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Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Why only now?

Saturday, 05 September 2015 00:00 Published in Commentary

Speaker Sonny Belmonte had well over six years as the House of Representatives chief but it is only this time that he, along with the authors of bill wherein the House’s insistence on its having fiscal autonomy is being pushed.
Why is it just now that Belmonte is all too suddenly moving to regain full control of the House’s fiscal autonomy?
The Speaker claimed it was time to protect Congress’ budget from scrutiny by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“The present budgetary policies formulated by the Executive, through the Department of Budget and Management, insofar as they apply to the Congress of the Philippines and the Senate, threaten its independence, encroach on its exclusive domain and violate the principle of separation of powers, upon which the entire fabric of our constitutional system is based,” they added.
As Belmonte and the authors put it in their resolution: “Their budgets shall not be subject to scrutiny, alterations and control of the DBM” and that Malacañang should make impositions only on agencies under the Executive branch.
“The amount of appropriations as proposed and determined by the Senate and the House shall be included in the annual budget of the national government without reduction, alteration or modification,” the resolution said.
This was said to be done to ensure the fiscal independence of the Congress of the Philippines, as they worried over the budgetary policies of Malacañang which threaten congressional independence as a co-equal branch of government.
Still the question arises: Why just now? The Constitution has been quite clear on Congress having the sole power of the purse, yet all these years, decades even, the Congress — both the House and the Senate — have allowed Malacañang to usurp this power, despite the fact that this usurpation of the Executive branch headed by the President of the republic, and in budgetary matters, the Budget chief, transformed the members of the Senate and the House into Malacañang’s puppets everytime.
And it is because the House and the Senate, for decades, have allowed the Executive to have the power of the purse instead of Congress, that the Malacañang tenant, whoever sits in the Palace throne, has used and abused the powers of the government — all three branches of it.
Even the high court and other constitutional offices, have to seek permission from Malacañang and sometimes beg for what should rightfully be theirs to have and allocate their offices.
As things have stood, if the President does not care for a ruling that is unfavorable to him and his administration, or if he does not like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, there is that threat to withhold the judiciary funds, to get what he wants from the judiciary.
This way, the President gets to have control over the various constitutionally independent offices to the point of making their appointed heads his puppets.
And the President can do what he wants with the public funds and not even be accountable for it, because he also controls the Commission on Audit, which has not, to this day, bothered to audit the president and its office — or at least if the CoA did come up with such an audit, none of this has been made public.
To ensure that the President does not get impeached, public money flows from the Palace to the Congress. And to ensure that he whom the President wants impeached and convicted, money in the hundreds of millions for the members of the House and the Senate pours in for them, which money is clearly a presidential bribe, any which way it looks.
It is wrong for the Palace tenant — whoever sits in that powerful Palace throne — to have a say on where the money should go, especially with the past practice, for the pork barrel of the legislators, where only the allies get the share of the project funds for their pork, and foes are completely shut off.
What is difficult to understand, however, is why the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional in all parts, the congressional pork barrel, but not in the case of the Executive branch’s pork barrel that can be found in lump sum appropriations that still continue to exist in the national budget.
Is it because the Palace gave the SC what it wants by way of its budget under the pro-Aquino Chief Justice?
It is a good move from Congress to seek fiscal autonomy. But why only now, is still the question.
Is it because Congress fears that a new president may do what the incumbent does, and when today’s majority becomes tomorrow’s minority?
Or is it because Noynoy has become a lameduck president?

Pure political propaganda

Friday, 04 September 2015 00:00 Published in Commentary

A Liberal Party commissioned pre-election survey, according to chief LP political propagandist, Rep. Edgar Erice, showed administration standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas getting 53 percent, beating Vice President Jojo Binay, who obtained a survey rating of 37 percent.
The survey, said to have been conducted nationwide with 1,200 respondents, and done immediately after Noynoy’s anointment of Mar, had only two presidential candidates: Mar and Jojo, with Erice explaining that the two have already declared their presidential candidacies, while the others have not and were not included.
Since Erice failed to show any document at all to back up his figures or even name the pollster, he instead said that they had signed a confidentiality clause and could not divulge the name of the polling firm.
Erice’s claim has too many holes in it. In confidentiality or exclusivity clauses with pollsters, it is usual for the client to ensure that the survey does not go public, although if the group/candidate who commissioned the survey, leaks the results to the media, then the confidentiality clause no longer applies and it is the pollster that would either acknowledge the survey and its results, or deny that such a poll was done.
Another hole in Erice’s line is the fact that if a private survey is commissioned and the results are bad, then that would be the time when the client makes certain that the results are kept confidential. However, if the results are good to excellent, it follows that the client himself would not only make this public and in a press conference yet, by showing the documents and naming the polling firm.
Such “secrecy” claims on the part of Erice and the LPs can be easily dismissed as propaganda as it is not a credible survey. And take note: Not even the beneficary of the Erice claimed high ratings of his principal, Mar himself says he has not seen the survey at all.
Then too, it is more than strange for the LPs to commission a one on one election survey at this time, simply because it is given that there are going to be at least four presidential candidates, two of whom, Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte, are definitely running for the top post, despite their hypocritical stance of still “discerning” and deciding whether to run not, which is a lot of political bullsh*t when all they want is portray themselves as not being overly ambitious to lust after the presidency.
And this style is all old stuff: Cory, who certainly wanted the presidency, portrayed herself as a reluctant presidential candidate. Her son Noynoy and his sisters went into the great pretence of his not wanting to run for the presidency, which was pure hypocrisy, as Noynoy’s run was already being planned even before Cory took her last breath. Necropolitics was played to the hilt, by Cory and Noynoy and is now being played up by Poe who is clearly engaging in necropolitics, ensuring that her adoptive father is her background in ads and speeches. She has even perfected the tears when she talks about her being a foundling and adopted. Spare us the theatrics please.
Duterte appears to be cut from the same studied reluctant cloth, yet everyone knows that he definitely is running for the top post.
The idea of the LP of course, is to bandy about the survey showing Mar as a runaway presidential bet, and all due to the anointment of Noynoy.
But as Erice and the rest of the LP members claim of the bona fide survey, why would they commission an expensive survey just to fool themselves?
Ah, but it was not intended for the survey — if indeed there was such a commissioned survey with these announced results — to fool the LPs, but for the LPs to fool the public into believing that Mar Roxas can beat Jojo Binay any time.
If there really is a survey with such high ratings for Mar, with 70 questions asked to boot, why did not Erice talk about the results of the survey having four presidential bets? Surely it doesn’t make any sense to commission a survey of 1,200 respondents nationwide just for the LPs to do a one on one survey between Mar and Binay. It is more probable that if the LPs did commission a private survey, they would have come up with a survey showing different election secenarios, such as pitting Roxas against three or more likely presidential aspirants, in weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each aspirant in several regions, if only to study how to demolish the rivals come campaign time.
Erice even went as far as saying that the September surveys being undertaken by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia, will bear the truth of the results of the LP commissioned survey.
That wouldn’t be too far fetched, considering the fact that SWS and Pulse are known to be so yellow and are masters at manipulating the survey figures to create the perception of the yellow candidate, as the runaway winner.
They can do so again and again, but where’s their credibility these days with their manipulated surveys?

Hooray for JPE’s Senate’s return

Thursday, 03 September 2015 00:00 Published in Commentary

Filipino voters should be glad that Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce-Enrile is back at the Senate as he is a genuine fiscalizer.
It is because of Senator Enrile that the electorate now knows for certain that there was massive electoral fraud committed under the Commission on Elections (Comelec) headed by then Chairman Sixto Brillantes and earlier in 2010, under poll chairman Jose Melo.
During the confirmation hearing yesterday, Enrile refused to have poll Chairman Andres Bautista confirmed on that day by the approving bicameral body, pointing to the missing election results involving 12 million votes from over 18,000 precincts in 2013.
Moreover, Enrile has, in his possession, a letter from Henrietta de Villa, national chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and a copy of the report, obtained secretly by the opposition senator, which detailed information on the election results from 18,486 precincts in the country during the 2013 elections.
Enrile said: “Because this involves the fate of 18,486 precincts in the country during that election (2013), representing about 12 million votes which still have no any electronic or manual count of votes all over the country and all over the world including the overseas of the countries. So I’d like to know if Comelec came up with any disposition of this report. And why it was not published to the public at that time,” said the senator.
Bautista said he was informed about de Villa’s letter which he said had already been submitted to the joint congressional oversight committee.
If true, why the hell did the allies of Noynoy in the oversight committee not make this public? The chairmen and members of the oversight committee certainly hid this important letter and report from the public, which is no different from allowing the electorate’s will to be continually thwarted, not once in 2010, not twice in 2013 but three times in 2016, if Enrile did not bring this matter up.
But then again, many of those in the oversight committee and in the Senate itself were no doubt beneficiaries of the massive automated electoral fraud in 2013, and didn’t want to be known as beneficiaries of the fraud, which explains the silence.
Enrile had a copy of the report given to him in secret, and he also said that based on the information, the 60-30-10 results existed, which IT experts had already disclosed, but were quickly dismissed as lies by the Comelec and the mathematical yellows.
Bautista was asked whether he knew about this, and his answer was in the negative.
Bautista then said that his “understanding is that the transmission in 2013 was 77 percent but that the remaining votes were manually uploaded,” adding that going by general strategy, the poll body can learn from its mistakes in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
In both elections, massive electoral fraud was clearly employed under Smatmatic’s PCOS machines, and the Bautista Comelec insists on using the same fraudulent machines for 2016. It jinks the hybrid which at least would give the voters a receipt of who they had voted for, and the Comelec can have a copy for protest purposes. What guarantee then does the Filipino electorate have that their will not be thwarted this time?
There is reason to doubt today’s Comelec body. After all, while Bautista may just have been appointed by Noynoy and is a definite greenhorn in electoral affairs, which is exactly what critics had said that the Comelec cheating syndicate can easily run rings around him, it should be stressed that the other incumbent commissioners were involved in the 2013 polls, and must have known all about the report from De Vila’s PPRCV. Why then did not one of them speak out and let the public know that indeed, there were 18,000 plus precincts’ votes that were not transmitted, amounting to some 12 million votes, which certainly could change the composition of the rankings of senatorial candidates.
Moreover, it has now been established, through the report Enrile has in his possession, that the opposition candidates were virtually wiped out, getting only a 30 percent vote share, while the Noynoy candidates had a 60 percent vote share, and independents getting the remaining 10 percent.
The 60-30-10 cheating pattern in 2013 is now established. The IT watchdogs had already made this public, but again, there went Sixto Brillantes, dismissing all these as speculation and lies.
It was just as clear that there was a lot of electronic dagdag-bawas evident in the 20 million plus votes for then candidate Grace Poe, which must have been engineered by a Comelec official who lawyered for her father, for her to top the polls, despite the vote count not even hitting 50 percent.
Enrile told the Comelec chairman to familiarize himself with the issue as the senator required Bautista to submit a report to the bi-cameral commission, and that without the report, he swore Bautista’s appointment would not be confirmed.
The other commissioners should also be questioned for the hiding the truth about the massive fraud committed in 2010 which electronically elected a president assisted by fraud, and the 12 senators, majority of whom do not deserve their seats, should be shamed, for they all knew they sit in the Senate today due to winning the polls fraudulently, courtesy of the claimed “honest and transparent” Noynoy Aquino. Who else can order the Comelec to cheat? And who else can order the Comelec to cheat for Mar?

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