The biggest joke I heard this week was Malacañang saying that it will not get in the way of probes by either the Senate or the Office of the Ombudsman into corruption and other irregularities in government.
Said Lady Gaga: “It’s up to the new senators what they want to investigate, or what they will continue to investigate. What will be on their agenda will be decided by the returning senators as well as the new senators.”
She gave the assurance after acting Senate President Jinggoy Estrada, citing the Senate’s oversight functions, declared that senators would continue to hold inquiries in the incoming 16th Congress into alleged anomalies involving government officials.
Gee, that’s great to hear, but, and that’s a big but, as Malacañang, as well as the Senate and Ombudsman know, there won’t be that kind of investigations of the members of the Executive branch of government because the Malacañang tenant, as everybody should know by now, has control over the Legislative branch, and of course, the Office of the Ombudsman.
The new Senate will have senators allied with Noynoy, who will be in the majority and who are lackeys of Noynoy. So who will be doing the investigations? The Minority of course, but the ones who will be calling the shots in the Senate will be the allies of Noynoy, which means that even if a minority senator calls for a probe, the majority floor leader may not calendar these probes at all. This is what has been happening in the House of Representatives, and it is bound to happen in the new Senate.
In the first three years of the Noynoy presidency, there was not one Cabinet Secretary probed at all — not even Corazon “Dinky” Soliman on what the Commission on Audit (CoA) had already reported — something which should have gotten the attention of the senators.
But what happened? Instead of questioning her and her expenditures on the conditional-cash transfer (CCT) program, why, a higher budget for her, to the tune of P45 billion a year, was passed, without too many questions from the senators.
Recall, for instance, that the CCT program was utilized for election purposes. This was reported by The Tribune, with evidence of the documents published.
Nothing was said about it by the yellow media, of course, and there is still nothing that will be done about it in the Senate, especially since the incoming Senate president will be the biggest lackey of Noynoy, Sen. Franklin Drilon.
As for Noynoy and his presidential office, the CoA has not made public its report on the Office of the President from 2010 to today. CoA instead chose to focus its report on the perceived political foes of the administration, such as resigned Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and the other UNA officers and their pork barrel.
Heck, not even the Commission on Elections officials, as well as the Smartmatic executives with the faulty PCOS have been really probed.
As for the Obmbudsman going after Noynoy or his allies, well, as Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales once said about a Supreme Court case: That’s the biggest joke.
Well, that really is a big joke to even think that Carpio-Morales would go after the allies of Noynoy as it is clear that none of the Noynoy boys, despite complaints lodged against them, is being charged, as they are being protected by her.
Instead, she has been running after Noynoy’s prime foes, going to the extent of elevating cases to the Sandiganbayan even when no probable cause exists and even when there is no proof at all against these Noynoy foes of the crime they are being alleged of having committed.
Yet Lady Gaga says that the Palace will not interfere in such probes.
That is a big joke, but the people aren’t laughing.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) keeps on claiming that its commanders on the ground are impatient and cannot “wait forever” for an agreement as delays have marked the talk on the annexes that would be tackling the power and wealth sharing agreement.
It has also accused the government peace panel of deliberately delaying the negotiations on the formation of the Bangsamoro substate through the postponement of talks and agreements on annexes.
So what are the MILF chieftains really trying to say? That they can no longer control their ground commanders into “waiting forever” and would instead go into a war mode against government?
If such were the MILF’s intent, and if frustration has seeped in, then why don’t the rebel leaders just do it? Drop the peace talks and be done with it?
The way it looks, all MILF vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar wants in coming up with the veiled threats is to get the Aquino government, or Noynoy himself, to cave in to the Muslim rebels’ demand, such as getting the best of the power sharing and wealth sharing agreement for themselves, along with their not giving up their arms.
The trouble is that the government peace negotiators appear to keep on appeasing the MILF and its leaders, coming with claims that the accord can still be signed in some five weeks time and that the delays are there because all these have to be studied first, before coming up with a final accord.
That is possible, but only if Noynoy caves in to the MILF demands, which will make him look so weak and unpopular with the rest of the Filipinos.
Still, it is very probable that Noynoy and his peace panel know that they can’t deliver on the earlier agreement to grant the MILF what they had earlier promised the Muslim rebel group by way of power and wealth sharing percentages that the MILF chieftains very early on claimed were already “done deals.”
And they can’t deliver on that promise because Malacañang may have gotten word that once the accord is challenged in the Supreme Court, this would be rejected, and Noynoy would be losing face, as the peace talks would go into a collapse mode.
There is a continued claim from the peace panelists as well as the congressional allies of Noynoy that the Bangsamoro fundamental law will be crafted, but how can that be crafted when there has been no agreement on the power and wealth sharing?
Besides, even they, should know that while a fundamental law can be crafted as dictated by Malacañang, that law may just turn out to be unconstitutional, given the fact that Congress has no power to amend the provision in the Constitution abolishing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and replacing this with the so-called political entity that is the MILF-led Bangsamoro people.
Such a change in the Charter requires Congress to go into the regular constitutional mode of amending provisions, which would either be through a constituent assembly or a measure calling for a change in the Charter through an election of a constituent assembly.
Then too, giving in to what the MILF wants may turn out to be a very unpopular move on the part of Noynoy and his peace panel when it comes to the Filipino nation, since Noynoy would virtually be giving the rebels that which other regions in the country will not be given.
Like it or not, it will be the Filipino taxpayers that will be funding the Muslim rebel group while not get anything in return for their tax money, given that the MILF will have the biggest share of the resources and power.
Noynoy and his boys are so fixated on building up the military and the defense’s capability against China, yet there is the MILF with just some 12,000 armed troops that the government seems more than willing to bend over backwards for the so-called peace in Mindanao that can never be had.
Noynoy may as well give up on the peace talks with the rebel group. It is unlikely that he will be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize anyway. Not with his confrontational record.
The latest word from the poll body that still has to come clean with the public over the questionable conduct of the senatorial elections, is that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has threatened to sue the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Pulse Asia and other survey firms.
So why threaten when the Comelec could have done this earlier, prior to the polls last May 13?
Predictably, the survey firms, in response, said it would challenge this suit before the high court, claiming that the law on survey releases does not require them to disclose their survey subscribers.
Besides which, the SWS said that it is under no obligation to disclose the identities of the subscribers as they did not pay for the surveys.
As its lawyer was quoted as saying: “It is the position of SWS that when we speak of a subscriber like a subscriber in a newspaper, the subscriber is not responsible for the news report in that newspaper. Now, a survey subscriber is likewise not accountable to the public for survey results released on the basis of noncommissioned questionnaire items.”
The logic is flawed. A newspaper subscriber is unlike the survey subscribers, especially as certain survey “subscribers” such as politicians running for office, generally pay survey firms to conduct a survey on their chances of winning the race.
Those subscribers pay extra for these survey firms to conduct such surveys.
SWS, in arguing over its legal right not to disclose its list of subscribers, claims that its surveys are non-commissioned questionnaire items.
That is hardly accurate, given that in certain instances, the questionnaire is, if not influenced by the special subscribers, i.e., politicians mulling to run in a race, such as a presidential race, then dictated by the subscribers.
A case in point: Before the 2010 presidential elections, a group of yellow businessmen had the SWS conduct a survey on the popularity of Noynoy Aquino in the race for the presidency.
Noynoy came off as the runaway winner in that pre-election survey.
But it was later discovered, after an analysis, that the SWS survey had conducted the surveys, not quite on a nationwide basis, but was also heavy on the central Luzon area, where the Aquinos are said to hold sway.
If that specific survey conducted by SWS questionnaire and respondents’ sites were not dictated upon, or influenced by the yellow business group, it should then be asked why the survey sites were hugely skewed to make it appear that, one, it was nationwide, and two, that Noynoy, that early, was the likely presidential winner, hands down — and that early.
Would the regular “subscribers” of SWS have expected a survey firm to conduct such a skewed survey?
The same goes for the Pulse Asia survey. It also has “special subscribers” who pay to have a special questionnaire that only concerns their political chances.
These are the subscribers whose identities should be disclosed by these survey firms, as well as the identities of their shareholders, as these firms have not fully disclosed just who own the firm.
In the case of both SWS and Pulse Asia, the shareholders are said to be relatives of Noynoy Aquino and the bias has been showing all throughout their survey results.
Truth is, the manipulative ways of these survey firms have been shown up time and again.
In the latest senatorial race, it was clear that SWS and Pulse Asia got it all wrong, as the rankings of the senatorial bets were all off, yet SWS had the gall to claim that it had gotten the race results right, as it had predicted a 9-3 win for the administration.
What it does not say is that it had also predicted either a 10-2 or 7-4. That is not what political surveys are all about.
Still, this threat to sue the survey firms and their plan to challenge this before the high court should be done.
It really is time for these research firms to be transparent and even more importantly, survey results should not be allowed to be released at least a month before the polls, so that the electorate is not influenced by these manipulative surveys.
The biggest joke I heard this week was Malacañang saying tha…
W ASHINGTON — Charges by a top activist that New York Univer…
While the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) started with econo…
MAE CHAN — In a rural classroom in the Thai highlands, hill …
It was not unusual that the lines were long during the gover…
Thursday headlines about the stock market drop dampened mood…
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) keeps on claiming t…
SYDNEY — A landmark ruling won by an Australian gender trail…
It already happened before. It is again happening now. Inste…
As attempts to find a diplomatic solution to the problems be…