Duterte fighting terrorism and corruption in two fronts

 

We all know the terrorism happening in Marawi City and to its beleaguered residents who have hastily fled to Iligan City, as this is what all sorts of media are talking about, including the blogs I posted which you can read at these links: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2017/05/25/yes-to-martial-law-in-mindanao/ and https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/yes-to-martial-law-in-mindanao-part-ii/.

While lawlessness is happening in southern Philippines, to the consternation of the people, especially the president, a sense of satisfaction, however, is felt by many Filipinos because at the opposite end of the country the Duterte administration is also going after corrupt government officials.

Former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Sen. Antonio Trillanes, Sen. Leila de Lima, Sen. Franklin Drilon.

According to reports Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has announced that former budget secretary Florencio Abad and Senators Antonio Trillanes, Leila de Lima, and Franklin Drilon, will soon face plunder charges in connection to the scandalous Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or what is more known as the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

This, after the lawyer of the alleged brains behind the scam, businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, said they will be filing charges before the (DOJ) against prominent personalities, among them the aforementioned politicians, which they said have benefited from the scam.

We all know that Napoles herself is facing plunder charges for allegedly masterminding the scam in which pork barrel allocations from lawmakers were funneled into the non-government organizations she set up to fund bogus or non-existent projects to the detriment of the poor who were suppose to be the beneficiaries of the funds.

Whether or not these are drum-up charges that are politically motivated remains to be seen.

In the same manner that former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla are calling their own plunder charges for their involvement in the same scam as harassment and persecution, the above mentioned politicians are also echoing the same sentiments.

But people are really hoping that something concrete comes out of this investigation especially now that Napoles feels like “singing” to escape a much longer jail term.

The people ought to know and the time has come to unmask the culprits.

I just hope that Justice Secretary Aguirre will be able to gather and produce enough evidences to justify the plunder charges especially now that the politician’s names have already been maligned.

 

MEP’s meddling an utter rudeness

 

The European Parliament

I am actually referring to the arrogance and brazenness of some Members of the European Parliament (MEP) who are meddling in the political affairs of the Philippines, a sovereign country at that, by filing a resolution calling for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima and quashing the drug charges against her.

If this is not a blatant show of superiority complex, I don’t know how else to interpret it.

Let me just qualify what I mean by superiority complex. Surely, it is not about intellectual superiority, nor in terms of integrity and morality, but this pompous and imperious bunch of people think they belong to a superior race because they come from a much developed country and they are white.

That is all there is to it and they think that because they are the high and mighty, that they have the ascendancy, the authority, nay, the ‘sovereign obligation’, to bully and lecture us about justice.

Justice my ass! Justice for de Lima?

But of course justice has been done, and where she finds herself now is the kind of justice that she deserves.

And they don’t have to worry about her safety. She definitely is in good hands. She has to be because the Filipino people would really like to see how the de Lima saga ends, if only to prove that indeed she was deeply entrenched in the drug activities.

This bunch of swaggering and pontificating MEPs think that it was all the time fine and dandy and much better in the Philippines before Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte got voted to the presidency.

I am sure de Lima saw what was coming to her after she won a slot in the senatorial race allegedly with the help of drug money, and seeing, too, that Duterte captured the presidency.

De Lima must have felt sorry in hindsight that she was not able to gather enough evidence to prove that Duterte was behind the much ballyhooed killings in Davao while the latter was the mayor and the former as chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and thence Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

What de Lima is getting is payback time from Duterte, after what he went through being falsely accused and humiliated by her.

Now the table is turned against de Lima and for the information of the MEPs, this is a welcome development for the country.

Duterte’s relentless and bloody war against illegal drugs, not to mention criminality and corruption, is giving most Filipinos hope that under his leadership the Philippines will grow and develop faster.

In fact Duterte’s brand of leadership for many is a breath of fresh air, even with the alleged extrajudicial killings brouhaha, but, unfortunately, the meddling of the MEPs is fouling the atmosphere somehow.

 

DOJ should pursue INC issue for de Lima to be credible

de limaMany are asking what really was agreed upon by the Aquino administration and the powerful Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), when the religious sect’s scheduled 5-day protest against the alleged meddling of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in their church’s internal problem was suddenly aborted on its third day yet?

Indeed, it is for a good reason that people are questioning the sudden end to their planned nationwide demonstration because, while many have supported the move of de Lima to probe the complaint of illegal detention case filed by former INC minister Isaias Samson Jr. against the Church’s leaders, countless others are thinking that maybe the country’s leaders blinked first and succumbed to the might of the bloc voting INC members.

I am not a lawyer, so let me just invite you to a comment made by jorge on my preceding blog, ‘Giving INC preferential treatment is wrong’ or you can click this link: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/giving-inc-preferential-treatment-is-wrong/. The case in question is well explained and I have nothing to add to it.

Suffice to say that if de Lima pursues the case, then we can be hopeful that she is there to uphold the rule of law and not be intimidated by the rule of powerful individuals.

On the other hand, if de Lima decides to drop this illegal detention case of Samson against some powerful officers of the INC, serious as it is, then we can only be certain that accusations of selective justice by some quarters against the Aquino administration is true and justified.

Whether de Lima resigns now or later, because she is made to run for the senate under the Liberal Party (LP), still not pursuing the Samson case will not bode well for her candidacy. She will not only lose the trust and confidence of the Filipino people, but her credibility will be shattered, too, to the disappointment of many.

Whether under de Lima’s watch or not, probing to the end the Samson allegation of illegal detention has to be done so people can say that, indeed, the INC and the church it represents is not above the law, and that the State has the right to get in the way when man’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom is violated.

The alleged multi-billion-peso PDAF scam

 

scamBy the sheer size of the amount, could this be the mother of all scams?

It could be, but until President Benigno Aquino orders a full-blown investigation with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its agencies doing their damned best to ferret out the truth, considering the people involved are powerful politicians, we will never know.

That the people involved are alleged lawmakers from the upper and lower Houses of the legislative branch of government is bad enough, but what is making the allegation more scandalous and anomalous is that the mega-bucks in question are government funds.

We are talking here of an alleged scam involving the diversion of pork barrel funds from some senators and congressmen into bogus nongovernment organization through JLN Corporation, which is owned by businesswoman, Janet Lim-Napoles, purportedly for ghost projects of the government worth P10 billion.

Among the names of senators implicated is Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. who reportedly allocated over several years a total of P1.017 billion; Juan Ponce Enrile, P641.65 million; Jinggoy Estrada, P585 million; Bongbong Marcos, P100 million and Gringo Honasan, P15 million.

 There are also about 25 members of the House of Representatives linked to this scam.

 While all have denied their involvement, blaming politics for tarnishing their names, it did not stop them, however, from calling for an impartial investigation outside of Congress.

 Who would be foolish enough to admit, anyway?

 The fact, however, is that the institution that is Congress is once again put in the spotlight for alleged corruption by some of its ‘honorable’ members.

One can’t help but wonder what could have been the material or financial returns gained from having the legislators Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), commonly known as pork barrel, used in some kind of monkey business?

In the same manner, one can’t stop wondering also that, it being a government appropriation for senators and congressmen to be used where it is more needed, like the areas they represent, for the people’s benefit, how could one be so calloused to divert the funds somewhere else for personal advantage, as alleged?

Talking about the highest order of hypocrisy and betrayal of their own constituency!

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago was right in suggesting that out of delicadeza (sense of propriety) the five senators should go on leave, while there are calls for an investigation of the scam. But, this is like telling a donkey to behave like a horse. It won’t happen.

It was a much welcome news, therefore, that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has been reported to have created a special team of investigators to look into the alleged “ghost projects” funded by the pork barrel of some members of Congress.

Morales said the panel will be composed of six graft investigators and will conduct a parallel investigation in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation.

Under the Ombudsman Act of 1989, the Ombudsman may on its own, even without complaint, initiate any investigation against erring government employees.

Knowing the incorruptible Ombudsman, we can rest assured that sooner than later we will know if Benhur Luy is whistle-blowing the truth and whether or not the JLN Corporation owner Janet Lim-Napoles and the mentioned ‘honorable’ members of Congress have been in cahoots in what is deemed to be the mother of all scams.

Taking matters into own hands

 John Pope

John Pope

Frustration and anger must have been etched on the face of Canadian John Pope when he decided to take matters into his own hands rather than continue agonizing not only over the slow turn of the wheels of justice in this country, but also of one which he perceived to be corrupted.

Pope, a Canadian pensioner, who has been staying in Cebu City for 14 years now and has called it home, even after a failed relationship with a woman who they say has bore him a child, has had legal battle with Dr. Rene Rafols way back in the early 2000s when he was still staying at the Tuscany Condominiums in Brgy. Guadalupe, where Rafols served as homeowners’ association president.

It all started when Pope reportedly complained to Rafols about some crazy and trivial matter, like, somebody knocking on his front door and when he opens it, no one is around. When this was not acted upon by Rafols, Pope turned against him – pointing at Rafols, in fact, as the one annoying him.

The relationship of these two men went from bad to worse with Rafols accusing Pope of harassing him and even pointing a gun at him inside his clinic.

This led to Rafols filing, in due time, a string of cases against Pope: Malicious mischief in Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 6, unjust vexation in MTCC Branch 4, grave threats in MTCC Branch 1 and qualified trespassing to dwelling in MTCC Branch 3.

In fact, on the day that Pope decided to take matters into his own hands by killing Rafols and his lawyer Jubian Achas and severely wounding Asst. Prosecutor Maria Theresa Calibugan-Casiño, he was due at the MTCC Branch 6 to attend the hearing of the malicious mischief case.

What could have added to Pope’s frustration and anger, which ended when he turned the gun on himself after his killing rampage, was the possibility that any of these cases filed against him could be his ticket for his deportation. This he dreaded to happen.

The question now is: Could these unnecessary killings have happened if the turn of wheels of justice have gone a little faster?

Say what one has to say about Pope’s dastardly act, but when there are people praising about his goodness and have something good to say about his humanitarian deeds, then, he is not all together bad or evil.

It is just that he was foreseeing disappointment and defeat at the country’s justice system despite the fact that he has compiled a lengthy dossier about his troubles and sent it to media organizations, which all went to naught.

Surely, what Pope did was condemnable, but perhaps he was also sending a message that the Department of Justice (DOJ) should seriously look into, and that is, for the wheels of justice to turn equally faster for both the rich and the poor. The poor needs it more as they have less in life to be spending for the cases before them.

A more appropriate question perhaps is: How many poor people have died without seeing their cases resolved because the wheels of justice was turning slow for their interest?

The Pope killings should not result in arming judges, fiscals, prosecutors and lawyers.

The Pope killings are simply reminders that Lady Justice wears a blindfold so she could dispense justice without bias or prejudice.

The courts should take care of the poor the way they take care of the rich.

Else, more John Popes will be sneaking in the halls of justice.

The Atimonan killings

Bullet riddled vehicle at the crime scene

Bullet riddled vehicle at the crime scene

It is crimes like the now infamous Maguindanao massacre and the latest Atimonan killings that Filipinos cringe in disbelief, apprehension and shame.

Disbelief that even among police officers, they find themselves in each others cross-hairs, for one reason or another.

Apprehension that if police officers can easily and brazenly kill their own comrades, then whom shall we trust to protect us?

Shame that the country is once more put in the spotlight, depicting it as still belonging to the ‘wild, wild west,’ which doesn’t really augur well in our desire to be a reputable nation worthy of foreign investments and a tourist destination.

Is this a product of being poor and a struggling nation?

Is this a result of a nation that indulges in too much politics and having political leaders lacking in scruples?

Bottom line is that even if President Aquino has been showing exemplary leadership, greed and corruption is so entrenched in government, to include the military and police establishments, that it becomes the motive for committing heinous crimes and to hell with nation building and public service.

How lamentable!

That is what happened, no doubt, in the Atimonan bloodbath. The fact that it talks about the illegal numbers game of ‘jueteng’, one can only surmise that there was more to it than just apprehending or killing Victor “Vic” Siman, allegedly an operator of the numbers racket in Laguna and Batangas provinces in southern Luzon.

For how could one explain the extermination of Siman and 12 others, including members of the police and the military as well as an environmentalist?

The crime scene tells it all. It eerily belies that a shootout happened between the police force manning the check point and the alleged criminal elements.

One only has to see the bullet-riddled body of the vehicles and the amount of bullets spent on the victims and you can tell that it was meant to silence all of them.

After all, it seems like the order of battle was not intended for the jueteng lord alone, but also for those trying to protect Siman.

Or could this simply be a poor police intelligence work that bungled up what could have been a legitimate operation, resulting to collateral damages?

Smells fishy, nevertheless, but sooner or later, we will know what exactly happened in Atimonan when the NBI finishes its investigation.

Having said that, isn’t it time already that President Aquino should seriously consider appointing an anti-crime czar to closely look into the illegal activities in this country?

The Atimonan incident is enough lesson to learn from.  There is just too much noise and misgivings being mouthed between some members of the PNP, the DOJ and Executive Secretary Pacquito Ochoa’s PAOCC.

What we need urgently now is to have someone tested, competent, determined and courageous to occupy the position of an anti-crime czar who will solely be responsible and accountable to the President so we could see order in this country and people can breathe a sigh of relief.

(Please check this link out: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/lacson-is-boon-to-country-as-anti-crime-czar/)

Damage control over cybercrime law

The uproar raised by internet users over the country’s controversial cybercrime law has, practically, made the Senate a political hornet’s nest.

If it were not for their own political survival, I don’t think the senators will be bothered much by how strong the netizens are disturbing and riling them up in the internet, although am sure they will give in, sooner or later, if and when the furor reaches the streets, which was likely to happen if they won’t correct the law.

Time and circumstances have been with the people, like you and me, who have been very vocal about the implementation of this new law that seeks to apply the country’s libel law on internet users, including social media users, and also bloggers for that matter, with tougher penalties to boot.

Not only that. What is even dangerous is that it authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take down any website as well as restrict or block access to computer data deemed to violate the law even without a court order.

So look what is happening now. Because some of these senators are reelectionists and running in the 2013 mid-term elections, they are now doing damage control over their stupid rush-rush and hush-hush actions to avoid backlash that could cost them their seats.

Damage control is actually a euphemism for flip-flopping or saving face, if you may.

Take the case of the law’s author, Sen. Edgardo Angara, who said he will move to amend the Cybercrime Law when Congress resumes Oct. 8. It is simply incredible that he has allowed this law to pass knowing fully well the contentious online libel provision inserted into the law. But now that he is feeling the heat of the people’s ire, and especially that his son is running for the senate, he is asking for the suspension in the implementation of the provision in question.

Is Angara succumbing to amnesia now about Sen. Vicente Sotto III, the ambitious, clownish, ultimate thespian and storyteller par excellence senate member, who admitted having pushed for the inclusion of libel on Republic Act No. 10175’s list of computer crimes?

No matter how Sotto denies the allegation that he wanted the provision inserted in retaliation for the “cyberbullying” he received after his turno en contra in August against the reproductive health bill, the fact is that he was hoping he could use this law as weapon against his detractors and naysayers, if and when he runs for reelection again or aims for higher office in the future.

There is also Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who, despite not being a candidate, but also aiming to follow his father’s political footsteps, issued the following statement in his official FB account: “I do not suggest that we ‘throw the baby out with the bath water,’ but the libel clause must be amended and free speech upheld.”

Then there is Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, a reelectionist, who feels lucky being endorsed by both UNA and the LP, confessing his failure to notice the new law’s provision imposing criminal liability on libel.

“It was a mistake… I don’t want to give any reason or motive (why some senators inserted that provision),” Escudero explained.

O, yeah! Where was your mind, Senator?

Yet, still there is Sen. Pia Cayetano, a non-reelectionist, who blames the Corona impeachment trial as the reason why this perverse insertion “slipped under their noses” unnoticed when it was discussed on the floor.

“Sadly we cannot catch every provision all the time,” she said via her Twitter account.

All of a sudden our good senators, when it mattered most, got afflicted with the three wise monkey’s disease of “no see, no talk, no hear.”

What is disturbing about all these is that aside from Marcos, Escudero and Cayetano, ten other senators voted in favor of the Cybercrime Law.

These were Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Loren Legarda, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Vicente “Tito” Sotto, Ralph Recto and Manny Villar.

Only Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III voted against the bill, claiming it to be “oppressive and dangerous.”

“Let me clarify this to avoid confusion, the country needs a Cybercrime Prevention Act, however, this law that was passed recently contains problematic provisions,” Guingona said in a statement issued very much earlier.

Wonder what Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has to say on this. Where was she when it was passed on the floor? This is the time that she should lambast the “men’s club” of the senate for the ill-conceived hysteria it has created among the Filipino internet users.

But, at any rate, we should be thankful for Sen. Guingona for standing strong for our rights and our freedom of expression.