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Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Pure vindictiveness

Saturday, 25 June 2016 00:00 Published in Commentary

Noynoy’s vindictiveness knows no bounds.
He who has just five more days before he finally makes an exit as the President of the republic, wanted to make sure that Gloria Arroyo, his punching bag, remains in detention even after his powers are all gone.
Naturally, he can still make her suffer more in incarceration, as he has Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to ensure that Gloria remains a prisoner, for Noynoy’s gratification.
The Office of the Ombudsman is currently conducting an investigation in connection with a new plunder complaint against the ailing Arroyo, due to alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence fund.
This was bared by Laurence Arroyo, counsel of the former President who is confined at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, as they received a copy of the complaint filed by the Field Investigation Office (FIO) of the Office of the Ombudsman.
The complaint may have been filed by the field investigator, but it really is the Ombudsman, and of course, Noynoy, behind the complaint.
Just think. Why would a field investigator of the Ombudsman file a complaint against Gloria, when usually, it is the Ombudsman who assigns the field investigator, and whatever the investigator’s findings are, he submits them to his boss, the Ombudsman, with a recommendation, after which, the Ombudsman comes up with the information, indicts the accused and elevates this to the Sandiganbayan, should evvidenc warrant it--unless of course, it is a political foe, in which case, even if the case is weak, the accused is indicted.
This is the second case on the alleged intelligence funds of the PCSO against Gloria.
The plunder and malversation complaint stems from the alleged misuse of the PCSO confidential intelligence fund (CIF) worth P57 million from 2004 to 2007 when Arroyo was then President.
Atty. Arroyo said it was the FIO who had to filed the complaint and the Ombudsman is now conducting a preliminary investigation on the matter.
The former President’s counsel was quoted as saying that he and his client don’t have an inkling on the motive of the FIO in filing the complaint but said they will go to the Supreme Court, should a case be filed against Gloria by the Ombudsman.
He pointed out that the questioned intelligence fund of the PCSO was never released and used by Mrs. Arroyo.
Mrs. Arroyo was detained as she is facing plunder for the alleged misuse of P366-million PCSO intelligence fund from 2008 to 2010. She filed a petition for bail and demurrer to evidence.
Her co-accused in the said case has been allowed by the Sandiganbayan to post bail but Gloria’s bail petition was denied.
Chances are high that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who appears to be just as vindictive as her political patron, Noynoy, in all probability, knows that her second case against Gloria is as weak as the first one, but as is her wont, she just loves to indict as many government officials for really petty things. Of course, this is not done by her when there are complaints against Noynoy and his Cabinet secretaries, even when cases against them can be very strong.
Morales appears to want to have a record of an Ombudsman having filed the most cases during her term.
She loves dismissing and disqualifying perpetually government officials, yet many of the cases she filed are being reversed by the higher courts.
It is clear that this second plunder complaint against Gloria is being probed by the Ombudsman who will later indict her for plunder (notice the alleged P50 million in intel funds) after which, she will be denied bail and kept in detention.
It will be recalled that she was allowed by the Supreme Court to travel abroad for medical treatment. After paying the bond to the SC, Gloria left for the airport, and what do you know, Noynoy was not going to allow Gloria to leave the country and neither was Noynoy’s puppet, then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, going to let her leave either.
Despite Leila’s having no power or authority to hold Gloria’s departure order, she issued one, even when it is only the courts that can issue hold departure orders.
But Leila and Noynoy made sure that Gloria would not be free for long, and quick as a wink, Leila and Sixto Brillantes Jr., filed an election sabotage case against her, which is non-bailable. The court just as quickly, in record time, raffled the case and in just a day, charged her for electoral sabotage.
Then, when she was granted bail by the court for that offense, there went Noynoy, ensuring that she stays in detention for as long as he remains president — and even after, since he has Morales to ensure that Gloria is charged with yet another non-bailable offense — the second plunder case.   
If that is not vindictiveness, then what is?

Another short-cut by Duterte

Friday, 24 June 2016 00:00 Published in Commentary

Rodrigo Duterte’s peace negotiator, Silvestre Bello was quoted in reports yesterday that the incoming president is bent on releasing several political prisoners, all of whom are leftists, ahead of the congressional amnesty law.
Bello stated that the initial release would be done without preconditions and Duterte would do it as a gesture of confidence in the sincerity of the National Democratic Front (NDF), the propaganda arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the peace process.
“We are doing it before the proposed amnesty. This will be a gesture of goodwill,” Bello said.
One must ask: Why are Duterte and his peace officials giving in too much to the Left? For peace? Fine, but what will Left give up in return? The surrender of arms and their abiding by the Constitution?
While the incoming administration is giving the communists too much goodwill, it appears that it is the Duterte government that is getting the end of the bargaining stick, as the nation still hasn’t heard of what the communists are willing to do in return, as gestures of goodwill and sincerity too.
But there may be a big problem in the Duterte promise of freeing the political prisoners ahead of the amnesty declaration.
Duterte may be the Philippine president in a week’s time, but does he, as a sitting president, have the power to order the release of these political prisoners, through a presidential order or decree?
It is presumed that many of these political prisoners have been not just detained for close to three decades but have also been convicted. However, there is doubt that the incoming president is empowered by the Constitution to simply order the release of the political prisoners.
Duterte says his forte is criminal law, as a prosecutor and he may not be conversant in constitutional law and more importantly, the powers a sitting president has and does not have.
Duterte really should get good legal advice and not from his legal counsel, Sal Panelo.
Prisoners, political or otherwise, can be freed by the president with the concurrence of Congress, though a congressional measure granting amnesty to prisoners, but there are doubts that a sitting president can order the release of these political prisoners on Duterte’s say-so.
The reason they are in jail as prisoners and for such a long time, whether political or otherwise, is that the courts have tried them and have found them guilty of the offense.
This being so, it stands to reason that it should be the courts that have to decide whether to have them freed or not, even on humanitarian grounds — not the president.
But Bello said: “We seek the release of political prisoners who are reportedly covered by JASIG (Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees). Those who are elderly and sick will also be released on humanitarian considerations,” Bello said.
The political prisoners, according to human rights group Karapatan No. 18 NDF consultants, with 88 ill and 48 sick political prisoners.
There are a total of 543 political prisoners detained all over the country.
But what Duterte is empowered to do as the president of the republic, is to grant these political prisoners either a conditional or absolute pardon, since this is within his power with which  even the courts cannot and should  not  interfere.  There is then no need for Congress to come up with a measure on amnesty to have these political prisoners to have them walk free in presidential pardons.
What is difficult to understand is why Duterte cannot wait for Congress to pass an amnesty measure. It should be very easy for him to get this, since he has a supermajority in the House and there is doubt that the Senate will oppose or sit on this amnesty measure, as he has most of the senators — including those in the so-called Senate minority supporting whatever Duterte wants.
Duterte is into short-cuts, which can be a big problem for the nation, since the Constitution is being violated again, as the denial to due process is being violated in the case of those who are being salvaged by cops and provincial politicians, with a huge count of suspected drug users hitting 50 yesterday and rising.
So what is the rush for Duterte and his peace officials to free these political prisoners without waiting for Congress to act on the amnesty measure?
Why can’t the communists wait until Congress opens and comes up with the amnesty law?
 Why can’t Duterte wait instead of taking short-cuts?
Duterte’s style of governance certainly bodes ill for the country and the nation.

Hail to the Left under Duterte?

Thursday, 23 June 2016 00:00 Published in Commentary

Joma Sison, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder and leader, recently announced that his army of communists will defend Digong Duterte should there be moves to oust the incoming president, saying that the Left will maximize the use of the three Cabinet positions given by Duterte to them.
Duterte gave the leftists the Departments of Agrarian Reform, headed by Rafael Mariano, Social Welfare and Development, professor Judy Taguiwalo, and the Labor headed by Silvestre Bello III with a leftist Undersecretary-designate Joel Maglunsod.
Sison pointed out that the DSWD portfolio could now be used to implement social reforms as well as protect the Duterte presidency.
As he put it: If the Duterte government is in danger, everyone in that department who belong to the left can order the leftist youth to defend the government.”
He added as yet another example: The leftist youth farmers can also be ordered to move and defend the Duterte government against the caciques or foreign plantation owners if they move to oust him,” he added.
Sison stressed that the incoming DAR chief Mariano, will have to deal with agrarian reform laws which he believes are in contradiction to the advocacy of the CPP, saying that the country’s land reform program is oppressive as it requires beneficiaries to pay for land redistribution.
Obviously, Sison and his comrades are going to utilize the government departments to strengthen the communist force, something which failed in Congress through the leftists partylisters, even when they were with the majority.
As Sison says, with the three departments in government headed by the leftists, they can easily mobilize their allies: farmers, youth groups, workers and even the communist armed group, the New People’s Army, so he says, in defense of the Duterte government.
That is, if this is truly Sison’s and his groups’ real intent.
That claim can just as easily be the opposite, in that the leftists can also use the heads of the three departments to mobilize against Duterte and his government, when the right time comes.
In Congress, many times over, the leftist partylisters are almost always in support of a new president in Malacañang. They join the majority, then later, when the president becomes unpopular, as they normally become in their last remaining years, the leftists become fierce oppositors of the regime, and even join the elite, the civil society and yes, even their mortal enemy, the military, whenever a coup is being mounted against the Malacañang tenant.
Can a leftist tiger ever change its stripes?
But it certainly looks like Sison will be giving the orders to the commies in the Duterte government and the leftists are going to heed Sison’s orders, not Duterte’s  and not his government.
However, there won’t be any ouster moves against Duterte — at least not just yet. But there may  have to come a time for such a move from the people. This would come when presidential promises are not delivered; when poverty increases, when there are more jobless Filipinos, when economic hardship reigns, and all these will have to come into the picture, because no matter the claimed high economic growth rates, the fact is that with some 80 percent of the poor in the country, such growth rates only benefit the 20 percent wealthy and well-to-do in society, which is the reason there can hardly be the so-called inclusive growth.
But does Sison truly believe that when the time comes, they in the armed left can fight the military?
If Sison does, then what he is planning may well be a civil war, but a war the communists can never win without air support.
And talking about a civil war, federalism can certainly lead to one, especially if the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other Moro groups get together and havetheir own federal state. Once that happens, the international Muslim countries will pour in a lot of funds and resources, including  air power and it won’t take long for the Islamic forces to secede and declare an independent Islamic state.
And Mindanao may  forever be gone from the Philippines.

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