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Noynoy, Robredo and jueteng EDITORIAL 09/13/2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Noynoy, Robredo and jueteng

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Archbishop Oscar Cruz knows what he’s talking about when it comes to government men receiving jueteng payola since he has been at it for more than nine years during the term of Gloria Arroyo.

Very intriguing was the token attention being given by Noynoy on the illegal numbers game and his apparent differences with Interior and Local Government Secretary or officer-in-charge (OIC) Jesse Robredo, who said earlier that Noynoy gave him an order to make his priority as Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief the eradication of jueteng.

Just a few days after this announcement from Robredo, Noynoy came up to state that his administration was not giving the fight against jueteng priority under his government.

Robredo is currently under heavy fire for largely his inaction on the hostage crisis with many calling for his head and Noynoy appears leaning on replacing him in the DILG post as Robredo’s name was not among those submitted to the Commission on Appointments (CA) and with the Palace giving statements lately that Robredo is only a secretary in an acting capacity..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100913com1.html

Walking the crooked path — again FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 09/13/2010

Walking the crooked path — again

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Change isn’t forthcoming, despite a change in leadership and all those pious and righteous stances being taken by the new administration.

The old faces have been replaced by new faces, but the same old order of the crooked path certainly is alive and kicking — and right among the high ranking officials in Malacañang.

Try as they, in the Palace, may hypocritically speak of their treading the straight path, it is still the same old crooked path they tread and while they denounced the old powers that walked the crooked line, and accused them of having benefited from the jueteng payoffs, the new powers are walking the same crooked path and benefiting from the same crooked jueteng payola, even as they try to portray themselves with halos on their head.

The problem with portraying themselves as cleaner than clean is the fact that their crooked ways are found out anyway. People know what’s going on. People talk, and names are mentioned — especially in the case of jueteng payoffs, mainly because there has been for sometime an anti-jueteng network nationwide and the intelligence work is pretty good.

The only problem is that this information from the anti-jueteng network is never utilized by government and its officials, and is even immediately dismissed the work of the critics and political foes..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100913com2.html

Lifestyle monitors ferret out Philippine tax cheats FEATURE 09/13/2010

Lifestyle monitors ferret out Philippine tax cheats


On slow days Philippine tax investigators say they comb through the obituary pages and stacks of sales invoices. On other days they get lucky and get to track the infrequent Porsche or Ferrari.

The poorly paid accountants and lawyers are the unlikely shock troops of President Aquino’s anti-corruption campaign, exposing to public shame those accused of cheating the government out of billions of dollars in taxes.

Rewards are few and the threat to life and limb is ever-present, but the “Run Against Tax Evaders” team of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is fuelled by civic duty, said its chief prosecutor Claro Ortiz.

“It’s very exhausting and very dangerous because, you know, we tend to run after big names and big people. There is, of course some sort of risk,” he said.

His 28-member special team of lawyers is currently handling 155 cases, including that of a pawnbroker who imported a half million-dollar Lamborghini even though he had paid just $600 in taxes in the past 10 years.
A luxury car dealer is also in trouble for allegedly cheating the government out of P68.4 million ($1.52 million) in duties for a fleet of Lamborghini, Porsche, Mercedes Benz and Maserati imports..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100913com3.html

The DoF’s ‘Foolish-ima’ DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 09/13/2010

The DoF’s ‘Foolish-ima’

Herman Tiu Laurel
As always, great horn-blowing accompanies the latest multi-billion peso borrowing announced by PeNoy Aquino’s Finance chief. Cesar Purisima clearly hopes this will drown out objective and critical analysis of the P44.1 billion in new loans added to the already enormous P4.6-trillion national government debt stock and our total debt of about P7 trillion. One headline even quotes the Hyatt 10 balik-secretary describing the oversubscribed issue as a “landslide vote of confidence,” the “first peso-denominated bond outside the country,” a “milestone,” and “the first time an Asian country conducted a float using its own currency.”

By real honest standards, however, forensic financial analyst Hero Vaswani of the Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya explains that there is nothing really great about it. If anything, that huge borrowing is merely evidence that the Philippine economy is unable to generate revenues, and that the government still has to borrow to finance its operations, despite claims of a 7.9-percent GDP growth.

A debt is a debt is a debt. Yet Purisima says the peso bond issuance “is the latest development in the (country’s) financing program in support of the government’s proactive management of external liabilities, particularly with respect to reducing its vulnerability to foreign currency risks.”

But isn’t it really just the foreign financial syndicates’ way of avoiding the volatility of the US dollar by tying up a debtor country to an exchange rate for the bond? So far, only the weak and unstable countries, such as Colombia in South America, have become suckers to this scheme of issuing local currency bonds.

National Treasurer Roberto Tan even supported the new peso bond debt, saying it would “enhance the government’s debt investor profile,” despite past examples of investor profiles given to countries such as Greece that have shown the scoring by the financial ratings agencies to be really meaningless.

Even as Purisima boasts that the peso bond issuance was oversubscribed 13 times, we ask: Isn’t this oversubscription just a symptom of the hard times in the western economies? The US is facing an on-going “low intensity depression” and its policymakers have already pumped trillions of dollars into the system, leading to desperation on where to park the overflowing financial assets.

Further, Vaswani explains that the US is lending at practically zero interest; which is why so-called “investors” have started to use this to buy Third World debt earning upwards of 5 percent. This reminds me of the “petrodollars” 40 years ago when US dollars overflowed after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries required oil to be traded only in that currency, as the Middle East crises (of created wars and oil embargoes) exploded oil prices from $15/bbl to almost $90/bbl (adjusted to 2008 dollar values. Trillions of US dollars then had to be recycled by finagling or forcing Third World countries to swallow a lot of un-payable loans.

Purisima is simply doing what all his predecessors have done: Increasing our debt; failing to raise revenues for government; and relying on new debts to finance the growing national budget with its increasing annual deficit-spending. The two months under the PeNoy administration has not brought about new ideas for generating greater revenues without imposing new taxes and other pains onto the public. Hence, the imbroglio over the value-added tax (VAT) on tollways, the raising of MRT fares, and now, the removal of the senior citizens’ VAT exemptions, which came out in the news just last Sept. 9.

Where then is the much-vaunted “anti-corruption dividend,” where savings from cleaning up waste from graft and corruption are supposed to make up for the deficits and fulfill the “no new taxes” pledge from PeNoy’s election campaign?

The plain truth is, the Philippines will never be able to break loose from the tightening strangle of the “debt trap” because every administration since the February 1986 elite counter-revolution (with the sole exception of Erap Estrada) had all been against the national economic development paradigm of Ferdinand Marcos.

After Cory Aquino took over, state revenues and the people’s wealth — as directed by the US State Department and Makati Business Club — were aggressively transferred to the oligarchy through trade liberalization (jumpstarted by Cory and Bobby Tañada’s removal of 3,000 items from tariff protection); privatization and deregulation of strategic industries and public utilities (Meralco, Petron, Napocor, etc.); and reversal of progressive income taxation through the institution of the regressive VAT system.

It went on through Fidel Ramos and peaked under Gloria Arroyo, where Big Business raked in P3 trillion in profits in just nine years!

To stop this bloodletting, the people must wrest power away from the oligarchy and put a genuinely democratic leadership in place. Unless PeNoy undergoes a miraculous transformation and becomes truly Pinoy — no longer for and of the US and the Makati Business Club — Filipinos will have to continue their search for genuine nationalist and patriotic leadership. It could be still by elections, if we can stop the future use of those Hocus-PCOS machines, or it can well be by other means, which may prove feasible when the time comes.

In the meantime, let’s continue to expose what the current Finance secretary is really doing in contracting all these new debts — whether in peso, dollar, euro, or yen. Debts in any currency are just the same old financial foolishness. Right, Mr. Foolish-ima?

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 1098AM; watch Politics (and Economics) Today, Tuesday, 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m. on Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21; visit our blogs, http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http:hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com)

(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100913com4.html

That ‘insulting letter’ C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 09/13/2010

That ‘insulting letter’

Jonathan De la Cruz
So, what were the contents of that “insulting letter” which P-Noy was supposed to have received from a “high official of the Hong Kong SAR?” Even as the Chief Executive himself noted that he may have erred in ever mentioning the same in his special press conference tackling the Luneta hostage crisis some days back and that it was not “very strongly worded” mentioning that “we were being told in very minute detail what we were supposed to do..” Although he has decided he “won’t fight back to prevent the conflict from getting worse.”

I think he owes it to the Filipino people to reveal the provenance of that letter and its contents. For if truth be told, that insult and that is how P-Noy felt about it, was not solely directed on his person but was actually a reproach on the nation. It was a derogation of the national honor. Whatever prompted that unnamed Hong Kong official to tell us in minutest detail what we should have done as P-Noy noted we do not deserve that kind of a missive.

True, that botched Luneta hostage rescue was a major, major blunder. It does not, however, represent by any means the best of who we really are. We have shown our capacity to stand up as a people and have actually been major contributors to the successes and strides of neo-states such as Hong Kong..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100913com5.html

New media HE SAYS Aldrin Cardon 09/13/2010

New media

Aldrin Cardon
I’ve lived in the years when television only come to life beginning at 7 a.m., anticipating its broadcast would be welcomed by a small nation which greets the day only at about the same time, and expire to bed at midnight, when television plays the national anthem (all few channels almost simultaneously), and then everything goes blank, to give way to just a million dots and the buzzing sound of static.

Radio was another matter. It had far reaching power than television, and its programs more economically viable that it lured audiences who were drawn to the great voices that would soon reveal their faces as stars of television, too.

But that was in another epoch, and since then, media had trudged through drastic, revolutionary changes that it could no longer stop itself, it is now awake 24/7 and the million dots and static confined only to the unoccupied wavelengths, or in a more digital sense, they are simply blue… and silent.

But the din that dwells in those images and sounds are no longer the same.

Free television competes with cable and digital networks; the Internet has become a savior and a pest; and the cheapest — if not totally free — entertainment, the radio tries to display a defiant gesture of indifference amid the invasion of other entertainment forms, like the iPod and the various China-made mp3 players, which would soon kill our music, like they did to our once insatiable desire for news and information..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100913com6.html

Media tussles SHE SAYS Dinah S. Ventura 09/13/2010

Media tussles

Dinah S. Ventura
I hesitate to call a burgeoning conflict in media as “wars” and instead use the word “tussle.” For while there are days when encountering the so-called blogging community can really get to those of us who have worked for years in what is now tagged as “traditional media,” I feel that to pursue it would be a waste of time.

Why? I bet all those radio stations never imagined they would someday have to fight hard for their audiences, who now carry their preferred music with them at all times in those handy little MP3s and iPods. I bet television never accounted for cellphones and YouTube when it comes to instant content dissemination. And when it comes to print, the online sources are just as proliferate now as newspapers used to be.

Supporting this is an article in Bloomberg Businessweek (bloomberg.com) on Nov. 8, 2006, which says: “Despite a growing population, TV and radio audiences have been declining in the US. Movie ticket sales peaked in 2002, and magazine and newspaper circulations have been trending lower for half a decade, with revenue and earnings growth stagnating.”

In other words, there have been decreasing audiences for traditional media even as households with Internet access increased in the US. The same is happening now in Asia, where more and more homes are getting their own computers, and the youth become more tech-savvy than ever..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100913com7.html

RP, HK relations cracked due to ‘insulting’ letter By Angie M. Rosales 09/13/2010


RP, HK relations cracked due to ‘insulting’ letter

By Angie M. Rosales

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Hong Kong have cracked and should be brought up with Chinese President Hu Jintao as a result of an insulting letter sent by a Hong Kong government official to President Aquino in the aftermath of the bloody outcome of the Rizal Park hostage crisis, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said yesterday.

Santiago, former chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, said the reported move by an official of China’s special administrative region is a breach of international protocols.

“The relationship of RP with the director of Hong Kong (Chief Executive Donald Tsang) is cracked. That should be brought up with the head of China,” she said in an interview with dzBB.

“If the President himself already said that he received an insulting letter, I have to take his word for it. We have to because he’s the President of the Philippines,” she said.

“If you’re getting insults, the issue will not be resolved by peaceful settlement,” she added.
“Under international laws, when you insult a head of state or a president, it’s almost the same as insulting the people of that country,” she said.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100913hed1.html

Solon dares Noy to axe execs getting jueteng payola By Charlie V. Manalo 09/13/2010

Solon dares Noy to axe execs getting jueteng payola
By Charlie V. Manalo

Reminding President Aquino of his campaign promise to rid the country of corrupt practices, a member of the minority in the House of Representatives yesterday dared Aquino to show political will and fire all those who may be involved in the multimillion-peso jueteng payola as exposed over the weekend by retired Bishop Oscar Cruz.

A lawmaker from Mindanao also insinuated that Congress might order a probe into Cruz’s allegations that two officials close to Aquino are receiving payolas from jueteng lords of up to P2 million a month.

In a telephone interview, Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay told the Tribune that while it is rather unfortunate that the Aquino administration had to be dragged into issues such as the jueteng payola as it had just barely assumed office, the President must finally muster all his guts and show off strong leadership that the people who voted him into power had expected of him.

“It’s really saddening that with barely over two months in power, the Aquino administration has to be involved in issues such as this,” Magsaysay said. “With so many boo-boos since day one, the erroneous memorandum circulars, the questionable executive orders, the hostage-taking fiasco which is now proving to be his most biggest mistake as far as decision-making is concern, and now this jueteng payola involving people said to be close to him, his supporters and all the other people who have placed their trust in him, are slowly getting disillusioned with him.”

The other day, Cruz accused two of Aquino’s men of having been receiving monthly payolas of P2 million each from big-time operators of the illegal numbers game. Though refusing to name them, Cruz said he would be willing to name them soon in a proper forum..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100913hed2.html

Senate, House ready probes into P7.1-billion Pag-Ibig scam 09/13/2010

Senate, House ready probes into P7.1-billion Pag-Ibig scam
Both chambers of Congress indicated yesterday interest in conducting an investigation into the alleged anomalous financial arrangement between the state agency Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund) and private developer Globe Asiatique that received about P7.1 billion in Pag-Ibig loans for two of its housing projects.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said the Senate will dig deeper into the questionable deal while Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said he is pushing a full-dress House inquiry into the issue.

The Pag-Ibig loans were supposedly obtained by non-existent borrowers to acquire property at Globe Asiatique’s Xevera projects in Mabalacat and Bacolor, both in Pampanga.

Osmeña, chairman of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies, took to task the Pag-Ibig for the loan deals with Globe Asiatique.

“Yes, we will investigate this. This falls under the jurisdiction of the committee on banks,” he said, noting that the arrangement was a case of conflict of interest..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100913hed3.html

Lobbying continues as Noy keeps next PNP chief card ‘secret’ By Mario J. Mallari 09/13/2010

Lobbying continues as Noy keeps next PNP chief card ‘secret’
By Mario J. Mallari

Barely two days before the scheduled early retirement of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Jesus Verzosa, President Aquino has yet to an-nounce who will be the next chief of the 130,000-strong organi-zation, giving room to more speculations and bickering among the contenders.

Tribune sources from the PNP said the delay in the announcement of Verzosa’s replacement only works to the detriment of the entire orga-nization, noting recent cropping up of unsigned mani-festos allegedly coming from junior PNP officers.

“The President should have announced the chief PNP’s suc-cessor after approving his early retirement so that the organization will be spared by these speculations… the ranks do not understand why the delay on the announcement,” a mid-ranking police officer said.

Another officer also said the President should institutionalize the naming of top PNP official weeks or even months before the actual turnover to avoid bickering and lobbying among the contenders..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100913hed4.html

Lagman says Lacierda ‘blinded by propaganda’ 09/13/2010

Lagman says Lacierda ‘blinded by propaganda’
An opposition leader in the House of Representatives yesterday slammed presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda for “trying to mislead the people” on the real issue over the Truth Commission as he belied Malacañang’s claims the opposition is terrified by undergoing investigation for alleged wrongdoings during the past administration.

House Minority Leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, in a statement, accused Lacierda of being “blinded by an obstinate desire for propaganda when he said that those who have committed no wrong should not be afraid of the Truth Commission.”

“Lacierda refuses to understand that the challenge against the commission is not because of fear but is motivated by the duty to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law,” Lagman stressed. “Neither is the commission being questioned to block the investigation and prosecution of officials of the Arroyo administration who can be brought before existing investigatory and prosecutorial agencies like the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman without inventing the Truth Commission.”

The lawmaker said the issue is not whether the commission is a toothless tiger for want of subpoena and coercive powers or a ferocious lion for having been granted quasi-judicial authority, but the body’s constitutional aberration.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100913hed5.html

Solon quizzes ‘conflict of interest’ in DILG exec’s appointment 09/13/2010

Solon quizzes ‘conflict of interest’ in DILG exec’s appointment
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago yesterday questioned the appointment of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Under-secretary Rico Puno, saying his supervision of the Philippine National Police (PNP) constitutes a conflict of interest.

“He used to be an arms supplier in the PNP. And now, the PNP is under him. Isn’t that a clear case of conflict of interest?” the senator asked.

Santiago, in an interview with dzBB, also did not spare from her criticisms over the authorities’ mishandling of the Aug. 23 hostage-taking incident, outgoing PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa.

“He should have tendered his resignation that very night because of the principle of command responsibility,” she stressed.

The senator said Verzosa and several other police officials are facing a case before the Office of the Ombudsman over the so-called Euro generals scandal some two years ago, an incident where some ranking police officials were caught carrying large amount of money in Moscow.z.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100913hed6.html

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