Friday, July 11, 2014

What is left for President Aquino to report in his 5th SONA to be delivered July 28, 2014?

July 10, 2014
by benign0
Now that Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III is officially a lame duck president in the aftermath of a devastating Supreme Court ruling that rendered his financial brainchild, the notorious Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional, what can we expect him to “report” to Congress on his State of the Nation Address (SONA) this month?
Well, we know one thing President BS Aquino will not do. He had promised not to humiliate Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr during his speech. This was after Revilla’s wife, former starlet Lani Mercado threatened to boycott the affair which is scheduled on the 28th July. On that, Revilla can rest easy in his prison cell.

Aside from that, the no-brainer items to “report” this year are:
(1) His dubious achievements in that usual way that he traditionally reports them in the SONA
There is a long enough list of “economic gains” BS Aquino can mouth off. But reciting lists is easy. The hard part is establishing convincing causal links between BS Aquino’s governance and movements in those economic indicators. After all, it remains hopelessly debatable as to whether those movements resulted from initiatives mounted during Aquino’s watch or from groundwork laid during his predecessor former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration.
Nonetheless, the economy has been chugging along fine and the Philippines, based on crunched numbers alone, is said to be the regional legend at the moment. But much of these gains continue to be stimulated by government spending (thanks to the now-defunct DAP), remittances from the country’s army of overseas foreign workers (OFWs), cash dole-outs to the poor, and investments in casinos and malls.
But expansion or increases in productivity and production capacity, the industrial capital base, and public infrastructure have contributed very little to the value of the nation’s economy. These would have otherwise spurred growth in the economy of the sort that creates employment in a manner that can likely be sustained beyond President BS Aquino’s term which ends in 2016. Unfortunately, President BS Aquino had focused on the easy economic stimuli rather than the more visionary groundwork.
(2) The ‘framework agreement’ he brokered with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) granting the Bangsamoro people ‘autonomy’
This was the initiative that, if things had gone according to plan, will have won President BS Aquino a Nobel Peace Prize — or so the President and all his men hoped. Unfortunately negotiating with terrorists and keeping out of the loop a key Mindanao Muslim faction, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) may render this “achievement” null and void. The MNLF happens to be the only Islamic group in the Philippines officially recognised by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). MNLF leader Nur Misuari, has been sitting in the OIC under an “observer status” since 1977 and is, in principle, the acknowledged representative of Filipino Muslims and, by transitivity, the Bangsamoro people.
(3) Noynoy’s War on Corruption
The centrepiece of President BS Aquino’s pitch to his ‘Boss’ (the Filipino people, he claims) is his zero-tolerance regard for corruption; the Daang Matuwid (“straight-and-narrow”) and Kung Walang Kurap Walang Mahirap (“where there is no corruption, there is no poverty”) doctrines which he bannered during his campaign. This year’s posterboys of this campaign to eradicate corruption so that, as the logic goes, poverty may be fully eliminated in the Philippines, Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile are now in jail on unbailable charges. Unfortunately, the scorched-earth approach the President and his henchmen used to achieve this had backfired, turning the the gun on their precious DAP slush fund.
Now, in all ironies, President BS Aquino stands — accused not just of pork barrel thievery but using it to bribe ‘senator-judges’ during the 2012 impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
* * *
It is hard enough stammering through a SONA armed only with a list of dubious achievements. But what is really hard is having to face fellow (alleged) crooks, look them in the eye, and explain that your “anti-corruption” initiatives have cost them the whole point of being a member of Congress.
Indeed, sentiments of the broader public can easily be ignored. After all, that’s politicians’ Ethics 101. Make like you are the voters’ best friend during elections then largely ignore them after you win. But Senators and House Representatives that you need to face and schmooze with at every turn in your efforts to govern the land, are another. That’s the Philippine President’s SONA this year — a literal meeting of criminal minds. Allegedly, of course.


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The Disqualification of ERAP and the ‘Seat Belt Law’ of the Philippine Electorate

July 11, 2014
by Virtual Vigilante
The Comelec, the Sandiganbayan and, most of all, the Supreme Court have either failed to fulfil their duties or shirked their responsibilities long enough with respect to the unequivocal and perpetual disqualification of individuals convicted of a crime to run for and/or hold public office, be it an elected or appointed post, whether or not such individual has been pardoned and/or has served his sentence. This has led to nearly disastrous results in the last presidential elections; that is, ERAP would have probably won if Villar had not secured the vote of a portion of his idiotic constituency. Of course, disaster has already been wrought on the City of Manila with ERAP raising real property taxes and business permit fees to unprecedented levels to plunder the city coffers once again—read “The Parasites of the City of Manila”.
In the case of the Supreme Court, we obviously could not rely on the former and impeached Chief Justice Corona-cum-GMA lackey to subvert his patroness’s politically-motivated, self-serving and perverted presidential pardon of ERAP, which should never have happened in the first place. However, the untold damage of ERAP to Philippine democratic institutions throughout his entire political career should be mitigated once and for all with the pending disqualification case against ERAP in the Supreme Court.
In his recent press release, ERAP appeals to the Supreme Court to respect the democratic vote, which is his usual oversimplification of issues targeted to endear himself with the ignorant and stupid masses.
In the first place, ERAP was convicted of plunder. If justice had really prevailed, he would have been executed and a valuable lesson would have been etched in the consciousness of all Filipinos. Crime does not pay. Crime will be punished and severe crime will be punished severely. Indeed, this would have been no less than a cornerstone in our relatively young, fragile and already crumbling democratic institutions.
Unfortunately, an illegitimate president (GMA, who was all too aware of her illegitimacy) in collaboration with the Legislature (which never fails to pander to the Roman Catholic Church as evidenced by the passage of the RH bill one generation too late) delivered a devastating one-two punch to each and every decent and law-abiding Filipino, perverting and bastardizing our justice system for their political aggrandizement. In anticipation of ERAP’s conviction, they first eliminated the death penalty in record time, which should have been subject to a democratic vote, particularly in light of the unprecedented nature of a president convicted of plunder. Second, GMA (again in the absence of any democratic vote) unilaterally pardons ERAP shortly after he is convicted of plunder—just because she couldn’t stand the heat of her own unpopularity. In both instances of railroading, the entire nation had no participation whatsoever. That is “massive disenfranchisement of votes which is contrary to majoritarian principles of democracy.” In short, the only reason ERAP is alive today and sitting pretty as the Mayor of Manila is due to the utter disregard for the democratic vote. Now, he says to the Supreme Court to respect the democratic vote. How convenient.
Second, paramount in GMA’s presidential pardon is ERAP’s commitment not to run for an elected position. It is NOT an unconditional pardon by any stretch of the imagination, as posited by ERAP and his lawyers. That said, GMA did not exercise an iota of political will to enforce this critical provision and ERAP had no qualms of violating his commitment. When ERAP ran for president in 2010, he effectively violated a key provision in the agreement contained in the presidential pardon, rendering the same null and void. The remedy then and even today would be to slap ERAP back to jail to serve his life sentence—much the same way a criminal on parole is sent back to jail when he violates the terms of his parole.
If justice is truly blind, there can be no other viable interpretation. Because ERAP lost the presidential elections and due to the forgiving nature of our society, the issue was quietly rendered moot and academic. The fact is, ERAP’s actuations when he ran for president in 2010 and when he ran for the Mayor of Manila in 2013 have nullified not once but twice the presidential pardon and, therefore, he should be locked-up in jail for the rest of his life. Each day that ERAP is outside the confines of a jail cell is a travesty of justice, a grave anomaly in our justice system and an insult to every Filipino who deserves accountability.
Third, given that ERAP has blatantly and repeatedly violated the terms of the presidential pardon, thereby nullifying the same, he should be serving his life sentence in jail. So far, he has managed to escape his “rightful” punishment — actually he should already be dead, buried and decomposed. Thankfully, there is a provision in the local government code — Section 40 (a) — that disqualifies persons sentenced by final judgement for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by one (1) year or more of imprisonment, within two (2) years after serving sentence, from running for any elective local position. To wit:
(1) ERAP was convicted of plunder and sentenced by final judgement to life imprisonment;
(2) Although granted a presidential pardon (albeit spurious), ERAP violated and nullified the same;
(3) Therefore, ERAP should be back in jail serving his sentence of life imprisonment;
(4) Because ERAP has not yet completed serving his sentence, which will only be completely served when he is dead, he is effectively disqualified from running for any elective local position such as the Mayor of Manila for the rest of his life;
(5) Therefore, ERAP should be disqualified as Mayor of Manila and jailed for life.
The foregoing reminds me of certain infamous men like Al Capone and OJ Simpson, who pushed their luck too far. They were eventually jailed for lesser offenses than what they should have been jailed for in the first place. In the case of Al Capone, tax evasion instead of a host of much graver criminal offenses. In the case of OJ Simpson, robbery instead of murder. I won’t even delve into the realm of ERAP’s moral turpitude other than it made me sick to hear him proudly announce the recent birth of his child with another gutter whore. You’re macho and your libido at your old decrepit age is great. We got the message loud and clear, but you really don’t have to infest this world with additional human garbage of your kind. It’s about time ERAP is held accountable and maybe, just maybe, we can continue to hold other scumbags like him accountable too.
Happy faces after being charged with plunder.
Happy faces after being charged with plunder.
Translation: If Dad (ERAP) who was a president was pardoned, all the more we as mere senators (would be pardoned). We are also close buddies of Binay who is sure to be the next president. Read “TheThree Kings of UNA” and “The Anatomy of Guilt”.
The pending disqualification case against ERAP is now in the hands of the Supreme Court, which has slowly been reclaiming some of its much eroded credibility. Its recent decisions rendering the PDAF and the DAP unconstitutional are both significant and encouraging. I enjoin the justices of the Supreme Court to do the right thing, legally and morally, and put an end to the criminal enterprise of ERAP. In the words of Thaddeus Stevens, a member of the United States House of Representatives during the era of Abraham Lincoln and a fierce opponent of slavery and discrimination against African-Americans, “I would rather hear the approving voice of one judicious, intelligent and enlightened mind, than be greeted by the loud huzzas of the whole host of ignorance.” Indeed, I am relying on the Supreme Court to be that one discerning voice amidst “the loud huzzas of the whole host of ignorance” shamelessly engendered by ERAP throughout his entire opportunistic political existence. Enough is enough. Disqualify him as Mayor of Manila and send him back to jail to serve the rest of his life imprisonment.
The word on the street is that if the Supreme Court were to disqualify ERAP, he will resign as Mayor of Manila before the decision is rendered so that the current Vice Mayor, Isko Moreno, can assume the position of Mayor. This is partly to save face and partly to throw a monkey-wrench, a dilatory scheme, to the assumption of position of the lawful Mayor of Manila. In other words, if ERAP crashes, he’s going to inflict as much damage along the way. Personally, I have nothing against Isko. I’ll be the first to concede that he was a hunk then and he is still a hunk today. But he was also a man-whore (putang lalaki), a toy-boy of any number of homosexual patrons. If he was capable of selling his body and soul for cash, how much more can he “sell” and/or extort in a position of power such as the Mayor of Manila—at the expense of the taxpayers of the city. He may have won fair and square as the elected Vice Mayor of Manila but there is such a thing as damage control. Let’s keep him as the Vice Mayor (but no more than Vice Mayor), so he can continue to focus on his good looks.
The next Mayor of Manila . . . you've got to be kidding!
The next Mayor of Manila . . . you’ve got to be kidding!
In all of the above discussions, the role of the Legislature has become glaringly important. Section 40 (a) of the local government code, disqualifying persons from running for local public office, sets an incredibly low standard. For example, a person sentenced by final judgement for an offense punishable by less than one (1) year of imprisonment can run for local public office. Furthermore, a person sentenced by final judgement for an offense punishable by one (1) or more years of imprisonment can also run for local public office, provided that he runs two (2) years after he has served his sentence. Why, pray tell, do we allow criminals to run for local public office in the first place? This standard is downright crappy and we deserve better. I am relatively old and I have not spent a single day of my life in prison. From my own experience, it doesn’t take much to stay out of prison and any decent, law-abiding individual would agree with that. Hence, Section 40 (a) should be amended as follows:
“Those sentenced by final judgment for an offense involving moral turpitude or for an offense punishable by any term of imprisonment;”
This means that if a person has been sentenced by final judgement for an offense punishable by a single day in prison, he is disqualified from running for any elective local position in perpetuity.
The next logical question is, why should this disqualification standard apply only to elective local positions? It shouldn’t. It should apply to both elective and appointed positions at the local, provincial, national, and any and all other levels of government.
In addition, to protect ourselves from plunderers and the like, convicted or otherwise, from their political hold, wielding power in perpetuity to protect their ill-gotten wealth, a law should be passed disqualifying siblings and heirs up to the fifth generation, legitimate and/or illegitimate, of government officials adjudged with ill-gotten wealth and/or convicted of a crime, including but not limited to plunder and/or graft and/or corruption to run for and/or hold public office—The “Seat Belt Law” of the Philippine Electorate, if you will. In the same way that the enforcement of the actual seat belt law all over the world has saved countless lives in automobile accidents (in spite of many stubborn individuals who objected to the use of seat belts during the early years of implementation), the “Seat Belt Law” of the Philippine Electorate will mitigate or lessen the political patronage system and stranglehold perpetrated and perpetuated by corrupt political families in the country. This would automatically take the descendants of Marcos and ERAP up to the fifth generation directly out of the political landscape and their stubborn and stupid sycophants will no longer be able to vote for them or their descendants. The same would apply to the descendants of GMA, Enrile, Bong and Jinggoy, when they are convicted of plunder–did I fail to mention the entire Ampatuan clan when they are finally convicted of mass murder?
Given how difficult it is to recover ill-gotten wealth as evidenced by the pittance recovered by the PCGG relative to the billions still stashed away by the Marcos family, even the grandchildren of Borgi Manotoc, who would still be wallowing in the interest income of the ill-gotten wealth of their great great grandparents, could easily buy themselves any number of top elective and/or appointed government positions in the country. The “Seat Belt Law” of the Philippine Electorate will provide at least some protection against corrupt political families that prostitute voters and our political system at large. I have to wonder if it’s ever going to see the light of day with the Legislature.

How do we solve the Philippines' squatter problem once and for all??? ASEAN

I would like to ask a question to anyone from this forum, what would be your solution to the squatter crisis?
We simply can't eradicate them for that would be violative of established norms and legal principles. So the only viable solution is to move these people somewhere, now the question is where do we move these people and how?
Indeed I concede that public funds are scarce and must be wisely utilized, so if we were to make a massive relocation program it would be too burdensome to the taxpayers. If one were to say that, "it is not the government's responsibility," then I would humbly disagree, under the doctrine parens patriae, the government is the guardian of the people, thus, government must do what it can to uplift the conditions of these people, in addition, government has the means, connections, and power to effectuate a viable and sustainable solution to this problem.
One could also argue "well these people should find jobs to uplift their conditions like us hardworking middle class," again I would like to refute that point, the thing is, some of these people are born to be poor to begin with, and unfortunately they were not blessed with the financial means or intellectual capacity to get into college or get a decent job. There also exists a problem in the system, a system that drags these poor people further down, which then in turn makes their challenge of salvaging their lives from the misery of the squatters even more difficult. I also think that the job market is not big enough to accommodate every unemployed citizen.
The unfortunate fact is, between the government and the poor there exists an impasse, the poor can't help themselves out of their personal hell and government is either too corrupt or has no means yet to conceive a viable solution for this problem, so the challenge lies in us the more privileged class, I believe that we must give due consideration to these people and at the same time do what we can to help them uplift their condition.

In order for Filipinos to change, they need to feel disgust for their shameful ways

July 10, 2014
by benign0
I have often asserted that Filipinos are a people who are primarily driven by hiya (shame). Unmoved by any calls to higher purpose or noble pursuit, Filipinos continue to do the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. As such I remain convinced that any political solution pitched as a “cure” to the malaise that grips the Philippines at the very threads that weave the very fabric of its society (whether it be the latest “messiah” running for office or the current top-down change initiative in vogue) delivers incremental improvements at best.
The reality we need to face is quite stark, however. The Philippines needs to change by leaps and bounds and nothing short of a tectonic shift in the thinking routinely applied by Filipinos in their day-to-day lives will be required for us to even just catch up with the rest of our major regional peers. The motivation needs to be primal — one that comes from deep within the underbelly of the collective psyche of the Filipino.
Atrophied capacity for disgust:A Manila storm canal clogged with garbage
Atrophied capacity for disgust:
A Manila storm canal clogged with garbage
A brilliant illustration of how this might possibly happen in the Philippines comes in the form of an account of how a poor village in Bangladesh named Mosmoil overcame a deeply entrenched tradition across Bangladesh of people depositing human waste in open public areas. The practice, called open defecation is the subject of a major section of the book The Big Necessity (Adventures in the World of Human Waste) by journalist Rose George who spent years documenting toilet habits across cultures all over the world. Poor rural villages across Bangladesh have for so long frustrated government efforts to eradicate the practice of open defecation which is the single biggest cause of disease and death among Bangladeshis.
George tells of how she comes across Indian agricultural scientist Kamal Kar who was hired as a consultant by WaterAid to find out why, despite huge sums spent by the government on building public latrines (toilets) in poor Bangladeshi communities, the prevalence of illnesses and disease associated with excrement has not diminished.
Apparently, people continue defecating in the open even in communities where public latrines had been built. In the course of his investigation, Kar discovered that WaterAid had been “asking the wrong question”. He went on to formulate a groundbreaking approach to getting project communities to change their behaviours sustainably.
Here is an excerpt from The Big Necessity where this approach is described by author Rose George.
As Kar explained in a how-to guide to the method, ‘It is important to stop in the areas of open defecation and spend quite a bit of time there asking questions and making other calculations while inhaling the unpleasant smell and taking in the unpleasant sight of large-scale open defecation. If people try to move you on, insist on staying there despite their embarrassment. Experiencing the disgusting sight and smell in this new way, accompanied by a visitor to the community, is a key factor which triggers mobilization.’
The calculations involved villagers doing their sums. They were asked to reckon how much excrement was being left in the open. ‘The accumulated volume of faeces,’ Kar wrote, ‘is reckoned in units that can immediately be visualized by the community — cart-loads, truck-loads, boat-loads. There is much amusement as people reckon up which family contributed the most shit to the pile that morning. But as the exercise goes on, the amusement turns to anxiety. People are horrified by the sheer quantity of excerement left in their village: “120,000 tons of shit is being dumped here every year? Where the hell does it all go?”‘
The answer, as the villagers of Mosmoil figured out for themselves, is ‘into their bathing ponds and rivers; and from there onto their clothes, their plates and cups, their hands and mouths. Onto the udders of their cows and into their milk. Onto the feet and hooves of their livestock, dogs, and chickens, and onto the flies that carry it straight to their food.’ Eventually, the villagers of Mosmoil calculated that they were eating ten grams of each others’ faecal matter a day. At this point, the brilliant core of Kar’s method is revealed. The brilliant core is disgust.
Nothing like disgust for one’s own distasteful practices and state of affairs galvanises one to act. And this is demonstrated in what happens next in Kar’s account…
[…] after the faecal calculation, people started vomiting from the shock. Then Kar did something more shocking still. He left them to it, or threatened to. ‘I said, “Carry on what you’re doing. Your forefathers did it; you can do it. Good-bye.”‘ The story as Kar tells it is suspiciously dramatic, but enough reports have been written on the Bangladesh programme that I believe him. Immediately, he says, the villagers were fired up with shame and disgust and determination. Children ran off to start digging latrine pits on the spot. The villagers swore that within two months ‘not a single fellow would still be shitting in the open’. All this took place without a penny of subsidy being dispensed. No latrines had been supplied, no technical advice. In the how-to guide, Kar says that once disgust has been triggered, villagers may say that they can’t afford a pit latrine. At that point, the facilitator can suggest a simple, low-cost design, emphasizing that it was created by poor people. Kar wanted to shift focus away from hardware. It didn’t matter, he believed, if latrines were temporary. People would upgrade if they needed to. Once they’d seen the light of disgust they would do whatever was necessary.
Word of this approach spread fast, and as the author attests to, the programme racked up noted successes.
Perhaps the best approach to embedding permanent change in Philippine society is to build a sense of ownership over and accountability for both the solution and its benefits among Filipinos. It starts with a clear recognition by our own reckoning of the systems of cause-and-effect of the way we behave and take the journey of coming to a strong sense of shame and disgust with our own practices, our own character, our very selves.
Filipinos need to come to terms with their own version of Bangladesh’s practice of open defecation and find in themselves the courage to feel disgust for themselves.


benign0 is the Webmaster of

It’s more hot in the Philippines!

July 11, 2014
by benign0
Literally. And this heat is attracting a lot of political heat as well. It is one of the biggest ‘concerns’ aired by the recent set of high-profile senatorial jailbirds about their new accomodations in Camp Crame. A lack of airconditioning to alleviate the oppressive heat there is finally getting a bit of air time (pardon the pun). In the Philippines you’re pretty much a sweathog without airconditioning — even lying still in the middle of the night does not prevent sweat beads from forming on your forehead and matted hair. There’s just no escaping the Philippines’ year-round heat and the accompanying withering humidity without spending the big bucks.
And it is going to get worse. Metro Manila is already recognised as the planet’s most-densely populated megalopolis. More and more Filipinos are being packed into smaller and smaller spaces every year as population growth gallops along at embarrassingly high Catholic rates and employment opportunities evaporate in the environmentally-degenerating hinterlands. Even the dead share space with tens of thousands of warm Filipino bodies in Manila’s decrepit public cemeteries!
With more gleaming malls sprouting up every day, each equipped with rocket-fuelled airconditioners moving thousands of tonnes of moist heat from inside their trendy boutiques out into the faces of sun-beaten Metro Manilans, Manila will really be seeing its mercury rising to stratospheric levels in the coming years! That’s good news for the Philippines’ entrenched oligarchy whose members monopolise manufacture, importation, and distribution of household and industrial cooling equipment, not to mention the old Spanish clans that control generation of the electricity guzzled by these monstrous machines. Indeed, the new rich in chi-chi Dubai are making more and more of their fossil-fueled money off the misery of heat-beaten tropical folk. Some folk have the smarts to make money off the heat and some have the money to beat the heat. Unfortunately for the average Filipino schmoe, most people only have their pamaypays.
There are solutions available beyond airconditioning, believe it or not. But it involves large-scale and long-term thinking. According to Sceintific Americanthe answer to the question of how best to sustainably cool steaming cities like Manila is through the application of climate responsive design in urban development.
[...] researchers modeled how the three cities would respond to a minimum green space ratio on land parcels, setting a floor for areas covered with grass, gardens or trees. Vegetation tends to have a cooling effect by circulating moisture in the air that draws away heat during evaporation. Tree canopies also provide cooling shade.
The team also modeled how Phoenix, Philadelphia and Atlanta would behave with more reflective streets, sidewalks, parking lots and rooftops. Higher reflectivity, or albedo, means the area absorbs less sunlight, thereby lowering the temperature.
Stone and his collaborators then overlaid a health impact model. They found that combinations of increased vegetation and albedo could cut into projected increases in heat deaths, reducing them between 40 and 99 percent. “On average, we reduced the rate of increase by about 60 percent,” [Brian Stone Jr., an associate professor of city and regional planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology] said.
The challenge of getting good enough solutions implemented in Manila is balancing the interests of the city against the private interests of big and small businesses that keep it humming along. Most Metro Manilans feel the full impact of heat primarily when they are stuck sweating it out in the metropolis’s notorious hours-long traffic jams, yet many of the solutions to Manila’s infernal traffic are obvious and easy to implement. The trouble lies in what to do with the millions of impoverished Filipinos who will be temporarily marginalised by these obvious solutions. Because Manila’s teeming colonies of poor folk are lovingly cultivated by Filipino politicians for their votes, there is little hope of the right arguments essential to getting obvious solutions implemented ever winning.
There is ample land all over Metro Manila to build sprawling parks with climate-cooling vegetation. Trouble is, only the private sector possesses the financial resources to eradicate the millions of squatters that infest these spaces. And even with those awesome resources, they will still need the blessings of vote-hungry politicians to secure permission to do just that.
That means Metro Manilans are pretty much stuck. Stuck in traffic. Stuck in the heat. Stuck with the hot air of their leaders.


benign0 is the Webmaster of

Saturday, July 5, 2014

40 Uses Of Apple Cider Vinegar

40 Uses Of Apple Cider Vinegar that you don’t know. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Ph President BS Aquino doesn’t care if he broke the law while handling taxpayers’ money

July 4, 2014
by Ilda
According to Philippine Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr., President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino won’t apologize for the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP after it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. He insists that “the executive branch ‘exercised good faith and due diligence’ in accordance with existing laws and relevant auditing rules and procedures”. If my interpretation is correct, Coloma is saying, “Eat my shorts!
The DAP is a fund created by the Aquino administration that serves as a vehicle for transferring unused appropriations from one project to another. It has since been deemed unconstitutional by the Philippine Supreme Court because it was ruled that the President does not have the authority under the present Constitution to transfer funds out of the jurisdiction of the Executive branch.
You have to give credit to BS Aquino and his minions. They really know the Filipino people’s ability to tolerate oppression. By saying that the Executive branch exercised “good faith” and “due diligence”, they are trying to prove that what the courts say doesn’t matter as long as BS Aquino has the support of the gullible crowd.

Unfortunately for those who can see through the deception and are calling for accountability from the architects of the DAP (such as Budget Secretary Butch Abad), BS Aquino’s allies in Congress are already dismissing such a move. No less than House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte guaranteed that any attempt to impeach Aquino will fail because “it would be killed early on at the committee level.” A few senators, those who make no secret of their unfailing support for the President, were quite adamant in their defense of the DAP.
Convicted mutineer, now Senator, Antonio Trillanes IV echoed Malacanang and said, “it is in good faith that President Benigno Aquino III gave DAP to each of them.” He added that if it were a bribe, it should have been given before the decision to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona was handed down by the senators.
“If it was a bribe how come it was given six months after. Sana kung totoong bribe ‘yan, bago pa lamang magdesisyon ang mga senador para masigurong may influence sila dahil natanggap na agad so we can say na may control ang Malakanyang. But there is no such thing,” Trillanes said.
One can also argue with Trillanes that giving the money after the senators voted to convict Corona six months after the trial was a wiser and safer move on the part of BS Aquino and his minions because they only had to give funds to those who voted to convict and they needed time to move funds around without raising too many eyebrows.
Meanwhile, Senate President Franklin Drilon sent a challenge to “those questioning DAP funds distributed among senators to check where the legislators have allocated the funds.”
“They can check the allocation of these funds. Hindi po ito cash amount na ipinagkaloob ng ating Pangulo kundi alokasyon sa mga gagamitin na proyekto ng sinuman sa amin at ito po ay may kaakibat na paliwanag.” Drilon clarified.
Drilon should make it easier for everyone by publishing the information before the public. He doesn’t have to “challenge” us. The Filipino people are facing enough challenges in their lives. Drilon is also forgetting the fact that the funds given to them through the DAP was not in the budget they supposedly approved for that year. So giving additional funds or pork to the senators just before the year ended in 2012 was quite suspect. And since pork barrel funds were declared unconstitutional as well, Drilon cannot use that as a defense.
Senator Ralph Recto chimed in and said of the DAP “one cannot actually say that it was a stolen money.”
“To the credit of this administration, it is no longer doing any and all acts the Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional. These practices have long been abandoned. These violations are not in progress but have long been unilaterally terminated by the government,” he said.
The Aquino administration may have “abandoned” the practice of illegally allocating “savings” from one department to another. However, they only abandoned it after Senator Jinggoy Estrada ratted about the P50-million “incentive” from Malacanang during a privilege speech in September 2013. In fact, the public uproar that resulted from that immediately compelled BS Aquino to make a televised appeal to the public that the country benefited from DAP. That was only last year. So Senator Recto was wrong when he said the “practice [had] long been abandoned”.
Washing his hands off DAP in 140 characters.
Washing his hands off DAP in 140 characters.
On social media, Senator Chiz Escudero defended his P50 million “incentive” by tweeting, “I was not so informed re P50M.”
Someone should tell Senator Escudero that senators should not just accept money without asking where it is from. It is part of their job to see to it that the approved budget is allocated properly. It is so convenient for someone like Escudero to plead ignorance of the law. He is probably relying on his celebrity girlfriend to dazzle general public and forget that he doesn’t have substance as a senator anyway.
It is quite apparent that public servants who were given funds through the DAP will not support a move to impeach BS Aquino or hold anyone criminaly liable. Doing so would mean that they have to admit they were willing participants in the crime and will have to give back the funds.
Going back to Malacanang, they also insist BS Aquino used the DAP “as [a] stimulus program to achieve economic growth and as an administrative system of prioritizing spending in the execution of the national budget.”
The records show that the only reason the administration had to accelerate spending for the sake of “economic growth” was because they didn’t have an economic policy in the first two years of office. As mentioned before, President BS Aquino only realized the advantage of spending after the economy only grew by 3.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011. The significant drop in growth the previous year compared to the 7.3% growth in 2010 compelled some of the President’s critics and members of the Makati Business Club (MBC) to strongly advise him not to put on hold any public infrastructure projects and, instead, “pump prime the economy” with government funds. Economist Benjamin Diokno even gave BS Aquino some advice that the President would later use but would never acknowledge:
Earlier in his administration, Aquino had been criticised by economists like former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno for adopting austerity measures instead of continuing his successor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s strategy of using stimulus spending to prevent the economy from entering a downturn.
Obviously, after BS Aquino was criticized for the slow economic growth, he had to do something. That something was to get the “savings” from cancelled projects and use it as “stimulus”. To the outside world, BS Aquino looked like he was performing an economic miracle when in fact; he was using taxpayers’ funds inappropriately in a manner that is unsustainable. To sustain economic growth through spending, the government has to keep spending. His government wasn’t really trying to find a permanent solution to the problem.
What BS Aquino was more concerned about was the image of “saving” the country’s economy during his term without regard for what happens beyond 2016. The economy won’t be his problem by then. Unfortunately, his economic policy does not positively affect the lower classes because “spending” to stimulate the economy does not create a lot of jobs for the unemployed. But it did buy the country a Doppler radar as per Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. There’s no guarantee that will last for decades though.
Let us hope that BS Aquino and his minions have overestimated the Filipino people’s tolerance for oppression. Their deception can only take them so far before something gives.


In life, things are not always what they seem.