Archive for the ‘truth’ Category

World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates

February 13, 2009

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is hotly agitated by the World Bank (WB) scandal. The corruption charges by the international lending body implicate Jose Miguel Arroyo, the palace’s “first gentleman” and husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo. The accusations of unlawful transactions inflame the pompous side of the flighty woman-senator who acts like a straight and unbending arrow.

Santiago has displayed irritation over the non-appearance of WB representative Bert Hofman in the January 27, 2008 senate hearing in which he is expected to clarify the allegations against government officials, influence peddlers, and road contractors. With the characteristic loquacious bravado that the lady-lawmaker is known for, Santiago blared:

““Mr. Hofman must come here in person or else we will cite him for contempt. Let this cause trouble (between the WB and the Senate) that would even lead to the Supreme Court or even the International Court of Justice. This is good because we will be able to test who between the World Bank and the Filipinos are the kings here.” —-Philstar (02/13/09, Calica, A)

Sen. Santiago’s incendiary words don’t fail to befuddle observers who think her thunderous tirades are nothing but another episode of “entertainment” in the corruption-riddled government. She effectively distracts the public from the sordid corruption charge in the WB-funded projects which has been “institutionalized” for at least a decade. While she seems urgently intent to pursue truth and punish wrong-doers in her ranks, many believe all the fury will die down before anyone will ever be proven accountable. She focuses wrongly on the messenger of bad news—the WB, instead of the rapacious perpetrators of the crime.

From whichever angle people look at the Santiago, her demeanor is a source of both pride and dishonor. She poses as a feisty defender of truth ready to uphold the dignity of the nation, something rarely seen in the slow-mo senate. But there are those who question her truthfulness and motive. From past experience, it is unlikely her noisy declarations will ever amount to anything beyond the exercise of words. At a time when the world suspects how deeply the country is mired in dishonesty, Santiago won’t probably go farther than mere investigations.

Even as the controversy goes on, Finance secretary Margarito Teves is already banking on the WB to increase its lending to the Philippines to a tune of $1 billion for the next few years. Keeping a warlike stance (instead of being conciliatory) is distracting. Sen. Santiago brushes aside the reality that the foreign bank isn’t obligated to humor the Philippines so that it can enjoy the “honor” of granting loans to the country. As a government official representing the country, there are those who think she is rude and crude—a loose cannon who blames the foreign bank for its “incomplete” disclosure, effectively deflecting the issue from the real crime.

It is said the leads pointing to fraud in the WB-financed project biddings have been passed on to Filipino authorities as early as 2007, but it’s only now (after the lid of corruption was blown open) that they see the urgency of investigating. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has been criticized and threatened with dismissal for negligently sitting on the case.

The World Bank has already provided vital information to work on. Many wonder the aptness of the senate demanding more information from the foreign entity without the Philippines taking exhaustive effort to gather truth from its own backyard. As if to lamely cover up for glaring shortcomings and the embarrassments which go with incompetence and hypocrisy, Santiago’s blistering words have been set into play for the public to guess and digest. (Photo Credit: Neofinoy.info; ButchokoyD; Arenamontanus) =0=

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World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates

February 13, 2009

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is hotly agitated by the World Bank (WB) scandal. The corruption charges by the international lending body implicate Jose Miguel Arroyo, the palace’s “first gentleman” and husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo. The accusations of unlawful transactions inflame the pompous side of the flighty woman-senator who acts like a straight and unbending arrow.

Santiago has displayed irritation over the non-appearance of WB representative Bert Hofman in the January 27, 2008 senate hearing in which he is expected to clarify the allegations against government officials, influence peddlers, and road contractors. With the characteristic loquacious bravado that the lady-lawmaker is known for, Santiago blared:

““Mr. Hofman must come here in person or else we will cite him for contempt. Let this cause trouble (between the WB and the Senate) that would even lead to the Supreme Court or even the International Court of Justice. This is good because we will be able to test who between the World Bank and the Filipinos are the kings here.” —-Philstar (02/13/09, Calica, A)

Sen. Santiago’s incendiary words don’t fail to befuddle observers who think her thunderous tirades are nothing but another episode of “entertainment” in the corruption-riddled government. She effectively distracts the public from the sordid corruption charge in the WB-funded projects which has been “institutionalized” for at least a decade. While she seems urgently intent to pursue truth and punish wrong-doers in her ranks, many believe all the fury will die down before anyone will ever be proven accountable. She focuses wrongly on the messenger of bad news—the WB, instead of the rapacious perpetrators of the crime.

From whichever angle people look at the Santiago, her demeanor is a source of both pride and dishonor. She poses as a feisty defender of truth ready to uphold the dignity of the nation, something rarely seen in the slow-mo senate. But there are those who question her truthfulness and motive. From past experience, it is unlikely her noisy declarations will ever amount to anything beyond the exercise of words. At a time when the world suspects how deeply the country is mired in dishonesty, Santiago won’t probably go farther than mere investigations.

Even as the controversy goes on, Finance secretary Margarito Teves is already banking on the WB to increase its lending to the Philippines to a tune of $1 billion for the next few years. Keeping a warlike stance (instead of being conciliatory) is distracting. Sen. Santiago brushes aside the reality that the foreign bank isn’t obligated to humor the Philippines so that it can enjoy the “honor” of granting loans to the country. As a government official representing the country, there are those who think she is rude and crude—a loose cannon who blames the foreign bank for its “incomplete” disclosure, effectively deflecting the issue from the real crime.

It is said the leads pointing to fraud in the WB-financed project biddings have been passed on to Filipino authorities as early as 2007, but it’s only now (after the lid of corruption was blown open) that they see the urgency of investigating. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has been criticized and threatened with dismissal for negligently sitting on the case.

The World Bank has already provided vital information to work on. Many wonder the aptness of the senate demanding more information from the foreign entity without the Philippines taking exhaustive effort to gather truth from its own backyard. As if to lamely cover up for glaring shortcomings and the embarrassments which go with incompetence and hypocrisy, Santiago’s blistering words have been set into play for the public to guess and digest. (Photo Credit: Neofinoy.info; ButchokoyD; Arenamontanus) =0=

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“Mental stress” as a cause of non-appearance in court

February 12, 2009

It’s the medical judgment of Dr. Antonio Sibulo that Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo is unfit to appear in the inquiry regarding the collusion of government officials in rigging the contracts of World Bank-funded projects. It’s hard to know where the truth lies in Dr. Sibulo’s decision.

“Mental stress” can adversely affect the course of an illness, but it’s difficult to ascertain how it influences Mr. Arroyo. After undergoing aortic aneurysm operation in April 2007, he seems in no immediate danger if he testifies in the senate. With nothing said in the contrary, in all likelihood his surgery has healed.

Many assume Arroyo keeps proper medications which make him function proximate to a normal human being. His health hasn’t been an issue until lately when he is summoned to shed light to his alleged involvement in the WB anomaly.

Mr. Arroyo’s local and international travels are just as “stressful” as playing golf or watching Manny Pacquaio fight in a boxing match in Las Vegas. As far as the public knows, the doctors haven’t advised the controversial palace gentleman against such ”stressful” situations.

How can clarifying a scandal in public be so taxing if the man is innocent and has nothing to do with the case? Dr. Sibulo has this worry: “the mere sight by a patient of an ‘unlikeable’ person can increase stress. ‘What worries me as I see it in TV, temper and emotions run high and it takes a long time for such a hearing.’ ”—-GMATV.news (02/12/09, Dedace, S)

There is a pattern that Filipinos see when suspected felons are called upon to testify on public crimes. This is particularly true with cases of national importance which have made the people cynical and incredulous.

The public has seen it in Jocelyn Bolante, a US deportee, who spent weeks in St. Lukes Hospital for “urgent” medical tests which delayed his testimony on the multimillion peso fertilizer scam that rocked the country. As observers rightfully believed, the hullabaloo in Bolante’s medical tests came out negative. Why can’t the senate keep a clinic, a team of doctors, and an ambulance to take care of medical emergencies if they happen?

Yolanda Ricafort, the infamous bagwoman of Pres. Joseph Estrada appeared in an inquiry on a wheelchair with a nurse ostensibly waiving a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer to guard her patient’s hypertension. After her dubious testimony, Ricafort escaped to the United States to avoid further questions regarding Estrada’s misuse and plunder of government money. How can Filipinos counter the rampant use of health problems as cover to impede the conduct of investigations?

The exploitation of health issues as props in criminal investigations was also evident in Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia who chose to stay in UST Hospital for extended in house treatment. At the end of the round-about investigation, Garcia was found guilty and later court-martialed for theft and money laundering of funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which brought disgrace to the whole nation.

With the glaring examples above, how can the public readily believe Dr. Sibulo? If mental stress will be used as basis for non-appearance in an all investigations, it is likely all attempts to find truth won’t prosper because everyone’s health is at risk—all because of “mental stress.”

Mr. Arroyo has a long list of corruption charges—all of which remain unproven because of many reasons: lack of witnesses, judicial sluggishness, “insurmountable” medical conditions among others. It’s time that Arroyo comes out clean and show his courage to rescue the entire nation from international embarrassment of corruption. There must be a way, with Dr. Sibulo’s help, to make him testify so that he’ll not be perceived as guilty or be accused of malingering and cowardice. (Photo Credit: ButchokoyD) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Corruption and apathy: where will these lead us?” Posted by mesiamd at 2/10/2009; “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “Hospital: a vacation house or a sanctuary for malingerers?” Posted by mesiamd at 10/29/2008.

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“Mental stress” as a cause of non-appearance in court

February 12, 2009

It’s the medical judgment of Dr. Antonio Sibulo that Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo is unfit to appear in the inquiry regarding the collusion of government officials in rigging the contracts of World Bank-funded projects. It’s hard to know where the truth lies in Dr. Sibulo’s decision.

“Mental stress” can adversely affect the course of an illness, but it’s difficult to ascertain how it influences Mr. Arroyo. After undergoing aortic aneurysm operation in April 2007, he seems in no immediate danger if he testifies in the senate. With nothing said in the contrary, in all likelihood his surgery has healed.

Many assume Arroyo keeps proper medications which make him function proximate to a normal human being. His health hasn’t been an issue until lately when he is summoned to shed light to his alleged involvement in the WB anomaly.

Mr. Arroyo’s local and international travels are just as “stressful” as playing golf or watching Manny Pacquaio fight in a boxing match in Las Vegas. As far as the public knows, the doctors haven’t advised the controversial palace gentleman against such ”stressful” situations.

How can clarifying a scandal in public be so taxing if the man is innocent and has nothing to do with the case? Dr. Sibulo has this worry: “the mere sight by a patient of an ‘unlikeable’ person can increase stress. ‘What worries me as I see it in TV, temper and emotions run high and it takes a long time for such a hearing.’ ”—-GMATV.news (02/12/09, Dedace, S)

There is a pattern that Filipinos see when suspected felons are called upon to testify on public crimes. This is particularly true with cases of national importance which have made the people cynical and incredulous.

The public has seen it in Jocelyn Bolante, a US deportee, who spent weeks in St. Lukes Hospital for “urgent” medical tests which delayed his testimony on the multimillion peso fertilizer scam that rocked the country. As observers rightfully believed, the hullabaloo in Bolante’s medical tests came out negative. Why can’t the senate keep a clinic, a team of doctors, and an ambulance to take care of medical emergencies if they happen?

Yolanda Ricafort, the infamous bagwoman of Pres. Joseph Estrada appeared in an inquiry on a wheelchair with a nurse ostensibly waiving a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer to guard her patient’s hypertension. After her dubious testimony, Ricafort escaped to the United States to avoid further questions regarding Estrada’s misuse and plunder of government money. How can Filipinos counter the rampant use of health problems as cover to impede the conduct of investigations?

The exploitation of health issues as props in criminal investigations was also evident in Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia who chose to stay in UST Hospital for extended in house treatment. At the end of the round-about investigation, Garcia was found guilty and later court-martialed for theft and money laundering of funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which brought disgrace to the whole nation.

With the glaring examples above, how can the public readily believe Dr. Sibulo? If mental stress will be used as basis for non-appearance in an all investigations, it is likely all attempts to find truth won’t prosper because everyone’s health is at risk—all because of “mental stress.”

Mr. Arroyo has a long list of corruption charges—all of which remain unproven because of many reasons: lack of witnesses, judicial sluggishness, “insurmountable” medical conditions among others. It’s time that Arroyo comes out clean and show his courage to rescue the entire nation from international embarrassment of corruption. There must be a way, with Dr. Sibulo’s help, to make him testify so that he’ll not be perceived as guilty or be accused of malingering and cowardice. (Photo Credit: ButchokoyD) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Corruption and apathy: where will these lead us?” Posted by mesiamd at 2/10/2009; “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “Hospital: a vacation house or a sanctuary for malingerers?” Posted by mesiamd at 10/29/2008.

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Truth, not only travel briefing, is the answer versus money laundering

October 16, 2008

With the deterioration of the economy, we have learned to be frugal—- traveling abroad simply. The clothes we wear and the money we bring are scaled in terms of affordability and status. Yet there are Filipinos who insist to be flashy like the “ritzy” PNP officer who carried a “bayong” of cash to an Interpol conference in Russia.

Eliseo de la Paz, a former director and comptroller of the Philippine National Police (PNP,) traveled in style with a group of Filipino law enforcement officers in the 77th General Interpol Assemby in St. Petersburg, Russia. We didn’t know if he dressed appropriately, but he was caught bringing P6.9 million of “contingency” funds, a shameful violation of smuggling and the international money laundering law.

It was disgusting that the senior PNP law enforcer and his defenders take the incident lightly. PNP Chief Supt Nicanor Bartolome, perhaps in an attempt to dampen the corruption implications of de la Paz’ action, announced all police officers traveling abroad must undergo mandatory briefing. Did Bartolome mean de la Paz and his group didn’t have one? Wouldn’t it be routine to have pre-departure orientations for Filipinos representing the Philippines abroad?

If Bartolome’s travel orientation’s goal is to educate us about the money laundering law which allows less than $10,000 of undeclared cash during travel, his plan is practically useless. It is a duplication of what is routinely done in international airports, airplanes, and customs offices.

Everybody knows, before reaching the port of entry, flight attendants bring in forms to make sure passengers don’t commit the error of breaking the law. In the customs, passports and money declaration documents are rechecked. There is absolutely no chance that de la Paz wouldn’t know this simple travel procedure, especially if it regards to concealing huge sums of money.

De la Paz brought P6.9 million in cash way beyond what was legally allowed. A retiree from PNP service, he and his wife must not even be part of the Interpol meeting in the first place. But they were there for a reason the public must know, held by Russian authorities that their counterparts in Manila wanted to pass like a fart.

If Bartolome wants to conceal this ignominious incident under the rug as most military men do for their comrades, why doesn’t he dig into the truth about de la Paz’ P4.5 million. The PNP officer claims he brings “personal” money in a conference. What will he do with that mind-boggling sum and how did he acquire it?

Bartolome asks why the Russian authorities didn’t catch de la Paz early on. But aren’t foreign delegates of meetings accorded respect and nothing like this is imagined to happen in St. Petersburg?

There goes the rub. Another Filipino official has disgraced himself and put the name of the nation in the sewers. Alibis, cheating, and corruption have been so entrenched among our officials. Who then will believe us if we are like this? (Photo Credits: Christian Science Monitor/Bennett; Banyuhay)=0=

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Parallels in the US and Philippine Presidential Elections

“If some think we have reached the pits in our standard for electing national leaders, they better observe what is happening in the US elections. We may be “shallow” and immature as an electorate but the current US electoral pool won’t have the right to sneer at us come 2010 (if ever elections are held at all).”—MyTy (10/17/08) (Photo Credit: MarkBerry)

Bare Truth or Fairy Tale? (Is Little Red Riding Hood & The Wolf One And The Same?)

July 28, 2008

Because tough choices were made, the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared. Through foresight, grit and political will, we built a shield around our country that has slowed down and somewhat softened the worst effects of the global crisis.

We have the money to care for our people and pay for food when there are shortages; for fuel despite price spikes. Neither we nor anyone else in the world expected this day to come so soon but we prepared for it.”

State of the Nation Address (SONA,) Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo, 2nd Regular Session of the 14th Congress Republic of the Philippines
28 July 2008

When will the palace worry about the soaring prices?

June 7, 2008

It is the question that crossed my mind when I read Malaya’s banner news on June 6, 2008 saying Malacanang Palace isn’t worried about the soaring prices. True? I think it’s one of the misleading signals our government wants us to believe—that everything is under control and there is no cause for worry when dark clouds gather like the onset of a storm.

The government insists it has “strong macroeconomic fundamentals,” and thus expected to withstand the “external shock” of a financial downturn. They say the administration has responded well to food shortages by giving cash dole-outs to the poor in its new “Ahon Pamilyang Pilipino” program.

There is indeed free money to give away as an aid package (P6000 /year) for the impoverished Filipinos. With additional health allowance (P500 /year,) education grant (P300 per school child/year,) and fertilizer subsidy (P1500) to farmers, our country seems successful in allying the restiveness of the poor for now. But this move makes many people apprehensive. In the long haul, the public fears the government’s band-aid solution is something we cannot afford.

In many places nationwide, under the blistering heat of the sun, poor Filipinos line up everyday to buy their dwindling ration of rice. It’s a pathetic daily scene of time wastage which deepens despair. The strain it causes gives famine a greater chance of becoming real. It may take only a few months of food shortages before more malnutrition shows up in the 24 million people who live with less than 67 pesos per day.

In the fuel front meanwhile, gasoline in the pump recently gets another round of increase: a P1.50/liter adjustment to reflect the high cost of crude oil and basic commodities. The peso-dollar exchange (P44/dollar) is down. With no end in sight, skyrocketing costs jacked-up inflation rate to 9.6% in the past month, the highest in nine years.

Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo has signed Executive Order 728 on June 2 to give her emergency powers under the National Food and Emergency Council, most likely in preparation for any social turbulence that may result as prices soar. Instead of issuing the order, it should have been better if she leads aggressively to plant rice and veggies—-a full-scale campaign against the failed import policy which brought the nation scrambling for its food supply abroad.

At a plenary session of the High Level Conference of World Food Security held in Rome, Italy, Philippine Secretary of Agriculture Arthur Yap pleaded for an urgent measure “to reverse the double-whammy of shrinking farm production and spiraling prices of basic staples worldwide.” Yap said vulnerable countries in the world aren’t interested with words. They want action.

How then can Malacanang say there’s no cause to worry?

Inquirer’s opinion writer Isagani Cruz wrote a few weeks ago that the lack of government sincerity and honesty sends more alarm than the problem of food scarcity. He opined our present crisis could be exploited to suppress the public’s attention to the corruption scandals which remained tucked under the rug with Pres. Arroyo watching. It seemed the sincerity and honesty that he referred to was what Gregorio Bituin, Jr. wanted to convey in his eloquent Tagalog sonnet about truth and lies:

SONETO SA KATOTOHANAN

Payag ka bang pawang kasinungalingan
Ang mangaglipana sa ating lipunan?
Hindi ba’t maigi ay katotohanan
Itong pairalin sa kapaligiran?

Kasinungalinga’y siyang pumapatay
Sa katotohanang hangarin ay lantay
Pag baya’y nilugmok, sakbibi ng lumbay,
Pa’no pa gaganda itong iwing buhay?

Kasinungalinga’y simpait ng apdo
Kita nang hanapin ang bawat totoo
Harapin ma’y pawang mga sakripisyo
Kahit man banggain ay pader na bato.

Kapag totoo na’y ating nasumpungan
Pukyutang kaytamis ang malalasahan.=0=