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‘Serge of the Light Brigade’ DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 11/21/2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

‘Serge of the Light Brigade’

Herman Tiu Laurel
Between the Lopez group’s reported P1.6-billion DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) loan write-off and the fully paid P600-million “behest” loan of Bobby Ongpin that supposedly yielded P1.4 billion in earnings for the bank from speculative trades in the stock market, which was the more disadvantageous to the taxpaying public?

First, it should be clear that all three — the DBP, as well as the Lopez and Ongpin groups — clearly violated the purpose and spirit for which state “development” banks are organized — that is, to provide loans for economic and developmental activities (as opposed to those that are commercial or speculative in nature). And since it was a case of the latter, it is equally clear that the Lopez group has caused more grievous damage to the ones who are ultimately supporting the DBP — the public and the taxpayers. If the Ongpin group had lost its shirt in its speculative play on the loaned funds, I’m sure that it would also have sought help from its patrons for a write-off of that loan.

These are cases of “socialism for the rich,” where losses are privatized to the ordinary and mostly poor taxpayer.

Still, whenever the oligarchs and financial sharks clash, good things can only happen for the people. In the case of the DBP “behest” loan controversy, what began with a tiff between the alleged kingpin of the DBP, who got to put his man there allegedly for P300 million in campaign donations to you-know-who, and the alleged Arroyo crony, who made massive loans for “insider trades” in Philex Mining shares, has now dragged other oligarchic groups into the picture.

While a number of these cases are still successfully muted in mainstream media, we are hoping the same kinds of behest loans and write-offs in other state-owned banks, from the time of Cory Aquino to FVR and GMA, can also be exposed by still hidden whistleblowers — because there certainly is a lot more being kept under the boardroom rug. What we’re now seeing is but the tip of the iceberg.

The DBP controversy had already claimed one life, that of DBP lawyer Benjamin Pinpin who killed himself last August, despondent over threats of legal action from the DBP board in connection with the bank’s P660-million loans to businessman Bobby Ongpin.

The Zamora camp, apparently fronting for the PeNoy administration, traded barbs with Ongpin for the past three months, charging the latter with obtaining the “behest loan” using FG Mike Arroyo’s clout in the last administration.

The issue had since been raised to the Senate, reflecting the escalation in the war; at which point the Ongpin camp fired its major salvo through the columns of Conrad Banal and Neal Cruz, exposing the even more shocking loan scandals — the DBP write-offs for the Lopez businesses, as well as the Special Purpose Asset Vehicles (SPAVs) for the Ayala and Yuchengco banking groups.

Dragged into the fray, the Lopez group hastily issued a rejoinder charging that the two Inquirer columns are but a PR muddling campaign from Ongpin’s camp.

True or not, I believe the public is still happy that this apparently very well-kept dirty secret has been brought out into the open; and, indeed, it tends to show the Lopez group’s alleged predilection for alleged shenanigans that result in billions of losses for the Filipino taxpayers under the guise of its “legitimate” businesses.

The Lopezes’ defense is that their P1.6-billion loan write-off can be justified by their losses in the privatized water system they invested in (Maynilad), as well as in their other interests such as Central CATV, Bayantel, and Benpres Holdings. Question is, why was credit earmarked for development channeled to undeniably commercial projects, whereby losses were passed on to the taxpayer?

The DBP-Ongpin imbroglio is a blessing in disguise for the Filipino people. It’s a chance to awaken the nation to the essentially corrupt character of our ruling elite, particularly the oligarchs.

The episode has provided a unique educational opportunity by focusing the nation’s eyes on the favorite (i.e. crony) family corporations of the Yellow era that have always been behind the Yellow movement, whether through funding coups such as Edsa II or perpetrating stinky Peace Bonds-type deals.

On a broader level, it highlights the captive status of government financial institutions, like many other agencies, invariably doing the bidding of the oligarchs and conspiratorially hiding their shenanigans from the public.

With a little more explaining, the public can be made to understand that all capital really comes from them and that the ruling class only usurps these national assets for itself through its control of government.

When the Lopez group got caught in the mire, a senator married to a Lopez who heads the Senate committee on energy, charged into the scene. That’s when I harkened back to my first prize win in a high school speaking contest for “Charge of the Light Brigade” by Lord Alfred Tennyson as I saw “Serge of the Light Brigade” charge into the investigation of Bobby Ongpin.

Strangely, in spite of being in hot pursuit of that gargantuan loan, Serge Osmeña doesn’t seem to show any concern for the DBP’s losses from the Lopez group’s much staggering loan write-off. In fact, he now even raises another allegation: That Ongpin owns another company named GAS (Global Air Services) that borrowed $90 million to buy the Mertro Rail Transit (MRT), a charge that the former Trade minister flatly denies.

Well, now that another scandal is brewing, will the oligarch groups that have joined the buying spree on the MRT come forward as well? Abangan…

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Saturday, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8, on “Banking Cronyism, Behest Loans and Alternatives”; visit http://newkatipunero.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/20111121com5.html

A blunder in Bali EDITORIAL 11/21/2011

A blunder in Bali

Click to enlarge
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit visit of Noynoy in Bali, Indonesia turned out to be only a personal expression of support for the United States military buildup in the region, the announcement of which was timed for the Summit.

In sum, that was the only marked achievement of Noynoy in the event which cost the government more than P6 million to undertake. It is not even necessary and may in turn have alienated the Philippines further from its Asean counterparts.

Noynoy came late for the Summit, citing the legal tug-of-war over Gloria’s bid to leave the country supposedly for a medical checkup..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111121com1.html

Escape from reality FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 11/21/2011

Escape from reality

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Everytime a crisis erupts, what is markedly noticed by many is the fact that Noynoy always does a disappearing act, followed by complete silence from the him.

This was evident during the Aug. 23 hostage crisis that ended up in a botched rescue operation which led to the killing of some eight Hong Kong tourists held hostage by a crazed policeman who also ended up dead.

At the time the crisis was ongoing, no one saw or heard Noynoy and when he finally made himself visible, it was some four hours after the carnage where he was even caught smiling.

Of course, much later, and after hearing what the witnesses in that fact-finding panel had testified, he appears and claims he was monitoring the situation and giving out his orders which he claimed were never obeyed, which was a such a yarn mainly because he, being the Commander in Chief of all the Armed Forces, which means both the police and military, his orders would always have to be obeyed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111121com2.html

Pentagon wants to slay Chinese dragon

Pentagon wants to slay Chinese dragon

The Pentagon has developed a new military concept against China, the Washington Times reported. The U.S. military has indicated that this will be the reaction of Washington to the growing Chinese threat expressed in developing anti-satellite weapons, cyber weapons, nuclear submarines, aircraft of 5th generation, including "stealth" technology, and particularly the emergence of China's long-range ballistic missiles. The Chinese military is hoping to use these missiles to deal with aircraft carrier groups of a likely opponent.

The latter, according to U.S. military experts, created a real risk of loss of the U.S. military superiority not only in Asia but also in large parts of the entire Asia-Pacific region..... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/world/asia/14-11-2011/119605-chinese_dragon-0/

(w/ Video) Mint Western munition killing Cairo protesters

Mint Western munition killing Cairo protesters

Egyptian political activist Ahmed Salah does not expect a swift reaction by the West on the latest events in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, as he says these countries have supplied the army regime with the means of oppression.

­“I am not expecting a quick reaction from the West. We can see that all the ammunition used against us is either American, or Israeli, or, actually, Italian, whether it’s the tear-gas canisters or the bullets,” he told RT. “All the ammunition that they have received is [from] 2011. It’s post-revolution, presumably.”

Now, he says, this very ammunition is used to empower the government by killing civilians and suppressing the revolution..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/killing-tahrir-western-ammunition-789/

Floods help Thai army clean up reputation focus 11/21/2011

Floods help Thai army clean up reputation


BANGKOK — While Thailand’s government has come under fire for its handling of the floods crisis, the military’s relief efforts have restored its own reputation, analysts say — and boosted its political clout.

The army has plunged huge resources into helping Thais cope with the kingdom’s worst floods in decades: 55,000 soldiers on the ground, 5,000 vehicles clearing paths through flooded roads and 3,000 boats.
In doing so, they quietly repaired an image battered by a crackdown on political protests in Bangkok last year that ended in bloodshed.

Army chief Gen. Prayut Chan-o-Cha has even laid on the conciliatory language in recent weeks in what — after years of sometimes violent political struggles — remains a deeply divided country..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111121com3.html

Mining for whom?

 Mining for whom?

One could not help but see the irony in this week. Baguio city hosted the 58th staging of the Mine Safety and Environment week from November 8-10. And it was no small affair. The gathering was attended by seven envoys: Australian ambassador Roderick Richard Campbell Smith, Brazilian ambassador Alcides Gastao Rostand Prates, Chilean ambassador Roberto Mayorga, South African ambassador Agnes Nyamandre-Pitso, Swiss ambassador Ivo Sieber, British ambassador Stephen Lillie and Chinese ambassador Liu Jianchao.

Before the opening on November 8, the Philippines Australia Business Council, Australia Philippines Business Council, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines came up with a “Consolidated Position Paper on Mineral Resource Development” urging the Philippine government to act decisively on the ban on open pit mining and the general ban on all mining activities being passed by local government units in different areas in the country.

After the Chamber of Mines issued a separate statement expressing concern over the ban in Zamboanga del Norte – which affected its two members the TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc. and Philex Mining – TVI Resource Development went to court to seek for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against the implementation of the ban in Zamboanga del Norte..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/11/11/mining-for-whom/

Solons push poll sabotage trial’s live coverage By Gerry Baldo 11/21/2011

Solons push poll sabotage trial’s live coverage

By Gerry Baldo 11/21/2011

Two members of the House of Representatives would like greater media coverage of the electoral sabotage trial of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The electoral sabotage case is in connection with the alleged manipulation of the election results during the 2007 senatorial polls.

Apart fron Arroyo, others recommended charged include former Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr., former Comelec Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, former Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Alberto Agra, former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Maguindanao provincial administrator Norie Unas, former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol, former election supervisors Lilian Radham and Yogie Martirizar and several others..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111121hed4.html

CPP hits AFP ‘psy-war’ over child warrior By Mario J. Mallari 11/21/2011

CPP hits AFP ‘psy-war’ over child warrior

By Mario J. Mallari 11/21/2011

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has branded the surrender of 80 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, including 19 minors, in Bukidnon province to government authorities as military “psychological warfare” smacks of coercion and fakery.

In a statement, the CPP even called on human rights groups to look into the surrender of the members of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front-6, led by Benjamin Salusad, alias Commander Nonong, last Monday to officials of the local government units, the 4th Infantry Division (ID) and the Eastern Mindanao Command.

“The surrender ceremony… smacks of AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) psywar fakery and (the CPP) called on human rights organizations to investigate the incident to determine whether the local residents were forcibly rounded-up by the military and made to pose as NPA fighters,” the communist group stressed..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111121hed5.html

Arroyo doesn’t expect fair trial, says counsel 11/21/2011

Arroyo doesn’t expect fair trial, says counsel

The camp of former President Arroyo claimed Mrs. Arroyo is being “persecuted” and will not receive a fair trial after she was arrested for allegedly rigging elections.

Arroyo’s counsel Ferdinand Topacio dismissed assurances from President Aquino that the ailing Arroyo will be treated fairly, saying the government was determined to victimize the former president.

“There is a pall of gloom about her because of what has happened. She is being persecuted and it is taking a toll on (her) health,” Topacio said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111121hed2.html

S. Korean president visits Philippines 11/21/2011

S. Korean president visits Philippines

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak arrived in Manila yesterday for a three-day state visit at the invitation of President Aquino.

Lee proceeded upon landing in the country to a monument for Filipino veterans of the 1950-53 Korean War, where he paid his respects..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111121nat4.html

Overstaying OFW inmates in Saudi seek assistance 11/21/2011

Overstaying OFW inmates in Saudi seek assistance

Although that they had already served their respective jail terms, they are still staying in jail instead of being free and spend their Christmas back in the Philippines with their loved ones.

This was the sentiment of about 20 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were incarcerated in a Saudi jail after being convicted of various petty crimes.

They are now seeking assistance from Migrante-Middle East (M-ME), a Filipino migrants’ rights group which is tasked to help distressed, abused and jailed OFWs.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111121nat3.html

Binay to receive Gen. Malvar Achievement Award M E T R O F I L E 11/21/2011

Binay to receive Gen. Malvar Achievement Award


Vice President Jejomar Binay will lead public and private sector leaders to receive the Gen. Miguel Malvar Achievement and Nationalist Award during the 19th Foundation Day of the Citizens’ Crime Watch (CCW) on Nov. 27 at the Pasay City Sports Complex. The award is being given by the Philippine-American War Centennial Foundation (PAWCF) in commemoration of the 100th year death anniversary of national hero Malvar, the last general who surrendered to the American expeditionary forces during the 1898-1902 Philippine-American War. PAWCF-CCW President Jose Malvar Villegas Jr., grandson of Malvar, said the awards committee took into consideration the achievements of the awardees, not only the position they hold in the government and private sector, but also their efforts in promoting the ideals and principles of the Filipino heroes and continuous nurturing of the spirit of nationalism..... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111121met6.html

Jinggoy Estrada supports fixed salaries for bus drivers, conductors 11/21/2011

Jinggoy Estrada supports fixed salaries for bus drivers, conductors

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada yesterday supported the provision of fixed monthly salaries for bus drivers and conductors, saying the new system upholds the rights of workers to decent wage and working conditions as it promotes road safety for commuters and common road users.

The Department of Labor and Employment recently signed a joint statement with the representatives of the transport sector in an effort to address the increasing number of road accidents, mainly caused by long working hours for drivers and commission-based compensation setup.

Estrada, chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, and of the congressional oversight committee on labor and employment, also pushed its institutionalization through the passage of Senate Bill 2922 which requires public utility bus operators to pay drivers fixed monthly salaries which shall not be less than the prevailing minimum wage..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111121met2.html

CoA asked to probe water concession irregularities By Charlie V. Manalo 11/21/2011

CoA asked to probe water concession irregularities

By Charlie V. Manalo 11/21/2011

Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy has formally called on the Commission on Audit (CoA) to conduct an omnibus audit of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its two private concessionaires in connection with alleged serious irregularities and abuses in the implementation of its concession agreement leading to excessive water rates and “illegal, excessive extravagant and unconscionable” public expenditures and use of government property.

In a letter referral to CoA Chairman Gracia Pulido-Tan, Herrera-Dy urged the state audit agency to extend its constitutional mandate to “exercise any and all administrative and investigatory functions” in looking into the “whole range of systematic violations committed by the MWSS,” the MWSS Regulatory Office and the two concessionaires — Maynilad Water Services Inc. and the Manila Water Co. Inc..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111121met1.html

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