NOVEMBER 25, 2011 (STAR) By Aurea Calica - President Aquino yesterday vowed to triple the efforts of the government in fighting corruption, saying he could not let those who “robbed” the people get away unscathed.

Speaking during the 75th anniversary celebration of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at its headquarters in Manila, Aquino said he was being criticized for his aggressiveness in going after corrupt officials.

“But my answer to them is this – with their aggressiveness in stealing people’s money, we will triple our aggressiveness in hunting them down to make them accountable now,” Aquino said in Filipino.

The President said he has the support of the people in their bid to institute reforms in the government.

“They are giving us the opportunity to serve the people. So it is only them to whom we owe a debt of gratitude, and nobody else,” he added.

Aquino stressed that anyone who trampled on the rights of a Filipino – whether a garbage collector or a former president, a driver or a magistrate – it is just proper that authorities should run after the offender and make him liable for his mistakes.

“We will remain united. Whether you are a government employee or an ordinary citizen, you have a big role to play for the good of your fellowmen and the country as well,” he said.

Aquino considered as a “challenge” to the country’s democratic system the latest headline news.

The President did not elaborate, although he was apparently referring to the recent filing of electoral sabotage case against his predecessor, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

He said that these unfolding events should drive the Filipinos to face the mirror, look back at the past and examine the principle that will guide the people to the future.

He urged NBI personnel to strengthen their cooperation and come together in treading the right path where integrity and order reign in society.

Meanwhile, the President awarded 23 NBI personnel for their exemplary performance. – With Sandy Araneta


Noy hints at defying all unfavorable SC rulings Charlie V. Manalo and Pat C. Santos 11/24/2011

All signs and presidential speeches point to moves being made by President Aquino to ensure worsening the ongoing constitutional crisis and bringing it to a head in his bid to establish a dictatorship.

In his speech delivered during the National Bureau of Investigation’s 75th anniversary yesterday, he implied that no matter what the law or legal order coming from the highest court in the land says. as long as he believes these to be biased against him and favor only a select few, he intimated broadly at defying the Rule of Law, saying that he is ready to do this because “at my side are the moral right and judgment, and truth, and more than anything, the Filipino people are on my side,” he said in Tagalog.

His speech came a day after the media reported that Hacienda Luisita, the Aquino-Cojuangco case filed by the farmers who asked for the distribution of the lands to them through a motion for reconsideration, has been resolved but its promulgation delayed due to an Arroyo-appointed high court justice’s refusal to submit her dissenting opinion.

Sources said Justice Lourdes Sereno has that penchant to submit her dissenting opinion, which undergoes changes after the majority opinion is released.

Aquino’s speech also came a few days after electoral fraud charges were filed against his predecessor as he also vowed to even be three times more aggressive in running after former President, Rep. Gloria Arroyo whom he said was aggressive in stealing people’s money.

Referring to the former president and the criticisms he has been receiving for riding roughshod over constitutional rights, defiance of legal high court orders and the indecent haste with which the cases against his predecessor have been charged with, filed and arrested, for which he is being accused of persecution, Noynoy vowed to be three times more aggressive in running after Gloria.

He said that if those in the past administration were aggressive in stealing people’s money then he will be three times more aggressive in holding them responsible for their stealing of public funds.

He added he is ready to do all these because correct judgment, right and truth, as well as the Filipinos, are on his side.

He said: “We should examine when power is used correctly and when it is bastardized; when it is being abused to favor a few and when the voice and the aspiration of Juan dela Cruz have to be prioritized especially when life and right are at stake,” stressing that the events that occurred last week challenged the country’s democratic system and forced him to examine the principles of what is the right justice and truth.

The events Aquino was referring to were the issuance by the high court of a temporary restraining order on the watch list order issued by Justice chief Leila de Lima that prevented the Arroyos from leaving the country for medical treatment and the subsequent blockage by him and his justice chief of that TRO through the speedy filing of the electoral sabotage case against Mrs. Arroyo and the speed with which a warrant of arrest was issued against GMA,” he said in Tagalog.

This was his response to accusations that his administration is too aggressive in prosecuting Mrs. Arroyo.

Aquino earlier said Arroyo will have a chance to defend herself in court as it is the right of every Filipino.

Aquino stressed the events that occurred last week was a challenge to the country’s democratic system, which forced him to examine the principles of what is right and just.

“We should examine when power is used correctly and when it is bastardized; when it is being abused to favor a few and when the voice and the aspiration of Juan dela Cruz have to be prioritized,” he said.

In Malacañang, despite attempts to hide President Aquino’s hand in the filing of the electoral sabotage case against the former president, it now appears clear that he is the force behind all her present legal woes.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the statement of Aquino only shows that the president is dead serious in his bid to win the fight against graft and corruption.

“I think we can take the statement of the president as it is. As we have promised, we are in the process of going after those who have committed wrongdoings and I think this would refer to anyone against whom we have gathered evidence,” Lacierda said in a press briefing Wednesday adding that Aquino’s statement on the filing of more cases against the Arroyos is“public knowledge.”

“ There are cases already that have been filed before the DoJ and the office of the Ombudsman. We cannot speak for the Office of the Ombudsman, insofar as the DoJ is concerned, the cases are in the preliminary investigation stage. We do not want to preempt the Secretary of Justice as to when it will be filed. Certainly yes, cases have been filed – and this is public knowledge – cases being filed by some congressmen and also by private individuals,” he pointed out.

Apart from those that have been filed and those that are under investigation, Lacierda said that the Aquino administration is preparing more cases against the Arroyos and is “ in the process of gathering the evidence.”

“ We are determined to make sure that these cases, once they are ripe for filing, will be filed,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda also expressed confidence that the action of DoJ-Commission on Elections panel in filing electoral sabotage case against Mrs. Arroyo in an ordinary court would be upheld even by the Supreme Court despite the fact that the High Court had consistently issued decisions that are against the position of the administration.

“We’re confident that the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality in our favor,” Lacierda said and when asked what are the options of Aquino in case the SC’s position runs opposite the administration’s stand, he said: “We don’t know yet what the decision will be and also we will not mention to the public our options.”

The minority also decribed the Aquino administration as too obsessed in persecuting and incarcerating Mrs. Arroyo with the members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives yesterday predicting that the Aquino administration will continue to defy future rulings of the Supreme Court.

“The malevolent game plan of the Aquino administration is to defy the Supreme Court at all cost in order to fully realize its all-consuming obsession to persecute and incarcerate former President Gloria Arroyo. The administration’s newly invented mantra is if the Executive can implement the law, it has likewise the option not to implement the law,” Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay said reading a prepared statement

The lady solon said that the Aquino administration is ready to impair, and has even trampled upon, civil liberties such as the constitutional right to travel, presumption of innocence and freedom from arrest except upon independent finding of probable cause by the judge after due process.

Deputy Minority Leader, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez lamented the fact that it was House Majority Leader, Mandaluyong Rep. Nepatli Gonzales, a former Arroyo ally, who had to take a swipe against the privilege speech delivered by Minority leader Edcel Lagman on the issue on the SC defiance.

“It is not a waste of time (as Gonzales claimed). Once civil liberties rights are being trampled upon, when you see that the executive branch is not following or honoring the Supreme Court then of course you definitely have to say something. We have to uphold the law and remind our colleagues that someone’s rights and someone’s civil liberties has been trampled upon and the executive branch is not following the order of the Supreme Court,” said Suarez.

Magsaysay then reminded Gonzales that every member of the House has the right to deliver a speech.

“It is within our rights to deliver that speech, so we respect the privilege speeches that has been made by the majority they have to learn to also respect the privilege speeches made the minority.

Magsaysay added it was ironic that the administration was so bold in persecuting Arroyo to the point of trampling upon civil liberties and disrespecting a co-equal branch of government because of the perception that the former president is unpopular and that the bastardization of her rights will not incense the people and may even get popular approval the uniformed forces – the military and the police – are supportive of the administration.

“The foregoing constitute feeble anchorage for supplanting the Constitution and the rule of law,” said Magsaysay.

Lagman for his part said that the issues of justice, fair play and constitutionality are not to be determined by opinion polls or the public pulse.

Lagman said that the minority is deferring to the SC the resolution of the legal and constitutional issues on the raging controversy.

“I earnestly hope that once the Supreme Court has ruled, the political departments would obey and follow its ruling,” Lagman said. Pat C. Santos

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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