Friday, 24 February 2017 09:38

De Lima arrives at Camp Crame after arrest

The police convoy carrying Senator Leila de Lima has arrived at Camp Crame, the Philippine National Police’s headquarters, where a space inside the PNP Custodial Center is reserved for her.

De Lima, escorted by arresting officers from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group led by director Chief Supt. Roel Obusan, arrived in a coaster in Crame shortly before 9 a.m.

The PNP said De Lima will undergo booking procedures inside the police camp.

While waiting for the court’s commitment order, De Lima will be temporarily detained in the Custodial Center. She will share the same detention facility as former Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada who were charged with Plunder in 2014 over their alleged involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

De Lima’s allies and fellow Liberal Party members Senator Kiko Pangilinan and Quezon City district Rep. Kit Belmonte and activist priest Fr. Robert Reyes went to Crame to show support for De Lima.

More than a dozen CIDG members, armed and in bulletproof vests, went to De Lima’s Parañaque’s residence on Thursday night but failed to arrest her.

The arresting team then proceeded to the Senate compound in Pasay City and coordinated with the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Jose Balajadia.

They eventually agreed that the arrest be made 10 a.m. Friday but the CIDG asked to serve the warrant two hours earlier. CDG
Published in News
Saturday, 18 February 2017 10:20

Talking about CHANGE

The specter of the new millennium insidiously hovering above us does not inspire much confidence. Every political nook and cranny are abuzz with talks about change in governance style, social and economic reforms and bureaucratic over-haul as de rigueur of the hour. Yet, we falter. We dilly-dally. We escape into the nitty-gritty of inconsequential pursuits, dabbling on the frivolous, on anything to occupy our pettiness, but the gravest of concerns for the country. Notwithstanding how we try to cocoon ourselves though and persist on a stubborn preference for the dull and ordinary, the factuality of the inevitable is right here in front of us. No escape. We must face what we have to face--else, we perish.

Democratic deficits in all levels and corners are like giant worms consuming the country. Lack of transparency and accountability, prevalence of patronage politics, plunder by the oligarchy, trickle-down technocratic decision making, inadequate people participation, and worse, a political system that favors the moneyed and the influential few.

Almost every day, we witness a restive people joining protest rallies peppering the streets with big questions like why only small fries fry while those perceived to be corrupt are still scot-free. The grapevines are hot with talks about martial law making a comeback, with the dubious Marcos legacy close on its tail and the ‘Yellow’ forces funding and fanning dissent and unrest through its established loyal channels and followers.

A storm is brewing, not the kind triggered by a low pressure area with a tail end on cold front but a burn out citizenry impatient with results: the incarceration of “big fish” politicians, total dismantling of the drug menace, emancipation from abject poverty and deliverance from police ineptitude and corruptibility. But that’s about it, we just talk and talk about all these meaningless talks. And it’s about to blow up in our face.

Should we just live and let live? Should we persist in our apathy and indifference and live up to our name as the ‘sick man’ of Asia? Or are we just waiting to reach rock bottom and convince ourselves there would be no other way to go but up? If we are going nuts and bonkers of these social maladies besetting our country, we know we can’t go beyond our shores to look for the culprit.

Change or whatever it is we hold sacred to redeem us starts with us. George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

Change is indeed a much-prostituted word. Most if not all administrations have used such slogan. NOW, what is to be done? First, everybody must understand that there is a problem with the current system and form of government. And this reality calls for a major overhaul in politics and bureaucracy. Second, that there is poverty, and this has to be addressed before any meaningful reforms can be effected in our institutions.

Change is coming? I doubt if all we do is talk about it.

Filipinos deserve a First World Philippines.
Published in Commentaries
SENATOR Alan Peter Cayetano, a key administration ally, on Thursday said he will seek an explanation from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on why it had recommended the acquittal of pork barrel scam brains Janet Napoles in a case for illegal detention.

“On the Napoles case, like you, I’m also asking for an explanation… Like you, I also want the [Solicitor General] to answer. But I guarantee you that the President will not allow any corruption to happen during the administration. And he will not absolve those who were corrupt in past administrations,” Cayetano said at the sidelines of a Senate inquiry into the bribery scandal at the Bureau of Immigration.

Cayetano was reacting to a Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism report that the new lawyers at the OSG had filed with the Court of Appeals a manifestation recommending the acquittal of Napoles for the crime of serious illegal detention filed by her second cousin, pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.

The manifestation cited evidence that Luy, a former aide of Napoles, was free to move even if he was staying in a retreat house.

Napoles is the alleged mastermind of the scheme in which lawmakers got kickbacks from the Priority Development Assistance Fund, also known as pork barrel, by funneling the money through bogus non-governmental organizations.

Cayetano blamed the previous administration for building a weak case against Napoles and letting some personalities go scot-free.

“Why is it that the cases filed during the Aquino administration were weak? We foresaw that at that time because the big cases like ‘Hello Garci’ (2004 election fraud) were neglected. Here with Napoles, many were excluded from the cases filed by the previous administration,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel however believes there is “very strong evidence” against Napoles in her pork barrel-related cases.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said this as he defended the OSG’s move, which he said would not affect the strength of pork barrel scam cases filed against Napoles.

“It will never be affected because these are two different cases,” Panelo told reporters.

He reiterated that it was Solicitor General Jose Calida’s duty as the top government lawyer to review cases.

“If upon review of the case, the OSG feels that it has no evidence to get a conviction [and]that there is [no]proof beyond reasonable doubt, then it is his duty under the Constitution and the law to state his position that there is no such case against the accused,” he said.

“Otherwise you will be creating injustice putting an innocent person behind bars,” Panelo added.

Malacañang on Thursday belied claims that Calida was lawyering for Napoles.

“He’s just simply trying to correct want he thinks, what he sees, what he perceives is something that needs to be rectified,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a news conference.
Published in News

MANILA, Philippines – Corruption, unemployment and lack of education emerged as the top concerns of millennials from around the globe in their respective economies, while the national government and the media were cited as the most distrusted institutions, a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) showed.

Published in News
Benigno Aquino stepped down as Philippine president on Thursday after a six-year term that was highly regarded overseas, but partly condemned by voters at home.

After his preferred successor was soundly defeated in last month's elections, here are what political and economic analysts interviewed by AFP say were his key legacies:
Published in News
Monday, 06 June 2016 11:47

Federalism will not solve corruption

THERE’S A variety of incantations being offered to break the spell of poverty in our provinces. These include “anticorruption,” “antidynasty,” “federalism,” and many other magic chants.

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has made known that “federalism” is his choice of incantation to spur economic development and to help stamp out poverty in the countryside.
Published in Commentaries