NOY TO BRING HIS FIGHT TO THE PEOPLE  

JULY 16 --With the rising prices of goods and the controversy over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) weighing him down, President Aquino said yesterday he would bring his fight for good governance and against corruption to the grassroots where his “bosses” – the people – can be counted on for support. “We’ll come up with, perhaps, a manifestation of the support – if I still have the support of our people – and concrete examples of these. Perhaps wearing our yellow ribbons, among other things, just to demonstrate exactly in a quick manner where the sentiments of our people lie,” Aquino said during the “Daylight Dialogue: The Good Governance Challenge” when asked what help he would like to ask from his “bosses” in advancing reforms and preserving gains.“We will be posting a more detailed list of requests to our bosses in the coming days,” Aquino said.

The Daylight Dialogue at the Rizal Hall of the Palace gathered various members of civil society, academe, media, international development organizations and the private sector to discuss the progress and outlook of the Aquino administration’s governance initiatives. Other participants in the event include representatives from international civil society groups such as those based in Switzerland, Cambodia and Bangladesh. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim was a resource person in the event. “What is doable? Again, incentivize the legislature, amongst other things. We are not that far off from elections and this is, I think, the time when all politicians are very attuned to what their bosses want,” he said. “So the bosses have to make that message very clear - perhaps in the form of letters, e-mails, text messages – to their representatives, reminding them that this is what we want, these (are) our priorities, and please execute them as soon as possible. That’s the very first thing,” the President said. * read more...

ALSO: Palace says, Aquino joking in yellow ribbon call 

The Palace termed it a presidential joke but critics of President Aquino said that his call for yellow ribbons as a show of support for him will fall flat on its face. Aquino called on his business allies during a meeting to sport yellow ribbons as a show of support amid a conflict with the Supreme Court over the tribunal’s ruling on the unconstitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Aquino made the statement before an open forum during the Daylight Dialog in Malacañang attended by business leaders. Aquino made the suggestion during a light moment in his meeting with the business community, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. “It was just a light moment in the entire dialog, I don’t think he has a specific intent on it to tell everybody to wear the yellow ribbon and start counting who wears yellow and those who wear peach (the pro-impeachment color). That’s how I see it,” Coloma said.

“Wearing a yellow ribbon used to mean fighting the dictatorship but now it means supporting Aquino’s dictatorial usurpation of the powers of Congress through the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program),” ACT Teachers partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio said. “Aquino is just setting himself up for embarrassment. Wearing a yellow ribbon will not catch on,” Tinio added. Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairman, said Filipino overseas workers have expressed dissatisfaction over the President’s continued defense of the DAP and will not wear any yellow ribbon as Aquino suggested. “No yellow ribbons for Filipinos overseas and their families. They want him out,” Martinez said. “Our nation has proven to be colorful, maybe we should not take that statement seriously. We saw the context of what he said the statement. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy now into presidential autocracy — Joker 

JULY 16 --Presidential autocracy, that’s how a former senator and known critic of the administration yesterday described the strong position and continuing attacks on the Supreme Court (SC) by President Aquino. The scathing threats and attacks made by Aquino in two straight days came after the SC ruled his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional and illegal, saying the implementors and the architect of the DAP are liable civilly, administratively and criminally. This autocratic stance was displayed twice by Aquino in the last two days and will continue, according to Palace spokesmen as Aquino insisted on the legality of DAP, his pet project, despite the overwhelming disapproval by the country’s highest court. “As the picture looks currently, the President’s policy is to discredit the judiciary and render it impotent, further subjugate Congress and make the President supreme. Already the House of Representatives, through presidential allies, has moved to abolish the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), calling it the Supreme Court’s own pork barrel.

“Yet, by his oath of office the President is duty-bound to preserve and defend the Constitution. Goodbye Constitution.
Hurrah to Presidential autocracy!” said former Sen. Joker Arroyo yesterday in a press statement. Arroyo, some two weeks ago reiterated the lack of any enabling law that would support Malacanang’s DAP or the use of government’s savings even without Congress approval, belying even the matter of invoking Book VI, Chapter 5, Section 39 of the 1987 Administrative Code of the Philippines as the Palace’ basis in carrying out an economic stimulus package program to fast-track public spending on slow-moving projects of the administration. The said AO which was issued during the term of Aquino’s late mother, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, and which he also signed being then the executive secretary, does not authorize the government to spend funds from the country’s coffers, Arroyo previously explained. Aquino’s mother, he pointed out, did sign the said AO, but stressed that she did not use it until the end of her term in 1992 as it originated from the late strongman, former President Ferdinand Marcos as basis to gain control of government funds during his time, he pointed out. It appears that her son is treading the path of the late president, Ferdinand Marcos. * READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy’s 2016 endorsement power dissipates — poll 

JULY 18 --President Aquino’s endorsement will not be a potent factor among voters for the 2016 presidential elections, based on a Palace-commissioned Pulse Asia survey which also showed that likely Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II is not figuring in the race for Aquino’s successor. The poll, which was undertaken from June 24 to July 2, was held during same survey period when Aquino’s approval rating dropped to an all-time low 56 percent, or a net 25 from 70 percent in March and his trust rating also fell from 69 per cent to 53 per cent. An Aquino endorsement will not be even enough to come close to poll frontrunner Vice President Jejomar Binay who is the choice of 41 percent of respondents with Sen. Grace Poe, even with an Aquino endorsement, picked by a mere 12 percent. The survey showed 41 percent going for Binay, 12 percent for Poe, nine percent for Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, seven percent for Sen. Chiz Escudero, Roxas, and Miriam Defensor Santiago, five percent for Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., two percent for detained Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and one percent for Senate President Franklin Drilon and former Sen. Richard Gordon.

The effect of an endorsement for Poe would be her rating to rise to 16 percent and will have no effect on Roxas’ low rating. If Binay gets an endorsement, his rating will even fall by one point to 40 percent. Binay is expected to carry the torch for the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the 2016 elections. In the latest pre-election polls on so-called presidentiables, Binay remains a strong frontrunner while former president and now Manila Mayor Estrada will figure among the strong contenders to the post. Estrada, who has yet to make any categorical declaration of his intention to seek anew the presidency after being defeated in 2010 got nine percent, some two percentage ahead of Roxas. Estrada however, has made it clear that Binay is his candidate and will support him, as he is not in the running for the presidency. What he was quoted as saying was that if Binay becomes the administration candidate, he will be forced to run again, as there has to be an opposition candidate. * READ MORE...

ALSO Times commentary: The petty President 

JULY 16 --It is unclear now which gave portents of things to come: the President’s speech challenging the Supreme Court’s decision on the (un)constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) or news of Typhoon Rammasun making landfall in the Bicol Region and the Visayas. It is telling of course that this same President thought it wise to go on nationwide television to address the nation and defend his administration’s system of allocating public funds for various projects, a day before a typhoon was to make itself felt.

This is the same President whose administration went on system failure the moment Typhoon Haiyan hit, not so much because it was unprepared for a storm of that magnitude, but because it decided that the wisest way to deal with the hungry and thirsty, the traumatized survivors, was to refuse to give them relief goods right away, because that would mean not following the system government thought ideal. Never mind that people were in urgent need of food and water, and were closest to the national government’s headquarters in Tacloban; they had to go back to their barangays and towns, and wait for relief goods to be delivered there. Never mind that people were aimlessly walking and in shock—as one would expect of survivors of the strongest storm to ever make landfall in the world.

And lest we forget, this is the same President who was faced with traumatized Tacloban businessmen who implored him to do something about the peace and order in the city a couple of days after Typhoon Haiyan hit. And this President, instead of listening to the tired and pleading voices of these victims, seemed to take offense, delivering a retort that is difficult to forget: “But you did not die, right?” * READ MORE...

ALSO Philstar opinion: The Aquino legacies 

It was the week that the World Bank President had come to the Philippines to confirm that in the last four years, under the P-Noy presidency, the country had turned from being the sick man of Asia to becoming the next Asian Economic Miracle. But in a political environment already anticipating the 2016 elections, over mass media there has been an ongoing War of Words as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision of the unconstitutionality of some parts of the DAP and the President’s public disagreement with the decision. There were those apparently exploiting the dissension to further their own personal agendas.

There were the former top officials of the Erap Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regimes who are hoping for a restoration to power in 2016. Then there are the usual so-called militants who still believe that a violent revolution is the road to a Marxist utopia, an idea that has been globally discredited. Then there are those who simply want a return to the “the good old days.”  But there are also men and women who are recognized for their legal acumen and whose opinions deserve recognition. Former Justice Adolf Azcuna has an 8-point summary of his views on the Supreme Court decision which can be enlightening even for those who may not agree. Joker Arroyo and Rene Saguisag were former human rights activists during the Marcos dictatorship.

They were members of the MABINI, a group of lawyers organized during those terrible years who continued the legal fight for social justice against a regime and a judiciary absolutely lacking in integrity and recognition of human rights. Arroyo and Saguisag eventually became leading members of the cabinet of President Corazon Aquino. Both eventually ran and won as Senators of the Republic. In the current War of Words, they apparently have taken different views regarding P-Noy’s public stance on the Supreme Court decision. But both views are worth our attention. * READ MORE...


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Noy to bring his fight to the people


President Aquino shares a light moment with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim during the luncheon for the Daylight Dialogue: The Good Governance Challenge at Malacañang yesterday.

MANILA, JULY 21, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Aurea Calica -  With the rising prices of goods and the controversy over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) weighing him down, President Aquino said yesterday he would bring his fight for good governance and against corruption to the grassroots where his “bosses” – the people – can be counted on for support.

“We’ll come up with, perhaps, a manifestation of the support – if I still have the support of our people – and concrete examples of these. Perhaps wearing our yellow ribbons, among other things, just to demonstrate exactly in a quick manner where the sentiments of our people lie,” Aquino said during the “Daylight Dialogue: The Good Governance Challenge” when asked what help he would like to ask from his “bosses” in advancing reforms and preserving gains.

“We will be posting a more detailed list of requests to our bosses in the coming days,” Aquino said.

The Daylight Dialogue at the Rizal Hall of the Palace gathered various members of civil society, academe, media, international development organizations and the private sector to discuss the progress and outlook of the Aquino administration’s governance initiatives. Other participants in the event include representatives from international civil society groups such as those based in Switzerland, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim was a resource person in the event.

“What is doable? Again, incentivize the legislature, amongst other things. We are not that far off from elections and this is, I think, the time when all politicians are very attuned to what their bosses want,” he said. “So the bosses have to make that message very clear - perhaps in the form of letters, e-mails, text messages – to their representatives, reminding them that this is what we want, these (are) our priorities, and please execute them as soon as possible. That’s the very first thing,” the President said.

* On Monday, the President addressed the nation to defend the DAP.

Aquino announced the plan of the government to appeal the Supreme Court’s decision declaring parts of DAP unconstitutional.

Some quarters have warned that such defiance could lead to a constitutional crisis.

But Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that by filing a motion for reconsideration, the government is only urging the SC to revisit the basis of its ruling on the unconstitutionality of “acts and practices” related to the implementation of the DAP.

“While the high court affirmed that DAP has been beneficial in terms of providing a stimulus for economic growth, the President notes that its decision has a ‘chilling effect’ on the government’s ability to deliver essential public services,” Coloma said.

In his speeches to the nation Monday night and before the business community yesterday, the President called on the magistrates to consider the welfare and well-being of 98 million Filipinos while performing their constitutional duty to interpret the laws of the land.

“Contrary to apprehensions on a possible ‘constitutional crisis,’ the President believes that a reconsideration of the decision would contribute to sustaining the momentum of economic growth and institutional reforms,” Coloma said.

The President emphasized that more than 50 percent of the P144 billion released under DAP went to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the National Housing Authority (NHA), as he announced the uploading of details on all DAP programs in the Official Gazette website.

“If there was any abuse or misuse of this fund, then those responsible will be held to account” through the Commission on Audit, Coloma said.

In yesterday’s dialogue on good governance, the leaders of the business community affirmed their support for the President’s position, Coloma said.

The President encouraged them to join civil society organizations and other stakeholders in making their voices heard so that the nation’s “vision of lasting and inclusive growth” may be fully attained, Coloma said.

Earlier, Coloma promised to “level up” as Aquino’s satisfaction and approval ratings plunged to their lowest levels in his four years in office.

Aquino also said it was in 2011 when he learned about agencies’ “slow moving programs” and unspent allocations or “savings” and that something had to be done immediately.

“We had to act. We knew that, if we were to bring about inclusive growth sooner rather than later, we needed to be proactive and pump-prime the economy. We chose to do this through a management tool now known as the DAP,” Aquino said.

“Given this, we had a decision to make. Should government be content to leave these funds idle? Or should we find a way to put them to good use – to put them in service of the Filipino people?” he asked.

“It became evident that the latter opinion or option was the only option we could consider if we wanted to stay true to our mandate,” Aquino said.

“With that, I asked my Cabinet what projects they would be able to implement, and what they could not,” he pointed out.

“We agreed that if agencies could not maximize the use of their budgets in the mid-year review, then we would allocate them to programs that would bring benefits to our people in the soonest possible time,” he said.

“This is precisely what we did under the Disbursement Acceleration Program,” he said.

Aquino said he feels his administration is being singled out, judging from the criticism it has been getting for the DAP.

He said his predecessors had employed the same funding tack but had not been criticized for it.

“I have to ask: can the same effects be attributed to DAP’s previous incarnations? My predecessors all had their versions of DAP, called the Reserve Control Account and alternatively Overall Savings,” he said.

“I should add: these former presidents also exercised the authority to transfer appropriations or savings to other branches of government and even to constitutional commissions,” Aquino reiterated, defending and justifying the cross-border realignments.

“Perhaps we are being questioned today simply because we have been truly transparent about it,” he said.

‘Devastating effect’

Aquino also said the suspension of all projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by Gov. Mujiv Hataman reflects a “potentially devastating effect” of the SC decision against DAP on pro-poor programs across the country. - With Delon Porcalla

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Palace says, Aquino joking in yellow ribbon call Written by Tribune
Friday, 18 July 2014 00:00

The Palace termed it a presidential joke but critics of President Aquino said that his call for yellow ribbons as a show of support for him will fall flat on its face.

Aquino called on his business allies during a meeting to sport yellow ribbons as a show of support amid a conflict with the Supreme Court over the tribunal’s ruling on the unconstitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Aquino made the statement before an open forum during the Daylight Dialog in Malacañang attended by business leaders.

Aquino made the suggestion during a light moment in his meeting with the business community, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

“It was just a light moment in the entire dialog, I don’t think he has a specific intent on it to tell everybody to wear the yellow ribbon and start counting who wears yellow and those who wear peach (the pro-impeachment color). That’s how I see it,” Coloma said.

“Wearing a yellow ribbon used to mean fighting the dictatorship but now it means supporting Aquino’s dictatorial usurpation of the powers of Congress through the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program),” ACT Teachers partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio said.

“Aquino is just setting himself up for embarrassment. Wearing a yellow ribbon will not catch on,” Tinio added.
Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairman, said Filipino overseas workers have expressed dissatisfaction over the President’s continued defense of the DAP and will not wear any yellow ribbon as Aquino suggested.

“No yellow ribbons for Filipinos overseas and their families. They want him out,” Martinez said.

“Our nation has proven to be colorful, maybe we should not take that statement seriously. We saw the context of what he said the statement.

* During the open forum, Greg Navarro, president of the Management Association of the Philippines asked a question to Aquino: “What do you want us to do?”

“It was spoken during a light moment in the dialog. There is no intention to start a competition on (political) colors,” Coloma added.

Migrante also assailed the arrogance that Aquino showed during his nationwide address defending the DAP.

“The first few minutes into his speech and OFWs immediately knew that it was a waste of their time. His unrepentance and arrogance have brought much discontent among Filipinos worldwide. No yellow ribbons for Filipinos overseas and their families. They want him out,” Martinez said.

Martinez also slammed Aquino for hurling veiled threats against the Supreme Court, saying that it was tyrannical and “Marcosian”.

“His defense of the DAP was expected. He has his head in a platter, after all. But what was more unforgivable for our kababayans was his arrogant display of autocracy. In threatening the Supreme Court, Aquino has also unleashed a threat against all democracy-loving Filipinos. It was terribly Marcosian, his parents must be cringing in their graves,” he added

“Aquino said it best in his speech when he said, ‘If you can’t use it, lose it’. Challenge accepted,” Martinez said.

Migrante International said it is supporting the upcoming Lakbayan para sa Tunay na SONA which will kick off on July 21 from Tacloban and arrive in Manila on July 26. Filipinos all over the world are also gearing for protests in time for Aquino’s fifth State of the Nation Address.

Coloma added Malacañang will file a motion for reconsideration on Friday that will seek to reverse the SC ruling declaring some provisions of the DAP as unconstitutional.

“I think, they are striving to file it by tomorrow... This motion contains all the salient arguments being put forward by the Executive branch in asking the magistrates to revisit the legal issues,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the appeal will be done in the spirit of complying with judicial processes.

He stressed that the Executive branch will eventually accept the SC decision after all these processes are done.
”We are a government of laws and not of men. Of course we will accept the decision,” he said.

Coloma cited the SC’s decisions on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Reproductive Health, Truth Commission and midnight appointees.

The Palace, however, maintained that projects funded through the DAP benefited many Filipinos and partly boosted economic growth.

Noy now into presidential autocracy — Joker Written by Angie M. Rosales
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 00:00  Daily Tribune

Allies rush to defend Aquino’s attacks on SC 

Presidential autocracy, that’s how a former senator and known critic of the administration yesterday described the strong position and continuing attacks on the Supreme Court (SC) by President Aquino.

The scathing threats and attacks made by Aquino in two straight days came after the SC ruled his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional and illegal, saying the implementors and the architect of the DAP are liable civilly, administratively and criminally.

This autocratic stance was displayed twice by Aquino in the last two days and will continue, according to Palace spokesmen as Aquino insisted on the legality of DAP, his pet project, despite the overwhelming disapproval by the country’s highest court.

“As the picture looks currently, the President’s policy is to discredit the judiciary and render it impotent, further subjugate Congress and make the President supreme.

Already the House of Representatives, through presidential allies, has moved to abolish the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), calling it the Supreme Court’s own pork barrel.

“Yet, by his oath of office the President is duty-bound to preserve and defend the Constitution. Goodbye Constitution.
Hurrah to Presidential autocracy!” said former Sen. Joker Arroyo yesterday in a press statement.

Arroyo, some two weeks ago reiterated the lack of any enabling law that would support Malacanang’s DAP or the use of government’s savings even without Congress approval, belying even the matter of invoking Book VI, Chapter 5, Section 39 of the 1987 Administrative Code of the Philippines as the Palace’ basis in carrying out an economic stimulus package program to fast-track public spending on slow-moving projects of the administration.

The said AO which was issued during the term of Aquino’s late mother, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, and which he also signed being then the executive secretary, does not authorize the government to spend funds from the country’s coffers, Arroyo previously explained.

Aquino’s mother, he pointed out, did sign the said AO, but stressed that she did not use it until the end of her term in 1992 as it originated from the late strongman, former President Ferdinand Marcos as basis to gain control of government funds during his time, he pointed out.

It appears that her son is treading the path of the late president, Ferdinand Marcos.

* While President Aquino continues to defend the legality of the DAP, Arroyo emphasized that such presidential stance tends to undermine the Supreme Court being the final arbiter in the interpretation of the laws in the country.

“If the President expresses lack of faith in the SC, who will? It has no armed forces to protect itself or the police to enforce its judgments. Is the President saying that if the high court turns down the government’s motion for reconsideration, the government will not comply with the original decision?

“If the President carries out the threat, that would dismantle the balance of power under the Constitution which is anchored on the equality of the three branches, the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary,” he said.

“The President does not question that power of the SC but questions the justices’ collective capacity and integrity to exercise that power.

“What if the SC does not reconsider its 13-0 unanimous decision on DAP? What will the President do? That is the overriding question. After all, he has practically declared a state of war with the high court in a conflict of high and emotional drama beamed nationwide,” he added.

The former lawmaker stressed that what cannot be overlooked is that when the President speaks, he makes a policy statement.

“Before the policy statement was made, the administration took pains to establish a massive encirclement attack on high court. Congress has threatened to eliminate the Judicial Development Fund (JDF) of the SC to impair its constitutionally guaranteed fiscal autonomy.

The CoA (Commission on Audit) has published the individual justices’ earnings to embarrass them. The BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) has recently issued a memo order designed to tax a hitherto untaxable additional income of employees of the judiciary from the JDF.

“The potent weapon of the SC is its assigned duty vested by the Constitution to adjudge, among others, the constitutionality of act or measures including those of the President,” Arroyo said.
Sen. Nancy Binay also joined in questioning the timing of CoA’s release of a report questioning the handling of P3.19 billion savings in 2012 without considering its financial obligations, the same day the Chief Executive addressed the public regarding the issue on DAP.
“I hope this is not in retaliation for the DAP decision because if that is the case, the move can be seen as petty and vindictive. One cannot escape the question:Who is being personal?, she asked.

The neophyte senator likewise shared the observation of Arroyo on the stance taken by the President in insisting the legality of the DAP despite the SC’s ruling on the matter.

“It is the Executive’s role to implement the law, and the Judiciary’s to interpret the law. Somehow I get the feeling the President may have confused the roles of the co-equal branches. The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP),” she stressed.

She said with just two years left in his presidency, Aquino should concentrate on the problems the nation faces, instead of picking a personal fight with the SC.

“President Aquino does not get it,” remarked United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general Toby Tiangco, reacting to the speech delivered by Aquino on national television.

Tiangco said that the analogy that Aquino used as a tool to defend Malacañang’s illegal disbursements is a risky play of paragons devoid of logic.

Tiangco noted that the insult and scathing words against the Supreme Court are clearly a blatant breach of respect for a co-equal branch of government, a manifest disregard of law, and a dangerous precedent.

“So, is he now picking a fight with the Supreme Court just because the justices didn’t vote in a way that pleased him? Did he expect the SC to be sympathetic to him now that it is no longer headed by Corona?” he asked.

UNA pointed out that the President already declared an open war against the SC and even went farther by calling Congress to step into the fray.

The Palace has asked allies of the Liberal Party in Congress to revive the investigation into the P1.77 billion JDF when Congress resumes on July 28.

According to Tiangco, even the Supreme Court is now being bullied and threatened by the heavy hand of the state.

“What will happen to checks and balances if the President wants his way? What will happen to the High Court when it becomes impotent? When the rule of law is given a cold shoulder by the President who is supposed to defend it, can we still find refuge in the law? This is a dangerous precedent.”

“The speech is worse than DAP itself. It shows total disrespect for the Constitution. What he wants is to be The Law’—he is right when he says so,” he pointed out.

Tiangco said that the Administration’s lack of direction, leadership and experience that led to a wrongful DAP, and the failure to address the persisting power crisis, high prices of basic commodities, unemployment and peace and order.

What’s worst, DAP was a reward for impeaching and convicting former Chief Justice Renato Corona. This is where all of it started the thinking that the end justifies the means’. That’s why he bribed the lawmakers.,” he added.

Tiangco said bribery is corruption, “So, they are guilty of corrupting public officials.”

SC officials saw it fit not to reply to Aquino’s televised tirade threatening the judiciary over the latter’s decision to outlaw Malacañang’s pork barrel or the DAP.

Court spokesmen Theodore Te, said the justices have no official response on Aquino’s threats of full on clash between Executive and the Judiciary if their decision declaring the president’s pork barrel as unconstitutional is not reversed.

Te said the Court will study the report made by the Commission on Audit questioning its P3.19 billion savings in 2012. The CoA said the SC had declared savings of P3.19 billion in 2012 even when it had several unpaid obligations during the year.

The report said the SC used its budget for 2013 to pay for the said expenses. “The Court is still studying the CoA report,” he explained.

The filing of a motion for reconsideration asking the Supreme Court to take a second look at its decision on the Development Acceleration Program is a sign that President Aquino respects the process and not defying the High Court.

According to Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, the president, as the aggrieved party, is looking at an available remedy for the DAP which was declared as unconstitutional by the High Court.

Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, who headed the House impeachment team against former Chief Justice Renato Corona, said that the Supreme Court may have been “too legalistic on the interpretation of certain laws.”

Tupas said that the Supreme Court should not forget that laws are made for the people.

“It might constrain the spirit and the letter of the law so I am supporting the president’s stand on the DAP that it has redounded to the benefit of the Filipino people,” Tupas said during the weekly Ugnayan sa Batasan media forum at the House of Representatives yesterday.

Critics of the administration are way out of line when they warned of constitutional crisis over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) because Aquino did not defy the Supreme Court’s decision declaring the program unconstitutional, a staunch Aquino ally in Congress said yesterday.

“The people should not listen to doomsayers. They want to paint the President in bad light by making it appear that the Executive is warring with the Judiciary,” said Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr. of the National Unity Party (NUP).

Barzaga said the President did not defy the High Court in his speech on Monday night but recognized the Tribunal’s authority, being a co-equal branch of the Executive and Legislative.

Barzaga said the President delivered the speech not to attack a co-equal branch of the government but to try to explain to the people, his bosses, the rationale behind the creation of the program.

He said the Executive, especially Budget Secretary Abad, created the DAP during a period when there was no SC ruling governing the use of budgetary savings.

“How can the President’s political opponents blame him and his men for acting based on the principle of presumption of regularity? The use of savings has long been practiced by past administrations and the only difference is that it wasn’t questioned then,” Barzaga said. With Gerry Baldo and Benjie Pulta

Noy’s 2016 endorsement power dissipates — poll Written by Angie M. Rosales Friday, 18 July 2014 00:00 DAILY TRIBUNE

BINAY RUN-AWAY WINNER VS AQUINO ANOINTED


AQUINO

President Aquino’s endorsement will not be a potent factor among voters for the 2016 presidential elections, based on a Palace-commissioned Pulse Asia survey which also showed that likely Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II is not figuring in the race for Aquino’s successor.

The poll, which was undertaken from June 24 to July 2, was held during same survey period when Aquino’s approval rating dropped to an all-time low 56 percent, or a net 25 from 70 percent in March and his trust rating also fell from 69 per cent to 53 per cent.

An Aquino endorsement will not be even enough to come close to poll frontrunner Vice President Jejomar Binay who is the choice of 41 percent of respondents with Sen. Grace Poe, even with an Aquino endorsement, picked by a mere 12 percent.

The survey showed 41 percent going for Binay, 12 percent for Poe, nine percent for Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, seven percent for Sen. Chiz Escudero, Roxas, and Miriam Defensor Santiago, five percent for Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., two percent for detained Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and one percent for Senate President Franklin Drilon and former Sen. Richard Gordon.

The effect of an endorsement for Poe would be her rating to rise to 16 percent and will have no effect on Roxas’ low rating.
If Binay gets an endorsement, his rating will even fall by one point to 40 percent. Binay is expected to carry the torch for the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in the 2016 elections.

In the latest pre-election polls on so-called presidentiables, Binay remains a strong frontrunner while former president and now Manila Mayor Estrada will figure among the strong contenders to the post.

Estrada, who has yet to make any categorical declaration of his intention to seek anew the presidency after being defeated in 2010 got nine percent, some two percentage ahead of Roxas.

Estrada however, has made it clear that Binay is his candidate and will support him, as he is not in the running for the presidency.

What he was quoted as saying was that if Binay becomes the administration candidate, he will be forced to run again, as there has to be an opposition candidate.

* The survey was focused on personalities voters would choose to be the administration’s bet for 2016.

In the question posed to respondents: “If President Aquino will support or endorse (blank) as candidate for president in the 2016 elections, would you surely vote for, probably vote for, probably not vote for or surely not vote for him/her?”, Poe received relatively a high percentage share with 70 percent compared to Roxas’ 51 percent in a head-to-head battle between the two.

Poe’s percentage of voters from the National Capital Region (NCR), Visayas and Mindanao regions who said they will “vote for her” ranges between 68 percent to 70 percent compared to Roxas which rangers between 41 to 63 percent.

Those who will “not vote for her” averaged at 24 percent or between 22 percent to 26 percent while those who said that they will “not vote for” Roxas stood at 42 percent on the average or between 33 percent to 49 percent.

Poe, the Palace commissioned survey said appears to have a strong following in different social classes, with those categorized to be among in the “ABC” class rooting for her at around 67 percent and those from class “D” and “E”, were at 69 percent and 75 percent respectively, as Aquino’s endorsed presidential candidate. Overall, however, against Binay, she gets only 12 percent of the vote.

Roxas, on the other hand, received 52 percent support from those surveyed claiming to be in class ABC and 50 percent and 53 percent respectively from those in class D and E, as Aquino’s endorsed candidate.

Poe is also proving to be a frontrunner for possible vice presidential contender receiving 26 percent from respondents nationwide, followed by Escudero with 22 percent.

Cayetano was only third with 14 percent, Marcos at fourth place at 8 percent and another NP party mate Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV with 6 percent.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada ranked sixth with 5 percent, the same with Drilon.

Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto and Revilla yielded 4 percent while Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo received one percent.

As to the “senatoriables”, one of the re-electionist upper chamber members, Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III was ranked 12th to 17th while Deputy Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III came in second to Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis Pangilinan.

In terms of awareness, Sotto stood higher with 95 percent compared to Pangilinan’s 93 percent, those “voting for” him was at 53.8 percent while the latter was at 54.7 percent.

Pangilinan and Sotto, based on the survey, are likely to be on No.1 to No. 3 if elections are to be held today.
In the 12 possible “winning” senatorial candidates, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Drilon and Sen. Sergio Osmena III who are identified with the administration remain on the so-called winning circle, alongside Marcos.

Roxas is also sure to win, ranking 3-9, same with Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson.

Former Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri is also likely to win as he stool at 4-11 in terms of ranking while defeated Sen. Jamby Madrigal was at 9-11 ranking.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and defeated senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros were ranked 11-17, same with Taguig City Rep. Lino Cayetano.

Completing the winning circle as of the said survey period included Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Bacoor Rep. Lani Mercado as they were ranked 12-19.

Sen. Serge Osmeña had warned of Aquino’s loss of his endorsement power due to governance miscues and his being a “hard-head” on criticisms.

“[Aquino] will lose much of his endorsement power in 2016. He will lose much of that if people say, ‘Yeah we appreciate what you did.’ His honesty inspired many people but it all depends who he endorses,” Osmeña said.

Osmeña, one of Aquino’s campaign managers in the 2010 polls, said Aquino’s shielding of “the people he appointed” shows that he is a poor manager.

“He’s a good man but he’s an awful manager …. If you’re willing to accept you made a mistake, it’s easier to correct it. First you accept you made a mistake, then say ‘Yes we’ll make corrections,’” Osmeña said.

MANILA TIMES COMMENTARY

The petty President July 16, 2014 10:51 pm by KATRINA STUART SANTIAGO


KATRINA STUART SANTIAGO

It is unclear now which gave portents of things to come: the President’s speech challenging the Supreme Court’s decision on the (un)constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) or news of Typhoon Rammasun making landfall in the Bicol Region and the Visayas.

It is telling of course that this same President thought it wise to go on nationwide television to address the nation and defend his administration’s system of allocating public funds for various projects, a day before a typhoon was to make itself felt.

This is the same President whose administration went on system failure the moment Typhoon Haiyan hit, not so much because it was unprepared for a storm of that magnitude, but because it decided that the wisest way to deal with the hungry and thirsty, the traumatized survivors, was to refuse to give them relief goods right away, because that would mean not following the system government thought ideal.

Never mind that people were in urgent need of food and water, and were closest to the national government’s headquarters in Tacloban; they had to go back to their barangays and towns, and wait for relief goods to be delivered there. Never mind that people were aimlessly walking and in shock—as one would expect of survivors of the strongest storm to ever make landfall in the world.

And lest we forget, this is the same President who was faced with traumatized Tacloban businessmen who implored him to do something about the peace and order in the city a couple of days after Typhoon Haiyan hit. And this President, instead of listening to the tired and pleading voices of these victims, seemed to take offense, delivering a retort that is difficult to forget: “But you did not die, right?”

* Now that would seem to be portents of things to come really, for this President and his administration.

Priorities, priorities!

This President and his administration read Typhoon Haiyan wrong. And anyone who has visited Leyte and Samar since would know that none of the grand promises of permanent housing and building better are actually being fulfilled. What is in the post-Haiyan context is a sinking feeling that the impoverished who survived the storm, are now suffering government neglect, depending more on international humanitarian organizations and local private sector initiatives so that they might live better.

We all know how those bunkhouses look, yes? That is telling of how Haiyan survivors are being treated with regards their other basic needs and rights: food, clothing, health and hygiene, employment.

Now, as rains from Typhoon Rammasun fall, it doesn’t speak well of this government that what we know concerned the President a day before it was to make landfall, was his own administration’s survival given the SC decision on the DAP. And as if to add insult to injury, this morning, the President had the temerity to ask the people to wear a yellow ribbon to show their support for him.

This is what concerns him on the morning Typhoon Rammasun was expected to make landfall: the people’s support for him.

Imagine that.

Pettiness! Pettiness!

It is unthinking and insensitive. It is also exactly the kind of pettiness that we’ve come to expect from this President, putting this yellow ribbon campaign on the same level as a storm that is to displace thousands of Filipinos.

It is also proof of this President’s inability to let things slide, let his insecurities go, especially since the nation faces something far larger, far more important, and infinitely more urgent. That early Tuesday what was on his mind, enough to articulate it to the media, was the need to prove he had the people’s support is utterly offensive.

It is also like watching a Class President demanding a show of hands from his Student Council because he needs to know who’s on his side.

It is simplistic for sure, but that is also how this President and his government seem to have started to view this crisis we are in. Where the DAP has been declared unconstitutional, and this President and his advisers have decided to put the SC into question by insisting that the DAP was okay, that the President and his men had used the DAP system within the confines of the law, not necessarily the Constitution but an Administrative Code they now invoke.

Now this is not about the SC infallibility as far as I’m concerned, as it is about this President’s. The latter is saying that the SC is wrong on the DAP, because look at all the projects it has funded! Look at the good it has done!

And no, this is not just about the horrible false analogy about him parking in a no-parking-zone to save the life of someone in an emergency. It is about the fact that all this talk about the good DAP has done, the projects that it has funded, only remind us what is fundamentally wrong with this government’s DAP.

Two words: no accountability.

The death of the yellow ribbon

If there is anything we’ve learned studying documents and understanding this government’s disbursements of public funds, it’s that it happens in huge lump sums. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) takes pride in its releasing these PDAF – and now DAP – allocations, but these are nothing but huge amounts that do not tell us exactly where the money went.

Giving us a list of projects and telling us that it is now the responsibility of that department or that public official to provide the people with a proper accounting of those funds, is to forget that it is the responsibility as well of the Executive to make sure that this money goes where it should, that it fulfills the project it promises. Without proof of where these lump sum disbursements actually went—to the last thousand at the very least—how can this President even invoke “all the good the DAP has done”?

With no proof that every thousand of these DAP billions actually went to that river rehabilitation, that informal settler relocation, that school building, that batch of scholars, how can this government even prove that the DAP has done the good they say it has?

What this President is asking us to do is to believe that these funds went where they should, and that it was felt by the people it was supposed to affect. Never mind that there is no proper accounting of these funds, no documents that prove these projects even exist.

Meanwhile it takes so little for this President to build his self-confidence and believe that he has the people’s support: wear a yellow ribbon. Where that ribbon used to mean support for a national hero who defiantly went back home knowing full well he might be killed; where that used to mean some love and respect for the widow who dared face the dictator.

Now that just means support for a President who, facing a Supreme Court that has declared his system of disbursing funds unconstitutional, is in dire need of nothing but an ego boost.
That’s not just petty. It’s also pathetic.

FROM PHILSTAR

The Aquino legacies BREAKTHROUGH By Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 20, 2014 - 12:00am 0 47 googleplus0 0

It was the week that the World Bank President had come to the Philippines to confirm that in the last four years, under the P-Noy presidency, the country had turned from being the sick man of Asia to becoming the next Asian Economic Miracle.

But in a political environment already anticipating the 2016 elections, over mass media there has been an ongoing War of Words as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision of the unconstitutionality of some parts of the DAP and the President’s public disagreement with the decision.

There were those apparently exploiting the dissension to further their own personal agendas. There were the former top officials of the Erap Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regimes who are hoping for a restoration to power in 2016. Then there are the usual so-called militants who still believe that a violent revolution is the road to a Marxist utopia, an idea that has been globally discredited. Then there are those who simply want a return to the “the good old days.”

But there are also men and women who are recognized for their legal acumen and whose opinions deserve recognition. Former Justice Adolf Azcuna has an 8-point summary of his views on the Supreme Court decision which can be enlightening even for those who may not agree.

Joker Arroyo and Rene Saguisag were former human rights activists during the Marcos dictatorship. They were members of the MABINI, a group of lawyers organized during those terrible years who continued the legal fight for social justice against a regime and a judiciary absolutely lacking in integrity and recognition of human rights.

Arroyo and Saguisag eventually became leading members of the cabinet of President Corazon Aquino. Both eventually ran and won as Senators of the Republic.

In the current War of Words, they apparently have taken different views regarding P-Noy’s public stance on the Supreme Court decision. But both views are worth our attention.

* Joker Arroyo had said that P-Noy practically declared war against the magistrates, and according to a report “that his (P-Noy’s) administration had even before the Monday night TV address launched a massive encirclement attack on the high court.” Arroyo further said: “The President does not question that power of the Supreme Court, but questions the Justices’ collective capacity and integrity to exercise that power. Such presidential stance undermines the Supreme Court. If the President expresses lack of faith in the Supreme Court, who will? It has no armed forces to protect itself, or the police to enforce its judgments.”

Last July 15, Rene Saguisag posted in his blog the following comments which apparently was a reply to the comments of Joker Arroyo:

“Filing a motion for reconsideration is declaring war? Lawyers do it all the time. Lawyers do it all the time. If it’s a threat, it’s legal, like we lawyers regularly do when we write demand letters.

Maybe if P-Noy would enlist the Alex Boncayao Brigade or sic the Abu Sayyaf on a Justice, or contracted some Tondo toughie to exterminate a magistrate with extreme prejudice. War. But not if he would support the legal initiative to have more transparency in the JDF (Judiciary Development Fund).

One who threatens to sue a Kamandag who deflowered his daughter is making a permissible LEGAL threat in our democracy.

If the MR (Motion for Reconsideration) is denied as is very likely, abangan. Maybe PNoy and Butch can resign and all the saints will come marching in? Can we not wait another 715 days?

But one issue that apparently has been laid to rest is that of criminal liability or whether the DAP is an impeachable act. We have the legal opinion of one of the country’s foremost constitutional legal experts, former Supreme Court Justice Adolf Azcuna who stated that the Supreme Court did not declare that the present Constitution has invalidated Sections 38 and 49 of the 1987 Administrative Code. This is the same Code that P-Noy used to defend the legality of the DAP.

According to Justice Azcuna, the Supreme Court can decide to declare the Administrative Code as unconstitutional during the President’s Motion for Reconciliation. However, if the Court does so as Azcuna suggested, then “Butch Abad and company will fall under the doctrine of operative fact because they relied on its provisions and are not the authors.”

The “doctrine of operative fact” absolves those who rely on good faith on following a law that is subsequently declared unconstitutional. In fact, Justice Azcuna states that there is no ruling from the Supreme Court that says the authors, proponents, implementers of the DAP acted in bad faith or are liable.

During this period and in any future War of Words, it is important that we listen only to those who have the intellectual acumen and integrity even if their opinions may differ. Such is the case in a democracy. It is important that we separate the “intellectual grain from the chaff.” There are those who try to make the loudest noise thinking that their arguments can be bolstered based on the number of their media appearances. Then there are other personalities in and out of media who obviously have personal or political agendas.

I am not a lawyer. That is the reason I have never had the gall to express personal legal conclusions. I have quoted from the legal opinions of the great legal minds of our day, for whom I have developed tremendous respect. I have quoted from Supreme Court Justice Leonen, former Supreme Court Justice Azcuna, former Senator Joker Arroyo, former Senator Rene Saguisag, and a legal practitioner who has requested anonymity.

Their opinions may differ but they are worth listening to and weighing.

The nation can rely on P-Noy to follow the democratic process which his family – Ninoy and Cory – have become the symbols for its restoration to our country.

A War of Words is not and should not be mistaken for a real war. This country will never have a Marcos martial law regime again.

In the United States, several of its presidents, like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Barack Obama, have been accused of battling the Supreme Court due to issues regarding presidential prerogatives.

I hope we have not reached a point where questioning the integrity and the infallibility of the Supreme Court Justices – or the other two branches of government – will be considered anti-democratic. Part of the essence of a democracy lies in the capability of the three branches of government to serve as checks and balances for the excesses of other institutions.

Ninoy’s legacy was to awaken in all of us that the Filipino is worth dying for. Cory’s legacy was the restoration of democracy through People Power against impossible odds.

P-Noy’s legacy will be the institutionalization of the rule of law in our nation.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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