Monthly Archives: June 2010

In politics, there are no permanent friends or foes; only permanent interests

Supporters of Binay are questioning P-Noy  on his refusal to appoint Binay as DILG head. Their question is: why did Aquino see it fit and morally right to offer Binay the position of DILG Secretary before the start of the campaign period less than a year ago and now, refuse to give it to him particularly since he was voted by 14M Filipinos for the second highest position of the land. Should not that make it easier for P-Noy to offer it to him again? Pundits point out that the offer then was purely political to help ensure an Aquino victory with the help of Binay which he no longer needs having already won it. Critics, however, criticize Aquino precisely on his criteria, then or now,  in choosing his cabinet for reasons other than competence and integrity as is evident in the case of Binay; otherwise, it is clear that Binay’s appointment as DILG head should be made  easier by virtue of his having been elected VP with about as many votes as Aquino had garnered. Was Aquino ready to “sell his soul”  then, as early as before the campaign period, by offering Binay the post for reasons other than merit and “for country” and can we assume he will do it again (politics before country) when the need arises? Moral fortitude is not seasonal; you either have it or you don’t, going by the standards Aquino himself established in his efforts to proselytize the electorate during the campaign period, remember?

Waka waka! In this the largest single-sport event in the world, the FIFA World Cup, the Philippines, or even a shadow of it, is again totally excluded from the competition and not due to any bias or sanction against our nation but rather, because we refuse to promote football, a sport wherein we could, with time, proper training, and dedication, be as competitive as any of the best in this world league. Instead, we continue to believe that, perhaps, our genetics have been “lying” to us all along and will soon correct itself and we will start bearing children that will match the height of the basketball players from the western teams that continue to dominate basketball which we still insist on being our “national sport.” So, we carry-on giving this american inherited game the inordinate amount of attention and support over other sports where our genetic disposition, such as height (or the lack of it), do not pose a  built-in disadvantage such as in basketball beginning with the first whistle blow for the jump-ball at the center of the court. Duh!

Excerpts of phone-in congratulations from US President Obama to just proclaimed President elect Aquino and Vice President elect Binay :

TO AQUINO — “On behalf of my family and the American people, allow me to congratulate your excellency on your proclamation as the 15th President….”

TO BINAY —  “Yo!! Waz happnin’ bro?”

“In politics, there are no permanent friends or foes; only permanent interests.”  That saying about politicians will come into play again when the changing of the guards take effect on July 1, 2010. We will see a lot of the newly elected officials  “jumping ship” from their respective political parties to join the Liberal Party of the newly elected President, Benigno Aquino III. This will happen not because of a strong desire coming from the politicians to help the new President lead this country forward but to benefit from whatever largesse they can get from the new dispensation. It will be back to “politics as usual”  unless we see from Malacanang a real “pagbabago.”  Abangan…

Comelec should now come out with a final tally of everything important that we need to know regarding the just concluded historical automated elections. Among the more important information needed are: the exact results of the audit random manual count done in five clustered precincts for every political district; rate of successful electronic transmission by PCOS machines; number of machine bog down on election day; number of flash cards replaced on election day from the 20 CFC’sper province on stand-by  (these were eventually  configured outside the Smartmatic warehouse on election day unlike the original flash cards), and other pertinent information that will help guide us in giving the system a performance grade and more importantly, determine how the system can be made better if it is decided to be used again in the next elections. This should be done soonest while information is still fresh and those involved easier to access and question now more than later.

The way Smart-matic has been celebrating these days, with matching Ms. Universe in tow, it looks like they’ve already bagged the contract for the elections in 2013. In fairness, this company must be judged based on what their deliverables were as per contract & the general performance of the technology they sold to the Comelec. Let’s not blame the short-comings of the Comelec and other government agencies on them unless we have proof to show otherwise.

A reminder from a TIME MAGAZINE report in January 1990:

“No favors, no excuses.” That was the motto Corazon Aquino vowed to follow after her People Power movement toppled the corrupt regime of Ferdinand Marcos. But in the tumultuous four years since Aquino became President, charges of incompetence and graft have increasingly tainted her own government. When rebellious soldiers launched the seventh abortive coup against Aquino on Dec. 1, their most pointed complaints focused on the administration’s failure to deliver basic services and on allegations of corruption among the President’s wealthy and influential relatives. The charges, magnified by the Manila rumor mill, have inflicted serious political damage. While the President herself is considered incorruptible, critics accuse her of turning a blind eye to family and friends who are said to be enriching themselves at the public’s expense. “What good is a Blessed Virgin Mary if she is surrounded by Sodom and Gomorrah?” asks one disillusioned official. In a December speech after the coup attempt, even Jaime Cardinal Sin, Aquino’s most important supporter, warned of “a social explosion” unless Aquino swiftly defused “unceasing reports of the abusive roles of presidential relatives.” To regain public confidence in the wake of the abortive coup, Aquino last week sacked nine of 19 Cabinet ministers in the third such shake-up of her presidency. The Cabinet changes, acknowledged press secretary Adolfo Azcuna, were prompted “by the same reasons, perhaps, that precipitated the coup.” None of the ousted ministers had been accused of corruption, but some of their departments were widely considered ineffective, particularly Justice, Transportation and Education, where services had virtually broken down. Aquino also overhauled the Agrarian Reform Department, which has largely failed to deliver on her election promise of land redistribution. To many Filipinos, however, the reshuffling looked too modest to silence claims of scandal in high places. Though many of those tales flow from flimsily documented stories in the Manila press, which now enjoys unprecedented freedom, Filipinos follow them avidly. A frequent target of reports is Aquino’s brother Jose (“Peping”) Cojuangco Jr., a wealthy and powerful congressman. Shortly after Aquino took office, newspaper stories charged that Cojuangco had helped some of his cronies gain control of a lucrative cargo-handling business; he is also suspected of using family ties to get jobs for friends in Manila casinos. Cojuangco has denied any wrongdoing, and neither he nor any other member of the Aquino clan has been charged with a crime. Yet lack of prosecution means little in a country where the rich and powerful are perceived to be above the law. “It would take a first-class fool to testify against someone like Peping Cojuangco,” explains Blas Ople, executive vice president of the opposition Nacionalista Party and a former Minister of Labor under Marcos. In one of the few corruption cases the authorities have pursued, Cojuangco’s wife Margarita was suspected of having taken a $1 million bribe from an Australian businessman last year to help him obtain a gambling-casino license. In the end, the National Bureau of Investigation filed no charges: the probers said the Australian had been duped by a woman who impersonated Cojuangco’s wife. Critics often denounce Aquino’s first creation in office, the Presidential Commission on Good Government, as a bastion of ineptitude. Charged with the recovery of up to $10 billion that Marcos is said to have looted from the treasury, the commission has recovered nearly $1 billion so far but has been accused of abusing its powers. In one case, for example, Ricardo (“Baby”) Lopa, an Aquino brother-in-law who controlled a profitable Nissan auto- assembly plant and 38 other companies before they were seized by the Marcos regime in the early 1970s, was allowed to buy the firms back for only $227,000 within days after Aquino became President. A public outcry forced the commission to re-examine the deal with Lopa, who died of cancer last November. It found no evidence of improper behavior.


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