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Tribune Editorial

Yellow zarzuela reloaded

Wednesday, 22 February 2017 00:00 Published in Editorial

The attacks on Rody were put on high gear, expectedly, with the yellow mob feeling the urgency to crank up its campaign as one of its icon, Sen. Leila de Lima faces accountability for her involvement in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) drugs trade.
Rody’s opponents are now bringing out its aces that  however, merely used recycled stories on the allegations of summary killings.
A human rights lawyer group identified with the yellow Liberal Party brought out another character in the extrajudicial killings script, SPO3 Arthur Lascañas, to make a supposed self-confession expectedly again implicating Rody to past allegations on him of executions and other atrocities in Davao City when Rody was its mayor.
The allegations were all old beef and were mostly settled by past investigations including those conducted by de Lima herself as head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
It even turned out that one of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) member who accompanied Lascañas in the press briefing right at the Senate was one of de Lima’s counsel in the drugs trafficking cases against her.
Among those that the former Davao City cop claimed was that the celebrated killing of journalist Jun Pala on September 26, 2003 was his handiwork.
Investigations were made by the CHR on similar allegations linking Rody to Pala’s death but the agency’s findings did not result in any convictions.
Pala was a commentator of dxGO Aksyon Radyo in Davao City.
He was attacked by unknown gunmen on board a motorcycle.
In a 2005 article Newsbreak came out with “The Jun Pala dilemma” which stated that “Questions were raised about whether he died in the line of duty because he was also involved in other activities not related to journalism.”
It added that in the foreword to the book Staying Alive, the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) said “Pala used his radio program as part of the military’s anti-communist campaign and also to advance his political ambitions.”
“On one hand, the killings of journalists were not only cold-blooded murders; they were also clear violations of the right to free speech. On the other hand, some of those killed, like Pala, often abused this right, using it for personal gain,” the FFFJ said.
The issues Lascañas raised were also the same previous accusations intended to pin down Rody to EJK in the war on drugs that was engineered by the same pair of de Lima and Antonio Trillanes through Edgar Matobato, a self-styled assassin who claimed to be a former member of the mythical Davao Death Squad which he alleged was a creation of Rody.
All of Matobato’s claims against Rody turned out to be questionable and were suspected largely as part of a yellow script and as part of the oust-Duterte campaign.
Lascañas was part of Matobato’s testimony during a Senate probe that Trillanes wanted revived to accommodate the rehashed stories of Matobato’s mentioned character.
During the Senate hearings, Philippine National Police  officials said there was no such police in the PNP roster. Suddenly, a person sprouts claiming he is the one being referred to apparently in an effort to back up the earlier allegations of Matobato.
The Lascañas whom Matobato referred to was the most powerful policeman in Davao City based on his claims.
The Lascañas who appeared before a Senate media briefing sponsored by Trillanes and de Lima’s lawyers claimed he was a mere pawn of then Mayor Duterte similar to Matobato.
The plot of the Lascañas sequel was as incredible as the Matobato first installment of the Yellow zarzuela.

Senator ‘Retainer’

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 00:00 Published in Editorial

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is firing wildly at Rody and most of his dares and accusations are coming back at him and his principals.
Rody accepted his dare to make public his bank documents and ordered the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to look into the accounts Trillanes had mentioned.
Trillanes, however, said it was not enough and wants Rody to issue with his banks a waiver on the bank secrecy law.
Trillanes is pushing his luck too far since neither he nor his principal retainer Noynoy nor members of the Liberal Party had executed such a document when the public demanded it.
Trillanes is trying to shift the burden of proving his charges of fat bank accounts on then candidate Rody, believing that the revival of the claims is more believable now that he is president.
The accusations were recycled by Trillanes as his main ammunition against Rody during the May 2016 campaigns.
Senator “Retainer”--as Rody had tagged him, then was more known as the Senator “1 percent” based on his public support in his utter failure of a vice presidential run.
It seems Senator “Retainer” does not trust the AMLC any more after the resignation of its yellow head Julia Abad-Bacay, whom the Department of Justice (DoJ) and even Rody had indirectly insinuated to have posed obstruction to investigation on the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) drugs trade scandal after the AMLC under her watch dragged its foot on releasing documents on persons of interest including Sen. Leila de Lima.
In comparison, the AMLC a week after Abad-Bacay left, provided the DoJ all the documents needed.
Senator “Retainer” used to get “leaked” documents from the AMLC on yellow targets such as former Vice President Jojo Binay in the more than one-year Senate inquisition the senator led in the effort to bring down Binay’s presidential survey numbers.
Rody who proved to have a stable of reliable sleuths in collecting the thick list of government officials and personnel down to the barangay level involved in the drugs trade appeared to have amassed information on Trillanes.
Trillanes does not dabble in drugs but in the more lucrative business of prostituting his post to collect retainers from certain individuals, according to Rody who had given him that tag.
Retainer means a regular payment to “retain” the services of a certain operator, which in Trillanes case was his being a senator with the power of conducting inquiries or exposés on whoever he wishes to put on the spot.
Rody said that Mr. “Retainer” is stepping up his services since he knows he is near the end of his political career.
“It is known in the Senate that Trillanes uses his office to ask for retainers and this has become a lucrative business for him,” Rody said.
The first time that Mr. “Retainer” was exposed was through his own mouth when he admitted conducting back-channel efforts with China over the then worsening South China Sea conflict situation.
In a confrontation with then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile sometime in September 2012, Trillanes was found to have been providing his services to Noynoy without the Senate’s knowledge.
Trillanes told media prior to the confrontation that then Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario was sabotaging his “back-channeling” efforts with China.
Taking the floor, Enrile then revealed the so-called Brady notes that was taken when Trillanes met with then Philippine Ambassador to China Sonia Brady in Beijing sometime in August, 2012 where he supposedly criticized del Rosario.
Trillanes walked out of the confrontation with Enrile who exposed his incompetence as Noynoy’s agent.
“He can’t take the heat. He’s a coward,” Enrile said on Trillanes as he was leaving the hall.
Rody has a somewhat similar view on his nemesis.


Consign it to karma

Monday, 20 February 2017 00:00 Published in Editorial

The arrest order on embattled Sen. Leila de Lima over the drug trafficking charges the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed against her is expected for release today depending on the raffling of the raffling of the case and the court findings on probable cause.
The DoJ charged Leila before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) last Friday for violation of Section 5 (sale and trading of illegal drugs) in relation to Section 3 (jj); Section 26 (b), and Section 28 (criminal liability of government officials and employees) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Karma has long been coming to Leila for leading the brand of vindictive and politically destructive justice during the administration of Noynoy.
Leila appears resigned to detention as the case filed against her for her involvement in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) drugs trade is not bailable.
The supporters of Leila are making a lot of noise in her defense, some totally outrageous such as Sen. Risa Hontiveros who attributed the filing of cases against her to “more than half a year campaign of sexism and misogyny.”
The yellow Liberal Party (LP) said the filing of criminal cases against Leila before the RTC was patently illegal since the Sandiganbayan should have jurisdiction over the case.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, nonetheless, said the cases involving the drugs offenses on Leila were filed with the court while those that relate to graft or misuse of public funds will go to the Ombudsman for filing with the Sandiganbayan.
Of course, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is a known yellow advocate, which makes it convenient for Leila and the LP for all the cases against her to pass through Morales.
The LP added that Leila was not able to file her counter-affidavit which it said makes the DoJ ruling on her case questionable since it did not “hear her side of the case.”
Leila never recognized whatever proceedings, whether in the House or the DoJ, on the allegations on her involvement in the NBP drugs trade. She also snubbed summons for her appearance or even submit the legal documents required of her.
Thus, she can’t blame anybody else but herself for not bothering with coming up with a defense against the allegations.
Instead of facing the various probes on her, Leila chose media hopping and joining protest actions against Rody to make her defense.
Last Saturday, she was with the so-called “Walk for Life” at the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Park that was led by the Catholic Church purportedly for Catholics to stand up against extrajudicial killings and the move in Congress to reinstitute the death penalty.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president Archbishop Soc Villegas said the gathering was merely the start of a “show of force.”
Leila is trying to link the DoJ filing of cases to her incessant criticisms on Rody, his war on drugs and the rising EJK cases.
She equated her defiance of the probe on her as a “war for human rights and democracy.”
A yellow coalition called “One for Leila” was even formed to resist what it claims as political persecution against the beleaguered senator.
Based on the DoJ findings and the proceedings in the House justice committee probe on the NBP drugs scandal, the case against her was plain and simple in that de Lima had met several times with the inmates who admitted to have trafficked narcotics from inside the supposed maximum security penitentiary on her orders.
Since she refused to recognize the proceedings in the House and DoJ on her alleged involvement in the drugs trade, it appears that the burden of proving otherwise becomes her responsibility particularly since she is a public official elected by the public at large.
The courts remain the last venue to hear her defense.
Morales who was complicit in administering selective justice in the previous administration would have a trust issue in handling Leila’s cases.


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