from The Manila Times

With DAP money, Aquino was a Marcos


President Benigno Aquino 3rd acted like the dictator Marcos in handling his P149 billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) money, allocating billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money to whatever use he decided solely on his own, according to documents as well as sources from the Budget department. Read column

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FIRST PERSON by Alex Magno

from The Philippine Star




Several impeachment complaints have been filed at the House of Representatives arising from the unconstitutional “disbursement acceleration program” (DAP) —possibly the most blatant defiance of the principle of checks-and-balances and the biggest single instance of malversation of public money in the history of constitutional government. Read column





Republic Service by Ric Saludo

from The Manila Times


After Aquino:  What his successor must fix


Today’s visit of US President Barack Obama cements a new security relationship with the Philippines, enhancing the country’s defenses against China’s maritime incursions, while balancing the growing power of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with the increased deployment of US naval and air forces in the archipelago under Obama’s Pivot To Asia initiative.  Read column



Secretary De Lima: Bungling, incompetent, or loyal lackey?


CONSIDER the facts, and you decide whether Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is:

(a) An incompetent, but partisan justice secretary who doesn’t really know what her job is, in former senator Joker Arroyo’s words, a student-council official of a student-council administration, describing this government’s utter amateurishness.

(b) A bungling official who’s been falling over herself in her obsession for publicity so she could have a fighting chance for her senatorial bid in 2016. Or,

(c) A loyal lackey of President Aquino who would do anything her boss wants.


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Napolesgate? Napoles: Star witness...vs Aquino?


If we had an independent Congress, one with integrity and balls, President Aquino would be most certainly impeached in what would be his “Napolesgate.”

In the infamous 1970s Watergate crisis in the US —for which the suffix “-gate” has since been used to refer to political scandals—President Nixon was impeached for obstruction of justice. This was because for nearly two years, as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein painstakingly uncovered, Nixon covered up his staff’s complicity in the break-in on the opposition Democratic National Committee headquarters in Watergate hotel, undertaken obviously to gather information that could be used against the Democrats in the 1973 elections.


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Ten questions they didn't, couldn't ask at the Napoles hearing


When Janet Lim-Napoles arrived at the hall for the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing last Friday, she was dour-looking, but surprisingly—or not so surprisingly— confident. When she left, she was smiling and even animatedly shook hands with her persecutor, justice secretary Leila de Lima who was visibly shocked at the gesture.

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The wimpiest, most shameful Congress


I cannot run out of words to describe how low our Congress, has stooped to be so subservient to, or so fearful of President Aquino.

With his Disbursement Acceleration Program, which threw to the dustbin Congress’ appropriations law, Aquino has politically slapped its members on their faces.


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Without Congress' approval, Aquino set up own P72-B pork barrel fund


It’s amazing how the pork barrel scam, initially intended to politically bury the opposition early for the 2016 elections, has boomeranged against this administration and opened up to public view its horrific can of worms.

Unveiled only in the past few days, it is a mostly unknown fund created in October 12, 2011 in order to finance the so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program. The P5 billion used for the post-trial “second tranche” of the bribe money for Congress to take out Chief Justice Renato Corona came from this fund.


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President Aquino is now suspect

On the face of it, abolishing the hated pork barrel system and throwing to jail senators and congressmen who stole taxpayers’ money using the scheme could have been President Aquino’s great achievement, his legacy to the nation.

More than that, it is a masterstroke that could put an end the presidential and vice presidential ambitions of opposition Senators Ramon Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is politically finished to be a leader that could rally opposition senators against Aquino’s man Senate President Franklin Drilon.


Aquino's flawed Moro policy unravels


The storming of Zamboanga City by forces of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) that started Monday marks the unraveling of President Aquino’s injudicious, even reckless roadmap to end the Islamic insurgency in Mindanao.


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Pork scam makes us miserable


One of the weirdest TV news clips I watched during a recent typhoon had a reporter asking people in a street that was flooded to the waist: “Ok lang ba kayo?”. Not only that, believe it or not, he asked them: “Masaya ba kayo?” (“Are you ok? Are you happy?”)

And believe it or not, a chubby lady, an elderly man, and a teen-ager—all seemed were poor—were all smiling, “Sanay na ho kami. Masaya na lang kami.” (“We’re used to it.


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Incompetence and politicking in Zamboanga


Around 1 a.m. September 9, 2013, fully armed Moro National Liberation Front fighters routed a Navy’s elite Special Operations Group that tried to stop them from landing on the coast of barangay Rio Hondo in Zamboanga City, killing one Navy soldier and wounding six others.

By dawn, the MNLF fighters—joined by 100 who had slipped into the city earlier—had occupied six barangays, allegedly keeping hostage some 200 civilians, and securing their battle perimeters with improvised explosive devices. Snipers, the military would learn later, had been deployed in strategic areas.


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DBM cover-up in COA's pork barrel report


Imagine if the school principal clamps down on cheating by this class of 24 students, which had become an open secret on campus.

An investigator is called and asks for the exam papers for him to pin down the cheating. The teacher submits only the documents for this particular gang of four he doesn’t like, and simply ignores the investigator’s demand to provide him with the exam papers of the others.


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The kid’s speeches
Friday, 11 July 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

by Jojo Robles  (Manila Standard Today)

When Joker Arroyo described the Aquino administration as a “student government,” he wasn’t far off the mark. To cite just one examplby Jojo Robles  (Manila Standard Today)e, the President’s go-to speechwriter is barely out of school and can still pass for a student.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

Despite their earlier pronouncement two weeks ago that they were going to present 6 to 10 more witnesses, special prosecutors in the PCSO plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former PCSO officials rested their case today.

Special prosecutors led by Hazel Militante made the formal manifestation at the morning hearing saying they had no more witness to present against the former president and her co-accused.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

An international human rights group, which includes former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, has condemned the 683 death sentences handed down in Egypt in a mass trial last month.

Reports showed that the Criminal Court of Minya in Egypt sentenced 683 persons to death on various charges after a mass hearing. They were allegedly not given adequate access to lawyers, not read their charges and more than 600 of those convicted were in absentia.

Thursday, 08 May 2014 13:43 Posted by admin   

Another controversial case against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been dismissed.

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed “for lack of any factual or legal basis” the graft complaint filed against the former President and now Pampanga representative in connection with the P728 million Fertilizer Fund controversy.

In an eight-page resolution of the Special Panel on Task Force Abono Cases, the panel said no documentary or testimonial evidence was submitted to prove that she had knowledge or participation in the disbursement of the fund.

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

A ranking official of the Commission on Audit today virtually cleared former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in her alleged involvement in the plunder case involving the P366 million confidential and intelligence fund (CIF) of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) saying she is not a recipient of the fund and that she is not the accountable officer for it.

Taking the witness stand for the second time during the hearing on the bail petition of former COA Chairman Reynaldo Villar, Flerida Africa Jimenez, the head of the Intelligence and Confidential Fund Audit Unit (ICFAU) of the COA, said based on records, the former President does not appear to be the recipient of the CIF released to the PCSO from 2008 to 2010 and that she is not the accountable public officer on the said account.

Growing anger over PDAF scam could bring gov't down
Sunday, 27 April 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

by Dr. Dante Ang (Chairman Emeritus, The Manila Times)

Failure of the government to dampen the growing unrest over the P10-billion PDAF (or pork barrel) scam could bring the whole government down. DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima was right when she said that baring the list to the public at this time would cause “havoc and confusion.”

Yet, keeping the people in the dark would increase the pressure on her to release the names. Her refusal to do so could unlock torrents of angry protests from a disgusted public, which would then engulf the Aquino administration.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

Contrary to earlier allegations that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo endorsed a grossly disadvantageous project to the government, a former official of the NEDA today told the Sandiganbayan that the former President even ordered the configuration of the NBN ZTE project and the lowering of the project’s loan interest rate to reduce the cost of the project.

Taking the witness stand, Fortunato Abrenilla, former Legal Staff Director of NEDA, told the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division that during the meeting of the NEDA Board on March 27, 2007 on the NBN project, then President Arroyo, as chairman of the NEDA Board, ordered then DOTC Assistant Secretary Lorenzo Formoso III to configure the NBN proposal so as to avoid overlapping of its services and coverage with the Cyber Education program of the government. She also told him if the 4 percent per annum interest rate of the loan from the Chinese government could be lowered.

Monday, 17 March 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

Jose “Joey” De Venecia III, main witness in the botched NBN-ZTE deal virtually cleared former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the cancelled contract saying he believed she did not have any involvement or did not receive any kickback in the transaction.

Taking the witness stand for his cross examination in the graft case filed in relation to the cancelled deal, De Venecia, son of former House Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr., said he felt it was “unacceptable” for people who are involved in the deal to be name dropping her since he believed she did not have participation in the transaction.

Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

Granting former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a three-day birthday furlough will be good to her health, this was revealed today by a government doctor in charge of overseeing the health condition of the former President.

Taking the witness stand on the motion seeking for a three-day furlough filed by Mrs. Arroyo, Dr. Martha O. Nocum, a pulmonologist and head of the medical team tasked to oversee her health condition at the Veterans Memorial and Medical Center (VMMC), told the Sandiganbayan First Division that the short furlough to Lubao, Pampanga will be beneficial to her health since it will temporarily take her out confinement which they found to be a contributing factor to her deteriorating health condition.


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