Category: senate

calling out congress #passBBL #no2revgov

it’s great that the war in marawi is practically done.  we all need breathing space from the killings and destruction, the misery and loss.  we need to stop and take stock, seriously consider how to prevent pre-empt more war in mindanao.

in two speeches, before and after hapilon and maute were taken down, the president was unequivocal: federalism is the only way to keep the peace.

“The MI pati MN has been hanging on to the range of their forces. They are cooperating with government, fighting alongside with government forces, but they are hoping that what they have been asking for centuries will be given.

“If we fail to come up with a reasonable counter proposal, then I assure you that there will be fighting everywhere in Mindanao. For then, the mainstream rebel groups would now be joining with the extremist groups.  …their common determination, their dream is … magkaisa itong lahat against the Republic of the Philippines.  And I have it in good authority that they will declare an independence. They would declare an independent Mindanao.” [oct 12]

“… it would be easy if we agree na mag-federal tayo.  kapag hindi, talagang sasabog ito, because then i would predict that the MI (and) MN would now join with everybody in, and there are aplenty…. armas. mahirap talaga tayo magsurvive as a nation, the republic, intact.  hindi ko kayo tinatakot….  sinsasabi ko yan noon pa sa kampanya. bec i know that it would create division and eventually maybe a breakage. ang mahirap nyan kung papasok na naman yang mga UN at … makialam … then if they recognize a belligerent state now, then you would have to treat it as an independent entity. yan ang delikado diyan. once makialam itong mga united nations … we would be reduced from the … yugoslavia, before, then you have serbia, you have so many city states, the balkan states, watak watak na sila, kanya kanyang state …”

Because then if there is a status of belligerence given to them, then it becomes very, very, very serious for all of us. …  And the Americans will realize to their sorrow that they have been too myopic in this thing. [oct 16]

the president has not mentioned the draft BBL (version 2017) transmitted by the palace to congress in mid-august and which the senate prez and house speaker promised will be passed by yearend, na tila di gumagalaw; anyway walang balita except a tidbit from ANC‘s  Bangsamoro and Beyond: A National Conversation taped oct 5 and aired oct 19, na meron na daw itong more than a hundred signatures sa lower house.  totoo?

tila walang sense of urgency sa legislature, and this might explain why the president is antsy, seeing destab plots, and threatening  revolutionary government, by hook or by crook?  revgov na lang, kung walang BBL by yearend, para makapag-chacha para makapag-shift to federalism para maibigay sa MI at MN ang matagal nang inaasam na regional autonomy for muslim filipinos?

naguguluhan ako, at siguro ang lehislatura rin, dahil back in july 2016, his first month as president, this is what the president said:

If majority of Filipinos vote against federalism in a plebiscite, President Rodrigo Duterte will throw his support behind the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), he said.

“If the Filipino nation in a plebiscite would not want it, I am ready to concede whatever is there in the BBL law. We will see to it that it will pass,” said the Philippine president on Friday, July 8 during a gathering of Muslim leaders in Davao City.

Duterte said he is eyeing a “framework” on federalism to be ready by the end of 2016.

“Towards the end of the year, we can come up with the framework,” he said. The framework could entail a “reconfiguration” of territories of ethnic groups like the Tausug, something desired by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari.

okay lang naman kung BBL muna, i can’t imagine why not. calling out speaker alvarez and senate prez koko, paki-explain why you guys aren’t bothered by the president’s fearless forecast of war in mindanao if BBL does not happen.  (i know, i know, they’re all on vacation.)

of course, puwede ring plebiscite muna to vote on a new charter that provides for federalism and a truly autonomous bangsamoro region, why not.  balita pa nga ng rappler, meron nang draft constitution na naisumite ang PDP-Laban Federalism Institute sa lower house.

… a draft Constitution that would govern the Philippines under a federal system of government. The draft is the result of research and consultations done by a group of experts gathered by PDP-Laban president Aquilino Pimentel III through the institute. 

i always figured that it’s the president’s call, as he’s so astig.  but, yes, he needs the cooperation of congress, whether for the BBL or the new charter, and congress is proving to be uncooperative, even recalcitrant.

come on, guys!  kaysa naman mag-revgov?  or is that the goal.  argh.  these trapos.

#passBBL #no2revgov

waiting for cocoy, what about sotto, calling out grace

sometime during the senate hearing on fake news by the committee on public info and mass media last wednesday, i said on my facebook wall that i found the talk refreshing, it was good to see and hear edwin lacierda, abigail valte, and manolo quezon, nakaka-miss ang intelligent discourse. (public status. 13 likes.)  we kinda took it for granted back in pre-duterte days.

not that the trio said much, except to deny that they were responsible in any way for the anonymous dilawan blog silent no more or that its webmaster was once part of pNoy’s comms team — though cocoy dayao wasn’t around to confirm the denial, so correct me if i heard wrong — and to demand that rj nieto prove his allegations, produce evidence, that mar roxas was responsible for the nasaan-ang-pangulo anti-pNoy campaign in the time of mamasapano.  nag-buckle lang si lacierda on the question of whether he is part (or something like that) of silent no more, and justifiably, because does one become a part of silent no more when one “likes” and / or shares the link of any of its blog posts on facebook?

smart of cocoy dayao not to show up.  but he should show up next time or he might have to go into hiding and then be tracked down by the cops a la ronnie dayan, ewww.  that would be so uncool.  cool would be if he came to the next hearing with bells and whistles, including a hotshot IT lawyer.  i expect that he would refuse (even in an executive session) to name his clients, i.e., the writer/s and / or owners of silent no more (and other anonymous blogs under his admin) on grounds of confidentiality.  it would be a test case on a citizen’s right to anonymity and privacy.

it would be interesting to see how sotto, and other feeling-aggrieved senators, will deal with that.  sotto, in particular, who was tagged a rapist in the controversial seven-sens post (6,600 likes, 2066 shares, 780 comments) has reason to cry LIBEL!  but then that would mean opening himself up to questions re the pepsi paloma rape case back in 1982.  under oath he would be crazy to insist that no rape happened as he has claimed in recent years.  the rape hit the front pages just 35 years ago.  marami kaming adults na noon na buhay pa ngayon, and we remember what a scandal it was, and we still marvel at how they managed to get away with it, dared brazen it out, the show must go on, eat bulaga!  no fake news that.

and because dayao was a no-show, napagtuunan tuloy ng oras at pansin at puna si mocha uson, duterte’s social media muse (5 million followers), at si rj nieto aka thinking pinoy (700K followers) who is second only to mocha when it comes to bashing dilawans and others critical of duterte, imagining scenarios based on iffy data, yet whom committee chair grace poe couldn’t praise enough for his “neutrality” and “excellent research,” never mind the times that nieto has had to issue “errata” dahil nagkamali, tao lang daw.  argh.  i’ve been blogging 10 years now and i don’t remember ever having to issue an erratum.

anyway, the next morning, on my fb newsfeed, a u.p. prof was wishing for the likes of recto, laurel, salonga and santiago in the chamber; the discourse would have been so radically different daw. (for fb friends only. 142 likes and counting.)  hmm.  miriam too?  “I lied!” was one of her favorite punchlines.

pero recto, laurel, salonga, oo naman, except what’s the point in wishing for better, based on a romanticized past, when there’s work to do confronting what is, now, and looking to the future.  roby alampay, tony la viña, and florin hilbay were outstanding.

as for senator poe, she can redeem herself by pushing through with the committee’s promise to plug legal loopholes that allow bloggers earning undeclared income from advertisements to avoid payment of taxes.  and senator nancy binay is right, tax also the so-called “influencers” promoting products and services on their social media accounts, said to be an underground billion (peso) industry.  better late than never.

shamelessly sipsip lower house

119 representatives daw voted to cut CHR’s budget to 1K a year.  i wanted to know who these reps are but they have yet to be officially identified.  the official journal of that event has yet to be posted on the congress website (click on legislative functions, then house journals).  will it ever be?

Critics of the decision may want to know the names of those lawmakers, but the chamber only did a headcount, without recording their names.

As Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas explained it: “There is no such record as voting was by ayes and nays.”

umm, we’ll settle for the roll call then and draw our own conclusions.  meanwhile i beg the 119 (maybe less) to please read inquirer‘s editorial Zero understanding of the Charter?  read also philstar‘s jarius bondoc Given House’s reasoning, CHR deserves P1 trillion, and alex magno Backfire.

The House just pulled the rug from under all official pretenses about the rule of law. The legislators have become unwitting parties to those who claim the country has now fallen under a tyranny.

From all indications, the majority of senators appear inclined to restore the CHR’s original budget – and even increase it as a rebuke to the brainless action of the House.

If the House insists on its budget cut, it risks a confrontation with the Senate. That confrontation could bog down the approval of the entire national appropriations act, leaving government without a budget for next year.

The House could not possibly win such a confrontation. It does not have an armory of justifications for taking the action that they did. The CHR may not be the most popular institution around, but there seems to be no public support for lynching it.

More important, a confrontation between the House and the Senate will be a contest between plain pique and vindictiveness on one hand and the properly appreciated demands of statesmanship. In such a confrontation, statesmanship (and thus properly mustered reason) will be on the side of the Senate.

yes, let’s get behind the senate on this.  by katrina’s last count 16 senators including the senate president #StandWithCHR.  sana madagdagan pa.  20 at best, counting out diehards sotto and pacquiao.  but wait, according to harvey keh’s facebook status, even pacquiao wants the CHR budget restored.  hmm.  maybe he got a memo from the palace?  duterte was just joking when he said he wanted the CHR abolished?

sobra naman kasi sumipsip itong lower house.  read philstar’s ana marie pamintuan Budget cut.

… if congressmen weren’t busy licking the boots of their boss at Malacañang, they would be doing justice to their other role in a democracy besides legislation, which is to provide checks and balances to the executive.

As things stand, that function now seems to rest wholly on the Senate. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who is behaving these days as if he’s ruler of the universe – and creating a host of enemies along the way – should learn from one of the longest serving of his predecessors, Jose de Venecia.

In his final days as House chief, Joe de V went around wearing a wristband amulet. This, he told us, was meant to protect him from all the backstabbers in the House. As we all know, the amulet didn’t work. Joe de V suffered more stab wounds (all in the back) than that corpse fished out of a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, identified as 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman.

imagine kung wala nang senado.  fair warning to citizens who think a unicameral congress run by the likes of alvarez and fariñas under a federal system is the way to go.  isip isip, mga kapatid.

shabu, semento, senado

i started writing, thinking on, this post yesterday soon after senator panfilo lacson, in aid daw of the blue ribbon committee’s hearings on shabu smuggling sa customs, delivered that privilege speech accusing ex customs chief nic faeldon and his oakwood gang of being on the take, big time.  kararating pa nga lang, may pasalubong na.

“Loud whispers in the four corners of the Bureau of Customs compound tell of a 100-million-peso ‘pasalubong’ to the newly-installed Commissioner, a quarter of which, or 25 million pesos was retained as finder’s fee by his middleman named Joel Teves.”

what, “loud whispers” lang?  no documents, no affidavits by witnesses, no hidden CCTV that prove/show that money illegally changed hands?  interesting.  a former top cop playing like bato’s cops: “shoot” now, explain later.  but not too surprising, given senator ping’s long colorful history.  twice he was the accused in very high-profile cases — the kuratong baleleng shoot-out / rub-out in 1995 and the bubby dacer – alex corbito murders in 2000.

lacson pleaded innocent in both cases and in due time each was dismissed. kuratong baleleng was more easily won.  dacer-corbito was not; ping had to run for it, just before he was charged in court; he was a fugitive for 15 months, there was an arrest order out for him, even the interpol was on the lookout.  umuwi lang siya after the supreme court dismissed the case, affirming the court of appeals’ earlier ruling that the principal witness was neither credible nor trustworthy.  same witness recanted his testimony sometime in 2015.

i’ve always believed that lacson is one very powerful man.  back in the days of erap, when he was PAOCTF chief, there was a lot of talk that he had dossiers on everyone, which inspired fear.  he could be truly innocent of the dacer-corbito murders but i have no doubt that he knows more about these murders than he has ever let on, and that’s like being complicit in protecting the guilty, isn’t it?

but to get back to yesterday when he lashed out at faeldon.  kahit pa sabihin, for the sake of argument, na guilty as charged si faeldon, nagulat ako at the viciousness of lacson’s attack.  guilty until proven innocent.  bakit siya galit na galit kay faeldon? pareho sila ni trillanes, actually.  what do they know about faeldon that makes them so mad at him (or vice versa), but which the president either does not mind or does not know?  is it for PMA’er’s ears only?

this morning faeldon struck back at lacson with a vengeance, wondering what lacson’s motive was for accusing soldiers whom lacson himself knows daw are innocent of corruption.  and then he went on to make kuwento about a cement importer by the name of panfilo lacson jr. whose small company has been bringing in shiploads of cement, tone-toneladang semento, na misdeclared, undervalued (at $8/metric ton) by some 50 percent of market price.  106M pesos worth of cement in 3 shipments over 3 days in july 2016.  nakaka-67 shipments na daw by now.  and like tish, faeldon has documents.

tanong ni faeldon: alam mo ba ito, senator lacson?  kasi kung hindi, kung hindi mo alam ang ginagawa ng anak mo sa customs, then wala kang alam tungkol sa customs.

sagot ni lacson: it’s a big big lie …  i am not my son’s keeper … faeldon’s $16 for cement is too high.

also the senator said that he would not have made yesterday’s exposé re faeldon if he himself were involved in customs corruption in any way.  and anyway why did it take faeldon so long to make sumbong?

hmm.  it is not beyond imagination that lacson made the exposé — even if he himself was not beyond reproach — out of hubris, over-confidence, thinking no one would dare mess with him, or that faeldon in particular would not dare challenge him.  just as it’s perfectly understandable that faeldon was in no hurry to tangle with the senator, as who would be? until he had his documents in order.  and if he is NOT on the take, then it makes sense that faeldon would hit back at the senator with everything he’s got just about now.

it’s not quite as hateful or scandalous as the shabu smuggling — after all, di naman illegal substance ang semento — but undervaluation in aid of paying less in taxes is technical smuggling, a crime that cheats government of millions, maybe billions, in revenue, and which is punishable with fines and imprisonment.

hindi bale sana kung dahil nakamura sa customs ay mas mura nilang ibinebenta ang semento sa mercado.  asa pa.

meanwhile, senate prez pimentel and senators drilon and aquino were quick to express support for their colleague.

PIMENTEL. “We have to make sure that this is not pang lihis lang ng isyu. And Faeldon should state everything he knows about everyone involved in suspicious activities in Customs and not only concentrate his return fire on the person who exposed the tara system in BOC.”

DRILON. “I have full faith in the uprightness of Sen. Lacson and his family. Without any evidence other than Faeldon’s allegation, I will oppose any investigation. It will be a waste of time and will simply be used as a venue for character assassination.”

AQUINO said he is confident Lacson could defend himself against the allegations of Faeldon that his son’s company is the “number one cement smuggler in the country.”

if not for faeldon, we wouldn’t now know that senator lacson’s son is a  customs player pala.  nakakapagpaisip, di ba?  sino pa kaya sa mga senador ang may anak, kapatid, pamangkin, pinsan, at / o inaanak na customs players din.  imposible naman na si lacson lang.  time to circle the wagons indeed.