Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hitler and Putin: A Tale of Two Authoritarians

Ukraine’s Orange Blues
Alexander J. Motyl
World Affairs
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Will Russia’s unconstitutionally elected president, Vladimir Putin, unleash a full-scale land war against Ukraine?
I can give you ten reasons for every possible answer to this question. Which is to say that, like everyone else trying to divine Putin’s “mind,” I don’t know.
But there is one thing that I definitely do know. Suddenly, we are all talking about war in Europe. The one thing that was supposed to have become “unthinkable” and “unimaginable” after the end of the Cold War and the rise of the European Union has become perfectly thinkable and quite imaginable.
And all thanks to Putin. If tomorrow’s headlines scream “RUSSIA INVADES ESTONIA,” we’d be shocked, but would we be surprised?
Don’t blame the thinkability and imaginability of war on the Ukrainians. All they did was remove a corrupt dictator and embark on building a democracy. The Ukrainians didn’t invade Crimea. Nor did they arm separatist republics with Russian soldiers and weapons. That was Putin’s doing and only Putin’s doing.
There’s a lesson here, and it’s not either of the ones that are usually drawn: that Putin is a power-hungry madman, if you’re his critic, or that Putin is a shrewd statesman motivated by raison d’état and Realpolitik, if you’re his backer. The real lesson is that dictatorships, especially fascist dictatorships built on the ruins of collapsed empires, are prone to do bad things, such as engage in imperialist wars.
I’ve made the comparison many times before (starting in the late 1990s, by the way), but it’s worth reminding ourselves just how similar Russia’s and Putin’s trajectories are to those of post–World War I Germany and Adolf Hitler. The point is not to score easy debating points or to shake Germans’ assumptions about the uniqueness of Nazi evil, but to demonstrate that there are deeper structural reasons for Putin’s aggressiveness and indifference to international norms.
Both Germany and Russia lost empires and desired to rebuild them. Both Germany and Russia suffered economic collapse. Both Germany and Russia experienced national humiliation and retained imperial political cultures. Both Germany and Russia blamed their ills on the democrats. Both Germany and Russia elected strong men who promised to make them grand and glorious again. Both strong men employed imperialist arguments about “abandoned brethren” in neighboring states, remilitarized their countries, developed cults of the personality, centralized power, gave pride of place in the power structure to the forces of coercion, constructed regimes that may justifiably be called fascist, and proceeded to engage in re-annexing bits and pieces of lost territory before embarking on major landgrabs. Both strong men demonized friendly nations. Germany’s strongman ended up starting a world war. Russia’s strongman—well, we don’t know what he’ll do, but please do notice that a rigorous pursuit of the comparison does not bode well for peace in Europe or the world.
Democracy matters. Dictators are more prone to war precisely because they can manipulate public opinion and ruthlessly pursue whatever warped visions they have without much resistance from institutions and elites. Democratic presidents don’t have that luxury—as a rule of course. That’s why democracies plod along. That’s why they muddle through. That’s why they’re the worst form of government, as Winston Churchill observed, except for all the others.
Ukraine’s democracy has at best been crummy and creaky for the last two and a half decades. It’s done far too little about reform and it’s been much too enamored of corruption. As a result, Ukraine has muddled along, sometimes muddling up, sometimes muddling down. Change is imperative, and, thanks to the Maidan Revolution, everyone in Ukraine finally knows it. Stasis is bad, possibly unsustainable, probably destructive. And yet, and yet: Ukraine remains a democracy, far more so now than just a few months ago. It’s searching for answers to complex questions, balancing far too many interests and sensitivities, moving much too slowly to satisfy proponents of breakthroughs (and that includes me).
But do take note of one very important fact. Amid all this democratic sludge, independent Ukraine has been pacific for the entire time of its existence. At the same time, when provoked, as in the past few months, democratic Ukraine has also demonstrated that it can fight to defend itself and its values.
Which goes to show two things: that, except for the likes of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Stephen F. Cohen, Marine Le Pen, and Aleksandr Dugin, even a crummy Ukrainian democracy is preferable to an efficient Russian dictatorship and that a war initiated by democratic Ukraine really is unthinkable and unimaginable.

Are we secured?

By Erick San Juan
US-vs-ChinaSecurity is the most complicated issue associated with the construction of new architecture in the Asia Pacific region especially with the ASEAN countries as the center. Traditionally bilateral treaties are the main components of security in the region. During the Cold War, the system of regional security was based on the ‘umbrella’ principle. In those years, the US created an extensive network of quasi-alliance consisting of nation-states, not related through multilateral formats of security apparatus but committed to Washington. The US initially opposed a multilateral security system in the Asia Pacific region, recognizing it as a threat to the existing bilateral agreements.
Even after the end of the Cold War and the disappearance of bipolar confrontation, security architecture in the region has not changed. Moreover, Washington draws a line in modifying military-political alliances with key allies like Japan, South Korea, Australia, Philippines and Thailand, as well as strengthening the network of new partners such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar. The west operates without regard to the countries approaches to their national security and seek their greater susceptibility to models of regional integration as promoted by the Americans. At a time when countries in Asia Pacific are trying to reduce tensions in the region, Washington Ok’d Japan’s modernization of it’s military and national security. Observers believed that Japan will support the US in their military-political activities in the region. No doubt about it, because Japan after the second world war became a close ally of the USA and it became an integral partner of the Trilateral Commission which started as a global organization of Japan,US and Europe whose early mandate was to return the war loots where they belong.
With this commitment of the Japanese government, plus the saber-rattling with China, it has to change and modify it’s constitution. A radical departure from it’s being a non-nuclear state, a country who learned from it’s past mistakes and has refused to participate in wars anymore. With the impending threat from China, it is now devoted to the joint activities with the west.
Good for the Japanese? What about us and the other Asian neighbors? Any escalation of war in the region, whether we like it or not, we will be drag to go to war again. The big question mark is- “Are we secured? Will our big brother Americans help us?”
In the recent article of Victor Avecilla at the Manila Standard, August 12,2014, he asked this question- “In the event that a shooting war breaks out between the Philippines and Communist China, will the US and the UK be just as ready to assist Manila in the fighting?”
Avecilla cited the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between Manila and Washington DC and legally speaking, the US is duty bound to rescue us. (Yes we ratified it but the US Congress did not). He added that it is impossible for the Americans to intervene especially now that America is in financial crisis. (Plus the US owe China trillions of dollars). He also cited some pundits that the US will still help the Philippines because America cannot afford to allow the sea lanes in East and South East Asia converted into a Chinese lake.
Just like what my pro-American father warned me in the past that the Americans are good people per se but you can’t trust all the people running it’s government. Even Mr. Avecilla commented, “Sadly, the historical record provides Manila reason to doubt if America can be taken on it’s word.
To quote- “In December 1941, when the Japanese invaded the Philippine Islands after their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent word to Manila that reinforcements were on their way to America’s citadel in the Far East. Those promised reinforcements never came.”
“The US had no colonies in Europe at that time, but it had one in the Pacific-the Philippine Islands. In 1942, President Roosevelt agreed with the UK that the war in Europe against Germany and Italy shall take priority over the war in the Pacific against Japan. Meanwhile, the Philippines had to bear the ordeal of brutal enemy occupation.”
“After the successful invasion of France by allied forces in June 1944, Roosevelt focused his attention to the Pacific. The original plan was that the US military forces will by-pass the Philippines and launch the allied offensive against Japan from Formosa(now Taiwan). Fortunately, General Douglas McArthur vehemently objected to that plan and prevailed on Roosevelt to liberate the Philippine Islands prior to an invasion of Japan.”
That was the American version of history. The truth of the matter, when the US government found out that Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita was already in Manila to collect the war loots, Roosevelt immediately instructed MacArthur to return to Manila and locate Yamashita.
Avecilla narrated that in contrast to the way the US treated us, a former colony, it invested heavily in the economic recovery of its erstwhile enemies- Germany and Japan.
There were several inconsistencies in history which I unmasked in my book, ‘Raiders of the Lost Gold. Lastly, Avecilla stated that the historical record may be subject to various interpretations but there is one message it clearly conveys-’that the Philippine government will be better off assuming that no military assistance will readily come from foreign countries in the event a shooting war does take place against China and that the Philippines should start beefing up it’s military arsenal immediately and explore unconventional diplomatic solutions to the serious breach of Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.’
Need I say more?

‘I’ve licked cancer, I may run for president’ – Santiago

By Maila Ager

MANILA, Philippines – Just barely two months before announcing she had Stage 4 lung cancer, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said she has now overcome it and is now considering running for president in 2016.

“I have licked cancer, and I’m actually thinking of several career options. By 2016, I will be disqualified by law to seek another term as senator,” Santiago said in a statement on Wednesday.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago AP PHOTO”

By 2016 I will be disqualified by law to seek another term as senator,” she said.

Last July 2, the senator called a press conference to announce that she was suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer.

After her oncologists issued a diagnosis on lung cancer, Santiago said she was placed on medication called Tarceva (aka Erlotinib) for six weeks, at only one table a day.

Last August 12, she said, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City issued a report on a PET/CT Scan stating that the tumor in her “left lung has regressed,” meaning that it has become smaller.

“The latest lab test shows that the cancer cells are waving a white flag. During this time, I only have to work on my stamina . During the six-week period of treatment, I was even able to work on the 2014 editions of some 10 law books which are scheduled for release by the end of the year,” she said.

“I’m not going to be coy. Society leaders have urged me to seek the presidency. I can rise to the occasion, although I was following the other sign posts on the road to recovery,” said the senator.

Santiago said she would run for president in 2016 if there are enough like-minded people such as Fr. Joaquin Bernas who will support her.

The senator was reacting to Bernas’ remarks that President Aquino should no longer seek a second term and to “give Miriam naman a chance.”

While she has always ran for public office under her own People’s Reform Party, this time, Santiago said she would need to coalesce with one or both among the Liberal Party headed by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, and the Nacionalista Party led by former Senator Manny Villar.

“After I was diagnosed with cancer, Sen. Manny went to my house and told me, among other things, that my popularity level is very high. But he also said that he is encouraging several hopefuls to raise their survey ratings,” Santiago said.

Quoting from a poem that she recited during the funeral ceremonies for her son who died at 23 years old, Santiago said: “Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there. I do not sleep.”

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“What are you willing to die for”

Fr. Shay Cullen
PREDA Foundation

“What are you willing to die for “, It was a very challenging question that Pope Francis presented to the thousands of young people gathered for the beatification of the 130 martyrs in Korea last week. And it is also challenging for all of us who claim to be Catholics and Christians. His message was clear in calling on the youth and people to reject a life selfish gratification based on gross materialism and living for wealth alone and instead to strive for equality and protect the poor and their human rights.

The Pope visited a catholic home for the elderly and embraced some of them showing compassion and love. In Korea as in many wealthy nations there are serious pockets of neglect of the elderly. Although Korea is one of the wealthiest nations in the world half of the old folk live in poverty. Instead of cherishing and respecting them all with a life of dignity and sufficiency like western materialistic societies many of the senior citizens are marginalized and rejected as people of little value.

Many are locked away in retirement homes and some tied to beds and chairs and given tranquilizer drugs that leaves them in a state of semi-conscious stupor that accelerates dementia. New legislation in Belgium and Switzerland ,and the Netherlands allows them to be helped to kill themselves by “assisted suicide”. Where will this trend end? Soon the practice could be for nasty relatives and government care-givers to bully and persuade them to kill themselves and not go on being a financial and medical burden to the rest of us. This is an attitude arising from loveless selfish materialism.

The Pope reminded us that the early catholics of Korea sacrificed themselves for their needy bothers and sisters, “They knew the price of discipleship ..and were willing to make the great sacrifices”. The Pope pointed out that their love and courage and rejection of the strict unbending and unequal social structure of their day is an inspiration for people alive today. Their belief in Jesus of Nazareth and his teaching of a Kingdom of love ,equality and social justice led to their execution. The rich cant stand talk of equality.

Pope Francis’s compassion for the bereaved families of the hundreds of school children that drowned when the ferry boat sunk of South Korea showed through also when he and the organizers of the Mass of Beatification did not allow the authorities to drive away the protestors,one on hunger strike, demanding the truth about the sinking of the ferry. The Pope had met them in private and now embraced them in public. Bishop Kang stated that “to forcibly move people crying for justice in order to celebrate Mass simply could not happen – if it did the Mass would have no meaning”

When Pope Francis comes to visit the Philippines next January he will find many martyrs including priests and pastors,human rights workers ,who gave their lives for the poor and exploited and were executed by death squads run by military and local government officials.

One of the worst suspected and accused military generals,the darling of the previous government of President Gloria Arroyo who herself is in detention for plunder awaiting trial is Retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan. He was arrested recently after four years on the run from the charges of allegedly running death squads wherever he was assigned around the Philippines and allegedly left a trail of blood of assassinated civilians who dared to criticize the government. Known as “The Butcher” for these alleged crimes he will be put on trial for the disappearance and suspected murder of two student activists.

Like the Korean martyrs we should be ready to give up some comforts of our easy life and defend the abused children and those poor people exploited by the rich 1 % that owns 70% of the Philippines. We need the spiritual commitment and belief in what is right and good and be ready to put aside selfish desires and greed to help others in great need.

This the heart of the Pope’s message. When Francis comes to the Philippines I hope he will not be feted and manipulated by glory seeking rich elites and publicity seeking politicos. He will, we hope, visit the poor and the victims of abuse and survivors of the greatest typhoon. He will see little reconstruction of homes,schools and public services. Political corruption is still rife and raging wherever there is money to be stolen. His message will be equally challenging for sure and we will do well to heed it and act in solidarity with those in great need wherever they may be. ,

Roxas: DILG budget not a 2016 kitty


SECRETARY Manuel Roxas 2nd of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is willing to give up the proposed P5.6-billion budget for grassroots infrastructure projects that an opposition lawmaker claims is his campaign kitty.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio has said the allocation for the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) program in the DILG appropriations is meant to fund Roxas’ presumed presidential bid in 2016.

Under the GPB, local government units (LGUs) and people’s organizations identify community projects for funding by the national government.

But Roxas denied Tinio’s claims.

“If you want to, you can choose to have it removed. You tell us what to remove here because these are fruits of our consultation with the people on the ground. They are the ones who proposed these projects. If you don’t want these projects, then it’s your call to make a motion on which projects you want removed,” the DILG chief said in Filipino.

Of the P5.6 billion, P2.6 billion was allocated for providing a potable water supply for LGUs and P3 billion for building local roads or flood-control projects for Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Prosperous Communtity) program.

“We did not choose these projects. The DILG is just doing its mandate in coordinating the implementation of these projects. Everything will be listed per item. We are not hiding anything here. All the details will be available physically and posted on the Internet. The people asked for these, not us,” Roxas said.

Tinio said the GPB initiative is suspiciously expanded to cover all LGUs a year before the elections, when its coverage should be limited to the poorest municipalities.

“Why would Metro Manila need [these projects]? How effective would these be? Is it because elections are near?” Tinio said.

Roxas said it is no secret that poverty is everywhere and that every LGU deserves access to government funds as provided under the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

“Let us not put malice because all of this will be itemized once all the communities complete the list of projects they want. I would like to thank Congressman Tinio for the propaganda but the national government is just being of help to the local communities,” the DILG secretary added.

The proposed P2.606-trillion budget for 2015 has allotted P20 billion for the GPB program, the same allocation that the program got in 2014.

Roxas, the president-on-leave of the ruling Liberal Party, ran for vice president in 2010 but narrowly lost to then Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

“You cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip”

By Ado Paglinawan
The following is Mr. Paglinawan’s response to “Why P-Noy wants a second term” (August 26, 2014).
Noynoy.11Hi Perry,
This article sounds very different from its erstwhile tone when you were attacking me for my views of presidential candidate Benigno Simeon Aquino III in 2010. By now you seem to be enlightened somewhat that my warnings to the Filipino electorate against electing a village idiot would bring our country to this present “surreal” situation, to borrow your word.
Actually I do not need to be vindicated because my two arguments were staring people to their eyes: first, for twelve years as a legislator, BS did not author a single bill. That was twelve years as congressman and three as senator. This is of public record.and second, Jaime Bulatao’s psychiatric findings of the boy when he was still in school show that he has serious challenge that disqualifies him for the position. While this document has been denied by the Aquinos, his performance as toy president forms much of the recorded consequences of the disease when ignored.
Thus my proverbial conclusion – you cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip.
The insanity first broke loose when BS had to handle the Luneta situation just a few months after he swore into office. A suicidal policeman hostaged Chinese visitors inside a tourist bus. No formal report of the incident has ever been published and my hunch is that most of the fatalities were hit by bullets coming from the SWAT team outside the bus and not from the hostage taker.
Much of what has happened to this day reeks of an insane and expectedly lawless individual ruling over 100 million people who are now being idiotized into accepting a second term to further metastasize the social “ebola” that he carries. Lets mention a few – the impeachment of a chief justice, the passing of a reproductive health law, the reckless license in expanding the PDAF and legislating the DAP by executive fiat, the Comprehensive Bangsamoro Agreement that almost sparked a war between the Philippines and Malaysia, the “Enhanced” Bases Agreement that exceeded even the defunct Mutual Bases Agreement that ended its term during the Estrada administration, ad infinitum.
A congressional committee ruled yesterday that three impeachment charges against BS Aquino are sufficient in form. The process continues.
But for the meantime, civil society has already launched the National Transformation Council that can influence a coup d’etat or fuel a revolution in case the BS impeachment is defeated. There already exists a critical mass in the country, of wide and rainbow origin, that is readying to remove the pinhead from his office by whatever means possible and effect not the succession of more fools like Binay, Drilon, Belmonte or Sereno, but a system change to restore our government into a pro-active order for the benefit of the people and the common good.
We can all eventually bury our hatchets because we have already buried the fool that attempted to lead us all into his “Daang Matuwid” straight to hell after taking control of our country since July 2010.
We are counting on your support.

Pnoy – A Dictator in the Offing

As the Bamboos Sway
By Rudy D. Liporada
Noynoy-and-MarcosIronically, his father, Ninoy Aquino, died fighting a dictator. Ironically, his mother, Cory Aquino, quashed the constitution of the dictator and instituted the 1987 Philippine Constitution – which provides that a president could only have a one six year term.
Now, ironically, Ninoy’s and Cory’s son, President BS Aquino, pretending to be coy about it, definitely wants a charter change on the 1987 constitution so he could extend his rule for six more years and maybe beyond. This he announced last August 14, 2014.
Replying to an interview, he said “When I got into this, I remembered it is for one term of six years.” He continued, using again his usual rhetoric, “Now after having said that, of course I have to listen to my bosses.” He seemed to have forgotten or really ignorant that the restriction for the term extension came about due to the detested experience with martial law under the Marcos regime of over twenty years. The restriction then was in place with the slogan: Never Again.
If his ‘bosses’ is three-fourths of congress, he will definitely have his charter change as he definitely has the influence on his allies who are the majority in the legislative body of the Philippines. Before August 14, Mar Roxas, who must have already accepted the fact that he could not be the next president for his bungling of affairs, already endorsed the idea of giving extension to BS Aquino’s term “because he needs to continue with the ongoing projects he has instituted.” The Yellow Army of Aquino are also reported to have set a rally on August 25 to be his ‘bosses’ clamoring for him to extend his term.
Apart from the extension issue, BS Aquino also said that the charter amendments would allow the review of the powers of the other branches of the government like the Supreme Court. It should be noted that last month, the Supreme Court declared Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) fund to be unconstitutional. Please note that Aquino has also said that he is vent on modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). He went on to say that there could be no coup among the ranks of his AFP because his men are highly paid.
Control of Congress, a weakened Supreme Court, and a cuddled military are indeed ingredients of a looming martial law disguised as legal through a masked changed charter.
Past presidents after Cory Aquino also attempted charter amendments to extend their terms but were intensely criticized. BS Aquino is surely to face the same public reaction. These would come from, ironically, presumably those real ‘bosses’ that he must serve.
Whether or not he is listening, however, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes, Jr. insists that they will “Let Aquino know we say no.” He further said “He has no qualms about plunging the nation in an unprecedented political crisis worse than during the time of Estrada and Arroyo. This makes him a very dangerous person. His capacity to lead becomes even more questionable. With his dictatorial tendencies showing, Aquino’s removal from office becomes even more urgent.” And Reyes asks “Mr. President, what part of ‘Never again!’ did you not understand?”
If BS Aquino studies history, he would learn that the anti-Marcos Con-Con or Constitutional Convention of 1970, designed to extend his rule beyond his last term as president, sparked massive protests against his rule. The movement grew to a Marcos’s perceived monster that he was forced to declare Martial Law. BS Aquino should be reminded that his father, Ninoy, was among those detained by the dictator Marcos because Ninoy fought and, eventually, died against the regime. Lest BS Aquino forget, the massive movement grew to be the People’s Power that toppled Marcos and catapulted his mother, Cory, to the presidency – with which she instituted the 1987 Constitution – which Pnoy now wants to change.
BS Aquino should listen to history, listen to his ‘real’ bosses if he wants to preserve the Aquino Legacy; if he wants not to be the architect of the most ironic presidential regimes in Philippine history.
But will he listen?
I guess not. He must be a megalomaniac, or ignorant, or his auditory nerves must now really be as crooked as his ‘Daang Matuwid.’


(We’re not even close to Christmas yet!)
Elections 2012
Elections 2012
“No election” (No-el) another trial balloon?
First there was “Cha-cha”. Then a retraction. Then a retraction of the retraction.
And now No-el. Then a retraction. Will there be a retraction of the retraction?
The Malacanang habitué is desperate and his cohorts are in a panic mode.
Cha-cha will not fly even with President Noynoy Aquino’s much-vaunted considerable control over Congress. They know his bosses, his real bosses, the people, not AMADO (Abad, Mar, Almendras, Drilon and Ochoa) will see to that. The people will also see to it that never again shall he, or his successors, dip their fingers on any form of pork barrel to influence those greedy vermin in Congress and local government units.
And so, with cha-cha dead in the water, no-el was floated to see if it will fly.
It won’t either.  So, forget it.
Noynoy is now a lame duck. There is no question about that. And there is nothing, nothing at all, that he can do about that. Not with a threat of a cha-cha or a no-el.
However, there are some things he can do to possibly prevent what he now fears most – suffering the same fate that has befallen his two immediate predecessors – without resorting to cha-cha or no-el or actually embarking on either one (both foolish).
With the same single-mindedness and zeal with which he pursued the ouster of the former Ombudsman and former Chief Justice, he can do the following without delay and, hopefully, avert a future personal disaster:
1) Fire the erring and incompetent members of his cabinet namely, in alphabetical order, Abad, Abaya, Alcala, Del Rosario, Deles, Lacierda, Ochoa, Petilla, Roxas and Soliman. Heads of GOCCs who do not deserve to remain in office, like Robert “Pretty Boy” Vergara of GSIS, should be booted out too.
2) Go after everyone, his relatives, friends and political allies included, who are implicated in the pork barrel scam or other anomalies.
3) Wield all the powers of the presidency to expedite the resolution of pending cases such as the Maguindanao massacre involving the Ampatuan family, and those of the desaparecidos like Jonas Burgos.
4) Make sure there will be no power and water shortages till the end of his term, preferably beyond. Failure to do so will infuriate his bosses. It will also be bad for the economy.
5) Craft a foreign policy that is less dependent on the US and is more realistic and pragmatic in its approach towards our relations with China, with only the national interest uppermost in his mind.
If he accomplishes all the foregoing, his own bosses will not hesitate to help keep him from suffering the same fate that befell Estrada and Arroyo. They might even clamor for his continued stay in Malacanang. Who knows…
That woman with a gun who tried to enter Malacanang with a mind to “scare” Noynoy should tell him and his cohorts that not everything is nice and dandy in the country and that the majority of his bosses still unreservedly support him.
To repeat what Mar Roxas was quoted as saying about erring policemen, the powers-that-be had “better shape up or ship out”.
Senate President Franklin Drilon asserts that the declaration by the Supreme Court that the DAP is unconstitutional had a “chilling effect” on government spending because officials now fear the possibility of lawsuits.
That’s a totally inaccurate statement. Why would officials fear lawsuits if their spending is aboveboard?
If at all the Supreme Court ruling had any chilling effect, it is on the spending of unscrupulous politicians like Drilon (he did receive P100 million from DAP funds after voting in favor of Corona’s impeachment) and government functionaries.
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. That was four long years ago.
(Ironically, one of the biggest scandals to hit President Noynoy Aquino’s administration is the alleged corruption in the NFA and the pork barrel scam in the Department of Agriculture headed by Proceso Alcala who is still sticking like a leech to his post notwithstanding the appointment of former senator Francis “Mr. Noted” Pangilinan as his virtual replacement. Noynoy’s first appointee to head the NFA, Lito Banayo, has been charged, along with others, for alleged graft and corruption during his tenure in the agency. Banayo’s successor, Orlan Calayag is now under investigation for allegedly granting a P1.08-billion rice cargo-handling contract to a trucking company without a bidding being conducted. That’s not all… Calayag, who resigned earlier, had been replaced by Arthur Juan who, in turn, is now accused of extortion by rice trader Jomerito Soliman. NFA accursed?)
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. The latest COA report also has Vergara as the highest paid for 2013 with P12.09 million; and
(b) That over a year 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!
In this connection, I would like to address this question to Mesdames Grace Pulido Tan and newly CA-confirmed Heidi Mendoza of COA: “Is GSIS head Robert “Pretty Boy” Vergara one of the sacred cows in Noynoy’s coterie whom you are afraid to investigate?”
Today is the 123rd day of the eighth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.
Seventeen weeks ago, Jonas’ mother, Edita, reminded Noynoy in a letter of his promise to conduct a “dedicated and exhaustive investigation” on her son’s enforced disappearance.
“Our hope was anchored on your promise to do what you could ‘on the basis of evidence’ when I personally pleaded for your help. This was almost four years ago, May 2010,” she wrote.
Mr. President, Sir?
From an internet friend:
Paddy says to Mick, “I’m ready for a holiday, only this year I’m going to do it a bit different. Three years ago I went to Spain and Mary got pregnant. 
Two years ago I went to Italy and Mary got pregnant. 
Last year I went to Majorca and Mary got pregnant.”
Mick asks, “So what are you going to do this year?”
Paddy replies, “I’ll take her with me!”
26 August 2014

Why is Binay afraid of Senate probe?

As I See It
By Neal H. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Fear. That is both the ally and the enemy of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Antonio Trillanes told a Quezon City forum hosted by Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz.

Fear that Binay may become the next president—because of an opinion poll that showed Binay ahead in the choice for president by voters, a conclusion that has been questioned by some experts, including pollsters themselves—has cowed many politicians into silence, said Trillanes. At the first hearing of the Senate blue ribbon committee on the allegedly overpriced Makati parking building, only Senators Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano questioned the witness, Binay’s son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay. The other senators, usually very voluble, were silent. Why? Because they were afraid that if (God forbid!) Binay becomes president, he can get back at them in many ways, Trillanes said.

“I can see how senators are being cowed into not investigating,” Trillanes said. “He’s just the Vice President and they’re already afraid of him.”

Even some members of the press, Trillanes lamented, have been cowed. That is why, he said, criticism in media is muted.

On the other hand, fear that he may be elected president in spite of the corruption charges against him has driven many people, him included, to question Binay’s fitness for the presidency.

The overpricing of the Makati parking building, Trillanes said, was committed when Binay senior was the mayor of Makati. “Imagine what Binay can do if he becomes president,” he said. “This is just Makati. What more if he is in command of the national budget?”

The P2-billion overprice, he added, is only for one project. It is a P2-billion scam, while the money stolen in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam totaled only in hundreds of million pesos for each lawmaker, for many projects. Imagine what Binay, as president, can do with all the projects and the trillions of pesos at his disposal.

For decades, graft and corruption has been the number one problem of the Philippines and the reason the Philippines has not progressed and the majority of Filipinos become poorer every day. The anticorruption campaign of President Aquino is slowly bearing fruit only now. His term will end in two years. The fight against corruption must be continued by his successor or else we would slide back to where we were four years ago, mired in corruption. But what would happen if he is succeeded by a crafty politician who is himself accused of corruption? In fact, not only him but his family. His wife, son and daughter are also accused of graft. It seems to run in the family.

Three senators and other high government officials are at present being tried for plunder, with more officials slated to join them, according to the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman.

Two of the senators are allies of Binay. What would happen if Binay becomes president, Trillanes asked.

It is not hard to imagine that they and their allies who helped them steal the people’s money through the PDAF would be off the hook and they would be laughing all the way to their banks to reclaim their loot. Sayang naman the progress in the anticorruption campaign. When will the Filipinos be totally freed from the clutches of greedy politicians? When will the Philippines progress enough to claim its place in the sun?

The defense of the Binays in the building overprice is the usual mantra of politicians when accused of wrongdoing: “It is politically motivated; it is a demolition job.”

So what if it is politically motivated? Do they mean that just because the charges were made by their political rivals the accusations are false? Thank God for political rivals, otherwise many wrongdoings by public officials would remain hidden.

The Binays and their mouthpieces do not want the Senate to investigate the Makati scam because, they said, the “Ombudsman is already investigating the case.”

Again, so what? The Ombudsman is investigating to find out if there is enough evidence to elevate the cases to the Sandiganbayan. The Senate investigation is in aid of legislation.

Why be afraid of the Senate if you are innocent?

Mayor Junjun Binay claims that they have been charged because “our father is running for president.” Well, whose fault is it? Vice President Binay is already campaigning for the presidency so early in the game. When you are running for public office, expect the criticisms to follow. As Solita Monsod said in her column last Saturday, “It is not a mayoral position that (Jojo Binay) is contesting. It is the presidency. The people are entitled to have a president that has no corruption attached to his name.”

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Because there is a supermoon (when the moon is closest to Earth and therefore looks bigger) Aliw awardee Margaux Salcedo will sing songs with moon and stars in them during her gig at the Tap Room of the Manila Hotel on Wednesday, Aug. 27. Fans can ask her to sing their favorite songs with these celestial bodies in them.

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‘Step down now’



LIPA CITY, Batangas: Hundreds of people from various walks of life, varying political persuasions and different religious beliefs rallied here on Wednesday and demanded that President Benigno Aquino 3rd step down because of his failure to deliver on his promises of clean government with two years left in his term.

In their Lipa Declaration, they stated, “[We] have lost all trust and confidence in President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd, and we call upon him to immediately relinquish his position.”

“Far from preserving and defending the Constitution, as he swore to do when he assumed office, the incumbent President Benigno Simeon Aquino has subverted and violated it by corrupting Congress, intimidating the judiciary, taking over the treasury, manipulating the automated voting system, and perverting the constitutional impeachment process,” they said in a statement.

“President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd has also damaged the moral fabric of Philippine Society by bribing members of Congress not only to impeach and remove a sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice but also to enact a law which disrespects the right to life of human being at the earliest and most vulnerable stages of their lives, in defiance not only of the constitution but above all of the moral law, the customs, culture, and consciences of Filipinos,” they added.

The gathering gave birth to a National Transformation Council (NTC) that the rallyists said will stand up against the most pressing challenges facing the country and fight for the common good.

It started with a national situationer given by former senator Francisco Tatad, who also explained the role of the NTC under whose auspices the Lipa Declaration was drafted.

A program that followed included a discussion on the role in the transformation efforts of the Catholic Church given by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the role of the Muslim community given by Dr. Kamil Unda and the participation of the Protestant movement given by Rev. Arthur Corpuz.

Archbishop Fernando Capalla, a former chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the PhilippineS, also discussed the role of the Catholic Church in the transformation efforts, particularly the EDSA 2 experience, which saw the ouster of then-President Joseph Estrada in 2001.

The final call to action was given by Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who appealed to Filipinos to act now on the country’s economic and social ills and not wait until it is too late.

“We should not let the time go [to waste], otherwise we will be blamed in the future for failing to do something. It has always been in our history. We reform what needs to be reformed,” Arguelles said.

“Something has to be changed [and] that is why we are here today. Let us do something now,” he added.

Arguelles said it is not enough to change leaders as it is the system that needs to be changed.

The Lipa Declaration signed by those present at the rally welcomed the NTC’s proposal to open broad public consultations on the need to modify and strengthen the presidential system or to shift to a federal/parliamentary system to achieve a totally independent judicial department; a merit-driven, professional civil and military service; a totally transparent government budgeting and accounting system; and an irreproachably independent and dependable electoral system.

Among the signatories was the Alliance for Truth, Integrity and Nationalism or ATIN, whose convenor Ricardo Penson said the President “has lost his moral ascendancy” and “taken over the power of the purse” that he said rightfully belongs to Congress.

Among those present at the gathering were former Chief Justice Renato Corona and the President’s aunt, Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco.

Corona said he attended the event to be one with all those calling for national transformation.

“We are here to show our support to any effort to institute reforms and to create something good for the country,” he added.

The former Chief Justice, however, refused to comment on the continuing battle between the executive and the judiciary.

Cojuangco explained her attendance: “I want to express sympathy for my country and there are certain things that have to be done and I’m here to join the group because I love my country.”

When asked for a message for his nephew, she said she can only say, “I don’t have a message for him because he believes he knows everything, so I have no message for him.”

Let him finish
Administration and opposition senators, however, believe that asking Aquino to resign will not be good for the country.

They said the President should be allowed to finish his term and continue the reform policy of his administration.

According to Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, Aquino has done a lot of good things, especially in terms of good governance and social services, thus he should be allowed to finish his mandate.

“Besides, it wouldn’t be good for the country and our people to switch jockeys in the middle of the race,” Angara said.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito also sees no real reason for the President to step down, noting that it would bring more harm than good for the country.

According to him, Aquino should finish his term in order for him to pursue programs for the poor, create jobs and address the power problem.

Ejercito, however, said although he wanted the President to stay, it does not mean that he favors term extension for him.

He added that he will oppose any attempt to amend the Constitution that would lift the term limits of public officials.

Some members of the House of Representatives said calls for the President to step down are baseless.

Rep. Jerry Treñas of Iloilo and Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite said they want Aquino to finish his term.

Deputy Majority Floor Leader Rep. Sherwin Tugna of Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list agreed.

The President “was elected by 15 million Filipinos. It is his duty to lead the country. Asking him to step down is baseless and merely the handiwork of destabilizers,” Tugna said in a text message.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello belittled the movement launched on Wednesday and said there is no way that Aquino will step down.

“The problem is these people will use any issue to discredit the administration’s reform program,” he said.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Port, traffic congestion stalling economy

By Val G. Abelgas
ContainersWith the political chaos brought about by the pork and corruption scandals, the growing feud among the three branches of government, confusing signals coming from Malacanang on moves to amend the Constitution, uncertainty of the Bangsamoro peace deal, and many other issues eroding investor confidence and slowing the Philippine economy, the government can ill afford to ignore an immediate and very real threat to economic growth – the worsening congestion in Manila’s ports.
The port congestion, which was aggravated by the twin truck bans imposed by the City of Manila and the Metro Manila Development Authority, has become so bad, many shipping lines are hesitant to accept shipments to Manila. Why? Because several ships are forced to wait idly for several days on Manila Bay because they cannot unload their containers due to the heavy congestion in the Port of Manila and the Manila International Container Terminals (MICT).
According to the Bureau of Customs, it will have to move out 8,000 containers a day until the end of the year to bring back the terminals to a healthy level, meaning 50% to 60% availability at any given time.
“There’s no way we can do that from now until December 31,” a BOC spokesman said.
December 31 would, of course, be too late for the expected onrush of both incoming and outgoing shipments in the weeks prior to the holiday season. The months September to December are considered the peak season in shipping because of the goods being shipped in and out of the ports to catch the Christmas season in the Philippines.
If the ports are not decongested by next month, it would result in chaos for the importers, exporters, shippers, truckers and, of course, the balikbayan box forwarders. It’s not even the peak season yet and the ships already have to wait more than a week to unload their containers, can you imagine what the situation would be with the onset of the peak season next month?
The Philippine Port Authority and the customs bureau are asking all companies to conduct business during weekends, when traffic is lighter in Metro Manila, to help decongest the two Manila terminals. They have also asked shippers and traders to utilize the Batangas and Subic ports, which are not fully utilized.
The Clark Development Corp. has opened a three-hectare container depot to be made available to overstaying containers that need to be moved out of the two Manila ports. Thousands of containers have been left idle in the two terminals for months for various reasons, such as those awaiting customs inspections and inability of shippers to pay taxes and other charges.
But what worsened the port congestion in the past several months are the two truck bans imposed by the City of Manila and the MMDA. The truck bans, which was imposed to hopefully relieve traffic in Metro Manila, left truckers just a five-hour window (from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) to use the traffic lanes. This lengthened the turnaround time of trucks from one day to at least three days. Each day of the truck ban leaves an additional hundreds of containers in the terminals.
We understand the concerns of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and MMDA Administrator Francis Tolentino on the nagging traffic problem in the metropolis. After all, two separate studies by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the DOT in 1999 and the University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies have shown that the daily traffic congestion in Metro Manila costs the Philippine economy P140 billion a year.
Billions are lost yearly in terms of wasted gasoline and lost labor hours, and indirectly, the monstrous traffic jams result in withdrawal of potential foreign investments, missed business opportunities and reduced inflow of capital.
But imposing the tough truck bans has not mitigated the traffic and has resulted in worse problems for the economy. In fact, economic growth has slowed down significantly to a mere 5.8% since the truck bans were imposed. Inflation rate has also gone up to more than 5% because the port congestion and the truck bans have significantly caused a dent on the supply of goods, resulting in the spike of prices of basic commodities.
In fact, during a congressional hearing on Monday, the Association of Shipping Lines Inc. said the shipping industry has so far lost $5.4 billion since the daytime truck ban was implemented in Manila last January.
Another industry that is hurt most by the port congestion and the truck bans is the balikbayan box industry, which is still reeling from the delays and costs of DHS inspections in US ports and must now contend with the additional delays aznd costs resulting from the port congestion and the truck bans.
The Filipino cargo forwarders also have to contend with complaints from customers, who are probably not aware of the problems brought about by the DHS inspections, the port congestion and the truck bans.
A long-term solution to Metro Manila’s traffic congestion has to be found. The metropolis has an incredible population of more than 20 million packed in a very small space, and it’s only bound to increase rapidly. The solution should include programs to encourage people to move out of Metro Manila by dispersing industries to the countryside.
The customs bureau, at the same time, has to find ways to facilitate the movement of containers from the ports. Customs examinations should be done faster and the length of time before unclaimed containers should be shortened. The PPA, on the other hand, has to improve the terminals in Subic and Batangas to encourage some shippers to utilize them.
The bottom line is that the Philippine government will have to find a long-term solution to Metro Manila’s traffic problem and the congestion in the ports if it doesn’t want the economy to stall.

The ‘revolution’ begins in Batangas


After the widely advertised anti-pork rally in Manila bombed on Monday, when the purported “one million people’s march” turned into an ill-disguised pro-Aquino shindig, we need now to turn and listen more to what Pope Francis calls, “the peripheries.” There is where we could be learning more about the real issues that go beyond President B. S. Aquino 3rd’s “pork”.

From Cebu last Saturday, we heard fresh and stronger drums against the “pork,” which kept on coming back like the cat with nine lives, despite the Supreme Court ruling declaring it null and void. Congratulations to Archbishop Jose Palma for hosting the event, and to all the Cebuanos who supported it.

But in Batangas today, the play goes to a higher plane. We shall be hearing the first unified multi-sectoral and interfaith call not just for the permanent abolition of “pork” but for Aquino’s speedy and gracious retirement. This will be a bold call for change, real change, not just cosmetic or superficial change, but “radical” change.

“Radical” is derived from the Latin word “radix,” which means “root.” “Radical change” then simply means change that goes into the root of things. Not merely regime change, but system change, structural change, cultural change.

It begins with Aquino being asked to step down for his numerous violations of the law and the Constitution and his poor performance in office. But it does not end there: it necessarily entails repairing what has been broken, damaged or destroyed, taking out the rot, and reordering the larger moral and political environment.

This is why we say the need is not to “succeed” PNoy now, but to put in a transition team that would fix the system before we seriously consider electing a new government.

These are brave words, on their face. But with Aquino wholly capable of sinking the nation with his flawed vision of morality, the Constitution, and politics, how is this goal to be accomplished?

This question will be put today in Lipa City. And the assembly, organized by the hitherto unannounced National Transformation Council, will try to answer it. Several highly respected moral and spiritual leaders from the various faith communities will try to contribute to this enterprise. I have been asked to keynote, and I look forward to it.

This is the first time such an assembly under the auspices of the Council is taking place. It is also the first time the Council has decided to make its legal presence felt. For the last three years, the Council, whose membership is purely by invitation, has lived a quiet, unseen existence, self-organizing, and holding private internal meetings to reflect on the rapidly changing moral and political environment after Aquino came to office.

Hosted by the Archbishop of Lipa, the Most Reverend Ramon Arguelles, the assembly will listen to chosen leaders of the Catholic Church, the Protestant sector and Islam on the subject of “national transformation.”

These include Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, and former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines; Most Reverend Fernando Capalla, Archbishop Emeritus of Davao, and former CBCP president; Archbishop Arguelles; Father Romeo J. Intengan; S. J., Pastor Arthur Corpuz of the United Church of Manila; and Dr. Kamil Unda, a Muslim scholar who will be coming with a 100-strong Bangsamoro delegation from the South.

It is a most interesting mix. Vidal was the CBCP president who issued the document “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” on Feb. 13, 1986, which declared that “if the government does not of itself freely correct the evil it has inflicted on the people, then it is our serious moral obligation as a people to make it do so.” That statement, in my reading then as now, provided the moral basis for the EDSA “revolt” that ousted Marcos.

The cardinal was also believed to have advised the embattled president Joseph Ejercito Estrada in 2001 to avoid a confrontation with the anti-Estrada forces that could result in unnecessary bloodshed. Estrada decided to step down peacefully on Jan. 20, 2001, to pave the way for the takeover by his vice president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who subsequently ruled until 2010.

The cardinal will most likely be asked to share his insights with the assembly on these two incidents involving the stepping down of a sitting president.

Archbishop Capalla, on the other hand, was CBCP president when the late former President Cory Aquino and some bishops called on then President Arroyo on July 5, 2005 to demand that she step down at the height of her perceived “unpopularity.” Capalla was not aware that such meeting was taking place, but as soon as he learned of it, he issued a statement supported by all the bishops, restating the role of the clergy in providing moral guidance to public servants, but acknowledging its limits. He read his statement to the press, but failed to retain a copy for his files.

I am eager to hear him say whether PNoy’s moral obligation at this point is to defend his office or to relinquish it. I am equally eager to see if the host prelate, Archbishop Arguelles, would repeat a statement he had previously made at a press conference, which I had helped to moderate at Club Filipino, saying that the 2016 election offers no possible relief to the nation’s crisis and should be completely avoided.

A spokesman for the Islamic delegation looks at the Lipa assembly as the beginning of a “peaceful revolution.” He says this is the first time his group, led by Muslim leaders Amir Omar Ali, Alim Saranggani, and Kamil Unda, would be participating in an unarmed and non-violent revolution. It could be a watershed.

The word “transformation” seems to have become some kind of “mantra” of late. Even Aquino used the word in his last State of the Nation Address. But so far the Council alone has decided to accept openly the challenge of non-violent revolutionary change. There is need for the rest to catch up.

We need to believe that unless there is a change in men, a change of men would be meaningless; that unless there is a change in the political system, structure and culture, a simple regime change would not yield much fruit.

In Batangas, we could begin something new, something different. Setting aside our own personal ambitions and self-interests, we could begin to think together, reason together, pray together, work together, and in the words of the Prophet Micah, “do right and love goodness and walk humbly with our God.”


The wise saying is “look before you leap.”  The protesters against the pork barrel did not look before they mindlessly leaped.
The first consideration to remember in the pork case is the fact that the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.  Since the ruling of the Court – right or wrong – becomes part of the law of the land, it is presumed that the 2015 General Appropriations Act does not contain a provision for pork.
Yet, it is entirely possible Congress and the President or both may insert provisions in the national appropriations allowing pork disguised as a different item. . One is the provision about lump sum appropriation completely under the control of the President.
The release of lump sum budget  is processed by the Department of Budget and Management.  Before the Court declared the pork as violating the Constitution, the funds are released to the lawmakers through a document called SARO – special allotment and release order.
Congress and the President will violate the ruling of the Supreme Court if the lawmakers get their SAROs.  Therefore, if there is pork in the budget disguised as another item, the release of the money will be extremely difficult if not impossible to justify in a document.
Before they mounted the Monday rally at the Rizal Park, the group that claims there is pork funds in the budget should minutely scrutinize the General Appropriations proposal and point out which provision in the budget is in fact pork.
Nobody did anything like that.
The best assurance pork barrel funds may no longer be included in the national budget is to force the President and Congress to abolish the lump sum appropriation.  The use of the lump sum must be clearly identified so the money may not be used for other purposes, including pork.   
The President has huge discretionary funds.  He also gets hundreds of millions from Pagcor.  The disbursement of the money is at his sole discretion.  State-owned corporations, including the Bangko Sentral remits money to Malacañang when they make a profit.
The amounts are not part of the national budget. They can also be spent for other purposes including pork.  It is therefore necessary for Malacañang to issue an executive order requiring such remittances to be turned over to the National Treasury, not to the President.
No one in government is allowed to spend money whose purpose is not clearly identified in the General Appropriations Act.  Remittances to the President of profits of state-owned or controlled corporations do not have a specific purpose.
Therefore, the President can use it anyway he wants it used including pork.
If the money is given to lawmakers under another classification, it is still pork.  Pork barrel that originated from the United States is reward for political patronage.  The  use of the funds is presumed to be for public welfare since it is taxpayers’ money.
The anomaly here is pork, by any other name, duplicates the functions of the Department of Public Works and Highways if the money is used for infrastructure.
The pork funds as reward for political patronage is justified by the claim that as representatives of the people, the lawmakers they elect know best what is good for them.  
However, it must be clearly understood the only duty of lawmakers is to make laws, not to help the Executive Department make the economy grow by having cash for the purpose.
The presumption that lawmakers know best what their constituents need is best accomplished by enacting laws that benefit the constituents of the lawmakers.  
The reality, as proven in what Janet Lim Napoles allegedly did to the pork funds is that taxpayers money disguised as pork goes to the pockets of the lawmakers.  There are testimonies and documents proving that pork funds were channeled through fake non-government organizations but actually ended up in the pockets of lawmakers.
The other big problem with pork is the sitting President’s belief members of the opposition party do not give him political patronage.  Of course they don’t.  We have a multi-party political system.  
While the national budget provides equal sums to all lawmakers although senators get bigger amounts, members of the Opposition party are denied the pork precisely because its release is at the complete discretion of the President.
The group opposing the pork, in spite of declaration of unconstitutionality, should move for the deletion or removal of the anomaly of the President having full discretion over money in lump sum appropriations and over funds remitted to him as profits of government corporations.
It is in this regard that the pork will stay in spite of prohibitions by the Supreme Court.  The flaw is in vague provisions of the General Appropriations Act and in the fact that profits are remitted to the President instead of sending these to the National Treasury.  
Even if there had been no allegation on the P10 billion theft of pork funds, the money given to lawmakers for political patronage should be withdrawn.  There is too much graft and corruption over pork funds.
To begin with the public bidding for the construction of a project is almost always rigged.  The specifications in construction of farm-to-market roads are not complied with.  The normal thickness of a concrete road is 4 to 5 inches.  This specification is by and large complied with.
However, if say one square meter of cement road requires five bags of cement, the contractor will use only four or less.  He has to save money for the lawmaker whose pork funds are used for the road.
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