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Saturday, April 5, 2014

COA ON GSIS

By REY O. ARCILLA  
MALAYA  
(I believe it is time for COA to ask GSIS head Robert Vergara what he has done on last year’s uncovered discrepancies in the posting of contributions paid by members from various government agencies.)
Robert Vergara
Robert Vergara
I assume MILF chair Al-haj Murad Ebrahim is a Filipino citizen. I also assume he will remain one when Bangsamoro is finally established. After all, it is supposed to be a mere autonomous region of the Republic.
So how come he didn’t even deign to face the Philippine flag nor did he place his right hand on his breast when the national anthem was played during the signing ceremony of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in Malacanang last week? President Noynoy Aquino and Peace Adviser Teresita Deles did. Never mind Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. He is not Filipino.
Was that a Freudian slip on the part of Ebrahim? I could not help but wonder what his ultimate objective is? Today, an autonomous region? Tomorrow, an independent Islamic state? Or a member of the Malaysian Federation? How come the Bangsamoro will have a parliamentary form of government with a chief minister, as the states in Malaysia do?
Also, I have never heard of an autonomous region in the world with 12 nautical miles of territorial waters. Does Hong Kong, for instance, have territorial waters? Isn’t it a fact that only sovereign states have territorial waters? Will Bangsamoro still be an integral part of the Republic or will it be a semi-independent state? Just asking.
In any case, I too wish the signing of the CAB will mark the beginning of lasting peace in Mindanao for the sake of our brethren there, in particular, and the country, in general.
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Both the Philippine and US panels negotiating the proposed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement keep denying that they are under pressure to finish the negotiations in time for the impending visit of President Barack Hussain Obama this month. Enough already, please. The Filipino people are no longer the fools the Americans and our so-called leaders take them to be in years past. Don’t forget, this is the age of the cellphone, the Facebook, the Twitter, and what-have-you. As I have said before, if that is the only reason Obama is coming, he should just stay home.
Those dyed-in-the-wool pro-Americans in our midst also do not know any better. They live in the past. We are not saying we do not need the US per se. We do. But so does she! Need us, I mean. Maybe even more than we need her. Otherwise, why would she insist on being here and even wanting to increase her presence? Oh yes, China. But will her increased presence here deter China from doing what she’s doing now? Maybe, but not likely! China knows the US better than we do. She knows that the latter will never tangle with her over some rocks, reefs and shoals. The US is neutral on the ownership of the disputed territories, remember?
Besides, the US is already here! It is also a fact that her troops and war machines have been coming and going almost at will. There is no denying either the fact that if China does something inimical to US interests in these parts, the latter can be here faster than the Chinese leaders in Beijing are able to say “kampai!”. She proved that after Yolanda struck.
So why does the US want to increase her troop presence and storage facilities, presumably for war materiel and munitions, here? For practical reasons. It would be a lot cheaper and more convenient for troops and military hardware to be based on land rather than on naval vessels plying the adjoining seas constantly.
On the other hand, what do we gain from an increased US military presence here? The socio-cultural, even political, cost to us will be immense. Will it give us what the US and our pro-American leaders like to call a credible defense posture? No. On the contrary, it will only serve as a magnet for us to be walloped first in case of a military confrontation between China and the US.
It will give the US that… a credible defense posture… in these parts, but not us. That’s why she has decided to pivot to this region, to re-balance her forces abroad… 40 percent in Europe and 60 percent here. Why? They realize that, as enunciated by US Republican congressman Steve Chabot, the “Asia-Pacific region is the future. It’s the driver of the global economy and will make or break our geopolitical role in the world.”
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said that what the US seeks is an accord that’s “mutually agreeable”. Natcherly. That’s what we want too. And given the lack of a clear advantage that the EDC will give us, what would be a “mutually agreeable” accord, in my view, is one that includes the following provisions: rental of $2 to $3 billion annually in cash; immediate settlement of what is rightfully due to all our WWII veterans commissioned by the US government; the agreement must be for a maximum of five years only, with either party having the right to terminate it before the end of that period; everything that is brought in by the US and still in place at the expiration of the agreement must be left behind and become ours, just as they did in Iraq and will be doing in Afghanistan; no nuclear weapons or materiel should be brought into the country (no more of that “neither confirm nor deny” bullshit); and clean up their toxic wastes when they leave.
I hope Goldberg finds the foregoing also “mutually agreeable” and not “almost offensive”… his words.
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Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin asked why activists make so much noise against the proposed Enhanced Defense Cooperation (EDC) with the US but are deafeningly silent on China’s bullying and aggressive moves in the West Philippine Sea. The answer, my dear fellow, is because they are leftists. You don’t expect them to raise their voice against communist China, do you? Who knows where they get their funding from.
But Gazmin’s question about why our people do not demonstrate against the Chinese bully is very valid. The reason, I think, is that there is no one rallying them to do just that. Maybe they are just indifferent, or are not fully aware of, or understand, the issue and its implications to them and to the country. Or maybe, they just don’t believe in their leaders, most of whom are perceived to be inept and crooks tainted with corruption.
This is where the government could come in. It should use its numerous communication agencies to educate our people on a sustained basis and encourage them to unite as one in conveying to China their outrage at her bullying and threatening behavior. Does anyone honestly believe, for instance, that the Chinese people demonstrate automatically and almost instantaneously against countries they perceive to be going against their interests? No way! They are led!
Without leadership, the people will not move. Simple.
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Last year, Ombudsman Conchita C. Morales said she would file in December at the latest appropriate charges of plunder against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada and some 38 others in the Sandiganbayan.
It is now April 2014 and still no news of when those charges will be filed. What gives? What the heck is Morales waiting for? What is the reason for the delay? People are beginning to suspect something fishy is going on. Is she getting instructions from someone? The office of the Ombudsman is supposed to be an independent body.
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Reminders (for Noynoy):
1) Filing of charges against officials of the National Food Authority (NFA) during Arroyo’s illegitimate regime. Noynoy himself said on several occasions that there is documentary evidence to prove the venalities in the past in that agency;
2) Investigation of reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia and order his successor, Robert “Pretty Boy” Vergara, to file the proper charges, if warranted, against the former;
Noynoy should also order Vergara to report to him on COA’s findings that:
(a) He received the obscenely excessive compensation of P16.36 million in 2012 making him the highest paid government servant then, as well as how much received in 2013; and
(b) That, as of nine or ten months ago, at least P4.13 billion in contributions and loan payments made by 12 government offices to the GSIS had not been credited to the offices as of Dec. 31, 2011.
COA also said at the time that the amount of unrecorded remittances could go much higher because only 36 agencies have so far responded out of the 186 that were sent confirmation requests by government auditors. Of the 36, 27 confirmed “discrepancies” in their premium and loan payments ledgers when compared with those of the GSIS.
There are three questions being raised when remittances, or parts thereof, of government agencies are not recorded by the GSIS on time: a) Where are these huge sums “parked” in the meantime?; b) Do they earn interest?; and c) To where (whom?) does the interest, if any, go?
Pray tell, Mr. Vergara, what is the present status of these funds, including those that may have been remitted since and not yet recorded by the GSIS?
I BELIEVE IT IS TIME FOR COA TO FOLLOW UP ON WHAT VERGARA HAS DONE ON THE ABOVE FINDINGS SO THAT AFFECTED GSIS MEMBERS WOULD KNOW THE STATUS OF THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS!
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Today is the 338th day of the seventh year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.
Four weeks ago, during a mass officiated by him, Manila Archbishop Jose Antonio Cardinal Tagle had this to say:
“I call on those who still have Jonas and the many others who are missing and are still being sought by their mothers, fathers, siblings… face God. Those who have been committing evil acts might elude justice now but would definitely be answerable to God.”
Jonas’ mother, Edita, who was at the mass, acknowledged Noynoy’s ordering a “focused, dedicated and exhaustive” probe on her son’s case.
“Yes, he has done something but he could do more. Remember he is the commander in chief. He has already ordered the investigation, but maybe he could ask the Armed Forces of the Philippines to surface Jonas. He should order them. Isn’t he the commander in chief? If he orders it, they would follow,” she said.
President Noynoy, Sir?
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From an internet friend:
A wife says to her husband, “what would you do if I won Lotto?” He says, “I’d take half, then leave you.” “Excellent,” she replies, “I won $12, here’s $6. Now, f…k off!”
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roacrosshairs@outlook.com
https://www.facebook.com/reynaldo.arcilla.9847

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