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Sunday, January 25, 2015

SCANDALOUS SOCIAL INEQUALITIES


By REY O. ARCILLA  
MALAYA
(“It is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good.” – Pope Francis)
Pope-Francis-MalacanangSince day one of his term, President Noynoy Aquino has been harping on the anomalies that bedeviled the regime of Ms. Gloria Arroyo. He also had the bad habit of whining about them during some of his trips abroad. Four and a half years later, he’s still doing it.
His latest tirade against the Arroyo regime was made during his supposed welcome remarks for Pope Francis. How inappropriate! It was most unbecoming of a president! What made it worse is that he also took the occasion to complain about members of the clergy whose head of state he was welcoming! He could have chosen a better time and way to do it.
I was one of the bitterest critics of Arroyo while she was in power. But after she stepped down and got her comeuppance, I stopped crucifying her and her cohorts, some of whom are now in Noynoy’s administration.
One can only hope Noynoy would henceforth stop whining and blaming his woes on Arroyo. He has had more than four years to do his own thing, so to speak. There is no one else to blame for his failures but himself due to his poor judgment and choice of the wrong people to help him serve his bosses. He should also try to shed his bitchy nature.
Hopefully, Pope Francis’ visit has rubbed off on him virtues of humility, forgiveness and love for the poor and the downtrodden.
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Aside from admonishing Filipino members of the Catholic clergy and religious institutions to identify with the poor, Pope Francis also exhorted our government leaders to end “scandalous social inequalities” and urged them to show integrity and reject corruption.
“It is now, more than ever, necessary that political leaders be outstanding for honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good,” he said.
He then called on “everyone, at all levels of society, to reject every form of corruption, which diverts resources from the poor”.
Will those concerned heed the Pope’s call for a “conversion of heart and mind”?
Not likely, but let’s watch what happens, as Noynoy’s favorite Frank Sinatra song goes.
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At the departure ceremonies for Pope Francis, he had a brief conversation with DSWD secretary Dinky Soliman, she with a streak (of madness?) in her hair of different color at various times.
Could it be that the Pope repeated to her his denunciation of the “so many tragic signs of evil” in the relief and rehabilitation of Tacloban after Yolanda struck? He also severely criticized the slow and chaotic response of the national government and local authorities in helping the victims.
“You have also seen, in the profiteering, the looting and the failed responses to this great human drama, so many tragic signs of the evil for which Christ came to save us,” the Pontiff said earlier in Leyte.
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Now that Pope Francis, he who exudes genuine love for the poor, has left, will it be back to the old ways for those evil and corrupt government officials in our midst?
I’m afraid so. They have already become so used to thievery and power that it would be next to impossible to mend their ways… especially the dynasties in the country, both in the private and public sectors.
I include members of the private sector because they are mostly the ones who, in pursuit of profit, bribe unscrupulous government officials, unmindful of the harmful effect such act has on the Filipino people.
The public sector? But, of course! Look at how Noynoy bribed senators and congressmen to get rid of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, for instance.
Look at how he violated the Constitution by resorting to the so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
And he wonders why he is criticized for his “daang matuwid” after having clamped three senators in jail? The reason is simple: he did not pursue any case against the other recipients of the bribe in both the Senate and the lower House? As a result, he lost whatever moral ascendancy he has gained by not doing so, by being selective, by sparing his friends and political allies from investigation and prosecution.
Look at his apparent attempt to break the law by allowing the outlawed pork barrel, allegedly in another form, to be sneaked back in to the national budget.
Look at how some cabinet members, national, provincial and city officials, up to the barangay level, continue to indulge in graft and corruption with impunity.
No Sir. His daang matuwid is a farce, made more evident by not removing officials who are inept, incompetent and corrupt.
And he persists on criticizing past administrations? That’s illogical!
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There is a news report that said an agriculturist in Sarangani was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Sandiganbayan for pocketing some P75,000 in 2002.
Life imprisonment for P75,000?! I find that rather appalling! And it took more than 12 years to have the case finally adjudicated! Right now, we have cases filed in the Sandiganbayan involving theft of government funds amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos, billions even. How long do you think it will take the court to resolve them? A long time, I’m afraid.
In this country, the more you steal, the better. If caught, you can always spend part of your loot to hire the “best” law firm or buy corrupt officials who can help you stay out of jail. Look at the Marcoses and some of their cronies, for instance.
So, do not expect the cases of plunder filed against government officials to prosper anytime soon. By the same token, do not expect the case of murder against the Ampatuans who have amassed billions of pesos during their “reign” in Maguindanao to be resolved in the near future.
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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. That was more than four and a half years ago.
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. He was also the highest paid in 2013 with P12.09 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if he again tops the list in 2014; and
(b) That over a year ago, at least P4.13 billion in contributions and loan payments made by 12 government offices, maybe more by now, to the GSIS had not been credited to the offices as of Dec. 31, 2011.
COA also said that the amount of unrecorded remittances could go much higher because only 36 agencies have at that time 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? How long do you think you can “dedma” these questions?
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 Heidi Mendoza of COA: “Is Vergara one of the sacred cows in Noynoy’s coterie whom you are afraid to investigate?”
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Today is the 263rd day of the eighth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.
The trial of the primary suspect in the enforced disappearance of Jonas, Maj. Harry Baliaga, Jr. has finally begun about six months ago, after seven and a half years.
I dread to think how many more years it will take before Jonas’ disappearance is finally resolved. Or, for that matter, the items in the Reminders above. It is beginning to look like it will not be during Noynoy’s watch.
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From an internet friend:
These are genuine answers (from 16-year-old kids)
Q. Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A. Premature death.
Q. What is artificial insemination?
A. When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.
Q. How can you delay milk turning sour ?
A. Keep it in the cow. (Simple, but brilliant.)
Q. What is the fibula?
A. A small lie.
Q. What does ‘varicose’ mean?
A. Nearby.
Q. What is the most common form of birth control?
A. Most people prevent contraception by wearing a condominium
(That would work.)
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20 January 2015
Email: roacrosshairs@outlook.com
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