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

FROM THE TRIBUNE

EDITORIAL: FISCAL SPACE IS NEW AQUINO DAP


JUNE 23 ---Instead of improving, government underspending worsened in the first quarter when Budget Secretary Butch Abad said the government had sped up the use of public funds. The budget was in another P52.6 billion surplus in April and for the whole of the first four months of the year, the budget posted a P19.1 billion surplus compared to the P3.3 billion deficit a year ago. The string of fiscal surpluses should have been something good coming from the deficit budgets of the previous administrations but the record of the Aquino administration showed the surpluses, similar to the deficits incurred in the past presidency, is the product of poor fiscal management. The surpluses of the administration of Noynoy are related to underspending and likely the juggling of the budget to generate discretionary funds. The Supreme Court (SC) had ruled twice against the use of lump sum funds in government, in the budget or not, in its decisions on questions raised against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the notorious Palace contrivance called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The PDAF or the legislative pork barrel is an item in the budget while the DAP is the rechanneling of itemized funds in the budget to a money pool created by the Palace supposedly as economic stimuli. According to the Department of Finance (DoF), government spending increased while revenue collections dropped during the period which makes matters worse because failure to hit revenue targets should have induced a deficit instead of a surplus in the budget if the budgeted expenses are being followed. READ MORE...

ALSO: PEACEFUL NEGOTIATIONS? Noynoy drags Japan into fray


JUNE 22 ---It doesn’t look like the administration of Noynoy, contrary to what the Palace has been claiming so often, is sticking to the peaceful negotiations tack with the series of war games that is all too obviously directed at China’s maritime expansion efforts. Two separate naval exercises with Japan and the United States are scheduled late this month that have an obvious aim of a show of force. China just recently announced that it had completed its reclamation project on Scarborough Shoal and some photo shots of it in social media showed that a modern military community is rising on the spot. The drills are all in preparation of possible maritime encounters involving battle scenarios and near the Chinese reclamation areas. The Japan-Philippine maritime drills will be part of the visit of Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) to the Philippines from June 22 to 25 which will have a Japanese P-3C maritime surveillance aircraft taking part in a simulated war exercise alongside a Philippine warship and helicopter, to be held in one of the western seaboards that faces the South China Sea. It was made to appear that the Japan and Philippines maritime exercises are related to disaster response, search and rescue operations, humanitarian assistance, information sharing of new tactics, procedures, and techniques, situational awareness training, maritime operations, and discussions. The Japanese government is tweaking its pacifist Constitution amid a similarly escalating sea row with China and the war games with the Philippines is among the first it is holding after the recent Japan visit of Noynoy where he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. READ MORE...


ALSO: Battle is joined

[The VP is not new to political intrigues, in which attempts to dislodge the VP from power have been made since the previous administration.
Binay dared his opponents to do their best, saying he is ready to meet head on whatever Noynoy and his LPs can throw at him. That assures a blockbuster 2016 battle.]



JUNE 24 ---Speaker Feliciano Belmonte asked the precise question on Vice President Jejomar Binay: “What took him so long?”  Binay the other day was never as accurate when he identified the two problems that ail the nation: (a)incompetence in government and (b) insensitivity of those in power. Binay’s first ever attack on the administration of Noynoy was not the result of discernment but more of bottled up sentiments which he let go only after his resignation from the Cabinet of Noynoy last Monday. Binay said that he tried all he could to be a team player while he was in the Cabinet of Noynoy, of which he was progressively left out. The call of destructive politics was too strong within the circle of Noynoy and with Noynoy himself to allow independent and sometimes critical views within the Cabinet. During the special Cabinet meeting, the Vice President was not invited at all despite his presence being crucial as head of the shelter agencies which the Cabinet was tackling the housing needs of Filipinos, particularly typhoon victims. It was always political interest prevailing over the welfare of the nation and it was indeed a feat for Binay to have lasted for so long in subordinating his interest to that of the nation in his many active roles played in government. In a speech after breaking his ties with the Cabinet of Noynoy, Binay he said he will strive to set up a government which would be the opposite of the present administration under the incompetent and callous Noynoy. Now Binay has declared himself officially as head of the political opposition compared to his reluctance to call himself critic of the administration of Noynoy which is only logical since he was part of the regime he would be hitting. READ MORE...

ALSO: Beyond the catchphrase --'Tuwid Na Daan'


JUNE 26 --Part of the Pulse Asia survey that showed Vice President Jojo Binay being the most trusted as well as being considered the top-performing public official was the poor view among respondents on government institutions under the administration of Noynoy. The pollster said that not one of the key government institutions, which are the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court (SC), received a majority approval rating in the June survey and that this trend is constant compared with the previous quarter’s survey. The only consolation for the three institutions was that those who said they were undecided somewhat grew during the period, meaning that many are not yet ready to declare these branches of government have hopelessly failed. Of course gut issues were mostly the basis of the ordinary man on the street in forming their decisions on the effectiveness of these branches of government such as how these institutions relate in making government a more effective agent in improving their lives in lowering the costs of goods and services and the provision of jobs. The results also speak a lot about the claim that Noynoy’s tuwid na daan made Filipinos optimistic and hopeful under his administration when Noynoy himself received only 50 percent confidence, with margins manipulated to give him a 50 percent rating, and a slightly higher rating for performance. It can only show that most Filipinos refused to be fooled by the catchphrase since it means nothing and did not translate to actual improvement in governance. READ MORE...

ALSO: Destructive politics doesn’t go very far


JUNE 14 ---Although statistically tied with Sen. Grace Poe, Vice President Jojo Binay continues to be resilient against all odds including the unrelenting attacks from his political opponents, primarily in the Senate marathon inquisition which is on its 22nd chapter, making it among the longest proceeding ever held in the chamber second only in duration to the impeachment trial of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona. The allegations against Binay, members of his family and associates which are going through the same steps and build up applied to the Palace-scripted pork barrel scam that eliminated three key opposition targets, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, are now on the level of the Ombudsman, which is a step away from the issuance of arrest orders. It was also the same script employed in the removal of Corona except that it was done through an impeachment trial and whose ouster the Palace had assured through the lavish support of public funds from the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program. The survey period of May 13 to 23 was particularly significant since it was shortly after the Anti-Money Laundering Council report — which led to the freezing of about 242 bank accounts wrongly tagged to Binay — was illegally leaked and when Poe had virtually (almost) made her move in announced her intentions to run as president for next year as she rejected different offers to run as vice president. READ MORE...

ALSO: Non-stop partisan politics


JUNE 28 ---No matter how Noynoy refutes allegations of partisan politics lording over the Palace the past five years of his administration, there is no hiding the fact that the Liberal Party strategist is his budget secretary, and to add the brains of the illegal  Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), in Butch Abad and the putative LP standard bearer Mar Roxas is his Interior Secretary. Vice President Jojo Binay enumerated the other day the biggest excesses Noynoy committed during his forgettable five years in office where Binay was witness to as a member of the Cabinet. Binay resigned all his Cabinet posts last Monday.
The DAP, which the Supreme Court (SC) ruled as having been created through unconstitutional Palace acts, was on the top of his list. Abad, the author of the Palace money pool, tried to retaliate, saying Binay was a hypocrite and reminding the VP that one of the agencies under him, the National Housing Authority benefited from the DAP. The Department of Budget and Management data which comes from his office showed that some P11 billion, however, went to an agency that is under the Office of the President, while P400 million went to a government corporation. Abad should really check on his own data before making accusations that fall flat on his face. READ MORE...

ALSO: Not even a pyrrhic victory


JUNE 25 ---THE SENATE TROIKA: TRILLANES, CAYETANO, PIMENTEL -
His opponents are taking the decision of Vice President Jojo Binay to quit the Cabinet of Noynoy as a signal to crank up into overdrive the demolition campaign to frustrate Binay’s bid for the presidency next year. This time around, the whole government machinery from the Senate inquisition committee of Senators Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who is suiting up also for the Senate, and to the Ombudsman, will all be acting in concert to throw roadblocks on Binay, whose trust rating indicates that the marathon smear job has not dented his appeal to the public, including the filing of plunder cases, despite his constitutionally-mandated immunity from suit, being an impeachable officer. The Senate troika said the marathon inquisition which is already on its 22nd chapter, will continue after the release of the partial report that covered the findings and [their] recommendations of the subcommittee over the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building ll. Pimentel said the inquisition will have to reach its logical end which apparently, based on the trio themselves, is for Binay to drop out of the presidential race next year. Trillanes, who is dreaming to become a Vice President, is particularly exuberant saying that with Binay resigning his Cabinet posts, he would no longer have access to documents among agencies Binay used to head. Binay was the concurrent chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), the Home Mutual Development Fund which is better known as Pag-IBIG Fund is among the agencies under it and was the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) welfare czar. The next thing to do, according to Pimentel, is to audit the Vice President as head of the HUDCC and as presidential czar on the OFWs. READ MORE...

 


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EDITORIAL: Fiscal space is new DAP

MANILA, JUNE 29, 2015 (TRIBUNE) Written by Tribune Editorial Tuesday, 23 June 2015 00:00 - Instead of improving, government underspending worsened in the first quarter when Budget Secretary Butch Abad said the government had sped up the use of public funds.

The budget was in another P52.6 billion surplus in April and for the whole of the first four months of the year, the budget posted a P19.1 billion surplus compared to the P3.3 billion deficit a year ago.

The string of fiscal surpluses should have been something good coming from the deficit budgets of the previous administrations but the record of the Aquino administration showed the surpluses, similar to the deficits incurred in the past presidency, is the product of poor fiscal management.

The surpluses of the administration of Noynoy are related to underspending and likely the juggling of the budget to generate discretionary funds.

The Supreme Court (SC) had ruled twice against the use of lump sum funds in government, in the budget or not, in its decisions on questions raised against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the notorious Palace contrivance called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The PDAF or the legislative pork barrel is an item in the budget while the DAP is the rechanneling of itemized funds in the budget to a money pool created by the Palace supposedly as economic stimuli.

According to the Department of Finance (DoF), government spending increased while revenue collections dropped during the period which makes matters worse because failure to hit revenue targets should have induced a deficit instead of a surplus in the budget if the budgeted expenses are being followed.

READ MORE...

Economists have said it does not make sense for the government to consider surpluses in the budget as gains if Congress-approved budget plans are not being met.

Tax collections despite the supposed reforms instituted remain on the decline.

DoF data showed that public expenditures grew by nine percent to P156.5 billion against P143.6 billion while revenue collections dropped seven percent to P 209.1 billion compared to the P 224.4 billion in April last year.

The DoF called the budget surplus a product of a gobbledygook called “fiscal space.”

We are working hard, one can perhaps say, to put a 6th R to our spending philosophy: we want to spend on the right project, with the right quality, with the right people, at the right time, at the right cost, and at the right pace, was how Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima described fiscal space.

The fiscal space, however, could be the reinvention of the DAP, particularly with the relaxing of the SC views on it after the high court’s decision which upheld the DAP ruling but adjusted the views of unconstitutionality on some of the Palace acts that created the money pool.

Consider Abad’s statement about fiscal space that was the basis of a new budgeting approach that will free up P581 billion “for expanded and new programs and projects”:

He said the two-tier budget approach has been adopted in line with Administrative Order (AO) 46 of Noynoy which sought to “speed up” the disbursement of government funds purportedly after the 5.2 percent disappointing growth in the first quarter.

Abad said consultations the DBM held with various agencies showed almost half of last year’s spending deficit was due to capacity weaknesses within agencies and government-owned and -controlled corporation, which prevented them from fully utilizing their Notice of Cash Allocations.

Specific issues cited include poorly prepared projects, difficulties in project implementation and various problems in public procurement.

He said AO 46 required agencies to timely submit agencies’ annual procurement plans and reports on their compliance with Republic Act 9184 (The Government Procurement Reform Act).

Now here is Abad’s statement in defense of DAP: “In the past, projects in some agencies languished in a maze of paperwork and signatures.

The situation was also compounded by poor planning and slow procurement: If funds were released to an agency for a particular project, it usually took more than a year before the project itself could finally get started and completed.

By the third quarter of 2011, it became clear to us that if we wanted public spending to accelerate enough to spur economic growth, we had to use idle funds — money that was not moving — for projects that could not only be implemented quickly, but which could also create a real impact on the country’s economy and the lives of ordinary Filipinos.”

Fiscal space and the DAP appear to be of the same bloodline.


PEACEFUL NEGOTIATIONS? Noynoy drags Japan into fray Written by Tribune Editorial Monday, 22 June 2015 00:00

It doesn’t look like the administration of Noynoy, contrary to what the Palace has been claiming so often, is sticking to the peaceful negotiations tack with the series of war games that is all too obviously directed at China’s maritime expansion efforts.

Two separate naval exercises with Japan and the United States are scheduled late this month that have an obvious aim of a show of force.

China just recently announced that it had completed its reclamation project on Scarborough Shoal and some photo shots of it in social media showed that a modern military community is rising on the spot.

The drills are all in preparation of possible maritime encounters involving battle scenarios and near the Chinese reclamation areas.

The Japan-Philippine maritime drills will be part of the visit of Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) to the Philippines from June 22 to 25 which will have a Japanese P-3C maritime surveillance aircraft taking part in a simulated war exercise alongside a Philippine warship and helicopter, to be held in one of the western seaboards that faces the South China Sea.

It was made to appear that the Japan and Philippines maritime exercises are related to disaster response, search and rescue operations, humanitarian assistance, information sharing of new tactics, procedures, and techniques, situational awareness training, maritime operations, and discussions.

The Japanese government is tweaking its pacifist Constitution amid a similarly escalating sea row with China and the war games with the Philippines is among the first it is holding after the recent Japan visit of Noynoy where he met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

READ MORE...

The meeting resulted in an agreement in Tokyo, allowing Japan to export defense equipment and technology to the Philippines; send JMSDF to the Philippines for joint war games; and for the two countries to draft a proposed visiting forces agreement that will allow Japanese war hardware and troops to gain access to Philippine military bases.

A Philippines-US war-exercise will similarly be held on the same period, off Palawan in southwestern Philippines as part of an annual affair and part of a military agreement.

The United States will send a littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) for the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT 2015) Philippines exercises off Palawan which will be matched by the Philippines BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16).

The US warship is currently on a 16-month rotational deployment in support of the Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance policy of the US government.

CARAT Philippines 2015 is slated to take place June 18 to 30, but formal opening will be on June 22, at the Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoni in Puerto Princesa City which is the same day that the Philippines-Japan exercises are held.

China had protested the American military’s continued presence in the areas of dispute and the presence of the Japanese, with which it has disputes over a cluster of islands in East China Sea, and this is not expected to improve the views of the Chinese.

Japan is not an involved party in the South China Sea dispute and its presence will raise the tension with China several notches up.

The signing of a visiting forces deal with Japan will raise the ante in the conflict the country has with China since Japan is a historical opponent dating back to a war between the two countries in the 1849.

The effort of Noynoy to irritate China is not producing the desired effect in terms of national welfare. Instead, it is burying the country deeper into trouble.

The now complicated regional conflicted all started with China wanting to talk but Noynoy won’t let it happen.


Beyond the catchphrase  Written by Tribune Editorial Wednesday, 24 June 2015 00:00

Part of the Pulse Asia survey that showed Vice President Jojo Binay being the most trusted as well as being considered the top-performing public official was the poor view among respondents on government institutions under the administration of Noynoy.

The pollster said that not one of the key government institutions, which are the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court (SC), received a majority approval rating in the June survey and that this trend is constant compared with the previous quarter’s survey.

The only consolation for the three institutions was that those who said they were undecided somewhat grew during the period, meaning that many are not yet ready to declare these branches of government have hopelessly failed.

Of course gut issues were mostly the basis of the ordinary man on the street in forming their decisions on the effectiveness of these branches of government such as how these institutions relate in making government a more effective agent in improving their lives in lowering the costs of goods and services and the provision of jobs.

The results also speak a lot about the claim that Noynoy’s tuwid na daan made Filipinos optimistic and hopeful under his administration when Noynoy himself received only 50 percent confidence, with margins manipulated to give him a 50 percent rating, and a slightly higher rating for performance.

It can only show that most Filipinos refused to be fooled by the catchphrase since it means nothing and did not translate to actual improvement in governance.
 

READ MORE...

A great part of the respondents chose ambivalence and it is very palpable in most parts of the survey that those who chose indecision were unusually huge.

With the administration of Noynoy in its twilight year, it would be futile to expect that those who fall under the undecided portion of the population would swing to having a positive view in the near future.

The indecision would mostly be the result of indifference or even misplaced fears of some that their views may trigger repercussions from government.

Still, the survey, if you buy surveys, noted that ambivalence on the performance of government institutions is also rising except for the SC where one percentage point of the undecided in the previous quarter’s poll appeared to have joined the ranks of the critics.

The undecided on the performance of the Senate increased by two points while rising five points on the House.

A bright spot was that those previously who were critics of the legislature have either changed their mind or turned ambivalent during the period.

Still, respondents consider the judiciary performing better than the legislature with 44 percent approval for the SC, compared to 40 percent for the Senate and 35 percent for the House.

To place the Pulse Asia survey in context, the poll was taken on May 30 to June 5 when a special team of the Office of the Ombudsman recommended graft charges on Vice President Binay, his son Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay and other Makati City government officials and contractors over the supposed overpriced Makati City Hall Building II; the Court of Appeals granting a freeze order on 242 bank accounts that the Anti-Money Laundering Council had linked to Binay; and the continuation of the Senate inquisition on the Vice President and members of his family by his political opponents.

The fact that the ratings of Binay rose during the period while those on the institutions fell may mirror how the public views the current political bad blood transpiring which is obviously all geared for the presidential elections next year.

It also means that whoever wins the elections next year would have an arduous task of repairing the image of government by going beyond the mere coining of catchphrases.


EDITORIAL VP vs Aquino cabinet: Battle is joined Written by Tribune Editorial Friday, 26 June 2015 00:00

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte asked the precise question on Vice President Jejomar Binay: “What took him so long?”

Binay the other day was never as accurate when he identified the two problems that ail the nation: incompetence in government and insensitivity of those in power.

Binay’s first ever attack on the administration of Noynoy was not the result of discernment but more of bottled up sentiments which he let go only after his resignation from the Cabinet of Noynoy last Monday.

Binay said that he tried all he could to be a team player while he was in the Cabinet of Noynoy, of which he was progressively left out.

The call of destructive politics was too strong within the circle of Noynoy and with Noynoy himself to allow independent and sometimes critical views within the Cabinet.

During the special Cabinet meeting, the Vice President was not invited at all despite his presence being crucial as head of the shelter agencies which the Cabinet was tackling the housing needs of Filipinos, particularly typhoon victims.

It was always political interest prevailing over the welfare of the nation and it was indeed a feat for Binay to have lasted for so long in subordinating his interest to that of the nation in his many active roles played in government.

In a speech after breaking his ties with the Cabinet of Noynoy, Binay he said he will strive to set up a government which would be the opposite of the present administration under the incompetent and callous Noynoy.

Now Binay has declared himself officially as head of the political opposition compared to his reluctance to call himself critic of the administration of Noynoy which is only logical since he was part of the regime he would be hitting.

READ MORE...

The leadership of the opposition was decimated as a result of the unrelenting campaign of the administration of Noynoy to link its opponents to irregularities and pass it off as a campaign to rid the government of corruption, yet the very corrupt among his Cabinet and allies were never touched or charged. Instead, they were all absolved by Noynoy, with not even an investigation held.

A government that would be opposite of the one under Noynoy would be fair and will work for the benefit of the majority and not only to those close to the officials who wield power.

Binay identified the creation of jobs and the eradication of poverty as focus of the crusade he is leading which would create a government that would also let justice and peace reign.

Binay assailed the use of selective justice which he said the administration of Noynoy exercises in its different treatment given to allies and perceived opponents or the opposition versus those allied with the ruling party.

Justice and benefits are given to friends and political allies while none is provided to the majority particularly those who are in great need, Binay said.

The Vice President said while he and other members of the opposition were vilified, those allied with the ruling party that are embroiled in controversies have gone unpunished.

Binay dared his critics to face him in a clean and honest election next year which his opponents are trying to prevent from happening by pressuring him to give up his presidential run through incessant attacks against him.

The troika of anti-Binay senators said there would be no let up in the Senate inquisition after the subcommittee came up with the report on the alleged irregularities in the Makati City Hall Building II allegations, of course with the worst recommendation they can make which is plunder against the VP and his son, Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay.

The VP is not new to political intrigues, in which attempts to dislodge the VP from power have been made since the previous administration.

Binay dared his opponents to do their best, saying he is ready to meet head on whatever Noynoy and his LPs can throw at him. That assures a blockbuster 2016 battle.


Destructive politics doesn’t go very far
Written by Tribune Editorial Sunday, 14 June 2015 00:00

Although statistically tied with Sen. Grace Poe, Vice President Jojo Binay continues to be resilient against all odds including the unrelenting attacks from his political opponents, primarily in the Senate marathon inquisition which is on its 22nd chapter, making it among the longest proceeding ever held in the chamber second only in duration to the impeachment trial of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.

The allegations against Binay, members of his family and associates which are going through the same steps and build up applied to the Palace-scripted pork barrel scam that eliminated three key opposition targets, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, are now on the level of the Ombudsman, which is a step away from the issuance of arrest orders.

It was also the same script employed in the removal of Corona except that it was done through an impeachment trial and whose ouster the Palace had assured through the lavish support of public funds from the discredited Disbursement Acceleration Program.

The survey period of May 13 to 23 was particularly significant since it was shortly after the Anti-Money Laundering Council report — which led to the freezing of about 242 bank accounts wrongly tagged to Binay — was illegally leaked and when Poe had virtually made her move in announced her intentions to run as president for next year as she rejected different offers to run as vice president.

READ MORE...

Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado was supposedly the source of the leaked Court of Appeals freeze order covering 242 bank accounts which were all made to appear in the yellow media as being owned by Binay but it was found later that only five of the accounts are under Binay’s name.

The lawyer of Binay deplored the violation of the strict confidentiality of a proceeding involving an ex parte petition for a freeze order, saying that the leak denied Binay the opportunity to be heard.

The law imposes on those violating the confidentiality rule contempt as well as criminal prosecution.

The period of the survey also was when one hearing in the series of Senate inquisition was held in which on of the three anti-Binay Senators, Antonio Trillanes IV faced off with Pag-Ibig Fund president and chief executive officer Darlene Marie Berberabe.

Trillanes, during the inquiry, pounded on Berberabe about 30 companies he had picked out among the Pag-Ibig partners that he claimed had some form of association with Binay.

Trillanes claimed, again without a piece of evidence, that Pag-Ibig farmed out loans to political and business allies of Binay through the selective documents he amassed.

Trillanes during that particular hearing exposed the true character of the Senate inquisition which is a fishing expedition against Binay and members of his family.

The survey period was also the time when Poe practically severed all ties with the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and proclaimed her allegiance to Noynoy although distancing herself from Noynoy’s Liberal Party (LP) which had already declared that it will be fielding Mar Roxas as standard bearer.

She disowned UNA, saying that opposition leaders, former President Joseph Estrada and Vice President Jojo Binay offered her a slot in the UNA 2010 senatorial slate as a consideration for the late movie icon Fernando Poe Jr., who carried the opposition banner in 2010, whom both UNA stalwarts said “is a friend.”

She claimed she was junked by UNA but failed to mention the fact that it was she, as well as Chiz Escudero, who reneged on their pledge to appear in the campaign with UNA and give UNA equal treatment. They never joined any UNA campaign sortie.

In contrast, Noynoy, Grace said, appreciated her work as chairman of the Movie Television Review and Classification Board.

Roxas, the putative LP presidential bet, continued to remain a non-factor in the survey with his negligible rating.

The debate now apparently with the LPs is either they will go with their sentimental favorite Roxas or for him to again give way, this time to Poe.

Binay, meanwhile, is the target of an unprecedented united front to bring him down but still he manages to be on top of the surveys.

Destructive politics thus is proven to have only a limited effect as against solid achievements which is what the public looks for among potential leaders.


Non-stop partisan politics Written by Tribune Editorial Sunday, 28 June 2015 00:00

No matter how Noynoy refutes allegations of partisan politics lording over the Palace the past five years of his administration, there is no hiding the fact that the Liberal Party strategist is his budget secretary, and to add the brains of the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), in Butch Abad and the putative LP standard bearer Mar Roxas is his Interior Secretary.

Vice President Jojo Binay enumerated the other day the biggest excesses Noynoy committed during his forgettable five years in office where Binay was witness to as a member of the Cabinet.

Binay resigned all his Cabinet posts last Monday.

The DAP, which the Supreme Court (SC) ruled as having been created through unconstitutional Palace acts, was on the top of his list.

Abad, the author of the Palace money pool, tried to retaliate, saying Binay was a hypocrite and reminding the VP that one of the agencies under him, the National Housing Authority benefited from the DAP.

The Department of Budget and Management data which comes from his office showed that some P11 billion, however, went to an agency that is under the Office of the President, while P400 million went to a government corporation. Abad should really check on his own data before making accusations that fall flat on his face.

READ MORE...

Also, Abad’s argument, however, did not also say how the DAP was used as pork barrel whenever the Palace wanted a favor from the legislature such as impeaching former SC Justice Renato Corona.

After the SC’s ruling that the creation of the DAP was illegal, Noynoy went on a vicious campaign to defend and even threatened to clip the powers of the high court through his lapdogs in Congress.

Of course, public outrage followed over his arrogance. Noynoy was persistent, however, in defending the DAP saying it sped up the use of government funds.

None of the Arroyo administration’s 10 annual budgets was approved on time or on or before the budget year started which he claimed was proof for the slow rendering of government services.

He claimed this was done deliberately by the former administration for budgets to overlap and thus allow for huge discretionary funds for the President.

The DAP, however, consists of forced savings that are also discretionary funds of the President and has the same character as impounded funds during the previous administration.

With Noynoy’s moves defending the DAP proving unpopular, Abad went on anyway to revive the DAP through other names.

There was first the Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB) scheme which has been renamed as Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Program (GPBP) as the main source of the LP slush funds for next year’s elections.

Like the DAP, the GPBP was created by Abad and was mostly placed under the control of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which Roxas heads.

The BuB scheme, which administration critics call a pork barrel clone was allotted P20.8 billion in this year’s budget and likely a bit more in next year’s budget when the BuB becomes a mainstay as a budget item.

The GPBP works similarly as the Priority Development Assistance Fund which was the legislative discretionary fund but this time around the lump sum goes down to the local government level.

In Davao Oriental, recently, Roxas opened a potable water system project which was BUB funded despite the fact that his DILG post has nothing to do with the provision of clean water to drink.

In the 2015 budget, however, P5.66 billion was allocated to the DILG for the “provision of potable water supply and other poverty reduction priority projects in pre-identified local government units.”

The DILG was also transformed into a public healthcare agency as Roxas opened several barangay health stations also funded under the BUB and it also supplanted the role of shelter agencies as the DILG got funds for housing projects.

The LP-led Palace also coined the word fiscal space which is synonymous to DAP.
Abad attributed to fiscal space a new budgeting approach that he said freed up P581 billion “for expanded and new programs and projects”:

He said the two-tier budget approach has been adopted in line with Administrative Order 46 of Noynoy which sought to “speed up” the disbursement of government funds purportedly after the 5.2 percent disappointing growth in the first quarter.

Noynoy even had the gall to claim that he is focusing on good governance, when clearly, it is all about governance through political patronage.


Not even a pyrrhic victory Written by Tribune Editorial Thursday, 25 June 2015 00:00


THE SENATE TROIKA: TRILLANES, CAYETANO, PIMENTEL

His opponents are taking the decision of Vice President Jojo Binay to quit the Cabinet of Noynoy as a signal to crank up into overdrive the demolition campaign to frustrate Binay’s bid for the presidency next year.

This time around, the whole government machinery from the Senate inquisition committee of Senators Koko Pimentel, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who is suiting up also for the Senate, and to the Ombudsman, will all be acting in concert to throw roadblocks on Binay, whose trust rating indicates that the marathon smear job has not dented his appeal to the public, including the filing of plunder cases, despite his constitutionally-mandated immunity from suit, being an impeachable officer.

The Senate troika said the marathon inquisition which is already on its 22nd chapter, will continue after the release of the partial report that covered the findings and recommendations of the subcommittee over the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building ll.

Pimentel said the inquisition will have to reach its logical end which apparently, based on the trio themselves, is for Binay to drop out of the presidential race next year.

Trillanes, who is dreaming to become a Vice President, is particularly exuberant saying that with Binay resigning his Cabinet posts, he would no longer have access to documents among agencies Binay used to head.

Binay was the concurrent chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), the Home Mutual Development Fund which is better known as Pag-IBIG Fund is among the agencies under it and was the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) welfare czar.
The next thing to do, according to Pimentel, is to audit the Vice President as head of the HUDCC and as presidential czar on the OFWs.

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With Binay drawing the line with his resignation and with the ultimate goal of the subcommittee to pressure Binay to surrender his presidential bid to secure the chances of the anointed of Noynoy, the final offensive against Binay promises to be extremely destructive.

The partial report of the blue ribbon subcommittee on the investigation on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building ll or what the troika refers to as the Makati City Hall Parking Building, plunder charges were sought on Binay and his son Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay and other allies of the Vice President.

With Binay maintaining his highest trust and performance ratings in a recent survey, however, this tends to show that the majority of the public are not biting the troika’s all-out demolition campaign against him.

The offensive against Binay was also meant to weaken his support base in the business sector from which the Vice President is expected to get most of his campaign contributions.

The companies of businessman Antonio Tiu, who is into agribusiness, for instance, are under pressure from business regulators including the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission which both agencies said the investigations being made on his business are an offshoot of the Senate troika’s inquisition where he was labeled as a dummy of the Vice President, without any concrete evidence at all to substantiate these allegations.

It did not matter that the issues raised against him were mere allegations but the regulators said it tainted the integrity of his business, particularly those listed in the stock market.

Also consider the signatories of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee report on the Makati City Hall Building ll allegations recommending plunder on the Binays.

They are committee chairman Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona and Senators Aquilino Pimentel III, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Sergio Osmeña III, Bam Aquino, Grace Poe, Antonio Trillanes IV, Pia Cayetano, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano all of whom make up virtually a Team PNoy lineup.

Most of the signatories, however, have kept themselves out of the regular inquisition sessions of the troika which was a wise move since the basis of the inquisition is also mostly on allegations and some were acquired illegally and the three anti-Binay senators are also suffering a backlash in leading the assault on Binay through the regular surveys which showed them with very low public approvals.

A recent Social Weather Stations survey also showed that public approval on the Senate is a low 44 percent which may reflect the view on the use of the legislative chamber for the demolition job against Binay.

The harder Binay’s opponent engage in destructive politics the higher goes the public disapproval on them.

With Binay’s still high ratings, the troika might end up self destructing politically before they even get close to convincing their target to quit.

6 comments
joey
It is funny that in his article...the senators will only stop the investigation if Binays will drop out or will not run for president --"Pimentel said the inquisition will have to reach its logical end which apparently, based on the trio themselves, is for Binay to drop out of the presidential race next year." Isn't this a form of usurpation and abuse of authority because they are senatongs!!! Isn't it, the senate function to make laws and not investigate? As most previous investigation made by the senate which resulted in a resolution to bring to court but none have prospered...waste of public funds on the investigations in aid of campaigning!!! joey Thursday, 25 June 2015 05:50 Comment Link

Cesar
THE REALIZATION OF BONBONG MARCOS PROMISING PLAN FOR A FAVOURABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED IF ONES AWARENESS AND MORAL CONSCIENCE WILL BE THE SOLE GUIDE.
Cesar Thursday, 25 June 2015 02:27 Comment Link

LOUIE MORENO
I AM A SUPPORTER OF BINAY ALL THE WAY. SENATORS ! DO YOUR JOB TO HELP THE COUNTRY NOT DESTROY IT
YOU ARE A BUNCH OF INUTIL OFFICIALS, KAYO ANG DAPAT TANGALIN DAHIL INGIT LANG KAYO KAYA SINISIRA AN NIYO SI BINAY ADMIT IT OK IT, ANG KAPAL NIYO
LOUIE MORENO Wednesday, 24 June 2015 20:15 Comment Link
LOUIE MORENO

I AM A SUPPORTER OF BINAY ALL THE WAY. SENATORS ! DO YOUR JOB TO HELP THE COUNTRY NOT DESTROY IT
YOU ARE A BUNCH OF INUTIL OFFICIALS, KAYO ANG DAPAT TANGALIN DAHIL INGIT LANG KAYO KAYA SINISIRA AN NIYO SI BINAY ADMIT IT OK IT, ANG KAPAL NIYO I
LOUIE MORENO Wednesday, 24 June 2015 20:14 Comment Link

LOUIE MORENO
I AM A SUPPORTER OF BINAY ALL THE WAY. SENATORS ! DO YOUR JOB TO HELP THE COUNTRY NOT DESTROY IT
YOU ARE A BUNCH OF INUTIL OFFICIALS, KAYO ANG DAPAT TANGALIN DAHIL INGIT LANG KAYO KAYA SINISIRA AN NIYO SI BINAY ADMIT IT OK IT, ANG KAPAL NIYO I
LOUIE MORENO Wednesday, 24 June 2015 20:14 Comment Link

Roldan Guerrero
LP will never win even they will be able to stop Binay. The Filipinos are now fed up with the abuses and incompetence of this government.If Amay Bisaya will run again for president with Binay out of the race if they are succesful, I will vote for Amay not to Mar Roxas or any LP presidentiable. The endorsement of PIGNOY will be a kiss of death!
Roldan Guerrero Wednesday, 24 June 2015 16:17


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