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Ano daw? Destiny?

Pinatunayan lang ni Madam Leni Robredo, ang temporary occupant sa tanggapan ng Pangalawang Pangulo ng Pilipinas, na BOBA siya ng sinabi sa media na bukas daw sa kanya ang posibilidad na tumakbo bilang Pangulo ng Pilipinas sa 2022.

 

leni robredo credit inquirer nino jesus orbeta

Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Hanggang ngayon ba may illusion pa si Madam Leni na may pag-asa siyang manalo bilang Pangulo ng Pilipinas?Anoooo?

Hindi pa ba sapat ang ZERO performance ng Liberal Party sa pinakahuling national elections? Wala kahit isa ang nakapasok sa winning circle na 12. Kahit ang kandidato ng LP sa pagka Pangulo noong 2016 — si Mar Roxas — ay hindi nga nakalusot sa kabila ng napakalaking gastos sa media advertisements.

Sinasabi ni Madam Leni na naniniwala siya sa DESTINY.

Wala naman daw siyang balak na tumakbo bilang congresswoman ng 3rd District ng Camarines Sur noong 2013. Nag back out lang sa last minute ang kandidato ng LP, kaya daw siya napilitan na tumakbo. Nanalo nga siya, marahil dahil wala pa isang taon pa lang mula nang namatay ang asawa niyang si Jesse.

Alam ng buong bansa na hindi nanalo si Madam Leni sa pagka Bise. Na PCOS lang niya ang resulta sa tulong ni dating COMELEC chairman Andres Bautista. (Ano na nga ba ang nangyari sa kaso ni Bautista?)

Libre ang mangarap, Madam Leni.

Pero nakakabaliw na yan na pangarap ang sa iyo.

Malayong-malayo ka na manalo bilang Pangulo. You are so very unpopular sa mga Filipino. Isa rin ikaw sa dahilan kung bakit ni isa, walang nanalo sa LP sa May 13, 2019 elections. Mas makakabuti yan sa iyo na ipasok mo yan sa kokote mo. Sa sinabi mong yan, mukhang tama talaga si DFA Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin na BOBA ka.

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Liberal Party, tinalo ng apo ng Katipunero sa Capiz

Si Esteban Evan Contreras, na naging Bise Gobernador ng Capiz mula noong 2010, ay apo ng Katipunerong kapareho ang pangalan, si Heneral Esteban Contreras (1864-1904). Pagkatapos na pinangakuan siya noong 2016 na magbigay-daan kay Antonio del Rosario Noong nakaraang 2016 na eleksyon, pumayag siyang manatili lamang sa pagtakbo bilang Bise Gobernador dahil sa paki-usap ni Mar Roxas. Tatakbo na sana siya bilang Gobernador sa 2016 na halalan. Pinangakuan siya na “one term” lang si Antonio del Rosario, at sa 2019, siya na ang itutulak ng Liberal Party bilang kandidato nito sa pagka Gobernador.

Subalit yun pala ay pangako na napako. Kaya noong kinausap ulit siya ng LP na ibigay na lang muli kay Del Rosario ang puwesto, nagpasya si Contreras na hindi na siya aatras pa. Kahit na mahirap ang laban, itinuloy ang kanyang pagtakbo. Katulad ng lolo niyang Katipunero, hindi natakot si Contreras sa pera at “party machinery” ng LP sa Capiz.

At nanalo siya.

Ito ang Part One ng kanyang kuwento:

Survival mode na ang Liberal Party

Hanggang 2016, o tatlong taon lang ang nakaraan, tinuturing pa na superpower political party ang Liberal Party ni pinamunuan nina dating Pangulong Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, dating Senador Mar Roxas at Senador Franklin Drilon.

Ngunit ngayon, parang pulubi na ang Liberal Party na naglilimos na lang para makahanap ng silungan sa House of Representatives. Ibinalita ng Philippine Daily Inquirer na balak ngayon ng LP sa sumali sa grupo ni Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez sa laban para sa Speakership.

Bakit hindi pinapanindigan ng LP ang prinsipyo nito bilang opposition party? Di ba magsalungat ang “core principles” ng partido ng mga dilawan sa mga policy ng Duterte administration?

Napakalinaw na “survival mode” na ang LP ngayon. Ini-isip na lang nito ang pansariling kapakanan ng mga miyembro at ibinasura na ang party principles. Nabibisto na ang LP na kahit noong panahon pa ni Pinoy, at wala na talagang prinsipyo ang mga miyembro, kaya nga napuno ng mga katiwalian ang Aquino administration.

Isa lang ang pakay nila: makisali sa majority bloc at maka-angkin din ang mga miyembre ng malaking parte sa pundo para sa mga proyekto.

Sayang.

Dati napakataas ang respeto ko sa LP. Saludong-saludo ako sa mga dating lider nito katulad ni Senador Jovy Salonga. Giniba ang partido ng mga lider mismo na sina Aquino, Roxas at Drilon.

Nakakahiya ang mga taong ito.

‘Very good’

The opposition has thrown about everything they have in their arsenal. but the net satisfaction rating of President Rodrigo Duterte has remained constant at “very good” in the 1st quarter 2018 poll survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The President’s gross satisfaction rating fell only 1% for the period with 70% of the 1,200 respondents nationwide giving him a “satisfied” rating while 14% said they were “dissatisfied”. This translated to a net 56% net satisfaction rating for this survey period, or 2% lower than his previous net satisfaction rating of 58% in December 2017.

This only establishes one thing: Filipinos approve of the way President Duterte is running the country. The issue of extra judicial killings that led the International Criminal Court to open an investigation in February this year clearly had no effect on the President’s popularity. It’s as if nothing could shake the people’s confidence in the man.

What does this imply?

For one thing, Filipinos want a tough leader to confront the illegal drugs problem. For many, the casualties in the drugs war are a necessary evil. The problem cannot be licked with the so-called rule of law, which is very weak in the first place, and drug syndicates have always managed to run circles around law enforcers with their money and influence, and well-paid lawyers. That’s not to mention rampant corruption in law enforcement, the national prosecution service and even the judiciary.

And, as we have seen, putting drug lords and pushers to jail is hardly making a dent on the problem. Even while in jail, drug lords continue with their business, running their operations with the use of cell phones smuggled inside jails. Sadly, nothing much has changed after President Duterte deployed the Special Action Force, the elite PNP unit, to guard the National Bilibid Prisons. The corruption is frustrating the efforts to stop illegal drugs.

In simple terms, the government is severely handicapped in this war against illegal drugs if it sticks to the rule-of-law approach. And Filipinos understand this. They realize violence is a necessary evil in fighting the illegal drugs syndicates.

It’s just too bad that many of the casualties are poor. That’s because they are vulnerable to the lure of easy money that the illegal drugs business offers.

Another reason why President Duterte enjoys high trust ratings despite the barrage of issues thrown against him by the opposition is that Filipinos have grown sick and tired of the rhetoric of the yellows, particularly the Liberal Party. The nation saw one of the worst corruption in its history in the six years that the Liberal Party was in power. Worse, the Liberal Party cheated in the last two elections in a vain effort to perpetuate themselves in power.

And it was the Liberal Party that orchestrated the P3.5 billion Dengvaxia mass vaccination that is believed to have caused dozens of deaths among Filipino children and put the lives of thousands more at risk.

President Duterte is not perfect. I have said this time and again. But he is the best option for the country right now. The worse thing that could happen to the Philippines is allow the Liberal Party to retake power.

 

 

Now, here’s the beef: pre-shaded ballots for Leni

As the manual recount for the contested votes in Camarines Sur reached its third day yesterday (April 4, 2018), more evidence of the rampant cheating that took place in the May 9, 2016 elections have surfaced. This time, the revision committees that opened ballot boxes from the municipality of Baao, Camarines Sur discovered pre-shaded ballots — some torn in half indicating that these were excess or unused ballots — mixed with valid ballots. Aside from this, two clustered precinct ballot boxes were found wet, with the ballots badly damaged and the data contained no longer readable.

The pre-shading of ballots for President and Vice President — Mar Roxas for President and Leni Robredo for Vice President — is not exactly news. A former staff assistant for Mar Roxas accidentally mentioned to me that he delivered “ballots” to several tThe carpenterowns in Iloilo and Aklan a few days before election day. Of course, I didn’t press for details; I just pretended I didn’t catch it. What he did add was that mayoralty candidates in some towns complained when only one of the two got a share of the ballots. Certainly, these couldn’t be sample ballots. Why would such a chore be handled by a trusted aide, personally delivered? And now that there is evidence of pre-shaded ballots, what he told me now makes sense. The Liberal Party did distribute pre-shaded ballots to ensure a landslide victory for Mar and Leni in controlled areas.

This is getting to be more interesting, and revealing, of just how widespread the cheating that took place was.

The Liberal Party was really desperate to make Leni win, with Senator Franklin Drilon as number one among senatorial winners.

Is the battle against corruption worth fighting?

Sometimes I get to ask myself whether all the sacrifice, and risk to my personal safety, are worth it when I dig into leads on anomalous transactions in government. And that question once more came to mind yesterday (March 23, 2018) when I read in the news that the graft case I had filed against Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco, Jr. in connection with the P3.25 million fertilizer fund scam in Iloilo’s 2nd District was dismissed by the Sandiganbayan due to the Ombudsman’s inordinate delay in conducting its preliminary investigation.

I filed the case in 2004 while I was still provincial administrator of Iloilo. But it took the Ombudsman more than 11 years to wrap up its preliminary investigation and file an indictment against Syjuco. The Sandiganbayan had no recourse but grant the motion to dismiss filed by Syjuco’s lawyers as the snail-paced preliminary investigation violated Syjuco’s right to speedy justice. I was also a victim, because my right to the speedy prosection of my complaint was violated. It is a right afforded to both parties to a case.

The Sandiganbayan was only being consistent. It had dismissed a long list of cases based on that ground alone. It wasn’t even about the evidence, because in this case, there was abundant documentary evidence to show that the entire transaction happened only on paper. Not a single drop of liquid fertilizer reached the hands of supposed beneficiaries in Alimodian. The list of “farmers” were only made up by Syjuco’s own men. Syjuco, through his Tawo kag Duta Cooperative, pocketed P3.25 million. It could have been P5.0 million which was the allocation for the 2nd district. But my investigation into the case scared off Syjuco’s people, and aborted the effort to collect the balance.

The other cases I had filed are at risk. These had also taken more than six years to resolve at the preliminary investigation stage. Syjuco’s lawyers will most certainly try to get them dismissed on the same ground.

Which brings me to the question: Is the Ombudsman even committed to obtaining the conviction of Syjuco and other public officials charged with graft? Sadly, the track record of the Ombudsman doesn’t give reason for me to answer in the affirmative. It has already lost a number of big cases because of that ground alone. In other cases, sloppy lawyering led to the dismissal of the cases.

It’s not just sloppy lawyering that has hindered the Ombudsman’s ability to run after the crooks in government and punish them for their corruption. I’ve become aware of specific instances when Ombudsman investigators offered to dismiss graft cases in exchange for millions of pesos. The very agency that is mandated under the Constitution to run after crooks in government is engaged in corrupt practices. Justice is also for sale at the Ombudsman.

So far, the Ombudsman’s track record has been limited to sending rank-and-file employees to prison. It’s been prosecution the pork barrel scam for many years now, and it hasn’t obtained a single conviction. Its success is counted with lowly clerks being dismissed from the service or sent to jail. It tried to redeem its image by dismissing Jed Patrick Mabilog as city mayor of Iloilo City last year. That action didn’t impress President Duterte.

My only consolation is that my exposes on Syjuco’s anomalies awakened the constituency of the 2nd district of Iloilo to his corruption. In 2013, the voters of the 2nd district of Iloilo rejected Syjuco’s bid for a fourth term as congressman, losing to Arcadio Gorriceta, the three-term municipal mayor of Pavia. In a way, I can claim credit for the lonely battle to educate the people about Syjuco’s corruption. That, for me, was punishment enough for Syjuco.

Syjuco is also facing criminal charges for the corruption at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in 2004 to 2010. Billions of pesos were plundered in overpriced purchases of tools and equipment, money that could have been spent for the educaton of young Filipinos in vocational skills. I am hopeful that Syjuco would be convicted, even if he doesn’t get to be jailed on account of his age.

Bautista is a leech

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista is still fighting immense pressure for him to just step down from his post and face the unexplained wealth case before the Ombudsman.

What could be holding him back? I read the blog of ABS-CBN House reporter RG Cruz two days ago and he quoted Commissioner Arthur Lim that something was likely to happen “in the next few days”. Lim hinted at resignation or going on leave.

Is Bautista still hoping that a miracle will suddenly extinguish the conflagration that is engulfing him? His brother, Dr. Martin Bautista, isn’t helping him deal with the crisis. On the contrary, Dr. Bautista only doused aviation fuel on the issue as more exposes about his medical practice in Oklahoma raised more questions than answered.

It’s more likely Bautista is waiting for cues from his Liberal Party bosses. His departure from Comelec might pave the way for the discovery of evidence that indeed, massive cheating occured in the May 2016 elections.

Stop being a leech, Andy. You should have resigned last week yet. But it’s not too late.