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Decency and integrity DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 06/06/2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Decency and integrity

Herman Tiu Laurel
It was in the early part of the Gloria Arroyo administration that a new private entity took over from government the latter’s operations at the North Expressway. That time, news of a giant oligarchic corporation advancing a new scheme of toll rates, with graphic charts of costs and revenue projections, filtered out of the National Economic Development Authority (Neda). Based on the story, the Neda chief then, upon watching the Power Point presentation, got intrigued by an item worth P700 million. After asking the company’s top honcho why those expenses purportedly for “legal intermediation” and “information” were so high, he was allegedly told that the item had already been “taken care of with Malacañang.”

If an official investigation were to be launched with an honest-to-goodness subpoena of documents, we can easily verify this. Many times before, we have tried to investigate issues related to tollways overcharging but have invariably been rebuffed whenever financial documents were demanded. Time and again, we have brought these issues to court to no avail.

In fact, some years ago, I was sued by the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) for P100 million in “damages” because of what I wrote. That court case lasted over five years. I dutifully attended every nuisance hearing even if MNTC only had its lawyers showing up. As the judge eventually ordered mediation, it was in one of those sessions that I finally faced the toll operator’s head, Jose “Ping” de Jesus, and told him off.

The North Expressway toll operations have since been transferred to yet suspicions on the hanky-panky deal still linger.

Incidentally, that time also marked De Jesus’ entry into a Pangilinan-controlled Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) both as director and chief operating officer. This happened as Meralco started making profit surges of over 100 percent per annum with nary a significant increase (at only 3 percent vis-à-vis RP’s population growth) in volume of electricity distributed.

Of course, such groundswell of profits could never have been obtained without some inveiglement of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to approve a rate setting mechanism, the obfuscated PBR or Performance Based Rate, that violates the law mandating electricity to be delivered “at the least cost” to consumers.

But being an executive then of the power distributor, was it wrong for people to have suspected a scenario in the Department of Transport and Communications (DoTC) under De Jesus that would veer positively toward an MRT privatization and its attendant fare increases?

“Decent” has frequently been attached to De Jesus’ name, especially in light of his Cabinet resignation. Don’t get me wrong: He does seem to look and behave decently. He was always very modestly dressed in white polo barong, smiling, when he used to host the Annabel’s media breakfast with some public works contractors through a lady PR. I also acknowledge that it doesn’t look as if he steals. But I do know of the oligarchic corporations that engage such professionals’ image and services for their economic and financial abuse of consumers as well as government resources.

These oligarchs remind me of Romulo Neri’s 2008 briefing on the “oligarchic state” to members of the political opposition where he outlined the different oligarchs and their control of different economic spheres, notwithstanding our national elections.

Now it seems Neri, who worked under a political kleptocracy, hasn’t been as fortunate. Political dynasties have had to face ritual public roasting to give credence to “democratic” accountability such that it is their minions that suffer the consequences. Although Neri tries to be “decent” by never lying (technically, that is), he also evinces a bureaucratic Omerta for the benefit of his political patrons.

On that score, the oligarchs’ executives are luckier. Though they are appointed to government to serve their masters’ interests, they don’t suffer the presumption of corruptibility due to their being compensated beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Plus, they can always go back to the corporation they served after being its Deep Penetration Agent (DPA) in government.

In contrast, political minions only have their pitiful official salaries, making it essential for “extra incomes” to rationalize their privations in thankless political and public roles, with few ever getting jailed for these anyway.
Furthermore, the activities of these oligarchs are not defined as “criminal” despite their control of society’s powers. That’s because they define the terminologies of legality and decency through the media they control or the clout of their advertising money.

And so, the “decent” man has now left his DoTC post with other officials in tow. But that protest move was enigmatic at best since it seemed to be only a day in the life of some regular bureaucrats, with their rapidly shifting assignments and all.

Not surprisingly, speculations on the “fall-out” abound: From the MRT privatization; to the Land Transportation Office’s multi-billion computerization (involving Virginia Torres, herself linked to carnapping in Tarlac); to the international airport’s Terminal III. As you will see, these are all still about money and nothing about public service.

Decency truly won’t stop people from serving indecent and avaricious goals that bring this nation to ruin. They must have something more. Integrity — the unity of “being” good and “acting” good, of upholding what is fair and just — may be what’s needed for a good man who has integrity would necessarily object to any corrupt assignment offered to him.

Gen. Angelo Reyes, a decent man to his friends and associates, sadly was not possessed of the integrity that could have saved this nation and his family from the pain and ignominy of a cover-up to the death, all because of the love of money which he, in all his “decency,” never failed to “share.”

(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 “K+12=Education Chaos”; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com and http://hermantiulaurel.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)

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

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110606com5.html

A fishy incident EDITORIAL 06/06/2011

A fishy incident

Click to enlarge
The Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) latest protest against China for its increasing acts of intimidation in the areas which are clearly within the country’s boundary clearly lacks conviction in that it does not carry the presidential imprimatur.

The DFA issued a strongly-worded protest against China the other day, saying the acts of the China lately have been undermining peace and stability in the region by deploying naval vessels in clearly undisputed territories in the region, meaning these are already incursions within the Philippine territory..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110606com1.html

Voice of the Filipino people? FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 06/06/2011

Voice of the Filipino people?

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Beats us why these yellows and the so-called “martial law” victims, along with the usual Makati Business Club (MBC) types believe that their voices are to be followed, in anything, as if they represent the entire Filipino nation.

Hello. There are other Filipinos who either don’t care where Marcos will be buried and whether he is given military honors.

In much the same way, there are also other Filipinos who believe Marcos deserves both the burial grounds of Libingan and military honors, while yet other Filipinos are agreeable to Marcos being buried elsewhere and given military honors.

For Noynoy ally, Akbayan’s Loretta Rosales, who is now the human rights body chairman, giving Marcos military honors is “an insult to the people who fought hard to end dictatorship and to be able to restore democracy.”.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110606com2.html

Jury still out on Myanmar regime change ANALYSIS 06/06/2011

Jury still out on Myanmar regime change


YANGON — When Myanmar’s new government announced a prisoner amnesty last month, Than Kyaw was among a few dozen of the country’s more than 2,000 political detainees to be set free.

“I had a bitter experience in the prisons,” the 56-year-old said, showing a large scar on his hip — a reminder of the hundreds of beatings he endured behind bars for offenses as slight as not catching flies when ordered to by the guards.

With only three days left to serve of his 25-year sentence for high treason when he was released, the former member of the anti-junta Communist Party in western Rakhine state could hardly be described as lucky.

The move to cut all sentences by one year freed tens of thousands of common criminals but, despite persistent calls from the international community, left the overwhelming majority of political prisoners languishing in jail..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110606com3.html

Too late, too little C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 06/06/2011

Too late, too little

Jonathan De la Cruz
So, who are DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez trying to impress? This question is being asked in view of reports that the duo have ordered their subordinates to do things which have actually been done and advised to them accordingly. That was sometime back. Is it a case of amnesia or simply these two having belated musings disguised as orders in a bid to hit the headlines? In Robredo’s case, no less than senior AFP officers and now, PNP Spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., have confirmed that they have actually done an inventory of the Ampatuan armory and everything is accounted for and under lock and key. They have also advised that Robredo and other senior DILG/PNP officials have the names of the custodians of these inventoried items so if any of these get lost they know who to chew and made to answer..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110606com4.html

China won’t threaten countries, demands respect 06/06/2011


China won’t threaten countries, demands respect

SINGAPORE — China on Sunday sought to ease fears about its military ambitions and demanded respect from the international community as smaller neighbors accused it of behaving like a bully in the South China Sea.

Defense Minister Liang Guanglie told an annual security forum in Singapore that “democracy in international relations” and respect for “each other’s core interests” were necessary to ensure “lasting peace, harmony and stability.”

“I know many people tend to believe that with the growth of China’s economy, China will become a military threat,” said Liang, the first Chinese defense minister to attend the annual conference called The Shangri-La Dialogue.

“I would like to say that it is not our option,” he said, adding that China would never “seek hegemony” or threaten any country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110606hed1.html

Solons link cervical cancer deaths to non-passage of RH bill 06/06/2011

Solons link cervical cancer deaths to non-passage of RH bill

Advocates of the contro-versial Reproductive Health (RH) bill yesterday lamented the current delay in the passage of the measure even as they said the delay could lead to the deaths of more women due to cervical cancer.

According to Gabriela Rep. Emmerenciana de Jesus and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, the slowdown in deliberations on the bill would mean that more Filipino women may die because of cervical cancer.

De Jesus stressed the importance for Congress to pass the RH measure after Dr. Belinda Panares, head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City and an advocate of cervical cancer prevention since 1997, claimed that poor knowledge about the cervical cancer led to worst cases of the disease..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110606hed6.html

25.7-M students troop back to schools today By Jason Faustino 06/06/2011

25.7-M students troop back to schools today

By Jason Faustino 06/06/2011

School doors are open today for the 25.7 million public and private elementary and high school students for school year 2011-2012.

Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro said that all is set as well as security extended for the students, including their routes in going back to schools.

“Several months before the opening of classes, the Department had already taken steps to prepare all public elementary and high schools across the country. With this, we are optimistic that all our preparations are in place and are looking forward to a smooth opening of classes,” Luistro said.

“Our Balik Eskwela partners also implemented projects that support these objectives,” he added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110606nat1.html

Bill banning corporal punishment hurdles second reading By Charlie V. Manalo 06/06/2011

Bill banning corporal punishment hurdles second reading

By Charlie V. Manalo 06/06/2011

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill prohibiting parents, guardians, teachers and elders from subjecting a child to any form of corporal punishment or physical and psychological threats.

Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, principal author of the measure, said House Bill 4455 may be expected to be passed on third and final reading before the chamber goes on sine die adjournment this week.

Re-titled “The Positive and Non-Violent Discipline on Children Act”, HB 4455 was successfully defended by Herrera-Dy on the floor last week, with lawmakers reaching a consensus that enactment of the measure has become imperative.

Under the bill, corporal punishment refers to cruel and unusual punishment or acts that subject the child to indignities and other excessive chastisement that embarrasses or humiliates the child. It includes physical punishment and is imposed by an adult or by another child to discipline, train or control the victim...... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110606nat4.html

Valenzuela gov’t pushes efficient population management policies By Arlie O. Calalo 06/06/2011

Valenzuela gov’t pushes efficient population management policies

By Arlie O. Calalo 06/06/2011

The administration of Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian has pushed an efficient and comprehensive population management policies aimed at promoting gender equality, reduction in child mortality and improvement of maternal health.

“Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health,” said Gatchalian on the city government’s major concerns that it sought to address under the program.

The mayor, in an interview with members of the Camanava Press, explained the program is one of the many undertakings of the local government that are geared toward the promotion of the people’s welfare and the reinstatement of their dignity..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110606met4.html

Flight attendants, stewards lose labor case against PAL By Benjamin B. Pulta 06/06/2011

Flight attendants, stewards lose labor case against PAL

By Benjamin B. Pulta 06/06/2011

The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) dismissing the complaint for unfair labor practice filed by the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (Fasap) against Philippine Airlines Inc.

In a 10-page decision, the appellate court through Associate Justice Danton Bueser of the CA’s 10th Division dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by Fasap seeking to set aside NLRC’s decision issued on Feb. 25, 2009.

The NLRC nullified the resolution issued by a labor arbiter which declared PAL guilty of acts of unfair labor practice and enjoined the airline from utilizing line administrators to act as flight pursers..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110606met1.html

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