PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE: Since 1997 © Copyright (PHNO) http://newsflash.org



EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK
OR CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)
FROM THE INQUIRER

EDITORIAL: NEXUS GLORIA


DECEMBER 30 -Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. RICHARD A. REYES/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA  When Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales released her office’s joint resolution on the Malampaya Fund case the other day, the omission of one name among the list of the many conspirators indicted was conspicuous. Former president Gloria Arroyo, who had issued Executive Order No. 848 which allowed the use of part of the fund, was not among those charged with 2 counts of plunder, 97 counts of graft, and 97 counts of malversation. But two of her Cabinet secretaries were, Rolando Andaya of budget and Nasser Pangandaman of agrarian reform, as well as alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and conspirator-turned-state’s-witness Ruby Tuason. The resolution asserted that the National Bureau of Investigation “failed to prove” that Arroyo as well as three other officials had conspired to divert the fund illegally. In a chance interview after the resolution was released, Morales explained to reporters that “There was no nexus [connecting Arroyo] to the alleged commission of the crime.” READ MORE...

ALSO: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - PH needs death penalty


DECEMBER 30 -By ERNESTO Z. MEDINA,
I was an NBI agent from 1963 to 1969. There were less heinous crimes and illegal drug cases then. Heinous crimes have proliferated after the death penalty was abolished in the Philippines. Drug lords and foreign criminals started dumping their prohibited drugs and building shabu laboratories and factories in the Philippines, which they could not do in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and other Asian countries where the death penalty is imposed. The death penalty kept away drug lords from our country. President Duterte just inherited the ill effects of illegal drugs and corruption in government which previous administrations failed to arrest. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Jose Ma. Montelibano - A new Filipino?


DECEMBER 30 -By: Jose Ma. Montelibano We are turning a page, not reading a new book. So as 2016 turns to 2017, we are still reading the same story—the life journey of the Filipino. What is exciting about our life journey, as individuals and as a country, is that we write our story as we go along. Then, we and the generations who follow us, get to read what we write. While many life coaches and gurus try to anchor us always to the moment, to the now, we do leave a trail, a memory trail, and for some, a paper trail. This current age of technology and information is not about to slow down; rather, all the more it will erupt, all the more it will disrupt. The genie, as it were, has been released from the confines of the lamp—and it cannot be forced back it. If change already seems radical today, it is wise for us to anticipate that it will become more so. For senior citizens like me, this pattern of seemingly unpredictable change will define the rest of our lives. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL- Silver linings


JANUARY 1 ---And suddenly it’s 2017. It doesn’t seem like much, emerging bleary-eyed as we are from a year of disaster and misfortune into a grim landscape. Grim but marked by a measure of hope, and only because Filipinos are generally predisposed to it. Predisposed to new beginnings, as when residents of the fire-stricken NIA Road in Quezon City pull themselves together and pick through the rubble to salvage anything that could still be of use as they resume their lives. The fire broke out Tuesday night and raged for six hours, requiring the use of 74 fire trucks to finally get it in control. In all, some 500 informal-settler homes were razed, leaving 1,000 families homeless. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE BELOW
OR CLICK HERE TO READ ONLINE

EDITORIAL - Nexus Gloria


Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. RICHARD A. REYES/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO MANILA

MANILA, JANUARY 2, 2017 INQUIRER) Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:18 AM December 30, 2016
When Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales released her office’s joint resolution on the Malampaya Fund case the other day, the omission of one name among the list of the many conspirators indicted was conspicuous. Former president Gloria Arroyo, who had issued Executive Order No. 848 which allowed the use of part of the fund, was not among those charged with 2 counts of plunder, 97 counts of graft, and 97 counts of malversation.

But two of her Cabinet secretaries were, Rolando Andaya of budget and Nasser Pangandaman of agrarian reform, as well as alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and conspirator-turned-state’s-witness Ruby Tuason.

The resolution asserted that the National Bureau of Investigation “failed to prove” that Arroyo as well as three other officials had conspired to divert the fund illegally. In a chance interview after the resolution was released, Morales explained to reporters that “There was no nexus [connecting Arroyo] to the alleged commission of the crime.”

READ MORE...

This is a particularly bitter pill to swallow for those Filipinos who knew how tightly Arroyo had run her administration, from 2001 to 2010. Indeed, the scale of the plunder in the Malampaya case—P900 million, distributed in four tranches in less than a month, using a massive fake operation that involved two Cabinet departments—suggests that either the famously hands-on technocrat-politician was in on it or had completely lost control of her administration.

The Ombudsman found that a total of P900 million was illegally diverted to a dozen nongovernment organizations in late 2009, under the guise of providing assistance to farmers affected by typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.” In its press statement, the Office of the Ombudsman noted that:

“After the receipt of the checks, the NGO representatives issued official receipts and fake liquidation documents such as reports of disbursements, delivery reports, certificates of acceptance, certificates of project completion, inspection and acceptance reports, fund utilization reports, independent auditor’s reports, reports of disbursements by external accountant and lists of beneficiaries.


MORALES

“Ombudsman investigators found that the documents were all fictitious as there were no deliveries of agricultural kits or packages. Respondents also manufactured the lists of farmer-beneficiaries and forged the signatures of the recipients.”

In other words, it was the template Napoles used in the pork barrel scam: Real money was siphoned off through fake projects. What boggles the mind is the speed with which the entire scam was conceptualized and then consummated: Ondoy struck the Philippines in late September. In a month’s time, the executive order facilitating the use of part of the Malampaya Fund was issued. In another month, the first of the four tranches was released. By Dec. 29, 2009, a mere three months after Ondoy, the last and biggest of the four tranches, a P400-million allocation, was released.

For her part, working with the 12 NGOs, Napoles had her staff draft letters requesting financial assistance from 97 local governments.

The Ombudsman found that, “by respondents’ own overt acts, they showed their undue interest in the immediate release of the funds … regardless of whether there was compliance with applicable laws or rules governing such disbursements.”

Arroyo’s counsel welcomed the decision to drop the charges against her. “It’s the perfect way to end the year and to start the new one,” lawyer Laurence Arroyo said. He added: “We hope that we have seen the last of these frivolous complaints against the former president.” But while the case put together by the NBI may have been found lacking, it was certainly not frivolous.

Indeed, Morales noted that, even as the joint resolution on the case has been released, additional fact-finding is ongoing. Tuason, a state’s witness in the other Napoles cases, has alleged that her brother’s contact in Malacańang was the lawyer Jesus Santos, who is closely associated with Arroyo’s husband.

“Let’s see what will happen,” Morales said.

“If the investigation of [the Field Investigation Office] will point to the liability of Mrs. Arroyo, there’s nothing that will prevent the office to consider indicting her.”


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - PH needs death penalty Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:02 AM December 30, 2016

By ERNESTO Z. MEDINA,

I was an NBI agent from 1963 to 1969. There were less heinous crimes and illegal drug cases then.

Heinous crimes have proliferated after the death penalty was abolished in the Philippines. Drug lords and foreign criminals started dumping their prohibited drugs and building shabu laboratories and factories in the Philippines, which they could not do in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and other Asian countries where the death penalty is imposed. The death penalty kept away drug lords from our country.

President Duterte just inherited the ill effects of illegal drugs and corruption in government which previous administrations failed to arrest.

READ MORE...

With no budget for rehabilitation and about four million drug pushers and addicts to attend to, President Duterte’s system of preserving life and the welfare of current and future generations is the correct one: Kill those drug pushers and addicts who endanger the lives of our peace officers and innocent citizens.

Some religious leaders claim that the death penalty is not allowed by God. They have forgotten that God killed the criminals and sinners in Sodom and Gomorrah and through the great deluge, as written in the Bible.

I hope that the families of human rights advocates and congressmen who oppose the restoration of the death penalty will not fall victim to heinous crimes and drug lords, pushers and addicts.

ERNESTO Z. MEDINA, asiadetectives@yahoo.com


A new Filipino? By: Jose Ma. Montelibano - @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:08 AM December 30, 2016


By: Jose Ma. Montelibano

We are turning a page, not reading a new book. So as 2016 turns to 2017, we are still reading the same story—the life journey of the Filipino.

What is exciting about our life journey, as individuals and as a country, is that we write our story as we go along. Then, we and the generations who follow us, get to read what we write. While many life coaches and gurus try to anchor us always to the moment, to the now, we do leave a trail, a memory trail, and for some, a paper trail.

This current age of technology and information is not about to slow down; rather, all the more it will erupt, all the more it will disrupt. The genie, as it were, has been released from the confines of the lamp—and it cannot be forced back it. If change already seems radical today, it is wise for us to anticipate that it will become more so. For senior citizens like me, this pattern of seemingly unpredictable change will define the rest of our lives.

READ MORE...

The quality and quantity of change reflect in the speed and graphics of life as we experience it now, and tomorrow. But change, just like our life journey, may turn the pages faster, may manifest in very innovative and strange forms, but remains grounded on the same individual and collective story. In other words, no matter how radically different things may turn out to be, we will know it is still us, it is still our story, it is still our journey. And because it is so, the pages have read and wrote are the unavoidable context of the pages we read and write today and tomorrow. We may regret, we may learn, and we may change the direction of our destiny from now on, but not the previous pages. There may be opportunities today and tomorrow, but there is a sense of permanence about life already lived.

It does seem from a quick glance at the world around us is in turmoil—and it is in more ways than one. But because of the permanence of what has been, because the past is now framed and subject to clearer inspection and assessment, those really interested can easily realize that the world had been through worse times, greater deaths and destruction, horrible epidemics and famines, and wars that never seemed to end. Yet, after all the periods of horror, man survived. As we, too, will.

There is a fundamental human drama that underlies all life scripts and characters that loom larger than our individual lives. We get to see and read about them because their lives have greater impact on others. But yet we know that we, too, each and all of us, have that drama, too, even if few ever get to know. What is important is that we have experienced, we have thought and felt and acted, we have lived and continue to live our drama.

In our quieter and private moments, when we can better accept not only the good of our lives but including what shamed us to ourselves (or to our God), we may sense that circumstances have been varied but certain ingredients remain fundamental in our drama. There appear to be dualities that we cannot escape from and trigger much of our inner and relational conflicts. I have observed these forces in my life and in the lives of others, convinced by now that what have called opposites must not provoke us to allow them to clash.

We seem to have twin natures, often competing and providing serious stress and frustration. The most obvious, probably the most active, too, are the individual and the collective in us. We are driven by what attracts and benefits us individually yet we recognize that we are part of a greater existence demanding our cooperation. Sometimes, it demands our submission. When what we want as individuals collide with what the collective asks, we are confronted with a recurring question, “What will I do?”

This personal drama is but a mirror image of our society where individuals, groups, political parties and government at several levels constantly play a collective drama. The drama often brings us beyond understanding and translates to competition, from competition to conflict, and conflict to war (or its equivalent in our lives). We may see what happens out there because what is national or international is too big to miss, but it happens inside us, too. Life, then, can seem like a hyperactive arena of divergent interests, seldom complimentary, too often contradictory.

The politics of governance and religion are not strangers because we are contributory to it. We can commit, we can omit, but both ways we contribute. We elect public officials, then follow or rebel against them and the law itself. We also follow bishops and priests but do not live out the virtues and values they teach. We are in contradiction to teachings and laws; yes, we are contributory to the politics of governance and religion.

From inner contradictions to external conflicts, we become a collective mess. And we become faithful practitioners of the blame game. Not satisfied with that, there is a virtual reality created by communications technology, a reality where we expand the drama of our lives. And a new year beckons, knocking louder by the minute, pushing out an exhausted 2016.

The new year, though, will not be so new in pattern, only in details. It is not a new year but a new Filipino who will bring meaningful change. Not even a new President, only a new Filipino. To renew ourselves, however, we must understand the prejudices and bad habits we have developed. Then and only then can we begin a new journey to become the new Filipinos of a new nation.

May the new year be a blessed journey for the new Filipino.


EDITORIAL- Silver linings  Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:12 AM January 01, 2017

And suddenly it’s 2017.

It doesn’t seem like much, emerging bleary-eyed as we are from a year of disaster and misfortune into a grim landscape. Grim but marked by a measure of hope, and only because Filipinos are generally predisposed to it.

Predisposed to new beginnings, as when residents of the fire-stricken NIA Road in Quezon City pull themselves together and pick through the rubble to salvage anything that could still be of use as they resume their lives.

The fire broke out Tuesday night and raged for six hours, requiring the use of 74 fire trucks to finally get it in control. In all, some 500 informal-settler homes were razed, leaving 1,000 families homeless.

READ MORE...

A 74-year-old woman was killed and there were minor injuries to others. How painful it is to lose everything, a woman said as she waited to receive donated clothing from barangay personnel. “I think we will welcome the new year in this covered court,” she said.

Another survivor said she and her family had nowhere to go and thus would spend New Year’s Eve under the tree at the corner, or on the roadside.

“At least,” she added, “we are together.”

At least.

To seek the dark cloud’s silver lining is difficult and admirable, more so when, although in straitened circumstances, one still finds room and reason to give.

In Camarines Sur, residents of Barangay Pagas pooled meager resources to buy food packs for families in the town of Milaor.

Typhoon “Nina” had devastated Camarines Sur, and the Milaor folk were homeless and helpless. But the Pagas residents gathered their funds intended for noche buena so that the displaced families could have a semblance of a meal.

They sent 320 packs, each with five kilos of rice, sardines, noodles and coffee. “That was all we could afford to send but it came from our hearts,” said Barangay Pagas captain Christopher Lee.

From the heart.

Some of us might be hard-pressed to find silver linings in our current state, but we can take lessons from a sad ending, such as the death of American writer and actor Carrie Fisher—our “Princess Leia,” bold, courageous and funny, who never let franchise or society define her.

The child of Hollywood royalty, she made a living in Hollywood as screenwriter, novelist and essayist, and fought for greater awareness of mental illness, openly discussing her struggles with bipolar disorder.

She found the light in the darkness, addressing her drinking and depression in her writing, and serving as a source of inspiration and illumination up to the end.

In a year of profound losses, her passing shocked as it was so unexpected. Perhaps even more shocking was the death the very next day of her mother, the performer Debbie Reynolds, whose heart was broken by her death.

But there’s an unlikely source of jubilation in these parts: The OFW documentary “Sunday Beauty Queen” beat all the odds to be named Best Picture at the controversial Metro Manila Film Festival.

It was an ending that no one saw coming. “No more mainstream, no more indies, we are one,” said director Baby Ruth Villarama of a festival that, previously surrendered to box-office behemoths only, embraced small, well-crafted independent films this year.

Every award given on that festival night was a pleasant surprise, and could serve as the beginning of a new history for the MMFF.

It has become commonplace to believe that a new year will be a better one, and surely, after a devastating 2016, there is no way to go but up. Whether in a makeshift shelter on NIA Road, in an evacuation center in Camarines Sur, in grieving Hollywood, or on MMFF awards night, we can look to the new year in the warm embrace of those we love, with grit, hope and renewed determination, and believe that the Force is with us.

That should be enough not only to find silver linings but also, and most importantly, to get our act together.


CONTINUE TO >> NEXT HT-OPINION PAGE

GO TO >> HEADLINE NEWS PAGE

GO TO > > BUSINESS & ECONOMY PAGE


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

RMAIL: PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
© Copyright, 2016 All rights reserved


GO TO PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE