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Quezon City CoA-llusion? DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 07/15/2011

Friday, July 15, 2011


Quezon City CoA-llusion?

DIE HARD III
Herman Tiu Laurel
07/15/2011
Quezon City, a premier metropolis, is also a city of mysteries. When the previous city administration ended its reign, it boasted of a P6.5-billion budget surplus. Its former mayor, a staunch pillar of the previous regime — now vilified to the hilt — has moved on anew to become Speaker of the House under the supposedly rival political faction of BSA III.

Similarly, the previous mayor’s city administrator also moved to higher places, i.e., the Office of the Executive Secretary in Malacañang. But just a few months after a new administration was voted in, the city council is already proposing to raise new taxes, leaving Quezon City residents scratching their heads, asking, “What happened to the reported budget surplus and savings of P6.5 billion?” Unfortunately, the new city mayor can only reply with another query: “What budget surplus and savings? We are in deficit!”

The former mayor, Sonny Belmonte, has not said a word on the questions raised; neither has his city administrator. Quezon City residents went to city hall to attend one of the sessions of the city council, officially raising questions on the whereabouts of the budget surplus propagandists of Belmonte, as well as to protest the proposed 1-percent real estate tax increase for so-called “housing projects.”

Such increases will naturally raise new needless billions from the city’s citizens, who know full well that these city councilors each enjoy an annual P43-million pork barrel, which will never be properly accounted for. Yet, despite the citizens’ opposition, these city councilors are pursuing it with shameless determination, apparently confident that nothing but nothing can stop them — not even the citizens’ threat to raise such questions of their “pork barrel” and the “lost surpluses” in the proper forum.

Citizens are therefore asking what exactly is happening in Quezon City that it can be so smug to the inquiries and how so huge an anomaly as the missing P6.5-billion surplus can be swept under the rug. To understand this, one has to look at the “new” city hall. There may be a new mayor but he is all but powerless against the old regime, which continues its tight grip over the city.

The current vice mayor is Belmonte’s daughter. The city administrator today used to be city treasurer under him as well while the old cabal around him then is still in control. Corruption there is neatly worked out, with everyone in the loop allegedly approving papers; and with councilors, congressmen, and city officials concerned allegedly getting their share of whatever allotted portions there are. But how do these graft activities get around the rules designed to check corruption? We’ll have to look at the Commission on Audit (CoA) auditors.

For sordid graft activities in an institution to thrive, it is inevitable that the CoA officials assigned are also in collusion. Examining who the auditors are in the city today sheds light on what’s going on in the city administration. Plus, to understand Quezon City today requires a thorough review of the historic scandals in Philippine government, such as the Gen. Carlos Garcia Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) logistics plunder case that shocked the nation, which led to the shameful “suicide” of Gen. Angelo Reyes.

Details of plunder operations exposed by former AFP budget officer and now whistle-blower Maj. George Rabusa by way of his plunder case against three CoA auditors assigned previously to the AFP, among them Manuel Warren, Arturo Besana and Crisanto Gabriel, show that the three allegedly received bribes amounting to P69 million, P26.4 million and P58 million, respectively. And while the rest have been “frozen,” one of them has even been “promoted.”

State auditor Warren, who was alleged to have received the biggest amount, was reactivated and transferred to Quezon City Hall. This contradicts an earlier position of the CoA chief, Grace Pulido-Tan, who correctly preferred to “freeze” the accused state auditors. A change of heart reportedly occurred only after she was called into a meeting in Malacañang.

What happened in the supposed meeting, no one really knows, but one of the “most guilty” auditors charged in that AFP plunder case was in fact reactivated, and to Quezon City Hall at that. Tan’s confirmation as CoA chief was reportedly opposed, but apparently Tan’s stay has been prolonged. Has there been a quid pro quo?
Quezon City Hall is a nest of graft and corruption. If its resident CoA auditor will have a questionable reputation, then QC’s citizens can be assured that the rats will play. Is the CoA in collusion or is it going to help save the city and its citizens from the continuing rapacity of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats?

Let’s see if Grace Pulido-Tan can overcome fears of the old Quezon City mafia and help clean up the country’s premier metropolis by ending the “CoA-llusion” there.

(Tune in to Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m., and Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 6 to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Tuesday, 8 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “Franchising: Hope for Economic Recovery”; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)
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(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110715com6.html

Knowing maleficent genius EDITORIAL 07/15/2011

Knowing maleficent genius

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
07/15/2011
So who’s the “maleficent genius?”, as the Senate’s Lady Miriam would call the person behind the “Pajero bishops” media blitz that ended up a dud and was exposed as a well-crafted attack on the Church leaders intended to divert public attention from the real issue at hand?

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office exposé led by its chairman Margie Juico, wife of Popoy Juico, who together form part of the Yellow circle of Noynoy, led the charge in the exposé indicating irregularities in the distribution of PCSO funds for the purchase of Pajeros. Without saying it, since the accusers did not have any solid proof about it except for their interpretation of a Commission on Audit (CoA) report, Juico’s conspirators were leading the public to consider the PCSO money for the purchase of the vehicles as bribes for the bishops to support former President Gloria Arroyo since most of the donations happened in 2009 when Gloria was facing an impeachment proceeding..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110715com1.html

Incredible ‘confession’ FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/15/2011

Incredible ‘confession’

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
07/15/2011
Zaldy Ampatuan and Lintang Bedol’s “confessions” on the 2007 senatorial election cheating just don’t sound right — almost as if portions of the “admissions” were intended to give Noynoy Aquino the “ammunition” to go after his predecessor.

To be clear: This is not to say that the elections in Maguindanao, whether in 2004 or 2007 or even 2010, were fraud-free and that the winners were really the genuinely elected officials by the Maguindanao electorate, but what appears out of place — confession wise — was the inclusion of Noynoy being targeted by Gloria for zero votes, with Zaldy saying that Noynoy’s parents are popular and that he may be running for the presidency in 2010.

Two other names, Ping Lacson and Alan Peter Cayetano, said Zaldy, were also targeted by the Arroyos for zero votes..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110715com2.html

Supreme Court directs AFP to produce Jonas Burgos

Supreme Court directs AFP to produce Jonas Burgos

“He [Aquino] would know what to do. Now is the opportunity to act on the cases of enforced disappearances. I hope he grants this opportunity to show the world that he is sincere in helping victims of human rights violations find justice. He must act immediately,” Mrs. Burgos said.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
 
MANILA – After hearing the news, Mrs. Edita Burgos felt initial euphoria. She said the Supreme Court decision proves the family’s theory that the military was behind the abduction of her son Jonas.
In an en banc resolution dated July 5, the high court upheld the findings of the Commission on Human Rights and has directed the military to produce Jonas Burgos. The members of the high court unanimously concurred with the resolution written by Associate Justice Arturo Brion.

Burgos was abducted April 28, 2007 while he was having lunch at a restaurant inside the Ever Gotesco Mall in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.

“The decision is a welcome development in the campaign to stop impunity and to make the perpetrators of human rights violations accountable for their crimes. We are glad that the SC seems to be delivering a message that is loud and clear – that it is now time, belated as it is, to give justice to the kin of those missing like Jonas Burgos and the two university students,” Edre Olalia, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) secretary general, said.

Aquino urged to act

Mrs. Burgos holds a photo of her son Jonas. (File photo / bulatlat.com)
Mrs. Burgos said that as commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the ball is now in the hands of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

“He would know what to do. Now is the opportunity to act on the cases of enforced disappearances. I hope he grants this opportunity to show the world that he is sincere in helping victims of human rights violations find justice. He must act immediately,” Mrs. Burgos said.

In the same vein, human rights group Karapatan called on Aquino to use his power as commander-in-chief of the AFP to order the military to abide by the Supreme Court’s order to surface Jonas Burgos and ensure that those responsible for his abduction and disappearance will be punished. “Only then can decisions of the Courts have teeth and effect the lessening of, if not totally ending, impunity,” Karapatan said.

Meanwhile, NUPL, a group of human rights lawyers, noted Aquino’s silence on human rights issues. “ The group said that amid the recent decisions of the Supreme Court finding the AFP responsible for the abduction of missing activists, Aquino, as the commander-in-chief, “is not predisposed to make a policy that will come after human rights violators and discourage future perpetrators.”..... MORE

Source: Bulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/15/supreme-court-directs-afp-to-produce-jonas-burgos/

Civil war caused by inequality, injustices

Civil war caused by inequality, injustices

 “The government says without the NPA, there would be peace. That is not true. It is the situation that gives life to the NPA.” – Coni Ledesma-Jalandoni
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – In a rare occasion, Coni Ledesma, the former nun turned revolutionary, spoke about women, the revolution and the peace process.

Ledesma, member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panel, started by providing the context to the more than four decades of civil war. “We are not a mere rebel group. We fight for a Philippines that has genuine democracy, justice,” she said in a forum organized by Working for Empowerment and Good Governance Institute, Inc. (WeGovern).

“We see inequality. Yesterday, I just saw the properties of the Ampatuans — 743 bank accounts, 132 motor vehicles, 113 houses and lots. So much wealth! At the same time, there are people who live by scavenging. The gap [between the rich and the poor] is so wide,” Ledesma said.


(Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
She cited how the farmers and workers are exploited, how overseas Filipino workers work hard to feed their families. “This is our situation. The NPA [New People’s Army] was organized to fight for the rights of the people. The government says without the NPA, there would be peace. That is not true. It is the situation that gives life to the NPA,” she said.

Founded on March 29, 1969, the NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“This is better, at least [it is] organized, with direction and discipline. Otherwise, the people would spontaneously take up arms and fight. At least, [with the NPA] they know what to do and what not to do,” she said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/15/civil-war-caused-by-inequality-injustices/

Refusing to live in fear: portrait of a human rights defender

Refusing to live in fear: portrait of a human rights defender

“It’s never right to live in fear. Those who attack the civil, political and human rights of the Filipino people thrive on fear and persist in their attacks because of a culture of impunity. To remain silent is to play along with your own victimization,” says human rights advocate Ma. Isabel Aquino Refusing to live in fear: portrait of a human rights defender.
by INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com
It has been almost three decades since the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship, but Maria Isabel Aurelia Aquino’s psychological wounds caused by her experiences during those dark days remain as fresh as if they were inflicted yesterday. In her day to day dealings, however, she is able to be sincere to her facade of cheerfulness and calm.

A human rights activist, she knows that fighting for human rights takes courage and persistence.

“But it also takes much personal strength. It’s not always easy to put up a brave face when your work is about defending other people’s rights to live in dignity and to stop physical abuse and exploitation. It can take a toll on you, the knowledge of how so many Filipinos are forced to live not knowing their rights or having their rights violated in a myriad of ways. And then when you consider your own experiences, it’s sometimes gets even harder,” she said ruefully.

Born in Manila to an upper middle class family, Ma. Isabel grew up in an old Spanish house along Severino Street near Claro M. Recto Avenue in Manila. It was an area that saw many street protests and battles between anti-Marcos activists and the Metrocom (now the Philippine National Police), and a stone’s throw away from Don Chino Roces bridge, or more popularly known as Mendiola bridge. She attended a private school nearby, and in the countdown to martial law and in the beginnings of the First Quarter Storm Movement, she became an activist leading students in the struggle against the dictatorship.

“There are those who would say that the days of dictatorship are long gone; but from the state of human rights in the Philippines these days, it is impossible to dismiss the truth that much remains to be desired by way of bringing genuine justice in the country,” she said.

Data gathered by Karapatan human rights organization for the second quarter of the year show the same growing list of human rights violations under President Benigno Aquino III’s Oplan Bayanihan (OPB), his administration’s counterinsurgency program which is deemed no different from the previous Macapagal-Arroyo regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).

From July 2010 to June 2011, a shocking 48 activists have fallen victim to extrajudicial killings while three others have become victims of enforced disappearance.

Maria Isabel herself almost became a statistic back in March 2010.

On March 10, 2010, armed men arrived at her parents’ house in Severino street looking for her. She was able to elude them because her sister and a caretaker were able to immediately warn her and she was able to leave the house undetected through a separate, back exit. Her elderly parents were shaken and feared for her life but begged her to not raise the issue to the media..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/15/refusing-to-live-in-fear-portrait-of-a-human-rights-defender/

Progressive women from 20 countries vow to fight imperialist attacks against women

Progressive women from 20 countries vow to fight imperialist attacks against women

The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) is waging a fight against widespread hunger, poverty, deterioration of social welfare, unemployment, landlessness, human rights abuses, and militarization, on top of discrimination and different forms of violence against women.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com
Sidebar: International Women’s Alliance recognizes exemplary women in the struggle
 
MANILA – In a historic gathering, more than a hundred women from seven continents representing more than 40 women’s organizations worldwide attended the first general assembly of International Women’s Alliance (IWA) in Manila early this month.

With the theme “Advance global anti-imperialist women’s movement in the 21st century, strengthen the international women’s alliance,” progressive women from 20 countries vowed to fight imperialist attacks against women’s rights and welfare.


(Photo courtesy of International Women’s Alliance/ bulatlat.com)
IWA is a global alliance that is anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-patriarchy, anti-feudalism, anti-xenophobia and anti-homophobia grassroots women’s organizations, institutions, alliances, networks and individuals, committed to advancing social and national liberation. Delegates to the IWA pointed out that the global economic crisis made women and the peoples around the world suffer from landlessness, poverty and hunger. In particular, women belonging to the marginalized sectors are the ones most vulnerable to the crisis.

Mari Boti of Women of Diverse Origins and an award-winning film maker from Canada said that the first general assembly of IWA aims to further strengthen the collective voice and actions of women’s rights activists.

Impact on women

Sarojeni Rengam from Malaysia and a member of Asian Rural Women’s Coalition said that monopoly capitalism which resulted to global economic crisis has resulted to debts, unemployment, implementation of neo-liberal policies and huge cutbacks in funding or agriculture and social services such as education, health and housing. Land grabbing is also widespread in countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East to which societies are ruled by landlords, warlords, and oligarchies which are supported by the imperialists..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/11/progressive-women-from-20-countries-vow-to-fight-imperialist-attacks-against-women/

Activists from 42 countries call on Aquino to give up Hacienda Luisita

Activists from 42 countries call on Aquino to give up Hacienda Luisita


“Hacienda Luisita belongs to Luisita land tillers. President Aquino and his family have no legal, moral and political bases to keep the sugar estate.” – International League of Peoples’ Struggle
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – Hundreds of activists from 42 countries called on President Benigno S. Aquino III to give up Hacienda Luisita and distribute the land for free.

In a resolution, delegates of the Fourth International Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) said: “Hacienda Luisita belongs to Luisita land tillers. President Aquino and his family have no legal, moral and political bases to keep the sugar estate. We, the social activists of the world demand for the Aquino and the Cojuangco syndicate to give up Luisita in favor of the farm workers.”

Speaking in a press conference, Prof. Gill Boehringer, a law professor from Australia, called the injustice to the farm workers as “basically theft” and compared the Philippines to Cuba.


Australian law professor Gill Boehringer criticizes the country’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
“Fidel Castro’s mother did not speak to him for a very long time because when he became president, the first property to be nationalized was the Castro plantation. What happens here? It’s exempted. That’s supposed to be comprehensive agrarian reform program. CARP [Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program] is crap. It’s a terrible situation to have the president [Cory Aquino], and then the president’s son [Noynoy] who also became the president, supporting that kind of fraud on the people, it’s basically theft,” Boehringer said.

Under CARP, non-land transfer schemes such as stock distribution option (SDO) are allowed.
.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/11/activists-from-42-countries-call-on-aquino-to-give-up-hacienda-luisita/

Palace on Zaldy’s state witness bid: ‘No deal’ By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan 07/15/2011

LACIERDA, ROBREDO HIT FOR MEDDLING IN MASSACRE CASE

Palace on Zaldy’s state witness bid: ‘No deal’

By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan 07/15/2011

The Palace flatly rejected the offer of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Rizaldy “Zaldy” Ampatuan, one of the prime suspects in the Maguindanao massacre that happened in 2009, to turn state witness after Palace officials faced outrage from families of the victims over suggestions that President Aquino is considering the offer.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, at a Palace briefing, said the Department of Justice (DoJ) position in rejecting Zaldy Ampatuan as a state witness in the case stands which got the support of the Palace. De Lima, nevertheless, said the government can consider Zaldy as state witness in cases other than the massacre charges such as allegations of fraud in the 2004 elections and the plunder and tax evasion cases filed against the Ampatuans.

“There is no offer and even if there is an offer right now,it will not be in accordance with the Witness Protection Program,” de Lima added. She said Zaldy needed to admit guilt which he has not done while insisting that he did not take part in the planning of the massacre..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110715hed1.html

PCSO funds in millions of pesos, records, missing By Angie M. Rosales 07/15/2011

PCSO funds in millions of pesos, records, missing

By Angie M. Rosales 07/15/2011

On top of the questioned hundreds of millions of pesos of intelligence funds spent by Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) months before the 2010 presidential elections, its embattled former general manager reportedly managed to encash checks totalling P102 million which charge she refused to explain to senators.

Alongside this development, Senate probers were also told that records pertaining to the additional P54 million intelligence funds of the agency in 2007, also an election year, appear to be “missing” or unaccounted for as there exists no records to support its disbursement.

Former PCSO officials also allegedly failed to turn over some so-called “unclaimed” lotto cash prizes, running in hundreds of millions of pesos, to the agency’s “charity fund” which serves as its pool of funds for medical and other assistance to indigent individuals..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110715hed2.html

Abalos, Ferrer deny Bedol massive cheating raps in 2004, 2007 polls By Charlie V. Manalo 07/15/2011

Abalos, Ferrer deny Bedol massive cheating raps in 2004, 2007 polls

By Charlie V. Manalo 07/15/2011
Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. and Commissioner Nicodemus Ferrer yesterday categorically denied massive cheatings in both the 2004 and 2007 elections nor have they had any hand on any election cheating if there were any as alleged by former Comelec election officer for Maguindano, fugitive Lintang Bedol.

At a press briefing held in Mandaluyong City, both Abalos and Ferrer denied Bedol’s allegations that there was massive election fraud in the 2004 and 2007 elections in Maguindanao which Bedol alleged, was ordered by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo and implemented by Abalos, Ferrer and another Comelec commissioner, Rene Sarmiento.

Initially, Abalos refused to comment on Bedol’s allegations saying he still has to wait for Bedol to come up with an affidavit before issuing any statement. But upon insistent questioning by the media, Abalos was forced to respond, “First, there is no truth to the allegations former President Arroyo called me up instructing me to cheat in behalf of the administration’s bets in Maguindanao,” Abalos said, adding “But more importantly, I am categorically denying there was massive election cheating committed during my watch as Comelec chairman.”..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110715nat1.html

UK issues warning to nationals on RP kidnaps 07/15/2011

UK issues warning to nationals on RP kidnaps

07/15/2011
The British government has warned its nationals against the dangers of kidnapping in the Philippines and asked them to postpone unnecessary travel to some parts of Mindanao following the abduction of two American citizens and a Filipino in Zamboanga City early this week.

In its updated advisory, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) discouraged British travelers from going to southwest Mindanao and Sulu and to postpone non-essential travel there.

“There is a threat from kidnapping in the Philippines, particularly in the southern Philippines,” it said.
Kidnapping, the travel advisory warned, “could occur anywhere, including on coastal and island resorts and dive boats and sites in the Sulu Sea.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110715nat2.html

Vatican’s official rep to RP arriving today 07/15/2011

Vatican’s official rep to RP arriving today

07/15/2011
The Vatican’s official representative to the Philippines, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, will arrive today in Manila to fill in the post vacated by former Papal Nuncio John Joseph Edwards.

Most Reverend Pinto is scheduled to arrive this morning aboard a Cathay Pacific airways flight from the Vatican via Hong Kong. Cathay flight CX907 is scheduled to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 9:55 a.m.
Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales together with Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Bishop Nereo Odchimar will lead the welcoming party at the airport..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110715met2.html

Bishops should not be faulted for receiving donations — Ejercito By Gerry Baldo 07/15/2011

Bishops should not be faulted for receiving donations — Ejercito

By Gerry Baldo 07/15/2011
San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito yesterday said the bishops of the Catholic Church should not be faulted for receiving donations from the Arroyo government.

Ejercito, who was at a media forum yesterday, said the prohibition to donate is on the officials of government and not on the leaders of the church.

“We should not blame the bishops because it is the Arroyo administration that corrupted them,” Ejercito said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said the Catholic Church should not be the only religion that should be investigated for the alleged irregular donations. Casiño said a full accounting of all the donations made by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110715met4.html

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