Scandalous Jinggoy never learns

Former senator JinggoyEstrada

I am talking of course about former senator Jinggoy Estrada, who until today and after spending 3 years in detention for plunder and graft charges relative to the scandalous P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), seems to have never learned to change his old ways.

The reason why I am emphasizing his individuality and ethos is because Estrada, an actor and a failed senator, is contemplating again in running for senator, and to think that he is just out on bail momentarily.

As if the plunder and graft charges against him are not shameful and degrading to his persona, enough to put him at the higher pedestal of corrupt government officials, it, however, shows no negative effect on him as he continues to beguile Filipinos with impunity.

Take for instance Estrada’s application for a travel motion to go to the US from April 21 to May 31, 2018. Accordingly, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan granted the motion on March 26 since it is a simple travel motion that the court almost always grants for defendants.

The problem, however, is that the scheming Estrada, not contented with just the travel motion request to the US, flaunted it as having been invited to speak in Michigan on Philippine affairs, and it was upon the invitation of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG).

It was even reported that Estrada attached an invitation from William Dechavez, identified in the letter as USPGG president.

Apparently, this grandstanding by Estrada was debunked by no less than the incumbent USPGG president himself, Mr. Rodel Rodis, who issued a statement, saying: “I can confirm that there is no planned USPGG event on May 20 in Michigan. I communicated with Mr Wllie Dechavez, our USPGG Michigan chair, and he made no plans for this event as he is in the Philippines for a vacation and he has not been in touch with his members in Michigan.”

If this is not another reprehensible and dastardly act by Estrada, worthy of condemnation and boycott on his senatorial run again, I do not know what is.

Because of this fraudulent turn of events, the Ombudsman prosecutors told the Sandiganbayan: “With this information, the prosecution is constrained to pray that the Honorable Court hold in abeyance the issuance of the travel authority of accused Estrada since accused appears to have committed material misrepresentations in his motion, thus openly violating one of the terms and conditions of the court in allowing an accused to travel.

They added: “Allowing accused Estrada to travel to the United States with the consequence of making him beyond the reach of the Honorable Court, despite the falsity of the purported invitation letter, may constitute a travesty of justice.”

Jinggoy with President Duterte at the Palarong Pambansa 2018.opening.

Yet, unabashedly, Estrada continues his odious quest for a slot in the PDP-Laban senatorial slate for 2019 by working hard to be under the good graces of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Look how Estrada tries hard to ingratiate himself to the president by showing his slavish subservience – shaking the president’s hand and bowing so low.

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Napoles now under the WPP

 

What is so special about accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles that she has now been admitted to the witness protection program (WPP)?

Being tagged as the brains behind the misuse of billions of pesos in pork barrel funds or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers based on a Commission on Audit (COA) investigation covering 2007 to 2010 simply means that she is the root of all evil behind the scam and yet the Department of Justice (DOJ) has opted to turn her into a government witness.

How ridiculous can the DOJ be, for crying out loud!

Just because Napoles’ safety and security are threatened, does that make it a good reason to make her the least guilty of them all, even making sure that her medical needs are met?

How humane and considerate can the DOJ be on Napoles, but how merciless and unsympathetic can the same agency be on the poor people whose dreams for a better life for them and their family have been shattered by the scheming and evil ways of Napoles.

And to think that Napoles made atrocious and perverse deals with the politicians and other government officials to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor and needy Filipinos who were deprived of funds for their livelihood because those involved in the scam purposely misused their pork barrel for their own selfish interests.

How more ironic can it get when the poor victims of the scam continue to live miserable lives, yet the perpetrators of the scam are given special treatment.

Napoles is a principal accused in the criminal cases lodged by the Office of the Ombudsman against former senators Enrile, Revilla and Estrada.

All three cases are now on trial with witnesses being presented by government lawyers to prove their allegations that the lawmakers received kickback or commissions in exchange for funding host projects implemented by bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) controlled by Napoles.

Enrile and Estrada have been released on bail while Revilla remains detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Revilla is seeking the dismissal of his plunder and graft cases through a demurer to evidence, a move that seeks to have the charges junked halfway through the trial on grounds that the prosecution failed to prove its case.

Napoles is also facing a handful of other plunder, graft and malversation of public funds cases also for alleged involvement in the misuse of pork barrel funds by various former congressmen.

With these facts in hand, does Napoles really deserve to be admitted to the WPP?

Reopening of pork barrel scam probe and Dutertenomics

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

You might be wondering why I am lumping up the two together when they are different and distinct subjects.

Well, they are not really contradistinctive.

What makes them related or akin to one another is the fact that both deals with preventing corruption as the country is steered towards growth and development.

Thus, while Dutertenomics is getting to be a popular buzzword here and abroad for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 6-year development plan that aims to make the Philippines a high middle-income status before his term ends in 2022, it is a much welcomed boost for the country also that Duterte is keen and in fact throwing his full support behind the reopening of a congressional inquiry into the scandalous P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.

Dutertenomics is actually about the 10-point agenda that is listed below and which emphasizes transparency and inclusiveness in every step:

  • Higher infrastructure spending, with 5 percent of gross domestic product targeted
  • Lower income and corporate tax rates to better compete with other Asian nations
  • Less red tape and corruption, including permits and land titles crucial to business
  • More state resources for the countryside, reducing poverty and boosting rural growth
  • Strong law enforcement and peace efforts to enhance the business environment
  • Small business gains with GoNegosyo’s Ramon Lopez as Trade & Industry Secretary
  • Better China relations enhancing Chinese trade, tourism and investment flows
  • Charter change to devolve power to the regions and ease foreign investment limits.

In the same manner, in revisiting the pork barrel scam probe, Duterte simply wants to make sure that all those government officials involved in unscrupulously diverting the government funds for the poor and needy into their own bank accounts are taken to task and prosecuted.

I just hope that in so doing Duterte will not interfere and just allow the Sandiganbayan ( a special appellate collegial court) to run its course in prosecuting the high profile accused namely, ex-senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada. He will be doing the country a great favor if he does.

Oozing with political will with no one to be beholden to and having the interest of the nation and the welfare of the people foremost in his governance, I am sure Duterte will find success in this twin concerns he is driving at.

 

Plunder with impunity and rape deserve the death penalty

hb-4727I could only describe as self-serving the decision of some members of Congress to exclude plunder and rape, and even treason, in the controversial House Bill (HB) 4727 which seeks to restore the death penalty in the country.

But I am more bothered about the exclusion of plunder and rape.

It must be remembered that the original version of HB 4727 originally listed 21 crimes punishable by death. It was reported that the congressmen later agreed to remove plunder, rape, treason and other heinous offenses following several caucuses by the so called super majority bloc leaving the much talked about crime of illegal drugs as the sole monstrous offense deserving of death penalty.

Yes, illegal drugs destroy the future, if not the lives of people, but don’t plunder, especially if done with impunity, rape, murder, treason, kidnapping, and the likes, also ravages the dreams, the aspirations, the future and practically the lives of people?

The gall of these politicians again to fool the Filipino people!

Plunder is a crime more associated with politicians than any other group of people in our society and it is always committed with impunity and to the very people these bastards have been sworn to serve and protect.

If lady justice could only have turned her wheels faster I am sure we would have been seeing a lot more of politicians the likes of former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, and the latest, incumbent Sen. Leila de Lima, following their footsteps leading to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center because of plunder associated with the pork barrel and drug money scam.

It does not surprise me therefore that, while the lawmakers should have only proposed the exclusion of plunder, they also have to recommend the forbiddance of rape, treason, etc., so it may not appear that they are being subjective and biased for their own selfish motives.

These politicians/lawmakers who are working hard for a watered-down version of HB 4727 should remember Abraham Lincoln’s famous saying: “You can fool part of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.”

 

Enrile’s suspicious visit to Malacañang

Former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile visiting Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.

Former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile visiting Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.

For anybody who has been following the political life of former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile one cannot help but be suspicious about the circumstances of his much publicized visit to Malacañang for a one-on-one tete-a-tete with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Enrile made a sucker of the Sandiganbayan when the court where government officials, from the President of the Philippines down to the lowest ranked public servant, are prosecuted, ordered for his release after posting bail totaling P1.45 million for the plunder and graft cases filed against him over a multibillion-peso pork barrel scam supposedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

Before his release Enrile had been detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital in Camp Crame for a little over a year.

Two of his co-accused — former senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revila — remain detained in Camp Crame, at the PNP Custodial Center.

Also in detention to this day for the same offense is Enrile’s former chief of staff, Jessica “Gigi” Reyes.

The court said the Enrile should be granted temporary freedom because of his old age and frail health, which did not make him a flight risk.

Enrile may not be a flight risk until now that he has fully regained back his health, but he continues to remain astute as he has always been known to be and his once temporary freedom, for all intents and purpose, is now a permanent one.

Or so it seems because while Enrile may have posted a bail he is still an accused out on bail for humanitarian reasons, but now that he is back in the pink of health the Sandiganbayan should send him back to the PNP Custodial Center for that is where he belongs in reality.

In fact Enrile is strong enough now that he has been able to visit Duterte in Malacañang and reportedly handed the latter a letter and three books that apparently contained unsolicited counsel/guide to help the president address the country’s problems.

Despite presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella’s claim that the meeting of the two political personalities was social in nature that included discussions on “current developments”, still it raised eyebrows of many Filipinos concerned about corrupt politicians on what really was the motive of Enrile’s visit.

We cannot help but hope that Duterte will stay his course and his commitment to the nation that he will have no mercy to those involved in illegal drugs, corruption and criminality that have caused near perdition to the hopes and aspirations of many Filipinos.

Enrile’s baneful advice

 

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

I do not know how much longer the foxy Senate Minority Leader, Juan Ponce Enrile, has to live after he turns 92 on February 14.

Not that I wish him ill, but at this stage in his life Enrile should stop being deceitful by using his influence and self-serving ideas in urging people to vote for Vice President Jejomar Binay to succeed President Aquino in the presidential election in May.

Just like him, Enrile described Binay as “experienced”, thus the latter’s long years in public service and as a politician should serve him well, if and when he becomes president.

What a phony and sanctimonious statement!

“Experienced” is relative in the eyes of people these days.

Yes, both Enrile and Binay pride themselves of being “experienced”, and honorable at that, and this is what they want people to know about them, but look what they have gotten into!

Shame and scandal of outrageous proportions!

Enrile and two other senators face plunder and graft charges over the biggest corruption scandal in recent Philippine history. They are accused of pocketing millions in public money and diverting development funds to fake non-governmental organizations allegedly controlled by Janet Lim-Napoles.

If not for his advanced age and failing health, Enrile could have been detained longer like his cohorts, Jinggoy Estrada aand Bong Revilla, and that would have served him right instead of peddling lies now and giving baneful advice.

Binay on the other hand was the subject of a Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee probe over graft and corruption charges during his stint as mayor of Makati City that lasted for nearly one and a half years.

There is nothing more appalling and dangerous than one old, sly and corrupt politician supporting and urging people to vote for president another sly and corrupt, but younger politician, to save us from living a miserable life.

Certainly, Enrile wants Binay to win not because it is good for the country and its people, but rather, it is an assurance that Enrile retains his freedom and that his former chief of staff, Gigi Reyes, should not languish in jail more than necessary.

Talking about ulterior motives and making a pact with the devil himself!

The fate of corrupt politicians in the PDAF scam

pork barrelLet us recall first what the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, more popularly known as pork barrel scam, is all about before it loses its meaning and importance to the vast number of Filipinos who have come to appreciate the prosecution of corrupt politicians in government.

The pork barrel scam is a political scandal of the highest order involving the alleged misuse by several members of Congress of their lump sum discretionary fund granted to them for spending on priority development projects, most especially on the local level.

It is estimated that the Philippine government was defrauded of some P10-billion in the course of the scam, reportedly from 2003 to 2013, and at the expense of the poor and marginalized Filipinos.

Going after noted corrupt government officials, the likes of retired chief justice Renator Corona and the high-profile senators in the PDAF scam, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla for plunder has given many Filipinos hope that we can be a better country yet.

Though Enrile was granted bail by the Supreme Court and is back in the Senate throwing barbs at President Aquino still many people believe that he should have remained detained together with Estrada and Revilla at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City until such time that they can prove themselves innocent of the crimes charged against them.

The reason why I am bringing this up is my fear that people might forget the significance of this political will exercised by Aquino in bringing these corrupt politicians to face justice and instead elect someone who will just willingly open the gates to free these unscrupulous individuals.

What I am saying is that there are still many more of their ilk out there who should be prosecuted, but because the man who would be the next president in 2016 is against everything that Aquino has done, that everything also will come to naught.

I don’t think this is acceptable.

Many are in favor of what Aquino has done along this path, given the circumstances. It has to be sustained and pursued even more to the hilt if that is the way the poor of this country can attain justice. Servants of the people these arrogant politicians are not.

I am sure Enrile, Estrada, Revilla and the many more politicians in the Ombudsman’s list to be prosecuted are hoping that Jejomar Binay would win. Birds of the same feather, so to say.

Or maybe Grace Poe and Rody Duterte who will easily show nothing but kindness and sympathy to movie stars and politicians now expressing their support for them with their ulterior motives.

I don’t think Estrada, Revilla, and especially Enrile, would want Miriam Santiago or Mar Roxas to win. The same goes with the politicians in the Ombudsman’s list. No easy way out for them.

Thus, it really matters who we elect to succeed Aquino if Filipinos consider the downfall of a Supreme Court chief justice and the arrest and detention of three notable senators of the realm to be a milestone in the democratic history of this country.