Thursday, September 25, 2003

Blame it ALL on the opposition

When Ping Lacson was PNP chief, he eradicated nearly all of the kidnappings, bank robberies, and "kotong" under his watch.

He got the job done and he NEVER made excuses or blamed somebody else for any problems that arose from his time as police chief.

Get the job done. No excuses. No shifting of blame.

But now, the current administration and the PNP are doing the exact opposite things.

Yes, there's an upsurge of kidnappings, bank robberies and other violent crimes. But instead of doing something about it, Mrs. Arroyo and her allies conveniently blame all their troubles on the opposition instead.

The difference between Lacson and Arroyo is that the former doesn't bitch about his problems but tries to fix it. Mrs. Arroyo OTOH, loves to scapegoat and avoid taking responsibilities for the peace and order situation.

What a miserable failure, this Mrs. Arroyo is.

Ernesto Maceda on this "blame opposition" tactic by the admin:

CITIZENS Action Against Crime reports that 10 cases of kidnapping occurred in August, double that of previous months. And to belie the PNP and AFP's claim that the bank robbers including those responsible for the Citibank heist were arrested in a Taguig raid, another bank holdup occurred the next day at a Union Bank branch in Parañaque, the 27th so far for the year.

Businessmen and civic leaders have expressed alarm. In the meantime, the CIDG and PACER are preoccupied with developing cases against opposition leaders. And now charges of ghost personnel drawing salaries and allowances in the PNP have come up once more. Bus holdups right on Edsa are still unsolved, raising continuing fears on the part of the poor commuting public.

And then you hear that a lowly fish vendor who runs to three rookie policemen is beaten up instead of assisted, then hauled to the police station where he is promptly divested of his day's earnings totaling P26,000 by no less than the station commander.

Is it any wonder that the latest Pulse Asia survey shows a big drop in President Gloria M. Arroyo's approval ratings? Malacañang reaction: Blame Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Well Senator, style nila talagang bulok eh.


Nani Perez finds an ally in Biazon? That's what this article seems to be saying, when Biazon tried to stop Sen. Osmena from probing the Nani Perez IMPSA scandal.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

GMA7's Censors Probe Team's controversial report

Here's an article from Bulatlat on the muzzling of Probe Team's report on Ephraim Genuino. The author writes:

I watched the controversial Probe Team report on the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chair Efraim Genuino when it was shown at the University of the Philippines’ College of Mass Communication in Diliman, Quezon City last Sept. 17 and tried to look for reasons why it should not be shown. I couldn’t find any.

Of course you won't find any. This is nothing but plain censorship on the part of GMA network. But what I found really interesting were the comments made by Che-Che Lazaro after they finished showing the PAGCOR report to the UP audience:

Most disturbing however was Probe Team’s executive producer Che-Che Lazaro’s statement after the showing in UP. She said it was the first time in Probe’s 15 years with GMA7 that management asked for a copy of their script on the Genuino episode. That, she also said, while there have been instances in the past when the station made suggestions on their report, it was the first time management pulled out an entire show and replaced it with a two-year old episode – just a few minutes before airtime.

Lazaro also revealed that Genuino has now agreed to an interview – but on three conditions: no camera, an advanced copy of questions to be asked, and a copy of Probe’s script.

If I were Ms. Lazaro, I'd tell Mr. Genuino to go fuck himself na lang.

Watching the Probe report in the jampacked UP-CMC room brought back memories of martial law when secret screenings of films barred from the tills by Marcos were held. Although the situation now is less dramatic, the same principles and freedoms are at stake.

It was not a fiery Behn Cervantes or Lino Brocka (both activist movie directors) however that faced the crowd in UP but gentle and cautious Probe producer and staff. Lazaro, Sembrano and Booma Cruz, Probe’s producer, were all careful not to directly link Malacañang to the censorship case.

Meanwhile, GMA7 may have dispelled somewhat the angry reaction with its swift response to the issue via a press release shifting the blame to the Probe Team, questions about its independence have inevitably risen.

Martial law déjà vu? And the nerve of GMA7 to blame the Probe Team for the mess they themselves have created for themselves by practicing "self-censorship" to please the president's cronies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

SC will come out with Kuratong Baleleng decision today

According to the Tribune, the Supreme Court (SC) is scheduled to issue today a final decision to formally reopen the case, which was earlier dismissed by a Quezon City court for lack of evidence.

It is surprising (and very suspicious) that a once unanimous 13-0 SC ruling in favor of Lacson was overturned into a 10-4-1 vote for the revival of Kuratong Baleleng case and for the re-filing of charges against the senator and 37 others, even though no new evidence was presented by the government on it's motion of reconsideration before the SC.

(And they made their decision on Apr 2, 2003, a day after Lacson announced his intention to run for president in 2004.)

Lacson said it was "surprising" that Davide, Associate Justices Josue Bellosillo, Vicente Mendoza, Artemio Panganiban and Leonardo Quisumbing changed their positions even though the prosecution did not present new arguments to support their motion for reconsideration of the unanimous (13-0) SC ruling on May 28, 2002, remanding the case to the Quezon City Judge Ma. Theresa Yadao to determine if the requirements for provisionally dismissing (later made permanent when the prosecution failed after two years to present new evidence) the case had been met. Instead, the majority took it upon themselves to declare that a new rule did not apply retroactively to the case.

The SC used legal technicalities to justify it's unfair ruling, saying that:

1) there was no proper dismissal of the case by the regional trial court.
2) that the two-year period after preliminary dismissal within which the government must file a new case on finding of new evidence, as set forth in the new rules of procedures, has no retroactive application.

Those justices who dissented also issued their own opinions on the Kuratong revival. Their views on the SC reversal? Same as the majority of fair-minded Filipinos familiar with the case... it's all politics and a "clear example of persecution" against Lacson.

Here's one reason why the highly politicized SC decided to revive Kuratong.

In the early part of last year, the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision referred the so-called "Kuratong Baleleng" case against Senator Panfilo Lacson, et al., to Judge Yadao of the Quezon City RTC for further proceedings. Then DOJ Secretary Hernando Perez considered the decision a victory for the administration but at the same time asked for Judge Yadao's inhibition to hear the case. Still, Secretary Perez moved for the reconsideration of the court's ruling, to everybody's disbelief. Why would one in his sane mind question a ruling in his favor? Obviously, Malacañang would have wanted the Supreme Court, to rule that Section 8, a new provision under Rule 117 of the Rules of the Court, does not prohibit the government from filing a new information against Senator Lacson for murder, notwithstanding that the section explicitly prohibits the revival of the same charge after the lapse of two (2) years after its dismissal.

Not a few suspect that the unstated reason for the motion for reconsideration is to incarcerate Senator Lacson for a crime which is unbailable, thus, effectively removing him from the political scene in the 2004 presidential elections. And to make sure that no bail will be granted to Senator Lacson, the DOJ would disqualify Judge Yadao who has the reputation for her fairness and honesty.

If, as reported in a news item of TODAY the other day, the Supreme Court has voted 10-4-1 to reverse its earlier decision which was unanimously reached without a single dissent, then the turn-around will surely raise eyebrows on the capacity of the Supreme Court justices to act with independence and evenhandedness, considering the political implications of the ruling.

Inquirer columnist and all-around creep Mon Tulfo commented that Lacson will be immediately arrested and be put in jail (while the case is being heard in court) once the SC releases it's decision.

Of course, the recent changes in the composition of the Supreme Court may be partly responsible for the SC reversal.

All Arroyo appointees, except for Associate Justice Antonio "the Firm" Carpio who inhibited himself, voted for the revival of the Kuratong Baleleng case.

The 5 who voted in favor of reopening Kuratong are Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez, Renato Corona, Conchita Morales, Romeo Callejo Sr. and Adolfo Azcuna.

UPDATE: Now the gov't claims it has "stronger" evidence against Lacson. When will this charade ever end?

More on Blanquita Pelaez

UPDATE: Go to this link for the latest on Blanquita Pelaez (08/29/05)

Malacanang's "attack dog" exposed once again. From Malaya:

Does the PNP know that a former Camp Crame supplier who has been tapped by Jose Miguel Arroyo's camp to accuse Sen. Panfilo Lacson of having foreign bank accounts is a convicted swindler?

Lito Banayo, Lacson's political adviser and spokesman, raised this question yesterday as he disclosed that Fil-Am businesswoman Blanquita Pelaez has a pending warrant of arrest and has been meted a jail penalty of six months to four years for frustrated estafa.

Banayo said it is surprising that the PNP has not arrested Pelaez despite the findings of the Makati regional trial court Branch 58 that she had duped a military supplies dealer in 1997.

Banayo said Pelaez even managed to recently hold a press conference arranged by the media handlers of Mr. Arroyo.

Banayo added that Pelaez walks in and out of Camp Crame complete with escorts.

Pelaez has sued Lacson in the United States for allegedly denying final payment for a supply of handcuffs when he was PNP chief.

Lacson said the payment he cancelled was to cover import duties on the handcuffs shipment which were for the account of Pelaez under her contract with the PNP.

"Mrs. Pelaez is obviously a crucial asset of Malacañang in this continuing effort to demolish Sen. Lacson and discredit his Jose Pidal expose," Banayo said.

In a five-page decision dated March 14,2003 issued by Makati Judge Winlove Dumayas, Pelaez was also ordered to pay the complainant, Erlinda Sanceda, P540,000 in damages.

Sanceda, a dealer for supplies for the Navy, said that sometime in March and April 1997 she gave Pelaez P540,000 for the purchase of night vision goggles.

"(The) accused falsely pretending that she has the ability and ways to procure night vision devices for the Navy at a lower price and by means of other deceits of similar import, induced and succeeded in inducing the complainant to give and deliver and the accused actually received the amount of P540,000 knowing fully well that her representations were false and fraudulent," Sanceda said in her complaint.

I will repeat the Banayo's question... why haven't the PNP arrested this convicted swindler?

Plus: Ninez Cacho-Olivares has an excellent article on how Malacanang has interfered in the Pidal Investigations from Day One up to now.

And the Tribune has a special 2-part report on the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation (EMYF) and GMA's Lualhati Foundation located here (Part I) and here (Part II). A must read for those who are following the Erap and GMA scandals.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Attack Dog

Supalpal na naman si Blanquita Pelaez!

And what about "Lacson's mansions"? Diba may picture pa si Blanquita nun?

Old recycled news.

Newsbreak should be called Newsbroke because it is totally bankrupt as far as honest-to-goodness, fair and balanced journalism is concerned. Take another instance. Some months back Newsbroke depicted and published a photo of an Ayala-Alabang mansion which it alleged was owned by Sen. Panfilo Lacson. It turned out to be a house owned by a Lacson from Bacolod, not Ping, and Newsbroke editor Marites Danguilan Vitug had to admit the koryente (deliberate misinformation) on her magazine. Was it koryente, or a deliberate mistake to score anti-Lacson propaganda points?

Three days ago another publication made a similarly embarrassing error on the Lacson "mansion." The June 28 Philippine Star came out with a front-page picture of what it said is a 10-room "pink mansion" owned by Lacson, at address 233 San Jose, Ayala Alabang. The Star's yellow and blue masthead should have turned red with shame after alert reviewers checked out the "pink mansion" because it turned out to be owned by Pops Fernandez. The Star found out its "mistake" and apologized the next day, but its stories on the issue continue to be skewed against Lacson.

Buti pa yung Phil. Star, marunong mag-sorry, hindi katulad nung PDI.


First, justice secretary Simeon Datumanong finally admitted that the DOJ has no evidence linking Sen. Loi Estrada and her two children, Jackie Ejercito and Jude Ejercito to the failed mutiny last July 27.

Then on DZBB, Ignacio Bunye seconded Datumanong's statement and called for the PNP to stop this silly investigation and apologize to the former first family.

But now, Sec. Datumanong is reversing himself and is now denying having made his earlier statements.

He claims that he was just answering a "hypothetical question", and that it was too early to say that there's not enough evidence vs. the Estradas.

OTOH, the PNP insists that apologies are not yet warranted at this point because their investigation on the Estrada family is "ongoing".

Interesting. If Sec. Datumanong is saying that it's too early to exonerate the Estradas and the PNP insists that it's investigation against them is still continuing, then why did the police make premature accusations against the estradas, linking them to the Magdalo group, if there was not enough evidence (or if the evidence is flimsy) to begin with?

Should they not first gather enough credible evidence on the Estradas before they make accusations of coup-plotting against them?

But you and I know that this is nothing but pure politics on the part of this adminstration to link the opposition to everything bad that's going on right now in this country... from coups to bank robberies, kidnappings and drug-trafficking.

This illegitimate administration needs an excuse or somebody to blame for their inadequacies.

All in the Family

Not only is CJ Hilario Davide in hot water for alleged misuse of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), money which he used to built luxurious vacation homes, buy luxury cars, and overpriced chairs, but there are now reports that Davide's daughter may be involved in the bidding of these overpriced supplies for the high court.

Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. may find himself in deeper trouble as documents reportedly have been unearthed which point to the alleged involvement of his daughter in the bidding of supplies for the high court.

A son, Brian, also serves as Davide's chief of staff.

A congressional source told the Tribune yesterday that these documents are scheduled for official transmission to the House, adding these documents showing the irregularities attending high court biddings were earlier submitted to US Ambassador to Manila Francis Ricciardone.

“These (documents) were apparently the basis of the US ambassador's speech months ago, when he assailed the corruption in the judiciary,” the source said, on condition of anonymity.

She added that having seen the documents, it was clear that irregularities are present in the bidding system.

“It also does not speak well of the chief justice to have a family member involved in these biddings for supplies.”

The article also offers background info on the Davide-JDF scandal, so try to read it all.

Ping Lacson is Back in the Philippines

Yup. Sen. Lacson is back… and the Arroyo Brothers should be worried. According to the anti-Lacson Phil. Daily Inquirer -- the senator "sneaked" back into the Philippines via Cebu raw.

Yeah right. "Sneaky"... SNEAKY like a FOX! ;)

But here's Max Soliven, who has a different take on Lacson's arrival, and why it was a good idea to skip NAIA:

Sneaky? Or would you call it clever? Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, probably expecting a more than warm reception at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), returned from weeks in the United States last Friday in an unexpected manner.

Lacson flew from Hong Kong direct to Cebu's Mactan International Airport aboard a Cebu Pacific Airways flight. Then he took a private plane from Cebu to Manila - already logged in as a local flight.

Cebu, of course, is a safe haven for the former Philippine National Police Director General. Ping has legions of fans in Cebu - he is an idol "adopted son" down south in that Visayan queen city. As police Metrodiscom commander in Cebu, he made that metropolis and its surroundings a 100 percent "kidnap free" zone by a spectacular feat. When a boy, the scion of a very prominent family, was abducted, Lacson and his cops quickly tracked the gang down to the Bluewater beach resort and went in guns blazing, rescuing the kid unharmed and wiping out the kidnappers. Thus, the "kill the kidnapper" legend of Lacson was born - and for years Cebu was immune to the escalating national pandemic of kidnap-for-ransom.

Lacson had in tow two American agents, who were described as belonging to "Interpol". Sources from inside his camp alleged that he had brought back "original documents", not copies of documents, implicating you-know-who, and the American agents were ready to authenticate their being genuine. Why "Interpol" agents would do this, especially since the Ruling Family could be irritated can only be left to speculation. The best way is to await the "bombshell" Lacson is supposedly planning to explode in the Senate tomorrow or a day or two later. Will he get that opportunity? Will the "bomb" really splatter a few guts all over the sidewalk, or will it prove to be a dud? Abangan.

In truth, Lacson is racing against the clock, and against the calendar. As was reported a few days ago in this corner, a "warrant of arrest" for Lacson has already been drawn up - but still undated - in connection with the old Kuratong Baleleng "wipe-out" case which was resurrected by the Supreme Court. Will Ping be blocked on his way to the Senate - or can he deliver his promised "blockbuster"?

If he manages to do so, it's a safe bet he will immediately disappear. In what direction? Possibly, they'll soon be hunting him with enthusiasm possibly in the same manner they're always claiming they are closing in on al-Ghozi.

With the way Malacanang is behaving lately, who knows? Lacson certainly doesn't want to end up like Ninoy Aquino on the NAIA tarmac, if you know what I mean.

"Never Again!"

"Never again" raw, says Rina Jimenez David.

Pero hindi eh... nauuso na naman ang mga "martial law" tactics ni Marcos sa bansa natin... like GMA's "State of Rebellion" declaration that allows the gov't to arrest dissidents any arrest warrants... like the crackdown on the opposition media e.g. Ninez's arrest and the takeover of opposition paper Manila Times by former GMA publicist Dante Ang... and other efforts to muzzle the media e.g. reporter Tina Panganiban Perez's being accused of "abetting rebellion" by GMA herself and Malacanang's effort to stop the airing of Probe Team's report on PAGCOR.

And now, the DOJ is going after "spoofers" responsible for lampooning Mrs. Arroyo. Aba, pati free speech natin mukhang unti-unting nawawala na rin.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Good Point!

Staff Chatter makes a good point on the Marcos millions case:

In textbook “civil society” reaction, the Palace and the government lawyers including the jokers in Padre Faura said the US court, through Hawaii District Court Judge Manuel Real, could not impose a judgment against the Philippine government in connection with the Marcos wealth.

A very Recto-sian and constitutional knee jerk reaction at first glance.

Only what the Filipino people should forget on cue here is that it had been the Philippine government through high-priced lawyers which had been actively pursuing the Marcos case before the US courts and cannot by any sense of fair play now claim the court cannot issue a judgment against a party before it.

Oo nga naman.

Pahabol: Is this part of a grand strategy by Malacanang to win the 2004 elections by eliminating Erap's masa voters?

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

NYT on Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

The editorial today on the NYT:

Repeated coup rumors and allegations of corruption in high places are destabilizing the Philippine government at a time when it needs more than ever to focus on repairing the battered economy and fighting poverty. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo must remove the ambiguity over whether she will run next May so she, and the country, can concentrate on the tasks that lie ahead. If Mrs. Arroyo chooses not to run, as she has previously vowed, she should declare this once and for all, rise above the fray and set about fulfilling some of her promises to reform the economy and the military. If she has changed her mind — and there is no shame in doing so — she should explain why and spell out what she would do with a new mandate.

The NYT is correct. She should declare as soon as possible so that all this uncertainty and unnecessary worry will be laid to rest. It's your call, Mrs. Arroyo.

Mrs. Arroyo is especially vulnerable because of the constitutionally shaky way in which she became president after Joseph Estrada was ousted in January 2001. When she declared last December that she would not run in 2004, it was taken as a positive sign that she would free herself from political considerations and grapple instead with the country's urgent problems. But since then she has been behaving very much like a candidate. She should come clean about her intentions, and so should her opponents. Manila's political class bears a collective responsibility to confine its squabbling to the ballot box, and to start providing Filipinos with solutions rather than plots and rumors.

Of all the potential presidential candidates, Sen. Panfilo Lacson is the only one who has declared his intention to run in 2004 so far. Everybody else is dilly-dallying and unwilling to make a commitment.

And it doesn't help that Mrs. Arroyo, her allies and some in the police were the ones spreading the rumors about the opposition being involved in bank robberies, kidnapping and coup-plotting.

GMA: Politicians behind some bank robberies

Politicians could have been behind some of the latest bank robberies in the country, President Arroyo said Monday.

"Regarding these bank hold-ups, we must now train our sights on the linkages of the underworld and those holding political power," she said without naming names or citing particular cases.

Flashback: Mrs. Arroyo's speech saying she won't run again

Key excerpts on GMA's speech:

However, we also know that we will soon enter the political period leading up to the elections in 2004. My reading on the political winds tells me that the 2004 election may well go down in history as among our most bitterly contested elections ever. This is because of the deep social and political division that we now have.

If this is true, then sincere efforts to launch programs will run the risk of being derailed by political fighting leading up to the elections.

The government in place after 2004 may merely end up inheriting a country as deeply divided as ever. Consequently, we may end up stalling national growth for a few years more as a result of lost momentum.

In view of all these factors, I have decided not to run for President during the election of 2004.

If I were to run, it will require a major political effort on my part. But since I'm among the principal figures in the divisive national events for the last two or three years, my political efforts can only result in never-ending divisiveness.

So, so, true... even more so today.

The hardest working journalist in the business.

When was the last time she ever took a vacation? Araw-araw palagi siyang may column.

Bow ako kay Ninez. She's one tough lady.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Manila Times: Bush Targetted for Assasination in the Philippines

Is there any truth to this?

THE communist New People’s Army has deployed at least 50 of its “elite, highly trained” troops in Metro Manila to carry out an assassination assignment on US President George W. Bush, who is scheduled to visit the country on October 18, military sources said.

Requesting anonymity, the source said the deployment began as early as August “to establish an intelligence network” that would relay information and details to the NPA chain of command about Bush’s eight-hour visit.

“Their first assignment is to link up with front organizations [of the NPA] and, from there, share intelligence information so that an effective assassination plan would be established,” the source said, declining to identify the front organizations.

The guerrillas tasked to carry out the assassination, the source said, are all marksmen who have undergone extensive training in Southern Luzon for that purpose.

Individuals supportive of the NPA cause in Metro Manila will provide refuge to the assassins during their stay before October 18, the source added without elaborating.

My impression is that the Secret Service and Condoleezza Rice would rather see Pres. Bush bypass the Philippines in his itinerary because of the "risks involved" in visiting the Philippines (JI and Al Queda terrorism, assasination), but the US president wants to do Mrs. Arroyo a favor for supporting the America's "War on Terror".

It will be a short, short Phiilppine visit for the US president though... only 8 hours. Understandable, since the Secret Service would want to move Bush out of the country as soon as possible.

So Mrs. Arroyo has only 8 hours to make the most out of Bush's visit and get that "endorsement" from him in preparation for her 2004 presidential run.

Should lacson go to court and throw away the "skirt of Parliamentary Immunity"?

Should lacson go to court and throw away the "skirt of Parliamentary Immunity"?

Neal Cruz makes strong points in his latest column on the Pidal case:

Even some senators don't understand the purpose of the hearings. Senator Francis Pangilinan said Senator Panfilo Lacson must first present his evidence. To repeat, this is not a trial by a court of law that is governed by the Rules of Court, where the prosecution must present its evidence, followed by the defense. It is a summary hearing, and its principal purpose is to gather information. Its main mission is not to declare the Arroyo brothers guilty or not. If the Senate finds prima facie evidence against them, it will endorse its findings to the Department of Justice or the Ombudsman for further investigation and, if warranted, for the filing of charges in court. Thus, the wish of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo to be "charged in court" will be fulfilled.

Mike Arroyo wants to be "charged in court" because he believes Lacson's evidence is "inadmissible" in the courtroom and will be thrown out.

He was even taunting Sen. Lacson for hiding behind the "skirt of parliamentary immunity" by giving privilege speeches in the senate instead of duking it out in court.

But if Lacson is supposedly immune from libel, then how do you explain these libel charges filed by Mike Arroyo in court vs. Lacson after the senator gave an interview to the media? And if I recall correctly, media interviews made by Sen. Lacson are not protected by "parliamentary immunity". And I know Lacson gave numerous interviews on the Pidal case to the media.

So what is this nonsense about Mike Arroyo not being able to file charges against lacson?

It only makes people think that this false challenge to lacson to go to court is nothing but BS and a smokescreen.

Monday, September 15, 2003

End hearings so Senate can focus on other "important matters"

Bel Olivares Cunanan suggested in her column that the Senate should suspend or end the Pidal hearings because this Ping Lacson expose is nothing but politicking and grandstanding on the part of the opposition:

The question is, where do the hearings go from here? Obviously the intention of the opposition is political: it wants the hearings to continue in order to fry Mike and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and introducing "remedial legislation" is secondary. The opposition is also trying to buy time for Lacson as he fishes for more evidence.

Yeah. This Pidal hearing is nothing but "POLITICS, POLITICS, POLITICS". Instead of more Pidal hearings, Ms. Cunanan wants the Senate to focus more on other "important matters of national interest" like this one and not be distracted anymore by this Pidal matter.

Yeah. Let's end the Pidal hearings now so we can spend more time focusing on Lacson's "involvement" with narco-politics, kidnapping, money-laundering... etc.