs told the local government how government funds would be used?

There are, of course, areas where CSOs have been active for decades, and where such assemblies were undertaken. But I’d bet this was done in less than two dozen municipalities.

Soliman’s and Abad’s grassroots participatory fiction is exposed with the figures they themselves provided: the 6,000 projects in 2013 costing over $200 million (P8.4 billion) and 19,000 in 2014 costing $500 million (P21 billion).

The 2013 figure was the amount released as the Priority Development Assistance Program for the House of Representatives, the old name for pork barrel. It was reduced from the P16 billion levels in the past two years because the Supreme Court issued a restraining order against it. The projects are the usual ones funded out of pork-barrel money since 1987, such as “various road projects,” “multipurpose barangay buildings,” and the ubiquitous “livelihood projects.”

Pork renamed

The 2014 figure is when the pork barrel fund had been renamed Grassroots Participatory Budgeting in order to go around the Supreme Court decision that declared it unconstitutional. (It was renamed such from the initial Bottom-up Budgeting, as Abad’s staff kept on miscalling it as “bottoms-up” and smirking.)

For their feat, Soliman and Abad should be given an award as the best of Filipino conmen. They fooled an international body into giving an award for citizen-participation and government transparency to Aquino’s new version of pork barrel, an old anti-poor mechanism for patronage and graft.

It was Soliman who received the award in the ceremonies in New York since, after all, the idea for the new-style pork, came from her.

The DSWD early in 2012 started a project with an P8 million grant from the Australian government to undertake research on a nationwide basis on the feasibility of using a budgeting system tried in small advanced countries called “bottom-up budgeting (BUB).”

In such a system, imported from the business sector, citizens through town-hall meetings, or through their organzations, propose to government the projects their locality requires. While effective in very small states, such a process, though, is extremely naïve in poor countries, where bosses dominate local governments. In business and in the few countries (like Australia) where it has been used, BUB has all been abandoned as an impractical, even laboriously ineffective system.

Soliman and her NGO crowd got into the project with enthusiasm, and “bottom-up budgeting” became that crowd’s flavor of the month. That’s really not surprising as this has been Soliman’s line of work in the past: most of the P8 million budget under the Australian-funded program involved consultants’ and participants’ per diems.

Despite the hype civil-society types gave it, Soliman and Abad were pragmatic enough to have the BUB program tried out only on a very limited scale.

It was to be implemented only in municipalities with at least a 20 percent poverty incidence. In practical terms, it could be undertaken only in municipalities with a mature civil-society presence, or else it would be mobs in assemblies that would determine what projects government should fund.

When the Supreme Court declared the pork-barrel scheme unconstitutional, it wasn’t important for Aquino and Abad whether that budgeting system works or not.

It was seen as a perfect way to go around the Supreme Court ruling and to cloak the pork-barrel system. After all, Aquino couldn’t junk his bribe-system, or Congress would turn against him overnight. An added edge of the BUB would be that CSO people would think that the assemblies they participated in are being implemented nationwide, and therefore, would champion it.

Abad in a press statement in mid-2013 about the “grassroots budgeting system” said that it would be implemented on an experimental basis in, at most, 300 municipalities. When they submitted its application for the Open Government award in May 2014, they claimed it was being implemented in all 1,634 cities and municipalities.

What liars.

By Rigoberto Tiglao: At last, somebody stands up to bullies by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO November 9, 2014 10:05 pm


Who blinked? Vice President Binay; Senators Trillanes and Cayetano

The bullies are Senators Antonio Trillanes 4th and Alan Cayetano, as well as the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee itself. It should be more appropriately named the Yellow Ribbon Committee, since under this Administration, it has acted merely as President Aquino’ demolition crew.

That ‘somebody’ is Vice President Jejomar Binay, who had refused to let himself be humiliated by a modern version of the Spanish Inquisition, where one is presumed guilty, and where there is even no clear procedure for proving one’s innocence.

Binay correctly refused to be fooled by the argument that he must prove his innocence by following the Senate’s order for him to appear at the hearings. Do that in a kangaroo court?

And as the public has gone tired of the hearings, getting sick of a heavily-indebted gambler’s accusations, and irritated at the arrogance of the two brash senators, the Committee appears to have blinked, with its chairman, Teofisto Guingona 3rd, saying two days ago that he would no longer “invite” the Vice President to the hearing.

An Ernesto Mercado, who has admitted stealing hundreds of millions of pesos when he was Makati vice-mayor, hurls accusations against the vice president who had stopped dead the ex-vice mayor’s political career because of his graft, and there is no procedure for cross-examining him by the accused representatives? Huge video screens are used to label the Vice President a thief, and this is called a hearing “in aid of legislation?”

Who blinked? Vice President Binay; Senators Trillanes and Cayetano

We should be grateful, though, that Trillanes and Cayetano demonstrated so amateurishly their vitriolic bias against Binay and showed too transparently that their motive was not in “aid of legislation,” but to get rid of the vice president as a contender in the 2016 presidential election.

Because of their arrogance and total disregard of fair play in the hearings on Binay, Trillanes and Cayetano have unwittingly torn down the Senate Blue Ribbon’s disguise as a body of the legislative branch undertaking investigations in order to assist the entire Senate in making laws.

* All of the Blue Ribbon Committee’s investigations since its reincarnation after Marcos’ fall in 1986 have not resulted in any piece of legislation, contrary to its raison d’etre. In a few instances, it did provoke the Ombudsman to investigate and file charges over an anomaly that had been the subject of the Committee’s hearings. None of these, though, has led to convictions.

Few cases filed

There are a few cases after Committee hearings that were filed at the Sandiganbayan, the prime example for which is the infamous pork-barrel scam. However, it wasn’t the Blue Ribbon Committee that unearthed this elaborate graft scheme, but the Commission on Audit and one of the criminals turned whistle-blower. The Aquino government merely used the Blue Ribbon Committee to convict the accused (mainly Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla) in the public mind through trial by publicity in order to defang them.

It wasn’t the Blue Ribbon Committee that unearthed the alleged high-level corruption at the Armed Forces of the Philippines, especially in its comptrollership. It was the defense department and the Ombudsman during President Arroyo’s Administration, starting in 2003 after the sons of Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia, deputy chief of staff for comptrollership, were caught by US Customs carrying undeclared cash of $100,000.

Look at the history of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee after the restoration of democracy in 1986, and it has really often been a political weapon. The difference is that past Blue Ribbon Committee members were not as crass as the two bullies now. Two examples:

• In order to advance the accusation that the Corazon Aquino regime didn’t really stand on high moral ground, but was merely a “Kamag-anak, Inc.” Administration, then Senator Juan Ponce Enrile asked the Blue Ribbon Committee in 1988 to investigate the alleged takeover by Cory’s cousin Ricardo Lopa of 36 companies held by Marcos brother-in-law Kokoy Romualdez.

• Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who believed Fidel Ramos cheated her in the 1992 presidential election, asked the Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate Ramos for graft involving the 1998 Centennial Celebration funds.

What happened to these cases, and the many probes by the Committee?

Nothing. After the media lost interest in the cases, the issues faded from the public mind. I don’t think you, dear reader, even knew there were such Blue Ribbon investigations.

Every time some controversy emerges, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee chairman salivates at the prospects of media exposure and call for an investigation – from the alleged sexual harassment by a consular officer of Filipinas in the Middle East, to Roberto Ongpin’s alleged behest loan from a government bank and SUVs donated to bishops needing them in the boondocks.

Again I emphasize, nothing has really come out of such Blue Ribbon probes, unless the investigations were already well under way as carried out by law enforcement bodies. How could anything come out of these probes when not a single evidence presented in these hearings stood the legal requirements?

Shameful behavior

I haven’t heard of a Blue Ribbon Committee in any other country with a similar role—and shameful behavior—as our Blue Ribbon Committee. What our Blue Ribbon Committee has been doing —the kind of investigations as that on Binay’s alleged hidden wealth is an outright violation of the republican principle of separation of powers among the three branches of government.

As the Supreme Court pointed out in the Lopa case, citing a US decision that ended such activities by a US Congress body: “Congress is not a law enforcement or trial agency. These are functions of the executive and judicial departments of government. No inquiry is an end in itself; it must be related to and in furtherance of a legitimate task of Congress.

Investigations conducted solely for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to ‘punish’ those investigated are indefensible.”

My colleague Yen Makabenta, in a recent column, drew attention to US history in which the only woman senator then, Margaret Chase Smith, boldly started to stop what was the equivalent of our Blue Ribbon Committee hearings at that time in America – the McCarthyist frenzy accusing hundreds of patriotic Americans of being communists.

Smith’s now classic speech against McCarthyism was titled: “Declaration of Conscience,” and she might have well been referring to our Blue Ribbon Committee hearings on Binay’s alleged wealth:

“I don’t like the way the Senate has been made a rendezvous for vilification, for selfish political gain at the sacrifice of individual reputations and national unity. I am not proud of the way we smear outsiders from the Floor of the Senate and hide behind the cloak of congressional immunity and still place ourselves beyond criticism on the Floor of the Senate.”

Binay, of course, was just defending himself by wisely refusing to be grilled by Trillanes and Cayetano. Yet, by defying the Blue aka Yellow Ribbon Committee, he could have been inadvertently playing the role of Sen. Smith, boldly standing up to those punks, the bullies in the Senate.

The Blue Ribbon Committee has been just a waster of time and taxpayers’ money. As San Beda College Graduate School of Law dean Ranhilio Aquino-Callangan quipped: “Investigating ill-gotten wealth, graft and corruption, plunder, is not what we elect legislators for.”

“If this is the job they want to do, they should apply to be prosecutors of [the Department of Justice], not senators or congressmen!”

Why corrupt politicians keep getting elected by RICARDO SALUDO November 5, 2014 12:27 am


Ricardo Saludo


Do you trust the government and its leaders? If you do, you are among a rare one in every nine Filipinos, or 11 percent of the public. That’s the finding of the Philippine Trust Index survey for 2014, conducted by public relations company EON and the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, which fellow front-page columnist Yen Makabenta cited this past Tuesday. The latest and first two PTI presentations are available on www.slideshare.net.

The latest rating for the government is down from 15 percent in the second PTI, which rose from 7 percent in the first.

Another 39 percent “somewhat trust” the authorities. By comparison, 75 percent have confidence in the Church, the most trusted institution, with another 19 percent somewhat trusting it. Even business did better than the state, with 13 percent trusting the sector, and another 55 percent somewhat trusting.

The survey asked its 1,200 randomly chosen respondents what would give them trust in the public sector? Two out of every five said the key quality is being “not corrupt”. And only one-fifth strongly agree that the government is not corrupt. Just in case that message isn’t clear, for non-government organizations, the key trust driver is also that NGOs “must be incorruptible.”

So how come corrupt politicians keep getting elected? The survey gives clues — and suggests how honest and upright individuals can get into public office. This article looks at why sleaze wins elections; we will discuss how good guys can finish first next week.

Why the corrupt win elections

Besides honesty, other traits that don’t necessarily have much to do with trustworthiness actually help win trust. For substantial segments of the public, being a competent leader and providing basic needs for the poor (11.7 percent each), and giving decent jobs (10.1 percent) gain trust.

Thus, if a congressman uses his pork barrel for a project that gives some employment to a poor community and a bit of help to the indigent, he would win the confidence of as many as one in three people, even if he pockets half the budget.

Ditto the leader of a local government unit who gives doleouts and temporary work using kickbacks from the LGU budgets and Internal Revenue Allotment, another graft-ridden slush fund.

And the trust-building impact of such largesse is greater among poor communities. They give much more value to jobs and basic needs, or may be more easily impressed by speeches and vanity projects. So why won’t politicians skim off billions, then throw crumbs to the indigent while bankrolling publicity about their “competence”?

Being transparent and communicating win over another 5.7 percent of Filipinos. That also works for glib grafters with big public relations budgets who seemingly share governance information. Another confidence-building trait is implementing laws equally. The right PR can impart that quality to a politician, since voters can’t actually verify if laws are carried out without fear or favor.

* So while less than one-fifth of PTI respondents strongly agree that government leaders are not corrupt, about a quarter are convinced that they are competent and provide decent jobs and basic needs for the poor. Those proportions are generally less for the well-informed, whose results were extracted from the main poll.

Interestingly, while those informed respondents give high value to fulfilling campaign promises, the general public do not. That means voters don’t care as much about candidates’ pledges as they do about other things. Or they don’t recall or have enough information about promised programs and projects to base judgments on them.

Still others may see candidate speeches as all sweet talk and don’t expect much of what’s said to happen. Indeed, respondents who think elected leaders are true to their campaign promises, are about the same percentage as those who think politicians are honest — less than one-fifth. But being incorrupt is a far greater source of public trust than fulfilling campaign promises. So one can lie on the hustings, but not take bribes.

Media cleans up the dirt

Besides doleouts and jobs for the poor, the corrupt can also win trust by tapping entities people believe in. Top three in the PTI are the Church (trusted by three-quarters of respondents), academe (more than half), and media (one-third). So if a corrupt official is often seen with prelates, priests, nuns, and parish groups, the public may forget his sleaze. Ditto if he speaks and receives honorary degrees at graduation ceremonies.

Of course, media campaigns are the most common, if expensive way to build reputations of integrity, competence and caring. About half of Filipinos trust television (53 percent) and radio (45 percent) as news sources, while a third turn to newspapers (35 percent) and a fifth to magazines (20 percent). All these ratings are up significantly since the 2012 survey. So is trust in online news, social media and blogs, though they don’t rate as high as traditional media, largely for lack of Internet access.

Media power is most evident in the current administration. Major forms of corruption have reached record levels under President Benigno Aquino 3rd. Smuggling rose five-fold from past administrations to $19 billion a year, based on International Monetary Fund trade data. Pork barrel more than tripled from the last years of his predecessor (see Rigoberto Tiglao’s Monday column, “Largest pork barrel ever: P21B in 2015”).

Plus: Aquino has openly defended and never sanctioned his Kaklase-Kakampi-Kabarilan clique of associates and allies over anomalies. But these facts never get the kind of prominent and repeated coverage that lesser sleaze got in past administrations. Instead, most media have stuck to the initial impression or narrative that Aquino is an honest reformer fighting corruption. Thus, his trust, approval and satisfaction ratings remain decent, though they have fallen in recent months.

Still, people are wising up. PTI ratings for the Office of the President dropped by nearly half to 16 percent since two years ago. Most other government institutions kept their ratings, with the Cabinet and LGUs at 17 percent, the Supreme Court at 16 percent, and regional trial courts at 14 percent. But the Senate lost more than half, dropping to 7 percent, while the House of Representatives fell by a quarter to 9 percent.

Plainly, you can’t fool all the people all the time.

A government Filipinos do not trust by YEN MAKABENTA
 November 4, 2014 12:36 am


YEN MAKABENTA

I have placed the Philippine Trust Index table at the top of this column so readers can quickly refer to it as I discuss the substance of the index, its survey base, and its startling conclusions on how our people view six key institutions of society, in terms of their level of trust in them.

The presentation of the 2014 Index in Makati on October 27, was low-key and without fanfare. But in a sense, the event was just as dramatic and significant as the Supreme Court’s announcement last July of its long-awaited decision on the constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Its judgment was just as harsh as the SC decision.

And its capability to discomfit to discomfit Malacañang and its temporary occupant is just as real.

When a responsible communications company, aided by a reputable graduate school of business, publicly reports that based on its survey of public opinion throughout the archipelago, the Government of the Philippine Republic is viewed by our people as the least trustworthy institution in the country, it is an event of more than routine interest. It is news. And it is definitely a worthy subject for a column.

Palace caught off-guard and speechless

It gets more sticky when you delve into the survey’s findings.

The survey’s main conclusions can be quickly summarized and could cause indigestion for some people.

1. Of six social institutions (the Church, academe, media, government, non-government organizations and business), the government is the least trusted by our people, with only 11 percent of respondents expressing trust in government.

2. In turn, the Church (encompassing all religions and congregations) enjoys the highest level of trust among our people, with 75 percent of respondents expressing trust in it.

A friend remarked to me that it was a good thing EON did not include in the survey non-formal institutions like jueteng, cockfighting and the CPP-NPA–they might rank higher than the government in the public’s esteem.

In the face of the deflating survey results, the usually voluble spokesmen and spinmasters of President Aquino had nothing to say.

They did not shrug off the index or challenge its findings; they did not parse or rationalize or pass blame to the Gloria Arroyo administration. In a word, they were just constipated, perhaps waiting for their master to get their juices flowing.

* When informed about the index, top officers of both houses of Congress were not surprised and seemed resigned.



Survey methodology and scope

The 2014 Philippine Trust Index is subtitled “Understanding the trust landscape In the Philippines.”

Respondents in the survey are members of the population who are identified as the “informed public”—adult Filipinos between 25 to 65 years old, who have completed at least three years of tertiary education—and “the general public.”

EON The Stakeholder Relations Firm designed and conducted the survey for the first time in 2011. It undertakes the survey in cooperation with the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

The first Index was presented in September 2011. Interviews nationwide were conducted from May to june 2011.

The second PTI was conducted in 2012, with interviews undertaken from October 2012 to December 2012. It was presented to the public in February 2013.

The third PTI survey was undertaken by EON from May to June this year. It was officially presented on October 27.

The 2014 survey covered 1,626 respondents from both the informed and general public. Face-to-face interviews with respondents from urban and rural areas in NCR, North Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were conducted.

Diminishing trust in government

The new survey’s findings show that the Church remains the most trusted institution among the general public at 75% rating. This is followed by Academe (53%), Media (33%), Business (13%), and NGOs (12%). Last on the list is the Government, with a trust level of 11% among the general public.

That government enjoys the least trust of our people is saddening, and should alarm the Aquino administration because the three PTIs cover years when Aquino was at the helm of government. And it is a story of diminishing trust ratings from 2011 to 2014.

In the first trust index, government had a high trust rating of 40 percent. And the Office of the President had the highest rating among government agencies.

This year, everything is all down. Government trust is down to a low of 11 percent. Individually, The Office of the president appears bent on contesting with the Senate the dubious title of least trusted government institution.

Tracking trust ratings over the three study periods, the Church and Academe enjoyed an increase in trust ratings since 2012.

Interestingly, the Church saw a significant increase of 21% among informed publics in urban areas. On the other hand, the Government experienced the opposite, with its trust ratings sliding during the study period. Trust ratings among government agencies also dipped since 2012, with the largest drops observed for the Office of the President and the Senate.

Across all of government, Congress enjoyed the least trust.

The presidency enjoys only marginally better ratings. While both houses of Congress are distrusted by our people, the Senate fares worse than the House. The Senate now enjoys the sorry distinction of being the least trusted institution in Philippine society.

The roles have reversed because senators now command even more pork than congressmen. In the past, only congressmen were entitled to a share of the pork barrel, because they represented specific legislative districts. The invention of pork for senators is the single most corrupting development that has weakened our legislature.

Leadership is about trust

Considering the heights of Aquino’s erstwhile approval and trust ratings, it must be asked why the President has sunk so low in the public’s esteem. What caused the precipitous decline?

The answer may lie in the definition of leadership itself, and the President’s clear failure to provide enough of it.

Warren Bennis, the well-known leadership teacher, scholar and best-selling author, summarized memorably the essence of leadership in a simple epigram:

“Leadership is about trust— about people.”

And he proceeds to enumerate and explain the four ingredients of the creation of trust in an organization or a group.

These are:
First, the leader must have competence. The followers have to trust his or her capacity to do the job.

Second, there should be congruity between what the leader says and what he does. Action is congruent with the leader’s vision.

Third, people want constancy in their leader. They want to know that in the heat of battle, their leader will support them, defend them and come through with what they need to win.

Fourth and finally, the leader must be caring. The leader cares about the lives of the people with whom he works, he empathizes with them.

Competence, congruity, constancy and caring—these are precisely the qualities that Filipinos are missing in their president. As well as in Congress and its leadership.

We have a government without serious leaders today. We have for leaders politicians who absolutely have no gravitas, which roughly means “moral seriousness.” No one commands respect.

Distrust and doubt began with Aquino’s infantile slogans. “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” [If there are no corrupt people, there are no poor] quickly became a parody of itself. The result is a record number of corrupt and poor people in Philippine history.

“Tuwid na daan” (straight path philosophy of governance) turned crooked, once budget Secretary Butch Abad got to work and Mar Roxas started plotting his route to the presidency.

When Aquino proclaimed the Philippines under his watch as the new Asian economic miracle, foreigner and native alike were incredulous.

The inability of our people to trust their government is not just lamentable; it is dangerous for the nation and for our standing in the world.

Pope Francis will visit a new but hauntingly familiar land by MARLEN V. RONQUILLO November 4, 2014 8:39 pm


Marlen V. Ronquillo


HE will find shades of Evita and the real Imelda, grieving kin of desaparecidos and uncaring technocrats, etc.

Argentina, Pope Francis’ land of birth and the base of his priestly duties until his ascent to the papacy, had historical chapters very similar to us. (I mentioned “land of birth” because his parents were Italian immigrants.) In 1976, for example, an army general, Jorge Rafael Videla staged a coup and ruled as a dictator until 1981.

Mr. Marcos’s dictatorship, from 1972 to the People Power Revolution in 1986, was longer. But his rule and that of Videla’s happened in the same general period of coups and dictatorships that the great Western Powers sanctioned in the guise of containing socialist revolutions.

And were we to inventory the horrific crimes that happened under their dictatorships, the list would be similar: extrajudicial murders, large-scale human rights abuses and the entry into the human rights lexicon of a tragic term—desaparecidos.

Even the economic legacies of both dictatorships sounded eerily familiar: devaluations, the surge in foreign debt, the overall debasement of the economy.

(The brutality of Videla’s dictatorship, at one point, raised questions on where the current pope stood on the dictatorship issue— two Jesuits disappeared under his watch as head of the order in Buenos Aires—and reappeared after confirmation of torture.)

Then this one. Former First Lady Evita Peron and the words that described her: Ambitious, ruthless, cunning-untiring, clever and strikingly beautiful. Words that critics say applied to Imelda Marcos. Much of the world know the familiar first names – Evita and Imelda.

Post-dictatorship, what two countries had experimented to the hilt on the applications and central themes of the Washington Consensus? If your answer is “Argentina and the Philippines” then you have made an accurate answer.

What two countries allowed US-trained technocrats and economists to have a free rein on economic policies under the guise of pursuing structural reforms, which brought periods of booms and busts? If your answer is the Philippines and Argentina, you have given another correct answer.

* While some leaders of Argentina’s Catholic Church watched with wariness and doubts, the MIT-trained Domingo Cavallo was named finance minister in the early 90s and was hailed as both a technocratic star and savior of Argentina’s economy.

He implemented a fixed exchange rate and pushed hard for the privatization of his country’s major utilities—in accordance with the prescription of the Washington Consensus. The policies were followed by a few years of economic resurgence. But the economic crisis that struck the world, from Asia to Mexico to Russia starting in 1997, rocked Argentina as well. Foreign debt levels soared and so did interest rates.

Even IMF’s succor failed to save Argentina from financial collapse

Like Argentina in the early 90s, the Ramos administration and his technocrats took the same path. The massive privatization of utilities and deregulation of industries—from oil to electricity—was pushed along with the faithful adherence to the neoliberal prescriptions of the Consensus. The years that followed the market and structural reforms saw the economy soar.

Like Cavallo’s successes, the Ramos-era technocrats also received lavish praise as uncompromising reformers.

But like Argentina, the 1997 Asian financial crisis hit the Philippine economy hard. The surging growth went down to 5.3 percent in 1997 and a dismal 0.1 percent in 1998. At one point after the Asian contagion, interest rates skyrocketed to over 30 percent—very much like Argentina after Cavallo’s failed reforms.

Pope Francis knows by heart the brutal wagers of the failed technocracy on the lives of the vulnerable.

While the rich always survive downturns—and come out as the winners in the recoveries that follow—the poor suffer dearly as they can’t cope with the rising costs of basic commodities, of basic survival itself. The massive and horrific cost of failed technocracy is borne mostly by the vulnerable sectors—whose safety nets and basic protection are not part and parcel of hard-core economic reforms pursued by the technocrats.

And Pope Francis knows by heart that his Church and its basic doctrines can’t be reconciled with technocracy and political and economic systems that are built-in to bludgeon the vulnerable.

Those systems reigned in Argentina. Those systems reigned in the Philippines.

When he visits our country, he will not only see a country that was once ravaged by a brutal dictatorship that ushered in the age of desaparecidos.

In his January visit, he will be witness to the same old, same old: Cavallo-clones who swagger as saviors and take glory in pursuing market-based reforms that remain deeply entrenched, as if the primacy of the market is the Holy Grail that a nation must seek.

He will see leaders consumed by GDP growth and credit upgrades amid so much economic injustice—and while supposedly practicing the Catholic faith.

He will see that our leaders don’t even admit the existence of that economic inequality, don’t even recognize that it is the main problem gnawing deep into the very core of our society. A society where the vulnerable are invisible.

He will be sad to see that our leaders do not even realize that the Church was established by carpenters and fishermen and that what is said in the Sermon on the Mount should be the guiding doctrine of a truly Catholic society.

He will set foot on a new but otherwise familiar land.

2 Responses to Pope Francis will visit a new but hauntingly familiar land

  1. Nemesis says:

    Hm. Now I’m wondering if Noynoy will have his own Falklands/Malvinas and try to take the islands with unauthorized Chinese presence…

  2. upnngrad says:

    But… but… there is no Imelda to Noyi-Noy. No one sings “Dahil Sa Iyo” to Noyi-Noy.

 

EDITORIAL: Starting not to be a ‘dedma nation’ November 5, 2014 11:03 pm

FEIGNING unawareness is what the Tagalog street term “dedma” means.

It is a Taglish construction. “Ded” is the rendering in Tagalog of the English word “dead.” And “ma” is the first syllable of the Spanish word for “malice” used in Tagalog as “malisya.” The Tagalog phrase “patay malisya” which means “no malice noticed” can therefore be expressed in Taglish as “dead malisya” and therefore can be abbreviated into “dedma.”

Under the Aquino presidency the Philippines has become a “dedma” nation. During the Marcos regime the people seethed in anger over the excesses and corruption. But they were not dedma. And the government officials did not feign unawareness about malfeasances.

Nowadays the often funny verbal gymnastics performed by the Palace are not about real wrongdoings but about trivial matters. Then the conscript newscasters, columnists and talk show hosts make them look like really serious political and governance issues.

But on the really grave problems the officials and the conscript media are dedma.

The Palace and Cabinet members concerned do not talk about such matters as the true state of hunger and poverty. And neither do the conscript media.

Corruption has risen to levels never seen before—not even during the Marcos regime. Smuggling, for one, has risen 500 percent—according to International Monetary Fund data—from that of the Macapagal-Arroyo and Erap Estrada years. The Palace and the concerned government officials don’t take the problem seriously. And with the exception of The Manila Times and its columnists everybody is dedma on this subject.

Because of the crookedness of President Aquino’s hypocritical “Tuwid na Daan” (Straight and Righteous Path) citizens and clergy leaders have formed a National Transformation Council and issued the Lipa and Cebu Declarations asking the President to step down. Except for an obtuse and arrogant putdown of such ecclesiastical luminaries as Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, Bishop Arguelles and weighty Muslim and Protestant leaders, the Palace has treated the revolutionary stand of the NTC with dedma. And so have the most powerful broadcast and print media.

* The Comelec/Smartmatic Automated Election System (AES), using the satanic PCOS machines, allows whoever the Comelec bigwigs and the Venezuelan Smartmatic corporation’s techies favor to get the most votes.

That serious attack on our democracy is being treated with dedma by Comelec Chairman Sixto Brilliantes et al., the Palace, and even most of the leading politicians. This, despite the earnest pleas of highly qualified and knowledgeable persons, including former Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman.

Virtual one-party power

That President Aquino—with the cabal that rules the country with him from Malacañang and the Liberal Party–has become a virtual one-party power over our Republic. This is treated with dedma.

They have passed and enacted the 2015 GAA. Aside from providing for previously illegal and unconstitutional lump sum wholesale funding of opaque projects, the 2015 GAA redefines the meaning of savings and gives new names to previously illegal appropriations. It allows the President to do what he likes with government money.

It frees him and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad from being held accountable for the pork barrel and DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) crimes that the Supreme Court had declared illegal and unconstitutional. It cements the surrender to the President of the Congress’ “power of the purse” necessary for the principle of checks and balance between the branches of government to work.

Not only have the congressmen and senators themselves treated this serious matter with dedma. The conscript media also have.

Philippine Trust Index

But it seems that the Filipino people are waking up from their dedma attitude to all these evils being inflicted on our Republic by the Aquino administration.

The latest results of the bi-annual poll to determine who or which institutions the people trust most—the EON and Ateneo University’s Philippine Trust Index (PTI)—show that the trust rating of the Office of the President has dropped by almost 50 percent from its high rating two years ago. The PTI shows that the Church is the most trusted institution.

The Supreme Court and most other government institution have maintained their readings.

The Senate and the House have lost half and one-fourth, respectively, of their previous ratings. They are among the least trusted.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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