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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

EDITORIAL: 35 TONS OF BANANAS, NOT A MINOR MATTER
[Bananas from PH failed China phytosanitary inspection. The destroyed shipment probably also represents the fruit of a season’s labor for someone, and should not be simply shrugged off. Once again, Coloma – who after all is only speaking for his boss, President BS Aquino 3rd – has revealed the shocking insensitivity and evident lack of awareness that pervades the halls of power in the second Aquino era.]


MARCH 28 -China Destroys 35 Tons of Philippine Bananas – www.philippineslifestyle.com (photo by english.cn.cn)
AS was reported on Monday, Chinese authorities recently destroyed 35 metric tons of bananas shipped there from the Philippines, for reasons that are not entirely clear but are presumably due to the shipment not passing a phytosanitary inspection. That is extremely bad news for the producers, brokers, and customers of that particular shipment, which was the equivalent of about two-and-a-half 20-foot shipping containers. Banana prices averaged about P50,000 per ton in February, according to the World Bank, meaning that the lost value of the shipment could be as high as P1.75 million. As Palace Spokesman Sonny Coloma pointed out on Sunday, in the bigger scheme of things, that amount is not critical, and will not even make a dent in the volume or value of Philippine-China trade. While that may be true, on a smaller scale the destroyed shipment probably also represents the fruit of a season’s labor for someone, and should not be simply shrugged off.Once again, Coloma – who after all is only speaking for his boss, President BS Aquino 3rd – has revealed the shocking insensitivity and evident lack of awareness that pervades the halls of power in the second Aquino era. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Y. Makabenta - Who turned the Supreme Court into a chamber of errors?


MARCH 30 -by YEN MAKABENTA “Free institutions are not the property of any majority. They do not confer upon majorities unlimited powers. The rights of the majority are limited rights. They are limited not only by the constitutional guarantees but by the moral principle implied in those guarantees. The principle is that men may not use the facilities of liberty to impair them. No man may invoke a right in order to destroy it.” Walter Lippmann As surely as the life lessons of our 495-year history, the cautionary case of Grace Poe is reminding us Filipinos of the core principles and elemental truths that underpin our national existence. Her case has recalled to us the imperishable truth that it is the Constitution that is supreme, not the Supreme Court. The Court is not the property of a passing majority of justices who constitute it. No majority may use the facilities of freedom and power in order to impair the institution. No cabal of businessmen and politicians is at liberty to buy the highest office of the land. Last and not least, Grace Poe may not invoke the right to be elected to office in order to destroy our constitutional system. Legal schooling and civic literacy It is concededly presumptuous for a layman to make suggestions on how the Supreme Court might correct the errors in its decision on Poe vs. Comelec. But this is a presumption that is less overweening than the multiple presumptions that the High Court granted to Grace Poe in order to certify her eligibility to run for President of the republic. Some lawyers would arrogate to themselves sole competence in explaining the Constitution, statutes, and how they regulate our lives and our public life. Such a policy of exclusion forgets a basic principle in democratic society, that ordinary citizens should aspire to attain a good level of civic literacy, in order to understand how their government works and the rights and duties of citizenship. READ MORE...RELATED, Excerpts from Justice Brion’s dissenting opinion...

ALSO: By Ricardo Saludo - Grace Poe’s DQ case, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet


MARCH 28 -by RICARDO SALUDO
Senator Grace Poe’s victory in the Supreme Court was supposed to boost her campaign. Yet in the latest Pulse Asia survey done after the justices voided the Commission on Elections decision canceling her certificate of candidacy, her rating dropped, while that of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gained. Perhaps Poe’s recent TV ads anticipating her High Court win had already boosted her grade, so when the decision came, its impact was limited. Even if her grade rose, the remaining time before the May 9 polls is longer than it took trailing candidates to catch up and win past elections. Between March 19 and May 4, 2004, then President Gloria Arroyo passed erstwhile topnotcher Fernando Poe Jr. in the Social Weather Stations survey, rising from 2 percentage points behind to 7 ahead, equivalent to a lead of 2 million votes. In about the same period, March 22 to May 3, 2010, then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay leapt from 21 percent to 37 percent, tying with Mar Roxas, who slid from 42 percent.But the real caveat to the High Court’s boost for Poe’s Palace bid comes if and when she looks set to win.Delaying the count If she garners top votes in unofficial Comelec and citizens’ counts, lawmakers backing her rivals could petition Congress, which conducts the official canvassing for president and vice-president, not to start until the “prejudicial question” of Poe’s citizenship, as the lawmakers might call it, is definitively settled by the Supreme Court. Like the Comelec motion for reconsideration on the DQ case, filed last week, anti-Poe lawmakers could cite the dissenting opinion of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio in her DQ case. He believed there was no majority of participating justices voting to declare her a natural-born Filipino, as required by Court rules. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Dodo Dulay - Bungling AMLC is an international embarrassment


MARCH 28 -by ATTY. DODO DULAY The failure of Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to stop the entry of stolen Bangladeshi funds into the country’s banking system is nothing short of global embarrassment. That “dirty money” could easily get past AMLC’s touted money laundering firewall has become fodder for international news outfits.It is even more embarrassing when the Philippines’ anti-money laundering agency is compared to its counterpart in Sri Lanka, a tiny island nation south of India. According to Bangladesh central bank officials, of the $100 million hacked from its New York Federal Reserve account, some $20 million went to the account of a newly-formed non-governmental organization in Sri Lanka. But the Sri Lankan bank handling the account reported the unusual transaction to their central bank under the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) laws and authorities were able to return the money to Bangladesh. AMLC’s executive director Julia Bacay-Abad, on the other hand, all but admitted last week that the country’s anti-money laundering agency is practically helpless at blocking the entry of dirty money into our financial system. Stung by criticism that the AMLC was too slow to respond, Abad pointed out that the agency received over 36 million covered transaction reports as well as 146,308 suspicious transaction reports in 2015 alone. She explained that AMLC’s Information Management and Analysis Group only has 28 personnel and only nine of them were financial analysts. “We are receiving millions of transaction reports and the AMLC cannot look into all those transactions,” Abad said. Of course, some folks find that hard to believe when AMLC quickly collated and gave out former Chief Justice Renato Corona’s bank data during the impeachment trial in 2012, and recently leaked a report detailing a presidential candidate’s alleged dubious bank transactions. Anyway, if there is any reason for the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – the global watchdog against money laundering – to demote the country to the “gray list,” it is because (as AMLC’s Abad admits) the agency did not and could not do its job. READ MORE...

ALSO: By JOEL M. SY EGCO - 'WE NEVER STOLE', AQUINO BOASTS


MARCH 31 -By
JOEL M. SY EGCO PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has boasted that there was not a single incident of corruption under his administration, noting that public funds were well guarded under his watch and were spent diligently.“Maipagmamalaki po natin sa daang matuwid ‘no na hindi kami ni minsan nangurakot [I am proud to say that under the straight path, never once did we steal],” he declared during a recent late night meeting with supporters in Caloocan City (Metro Manila) led by Rep. Edgar Erice.Daang matuwid (straight path) is the good governance mantra of the Aquino administration.To prove his point, the President cited the doubling of government funding for public works projects in Caloocan City from P1.54 billion from 2005 to 2010 to P3.16 billion from 2011 to 2016. Among the projects he named were the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, NLEX Harbor Link-Segment 10, North-South Railway Project North Line and C-3 Road. Aquino was all praises for Erice who, ironically, has been accused of a number of anomalies involving mining activities in Mindanao.READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

EDITORIAL: Not a minor matter


China Destroys 35 Tons of Philippine Bananas – www.philippineslifestyle.com (photo by english.cn.cn)

MANILA, APRIL 4, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) March 28, 2016 10:26 pm -AS was reported on Monday, Chinese authorities recently destroyed 35 metric tons of bananas shipped there from the Philippines, for reasons that are not entirely clear but are presumably due to the shipment not passing a phytosanitary inspection.

That is extremely bad news for the producers, brokers, and customers of that particular shipment, which was the equivalent of about two-and-a-half 20-foot shipping containers.

Banana prices averaged about P50,000 per ton in February, according to the World Bank, meaning that the lost value of the shipment could be as high as P1.75 million.

As Palace Spokesman Sonny Coloma pointed out on Sunday, in the bigger scheme of things, that amount is not critical, and will not even make a dent in the volume or value of Philippine-China trade.

While that may be true, on a smaller scale the destroyed shipment probably also represents the fruit of a season’s labor for someone, and should not be simply shrugged off.

Once again, Coloma – who after all is only speaking for his boss, President BS Aquino 3rd – has revealed the shocking insensitivity and evident lack of awareness that pervades the halls of power in the second Aquino era.

READ MORE...

It is certainly correct to say that one destroyed shipment of agricultural products does not a trade crisis make, but what the Administration failed to grasp before allowing words on the subject to fall out of Coloma’s mouth is the only reason anyone is even interested in a rejected shipment of bananas in the first place, the only reason Coloma found himself fielding media questions about it on Easter Sunday is because China was the one doing the rejecting.

Whatever the reality, even if the Chinese authorities acted with complete propriety and followed regulations to the letter – and we are certainly not suggesting they acted improperly in any way – the ongoing dispute with China, aggravated to no small degree by Aquino’s own saber-rattling, instantly raises skepticism among the public. Shrugging off the incident, even though that is probably a practical response, is not a very reassuring one.

The Aquino Administration should also be reminded that our products represent the Philippines abroad as much as our people do. A rejection of a shipment of one of our few successful agricultural export products should not happen, whether in China or elsewhere.

The government, through the Department of Agriculture, should take this ‘minor’ incident more seriously: Get a full explanation of their actions from the Chinese authorities, and ascertain if procedures were properly followed. And on the Philippine side, the government should make sure our exporters are fully cognizant and compliant with destination countries’ rules and regulations, to prevent a repeat of the unfortunate situation.

Our agriculture sector, and our economy at large need demonstrations that our government is following its mandate to support our producers. Dismissing the matter as inconsequential is supporting no one.

One Response to Not a minor matter
Inocent says:
March 29, 2016 at 2:25 am
The usual Coloma monotone. If something negative happens in this country, Coloma and company will immediately declare that it is nothing to be worried or find someone to blame or that it is a small matter which cannot affect this administrations “excellent” performance. They have no clue that huge problems start with small ones but obviously they are not aware of this fact.


Who turned the Supreme Court into a chamber of errors? March 30, 2016 10:10 pm YEN MAKABENTA


by YEN MAKABENTA

“Free institutions are not the property of any majority. They do not confer upon majorities unlimited powers. The rights of the majority are limited rights. They are limited not only by the constitutional guarantees but by the moral principle implied in those guarantees. The principle is that men may not use the facilities of liberty to impair them. No man may invoke a right in order to destroy it.” Walter Lippmann

As surely as the life lessons of our 495-year history, the cautionary case of Grace Poe is reminding us Filipinos of the core principles and elemental truths that underpin our national existence.

Her case has recalled to us the imperishable truth that it is the Constitution that is supreme, not the Supreme Court.

The Court is not the property of a passing majority of justices who constitute it. No majority may use the facilities of freedom and power in order to impair the institution.

No cabal of businessmen and politicians is at liberty to buy the highest office of the land.

Last and not least, Grace Poe may not invoke the right to be elected to office in order to destroy our constitutional system.

Legal schooling and civic literacy

It is concededly presumptuous for a layman to make suggestions on how the Supreme Court might correct the errors in its decision on Poe vs. Comelec. But this is a presumption that is less overweening than the multiple presumptions that the High Court granted to Grace Poe in order to certify her eligibility to run for President of the republic.

Some lawyers would arrogate to themselves sole competence in explaining the Constitution, statutes, and how they regulate our lives and our public life.

Such a policy of exclusion forgets a basic principle in democratic society, that ordinary citizens should aspire to attain a good level of civic literacy, in order to understand how their government works and the rights and duties of citizenship.

Civic literacy, simply put, means the ability to understand the principles by which government and its courts operate. In studying the SC decision on Poe vs. Comelec, I have tried to the best of my ability – and my training in politics and journalism – to raise my civic literacy enough to understand the decision, the various concurring and dissenting opinions, the flawed and cogent arguments, and the resulting dilemma posed to the nation.

Members of the bar and bench should not forget that the great tracts of legal philosophy were written as much by laymen as by practitioners of law.

Still no Court majority

No one doubts now that Justice Antonio Carpio is correct when he contends that no Court majority declared that Grace Poe is a natural-born citizen with 10-year residency in the country, and therefore constitutionally eligible to seek election to the presidency. The announced 9-6 majority is only a figment of CJ Sereno’s imagination.

READ MORE...

The Court did not settle the citizenship and residency issues that infect Poe’s candidacy. But it is a fact that nine justices signed the ponencia written by justice Jose Perez, although expressed rservations to some of its parts.

To the credit of justice Perez’s ponencia, he tried to faithfully reflect the evident opinions and thinking of the justices who signed it.

Every pet advocacy and argument of the concurring justices found a place in the opinion, along with their fallacious arguments and faulty premises.


Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

Thus, CJ Sereno’s argument that adopted children have a right to natural-born citizenship finds its place there.

Justice Leonen’s outsized solicitude for the plight of all foundlings got a nook to settle in.

Justice Jardelaza’s thesis about equal protection under the law for foundlings found its way into the ponencia.


Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, PHOTO FROM RAPPLER.COM

Without being a member of the Court, the solicitor general’s creative theory of statistical probabilities was given credence in the opinion.

The nine concurring justices sang in chorus that Poe is a natural-born citizen by reason of international law.

And then they ganged up on the Comelec in declaring that the poll body did not have jurisdiction, and was guilty of grave abuse of discretion.

Since all the flawed arguments were bunched up together in the ponencia, this had the effect of making all concurring justices responsible for the ponencia, for all its errors and fallacies.

The dissenting six justices did not have the same uniformity of judgment. But they were in broad agreement on the major errors of the majority opinion.

Each dissenting opinion made a specific point and argued accordingly. Justice Brion in his 144-page opinion did the Court and the public the inestimable service of providing a comprehensive review of the case, of the issues and the arguments, and then proceeded to destroy point by point what he perceived as the egregious claims of the majority opinion.

Eight errors of majority opinion

The original petitioners, in their urgent motion for reconsideration, described the majority opinion as “a 47-page perversion of the Constitution” which could result in the election of a nuisance candidate, the disenfranchisement of millions of voters, and taint the Court’s legacy.

The petitioners laid out eight arguments that form a persuasive basis for review of the Perez ponencia.
The arguments are:

1.The Court erred in declaring that Grace Poe is a qualified candidate.

2. The Court erred in declaring that the Comelec did not have jurisdiction.

3.The Court erred in declaring that Grace Poe is a natural-born citizen by statistical probability, by presumption, and as a measure of equal protection of l aw and social justice.

4. The Court erred in ruling that foundlings are natural-born citizens under the 1935 Constitution.

5. The Court erred in ruling that foundlings are natural-born citizens under international law.

6. The Court erred in declaring that the re-acquisition of citizenship under RA 9225 vested natural-born status on Grace Poe.
7. The Court erred in holding that Grace Poe complied with the 10- year residency requirement.

8. The Court erred in declaring that there was no intent to mislead by Grace Poe on her natural-born status and residency in her claim to citizenship.

If the reader is daunted by the prospect of slogging through 585 pages of legal opinions in the Poe vs. Comelec case, and can spare but little time to study it, I advise that he/she read the Brion dissenting opinion.

In this one opinion, what must have taken place within chambers in the deliberations on this case comes to life. It gives us a glimpse of the mysteries and politics of court decision-making.

Brion provides cogent support and response to the litany of errors cited by the original petitioners, complete with notes and citations.

This piece of legal argumentation reminds me of what a woman philosopher once said: “The only interesting answer is that which destroys the question.”

Brion‘s opinion in my view destroys the Perez ponencia. [(Related below)]

I looked in vain for comparable conviction and erudition in the ponencia and concurring opinions.

To return then to the title of this piece, who turned the Supreme court into a chamber of errors?

I will not venture an answer. But the 15 justices of the Court surely know who did? They only have to ask themselves.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

The dvision of the court into two groups, one concurring and one dissenting, had the effect of seemingly creating two sports teams competing to win.

The axiom first articulated by John Adams at the dawn of American independence —that American government is “a government of laws and not of men”—meant that much of public conduct is regulated, by principels of law that by general agreement ought to be enforced. Adams and the other founding fathers rejected the view attributed to Louis XIV, “I am the state.”(l’etat c’est moi.)

Their view echoed Aristotole’s view that “law should govern.”

These rivers of thought have combined to shape modern thinking about the rule of law.

4 Responses to Who turned the Supreme Court into a chamber of errors?
Elcid Pelayo says:
March 31, 2016 at 8:10 am
that is not a Supreme Court,that is a Supreme Confusion and this is dangerous of course because this institution is suppose to be the last refuge when everything else fails in this republic.
Reply
Leodegardo Pruna says:
March 31, 2016 at 8:09 am
The “Rule of Law” must govern in the way people live their lives. Otherwise, confusion and chaos will overwhelm the good and allow the evil to take its place in sowing more evil. God save the Philippines.
Reply
BABYBOO says:
March 31, 2016 at 6:26 am
Laws are enacted as guiding principle of moral standard. Interpretation of law shall be based on universal moral sense acceptable to common man including the dumbest ignorant who can figure out that a known traitor with out known parent and blood relatives should not be allowed to become ruler of the entire nation.
SC-7 had insulted the mind of common people by declaring foundling Flip-Flop Poe is suitable president by statistic probability and physical features…. Immorality !!!
Reply
Ruben says:
March 31, 2016 at 3:25 am
I call on all concerned PILIPINOS to give due recognition to writer Yen Makabenta for making the questioned decision of the Supreme Court on the matter of Grace Poe’s candidacy persuasivebly understandable to us laymen.
I now challenge all in the legal profession worth his salt and all graduating law students to make a stand on the questioned issues raised by Mr. Makabenta on the SC decision.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Justice Brion’s dissenting opinion JBREAKTHROUGH By Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 22, 2015 - 12:00am 8 704 googleplus2 11


By Elfren S. Cruz

The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) recently voted 5 – 4 proclaiming that Grace Poe was a natural born citizen and eligible to be a member of the Philippine Senate. While no one can contest the validity of this decision, there has been a lot of discussions regarding the negative vote of all the three Supreme Court Justices who were members of the SET.

There has also been speculation on whether the Grace Poe presidential eligibility case would eventually be brought to the Supreme Court ; and, whether the votes of the three Supreme Court Justices on the SET was an indicator of their final decision.

I received a copy of the dissenting opinion penned by Associate Justice Arturo Brion.

I have no intention of trying to interpret the legal opinion of a legal luminary like Justice Brion. I am not a lawyer.

While this column does not have the space to reproduce the entire 68-page Brion opinion, I thought I might share a few of the more interesting excerpts.

On the need to explain vote: Justice Brion wrote: “I feel bound to explain my vote as before this Tribunal is a nationally elected public official who received the highest number of votes in the 2013 senatorial elections. The Filipino people who elected her deserve a full and exhaustive explanation of the votes of the SET members cast.... I specifically refer to the understanding of how our treaty obligations and the general principles of international law form part of the Philippine legal system and how they interact with the Constitution.

Vox Populi vs. Constitution: “.....the will of the people expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility, especially when this question was not raised when they voted the respondent into office....And there can be no law higher than the Constitution that was ratified by the Filipino people as the ultimate governing rules in running our country. The citizenship requirement is a constitutional requirement for nationally elected representatives to the legislature. This requirement, first provided in the 1935 Constitution and reiterated in the 1987 Constitution, cannot be amended or cured by electoral mandate to allow an unqualified candidate to hold office.”

Justice Brion’s position and vote: The Petition for Quo Warranto filed by David against Grace Poe cited Article VI, Section 3: “ No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least 35 years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.” After a recitation of the Case Facts and the Petition for Quo Warranto, Brion explained : “the question regarding the respondent’s Philippine citizenship is itself based on two grounds”:

First, that the respondent is not a natural born citizen because she is a foundling; and, Second, she could not have re-acquired a natural born Filipino status through RA 9225, as she was not a Filipino to begin with.”

After considering these challenges and the issues they gave rise to, I [Brion] vote as follows:

{1} As a foundling whose parents are both unknown, the respondent’s Philippine citizenship cannot be established, recognized, or presumed under the 1935 Constitution:

The 1935 Constitution did not grant citizenship to children born in the Philippines whose parents were unknown;

The presumption that the respondent claims that a foundling’s parents are a citizen of the territory where the foundling is found inherently contradicts the terms of underlying principles of the 1935 Constitution. Thus, the presumption cannot be recognized as part of the law of the land applicable to her case;

The Philippine treaty obligations do not grant Philippine citizenship outright to foundlings. These obligations simply require the country to recognize a foundling’s right to acquire Philippine citizenship.

{2} The respondent cannot also be considered a natural-born Philippine citizen:

a. since her citizenship cannot be established, recognized, or presumed, she had no citizenship to reacquire under RA9225;

{b} even if she had been a natural-born citizen, her naturalization in the US rendered her ineligible to be considered natural-born. As a foreigner who had undergone an expedited form of naturalization under RA 9225, she had to perform acts to acquire Philippine citizenship and did not, therefore, fall under the Constitution’s definition of a natural born citizen.

I, therefore, vote to disqualify the respondent Grace Poe for the position of Senator of the Republic of the Philippines.“

Justice Brion attached a 57-page explanation of his vote. Each position had a lengthy explanation consisting of legal precedents, discussions during the constitutional conventions; and, legal briefs. I am limited to short summaries due to space constraints. Here they are:

“As a foundling, the respondent could not have acquired the status of a natural born citizen through any of the modes enumerated under the 1935 Constitution.

The Philippines treaty obligations under the ICCPR and UNCRC do not require the immediate and automatic grant of Philippine citizenship to foundlings... the terms and character of their provisions merely require the grant to every child the right to acquire a nationality.

Article IV of the 1935 Constitution generally follows the jus sanguinis rule: Philippine citizenship is determined by blood, i.e., by the citizenship of one’s parents.

The presumption that the parents of foundlings are citizens of the country where they are found is inconsistent with the terms of the 1935 Constitution.

The natural born citizenship requirement for the position of Senator cannot be complied with on the basis of presumption.

A person who at the time of his birth is a citizen of a particular country is a natural born citizen. The 1987 Constitution itself recognizes this concept through the definition of a natural-born citizen: a citizen of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect her Philippine citizenship. Thus, one who performs an affirmative act to acquire or perfect her Philippine citizenship is not a natural born but a naturalized Filipino.

The respondent’s subsequent adoption by Filipino citizens, Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, did not confer Philippine citizenship on her....Adoption is not among the modes of acquiring citizenship.

After marrying a US citizen, she chose a naturalization process to acquire US citizenship. This naturalization process required her to renounce her allegiance to the Philippine Republic and her citizenship…The oath that the respondent took to re-acquire Philippine citizenship reflects her status as a foreigner at the time she took them.

As the respondent was clearly a foreigner at the time she complied with the requirements of RA 9225, her supposed reacquisition of Philippine citizenship thus amounts to naturalization by law.

Due to the 5-4 SET vote, Senator Grace Poe will remain a member of the Philippine Senate. Now we all await the next saga – the eligibility of Grace Poe for the position of President of the Philippines.

* * *

Email: elfrencruz@gmail.com


Grace Poe’s DQ case: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet March 28, 2016 10:25 pm Ricardo Saludo


by RICARDO SALUDO

Senator Grace Poe’s victory in the Supreme Court was supposed to boost her campaign. Yet in the latest Pulse Asia survey done after the justices voided the Commission on Elections decision canceling her certificate of candidacy, her rating dropped, while that of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gained.

Perhaps Poe’s recent TV ads anticipating her High Court win had already boosted her grade, so when the decision came, its impact was limited. Even if her grade rose, the remaining time before the May 9 polls is longer than it took trailing candidates to catch up and win past elections.

Between March 19 and May 4, 2004, then President Gloria Arroyo passed erstwhile topnotcher Fernando Poe Jr. in the Social Weather Stations survey, rising from 2 percentage points behind to 7 ahead, equivalent to a lead of 2 million votes. In about the same period, March 22 to May 3, 2010, then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay leapt from 21 percent to 37 percent, tying with Mar Roxas, who slid from 42 percent.

But the real caveat to the High Court’s boost for Poe’s Palace bid comes if and when she looks set to win.

Delaying the count

If she garners top votes in unofficial Comelec and citizens’ counts, lawmakers backing her rivals could petition Congress, which conducts the official canvassing for president and vice-president, not to start until the “prejudicial question” of Poe’s citizenship, as the lawmakers might call it, is definitively settled by the Supreme Court.

Like the Comelec motion for reconsideration on the DQ case, filed last week, anti-Poe lawmakers could cite the dissenting opinion of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio in her DQ case. He believed there was no majority of participating justices voting to declare her a natural-born Filipino, as required by Court rules.

READ MORE...

Depending on what the dominant coalition in Congress wants, the lawmakers’ petition to defer canvassing may or may not prosper. If it does, Poe might then petition the Supreme Court to compel Congress to begin its official count. If the SC accepts the petition, it could pit the Judicial branch against the Legislative.

What if the High Court resolves the Comelec MR by voting with a clear majority to declare Poe a natural-born citizen? It may discourage lawmakers seeking to delay the count, but they could still press the citizenship issue if only to focus public attention on it, in case it is again questioned if and when Poe is declared winner.

More lobbying ahead

Why would her qualifications come up again when they were already ruled upon in her DQ case? One reason is that the Comelec decision overturned by the High Court did not disqualify Poe as President, but merely canceled her certificate of candidacy because the COC allegedly contained false information regarding her citizenship and her residency.

The SC voted on those qualifications, but its 9-6 ruling merely declared that Poe did not willfully enter untruths in her COC and should be allowed to run.

Her qualifications as President may be questioned only if she is officially proclaimed by Congress. That challenge may be filed with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, made up of all SC justices.

Won’t Their Honors just repeat their voting on the DQ case and throw out PET petitions questioning Poe’s presidential qualifications?

Maybe, maybe not.

Magistrates can change their views, especially if they were based not on bare facts—there was no question that Poe’s biological parents were unknown—but on which legal principles to use in deciding her citizenship.

Seven justices gave value to the near-certainty that a foundling in Iloilo had Filipino parents. The five dissenters wanted those parents identified and their citizenship verified with zero doubt—impossible for a foundling.

Could those favoring the first approach be persuaded to swing to the second in a PET petition against Poe?

By then, there would be even more intense machinations than in the DQ case, since at stake would be not just who runs for President, but the presidency itself.

That means far more lobbying power and resources brought to bear, not just on whether Poe could be President, but also on who would take her place if she is DQ’d.

President vs. Vice-President vs. second-placer

So besides Poe supporters and detractors battling over her citizenship, the PET case, if adjudicated, would ignite another and probably more intense contest: Who succeeds if the President-elect is disqualified — the Vice-President-elect or the second-placer in the presidential race?

In local election cases over the decades, when winners were disqualified due to ineligibility, the Supreme Court repeatedly changed rulings, favoring the vice-mayor in most cases, and the second-placer in some, as researched by Atty. John Carlo Gil Sadian of the Center for Strategy, Enterprise and Intelligence (CenSEI).

In the 1912 case Topacio vs. Paredes, the SC ruled against the second placer. In Santos vs. Comelec in 1985, the High Court abandoned the Topacio doctrine and installed the No. 2 candidate.

Four years later in Labo vs. Comelec, the Court overturned Santos and reinstated Topacio, so the Baguio City vice-mayor succeeded the DQ’d mayor. Rulings in 1992 up to 2010 also barred the No. 2 from taking over.

However, CenSEI’s Sadian notes, in the latest decision on Maquiling vs. Comelec just in 2013, the Supreme Court once again abandoned the Topacio and Labo doctrines and installed the second-placer in the Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, mayoralty races after the winner was disqualified on citizenship grounds.

Under this latest ruling, votes cast in favor of a candidate eventually declared ineligible are disregarded, making the second-placer the top vote-getter and, therefore, the winner.

Whoever gets the PET nod must hope there is no further ruling change. Hence, a Tribunal-installed President must be nice to the Supreme Court. And no prizes for guessing the first question which that future leader would ask nominees to the SC.

Through all this, some justices might sigh that life would have been simpler if one name were not on the ballot. Or smile that personages packing power and pesos are constantly beating a path to their chambers.

8 Responses to Grace Poe’s DQ case: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet
Harold Imperial says:
March 29, 2016 at 10:47 am
Even Grace Poe’s answer about her citizenship was spot on! As more information about the government becomes available to you, you would be more brilliant, that’s for sure. May God lead you to Malacanang, Grace Poe. #POE2016
Reply
Leodegardo Pruna says:
March 29, 2016 at 7:22 am
In such circumstance, P-Noy and this administration may declare a failure of election and therefore would continue to sit to the delight of aligned business whose only interest is to stay and continue playing the field. God save the Philippines.
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Vicente Carino says:
March 29, 2016 at 7:18 am
Sour graping analysis… A clear SC majority ( a winning margin over sub-sets selections was a clear majority ,that even an elementary students conducting their class election had the same understanding if the votation turned out to be 7 , 5 , and 3 as long the 15 SC participated on the deliberations and the 3 SC doesnt want to cast their vote on the NBFC issue which was one of the SUB SET for thier selections. Ano kaya ang mahirap intindihin sa nangyaring botohan…wala po …kayo lang pong mga journalist na ayaw tumanggap ng katotohanan ang TWISTING facts to suits your wrong agendas.
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Inocent says:
March 29, 2016 at 2:02 am
Mr. Saludo’s article of today only exposes more how dis-functional the Supreme Court have been especially during this PNoy term. The dis-function only add to the fact that politics already infiltrated the core of our Judicial branch because of political appointees being preferred rather than educational back ground, experience and accomplishments.
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wilfredomagtibay says:
March 29, 2016 at 12:47 am
Pag nasa PET na, another 50 million or more for each Supreme Court Justices that will vote favorably to Grace Poe.
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taga palm springs says:
March 29, 2016 at 12:23 am
Will God favor a lying Grace Poe? Does anyone foresee what will be the outcome of this national election? So many questions to ask! But anyhow if somebody will campaign and tell the people that the next president of the Philippines is an American Citizen! We’ll see what will happen in the near future!
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P.Lorenzo says:
March 28, 2016 at 11:55 pm
In life, uncorrected wrongs create more problems; right always prevails. In the case of Llamanzares-Poe’s candidacy and possible election, it would be a case of adding further rift, division and confusion in a corrupt environment. I hope the SC will not fail us.
May God save the Philippines!
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P.Lorenzo says:
March 29, 2016 at 7:11 am
Very realistic possibilities; what a ‘confusion’ it would be!


Bungling AMLC is an international embarrassment March 28, 2016 8:37 pm Atty. Dodo Dulay


by ATTY. DODO DULAY

The failure of Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to stop the entry of stolen Bangladeshi funds into the country’s banking system is nothing short of global embarrassment.

That “dirty money” could easily get past AMLC’s touted money laundering firewall has become fodder for international news outfits.

It is even more embarrassing when the Philippines’ anti-money laundering agency is compared to its counterpart in Sri Lanka, a tiny island nation south of India.

According to Bangladesh central bank officials, of the $100 million hacked from its New York Federal Reserve account, some $20 million went to the account of a newly-formed non-governmental organization in Sri Lanka. But the Sri Lankan bank handling the account reported the unusual transaction to their central bank under the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) laws and authorities were able to return the money to Bangladesh.


ABAD

AMLC’s executive director Julia Bacay-Abad, on the other hand, all but admitted last week that the country’s anti-money laundering agency is practically helpless at blocking the entry of dirty money into our financial system.

Stung by criticism that the AMLC was too slow to respond, Abad pointed out that the agency received over 36 million covered transaction reports as well as 146,308 suspicious transaction reports in 2015 alone. She explained that AMLC’s Information Management and Analysis Group only has 28 personnel and only nine of them were financial analysts. “We are receiving millions of transaction reports and the AMLC cannot look into all those transactions,” Abad said.

Of course, some folks find that hard to believe when AMLC quickly collated and gave out former Chief Justice Renato Corona’s bank data during the impeachment trial in 2012, and recently leaked a report detailing a presidential candidate’s alleged dubious bank transactions.

Anyway, if there is any reason for the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – the global watchdog against money laundering – to demote the country to the “gray list,” it is because (as AMLC’s Abad admits) the agency did not and could not do its job.

READ MORE...

This is why it’s quite absurd that some senators are now pushing for expanding the coverage of the anti-money laundering law to include gambling centers (i.e., casinos, bingo), real-estate companies and art auctioneers.

The AMLC already admitted that it can’t get the job done and our lawmakers want to give them more work?! Hello!!

Despite their obvious blunders, AMLC keeps pointing its finger at everyone else except itself.

Central Bank Gov. (and AMLC co-chair) Amando Tetangco Jr. says the “prevention of… money laundering is being hampered by the very strict bank deposit secrecy law.” Another AMLC co-chair, Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc, called for the inclusion of casinos as covered entities in order to “stop criminal elements from exploiting the deficiencies in our existing laws.”



The spin that casinos or the bank secrecy law is to blame for the $81-million is New York Fed cyber heist is merely a “smoke screen” to hide AMLC’s own failings. And many Filipinos are disappointed and appalled at how our senators seemed to treat AMLC with kid gloves during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearings.

For starters, our senators should grill Abad on why AMLC failed to “red flag” the wire transfers to the accounts of Michael Cruz ($6M), Jessie Lagrosas ($30M), Alfred Vergara ($20M), and Enrico Vasquez ($25M) with the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC).

Who in AMLC was responsible for tracking the fund transfer to RCBC last Feb. 5?

Abad also said that AMLC got in touch with the banks involved in the alleged money laundering anomaly last Feb. 12, after which the concerned financial institutions submitted a suspicious transaction report.

Clearly then, it took RCBC officials more than seven days after they received the stolen funds to file the required suspicious transaction report, in violation of the anti-money laundering law. So why has AMLC still not filed charges against RCBC officials for breaking the law? Is Abad trying to protect certain officials involved in the scandal?

The dismissal last week of branch manger Maia Deguito and assistant branch manager Angela Torres by RCBC, coupled with the statement that more bank officials may face sanctions after it completes its investigation, is a confirmation that RCBC’s anti-money laundering procedure is readily circumvented and their personnel compromised.

While RCBC put out a front-page advertisement apologizing for the money-laundering fiasco, a lot of questions remain unanswered. We all know RCBC dropped the ball on this one. The question is how far up the ladder does this scandal go? And does it go all the way back to AMLC?

Our column last week elicited a comment from a top official in a local bank who asked not to be identified. The official says it is impossible that high-ranking RCBC officials did not know of, or approve the deposit because all big banks have several approving authorities from the head office who first need to sign off on large wire transfers before it is credited to the beneficiary’s account.

The banker also says the biggest complaint of branch managers are the inquiries from the head office’s AML compliance officer, who requires them to justify inward foreign currency remittances falling under “covered transactions.” So how did this questionable remittance get past RCBC’s AML compliance officer?

In the case of the $81-million deposit, Deguito reportedly bypassed some officers in RCBC’s approval chain in order to get the “green light” to credit the funds to the accounts of Cruz, et al. This supposedly explains why Deguito was insistent that the deposit had the blessing of RCBC higher-ups.

The Senate blue ribbon committee should ask the hard questions and dig deeper into the possible complicity of RCBC (and AMLC?) personnel in the cross-country theft during today’s scheduled hearing. The public deserves nothing less.

5 Responses to Bungling AMLC is an international embarrassment
Edong Mapangarap says:
March 29, 2016 at 11:13 am
Julia Abad – WHY DONT YOU JUST RESIGN? your incompetence has brought another shame in our shameless institutions! ISINUSUKA NA KAYONG MAG-ASAWA NG BUONG BANSA HINDI PA RIN KAYO TABLAN NG KAHIHIYAN? We hope to see both in jail !
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banong says:
March 29, 2016 at 10:44 am
I doubt it very much…. the election is forthcoming… who would ..in the right frame of mind incriminate themselves and their cahoots on this period where the citizenry is probing all candidates…. we’ll for this administration… it’s kaput and hopeless… they have dug themselves much deeper to ever have a ghost of a chance of winning the election so whether they divulge or not is irrelevant..they are in for the worst nightmares of their lives….
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juan reyes says:
March 29, 2016 at 7:20 am
These Senators are afraid to castigate AMLC as they saw how Corona’s and Binay’s bank records became “exposed”. Obviously, they don’t want their own bank records “outed” that way!
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Bienvenido C. Gonzalez says:
March 29, 2016 at 5:03 am
Clearly, AMLC’s executive director Julia Bacay-Abad had reached her level of incompetence from the time she was appointed to the position. Her main job was to orchestrate resources under her command into a system which would RED FLAG illegal money laundering transactions. With an average of 400 suspicious transactions daily, the 72 man hours of 9 financial analysts would have been more than sufficient to thoroughly investigate each transaction. Overlayed by the 80/20 principle and an APP designed to raise the appropriate bells and whistles, this herculean task can be routinized. Of course, she and her ilk can just claim to be victims of the Peter principle.
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Walter P. Komarnicki says:
March 29, 2016 at 4:01 am
the Philippines may not be on the anti-money laundering black list – yet, but it’s probably next on the short list.
bank secrecy was designed to obscure transparency and keep details which should be made public out of sight; this is unlikely to be corrected by this lame duck congress and president – and maybe even the next one.
money laundering on this stupendous scale demands rigorous investigation but is unlikely to get it; another few weeks and it’ll be forgotten, just another financial scandal.


'WE NEVER STOLE', AQUINO BOASTS March 31, 2016 8:55 pm By JOEL M. SY EGCO, Senior Reporter


JOEL M. SY EGCO, Senior Reporter, Manila times

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has boasted that there was not a single incident of corruption under his administration, noting that public funds were well guarded under his watch and were spent diligently.

“Maipagmamalaki po natin sa daang matuwid ‘no na hindi kami ni minsan nangurakot [I am proud to say that under the straight path, never once did we steal],” he declared during a recent late night meeting with supporters in Caloocan City (Metro Manila) led by Rep. Edgar Erice.

Daang matuwid (straight path) is the good governance mantra of the Aquino administration.

To prove his point, the President cited the doubling of government funding for public works projects in Caloocan City from P1.54 billion from 2005 to 2010 to P3.16 billion from 2011 to 2016.

Among the projects he named were the NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, NLEX Harbor Link-Segment 10, North-South Railway Project North Line and C-3 Road.


Liberal Party political affairs chief Edgar Erice

Aquino was all praises for Erice who, ironically, has been accused of a number of anomalies involving mining activities in Mindanao.

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Erice is reportedly a co-owner of controversial mining firm SR Metals Inc., which was even given an enviromental award by the President a few months ago.

Erice and his partner, businessman Eric Gutierrez, are two of the top campaign contributors of the Liberal Party (LP).
The mining firm had been accused to have violated conditions of their small-scale mining permits since 2005.

Erice, a member of the LP’s national executive committee, is also alleged to be a “godfather” or protector of a group of erring mining companies.

He had admitted to being a shareholder in Gutierrez’s firm and its subsidiaries San R Mining and Construction Corp. and Galeo Equipment and Mining Co. Inc., which have been the subject of complaints of residents in Agusan del Norte town of Tubay.

According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which led a ‘multi-disciplinary’ environmental audit of several Tubay barangay (villages), the mining companies have depleted mineral deposits by excessively extracting up to two millions of nickel ore every year.

The gross violations apparently have continued and gotten worse since 2010.

JOEL M. SY EGCO


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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