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

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

BY RICARDO SALUDO: 3 WAYS TO KEEP DUTERTE CABINET CLEAN


JUNE 21 -by RICARDO SALUDO NO corruption. That’s the marching order from President-elect Rodrigo Duterte at his first Manila meeting with his incoming Cabinet. He and his family will not interfere with the actions and staff appointments of agency heads. But the top officials will be held responsible for any shenanigans not just by them, but their appointees, too. In addition, Duterte aims to totally revamp the revenue, customs and land transportation bureaus; plus the Bureau of Corrections, where convicted drug lords enjoy lavish living while still running their syndicates. And he warned three drug-tainted police generals to clear out or be thrown out in shame. Duterte’s war on corruption is key to eradicating crime. Under Aquino, lawlessness trebled from 324,082 incidents in 2010 to more than a million a year since 2013. Fueling that unprecedented surge was corruption in the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Customs, which allowed syndicates to import, produce and sell narcotics. Graft in the PNP and the BoC escalated when Aquino abetted jueteng and smuggling. He took away PNP oversight from then-Local Government Secretary and gambling nemesis Jesse Robredo. And Aquino never investigated mammoth contraband scams, including more than 2,000 cargo containers diverted in 2011. The fight against corruption hinges on clean leadership. If the President and his alter egos tolerate or engage in sleaze, so will the bureaucracy. Aquino’s constant defense of classmates, allies and shooting buddies (KKK by their Filipino initials) encouraged graft in his camp. Witness the tripling of smuggling to $26.6 billion in 2014, and the scandals in commuter trains, license plates, combat helicopters, and tanim-bala extortion; plus endless prison anomalies, for which Aquino’s friend, Ernesto Diokno, and his successors as corrections chief were never punished. But if Duterte cracks the whip on his Cabinet, then KKK-style graft would diminish or even vanish. And ending lawlessness in the corridors of power is a must to eradicate it on the street. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Comelec - Election enforcer or pushover?


JUNE 21 -AT first glance, the decision of the Commission on Elections to grant the Liberal Party’s appeal for a 14-day extension for the filing of its statement of contributions and expenses (SOCE) does not appear like a very big deal. On closer examination, however, it is an issue fraught with huge implications for the poll body. Having lost several cases at the Supreme Court, the Comelec now, as a matter of policy, tries to sound very firm and strict whenever it promulgates rules. It uses words like non-extendible and unappealable. This is its way of showing some gravitas because its chairman, Commissioner Andres Bautista, does not look like he has an ounce of it. In the case of the SOCE extension for LP candidates, Comelec has not only failed to show gravitas; it has inexplicably surrendered much of its dignity as a constitutional commission. Going into the May 9 elections, it announced to all candidates and political parties that it had set to June 8 the deadline for the filing of the SOCE, or 30 days after the elections. And then it said ominously that the deadline was “final and non-extendible.” In requesting for a two-week extension to file its statement, the LP was clearly counting on the poll body’s assent because it is the administration party. Adjudicating this issue is not as simple as following the letter of the law and the rules.READ MORE...

ALSO: By Rigoberto Tiglao - Flouting the rule of law: SOCE, Marcos burial, Arroyo cases


JUNE 23 -Comelec’s Lim, who sees the deadline extension for SOCE filing as illegal; former President Arroyo blocked from seeking medical treatment abroad, despite the Supreme Court’s OK; Aquino’s refusal to allow Marcos burial in Libingan ng Mga Bayani.
One of our deepest problems as a nation is that as a people, we haven’t really embraced that very important concept: rule of law, or the idea that a society agrees on a certain set of rules, with which everyone complies after legislation. This means we are governed by a set of rules and laws, not by arbitrary decisions by government officials. Worse, members of our intellectual elite have become lackeys of politico-economic overlords, and often accept, if not defend such flouting of the rule of law. Blogs and even opinion pages, indeed, have been filled with essays on how Filipinos seem to have a penchant for breaking rules – jumping queues, throwing trash out of their car windows to the street, ignoring traffic red lights. Such observations have been highlighted by OFWs who often compare how citizens of the countries they work and live in seem to respect rules so much. But how can we blame ordinary Filipinos if the very elite who are supposed to have had the privilege of finer education have become the exemplars of law-breaking, sometimes even in crucial cases that define the nationhood of the Filipino people? Here are three such cases: The Comelec recently showed utter disregard for its own rules that – as presumptive House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez pointed out – it hasn’t bothered to publicly issue a resolution extending for 14 days its deadline for the filing of SOCEs (statement of contributions and expenditures). It hasn’t even rescinded its Resolution No. 9991 in 2015 which declares that the June 8 deadline is “final and non-extendible.” Yet, we have former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban rushing to defend the Comelec, writing in his column that the implementation of its resolution’s penalty on disqualification is a “harsh legal proviso (that) infringes on the winners’ right to hold public office and the voters’ right of suffrage.” READ MORE...

ALSO: By Yen Makabenta -Impunity, like crime, is a national emergency


JUNE 25 -By Yen Makabenta
IF, as President-elect Rodrigo Duterte contends, there is crime and lawlessness in the country that should be stamped out by the government, it is no less true that there is widespread impunity in our society. Impunity, bluntly and simply defined as exemption or immunity from punishment, is, in a sense, more outrageous than crime itself. Crime is a menace to our lives. Impunity is an indictment of us as a civilized nation, which has its own criminal justice system. The same sense of urgency that attends Mr. Duterte’s call to arms against crime should be directed toward what one social activist has described as “our culture of impunity.” No distinction between crimes and victims Whenever the word impunity is mentioned in the Philippine context, people immediately focus on the many unsolved and unpunished killings of journalists in this country. But this is not why I raise the issue here; I do so because the impunity problem of the Philippines does not distinguish between crimes and victims. All are subsumed by it. Ironically, it was a question from one journalist on what Mr. Duterte will do about crimes against journalists that triggered his tirade against the media. To him, it’s an effrontery that journalists should raise concern about violence against journalists. But like it or not, the moment Mr. Duterte accedes to office, he will be deluged by questions from foreign governments, the United Nations, and the international media about the country’s atrocious impunity record. He cannot boycott them all without doing harm to the country’s relations with the international community. The Carter Center, the rights advocacy organization founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, has raised concerns that President-elect Duterte’s statements that “condone and encourage extra-judicial killings of alleged criminals by the police and general public” create an environment of impunity and an erosion of respect for basic human rights. Impunity as a failure of the state Writing on law and order, Walter Lippmann said: “The struggle against lawlessness is the struggle for civilization itself.” He sagely warned: “The criminal tendencies will always be there, reborn in each new generation, and the question is how much the tendencies can be kept under control and how far they can be domesticated. If there is more crime and vice among the young, it is not because there is suddenly a more criminal and vicious generation. It must be because there is less discipline, and more tempting opportunities for vice and crime.” President-elect Duterte and his advisers must understand that at the heart of the impunity issue is the question whether the Philippines really adheres to the rule of law. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Three ways to keep Duterte’s Cabinet clean


by RICARDO SALUDO

MANILA, JUNE 27, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) June 21, 2016 2:23 am Ricardo Saludo - NO corruption. That’s the marching order from President-elect Rodrigo Duterte at his first Manila meeting with his incoming Cabinet. He and his family will not interfere with the actions and staff appointments of agency heads. But the top officials will be held responsible for any shenanigans not just by them, but their appointees, too.

In addition, Duterte aims to totally revamp the revenue, customs and land transportation bureaus; plus the Bureau of Corrections, where convicted drug lords enjoy lavish living while still running their syndicates. And he warned three drug-tainted police generals to clear out or be thrown out in shame.

Duterte’s war on corruption is key to eradicating crime. Under Aquino, lawlessness trebled from 324,082 incidents in 2010 to more than a million a year since 2013. Fueling that unprecedented surge was corruption in the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Customs, which allowed syndicates to import, produce and sell narcotics.

Graft in the PNP and the BoC escalated when Aquino abetted jueteng and smuggling. He took away PNP oversight from then-Local Government Secretary and gambling nemesis Jesse Robredo. And Aquino never investigated mammoth contraband scams, including more than 2,000 cargo containers diverted in 2011.

The fight against corruption hinges on clean leadership. If the President and his alter egos tolerate or engage in sleaze, so will the bureaucracy.

Aquino’s constant defense of classmates, allies and shooting buddies (KKK by their Filipino initials) encouraged graft in his camp. Witness the tripling of smuggling to $26.6 billion in 2014, and the scandals in commuter trains, license plates, combat helicopters, and tanim-bala extortion; plus endless prison anomalies, for which Aquino’s friend, Ernesto Diokno, and his successors as corrections chief were never punished.

But if Duterte cracks the whip on his Cabinet, then KKK-style graft would diminish or even vanish. And ending lawlessness in the corridors of power is a must to eradicate it on the street.

READ MORE...

Three steps to Cabinet integrity

So what should Duterte—as President-in-fact—do to avoid repeating KKK corruption? Three things:

• Issue his promised Executive Order for public access to official information in all entities under his jurisdiction.
• Impose a code of conduct on the Cabinet.
• And harness major social sectors in exposing corruption.

Two days after the May 9 elections, then-frontrunner Duterte said he would issue an EO to institute freedom of information in the Executive Branch.

This would fast-track FOI after six years when the Aquino administration itself stalled its passage in Congress, despite his campaign promise to prioritize its passage.

Once Duterte’s FOI order goes out, his entire government can be subjected to close monitoring, with media and civil society able to investigate suspicious moves by demanding official information on them.

Along with this transparency EO, Duterte should order all agency heads to adopt a code of conduct requiring presidential appointees to:

1) Disclose any conflict of interest that may affect policies, projects, programs, and contracts subject to their decision, oversight, or privileged information.
2) Make public any personal and professional ties with people they appoint, work with, or transact with.
3) Recuse themselves from any decision in which conflict of interest or personal/professional ties may significantly influence the decision.
4) Promptly provide public access to information on agency matters, subject to restrictions imposed by law, jurisprudence, and explicit agency procedures.
5) Impose leaves of absence on agency officials, including the head, to allow unimpeded investigation of alleged anomalies involving those officials.
6) Immediately report to the President any conflict of interest, personal or professional ties, or alleged impropriety or irregularity involving key officials in the agency that come to the head’s attention.

With or without such a code, course, all officials must comply with integrity, transparency and accountability laws, including the Constitution’s provision on modest living for public servants—no Porsches, please—and the entire Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

To give teeth to the code of Cabinet conduct, President Duterte may wish to ask every agency head to sign a resignation letter which takes effect if the Chief Executive determines that the appointee has breached any provision in the code or any laws and policies against corruption.

Harness the people as Cabinet watchdog

With all the things he has to attend to, President Duterte cannot keep watch on every appointee. Hence, the third measure to help ensure Cabinet integrity is harnessing civil society and key institutions and sectors of the nation in monitoring agencies and their heads and key officials.

Duterte may consider creating a Presidential Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Council—PITAC, for short—headed by the Executive Secretary, and including non-partisan public figures of impeccable probity from civil society, religious, private sector, workers, media and other social sectors, especially anti-corruption groups.

PITAC’s task would be to monitor presidential appointees, receive and review complaints and allegations, and report its findings to the President. In this way, the body cannot only look into substantive allegations, but also debunk false and baseless ones.

In addition to the council, the Duterte government may consider creating in every major agency an advisory body representing segments of the public whom it serves, as well as nationwide anti-graft entities like Transparency and Accountability Network and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.

These agency-level panels would alert Cabinet members and other top officials about any irregularities. They can also give recommendations and comments on overall policies, programs and projects. This can be tried in a couple of agencies first, then improved and replicated in others.

A final note: Like the war on crime, the battle against sleaze will not be won without broad nationwide public support. Hence, leading national institutions like the Catholic Church and other religions, major business chambers, labor confederations, professional associations, grassroots entities, and other civil society groups must consider forming a national integrity movement, as this column has urged (see
<http://www.manilatimes.net/way-real-change-aquino-resign/128691/> and <http://www.manilatimes.net/way-change-defend-good-government/129240/> ).

We all had a hand in creating the lawless mess we’re in. And we must join hands in digging the nation out of it.
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9 Responses to Three ways to keep Duterte’s Cabinet clean
Celez says:
June 21, 2016 at 10:01 am
Nice column Mr Saludo.. Hope this new begenning will be supported by the whole nation. FOI positioned to every Filipino as they were part of the community, proudly belong & involved as citizen of the Philippines.
Reply
To the Max says:
June 21, 2016 at 8:53 am
Pnoy campaign slogan in 2010 was , Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap. Now in the news, no corruption the the government. There is no more credibility in the government. Customs, New Bilibid Prison, BIR, DOTC , LTO and even Dept.of Budget and Management, Judges, Police, Military, Courts, and even the Dept of Agriculture are all corrupted by Pnoy Administration. Including Gaming and Amusement by Chairman Naguiat is corrupted. How can Duterte fix these problems ?
Reply
Atoy says:
June 21, 2016 at 8:38 am
Also have a reward system for employees who may provide information on corruption activities in their agency,dept.
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Hector David says:
June 21, 2016 at 8:17 am
One important issue is to penalize banks for allowing the release of checkbooks … which are commercial negotiable instruments to persons which have bad credit causing bouncing checks …economic sabotage by these unscrupulous persons .banks have a credit bureau yet they continue to release checkbooks to unscrupulous petsons to coĺect charges…flooding courts with BP22 CASES…. THE ARE equally guilty by their collaboration and greed and central bank is negligent on this issue . CB officials which have oversight functions should also be charged for neglect of duty
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Mehilda says:
June 21, 2016 at 7:34 am
Commendable plans, suggestions and insights, Mr. Saludo. Thank you and more power to your column and to our country.
Reply
barks barks says:
June 21, 2016 at 6:45 am
mission impossible.
Reply
sandigan says:
June 21, 2016 at 6:42 am
“no media interview/coverage” does not seem to give the citizens the the freedom of information.
Reply
Ranger says:
June 21, 2016 at 6:12 am
BS Aquino is defending his corrupt KKK because BS Aquino is part of the corruption. BS Aquino is afraid that if he will run after his KKK, the KKK will squeal or inform the public that BS Aquino is their mastermind. BS Aquino is also being protected by the KKK so that BS Aquino will have a clean image of which the pubic is fooled of believing.
Reply
Mark Torres says:
June 21, 2016 at 3:20 am
Cardinal Tagle asked the faithful to pray the Oratio for new or incoming government officials. Cardinal Tagle must also require the Oratio be prayed for all its Church clergy and officials, a fair deal!
Reply


Comelec: Election enforcer or pushover? June 21, 2016 3:26 am


AT first glance, the decision of the Commission on Elections to grant the Liberal Party’s appeal for a 14-day extension for the filing of its statement of contributions and expenses (SOCE) does not appear like a very big deal.

On closer examination, however, it is an issue fraught with huge implications for the poll body.

Having lost several cases at the Supreme Court, the Comelec now, as a matter of policy, tries to sound very firm and strict whenever it promulgates rules.

It uses words like non-extendible and unappealable.

This is its way of showing some gravitas because its chairman, Commissioner Andres Bautista, does not look like he has an ounce of it.

In the case of the SOCE extension for LP candidates, Comelec has not only failed to show gravitas; it has inexplicably surrendered much of its dignity as a constitutional commission.

Going into the May 9 elections, it announced to all candidates and political parties that it had set to June 8 the deadline for the filing of the SOCE, or 30 days after the elections. And then it said ominously that the deadline was “final and non-extendible.”

In requesting for a two-week extension to file its statement, the LP was clearly counting on the poll body’s assent because it is the administration party.

Adjudicating this issue is not as simple as following the letter of the law and the rules.

READ MORE...

Failure to file the SOCE on or before June 8 means that hundreds of winning LP candidates could be barred from assuming their posts because of their party’s failure to file the statement.

When the issue was put to a vote by the Comelec en banc, the poll body, by a vote of four commissioners for and three commissioners against, decided to extend the filing of SOCEs until June 30.

The decision went against the recommendation of the chairman of the Comelec’s Campaign Finance Office, Commissioner Christian Robert Lim.

Lim said Republic Act 7166 clearly provided that the submission of SOCE should be made within 30 days after the elections. He said an amendment of the law was needed for the Comelec to extend the deadline.

He also said that the Omnibus Rules on Campaign Finance provided that the June 8 deadline was “final and non-extendible.”
Joining him in opposing the extension were Chairman Andres Bautista and Commissioner Luie Tito Guia.

The commissioners who voted in favor of granting the extension were Arthur Lim, Al Parreño, Rowena Guanzon, and Sheriff Abas. They cited as justification “the absurdity of the result” if the extension was not allowed.

Christian Robert Lim has resigned from his CFO position on account of the rebuff by his colleagues.

He is asserting a point that is worth defending. The very dignity and authority of the Comelec as elections regulator is at issue here. Either it defends its right to be obeyed by all participants in the electoral process, or the public will see it as being pushed around by the administration.

Losing the legal battle over Grace Poe’s disqualification as a presidential candidate at the Supreme Court was bad enough. To lose on this SOCE issue is too much a loss of face.

Comelec commissioners will each need a thick face to appear in public.
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4 Responses to Comelec: Election enforcer or pushover?
P.Akialamiro says:
June 21, 2016 at 11:31 am
The ruling by the Sereno SC on Grace Poe, and now the Comelec ruling on the extension, make us appear with “Mickey Mouse” judges and commissioners.It’s a shame!
Reply
Reynaldo Hugo says:
June 21, 2016 at 7:12 am
Comelec granting extension to the filing of the SOCE til June 30 violated the law they so strictly tried to enforce prior to June 8, the Liberal Party failed to file theirs on time and was allowed extension disregarding the law of “finality and non extendibly”. How about if the other parties were the ones who failed to file theirs on time, would the matter be treated the same leniency as it had done in the Liberal Party case ? The law , the Comelec Law, creating the Office, appointing its members and enforcing its very rules and regulations as a poll body should be independent and impartial, non- political and only owes its Loyalty to the Constitution and the Filipino people and must prove itself as a non-corruptible organization , and so as the other government organizations, so created e. g. Office of the Ombudsman, Supreme Court, Commission on Audit, Department of Labor and Employment, Bureau of Immigration, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Public Works and Highways etc.
.
Reply
Zak Pasiking says:
June 21, 2016 at 5:56 am
Serpent Commissioners….this is right term for them…
Reply
RGDavid says:
June 21, 2016 at 5:50 am
Sir,
The decision to extend the SOCE submission deadline by member of COMELEC is inconsistent with earlier positions they took when they said that their role of COMELEC is not to interpret the law but only to implement to the letter of the law.
Now we have members of the same COMELEC taking a different tract and rationalizing their decision to arrogantly defy the law governing the matter.
Note, the LP had members who were part of the legislators group that crafted the said law, therefore they should know and abide by the law that they crafted and approved for all to follow, however flawed it is viewed today.
Futher, Roxas who sought to be President, also didn’t file his SOCE on time…this is a scary scenario. What if he won? Can we accept a President who has no respect for the law?
How can we allow or tolerate politicians who believe that they are above the law and that the laws only applies to the opposition?
CORRUPTION HAPPENS IN OUR COUNTRY BECAUSE of the UNWARRANTED SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT by POLITICIANS and GOVERNMENT OFFCIALS.
I Believe that the COMELEC officials have committed corruption with their act of providing “illegal favor” in the guise of yielding to the “will of the people”.
This view is speculative at best. The people who voted for the affected candidates, voted for them in good faith and did not know that they (LP, ROXAS) would act maliciously and intentionally violate the laws they are sworn to uphold.
This is a very bad example given by certain members of COMELEC for voting to accept the violation of deadline to file SOCE as required by law.
SAD! SAD! SAD!
RGDavid
Reply


Flouting the rule of law: SOCE, Marcos burial, Arroyo cases June 23, 2016 10:37 pm RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

One of our deepest problems as a nation is that as a people, we haven’t really embraced that very important concept: rule of law, or the idea that a society agrees on a certain set of rules, with which everyone complies after legislation. This means we are governed by a set of rules and laws, not by arbitrary decisions by government officials.

Worse, members of our intellectual elite have become lackeys of politico-economic overlords, and often accept, if not defend such flouting of the rule of law.

Blogs and even opinion pages, indeed, have been filled with essays on how Filipinos seem to have a penchant for breaking rules – jumping queues, throwing trash out of their car windows to the street, ignoring traffic red lights.

Such observations have been highlighted by OFWs who often compare how citizens of the countries they work and live in seem to respect rules so much.

But how can we blame ordinary Filipinos if the very elite who are supposed to have had the privilege of finer education have become the exemplars of law-breaking, sometimes even in crucial cases that define the nationhood of the Filipino people?

Here are three such cases:

-
The Comelec recently showed utter disregard for its own rules that – as presumptive House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez pointed out – it hasn’t bothered to publicly issue a resolution extending for 14 days its deadline for the filing of SOCEs (statement of contributions and expenditures). It hasn’t even rescinded its Resolution No. 9991 in 2015 which declares that the June 8 deadline is “final and non-extendible.”

Yet, we have former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban rushing to defend the Comelec, writing in his column that the implementation of its resolution’s penalty on disqualification is a “harsh legal proviso (that) infringes on the winners’ right to hold public office and the voters’ right of suffrage.”

READ MORE...

-Another issue that demonstrates our nation’s very weak grasp of the rule of law involves the refusal of past administrations to allow the burial of President Ferdinand Marcos, who died in 1989, to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Except Cory Aquino, past Presidents – Ramos, Arroyo, and Estrada – who were confronted with the issue, at least kept mum and simply declined to issue the order to allow the strongman’s burial at the Libingan.


Comelec’s Lim, who sees the deadline extension for SOCE filing as illegal; former President Arroyo blocked from seeking medical treatment abroad, despite the Supreme Court’s OK; Aquino’s refusal to allow Marcos burial in Libingan ng Mga Bayani.


In contrast, President Benigno Aquino 3rd flaunts his disrespect for the rule of law and openly demonstrates how the rule by arbitrary decisions works, in this issue. Aquino recently claimed that Marcos couldn’t be buried at the Libingan since that honor is “reserved for people worthy of praise and emulation.”

That is false: the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which manages the cemetery has no such rule that one should be “worthy of praise and emulation” to be buried there.

Heroes’ cemetery
Although it is called “Heroes’ Cemetery,” the Libingan in reality has been the military’s de facto cemetery for all its men and women. The purpose is both to recognize their sacrifice in risking or giving up their lives for the freedom or welfare of the nation and to provide free burial facility for members of the military.

Most of the country’s soldiers are from the lower classes, and the free burial facility comes most useful at a time when plots in “memorial parks” are so expensive and public cemeteries are horribly crowded. Many soldiers, especially those whose families are based in Metro Manila, are buried at the Libingan even if they died not in battle. The AFP has adopted the most liberal interpretation of dying in “combat-related duties.”

Some 50,000 military men of all ranks, including trainees and draftees, are buried at the Libingan.

There are a few civilians buried there as well, as allowed by the AFP rules, such as former Presidents, secretaries of national defense and the all-encompassing category of “government dignitaries, national artists and other deceased persons whose interment and re-interment have been “approved by the Commander-in-Chief, Congress or the Secretary of National Defense.”

Presidents Quirino, Garcia and Macapagal are buried there. Cory’s family had opted to have her buried at the family mausoleum with her husband, Ninoy, at the Manila Memorial Park.

Forget the issue of medals or whether he was a guerilla or not. Marcos, of course, was a President, and therefore, according to the rules, is entitled to be buried there. The only possible impediment, according to the AFP rules, would be its regulation that states, “unqualified to be buried there are personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service and personnel who were convicted by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude.”

Moral turpitude

But Marcos wasn’t convicted by any court of “moral turpitude,” and his downfall in 1986, which could be interpreted by the Yellows as a “dishonorable separation,” was extra-constitutional.

Even the National Historical Commission hasn’t issued a resolution condemning the Marcos years as a dark era for the country.

Worse, though, is that after our rulers break the law, our intellectual elite rush to defend their actions. On November 15, 2011, former President Arroyo was set to leave for abroad to seek medical treatment for her rare spinal illness, with the Supreme Court issuing a resolution allowing her to do so.

Yet, Leila de Lima – for chrissakes, the secretary of justice then – ignored the order of the highest court of the land and prevented Arroyo from leaving. Aquino’s government then rushed the filing of non-bailable plunder charges and her consequent arrest, making de Lima’s act of contempt moot. Because she was prevented from seeking medical help abroad, Arroyo’s rare illness hasn’t been cured.

But how did a former dean of the UP School of Law, Raul Pangalanan, react to de Lima’s contempt of the Court?

In his Feb. 23 column, Pangalanan called it her “fearless stand” and even portrayed de Lima as a heroine. “It fell upon De Lima to make the tough call. It took a lot of guts to block Arroyo at the airport,” he wrote. This from a law academic?

Totally disregarding the former President’s serious illness, Pangalanan even bashed the Supreme Court in his column, claiming that it abetted, through its TRO, Arroyo’s attempt to evade the law.

After refusing Pangalanan’s plea to be appointed to the Supreme Court twice, Aquino in early 2015 nominated him, successfully, to the International Criminal Court.

What kind of a country have we become, that both our political and intellectual elite flout the rule of law? How, then, can we hope to build a nation governed by the rule of law?
tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
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24 Responses to Flouting the rule of law: SOCE, Marcos burial, Arroyo cases
Amnata Pundit says:
June 24, 2016 at 3:40 pm
Madami pang examples: 1)The summary judgement against Marcos in the forfeiture case was summary because the SC refused to accept his reply. 2) Pacificador was jailed without bail and trial for nearly 20 years for the murder of Javier, and it took the Canadian Supreme Court to shame the government into finally holding a trial where he was quickly exonerated because they had absolutely no evidence against him. 3) The Coco levy was judged to be a private fund by the SC (because it was the coconut oil mills that paid for it not the farmers) but they opened a door for the Coristas who were hungrily lusting for all that money by adding the words” but vested with public interest.” 3) They convicted Erap based on the false testimony of two liars, Clarissa Ocampo who was not a member of the management team in charge of the Dichaves aka Jose Velarde account, and Chavit Singson. 4) GMA’s re-enacted budget for three years, from 2004 to 2007, which was clearly in violation of the constitution that called for a budget that was passed by Congress. There is no provision for a re-enacted budgets in the constitution, and besides, how did they end up with a re-enacted budget when Congress and the Senate were dominated by GMA’s allies? These are just a few examples to show that the rule of law since EDSA 86 is just total BS.
Reply
Westsea Leng says:
June 24, 2016 at 1:16 pm
Famous quote: In every rule there’s always an exception, is the only rule in the Phils. that has no exception…tsk tsk tsk…
Reply
susan day says:
June 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm
ELECTION RULES STRICTLY CONSTRUED- LACSON VS ROQUE , 1953
Reply
ferdinand naboye says:
June 24, 2016 at 11:25 am
Please remind comelec commissioners to learn the mening of a final and non-extendable deadline they themselves set as rule
Reply
Olive says:
June 24, 2016 at 10:56 am
you’ve always share the views of the silent few. These are the people who are discerning and can read between lines. All your articles bring us to a reality we readers are denied of. Thanks.
Reply
Naldo says:
June 24, 2016 at 10:27 am
The utter disregard of the rule of law in our country, mainly stems from the unfortunate fact that voters (some) do not have high regard to their selections in having representative lawmakers, who by virtue of astute knowledge in learning, understanding and interpreting laws should be the ones qualified to sit in congress. Just a look at the senate and some of the people that composed the chamber, these are personalities with background in media, entertainment and sports, worst of all is one that has no formal higher education.
The only way to dig the country out of the muck, which it is fastened to, should be to alter the mind set of voters and let them realize the nature of how congress work, then probably there will be hope for the republic to administer on every citizen a consciousness on how to respect the rule of law.
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Leodegardo Pruna says:
June 24, 2016 at 8:32 am
Sometimes hard to believe that academics would go against “fact, truth, and reality” which has been the case of GMA. Definitely, P-Noy’s administration would be judged in history as the “Worst ever President of the Republic.” And, God has come to save the Philippines and bring about the needed change. May the president elect not fall into the trap which evil has laid along his path.
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jakulino says:
June 24, 2016 at 8:31 am
Very well said, Secretary R. Tiglao.. I never get tired of reading your column every day. You are one of the best columnists together with Yen Makabenta, the Philippines ever had. I Salute you both, sir.
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Dobbit palacios says:
June 24, 2016 at 8:22 am
What about the Supreme Court rulling on Grace Poe? Has it been published as a SCRA?
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edna penaflor says:
June 24, 2016 at 7:52 am
I am with you. The Philippine society is an oppressive society, where leaders think they are above the law. It is a society that is devoid of compassion and human intelligence.
The intelligence shown in those three scenarios clearly manifests the motives of their hearts–revenge, pride, and ambition.
And as we can see, those motives (in different shades and colors) continue to play and plague our society over and over again.
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Rudi Miranda says:
June 24, 2016 at 6:46 am
Bravo! Congratulations! Thank you! Why are people ruled so much by expediency, and not by rule of law[s] or regulation[s]? Ain’t it the lack of character in the Filipino, elite or otherwise? Once again, thank you for pointing the problem at ourselves.
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P.Akialamiro says:
June 24, 2016 at 3:40 am
Yet, we pride in claiming that we are the only Catholic country in Asia! And, we want peace among us. How can we achieve peace without forgiving?
I am not that naive. I was there before, during and after Martial Law.
In the first place, one must understand what Martial Law is and why. Marcos might have been a dictator, but he is not that bad as a person. His sins could be attributed to what he had to do which are inherent with Martial Law. While many were/are victims of his dictatorship, many were/are also appreciative of his rule. Those who claim to be ‘protectors’ of democracy and freedom of the people show bitterness against him, up to now, but what have they done before to prevent the declaration of Martial Law?
As the Holy Father may say, who are we to judge? To those who believe, let his creator judge him, not us his fellow mortals. Let’s be more Christians than Catholics!
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To the Max says:
June 24, 2016 at 9:15 am
As the saying goes Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Marcos is a perfect example. I guess his initial intentions are good, to stop communism in our country. But after a few years, the good person in Marcos was changed to a person that wants to stay in power permanently. Once a country is in Martial Law, the military takes over and the civilian population will have to follow the military rules. That is why there were many abuse of power committed by the military. Never, never go back to military influence, you will be sorry.
Dan August says:
June 24, 2016 at 3:08 am
Rule of Law or Rule of the Yellow ? President Duterte will surely end that Policy. It will be Follow the Rules or yoy die3. Simple as that.
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Josie says:
June 24, 2016 at 2:38 am
How can we expect the common tao to respect and obey the law when the trapos and the elite break them?
The most recent is the non-filing of the SOCE by the Liberal Party before the deadline. So what are we to expect now when the rules say that the VP and senators and congressmen and governors who won the elections cannot take office because of this failure to file on time?
Looks like this issue is now IGNORED. There is nothing in the papers that this issue is pursued. Even Aquino is silent about this!!
God help the Philippines.
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Zakh Lolo says:
June 24, 2016 at 1:07 pm
The SOCE filing has been extended by Comelec, which violates the laws and contradicts its own resolution. Yes absolutely, Pres Pianonoy is silent on this extension. His party is the majority beneficiary of this “flouting the rule of law”.
girlie bebbeb says:
June 24, 2016 at 1:50 am
There’s always a retribution for bad deeds, and it can be sooner or later, but it will come.
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To the Max says:
June 24, 2016 at 9:17 am
What you sow, you reap says the Lord.
fyi says:
June 24, 2016 at 1:49 am
How, then, can we hope to build a nation governed by the rule of law?
—————————————–
At some point the politicians and their stooges will have to be held accountable for their actions. Aquino and his stooges are a good place to start.
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Andresito l. Caceres says:
June 24, 2016 at 12:41 am
Mr. Tiglao: Marcos was the rapist of Philippines democracy. As we all know the verdict against this crime severe. Marcos has lost that that previlege. We hope Mr. Duterte will not bury him there as a payment of gratitude for his father’s employment by Marcos.
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cris says:
June 24, 2016 at 12:31 pm
democracy???the democracy that you claim being raped by Marcos is the yellow democracy???democracy to destabilized the nation thru rebellion, sabotage and intrigue. this was all employed by benigno aquino and his cohorts to weaken the gov’t for noynoy self interest. so what would you expect gov’t will do with such kind of demons…they’re very lucky coz marcos did not execute them out right…damn you yellows!!!!
Ignacio Balbutin says:
June 24, 2016 at 12:28 am
Yes, under the last administration, the supreme court became a court of shame by letting it be used illegally by the former president. They trampled the private right of GMA to travel for physical treatment and now just few days before the last administration will end, her they are again, as their last attempt to really shame GMA. It is beyond my understanding how the former government got an extraordinary hatred against GMA that in the last days of their administration they are trying once again to shame GMA. The elected President the honorable President Rodrigo Duterte should place this branch of government under investigation. It should be included in the list of one of the corrupt offices of the government.
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Tibo says:
June 23, 2016 at 11:55 pm
I love you Mr TIGLAO and love you more the way you exposed all righteous pretender who disregard the law of the land just to protect privileged ELITE. Kudos, and continuous to unveiled those said to be luminaries and expose them of wrongdoings.
Educate us always.
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Lanzo says:
June 23, 2016 at 11:10 pm
was a President, and therefore, according to the rules, is entitled to be buried there.
so, ALSO bsa should deserve the honor ? The sooner the better,
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Impunity, like crime, is a national emergency June 25, 2016 2:07 am YEN MAKABENTA


By Yen Makabenta

IF, as President-elect Rodrigo Duterte contends, there is crime and lawlessness in the country that should be stamped out by the government, it is no less true that there is widespread impunity in our society.

Impunity, bluntly and simply defined as exemption or immunity from punishment, is, in a sense, more outrageous than crime itself.

Crime is a menace to our lives. Impunity is an indictment of us as a civilized nation, which has its own criminal justice system.

The same sense of urgency that attends Mr. Duterte’s call to arms against crime should be directed toward what one social activist has described as “our culture of impunity.”

No distinction between crimes and victims

Whenever the word impunity is mentioned in the Philippine context, people immediately focus on the many unsolved and unpunished killings of journalists in this country. But this is not why I raise the issue here; I do so because the impunity problem of the Philippines does not distinguish between crimes and victims. All are subsumed by it.

Ironically, it was a question from one journalist on what Mr. Duterte will do about crimes against journalists that triggered his tirade against the media. To him, it’s an effrontery that journalists should raise concern about violence against journalists.

But like it or not, the moment Mr. Duterte accedes to office, he will be deluged by questions from foreign governments, the United Nations, and the international media about the country’s atrocious impunity record. He cannot boycott them all without doing harm to the country’s relations with the international community.

The Carter Center, the rights advocacy organization founded by former US President Jimmy Carter, has raised concerns that President-elect Duterte’s statements that “condone and encourage extra-judicial killings of alleged criminals by the police and general public” create an environment of impunity and an erosion of respect for basic human rights.

Impunity as a failure of the state

Writing on law and order, Walter Lippmann said: “The struggle against lawlessness is the struggle for civilization itself.”

He sagely warned: “The criminal tendencies will always be there, reborn in each new generation, and the question is how much the tendencies can be kept under control and how far they can be domesticated. If there is more crime and vice among the young, it is not because there is suddenly a more criminal and vicious generation. It must be because there is less discipline, and more tempting opportunities for vice and crime.”

President-elect Duterte and his advisers must understand that at the heart of the impunity issue is the question whether the Philippines really adheres to the rule of law.

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The amended Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Through Action to Combat Impunity defines impunity as follows:

“Impunity arises from a failure by States to meet their obligations to investigate violations; to take appropriate measures in respect of the perpetrators, particularly in the area of justice, by ensuring that those suspected of criminal responsibility are prosecuted, tried and duly punished; to provide victims with effective remedies and to ensure that they receive reparation for the injuries suffered; to ensure the inalienable right to know the truth about violations; and to take other necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of violations.”

Faring poorly in global indices

The Philippines’ failure to meet its obligation is now a matter of national embarrassment and shame. In many global indices, our government comes up short and sometimes last.

According to the Global Impunity Index of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Philippines is one of the five worst countries where journalists are murdered with impunity. Only the Philippines is not in a state of large-scale armed conflict. It was exceeded only by Somalia, Iraq and Syria.

Even more disturbing, the country has earned the woeful distinction of having the worst record in bringing wrongdoers to justice, according to a study of countries plagued by impunity.

In the first World Impunity Index drawn up by the Impunity and Justice Research Center of the Universidad de las Americas, a private university in Puebla, Mexico, the Philippines has the worst impunity record.

Even Mexico, which has been suffering from years of criminal violence aggravated by a corrupt security and justice system, ranked second-worst only to the Philippines. Had the researchers ranked it worst, they could become victims of violence and impunity.

The researchers defined impunity as “the impossibility, de jure or de facto, of bringing the perpetrators of violations to account—whether in criminal, civil, administrative, or disciplinary proceedings—since they are not subject to any inquiry that might lead to their being accused, arrested, tried, and, if found guilty, sentenced to appropriate penalties, and to making reparations to their victims.”

Only 59 of the 193 member-countries of the United Nations were included in the study. This was due to the availability of updated data on the three dimensions of impunity.

The measurement of the Index included 14 factors divided in three groups: five related to problems of public security, five to administration and delivery of justice, and four to violations of human rights.

The Philippines did not get good results in any of the 14 factors and had the worst “structure of the security system” and “security system of human rights.”

A matter of culture change

It was Corazon Miller, a Filipina-Kiwi and a nurse and freelance journalist, who first used the phrase “culture of impunity” to describe the Philippines.

In 2011, she published an article in The Common Good (www.catholicworker.org.nz) titled “The Philippines: A Culture of Impunity.”

Like James Fallows in his famous 1987 essay, “A Damaged Culture,” Ms. Miller lays the blame for the dismal impunity record on Filipino culture. Our entire system of values, beliefs and customs brought about this grotesque situation of crime and vice without punishment. Her study covered the ruling class, the political system, the military, and many other institutions.

Ending impunity, she concluded, is finally about culture change and national transformation.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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