MANILA, APRIL 18, 2011 (MALAYA) PRESIDENT Aquino yesterday took a dig at the previous administration, saying it is very difficult to initiate reforms and changes when the roots of corruption are embedded.

"Mahirap ang tungkuling magpasok ng reporma, dahil malalim pa sa mga ugat ng puno sa Sunken Garden ang pagkakabaon ng mga latak ng lumang sistema. Pero sino naman ba ang hindi iinit ang ulo, kung ang mismong mga nagtatanggol sa karaniwang tao, ay bumabantay-salakay lang sa mga ninakaw ng makapangyarihan?" the President said at the 100th commencement exercises of the University of the Philippines at the UP Amphitheater in Diliman, Quezon City.

"Alam na po ninyo siguro kung sino ang pinatutukuyan ko, kaya huwag na tayong magtagal pa sa isyung ito. Isang simpleng ‘OMG’ ang kolektibong buntong-hininga natin dito," Aquino added.

The President said he simply wants equal justice for all, regardless of one’s status in society or even in government.

"Nakatutok tayo sa mandato nating maghatid ng hustisya sa lahat, at sasailalim ang lahat sa patas at tapat na proseso. Walang kampo-kampo, walang parti-partido sa harap ng nakapiring na hustisya. Ngayon, kung sa tingin ng iba ay sila lang ang pinagtutuunan natin ng pagod at panahon, baka naman napapraning lang sila. Sa tingin ko po, ang tanging humahabol sa kanila, ay ang kanilang konsensya," he added.

Aquino had been accused by Ang Galing Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo of trying to get back at the Arroyo administration and at the same time trying to save his dropping approval and trust ratings by going after anyone who had been connected with his mother Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo and her government.

The younger Arroyo had been charged with tax violations while appointees of the previous administration like Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez faces an impeachment trial and former Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo and his Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc Joc" Bolante had been charged with plunder.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the administration would not initiate any word war during Holy Week.

"Sinasagot lang namin ang mga allegation sa atin. Siguro mas mabuti na tanungin natin ang mga nagsisimula ng usapan kung ano ang kanilang mamarapatin ngayong darating na Semana Santa," she said.

Valte’s statement came at the heels of the threat of Arroyo ally, Rep. Danilo Suarez, of an all-out war against the administration by being more critical on the Aquino administration.

Aquino’s House allies defended him from former President Arroyo’s statements last Friday that there is a vacuum in leadership over its failure to address several crises.

"I am not quite sure what the former president was talking about. What I know is that we are creating a vacuum or vacancy in the Office of the Ombudsman in order to remove the last obstacle to President Aquino’s campaign promise of a legitimate and credible anti corruption campaign," said Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, secretary general of the Liberal Party and chair of the committee on appropriations.

"There is no vacuum in leadership. There can be no true progress and justice without going after the raiders of the coffers of the government. Besides the current administration has improved and is continuing to improve the economic situation of the country. It is on the right track," said Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) Rep. Sherwin Tugna, a spokesman for the 11-man House prosecution panel in the impeachment. – With Wendell Vigilia


Transforming Philippine Politics - Bringing the Ax on the Root of Corruption By Jose Estrebilla, EzineArticles Expert Authors

When one is fishing for tilapia in a shallow pond, a sinker may no longer be necessary. But in deeper waters with moving currents, this part of a fishing gear is indispensable. The old witch, Deception, knows that very well. She knows that comparatively speaking, the number of voters is actually way-way bigger than the number of her dedicated crooks in politics.

I strongly believe that the Philippines is not yet that poor in terms of the number of good men and women who are genuinely concerned for her well-being. A vast majority may be ignorant victims, being self-absorbed in their struggle to keep both ends meet.

But I don't believe the predators have already outnumbered their prey. They are still a small minority, only that they are the ones holding the political, economic, social and natural resources of our country - mostly with legitimate, legal mandate of the masses through their votes and docile subscription to Deception's schemes. And as one statesman put it well, "The only way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

The summons is now more urgent than ever. We need to see more and more Filipinos taking their stand for what is right and just and good.

In the ancient biblical story regarding two extremely wicked cities - Sodom and Gomorrah - the Bible records how God disclosed to His dear friend Abraham His plan of judging the two cities. Whether Abraham was simply motivated by his concern for his nephew - Lot - and his family living in one of those cities, or was really and genuinely concerned for the people's welfare, the Scriptures did not care anymore to specify this detail. Many of us are just familiar, however, with the somewhat tenacious bargaining process that followed:

"Then Abraham approached him (the Lord) and said: 'Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing - to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?'

"The Lord said, 'If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.'

"Then Abraham spoke up again: 'Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?'

" 'If I find forty-five there,' he said, 'I will not destroy it.'

"Once again he spoke to him, 'What if only forty are found there?'

"He said, 'For the sake of forty, I will not do it.'

"Then he said, 'May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?'

"He answered, 'I will not do it if I find thirty there.'

"Abraham said, 'Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?'

"He said, 'For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.'

"Then he said, 'May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?'

"He answered, 'For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.'" (Genesis 18:23-32)

End of bargain.

Perhaps you have personally heard more than one sermons having been preached from this text. And more often than not, it is God's compassion for souls and the strategic role of an intercessor that get highlighted in this passage. Both are valid and oh, so very true. But one thing I can't avoid noticing is the repeated use of numbers.

I'm not into numerology per se and I'm not interested in bringing out hidden meanings of 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, and 10. These are not magic numbers in themselves, as if they have a higher chance of winning if you bet on them in a numbers game. The main idea that strikes me, however, is that God knows how to count those who are really on His side. As we have seen for ourselves how important did this simple principle go in the history of Sodom and Gomorrah, judge for yourself whether or not this is worth considering in the socio-political story of the Philippines.

Is it worth exploring how we can appropriately apply this eternal principle in our present situation, or shall we just go on ignoring it and perhaps receive the consequences due our inaction or negligence?

I can still recall a related scenario that took place during the 2004 National Elections. When the campaign for presidentiables reached a critical mass at that time and the status of GMA against FPJ got blurred in the top portion of the surveys, an appeal toward the supporters of the other candidates circulated around: "Do not waste your vote any more to any candidate who obviously has no chance of winning. Let's cast our vote for GMA, otherwise, we will have another president whose only credit to present is his popularity among the masses."

And sure enough, the best choice of many a voter was set aside in favor of what at that time was presented as the choice for lesser evil.

But are we really supposed to include chances of winning in our criteria for choosing leaders? Are we really bound to the "reality" that if our best choice candidate does not have much money and strong political machinery, he cannot win? I dare say a BIG NO!

Even our own Constitution emphasizes the fact that "the Philippines is a democratic and Republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them."

The Filipino people - especially the voters - do have such tremendous God-given power! And as God's people, we are commanded to base our choice on a clear conscience regardless of whether they prevail or not against the competing voices of those who disregard the will and the purposes of God. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to choose the lesser evil!

It's high time to say "Enough!" to the fatalistic and apathetic attitude being fostered by Deception among our potential voters. The vote we cast will at least be reckoned for its prophetic significance of registering the vote of righteousness to say the least. And in the realm of the unseen and the eternal, we have not only done what is right, and best and just. On top of it, the power of our sacred vote will accordingly unleash the heavenly resources necessary for the unfolding of the destiny of our nation.

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(BULLETIN) By GENALYN D. KABILING – President Benigno S. Aquino III has once again invoked his “right to privacy” in fending off reporters’ questions about his reported breakup with the woman he is said to be serious with.

"I think my answer has never changed: That is my business," the President said on Friday when pressed by media representatives covering his visit to Rosales, Pangasinan, to confirm if he was no longer dating stockbroker Len Lopez.

Although neither Aquino nor Lopez has acknowledged they were in a romantic relationship, there have been various reports that they have been dating.

The 51-year-old bachelor President rarely opens up about his love life, although he has let on that he is unlucky in love. "Hope springs eternal," he often said when asked about plans to settle down and have children.

He has in fact been dating a number of women since he split up with Valenzuela City Councilor Shalani Soledad last year.

During a recent visit to Iloilo City, the President disclosed that he is still hoping to find his true love after suffering several heartbreaks.


Sabrina Chua, PNoy dating?

(Photo of Pres. Noynoy Aquino and Sabrina Chua)

Sabrina Chua, who I think is in her 30's already, is the Singapore-based reporter from Channel News Asia who's being linked recently to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III or PNOY.

A report from ABS-CBN News says that according to rumors (yeah just a rumor), PNOY got smitten by Sabrina when the latter interviewed her during the President's State Visit in Singapore 2nd week of March.

PNOY's spokesperson Edwin Lacierda was quick to deny the rumor in a recent statement.

Based on a lil information that I gathered, PNOY reportedly was quoted saying "I like her" after the interview and so maybe that's where it all started.

PNOY allegedly was impressed that Sabrina tried to interview him in Tagalog.

Her profile on Channel News Asia says that she's a senior producer in the network and is intrigued by human behaviour and psychology. Wow, read it "human behaviour and psychology"! It's a sign that she is also liking PNoy, who as a President, needs a woman beside and behind him to understand him in all aspect.

Sabrina is already the 5th woman to get linked with PNoy after he broke up with Shalani Soledad.

He was romantically linked to TV5 reporter Trish Roque, stylist Liz Uy, long-time friend Barbie Palagos and strockbroker Len Lopez.

I wish PNoy will succeed this time if it's indeed true that he wants Sabrina to be her girlfriend.


Malacañang denies rumor that P-Noy was "smitten" with Singapore-based reporter Sabrina Chua SPOTSPOT – Tue, Apr 12, 2011 8:15 AM PHT

Screencap from The Professional Heckler

( Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda has said there is "no truth" to the rumor that President Noynoy Aquino "got so smitten" with a Singapore-based reporter, ABS-CBN News reported yesterday.

(Screencap from Channel News Asia's blog section)

According to ABS-CBN News, there is a Facebook video that shows an outtake of Chua's interview with Aquino during his state visit in Singapore.

Last week, Newsbreak cited gossip saying the President supposedly invited the reporter via text message to a free and all-access tour of Malacañang. ABS-CBN News said the rumor mill identified the reporter as Sabrina Chua of Channel News Asia.

ABS-CBN News said the rumor mill identified the reporter as Sabrina Chua of Channel News Asia.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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