from The Manila Times

Aquino defies SC, renames pork


President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd has defied the Supreme Court’s ruling that the pork barrel system is unconstitutional and has maintained the system in the 2014 budget, as well as in the 2015 proposed appropriations law.     Read column

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FIRST PERSON by Alex Magno

from The Philippine Star




First, the Palace apologized for the state of the MRT. Then, over the weekend, the Palace apologized for the horrendous traffic jam at the NLEX last Friday.

It is as if that by apologizing the problems will melt away. Or, more precisely, wished away. Read column





LOWDOWN by Jojo Robles

from Manila Standard Today


A barking dog

Will he or won’t he seek a second, expressly prohibited term? I don’t think he will, unless he’s gone completely crazy.

Last Friday, President Noynoy Aquino called for a meeting of his political loyalists, during which he regaled them once again with attacks on his jailed predecessor and his critics...


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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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Jueteng and ‘KKK’ escalate crime under Aquino
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

by Ricardo Saludo  (The Manila Times)

The doubling of crime volume since 2010 to more than 630,000 incidents last year and possibly up to 750,000 this year, must be at least as big a media story as pork barrel and Supertyphoon Yolanda. One has to credit the administration’s press clout that hardly any news reports have headlined those appalling numbers, soaring despite economic growth and increased police deployment and gear.

Crime has doubled under Aquino. Here’s why
Monday, 08 September 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

by Ricardo Saludo  (The Manila Times)

Three reasons: smuggling, jueteng, and bad leadership. But first, let’s look at the crime numbers. Not the hugely discounted data from the Philippine National Police as reported by the National Statistics Office (NSO). Rather, the real, unadulterated figures made public only in June by no less than PNP Chief Alan Purisima.

Can Aquino fall?: Worries grow from a year ago
Monday, 01 September 2014 00:00 Posted by admin   

by Ricardo Saludo  (The Manila Times)

A mid the growing disenchantment with President Benigno Aquino 3rd, reaching a high point last week with the launch of the so-called National Transformation Council (NTC) grouping religious, civil society, political and other sectoral entities, it may be timely to reprint portions of a three-part article published a year ago pondering the question: Can Aquino fall? The excerpt follows:

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 example, 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.


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