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

FROM MANILA TIMES

EDITORIAL: POVERTY PERSISTS DESPITE THE RHETORIC


GOOGLE-SOURCED MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL CARTOON  APRIL 19, 2013 IMAGE APPENDED TO EDITORIAL BY PHNO.  ACCORDING to the latest installment of a regularly conducted survey by the Ibon Foundation, five years of the Aquino Administration’s “straight path” has hardly dented the persistence of poverty in the Philippines. The survey, which the group reports was conducted among nearly 1,500 families across the country in mid-May, reveals that 67 percent of the respondents – 2 out of every 3 people – consider themselves “poor.” About 24 percent consider themselves “not poor,” while a little less than 10 percent were either unsure or offered no response. The results stand in stark contrast, as they almost always do, to official government estimates of poverty prevalence. In the most recent report of the official Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), poverty incidence was estimated to be just 26 percent, with 10.5 percent falling below the subsistence threshold. Government officials invariably point to differences in survey methodology as the source of the usual discrepancy between the FIES and the Ibon survey, and to some extent they are correct. However, experienced  statisticians familiar with both have suggested that such “technical differences” should only amount to differences in the results of a few percentage points one way or another. READ MORE, 5 READERS' RESPONSES...

ALSO: Lack of conscience


by MARLEN V. RONQUILLO 
UNA is wrong on its “lazy” tag. PNoy works hard to transfer more wealth to the wealthy. Mr. Aquino is a president with a selective mind-set and orientation. And the accusation leveled at him by the UNA – that he has been a lazy, indecisive president – is only partly true. When it comes to transferring more wealth to the wealthy (at the backs of the exploited class, of course), Mr. Aquino has been driven, inspired and totally engaged. When it comes to aggressively pushing for upward wealth transfers, no president in our contemporary history can rival the relentlessness and determination of Mr. Aquino. I will ask the UNA leadership to do some fact-checking to check on the president responsible for the following: One family having an estimated wealth of over $14 billion and part of the Top 100 wealthy worldwide. The surge in the number of Filipino dollar billionaires rich enough to buy small insignificant countries. The Top 11 wealthiest Filipino families owning more than what the 11 million families who have rated themselves as poor collectively own. The unprecedented and large scale grant of concessions and contracts, from power to infrastructure to utilities, to the top oligarchs and their foreign partners. Using the government incentives program to double or treble the profit-making efficiencies of the oligarchs. Designing lax regulatory rules to make it easier for Big Business to exploit the national patrimony. Institutionalizing the PPP for upward wealth transfers done with impunity. There is only one president who has done all these things — Mr. Aquino. Do you think, I will ask the UNA this, that a “ lazy” president could have accomplished that much and in a short span of five years? READ MORE...


ALSO:
President presumed guilty until proven innocent


Yen Makabenta Critics of President Aquino are often stumped and disarmed by the twin claims of absolute immunity from suit as president, which is hallowed in tradition, and incorruptibility, which cannot be disproved unless his hands are caught filching from the cookie jar, even though billions of public money are plundered under his nose. Thomas Sowell, distinguished US professor, economist, political philosopher, author, and columnist, who has made a name in turning many a sacrosanct idea (affirmative action, among others) on its head, has come up with a novel approach for cracking the seeming presidential armor of immunity and even impunity.
He contends that the “innocent until proven guilty” defense for an accused should not apply to anyone who occupies such a high office as the presidency. He reasons this way: “The “innocent until proven guilty” principle applies in a court of law. Outside a court of law, there is no reason to presume anyone innocent until proven guilty. It is especially dangerous to presume a President of the United States — any president — innocent until proven guilty. “Whoever is president has the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans, and the fate of a nation, in his hands. It is those millions of people and that nation who deserve the benefit of the doubt. We need to err on the side of safety for the people and the country. Squeamish politeness to an individual cannot outweigh that.”  Sowell says it’s important and necessary to keep this presumption of guilt in mind, in weighing the next president during an election year and all future presidents. Questions of fitness for office are very important. Red flag warnings on any candidate should not be ignored. Better to deal with possible unsuitability for high office now, before he or she acquires immunity from suit and all the powers to do his worst. What Sowell says about the US situation applies squarely to our situation here in the Philippines. We are a nation of over 100 million, 40 percent of whom are poor. The benefit of the doubt should go to the larger society, not to the solitary figure of President Aquino. He should stand trial every day for his conduct in office. READ MORE...

ALSO: PNoy covering up MILF’s terror links for BBL passage


ATTY. DODO DULAY
OBSESSED with passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as his administration’s so-called “legacy”, PNoy is whitewashing the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) links to known terrorists and terror groups, some of whom have pledged allegiance to the notorious jihadist group ISIS.
According to the ISIS Study Group, a website maintained by retired military personnel from the US Special Forces and the US armed forces’ intelligence community, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia has directed senior National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) officials to “tone down” their assessments on linkages between the MILF and Zulkifli bin Hir aka “Marwan,” the Indonesian terrorist killed by SAF commandos during the Mamasapano raid. “Our sources within NICA have informed us that Garcia has specifically instructed the organization to avoid airing out the truth that Marwan was receiving direct support from the MILF 105th Base Command (BC) out of fear that it would further erode support for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Furthermore, our sources have reported that Garcia has been personally editing NICA assessments that were to be delivered to PNoy and members of the Philippine Congress,” the group said. If Garcia has indeed taken to sanitizing the intelligence agency’s reports, it is treason of the highest order. He is compromising national security for the sake of deodorizing the MILF’s image, obviously with the knowledge of and/or at the behest of PNoy. While the MILF-Central Committee (MILF-CC) might want to forge a peace deal with the Philippine government, the group says they have absolutely no control over the three MILF units that are providing direct support to the terror groups operating in the country: the 102nd, 105th and 118th Base Commands (BC),
This supposedly became more apparent with the recent death of Abdul Basit Usman, the accomplice of Marwan who managed to escape during the Mamasapano raid.READ MORE...


ALSO The Ombudsman: Aquino’s top political assassin … and undertaker


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO
It is astonishing that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales still found the gall to berate the press the other day in an unexpected palengkera language: “Nabubuwisit na ako. Wala nang ginawang tama ang Ombudsman! Palagi niyo nang kinukwestiyon. If you feel that I am impeachable if I have done wrong, I welcome it. I will give my position on a silver platter,” she shouted. Who does she think she is? That she is the fountainhead of justice that she doesn’t need to explain to the nation, through the media, the very widespread belief that she is prosecuting only the Opposition? Perhaps in our subconscious, we Filipinos, given our peasant history, still automatically bow down, in fear, to elderly ladies with an imperious Doña visage. That’s the only explanation – combined with the national yearning for an anti-graft crusader to root out corruption – I can think of for her arrogance and the media’s docile attitude toward her. Since her appointment in 2012, she practically has been Aquino’s deadliest political assassin. It is Aquino’s corruption of the Office of the Ombudsman to turn it into his political assassination squad against his enemies that marks the depths of depravity of this regime, its severe damaging of our Republican institutions. Not even strongman Marcos had dared to use the Ombudsman as such a weapon. While the Office of the Ombudsman has, for decades, been riddled with corruption – because of its low pay-scale for lawyers – this is the only President who has made the Ombudsman herself as his attack dog. He has damaged our prime anti-graft institution for a generation. Aquino-target No. 1  Chief Justice Renato Corona – the biggest obstacle to the Aquino clan’s Plan B, which was to give up Hacienda Luisita to agrarian reform but for the Supreme Court to rule that current prices be used to compute their compensation, at P10 billion. READ MORE...


ALSO EDITORIAL: Missing government, missing opposition


VICE President and now UNA Chairman Jejomar Binay would have a more credible case against the allegedly “missing government” of President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd if he’d also offer a truthful accounting of “the missing Opposition” in national politics. And even more so with a truthful confession that in all those five years of President Aquino’s rule, the VP has been a loyal member and supporter of this Administration.
Until he surfaced the other week, claiming to be “the leader of the Opposition,” there has been no visible political Opposition around, in Congress or in the public square, that diligently tried to make President Aquino and his government honest and truthful to the people. Until the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) surfaced on July 1 as the new Opposition party, there has been no such political party in national politics. There was only the shell of a party, propped up by occasional and self-serving publicity stories. UNA was originally cobbled together to contest the elections in May 2013, led by the triumvirate of former President Joseph Estrada, Vice President Binay and then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. That coalition no longer exists, having split into many parts, with Senator Enrile now languishing in detention, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada subsisting with his own Partido ng Masang Pilipino. Only Mr. Binay remains of the original triumvirate, holding up the three letters of UNA. There is some basis for Mr. Binay’s charge that the government has been largely missing during these five years of the Aquino presidency. The Manila Times is witness to the lapses of governance all these years, as it has covered the Aquino presidency from day one up to today. If the Times editorials over the past five years were laid out end to end, it would make for a more complete critique of the Administration than Mr. Binay’s speech last Wednesday. READ MORE...

ALSO: From the idiotization of our morality flows, derangement of our politics


by FRANCISCO S. TATAD Reacting to the US Supreme Court legalization of “same-sex marriage” throughout the United States, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the Filipino bishops and clergy will continue to teach what the Church has always taught about marriage. Namely, that it is the permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman for the propagation of the species. The natural institution of marriage, blessed by God, cannot be reduced by deconstructionists like Jacques Derrida and his heirs into a sexual union or partnership between two or three persons of the same sex. Not only Catholic Christians have a right and duty to defend this truth.
Coming from the highest court of the world’s lone superpower, the ruling in Obergefell vs. Hodges has certainly disturbed all the cultural, moral and legal fault-lines around the world. It is the dictatorship of relativism’s most audacious and intrusive edict, and all morally indifferent lifestyles seem to approve it. But the Church has an eternal vocation to the truth, and cannot possibly capitulate. Were the Pope himself to declare “same-sex marriage” as the new orthodoxy, he would be reviled and opposed by the whole Church; the doctrine itself would remain false, and the bishops, priests, religious and the laity would have no right or duty to alter their knowledge, understanding and profession of the indelible and immutable truth. We thank and commend Archbishop “Soc” for assuring everyone that the Church will continue to teach what she has always taught about marriage. It’s another way of saying the Church draws the line between her Magisterium and the political emanations from the global powers, despite the sorry behavior of the Aquino administration, in the case of “reproductive health.” But the CBCP president could probably have said a little bit more, notably about the fundamental issue of morality, for the sake of educating those who see a false boon to humanity in “same-sex marriage.” Although Church teaching on marriage as on everything else has been constant, this did not prevent some of the Catholic justices on the Court from attacking the integrity and dignity of marriage. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS  HERE:

EDITORIAL: Poverty persists despite the rhetoric June 28, 2015 10:51 pm -


MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL CARTOON  APRIL 19, 2013

ACCORDING to the latest installment of a regularly conducted survey by the Ibon Foundation, five years of the Aquino Administration’s “straight path” has hardly dented the persistence of poverty in the Philippines.

The survey, which the group reports was conducted among nearly 1,500 families across the country in mid-May, reveals that 67 percent of the respondents – 2 out of every 3 people – consider themselves “poor.” About 24 percent consider themselves “not poor,” while a little less than 10 percent were either unsure or offered no response.

The results stand in stark contrast, as they almost always do, to official government estimates of poverty prevalence. In the most recent report of the official Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), poverty incidence was estimated to be just 26 percent, with 10.5 percent falling below the subsistence threshold.

Government officials invariably point to differences in survey methodology as the source of the usual discrepancy between the FIES and the Ibon survey, and to some extent they are correct.

However, experienced statisticians familiar with both have suggested that such “technical differences” should only amount to differences in the results of a few percentage points one way or another.

READ MORE...

The results of the Ibon survey, which show poverty incidence is more than double what the government claims, may not be completely accurate (it has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent, which the experts say is normal for a survey of this type), but they cannot possibly be so erroneous as to differ from the government data by an entire order of magnitude or more.

One clue to the difference is the definition of “poverty” used by the government, compared with what the Ibon Foundation estimates is a realistic poverty threshold. The official government poverty threshold is P58 per person per day. At current exchange rates, that is equivalent to $1.28, very close to the $1.25 per day threshold considered an international standard. By comparison, Ibon estimates a family of six actually requires P1,086 per day, or about P181 ($4.00) per person.

What is important to remember, however, is that the Ibon survey does not identify poverty according to an income benchmark, but rather people’s perceptions; one could be earning well over the established threshold and still feel poor.

That is what should be of grave concern to the Aquino Administration and anyone who hopes to succeed President BS Aquino 3rd. For all the rhetoric about “Tuwid na Daan” and “inclusive growth,” two-thirds of the country still feel they are disadvantaged. And circumstances such as the lagging recovery from calamities such as Typhoon Yolanda, the persistently high cost of power, deteriorating transportation infrastructure, and expensive, unreliable services such as water and internet, suggest those feelings are not at all misplaced.

That two-thirds of the Filipino people feel they are no better off and perhaps even worse off than they were before Aquino took office should be regarded by the President and his coterie for what it is – an embarrassing shame and an indictment against his government’s lack of sensitivity and attention to people’s basic needs.

5 Responses to Poverty persists despite the rhetoric
sonny dela cruz says:
June 29, 2015 at 1:52 pm
Talk is CHEAP. Somebody has to lead and take over the government NOW, if not just just don’t COMPLAIN. There’s nothing you guys can do because he is too protected and still he can do whatever he wants to do. Your AFP will not protect you people but they will protect him because they have been taken care of. Don’t expect JUSTICE because there’s none. The laws are being violated and nobody cares. Nobody goes to prison. It’s all up to the Filipino people to look for their own DESTINY.
Reply
emilio says:
June 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm
lack of planning such as development of infrastructures in other major cities to encourage investment and job creation. Major cities such as Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Bacolod City, Baguio city, etc. most of the infrastructure development are in the Metro Manila causing congestion and grid lock. another is poor planning and lack of basic services for the poor and unemployed such as job training
Reply
Vic Penetrante says:
June 29, 2015 at 12:55 pm
Aquino is establishing the path of the poor to heaven by his “tuwid na daan.” The LP group are the rich men always having a party, the poor man is Lazarus.
Reply
fyi says:
June 29, 2015 at 8:09 am
The rich got richer and the poor got poorer, not really a surprise. Everyone in congress gets richer every year while people go hungry.
Reply
Jun Adan says:
June 29, 2015 at 6:35 am
Aquino being an insensitive person and a spoiled brat who grew up in a wealthy family does not feel any sympathy and concern to the plight of poor people living below the poverty line. This man, Aquino, is only concern about the paper economic growth which excludes the ordinary working family man. His presidency is a total failure in alleviating social economic and financial needs of majority of the populace. It is common that a family of four would miss one meal a day so as to tide over the hunger during the day. It is not surprising the high incidence of crimes, like robberies, thefts, carnapping, murder for hire, fraudulent businesses are soaring that the Police enforcers are too busy to meet the increasing crime rates. Crimes is product or offshoot of economic maladies. Aquino is busy politicking and shoring up his achievements which one can not see or feel. Aquino as a mediocre president being twisted minded will not be able to save the poor from wallowing in poverty. I hope goes to jail when his term is over for illegal disbursements of government funds like PDAP and DAP to his political allies, whom he rely on later after he become an ordinary citizen.
Reply


Lack of conscience  July 4, 2015 9:10 pm Marlen V. Ronquillo



by MARLEN V. RONQUILLO

UNA is wrong on its “lazy” tag. PNoy works hard to transfer more wealth to the wealthy.

Mr. Aquino is a president with a selective mind-set and orientation. And the accusation leveled at him by the UNA – that he has been a lazy, indecisive president – is only partly true. When it comes to transferring more wealth to the wealthy (at the backs of the exploited class, of course), Mr. Aquino has been driven, inspired and totally engaged.

When it comes to aggressively pushing for upward wealth transfers, no president in our contemporary history can rival the relentlessness and determination of Mr. Aquino.

I will ask the UNA leadership to do some fact-checking to check on the president responsible for the following:
One family having an estimated wealth of over $14 billion and part of the Top 100 wealthy worldwide.

The surge in the number of Filipino dollar billionaires rich enough to buy small insignificant countries.

The Top 11 wealthiest Filipino families owning more than what the 11 million families who have rated themselves as poor collectively own.

The unprecedented and large scale grant of concessions and contracts, from power to infrastructure to utilities, to the top oligarchs and their foreign partners.
Using the government incentives program to double or treble the profit-making efficiencies of the oligarchs.

Designing lax regulatory rules to make it easier for Big Business to exploit the national patrimony.

Institutionalizing the PPP for upward wealth transfers done with impunity.
There is only one president who has done all these things — Mr. Aquino. Do you think, I will ask the UNA this, that a “ lazy” president could have accomplished that much and in a short span of five years?

READ MORE...

Early in his term, Mr. Aquino divided the country into two parts, the world of the “creators” or the people who create wealth and generate jumbo incomes and the despicable world of “moochers” and “ takers.” We can only admire him for the Randian straightforwardness, the brutal honesty rather, of his priority – promoting and nurturing the wealth-creating class.

Mr. Aquino’s five years in office have been, indeed, devoted to creating wealth and attracting investments, regardless. Meaning, it does not matter what wealth type is involved. So the wealthy got more wealthy across the board, from the rent-seeking class to those engaged in the actual manufacturing of goods and the delivery of actual services.

A recent statement from the NEDA is a great revelation. It said that the Aquino government now wants to repeal or amend laws that are old, irrelevant and out of date. Now this is the revealing part. The “old” laws targeted are those that impede the ease of doing business, the profit-seeking of the favored enterprises, the flow of investments into the country and those that contravene the efficiency of the markets.

In short, the last year of the Aquino administration will be spent focused on the same old, same old, the reverse-Robin Hood policies of more upward wealth transfers.

On the sad day the bodies of the 44 massacred SAF troopers were brought to Manila for the proper wake, Mr. Aquino opted out of the tragic homecoming to inaugurate a vehicle assembly plant in Laguna. That optic of a president optimistically talking about business and jobs in an overall environment of national sorrow was the great revelation on who is Mr. Aquino and what are his leadership priorities. Mr. Aquino had no time for the vulnerable, wasted lives, hopeless lives. Or even lives that were given to the protection of the country.
If an issue is not about business, that is not his business.

There is this general feeling that Mr. Aquino is not really taking his own sweet time – wavering and meandering – on policies and issues that would give little comfort to the afflicted. He is not really lazy and indecisive on issues that would lift the marginal sectors as the UNA and Mr. Binay have accused him of.

He is just not concerned about the sectors without wealth and capital. All sectors below the “creators” are just useless, can-be-ignored parts of the social and economic fabric. It took him months to sign a token Magna Carta for the Poor on the baseless fears it would hurt his cherished budget.

He glows in inaugurating office towers. He loves hobnobbing with the captains of industry, the Davos crowd, the Makati Business Club types.

The poor, the weak and the meek do not concern him at all. There is a feeling that it is not, as the UNA has claimed, about laziness. It must be lack of conscience.


President presumed guilty until proven innocent
June 29, 2015 10:23 pm
YEN MAKABENTA


by YEN MAKABENTA

Critics of President Aquino are often stumped and disarmed by the twin claims of absolute immunity from suit as president, which is hallowed in tradition, and incorruptibility, which cannot be disproved unless his hands are caught filching from the cookie jar, even though billions of public money are plundered under his nose.

Thomas Sowell, distinguished US professor, economist, political philosopher, author, and columnist, who has made a name in turning many a sacrosanct idea (affirmative action, among others) on its head, has come up with a novel approach for cracking the seeming presidential armor of immunity and even impunity.

He contends that the “innocent until proven guilty” defense for an accused should not apply to anyone who occupies such a high office as the presidency.

He reasons this way:
“The “innocent until proven guilty” principle applies in a court of law. Outside a court of law, there is no reason to presume anyone innocent until proven guilty. It is especially dangerous to presume a President of the United States — any president — innocent until proven guilty.
“Whoever is president has the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans, and the fate of a nation, in his hands. It is those millions of people and that nation who deserve the benefit of the doubt. We need to err on the side of safety for the people and the country. Squeamish politeness to an individual cannot outweigh that.”

Sowell says it’s important and necessary to keep this presumption of guilt in mind, in weighing the next president during an election year and all future presidents.

Questions of fitness for office are very important. Red flag warnings on any candidate should not be ignored.

Better to deal with possible unsuitability for high office now, before he or she acquires immunity from suit and all the powers to do his worst.

What Sowell says about the US situation applies squarely to our situation here in the Philippines. We are a nation of over 100 million, 40 percent of whom are poor.

The benefit of the doubt should go to the larger society, not to the solitary figure of President Aquino.

He should stand trial every day for his conduct in office.

READ MORE...

No immunity under 1987 Constitution

From the website Abogadomo.com, I got a very interesting and informative briefing on presidential immunity.

Significantly, according to the website, the 1987 Constitution does not provide for presidential immunity from suit. President Cory’s handpicked constitutional commissioners forgot to shield her and her successors. Senators and congressmen actually got more protection.

Says Abogadomo. Com:
“Unlike congressional immunity, presidential immunity is not expressly stated nor prescribed by the Constitution. Basis for the immunity is only found in jurisprudence, both in the US and the Philippines, which, by virtue of Article 8 of the Civil Code, “forms a part of the legal system of the Philippines.”

“In the case of In re: Bermudez, (1986), the Supreme Court expressly held that – Incumbent presidents are immune from suit or from being brought to court during the period of their incumbency and tenure.

“The purpose of the immunity was discussed in the case of Soliven, et al., vs Judge Makasiar (1988), where the Supreme Court stated that “The rationale for the grant to the President of the privilege of immunity from suit is to assure the exercise of Presidential duties and functions free from any hindrance or distraction, considering that being the Chief Executive of the Government is a job that, aside from requiring all of the office-holder’s time, also demands undivided attention.”

Ironically, a challenge to presidential immunity arose when President Cory Aquino sued for libel columnists Louie Beltran and Max Soliven for writing in their columns that she hid under the bed or got scared silly at the height of Gringo Honasan’s first coup attempt

Lawyers for the defense argued that “the reasons which necessitate presidential immunity from suit impose a correlative disability to file suit.” The petitioners’ argument was turned down by the Court.

An official’s absolute immunity extends only to acts in performance of particular functions of his office. The doctrine of immunity finds no application and cannot be invoked in cases where the public official is being sued in his private capacity or as an ordinary citizen. The mantle of protection afforded public officers is removed the moment they are sued in their individual capacity.

Aquino has only one year to go

This brings me back to Professor Sowell’s far more interesting point about presuming the president guilty until he is proved innocent. The powers and cares of the presidency are such that a president should be placed under constant judgment and trial, because the dangers of mistakes and abuse are great.

Take the Bangsamoro project of President Aquino. It would be absurd to presume him innocent after all that he has done to compromise the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

While he’s still in office, all we can do is watch him.

Once he’s out of office one year from tonight, his detractors can sue BS all over the place.


PNoy covering up MILF’s terror links for BBL passage
June 29, 2015 8:36 pm
Atty. Dodo Dulay


by ATTY. DODO DULAY

OBSESSED with passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as his administration’s so-called “legacy”, PNoy is whitewashing the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) links to known terrorists and terror groups, some of whom have pledged allegiance to the notorious jihadist group ISIS.

According to the ISIS Study Group, a website maintained by retired military personnel from the US Special Forces and the US armed forces’ intelligence community, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia has directed senior National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) officials to “tone down” their assessments on linkages between the MILF and Zulkifli bin Hir aka “Marwan,” the Indonesian terrorist killed by SAF commandos during the Mamasapano raid.

“Our sources within NICA have informed us that Garcia has specifically instructed the organization to avoid airing out the truth that Marwan was receiving direct support from the MILF 105th Base Command (BC) out of fear that it would further erode support for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). Furthermore, our sources have reported that Garcia has been personally editing NICA assessments that were to be delivered to PNoy and members of the Philippine Congress,” the group said.

If Garcia has indeed taken to sanitizing the intelligence agency’s reports, it is treason of the highest order. He is compromising national security for the sake of deodorizing the MILF’s image, obviously with the knowledge of and/or at the behest of PNoy.

While the MILF-Central Committee (MILF-CC) might want to forge a peace deal with the Philippine government, the group says they have absolutely no control over the three MILF units that are providing direct support to the terror groups operating in the country: the 102nd, 105th and 118th Base Commands (BC),
This supposedly became more apparent with the recent death of Abdul Basit Usman, the accomplice of Marwan who managed to escape during the Mamasapano raid.

READ MORE...

When the killing of Usman was first reported, military sources said he was killed by a military asset who was purportedly recruited from within the group of the alleged terrorist. The asset allegedly managed to recruit two fellow aides to turn against Usman, who was then targeted in an operation. The military later said the asset died with Usman when the MILF tried to collar the terror suspect.

Another version put forward by Armed Forces Chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang was that Usman was killed by his bodyguards who allegedly wanted to claim the $1-million bounty on his head. A week later, the military backtracked on its claim on how Usman was killed.

Echoing the account by MILF vice chair for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar, the military now says the MILF’s 118th Base Command planned to capture Usman and present him to the group’s Central Committee but he resisted, sparking a firefight that led to his death.

Jaafar claims Usman’s death showed that the MILF was doing its part in maintaining peace and order in areas they controlled as agreed upon in agreements it signed with the government. “Usman’s death is proof that the MILF is sincere in its efforts to strictly abide with the provisions of the ceasefire mechanism,” Jaafar added.

Even though they had nothing to do with it, the MILF’s Central Committee is now exploiting Usman’s death to soften public opposition to the BBL.

“The reason they claimed credit for Usman’s death was to save face after the 25 January 2015 Mamasapano raid that killed Marwan, demonstrate to the [Government of the Philippines] that they’re a viable partner of peace and to further the narrative that they actually control their three ‘problem children’ when in truth they don’t,” the ISIS study group said.

“If it was publicly known that the MILF-CC can’t control the elements within their organization known for providing support to terror groups, then the Philippine Congress and general public would know that the peace deal isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. After all, just how much of a success will the BBL be if the people in charge of the new Bangsamoro government can’t even police themselves?” it added.

While the MILF’s Central Committee supposedly issued an order to its commanders to “expel” terror groups from their territory, the group says this was largely ignored by MILF’s military units. This explains why many terrorists and terrorist organizations are finding a safe haven in MILF enclaves.

In the Sarangani region, the Ansar Khalifa Sarangani (AKS) – a terror group reportedly receiving direct support from Indonesian jihadists – is said to be re-establishing Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)’s training camps. Meanwhile, Singaporean JI operative Lito Ribiyah aka “Muawiyah” is purportedly hiding in the Salvo, Patatin, Mamasapano and Shariff Aguak area controlled by MILF fighters. Muamar Askali, the leader of the radical wing of the Abu Sayyaf Group which pledged allegiance to ISIS, continues to roam freely in the Jolo-Sulu area.

Legalizing the MILF’s control over the “Bangsamoro territory” through the BBL will only make the region a staging ground for terrorism.


The Ombudsman: Aquino’s top political assassin … and undertaker July 2, 2015 11:06 pm RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

It is astonishing that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales still found the gall to berate the press the other day in an unexpected palengkera language: “Nabubuwisit na ako. Wala nang ginawang tama ang Ombudsman! Palagi niyo nang kinukwestiyon. If you feel that I am impeachable if I have done wrong, I welcome it. I will give my position on a silver platter,” she shouted.

Who does she think she is? That she is the fountainhead of justice that she doesn’t need to explain to the nation, through the media, the very widespread belief that she is prosecuting only the Opposition?

Perhaps in our subconscious, we Filipinos, given our peasant history, still automatically bow down, in fear, to elderly ladies with an imperious Doña visage.

That’s the only explanation – combined with the national yearning for an anti-graft crusader to root out corruption – I can think of for her arrogance and the media’s docile attitude toward her.

Since her appointment in 2012, she practically has been Aquino’s deadliest political assassin. It is Aquino’s corruption of the Office of the Ombudsman to turn it into his political assassination squad against his enemies that marks the depths of depravity of this regime, its severe damaging of our Republican institutions.

Not even strongman Marcos had dared to use the Ombudsman as such a weapon. While the Office of the Ombudsman has, for decades, been riddled with corruption – because of its low pay-scale for lawyers – this is the only President who has made the Ombudsman herself as his attack dog. He has damaged our prime anti-graft institution for a generation.

Aquino-target No. 1

Chief Justice Renato Corona – the biggest obstacle to the Aquino clan’s Plan B, which was to give up Hacienda Luisita to agrarian reform but for the Supreme Court to rule that current prices be used to compute their compensation, at P10 billion.

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The Ombudsman lying at the 2012 impeachment trial to politically assassinate Aquino’s no. 1 enemy at that time. Below: The succeeding targets. Inset: The current target?

It is another demonstration of the media’s hold of people’s thinking that few know it was really Morales who made the fatal blow in the political assassination of Corona, and take him down.

And it was Morales’ blatant lying that was the dagger that dug deep into his heart. Morales lied in Corona’s impeachment trial when she claimed that data provided by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) showed that he was hiding $12 million in his dollar accounts.

The only other explanation for making such falsehood is that she didn’t understand reports on bank transactions data, which sounds really impossible as she isn’t exactly poor, based on her Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net worth (SALN), which showed her net worth at P40 million. Or perhaps she just repeated what she was told to say by another Aquino operative, Commission on Audit member Heidi Mendoza.

The $12 million figure Morales claimed was the sum of all transactions over nine years, rather than Corona’s remaining account balance. That means that a $100 deposit, which was withdrawn and then deposited again, (perhaps in a better time deposit) was counted as $300.

I studied the AMLC documents and estimated Corona’s dollar accounts – just a little over $1 million, mostly accumulated before he even joined the government in 2001. I wrote a column explaining this when I was still with the Philippine Daily Inquirer (“Corona’s deception on Corona’s bank accounts,” May 17, 2012), which I’m sure she or her staff read. They didn’t respond to my column.

How could a former associate justice of the Supreme Court lie that blatantly, or distort figures to humiliate and remove a former colleague of hers? And she has remained as the country’s top corruption fighter?

If she had any decency, her lie – or mistake – should have prompted her to resign. Of course, she didn’t.

Morales’ lie – bannered in screaming headlines by newspapers – created the public outrage against Corona’s purported huge “unexplained wealth,” portrayed as worth half a billion in pesos. It was a total lie.

But it was the smokescreen for the 20 senators to remove him as Chief Justice – in exchange for the P10 billion in pork-barrel funds and hijacked money called the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP).

Morales’ lie was crucial. By March, or three months through the trial, all of the eight charges – among them, believe it or not, that he favored Philippine Airlines (PAL) in a case filed by flight attendants, another discussing the Vizconde massacre case with the father of the victim, and the most outrageous, his 40 fictitious mansions – were proven factually wrong.

The eighth charge was actually his alleged failure to submit his SALN. It was an open-and-shut case since the Court’s clerk simply produced the copies of his SALN.
But because of Morales’ false testimony, he was removed as Chief Justice by the Senate for filing an incomplete SALN and “unexplained wealth”—which weren’t the charges at all.
That episode will go down in our country’s history as one of the darkest days of our Republic – with Morales playing a key role.

And she claims she hasn’t been political?

Aquino-targets 2, 3 and 4

These were the Opposition Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla – who had mass following and who, at that time, were the pillars of the Opposition that could thwart his plan for his cabal to continue in power after 2016. Morales filed plunder charges against them in June 2014 in connection with pork-barrel funds that they allegedly pocketed. A month later they were all in jail.

The data which the Ombudsman used to file charges against the three Opposition leaders mostly came from the special report of the Commission on Audit – with the “whistleblower” Benhur Luy and his associates actually providing only additional evidence.

In the first place, the COA special audit had been incomplete, and biased against the Opposition, since according to the agency itself, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad ignored their requests to submit all of the documents it had asked for, mostly those involving Aquino’s allies.

Still, the COA special audit found indications of similar cases of pork-barrel fraud, in terms of the modus operandi used and the amounts involved, and implicating allies of Aquino, among them:

Former Senator Edgardo Angara; Neptali M. Gonzales II, the deputy speaker of the Lower House; former representative and Aquino’s Tesda head Joel Villanueva; Akbayan party-list representative Risa Hontiveros; Florencio G. Noel, former An Waray party-list representative who is reportedly close to the president; Senator Allan Peter Cayetano, Nacionalista-Liberal Party coalition; Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimental Jr., Liberal Party; Sen. Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan, Liberal Party; Sen. Ramon B. Magsaysay Jr., Liberal Party; Sen. Cynthia Villar, Nacionalista-Liberal Party Coalition; and Sen. Manuel B. Villar, Nacionalista-Liberal Party Coalition.

Yet the Ombudsman hasn’t even assigned investigators going over the documents to prepare charges against these Aquino lackeys.

Morales and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima kept saying there would be second and third batches of legislators to be charged. But none so far, and it’s already mid-2015 and this Administration only has 11 months to go.

“That’s the best argument [against allegations of] selective justice—Iyong pag-dismiss ko kay Purisima,” Morales, however, said in a press conference on Wednesday. The Ombudsman, earlier in 2013, also filed charges against former congressman and Aquino’s customs head Rozzano Rufino Biazon, and seven former Congressmen, for their alleged links to the P10 billion pork barrel scam.

Who is Morales fooling?

Purisima has been politically dead – and stinking, that Aquino wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole – and after the Senate hearings that have incontrovertibly proved since February that he led the flawed operations that resulted in the Mamasapano massacre of 44 elite police troops. Biazon has been politically dead since early 2013 because of his huge failure to check massive smuggling as Customs head.

Morales is simply Aquino’s political undertaker, who disposes of the political bodies of the President’s dead allies. And like a Mafia boss, Aquino is relieved of that painful job to personally tell them to go to hell. And they even became the sacrificial lambs for his fake altar of the straight path.

Aquino-target No. 5?

A year before the 2016 elections, Morales blindly rushes to use the allegations – made without the rigors of rules of evidence in a regular court – hurled by Antonio Trillanes 4th in Senate hearings, to file charges against Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family, now the leading candidate for President. Never mind if Trillanes, who already hates Binay for allegedly abandoning him in his 2003 Oakwood mutiny, thinks that for being his attack dog against the Binays, Aquino will endorse him as his cabal’s vice presidential candidate.

You decide if the Ombudsman is really an anti-graft crusader, or simply, scandalously Aquino’s political assassin.

Or is it just all coincidence? tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com FB: Bobi Tiglao

26 Responses to The Ombudsman: Aquino’s top political assassin … and undertaker
renato s. irlanda says:
July 3, 2015 at 12:46 pm
people are wrong when they say that the ombudsman thinks she is above the law, sadly the ombudsman thinks that she is the law!!
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Migs Doromal says:
July 3, 2015 at 12:32 pm
Very well argued. Thanks, Mr. Tiglao.
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arturo says:
July 3, 2015 at 11:39 am
Conchita Moraless should be thrown out of the garbage can, You Stink! Magresign kana supladang matanda! Kayong kaalyado ni Pnoy ikulong lahat mga kurap!
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vic bautista says:
July 3, 2015 at 10:08 am
Conchita carpio morales is undoubtedly used to a “T”, as attack dog, bitch- to impress upon the public the canard and dastardly planned schemes of the liberals, abad, abnoy, drilon- altogether with the crying lady’s style of heide mendoza. These are thespians, with stage-managed agendas, backed by broadcast networks’ paid hacks and mainstream TV channels’ honchos- all colluding in unison. What else can be expected from the “mata pobre” usurping power, whose self-serving motive is to protect their own interests, while the populist/ pro people are silenced and populace suffer? Where is public administration nowadays? It is all showmanship by the Aquino government.
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Camilo says:
July 3, 2015 at 9:13 am
I believe Mr. Tiglao, I don’t like Pinoy nor Binay
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e28 says:
July 3, 2015 at 8:20 am
Let’s give the old lady another benefit of the doubt. Let’s see what she will do with the case filed at the Ombudsman against Alberto Lina of Customs. 11 months will be too long for her to just ignore it.
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Ric Brazil says:
July 3, 2015 at 8:14 am
“If you feel that I am impeachable if I have done wrong, I welcome it. I will give my position on a silver platter,” she shouted.”
The offer is not for her to give. She should resign first. Unfortunately, as you, Ambassador Tiglao, said, she has not, and she is not going to resign. She want to be impeached but believe isn’t going to happen. That’s why the challenge she was hurling was too shallow. She will continue to be an attack dog of Pnoy. But their time is fast approaching and “karma” won’t spare them.
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ren fuentes says:
July 3, 2015 at 11:48 am
ric green, deo macalma’s bubwit has said long time ago that this morales has her eye on being appointed as the nation’s representative to the united nations, the position vacated by davide before, before the end of boy sisi’s term. malapit na yon at makikita talaga natin kung talagang hit man sya ni boy sisi pag natuloy ang tsismis.
abnoy 69 says:
July 3, 2015 at 7:56 am
Very good observation. I totally agree with you. Your article are supportive by facts, actually happened and is happening right now. This Ombudsman is thinking that she is above the law.
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Danny Cuarteros says:
July 3, 2015 at 7:42 am
Amen, we need a born again President who has record of sacrificing his life for the good of our country!
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armando flores says:
July 3, 2015 at 7:07 am
Morales and sereno are indeed political prostitutes of aquino operating in tandem with de lima
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e28 says:
July 3, 2015 at 8:25 am
Can’t figure out if these ladies are blessings or what:
De Lima, Pulido-Tan (buti na lang retired na), Morales, Mendoza, Henares, and Sereno.
Marcospolo says:
July 3, 2015 at 3:59 am
Si ombusman Moral-less,at sina delima at coa-tan, ang tatlong babaeng naging sobra ang pagkasinungaling at sobrang pagka-sipsip kay Aquino makuha lang ang ambisyon nila! Lahat gagawin!! Ganito kakapal angmga mukha na parang ang tingin sa mga tao ay mga walang utak!
Dapat itong mga babaeng ito ay makulong sa pagtratraidor sa kanilang sinumpaan trabaho! Kahit mababa ang dugo mo,kapagnakita mo ang mga itong nagsasalita maha-high blood ka! Parang mga cholesterol!! Hehehe!!
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Mei says:
July 3, 2015 at 11:42 am
wow, I love your comment! high blood nga ang sakit mo after isang tingin sa mga babaeng ito, mga judge pa nman kung tawagin. parang purong taba ng baboy,na tumigas na. ;lol
Lionfox says:
July 3, 2015 at 3:57 am
Ma’Ma’am Ombudsman please reply….
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John R. Petalcorin says:
July 3, 2015 at 3:51 am
Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales terribly failed in the aspect of peace-consciousness. She still has a lot of room for improvement if she is careful to tame her political tongue and restrain her head from getting too big enough to fill the entire room. The Ombudsman and Court of Appeals are both government institutions that has to LEARN how to coordinate and jointly communicate their decision on cases they overlap on to prevent untoward incidence of chaos brought about by political conflict. Had Ombudsman and Court of Appeals made a joint press conference on a decision to order the execution of the suspension order of Mayor Binay, resistance and chaos could have been prevented. (John R. Petalcorin, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Senator Aspirant for 2016)
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Mar Padilla, Jr. says:
July 3, 2015 at 3:07 am
I totally agree. What else could I see, It’s 100% correct . The voters are asking them to explain and elaborate more if they accept the guilty verdict or not. Maybe the headman, whisper keep quite the election is so near now.
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P.Akialamiro says:
July 3, 2015 at 2:38 am
While this administration is inconistent and seletive of those it goes after for irregulariities, VP Binay (& son, etc.), has a lot to explainong to do. The country doesn’t need another leader of questionable lntegrity. Politics or not, he has to clear his name.
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Justaskingseriously says:
July 3, 2015 at 2:10 am
What can anyone expect of a con? What can anybody expect of a cheetah? What can be the third strike? Morals? Assassin and undertaker? Perfect. Right on the money! Three strikes, your’re out. Umpires do not rule on coincidence.
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Justaskingseriously says:
July 3, 2015 at 2:07 am
What can anyone expect of a con? What can anybody expect of a cheetah? What can be the third strike? Morals? Assassin and undertaker? Perfect. Right on the money!
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laguatanlawzen.com says:
July 3, 2015 at 1:52 am
Your article is eruditely written complete with irreversible proofs. Ombudsman Morales is just nothing but a mindless Moral-less and willing attack jackal of ABNOY, purposely to destroy Abnoy’s political enemies at all costs. There is always the end to all their glories – they will have their judgment and the KARMATIC effect of their foolishness.
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GND says:
July 3, 2015 at 1:23 am
Ano pa ba ang bago sa sistema sa Pilipinas. Hindi ba the same misinformation was used during Erap presidency. Meron pa bang dignidad na natitira sa Senado o sa alin mang institusyon sa bansa? Malungkot pero iyan ang katotohanan. Iba lang ang mukha pareho din ang gawain. I’m 55 years old sa na makita ko sa lifetime ko na ang Pilipinas ay magkaroon ng lider na may totoong malasakit sa masang Pilipino.
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Alejo Rosete says:
July 3, 2015 at 1:07 am
THANK YOU Ambassador Tiglao.
A VERY INTELLIGENT ANALYSIS
I TOTALLY AGREE – MABUHAY KA.
MABUHAY ANG MANILA TIMES
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juvenal cabrera says:
July 3, 2015 at 12:54 am
If Morales wants to give up her post can you please ask her to resign,
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Inocent says:
July 3, 2015 at 12:46 am
Carpio-Morales have an axe to grind on ex CJ Renato Corona apparently because Corona refused her request for perks and privileges she requested which she is entitled to received so she found being part of the unfair impeachment of Corona as the opportunity to get even, or worse. Her actions also solidify that Conchita is a power-hungry lapdog.
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Anulfo says:
July 3, 2015 at 12:01 am
The Ombudsman has a job to do and it is not easy. Graft and corruption is embedded in government service, 29 years of rule like the Binay feifdom in Makati is a classic example.
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Missing government, missing opposition
July 2, 2015 11:09 pm


VICE President and now UNA Chairman Jejomar Binay would have a more credible case against the allegedly “missing government” of President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd if he’d also offer a truthful accounting of “the missing Opposition” in national politics. And even more so with a truthful confession that in all those five years of President Aquino’s rule, the VP has been a loyal member and supporter of this Administration.

Until he surfaced the other week, claiming to be “the leader of the Opposition,” there has been no visible political Opposition around, in Congress or in the public square, that diligently tried to make President Aquino and his government honest and truthful to the people.

Until the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) surfaced on July 1 as the new Opposition party, there has been no such political party in national politics. There was only the shell of a party, propped up by occasional and self-serving publicity stories.

UNA was originally cobbled together to contest the elections in May 2013, led by the triumvirate of former President Joseph Estrada, Vice President Binay and then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. That coalition no longer exists, having split into many parts, with Senator Enrile now languishing in detention, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada subsisting with his own Partido ng Masang Pilipino. Only Mr. Binay remains of the original triumvirate, holding up the three letters of UNA.

There is some basis for Mr. Binay’s charge that the government has been largely missing during these five years of the Aquino presidency. The Manila Times is witness to the lapses of governance all these years, as it has covered the Aquino presidency from day one up to today. If the Times editorials over the past five years were laid out end to end, it would make for a more complete critique of the Administration than Mr. Binay’s speech last Wednesday.

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As he formally accepted the UNA chairmanship, VP Binay claimed that while the Aquino Administration has been occupying the seat of power over the past five years, there has actually been no functioning government to speak of.

He said: “After five years, the rate of unemployment is still high, the number of people who have suffered and are still suffering from hunger is still high. People who are sick still cannot afford medication. Many of our youth remain out of school as their families cannot afford their tuition. The crime rate is fast rising and the illegal drug trade continues to proliferate in communities. Poverty is everywhere.

Thus, the people are asking: Where is the government?”

“Because of corruption and extortion in the MRT, we have a deteriorating service in our mass rail transit system. In fact, for the more than 500,000 daily passengers of the MRT who have to suffer the mile-long queues at the stations to and from their offices, it would be a blessing if nothing wrong happens every time they ride those train coffins.

“Again, the people are asking: Where is the government?”

Then he zeroed in on the Mamasapano tragedy. “Forty-four noble commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Countless investigations have been conducted but up to now, no one has been held responsible. No charges have yet been filed in court. The people are asking: Where is the government?”

In our book, this laundry list of complaints and laments against the Administration does not qualify as a serious opposition critique of the government. There is no documentation of the failings in governance. Instead, we find a scattering of sound bites, bleeding sentiment for the poor.

The mantle of a leader of the opposition is not claimed by a mere assertion or profession of desire. It should be earned through a record of consistent criticism of the Administration and the majority party.

Over the past five years, that work has been more vigorously exercised by the media and the party-list groups in Congress, and some members of the citizenry.

UNA as the Opposition Party

We welcome the decision of UNA to constitute itself as a political party to contest the elections next year, because what Philippine politics has been missing for some time now are authentic and functioning political parties.

We have ambitious people eagerly contesting positions in government. We don’t have parties that aggregate members, political ideas and support groups.

Conviction politics is missing in Philippine political culture.

We hope UNA will move forward to develop a real platform of government and a system for membership and inclusion in the party.

We also hope that VP Binay, having served in the Administration and having suffered the sting of being in disfavor, will evolve into a courageous critic of the government and a credible candidate for the Presidency.

But he must flesh out serious policies and programs. This is the work of real political parties and their cadre.

Where is the government? Where is the opposition?

Let’s see who will answer and persuade us first.

5 Responses to Missing government, missing opposition
Edgardoo says:
July 3, 2015 at 7:56 am
A true opposition is someone who criticized constructively with suggested solution. And it was only BBM who qualifies to be opposition.
Reply
Isabelaboy says:
July 3, 2015 at 7:48 am
Now that Mr. VP Binay has parted ways with Pre. Pnoy, everything that he spouses against the govt is “politics”. Pure. Simple. Convenient. Hypocrite. Pretender. Cheat. Credit Graber. Liar. The time for him to talk about what is wrong with govt. and what he thinks should be done to correct it (them) is when he was an insider. When he could something directly, effectively, timely, substantially, and with imprimatur. Now, everything the VP says will take the form of promise. Vicious cycle, All politics…why can not Mr. VP just use all his time answering the various graft and corruption charges against him and his family?
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Ivana says:
July 3, 2015 at 5:18 am
Where is Mr. Gilbert Teodoro? I still believe he is the most qualified to lead and set the stage for better Philippines. I hope Gibo still have that desire to serve the country and take another attempt at the presidency come 2016.
Reply
GND says:
July 3, 2015 at 1:36 am
There is no opposition, because nobody stand for anything. Opposition become opposition when they think it’s their time to shine. Until then they are all happy together at the expense of the people.
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Mar Padilla, Jr. says:
July 3, 2015 at 1:28 am
Who will believe this Man? He work with the government in power for five years with a record he was awarded Millions of Pesos in his Department to do his job, but now in a split of a day he becomes and endorse himself as the leader of the opposition with the name of his party as UNA. People are asking where are your ACCOMPLISHMENT as Vice-President and member of the governing party of Pres. Panot Aquino -III, for the last FIVE YEARS. If you want our vote, please show us your accomplishment and answer the GRAFT AND CORRUPTION charges against you by the Senate. Our vote is very important and very dear to our heart, DO NOT TRY TO PAY AND BRIBE US. WE WILL GET YOUR MONEY AND RUN AND WE WILL NOT VOTE FOR YOU. WE WILL VOTE FOR HONEST CANDIDATE.
Reply


From the idiotization of our morality flows derangement of our politics July 2, 2015 11:07 pm FRANCISCO S. TATAD


by FRANCISCO S. TATAD

Reacting to the US Supreme Court legalization of “same-sex marriage” throughout the United States, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the Filipino bishops and clergy will continue to teach what the Church has always taught about marriage. Namely, that it is the permanent and exclusive union of one man and one woman for the propagation of the species.

The natural institution of marriage, blessed by God, cannot be reduced by deconstructionists like Jacques Derrida and his heirs into a sexual union or partnership between two or three persons of the same sex. Not only Catholic Christians have a right and duty to defend this truth.

Coming from the highest court of the world’s lone superpower, the ruling in Obergefell vs. Hodges has certainly disturbed all the cultural, moral and legal fault-lines around the world. It is the dictatorship of relativism’s most audacious and intrusive edict, and all morally indifferent lifestyles seem to approve it. But the Church has an eternal vocation to the truth, and cannot possibly capitulate.

Were the Pope himself to declare “same-sex marriage” as the new orthodoxy, he would be reviled and opposed by the whole Church; the doctrine itself would remain false, and the bishops, priests, religious and the laity would have no right or duty to alter their knowledge, understanding and profession of the indelible and immutable truth.

We thank and commend Archbishop “Soc” for assuring everyone that the Church will continue to teach what she has always taught about marriage. It’s another way of saying the Church draws the line between her Magisterium and the political emanations from the global powers, despite the sorry behavior of the Aquino administration, in the case of “reproductive health.”

But the CBCP president could probably have said a little bit more, notably about the fundamental issue of morality, for the sake of educating those who see a false boon to humanity in “same-sex marriage.” Although Church teaching on marriage as on everything else has been constant, this did not prevent some of the Catholic justices on the Court from attacking the integrity and dignity of marriage.

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Did these “Catholics” intend, by their action, to force a seismic change in Church teaching on marriage? Most likely not. For they were the first to know, what even the non-Catholic justices presumably knew, that no court ruling could ever compel the Church to alter her teaching on anything simply by attacking it.

Therefore, while the CBCP president’s statement tried to reassure, it did not say enough. It merely tried to close an already closed door, when it could have opened a large window as well to let in the sunlight on the rights of man and the rights of God, which the justices had chosen to discard or usurp. The justices did not have to hear from Archbishop Soc that their ruling would not affect Church teaching on marriage, which is a universal public good, one bit. But they needed to be told that they did not have the right or the competence to redefine marriage.

No matter how words are perverted, they retain their original meaning, says Camus. This is what they should have been told. With the zeal of our Lord driving the moneychangers out of the Temple, Archbishop Soc could have come out swinging against the ruling. For even though it had no direct impact on the Filipino faithful, it has put marriage and the defenders of marriage at great risk.

There are times when the good shepherd, sensing danger to his flock, must summon all his courage and strength to confront and drive away the big bad wolf. This is one such time. To leave the wolf near the fold would be bad for the sheep. I hope that the entire CBCP would take up this challenge when it meets for its next semi-annual plenary meeting later this month, before the puppet Aquino tries to lick Barack Obama’s boots, again, by paying off the political mercenaries in Congress to pass an abominable law on “same-sex marriage.”

Reacting to my previous columns, one prominent politician told me the other day that if ever PNoy or any senator or congressman tries to push any same-sex proposal in Congress, we should be ready to defeat it to a national referendum or plebiscite. The suggestion was well-intentioned, but it showed that the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

There are self-evident truths, which do not depend on a majority vote. The truth is never subject to ascertainment or confirmation by a majority vote. Even if every voter knew what is morally right and what is morally wrong, and our voting system were as honest and transparent as the voting that takes place during a conclave to elect a new Pope, we do not need a referendum to establish the truth.

We do not need a majority vote to affirm the fact that no human being ever creates himself, that every person is born either male or female, and that only the sexual union of the two is capable of naturally generating a new life. We need to recognize God-given truth for what it is.

Majorities, no matter how powerful, do not guarantee that truth and justice would be served. This is evident in both the legislative and the judicial processes. It was a Supreme Court majority under Chief Justice Roger Taney that declared in Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1857, that Negro slaves were commodities rather than human beings to be traded, that even free blacks were non-citizens, and that Congress could not restrict slavery in the federal territories.

In 1896, in Plessy v. Ferguson, as referenced in a US Family Research Council paper, the US Supreme Court majority upheld racial segregation through its infamous “separate but equal” doctrine, which provided “unequal” facilities for the Whites and the Blacks, those for the latter being significantly inferior to those for the former. Justice John Harlan, dissenting, said segregation should have been declared unconstitutional because the US Constitution is colorblind.

In 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court corrected its error in Plessy. But not before committing another error in Lochner v. New York, where it struck down as unconstitutional a New York state law limiting to 60 the number of hours per week that the owner of a bakery could require or permit his employees to work.

The law was meant to protect workers from the high risk of lung disease “from breathing in the flour dust and severe burns from the ovens,” but the Supreme Court said no. Like Dred Scott, Lochner was finally repudiated under the immensely popular Franklin Delano Roosevelt fighting a great Depression.

These are but some of the instances where error and injustice were committed because of a misguided majority vote. In our jurisdiction, we could cite the impeachment and removal of Chief Justice Renato Corona; the forced enactment of the Reproductive Health Law; the systematic lying in the Mamasapano massacre inquiries to shield PNoy from any criminal accountability; the ongoing efforts to ensure a thoroughly manipulated electoral process in 2016 through Smartmatic and the Comelec — all by majority action of the collective groups involved.

A clear ethical mind is needed to avoid these follies. But this requires a fair understanding of objective ethical principles, without which one may be tempted to repeat what an old senator of the realm said a few years ago during a public debate, “what is ethical to you is not ethical to me.” In this case, the strength of the law, which springs from the truth and justice, yields to the power of the strong.

We all could use a good guide. For me, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is one such guide. He remains (for me) the world’s foremost living theologian and intellectual. In discussing the moral foundations of a free state, he examines the ethical foundations of the law, and poses this question: Are there not some things that can never be legalized, things that always remain wrong? And are there not some things that always remain absolutely legally binding, things that precede every majority decision, things that majority decision must respect?

From the essence of what it is to be human, there follow, in Benedict’s view, unconditional values that cannot be altered by shifts in parliamentary (or judicial) majorities. Of course, the numbers count in reckoning majorities, but truth and justice, not numbers, always decide what is right and what is wrong.

A bought Congress could impeach and remove a non-erring Chief Justice, enact an immoral RH law, and prevent the impeachment and removal of an impeachable and obviously guilty president. A bought High Court on the other hand, (may it never come to pass), could declare a former American and naturalized Filipino citizen as a “natural-born citizen,” in order to allow her to run for an office for which she is not constitutionally or morally qualified.

None of these could alter the truth, but we could lose the truth, if we do not watch out. We have to work extra hard to make sure this does not happen. We must not lose our grip on our moral lives. This is the key. From the derangement and idiotization of our morality flows the derangement and idiotization of our politics, not vice versa. Let us never forget that. fstatad@gmail.com

3 Responses to From the idiotization of our morality flows derangement of our politics
Marcospolo says:
July 3, 2015 at 3:23 am
Tanggapin na, ang tao ngayon ay hindi na naniniwala sa batas ng dios,lalo na dahil ang nagsasabi na sila ang nagtuturo ng salita ng dios ang unang-unang sumasalungat sa maraming batas ng dios!!lalo na sa ginagawang pagsamba sa rebulto,idol,at sa mga santo!!
Tanggapin na ninyo,na bigung-bigo ang mga nagtuturo ng religion lalo na ang mga paring katoliko na may dios!!
Walang masama sa batas na ito,sa mga taong hindi na naniniwala sa batas ng dios! Ganito ang demokrasya,lahat may karapatan gawin ang naisin nila,lalot hindi Sila nakakasakit sa kapwa!
Ipaubaya na lamang ninyo sa dios ang lahat! Bawat isa ay binigyan ng sariling isip upang magdesisyon sa sarili nila!
Tandaan kapag totoong ang religion ay sa dios, kahit ano pang batas, na gawin ng tao! Ay walang saysay sapagkat alam nila kung sino ang susundin! Pero kung ang isang religion ay hindi sa dios,totoong walang susunod sa kanila!lahat ay aasa sa batas ng tao at sariling interest ang uunahin nila!!masakit man,..
Tanggapin na bigo ang pope at mga pari na pasunurin ang kaanib nila!
Walang kasalanan ang US o ano mang bansa na bigyan ng karapatan ang lahat,dahil ito ang alam nilang tama!!labas ang religion sa kanilang pasya!
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P.Akialamiro says:
July 3, 2015 at 2:22 am
The whole thing redounds to faith and belief in the Sciptures which is (or not) already in the minds and hearts of people even before the U.S. SC ruling. Afer all, it is a matter of “to each his/her own” when the final judgemet day comes.
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Bulldog says:
July 3, 2015 at 12:34 am
Come to think of it for us believers, I suggest that all churches go ahead and officiate gay weddings. First of all, we know that these marriages will only be valid before the eyes of the government not the eyes of God and the priests are only doing it so as not to be sanctioned by the government. Second of all, these can be a source of donations for the church. Am I wrong?
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