EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full Commentary below)

FROM MALAYA

BY DUCKY PAREDES: WHAT'S CHINA UP TO? AND BINAY'S SINS?
[Finally, for both the Jejomar Binay fan club and the anti-Binays, the government may finally file a case against the Vice President. This is a good thing so that we can all know the truth about the man who might become our next president. So far, no investigation about Jejomar has moved forward. He dismisses all charges as baseless and refuses to explain himself.]


WHAT is China up to? She has dramatically ramped up its land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, building artificial islands at an unprecedented pace to bolster its territorial claims in the disputed area, as noticed by US officials. The rapid construction of artificial islands in the strategic waters comes to 2,000 acres (800 hectares), with 75 percent of the total in the last five months, say the officials.
“China has expanded the acreage on the outposts it occupies by some four hundred times,” says a US defense official. The United States did not endorse land reclamation by any of the countries with territorial claims in the South China Sea, but “the pace and scale of China’s land reclamation in recent years dwarfs that of any other claimant,” says the astounded official. The South China Sea is home to vital shipping lanes and is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Washington is concerned China’s efforts carry a military dimension that could undermine America’s naval and economic power in the Pacific. The commander of the US Pacific Fleet, Admiral Harry Harris, said in March that China is “creating a Great wall of sand.”  US officials released the reclamation estimate as the Pentagon issued its annual report to Congress on the state of China’s military, which repeated accusations that Beijing was staging cyber attacks to scoop up information on American defense programs. The report also warns that China has made major strides with a range of satellites as well as anti-satellite jammers, saying it now had “the most dynamic space program in the world today.” Previous reports note China’s focus on cyber and space weapons but this year’s document included a special section on the country’s massive dredging and island building in the strategic South China Sea. At four reclamation sites, China has moved from dredging operations to “infrastructure development” that could include harbors, communications and surveillance systems, logistics support and “at least one airfield,” the report says. READ MORE...

ALSO by Amado P. Macasaet: Diogenes and Grace


Cartoon appended by PHNO. Source CARTOONSTACK  Diogenes lighted a candle in the daytime looking for an honest man. He did not find one. Even in Greek mythology, honest men were hard to find. Towards the end of his term, President Aquino started looking for a successor who would pursue the reforms he introduced when he became president. He may have found one last week when he summoned Sen. Grace Poe to Malacañang to talk about the 2016 elections. The President hinted to Ms. Poe, daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr. and wife of the son of a famous physician, Dr. Llamanzares, to consider a higher elective position in the 2016 national polls. Senator Poe stopped being coy about seeking a higher position after meeting with President Aquino. The problem, according to her, is that the President did not tell whether she should gun for President or Vice President. If the President, as he told Senator Poe, is looking for a successor, he would not push the amiable, very quiet, hardworking and honest lawmaker to gun for the vice presidency whose main job, truly speaking, is to take over if the president is incapable of continuing in office. READ MORE...

ALSO By Dody Lacuna:  Underestimation
[As DILG secretary, Mar Roxas should have mended fences and cultivated anew that old but nonetheless proven image of service and concern and pursue it honestly and earnestly. He should have reversed the awfully-ultimate reality that “Mr. Phalange” was just out to win votes and nothing more.]


MAR Roxas’
political fortunes had been stacked up against him after he gave way to PNoy as the presidential standard bearer of the then opposition coalition led by the Liberal Party in 2010. Underestimating Jojo Binay did not come with his selfless decision to slide down as vice-presidential candidate. Also, junking by PNoy’s close allies led by Peping Cojuangco, a longtime PDP-Laban stalwart along with Binay, did not seem possible after his political sacrifice. Consistently down in the surveys Roxas could not overcome his dilemma of projecting a public image consistent with his performance. He knows too well a clean record of honesty and integrity for which he has been known cannot get the votes to win the presidency. He used to bask as a frontrunner in two senate races but seemed stumped from going after a higher position. To his credit, unlike PNoy, he does not blame the media for his poor ratings. Even in the aftermath of the Mamasapano massacre during which he condoled prominently with the grieving families and through the Department of the Interior and Local Government generously provided for their immediate and basic needs, his public approval should have gone up. Speaking out of turn against the President which Roxas had struggled to resist would have delivered ample public satisfaction for him but would undeniably incur the presidential ire and the price of losing the crown as the administration standard bearer next year. Ironically, despite his outstanding legislative work as senator for two terms and his untarnished public life, Roxas has not somehow qualified to be in the mold of his father, former Senate President Gerardo Roxas or his grandfather President Manuel Roxas. Both went through the crucible of a world war and brutal political violence, the former sustaining nearly fatal injuries in a grenade throwing incident at the miting de avance of the Liberal Part in Plaza Miranda. History tells us that guerrilla leader  READ MORE...

ALSO By Amado P. Macasaet: Skirting impeachment


VP BINAY
The Ombudsman was reported to be planning to ask the Supreme Court if Vice President Jejomar Binay may be charged criminally for graft and if found guilty removed from office. Media quoted Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales as saying her sole purpose is to test the immunity from suit of a sitting Vice President hardly a year before national elections. We are confused. In the first place, the suit may be interpreted as usurpation by the Supreme Court of the powers of impeachment that exclusively belongs to Congress as stated in the Constitution. In the event the Supreme Court agrees with the Ombudsman and the Vice President is punished with removal from Office, the ruling effectively transfers to the Court powers the Constitution says belong to the Senate. The other import of the request is the obvious haste of the Ombudsman to file criminal charges for graft against the Vice President but cannot precisely because of immunity from suit, impeachment being the only mode of removing him from office. The other interpretation is the fear it would be extremely difficult to impeach Binay if he wins the Presidential race next year. It is extremely important to give full meaning to the statement of Speaker Sonny Belmonte that impeachment of the Vice President at this time is out of the question. The Ombudsman is trying another route by requesting the Supreme Court for an interpretation. If Binay wins the Presidency the Ombudsman or anybody who has a gripe against Binay will have to wait six long years before a former President can be sued. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: A leader of 100 million
[We need a leader of 100 million Filipinos, not an amalgam of various overlapping interests whose biggest claim to the presidency is the ability to juggle the most number of influences without letting one drop and make a bigger mess.]


"Sige tuloy lang ang pag-usad nang karag-karag na sasakyan Mabuting maidlip na muna, pakigising na lang sakaling matunton na ang matuwid na daan." PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO-- Editorial cartoon courtesy of DefinitelyFilipino blog  IT would be shortsighted, even downright dangerous, to think of the 2016 presidential elections as a simple question of who can best piece together the shards of this nation’s brittle political structures to create a semblance of consensus. Despite the oft-repeated, over-simplified line of the current administration, the next president can expect to do a whole lot more than just “continue the programs of reform and good governance” until 2022. No president would appreciate being seen as an extension or a replica of of his predecessor, no matter how capable. First and foremost, President Aquino’s successor will be called upon to steer the country through perilous uncharted waters of heading off a head-on confrontation with the world’s biggest economic behemoth and military superpower. China has unfortunately marked the West Philippine Sea as the big proving ground for her overarching ambition to be recognized as a legitimate challenger if not an equal of the United States. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Fair is fair


President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday lauded the efficiency of the Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GOCC) sector, which remitted some P36.36 billion to the national treasury.
The President received the checks amounting to P36.36 billion from 48 GOCCs during the ceremonial turnover billed as “GOCC Dividends Day” at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace. Photo from the President's website  A NUMBER of government-owned-or-controlled corporations outdid themselves in 2014, posting record earnings and remitting billions to the government coffers. Officials and ordinary employees alike are basking in the warmth of President Aquino’s announcement that a review of their compensation is in order with a view to giving out more generous bonuses to reward their performance. The chief executive however tempered his words with a caveat that there will be a review of better performing GOCCs and the distribution of fatter paychecks are depend its results. A 13 percent jump in the GOCC’s total remittances, translating to over P4 billion increase from the preceding year’s income certainly is pretty impressive. But before we get carried away by exuberance over such good news, it would not hurt to pay attention to some of the most recent rulings from the government’s own supreme bean counter - the Commission on Audit. Because while the new management of GOCCs has turned things around, it just would not do to simply forget the bad moves in the past that cost taxpayers billions. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS  HERE:

Binay’s sins?


By Ducky Paredes

MANILA, MAY 18, 2015 (MALAYA) By Ducky Paredes on May 13, 2015 - WHAT is China up to? She has dramatically ramped up its land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, building artificial islands at an unprecedented pace to bolster its territorial claims in the disputed area, as noticed by US officials. The rapid construction of artificial islands in the strategic waters comes to 2,000 acres (800 hectares), with 75 percent of the total in the last five months, say the officials.

“China has expanded the acreage on the outposts it occupies by some four hundred times,” says a US defense official. The United States did not endorse land reclamation by any of the countries with territorial claims in the South China Sea, but “the pace and scale of China’s land reclamation in recent years dwarfs that of any other claimant,” says the astounded official.

The South China Sea is home to vital shipping lanes and is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Washington is concerned China’s efforts carry a military dimension that could undermine America’s naval and economic power in the Pacific. The commander of the US Pacific Fleet, Admiral Harry Harris, said in March that China is “creating a Great wall of sand.”

US officials released the reclamation estimate as the Pentagon issued its annual report to Congress on the state of China’s military, which repeated accusations that Beijing was staging cyber attacks to scoop up information on American defense programs. The report also warns that China has made major strides with a range of satellites as well as anti-satellite jammers, saying it now had “the most dynamic space program in the world today.”

Previous reports note China’s focus on cyber and space weapons but this year’s document included a special section on the country’s massive dredging and island building in the strategic South China Sea. At four reclamation sites, China has moved from dredging operations to “infrastructure development” that could include harbors, communications and surveillance systems, logistics support and “at least one airfield,” the report says.

READ MORE...
T
he Chinese have excavated deep channels that could accommodate larger ships to the outposts. The ultimate purpose of the effort remains unclear but analysts outside China say Beijing is “attempting to change facts on the ground by improving its defense infrastructure in the South China Sea.”

Unlike other countries making claims in the area, China at the moment does not have an airfield or “secure docking” at its outposts and the reclamation operations may be aimed at ending that disparity.

***

Finally, for both the Jejomar Binay fan club and the anti-Binays, the government may finally file a case against the Vice President. This is a good thing so that we can all know the truth about the man who might become our next president. So far, no investigation about Jejomar has moved forward. He dismisses all charges as baseless and refuses to explain himself.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. rules out an impeachment arising from the Ombudsman’s anticipated move to file criminal charges against the Vice President, along with his son Makati Mayor Junjun, Hilmarc Construction Corp. and 21 others, for the allegedly overpriced P2.2-billion Makati parking building.

“I think impeachment is out of the question,” says Belmonte, a vice chair of the Liberal Party (LP), citing the proximity of the date for filing of certificates of candidacy in October. Belmonte is right. We need a decision on who Binay really is, before we, as voters must decide whether he is fit to be our president.

The leader of the House of Representatives disagreed with the Ombudsman’s plan to test Binay’s immunity before the Supreme Curt. “That’s not a good move,” he says. Waiting for a decision may take forever or it may come too late for the SC to decide.

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, an LP stalwart, says: “I have read the Ombudsman charge sheet and I think with the evidence presented, he will be indicted and he will have to defend himself in the Sandiganbayan. Impeachment can no longer be filed as elections are less than a year from now.”

The Supreme Court’s decision on the condonation of past sins by reelection being used by Binay’s son to justify the lifting of the six-month suspension order against him by the Sandiganbayan would not matter in the Vice President’s case.

“The condonation doctrine is applicable only to administrative cases but not to suspension brought about by criminal proceedings,” says Erice.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., the head of the National Unity Party that is part of the administration coalition, says that the Ombudsman’s action against Binay would put to test the immunity from lawsuits vested on impeachable officers. “There is currently no jurisprudence in local courts on whether a sitting Vice President may be tried in criminal court for acts committed before they assumed office,” Barzaga says.

US jurisprudence provides two cases where a sitting vice president had to go through criminal proceedings while in office–Aaron Burr (the third American vice president) for killing Alexander Hamilton, and Spiro Agnew (vice president from 1968 to 1973) for taking bribes while he was Maryland governor.

“I think the Vice President will raise the issue to the Supreme Court. He will not go down without a fight. The ball will be in the court’s hands,” Barzaga says.

Compared to the presidency, the Vice President’s office is “not a crucial office in practical terms” and “the Vice President does not embody a branch of government as the executive inherently does,” says Barzaga, citing Alan Hirsch’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment.”

Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, interim president of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, says, however, that the Vice President will invoke the constitutional provision declaring that all impeachable officers are immune from any suit.

“Admittedly, impeachment is the action allowed by the Constitution. Whether this will prosper or not, will not depend on whether there is legal basis or not, since impeachment is a purely political process, which means to say it’s a numbers game. It all depends on the whims of the Liberal Party in the House,” Tiangco said.

“The LP is hell-bent in staying in power beyond 2016 at all cost, to cover up their plunder and other anomalies,” says Tiangco.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said he would have more exposés on corruption at the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing on corruption allegations against the Vice President.

The new bombshell, he said, would deal with alleged irregularities in the Pag-Ibig Fund (Home Development Mutual Fund), which Binay chairs.

Amid possible graft charges to be filed against him, Trillanes expects that Binay would drop his bid for the presidency, ignoring the fact that no local politico has ever been known to given up on an election.

“He will not run, he will back out the same way he backed out in the debate,” the senator said, referring to Binay’s last-minute retreat from a debate with him on the Makati building controversy.

In a text message, Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado typically shrugged off Trillanes’ latest blast, typically describing it (ala Binay) as part of a “conspiracy involving the Senate, the Ombudsman and other government agencies against the Vice President and his family.”

“We hope that the Pag-Ibig Fund will be allowed to do its work. To continue to drag Pag-Ibig Fund is not good for the government because it is one of the best-performing and honest (state corporations), it is not good for the civil service because honest public officials are not spared,” cautions Salgado.

***

Here is a reader’s reaction (memcarpo@gmail.com) to my column on a great Filipino boxer who was the World Flyweight Champion in the 1920s: “Did Pancho Villa hide the fact that he had a tooth extracted before the fight then when he lose he told the media the reason why he lose?

“I remember our Congressman Pacquiao every time he loses he has a ready excuse like blisters in his toes and the most recent shoulder injury.

“Di nya nalang aminin na pera pera lang ang labanan at sayang naman ung 100M kung magiging bato pa, granting na totoo nga ung shoulder injury.”

***

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Diogenes and Grace By Amado P. Macasaet on May 15, 2015


Cartoon appended by PHNO. Source CARTOONSTACK

Diogenes lighted a candle in the daytime looking for an honest man. He did not find one. Even in Greek mythology, honest men were hard to find.

Towards the end of his term, President Aquino started looking for a successor who would pursue the reforms he introduced when he became president. He may have found one last week when he summoned Sen. Grace Poe to Malacañang to talk about the 2016 elections.

The President hinted to Ms. Poe, daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr. and wife of the son of a famous physician, Dr. Llamanzares, to consider a higher elective position in the 2016 national polls.

Senator Poe stopped being coy about seeking a higher position after meeting with President Aquino. The problem, according to her, is that the President did not tell whether she should gun for President or Vice President.

If the President, as he told Senator Poe, is looking for a successor, he would not push the amiable, very quiet, hardworking and honest lawmaker to gun for the vice presidency whose main job, truly speaking, is to take over if the president is incapable of continuing in office.

READ MORE...
The chance to win and the capability to govern in the most efficient and honest manner is seldom found in one person. In fact, from the little that I know of the present crop of presidential aspirants, only Grace Poe and Ping Lacson meet the qualifications.

It is important to note that before she was summoned by the President, she repeatedly claimed she does not have ambitions to become Chief Executive. She was practically saying the office scares her. She thinks the job is too big for her person but there is widespread belief among people of all economic classes it is not big for her abilities which she never even boasts of. She is that modest.

There is a remarkable similarity between her and the President. Neither of them planned to seek the highest office. Benigno Simeon Aquino III was thrown into the political cauldron by the “timely” death of his mother, Corazon Aquino who is credited for ending the Martial Law regime of Ferdinand Marcos in the bloodless EDSA People Power Revolution.

Before he accepted the peoples’ demand that he follow the footsteps of his mother, Mr. Aquino was a hardly talked about congressman of Tarlac who was later elected senator. He had few friends. He did not seem to deserve the appreciation, maybe even respect of his peers in both Houses of Congress. The quality of his cabinet with a few exceptions tells it all.

Grace Poe was head of the MTRCB before she was plunged into politics by her friends. Hardly anybody ever suspected she would be No. 1 senator in that election of 2013. I have no personal knowledge whether or not, as early as that time, the President was already casting a moist eye on her to be his successor. He probably did not. He hardly knew her then.

I am old enough to remember and appreciate some unexpected political events that brought people to the presidency without them planning for it.

Ramon Magsaysay was secretary of defense in the cabinet of President Elpidio Quirino. He was a mechanical engineer who, if memory serves, was congressman for one or two terms of his province of Zambales.

At that time, the Nacionalista Party was desperately looking for a candidate to fight Quirino in his re-election bid.

The members of the party could not find one in its own ranks although there were honest and dedicated politicians such as Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson and Speaker Jose B. Laurel Jr., among many.

The leaders of the party probably wanted to send to the voters the perception or message President Qiuirino was so bad he had to be betrayed by his own man, Ramon Magsaysay.


PHOTO COURTESY OF BARANGAYSAHOLLAND.WEBS.COM 

Magsaysay, to quote Martin Luther King, had a dream. He wanted those who have less in life to have more in law. He won but died in a plane crash in Cebu about the middle of his term.

There is, in my view, something common among Magsaysay, President Aquino and Sen. Grace Poe. Their common chemistry is the fact they never had a desire to be popular before they decided to accept the challenge to run for president.

Nearly all politicians, particularly senators, except Grace Poe and Ping Lacson, are populists. A candidate for President need not be plunged into dirty politics if only because populism is wool pulled over the voters’ eyes.

Keeping to herself and doing the job her oath demands her to do does not allow Grace Poe to be populist. She does not have the gall for it. President Aquino also kept to himself when he was a lawmaker. After he ascended to the presidency he never dreamed of, he brought the country to the path of growth.

But the job is unfinished. He wants his successor to continue what he started. He correctly believes Grace Poe is that “man.” She is reasonably brilliant, stays in her work place most of the time. She does not go out of her way to announce her accomplishments. She believes they are for the people to appreciate or reject.

Grace Poe’s political enemies will run her through the coals on her citizenship. They say she is not natural born Filipino and therefore not qualified to run for president. The enemies of her father, FPJ, also questioned his citizenship. The Court ruled in his favor but he lost to Gloria Arroyo. There is a belief he was cheated blind.

Sooner than we think, the citizenship issue of Grace Poe will be resolved by the Supreme Court.

We will not guess how the Court will rule. In the event she loses the case, Grace Poe will not feel scathed. It is the Filipino people who will lose, not Grace. .


Underestimation By DODY LACUNA on May 13, 2015


By DODY LACUNA

MAR Roxas’ political fortunes had been stacked up against him after he gave way to PNoy as the presidential standard bearer of the then opposition coalition led by the Liberal Party in 2010. Underestimating Jojo Binay did not come with his selfless decision to slide down as vice-presidential candidate. Also, junking by PNoy’s close allies led by Peping Cojuangco, a longtime PDP-Laban stalwart along with Binay, did not seem possible after his political sacrifice.

Consistently down in the surveys Roxas could not overcome his dilemma of projecting a public image consistent with his performance. He knows too well a clean record of honesty and integrity for which he has been known cannot get the votes to win the presidency. He used to bask as a frontrunner in two senate races but seemed stumped from going after a higher position.

To his credit, unlike PNoy, he does not blame the media for his poor ratings. Even in the aftermath of the Mamasapano massacre during which he condoled prominently with the grieving families and through the Department of the Interior and Local Government generously provided for their immediate and basic needs, his public approval should have gone up. Speaking out of turn against the President which Roxas had struggled to resist would have delivered ample public satisfaction for him but would undeniably incur the presidential ire and the price of losing the crown as the administration standard bearer next year.

Ironically, despite his outstanding legislative work as senator for two terms and his untarnished public life, Roxas has not somehow qualified to be in the mold of his father, former Senate President Gerardo Roxas or his grandfather President Manuel Roxas. Both went through the crucible of a world war and brutal political violence, the former sustaining nearly fatal injuries in a grenade throwing incident at the miting de avance of the Liberal Part in Plaza Miranda. History tells us that guerrilla leader

READ MORE...
Manuel Roxas was sentenced to die before a firing squad after refusing to swear allegiance to the Japanese. But the Japanese colonel assigned to carry out his execution was so impressed with Roxas that he spared his life. He conceded that Roxas was a very rare Filipino leader the likes of him, the colonel said, would only come once in a hundred years. Roxas, however, earned some controversy later for allegedly engaging in some illegal business after the war which has not been substantially proven.

Various multi-billion alleged anomalies linking Binay and his family have brought down Jojo Binay in the surveys and his chances to be president but notably did not raise Roxas’ favorable public trust ratings. With Binay likely out of the way in the presidential derby, the Liberal Party was almost sure that Roxas would substantially go up in the surveys. Again, it underestimated the people’s pulse which clearly indicated that many were evidently looking for fresh faces detached from the bureaucratic mud pile of dynasties and oligarchies.

Roxas and his advisers had unwittingly created a crucial vacuum after he won the top senate seat on the brilliant social and public relations slogan “Mr. Phalange”. But, for abandoning it altogether he paid a dear price. Certainly, the public would not be misled and still clung to his campaign promise woven into what turned out to be a false image that Roxas, grand scion of the Aranetas, stood for his unwashed and marginalized countrymen who struggle and scrimp for their daily pittance.

Indeed it was a huge underestimation of an avenging public fueled by their hapless emotional and psycho-social conditions that Roxas trifled with for the world to see.

As DILG secretary, he should have mended fences and cultivated anew that old but nonetheless proven image of service and concern and pursue it honestly and earnestly. He should have reversed the awfully-ultimate reality that “Mr. Phalange” was just out to win votes and nothing more.

The gritty and multi-awarded Korina Sanchez is now hardly seen on TV and heard on radio, except in the weekly “Balitang K” on ABS-CBN, which is thought to be “damage control” for the wife of the presumptive administration candidate and her fearless verbal assaults against her husband’s political foes and allies alike. As the network’s leading female anchor she became a force to reckon with in the nationwide media campaign that sought to persuade the masses that Mar was indeed “Mr. Palengke”.


Skirting impeachment By Amado P. Macasaet on May 14, 2015


By Amado P. Macasaet

The Ombudsman was reported to be planning to ask the Supreme Court if Vice President Jejomar Binay may be charged criminally for graft and if found guilty removed from office.

Media quoted Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales as saying her sole purpose is to test the immunity from suit of a sitting Vice President hardly a year before national elections.

We are confused. In the first place, the suit may be interpreted as usurpation by the Supreme Court of the powers of impeachment that exclusively belongs to Congress as stated in the Constitution.

In the event the Supreme Court agrees with the Ombudsman and the Vice President is punished with removal from Office, the ruling effectively transfers to the Court powers the Constitution says belong to the Senate.

The other import of the request is the obvious haste of the Ombudsman to file criminal charges for graft against the Vice President but cannot precisely because of immunity from suit, impeachment being the only mode of removing him from office.

The other interpretation is the fear it would be extremely difficult to impeach Binay if he wins the Presidential race next year. It is extremely important to give full meaning to the statement of Speaker Sonny Belmonte that impeachment of the Vice President at this time is out of the question.

The Ombudsman is trying another route by requesting the Supreme Court for an interpretation. If Binay wins the Presidency the Ombudsman or anybody who has a gripe against Binay will have to wait six long years before a former President can be sued.

READ MORE...
The wait is long but that, from what I can understand, is the law. It has to be respected. The Ombudsman seeks the interpretation of the Supreme Court probably because it would be beyond her duty to file an impeachment complaint against “President” Binay.

In the first place, it is extremely difficult to get the House of Representatives to draw up articles of impeachment for the Senate to try the President. It is edifying to remember Joseph Estrada’s impeachment had already begun when Chief Justice Davide, presiding officer of the impeachment court allowed the process to be brought to the streets where a small group of rich people gathered together by Gloria Arroyo and her supporters demanded the ouster of Estrada.

The Supreme Court installed Gloria Arroyo, Esrada’s vice president on the unheard of doctrine of “constructive resignation. Gloria Arroyo and maybe Chief Justice Davide themselves believed Estrada had the numbers for acquittal.

So the Ombudsman has to seek the interpretation of the Supreme Court on how far immunity from suit may be applied.

On the other hand, if the Court throws out the case for lack of merit, I guess the Vice President may no longer be removed from office by impeachment. In my opinion, an impeachment complaint filed after the Court denies the Ombudsman’s request may violate the double jeopardy safeguards of an accused being tried twice for the same offense.

However it is absolutely necessary to understand the Ombudsman’s complaint against the Vice President does not seem to be connected to whatever may have been found in the investigation of a complaint filed long before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee exposed the “sins” of Binay when he was mayor of Makati City.

The Ombudsman merely wants to test the Constitution, not to prove the guilt of Binay. Otherwise, a criminal complaint for graft or even plunder would have been filed with the Sandigan. Unfortunately, it is the same immunity that prevents her from doing so. So the Ombudsman has to seek the interpretation of the Constitution from the Supreme Court. This is how I understand the case.

The Office of the Ombudsman is a graft prosecutor. It has no other purpose of existence. Why it suddenly became interested in asking the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution as it relates to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Senate to try impeachment is a surprise. Impeachment as the only mode of removing a vice president from office directly prohibits filing of any other suit in any court.

What we see is voluminous complaints for graft pending with the Office of the Ombudsman. The complaints, needless to say, should either be dismissed or charges filed with the Sandiganbayan, the graft court. Our high school graduate mind fails to understand whether asking the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitutional provision on impeachment is part of the Ombudsman’s duty to prosecute wrongdoers in the public service.


EDITORIAL: A leader of 100 million May 12, 2015


"Sige tuloy lang ang pag-usad nang karag-karag na sasakyan Mabuting maidlip na muna, pakigising na lang sakaling matunton na ang matuwid na daan." PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO-- Editorial cartoon courtesy of DefinitelyFilipino blog

IT would be shortsighted, even downright dangerous, to think of the 2016 presidential elections as a simple question of who can best piece together the shards of this nation’s brittle political structures to create a semblance of consensus.

Despite the oft-repeated, over-simplified line of the current administration, the next president can expect to do a whole lot more than just “continue the programs of reform and good governance” until 2022.

No president would appreciate being seen as an extension or a replica of of his predecessor, no matter how capable.

First and foremost, President Aquino’s successor will be called upon to steer the country through perilous uncharted waters of heading off a head-on confrontation with the world’s biggest economic behemoth and military superpower.

China has unfortunately marked the West Philippine Sea as the big proving ground for her overarching ambition to be recognized as a legitimate challenger if not an equal of the United States.

READ MORE...
Our next commander-in-chief will need all the skills of a consummate diplomat and a great consensus-builder to persuade members of the Asean and other influential states that it would be to their best interest to stop China from grabbing any more of our territory, or better yet, to convince her to recognize and join arbitration over the dispute.

From within, there will be a need to work fast to heal the scars of the decades-long strife in Mindanao and hopefully bring other insurgent groups back into the fold.

If the next leader is to seriously pursue those who abused their old political alliances and positions to raid the nation’s coffers, the next six years will be a tumultuous and lonely one. It will mean making many more powerful enemies than friends, and breaking ties with groups and individuals who will pledge their allegiance and support during the campaign in the hope of earning concessions if not outright guarantees of condonation of past sins.

We need a leader of 100 million Filipinos, not an amalgam of various overlapping interests whose biggest claim to the presidency is the ability to juggle the most number of influences without letting one drop and make a bigger mess. – PT.


Fair is fair

 

A NUMBER of government-owned-or-controlled corporations outdid themselves in 2014, posting record earnings and remitting billions to the government coffers.

Officials and ordinary employees alike are basking in the warmth of President Aquino’s announcement that a review of their compensation is in order with a view to giving out more generous bonuses to reward their performance.

The chief executive however tempered his words with a caveat that there will be a review of better performing GOCCs and the distribution of fatter paychecks are depend its results.

A 13 percent jump in the GOCC’s total remittances, translating to over P4 billion increase from the preceding year’s income certainly is pretty impressive.

But before we get carried away by exuberance over such good news, it would not hurt to pay attention to some of the most recent rulings from the government’s own supreme bean counter - the Commission on Audit.

Because while the new management of GOCCs has turned things around, it just would not do to simply forget the bad moves in the past that cost taxpayers billions. 

Last March 9, the COA en banc junked with finality a request by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation to write off or condone a total of P1.98 billion it shelled out as bailout for two beleaguered banks -

Westmont Bank and Keppel Monte Savings Bank.

State auditors have also thrown out multiple petitions by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, the National Power Corporation, the National Tobacco Administration, and even local water districts for the lifting of disallowance to their unauthorized bonuses and allowances running into hundreds of millions.

Good performance deserves a reward and by all means, those who worked hard should get their just recompense.

But those who bled the public and siphoned millions from under-performing government agencies to fatten their own pay envelops need to be held accountable for their avarice.

It would not do to send the wrong signal. 
- See more at: http://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/opinion/fair-fair#sthash.FBc80yuY.dpuf

EDITORIAL: Fair is fair May 15, 2015


President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday lauded the efficiency of the Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GOCC) sector, which remitted some P36.36 billion to the national treasury.
The President received the checks amounting to P36.36 billion from 48 GOCCs during the ceremonial turnover billed as “GOCC Dividends Day” at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace. Photo from the President's website

A NUMBER of government-owned-or-controlled corporations outdid themselves in 2014, posting record earnings and remitting billions to the government coffers.

Officials and ordinary employees alike are basking in the warmth of President Aquino’s announcement that a review of their compensation is in order with a view to giving out more generous bonuses to reward their performance.

The chief executive however tempered his words with a caveat that there will be a review of better performing GOCCs and the distribution of fatter paychecks are depend its results.

A 13 percent jump in the GOCC’s total remittances, translating to over P4 billion increase from the preceding year’s income certainly is pretty impressive.

But before we get carried away by exuberance over such good news, it would not hurt to pay attention to some of the most recent rulings from the government’s own supreme bean counter - the Commission on Audit.

Because while the new management of GOCCs has turned things around, it just would not do to simply forget the bad moves in the past that cost taxpayers billions.

READ MORE...
Last March 9, the COA en banc junked with finality a request by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation to write off or condone a total of P1.98 billion it shelled out as bailout for two beleaguered banks - Westmont Bank and Keppel Monte Savings Bank.

State auditors have also thrown out multiple petitions by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, the National Power Corporation, the National Tobacco Administration, and even local water districts for the lifting of disallowance to their unauthorized bonuses and allowances running into hundreds of millions.

Good performance deserves a reward and by all means, those who worked hard should get their just recompense.

But those who bled the public and siphoned millions from under-performing government agencies to fatten their own pay envelops need to be held accountable for their avarice.

It would not do to send the wrong signal.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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