For weeks now, the country has shared the shock, horror and agony of the people of Maguindanao over the slaughter of innocents. This national outrage has increased as securing justice faces hurdle after hurdle, both in Maguindanao and in Manila. Our people want justice, and they want results; the government wants us to believe that it must impose Martial Law for justice to be accomplished, and for peace and order to finally prevail in Maguindanao.
Now, for the first time since 1972, the chief executive has seen fit to take this unprecedented step. But unlike 1972, there are many Constitutional safeguards in place to ensure that martial law is an option taken with full transparency and under legislative oversight.
The people of Maguindanao, the people of the Philippines and the troops on this mission, deserve every assurance that this act will, indeed, result in justice being served and peace being restored. If the declaration of Martial Law is not motivated by the enforcement of the rule of law, but is rather an attempt to expand authority by means of the military it will be a grave abuse of power and reckless endangerment of the lives of our brave soldiers.
The Constitution is clear: martial law can only be declared upon the existence of an actual invasion or rebellion, and when public safety requires it.
Is there truly a legal basis for declaring martial law in Maguindanao?
Is the restoration of peace and order the real reason for the imposition of martial law or are there other reasons yet unseen?
Is it to instill fear, given the very negative connotations of martial law?
Can we take Mrs. Arroyo’s word when she is largely responsible for the creation of this monster?
Does it not indicate the state’s inability to enforce its laws that it had to resort to something as drastic as martial law, despite its possible repercussions on the economy?
The President need not declare martial law. She could have swiftly ordered that charges be filed against all those who carried out the lawless orders of Mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr. She could have directed that all those charged be preventively suspended. She could have instructed the Prosecutors to ask the 11 Courts to deny bail to all those charged with the commission of this heinous crime and let the succession of local officials under the Local Government Code take effect, to ensure that the local government will continue to function.
This extraordinary step fuels much speculation on the real intention behind it.
The people must demand an explanation of the circumstances that led the administration to resort to this action, how the President intends to use its vast powers, and for how long.
The rule of law must prevail; constitutional processes must prevail. The courts cannot be abolished there or elsewhere. The President of the Philippines remains accountable not only to the Congress of the Philippines, but to the People of the Philippines for taking this course.
We must also demand that both houses of Congress meet, as required by the Constitution, within 48 hours of a martial law declaration, without need of the President making a call for Congress to convene.
While the Constitution expects both houses to merge for the purpose of voting on this specific imposition of martial law, it also expects our lawmakers never to surrender their identity as representatives of the people.
I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to come together immediately and ascertain the validity of this imposition.
Congress must muster a quorum. Congress must not be a rubber stamp. Congress must ask the right questions, and it must act now.
This is a time for all our people to be sober, discerning, vigilant and unafraid.
“There has been so much talk on how to amend the Constitution, but the case for changing it has not been made. In the first place, is there a need to amend our Constitution? If so, is it something that needs our attention right now?
“Last week, the lower house voted to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly without determining first whether or not Charter Change was even necessary. They are espousing a solution to a problem that has not been properly identified. Isn’t this the height of illogic coming from elected 3 officials expected by the people who voted for them to make logical decisions?
“Just a few hours after the sponsor of the measure delivered his speech, a vote had taken place without exhaustive debates. To amend the Constitution requires months, even years of deliberations, but a resolution to proceed with Charter Change through a constituent assembly was decided upon by the lower house with undue haste. It is a devious move that would undermine the role of the Senate in the amendment process and thus, is vehemently opposed by the people. Why then did the lower house insist on passing the resolution despite public criticism that it should not be pursued?
“I am against any move to amend the Constitution and I am against this move by the lower house to desecrate the identity of Congress as a bicameral institution. I am committed to preclude this rushed manner of changing our fundamental and sacrosanct law.
“This recent effort to trifle with our Constitution should sear the conscience of every Filipino. Such a ruthless display of tyranny of numbers can only come from a government so used to being insulated from culpability for so long. For all the sins Mrs. Arroyo and her allies have committed against the people, shall we still allow them the opportunity to perpetuate their reign?
“To sit idly by and do nothing is to be complicit to this ongoing crime. We have to make our voices heard. I join the Liberal Party in condemning this shameless act orchestrated by the Arroyo government. Enough is enough. It is time to take the power from a mere handful in Congress and give it back to the people where it rightfully belongs.”
Nais ko pong pasalamatan ang aking mga kapwa Liberal dahil sa inyong pagsuporta sa amin ni Mar. Tinuturing ko pong isang napakalaking karangalan ang inyong mainit na pagtanggap sa amin ng akin pong partner. At siguro po, talagang napakasarap marinig ang inyong suporta dahil ito po ay nanggagaling sa mga Liberal, na noon at ngayon, talaga naman pong marangal.
Sa panahon ng kampanyahan at eleksyon, mayroon po kayang hihigit pa sa ipinakita sa ating halimbawa ni Mar Roxas, na kayang-kayang isantabi ang personal na ambisyon para sa ikabubuti ng nakakarami; patunay na nagsisilbi sa nakakarami, parati.
Sana po ikinararangal na rin po natin, lalo na po ng ating bagong mga kasama, na sa pagiging bahagi ng Partido Liberal, mula ng ito ay binuo ni Pangulong Manuel Roxas noong 1946, marami na po tayong pinagdaanan. Marami na rin tayong tagumpay na nakamit. Ang mga karanasang ito ang nagpatibay ng ating pundasyon at paninindigang labanan ang anumang hadlang sa ating kalayaan.
Sa darating na halalan, masusubukan ng lubusan ang pundasyon ng Partido Liberal. Maaga pa lamang ay naglalabasan na ang mga batikos na kathang isip lang naman ng atin pong mga kalaban. Maaga pa lang ay mabusisi na ang mga plano nila sa kanilang mga paninira. Hindi nila maiangat ang kanilang mga sarili; ang solusyon, ipababa ang kanilang mga katunggali.
Ang pwersa ng Partido Liberal ay hindi matatalo ng anumang kasinungalingan. Ang pwersa na binubuo ng magigiting, masisipag at matatapat na pinuno ay hindi basta na lamang mabubuwag ng sinumang animo’y tapat na naglilingkod sa bayan ngunit gahaman naman pala talaga. Lalabanan natin ang kasinungalingan sa pamamagitan ng ating pananalig sa katotohanan.
Bibigyan ko kayo ng isang halimbawa. Itong mga kalaban natin, gumawa ng isang survey, gumawa ng isang kuwentong kutsero. Awa ng Diyos sila na rin po ang sumira sa kanilang kuwentong kutsero. Sabi po nila bumababa na raw ang ating lamang. Ang masakit nito, sa unang survey nilang ginawa sa isang organisasyon, hindi tayo nilagay, wala tayo sa listahan. Sa pangalawang listahan nilang ginawa, susunod na buwan, inilagay tayo sa gitna para kunyari ay talagang nag-survey sila. Nu’ng pangatlong survey nila nangibabaw na tayo, ang headline nilang inilabas, bumababa na raw ang lamang natin.
Nu’ng ako po’y nag-aaral, kapag ikaw ay nasa gitna, panlima o pang-apat, hindi ka nangunguna. Kung ikaw naman ay nanguna sa susunod, ang ibig sabihin nu’n, umangat ka, hindi ka bumaba. Kaya maraming salamat sa inyo, sinabi na nila ang katotohanan.
Aaminin ko po sa inyo, naaawa ako sa kanila. Dahil kapag nagsinungaling ka, kailangan mo ng pangalawa para suportahan ang una. Pangatlo para suportahan ang pangalawang kasinungalingan. At ang haba-haba na po ng kanilang pagsisinungaling, pati sila nahilo na. Dahil mahal po natin lahat, pati na rin sila: Sa panahong handa na silang bumalik sa landas ng tama, yayakapin po natin, dahil sila po ay Pilipinong naligaw lamang.
Talagang hindi natin matatapatan ang yaman ng ating mga katunggali. Kapag tinanong, anong kakayahan mo? “Mayaman ako,” ang sagot niya. Pero tayo naman po ay nananalig sa isang Diyos na nagsasabing gawin natin ang tama; ang kakulangan natin, Siya na po ang magpupuno.
Mula ngayon, hanggang sa araw ng eleksyon, lalo na pagkatapos nating nahalal na, importante pong tayo lalo ay magtulungan, magpakatatag, magkasunduan, para naman mapairal natin ang tunay na diwa ng demokrasya—na nagkakaloob ng kalayaan, pagkain, serbisyong pangkalusugan, edukasyon, trabaho, at lalung-lalo na, pantay-pantay na pagkakataon para sa lahat, at hindi sa iisa o iilan lamang.
Panahon na upang bigyang katuparan ang pagbabago sa tulong ng bawat isa. Ang laban na tapat ay magiging laban ng lahat. Maraming, maraming salamat po.
Officers and members of the Makati Business Club, Your Excellencies of the diplomatic corps, ladies and gentlemen, my friends and countrymen.
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to address you. I trust your asking me first is not based on alphabetical order, or based on age, but perhaps, based on who you think will most likely win the coming election.
As managers, you recognize that one of the necessary skills of an effective manager is time management. Is it possible that you have invited me to determine if there is still a necessity to spend time with the others?
Baka naman inuna niyo ako upang malaman kung sapat na ako at hindi na kailangang pansinin yung iba?
I think we are all aware of the problems facing our country. We share the same statistics. We probably even share the same conclusions about the need for better governance. To rehash all of these problems at this forum would be a waste of your time. But what we have now is an opportunity for you to get to know me, to find out the advocacies that I champion, the perspective and philosophies I bring to the equation and some of my proposed solutions to give an insight into my inner persona.
Levity aside, the political exercise that we will engage in this May is a crucial one. It will be, as it is for every fledgling democracy, a test of the strength of our political institutions. The peaceful transition of power has become a symbol of political maturity across the world, with many still failing to achieve the credibility that is the cornerstone of a genuine political mandate. With the electoral scandals that have stalled our democratic progress as of late, it is not a test that we can afford to fail.
We have an administration whose mandate is clouded in doubt and overshadowed by allegations of fraud because it refused every opportunity to clear the air and be held to account. Its choices have limited its decision-making to seeking ways to ensure day-to-day political survival and self-interest. We must now become a government committed to accountability. A government that works with the people in achieving long-term change.
We must make the shift from bare economic survival to robust economic growth. We must make the change from treading water to keep afloat, to reaching that promised shore where we can all stand tall as healthy, happy, educated and responsible fellow citizens.
But why does transformation seem like such an impossible dream?
Isa sa mga tema ng ating kalaban, yung “ang pagbabago, madaling sabihin yan pero mahirap gawin,” is probably echoed by a lot of Filipinos. The oft-repeated question is, why can’t we advance? Why can’t we progress? What is it in us that limits or prohibits our growth as a people and as a country?
All of you are aware that most of the contenders have had years, possibly even decades, of preparation for this electoral exercise. I had no such ambitions to run in the 2010 elections but I responded to the people’s clamor. I am but the face of what we believe is the overwhelming demand of our people to repudiate everything wrong in the current administration.
Given that I only announced my decision to seek the presidency on September 9, and I only came to that decision the day before, I have not had material time comparable to our opponents. What is perplexing is that viewing the same problems, and having access to the same data for the most part, we believe the solutions have been there all along, and necessitate only clear political will to execute. But most of our opponents seem to indicate the contrary opinion that there is very little that we can do to change the situation. One has to wonder: did they overstudy the problem, or are they committed to preserving the status quo?
If the leader is not convinced that change is not only necessary, but extremely possible, how does he lead us to the promised land?
What is it that we want to change?
We want to repair the damage that has been wrought on our democratic institutions by those who have sought to manipulate them for their own selfish ends.
We want to improve the situation of our people, who have suffered years of neglect because of a self-absorbed leadership obsessed with political survival.
They are poor. Many of them are homeless. Each year, we add some 2.5 million mouths to feed to our already hungry population. Of these new additions, one third were the result of unplanned pregnancies. We have a growing underclass that statistics tell us have given up looking for work. A permanent underclass that includes the five million of our countrymen that are illiterate, which means their opportunities in life will always be limited to living hand-to-mouth.
We want to give our young the opportunity and means to improve their lot in life.
It can only begin if our children and their parents are assured that money spent on education is money well spent. Unfortunately, students are at the mercy of our decrepit education system that allows double shifting, erroneous textbooks and substandard nursing schools to exist. No less than DepEd officials admitted that students in Grade 1 take three subjects in one class period. We have a procurement program so heedless of the need for excellence that it doesn’t care if it produces a textbook series riddled with 500 factual errors. For every hundred kids that start grade school with the hope of achieving their dreams, only fourteen will graduate from college and possess a tangible means to materially improve their lives.
To my mind, the crucial, lacking element in all these is a government committed to a transformation: from a society overwhelmingly poor to one overwhelmingly middle class. In every developed, progressive, prosperous democracy, it is the middle class that is the biggest class. Government, for one, has failed to make the conceptual leap from patronage to development. Efforts at feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, providing basic care to the sick, and offering a quality education aren’t only the people’s rights; they are the essential tools for individual self-improvement.
In 1998, when I first campaigned for office, one lady bluntly told me that regardless of who is elected, things would remain the same for her.
What did she mean?
That she was poor to begin with; that she would remain poor, and in fact, she would be lucky if she didn’t end up poorer, after the candidates leave office.
This brings up the question at the forefront of the minds of our countrymen still undecided on whom to vote for, and pursued by my critics. If this is a time that calls for national transformation, am I qualified to be that transformative leader? Having answered the call of duty, can I ask you or anyone to entrust me with your vote, on faith alone? Never having sought the presidency, I preferred to do my duty and not seek the limelight. Now that I have been thrust in the limelight, it is only fair to answer the question: before you tell us what we can do, what have you done?
I have always believed that the job of an effective legislator goes beyond merely proposing laws, for what are laws but written agreements entered into by members of society on how to harmonize their mutual relations? In fact, I do not believe that we suffer from the problem of too few laws. One of my proposed measures was the recodification of laws, in response to an appeal from the legal community to put some order into our laws, their amendments and those that have been repealed, because even our lawyers are at times confused.
Consider the recent controversy over who gets to appoint the next Chief Justice. We maintain that there are no ifs and buts in Article 7 Section 15 of the Constitution where it states that the current President cannot appoint anybody within two months prior to a presidential election up to the end of her term. An exemption exists, but it applies only for positions in the Executive Department. Yet you have two retired justices arguing exactly the opposite. How can former justices of the Supreme Court be so seemingly confused, when the fact is that the provision regarding presidential appointments is stated clearly in the law?
Our problem is the lack of political will to faithfully implement the many world-class laws that our legislature has passed. A preference for ambiguity even when times call for clarity, leads to artificial controversies. Insecure or overly ambitious leaders need to create a climate of doubt, because it’s in the grey areas that its ambitions thrive.
It is in addressing this problem that I focused on the fiscalizing aspect of a legislator’s job – on Congress’ oversight and investigative functions.
Consider intelligence funds. In the proposed 2010 budget, a total of 1.4 billion was allocated to confidential and intelligence funds.
Woodrow Wilson once wrote that oversight is always preferable to investigation, which is like putting out a fire instead of preventing one. We proposed that if the Executive wants orderly transactions, at least a few members of Congress should be privy to all of the details to determine if they were spent properly. However, this proposal was dismissed out of hand without even a single hearing for the reason that they undermined the Executive’s privileges.
And yes, the investigations were a vital part of my functions, too. I don’t think anyone will begrudge me my efforts in this regard. From Hello Garci and the impeachments, to NBN-ZTE and the fertilizer scam, I did my duty at the forefront of these issues.
The original design of the NBN-ZTE project required a BOT agreement between government and the supplier, not a government loan. But during the NBN-ZTE hearings, we learned that the project was entered into through a government loan despite instructions to the contrary from no less than the President herself. The cost of the intended government loan was P40 billion, (in which P16 billion was for the backbone and P24 billion was for the CyberEd project.) Jun Lozada belied this when he cited P5 billion as the actual cost of the entire project. Ito yung sinasabi niyang kalakaran ng gobyerno, kung saan sa sobrang laki ng patong, bubukol na.
SCTEx took around 8 years to construct before it finally opened. Projects of this scale normally require two years to complete. Furthermore, when SCTEx finally became operational, it was found that the central hub, which was Clark, did not have an exit, excluding Clark from the Subic Clark Tarlac expressway itself. How can one justify these kinds of delays where opportunities are lost, costs have escalated and the people’s burdens, instead of being reduced, end up being compounded?
My active role in these congressional hearings has put me at odds with the administration. In 2005, it cost me my post as Deputy Speaker. It continues to put me at odds with the coalition of self-interest that currently holds power. It puts me at odds with other candidates for the presidency.
To lead transformation, you cannot be part of the problem. As I said when I accepted the people’s draft, the job of chief executive is about the efficient allocation of resources. If you have hogged those resources for yourself, if you have lied, cheated, and stolen to gain power, how can you be trusted to lead the transformation our country needs?
Going back on the issue of appointing a Chief Justice prior to the forthcoming elections. If we are to transform the country, it begins with doing what we can, now, to limit the damage and give our people a fighting chance to rebuild our damaged institutions. The Constitution imposes a blanket prohibition with few exceptions concerning midnight appointments. A candidate cannot ask for the people’s mandate, pledging to improve the situation tomorrow, if he becomes complicit in worsening the situation today.
Hindi naman mahirap gawin ang tama. Alam naman ng lahat yan eh. Wala namang magic, wala namang sikreto. Pero bakit pilit pa ring ginagawa ang mali?
There is a widespread perception that success in the business milieu can almost be directly correlated to your closeness to the powers-that-be. Because of this, some players in the industry are forced to focus their activities on maintaining relationships in order to retain the favors that they receive in exchange for cultivating that relationship. This has fostered the wrong kind of competitiveness. While it may work, locally, for now, it has not enabled these players to become competitive in the world market, where the rules of the game do not take special relationships into consideration.
We will encourage free and fair competition in a level playing field. One not need be a crony in order to succeed in the field of business. More importantly, government will not compete with business. Nor will government use its regulatory powers to extort, intimidate and harass.
We will transform our systems to foster service to the public instead of making citizens jump through hoops. We will streamline the approval process, not only for setting up new businesses but also in the regular day-to-day transactions with government, such as the payment of taxes. We will do this on a national as well as the local level.
In 2010, our next President will inherit a continually bloating deficit. As of November 2009, the deficit of the national government already reached P272.5 billion, or 4.1% of GDP.
In addressing the looming fiscal crisis, good governance and the drive against corruption are critical components in our strategy. We will refrain from imposing new taxes or increasing tax rates.
I strongly believe that we can collect more taxes at the BIR and higher duties at Customs if we become more serious in curbing and punishing tax evasion and smuggling. The BIR’s collection dropped by 5.5%, while that of Customs declined by 16.6%. This is the first time in recent history that absolute revenues have actually declined.
Our initial focus then will be to capture a good part of the revenue leaks caused by smuggling and evasion. In this effort, we will not be starting from zero. Be assured that those smugglers and evaders are not faceless and unknown entities. The ideas to improve tax administration and to control smuggling have been there for some time and some programs have been initiated in the past. One of these successful programs was the RATE or Run After Tax Evaders. In fact, some of the people at the Department of Finance and the BIR who have tried to implement reforms before are with us now, and together with reform-minded career executives, we intend to put their commitment and talents to good use under my administration.
My vision is to transform our country into one where we have lower tax rates enjoyed by all, rather than have some enjoy absolute tax exemptions while we burden the rest of the economy with very high tax rates. I believe that markets are better than government in spotting where the growth opportunities are, and, with universal low tax rates, we will encourage entrepreneurs and enterprises to invest and create jobs in any industry. We will, therefore, pursue the rationalization of fiscal incentives early in my administration.
There is a lot of room for our revenue base to grow. Our tax effort has gone down from 17% at its peak to a worrisome 13% today. If we can only bring this back even to just the 15% level, that will translate to P150 billion in additional revenues, which would make a significant dent in cutting our deficit.
My budget team estimates that for 2009 alone, around P280 billion of our national budget was lost to corruption. If we take the years 2002 to 2009 the total estimates exceed one trillion. Estimates vary, but everyone agrees that the numbers are huge.
If we agree that change is necessary, how can a Presidential aspirant, whose own financial and political ethics are questionable, be effective in leading transformation as the head of the bureaucracy? How can a leader, who is benefiting from the status quo, be able to restore a civic sense and pride in our citizenry? The leader, who has used public office for private gain, will always be the most committed enemy of change.
Rich or poor alike, we have a tangible experience of the sorry state of public infrastructure at present: traffic, which eats up time, which as the saying goes, is money. Railways are built at bloated cost; urban transport is constructed, but not enough trains are on track. Our people are the first to experience the effect of something that works and conversely, something that is badly done because bad intentions handicapped the project from the start.
It is time that our infrastructure agencies and LGUs transform into cooperative ventures with the private sector by bringing forth an agreed public infrastructure program, based on a cohesive plan that optimizes the value of the entire network. In our conversations with members of the private sector, there has been a lot of positive feedback about possibly working with government on this endeavor.
To transform infrastructure projects from sources of waste and scandal into examples of cooperation and efficiency, we will set objective criteria for different types of projects and develop a scorecard that will assess various projects against benchmarks transparent to the public.
Initially we want our infrastructure program to transform from being the means to enrich a few, to being labor-intensive and biased for employment as a means to pump-prime the economy.
When I read about countries that have invested in their agriculture sectors and succeeded, it always pains me to find that these countries – Vietnam and Thailand, to name just a couple – had started by sending their experts to be educated in the Philippines. It seems that we cannot implement among ourselves the lessons we successfully imparted to experts from elsewhere. This will have to change. We must be able to harness our homegrown talent in order to further our local industries.
When we change administrations, there must be a complete review of all the programs in the Department of Agriculture. We can do a lot for our farmers given the present budget of the Department if we eliminate the leaks and focus on the efficient use of resources. For example, we must stop eating up millions in mere administrative costs as in the case of NABCOR, which charged our government P60 million because it served as a useless conduit to regional offices. We will also support efforts such as supply chain management that minimizes losses, creates jobs, consults with stakeholders, and capitalizes on our competitive advantage.
Our core belief is that the current approach to governance and power must change. That is why our terms of reference always begin with the present government, what it has done, and how different our institutions and our nation must be six years from June 30, 2010.
In a small-scale operation it is easy for everyone involved to visualize that entity as the combination of their collective efforts. As opposed to, say, when you are a bigger firm, and there is the management side and there is the labor side. In Tagalog, it’s even more dramatic. Kayo at kami, sa halip na tayo.
We must find a unity that transcends the divisions of today, based on a shared commitment to transforming our country into one that works: One where traffic flows well, garbage is collected efficiently, crimes are solved, justice is served, and our kids are educated properly. It works in the sense that you do not have to flee the country to move up in the world, improve your lot in life, and rise to the highest level your personal merits can achieve.
We are a nation of sacrifice, of diligence, dedication and, idealism, because we are a people imbued with compassion even when we have officials who lie, cheat, and steal. Our faith teaches us that we are our brother’s keeper. Our logic should tell us that in taking care of others, their growth equals our own.
In the movie “Invictus,” Nelson Mandela says, “In order to rebuild our nation, we must exceed our own expectations.” It requires us to insist, always, that we are not a nation of crooks, of thieves, of murderers who get off scot-free and where justice is won by the highest bidder.
In May, you will be asked to make a choice. Will you choose transformation and change or will you choose to uphold the status quo?
We have already made our choice. Ours is a journey towards transformation. I ask you today to join us in this journey now.
Question: In governing you will need the cooperation of Congress, what’s your strategy for getting their cooperation particularly in a situation where you do not control either or both of the houses?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Well sir I think you will agree with me that the tradition for the past congresses has been that the dominant party becomes the party to which the President belongs to. If I’m elected president, we already have our Liberal Party, we have our allies in other aggregations and party-list groups but more importantly, the vast majority will always want to be siding with the administration, whoever it is, so cooperation with congress doesn’t seem to be a problem at this point in time as we foresee.
Question: South Africa, after apartheid, formed a Truth Commission. De Klerk, Mandela, wound up winning the Nobel Prize. In South Korea, a similar search for the truth landed … in jail. Given the sustained unpopularity and perceived excesses of the present leadership, will there be priority given by your administration if you win, to ferret out truths about the GMA years? You talk about Garcillano, you talk about Pidal, Peter Wallace and his Wallace 11, ZTE and the like of transactions. What is your administration going to do in this regard?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: The job of the Chief Executive is to enforce all of the laws; recovery of ill-gotten wealth, if it exists, is not a proscribed activity, meaning there are no time limits to it but it has to be a priority. I’ve already made a public statement that I want closure on all of these issues if elected president. That means that one of the four platforms, the top four in the agenda is judicial reform. There has to be certainty of conviction and punishment if you do commit crimes in this country.
A sad fact is that all of the cases that are filed by the prosecutors, only about 18% wind up as convictions. As you know our system says that a prosecutor, before he introduces a case, should be convinced about the validity of the case, the preponderance of evidence at present. But after having undergone that process, it only results in 18% and those are official statistics. 33% are dismissed; we lose all of these cases. Therefore, adherence to the rule of law seems to be honored more in the breach. Now so, in direct answer to your question, there have never been answers to all of the issues that you have mentioned, be it Hello Garci, be it ZTE. For instance in ZTE, there was a board meeting by the NEDA, there were clear-cut instructions on sovereign guarantees on a BOT basis. This was reversed. Those were orders of the head of NEDA and also who happens concurrently to be the head of republic. Who can supersede the orders of the president of this republic? That has to be settled. What are the loopholes that were exploited so that the NBN-ZTE deal almost became the nightmare? But fortunately the people rose up to oppose.
Again, let me reiterate, it will be one of the priorities that will happen within the first 6 months; I guess within the first month we will already be tackling all of these issues under the Department of Justice and to ferret out and move the investigation, and if so warranted, to file the necessary charges.
Question: Will you or will you not form a Truth Commission?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: In the Truth Commission, was something I’ve always been studying ever since I became a congressman the first time in 1998. I thought that the model and the idea of closure for a lot of things. One question that I wasn’t able to answer then was, as you know, in South Africa, a necessary component of availing of the privileges was to reveal everything you knew about crimes that you had committed during the apartheid regime, by both sides, which included very vivid descriptions of various tortures employed. I was asking myself, in the Philippine context, if a father were to revisit a crime committed to a child, who was tortured by government forces in the martial law years, will that not in turn, foster a new cycle of violence? I’ve never really been able to answer that question. But in terms of reviewing this past decade and the lost opportunities in what are the systemic loopholes that were exploited that got us to this point, yes, but in terms of filing charges against those who are guilty of committing crimes that I think should be left to the Department of Justice, in the very capable hands of a very active and proactive Secretary of Justice, who I will not name at this point in time lest he be persecuted for that.
Question: Over the last decade or so the Philippine economy has not done well in manufacturing, it has not come out competitive in the world, and agriculture has not developed as you mentioned the way it should, and the country has moved more and more toward being a service industry, very successfully in some cases, call centers, BPO, tourism beginning to pick up, this is an area which I think there is a great potential for the Philippines. But it requires one thing that the two other sectors don’t require, education. And the educational system in the Philippines has deteriorated dramatically and alarmingly. We only have a ten-year primary/secondary school system where everywhere else in the world has 12. as you mentioned only 14% graduate from college level. We don’t have enough classrooms, books full or errors, all the things you know. What specific things will you do to correct the situation? And where and how will you get the funds?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: There are various solutions to the problem, and first of all let me agree with you Mr. Juarez with all the things you’ve said previously. What are solutions? How much will it cost to…there is an estimated twenty to forty thousand classroom need in this country. If our main focus will be to pump prime the economy and generate employment, then we will build the schools.
Our experts tell us within a year, maximum of two years we can complete the twenty to forty thousand, even at the cost of a million per classroom, although at this point in time the average is at about 500,000, and where will we get the money? As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are so much leakages in our revenue collection efforts. The 150 billion, we can allocate a portion of the 150 billion towards meeting at least part of the 40 billion necessary, if pump-priming was the necessary goal.
On the other hand we want a more effective use of the resource, we can contract private schools. I’m made to understand that middle-tier schools have a tuition in the 5,000 to 8,000 bracket. What does that mean? For a class size of 50, that translates into Php400,000 cost per classroom of 50. When we build classrooms, the shell, the basic shell lacking, the chairs, the blackboard, electricity, the books, the teachers, etc., just the basic shell is already on average nation-wide Php500,000. So if we are to send these children, there’s an existing program using a voucher system called “Gasbi.” If we send these children to private schools but in a direct contracting basis so that there are no abuses in the system, we can save about Php100,000 per classroom. That translates into, or we can utilize that resource into supplemental feeding programs, into a better book development program, into a scholarships for college, into scholarships for teachers, benefits, so on and so forth.
So, the plan is, transform it from 10 to 12, there is a bridge program, it’s already in the books, that’s why my theme is always “there are no secrets.” The plan is a good plan, it’s already there, it’s really just a question of implementing the same. Now, I think it is unfair for our students to, to expect rather, our students to be able to absorb 12 years’ worth of education in a 10-year program, further compounded by the desire to be solving the problems by saying we have no more classroom shortages, and this was done basically by shifting. Shifting is making 2 or 3 classes utilize 1 classroom. And I would just like to emphasize because that really angers me every time I think about it. You’re a Grade 1 student, which is the entry level, in our public school system, you have a class supposedly for English, to which Science and Health have been included. So, the child who probably doesn’t understand English, is tasked to understand scientific concepts taught in English and together with health. To further compound it, as if he didn’t have enough problems, he’s given a textbook that has errors known only to the teacher, who is in possession of teacher’s notes. The Grade 1 student, I think no, by the DepEd is expected to be able to discern what is right and what is wrong at Grade 1, in a language he doesn’t understand.
Therefore the investment is a guarantee of problems down the line. People who cannot be employed think, limitations as to what we can do given the talent that is there before us. So we want to get to the 12-year program, we want to have a pre-school level where they are taught or conditioned to be able to study. And of course those textbooks will really have to be corrected and people who accepted the same and contracted for the same should be liable.
Question: Could we encourage Congress to spend its pork barrel on education?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Pork barrel will be limited to national priority programs, and of course one of them will be school-building programs.
Question: Mr. Senator, there are a couple of questions that deal with governance issues, particularly corruption, and I’d like to read them and maybe you can answer them as a whole. How will you handle the Lucio Tan cases of tax evasion and the Marcos wealth? Second, you talk about how different you will be from the present administration, what exactly will you do to make GMA, FG and all pay for their crimes? What will you do with the tong of all congressmen? There’s another one that has to do with encouraging whistle-blowers. So maybe your strategy with dealing with corruption?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Can I start with how do I deal with whistle-blowers? It’s a sad fact no, I learned this close to about 3 decades ago, if you catch somebody smuggling, you’re supposed to entitled to, I’m talking about at this point in time, to a reward of 20% when you give information to catch the smugglers. If you facilitate smuggling, I was told by my informants, you get a 10% fee. So I asked this person, why will you participate in something illegal to get 10% when you can go legal? And point the authorities towards the commission of this crime and get a double reward? And the simple answer was: the 10% is kaliwaan, I get it right away, the 20% I will get when I retire and probably 5 years after that. The explanation is you go through so many processes, the seizing, the goods, for instance, of smuggling, the appeals process, auctioning, etc., I don’t think it’s that difficult point for government to advance this reward system to make it an effective reward system, point one.
Point 2, as I keep saying, the judicial reform is so essential. We cannot have a situation where a criminal is not deterred from committing a crime basically because even if he gets to trial, he doesn’t even have a 1 in 5 chance of being convicted. It seems you are the most unlucky individual to be convicted in this country. Now we have so many leads with regards to the first family, statements of assets and liabilities are there, there are dramatic changes in the statements of various members, and obviously, there are various provisions already with our laws, unexplained wealth, is presumed to be ill-gotten. And in that situation, they are tasked to answer for that.
And at the same time, my father was a very…one of my father’s most important advocacies was human rights. Therefore I will ensure that their rights are also protected. Because again, from my father, the true test of a democracy is not your ability to defend the rights of your friends, but more importantly those of your enemies. Because if you allow one group to be oppressed, you are setting up the situation for your group to be oppressed at some point in time. So they will be afforded all of the rights, they will be given all of the opportunities to answer the charges, and like any other citizen, they will be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
Now with regards to the Marcos and Lucio Tan cases, and these are subjudice, I will be entering the situation, what, at the second or third decade of litigation? One would hope that there is closure to all, even to those issues. When you go into this country, you can expect adjudication of cases to happen in a timely manner. One of the sad facts, and that’s why judicial reform, again, our stake, has to be improved, is that on average we understand that it takes 6 years to adjudicate a case. Again, it leads to, a condition where it moves everybody not to follow the laws, and that has to stop.
Question: 2 quick questions, Senator. the heart of the Cory Constitution is social justice. The phrase is not anywhere in your platform, as advertised. What are the specifics of your social justice program? And related, that is the question of what will you do June 30, 2010, we do not have a president or vice president who can be proclaimed and we wake up on July 1, 2010, GMA is still the ruler of this country in one form or another?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: I take exception to the fact that social justice is not in the platform, it is actually embodied in practically all of the 16 points of the platform that we have published on the site. For instance, we want to have the provision of opportunities for everybody to improve themselves, that’s why job generation is first in the list of priorities. What does that mean? I think a father wants best, provide me the job and I’ll take care of my children’s education and health. Education is the second factor, again empowerment, again, opportunities. If you are not educated enough, there are you know, what jobs actually can, what skills do you have, and what jobs can you acquire? Therefore, to have meaningful job generation, the educational support should be there, hence our drive for the 12-year program and even the inclusion of a nursery stage prior to the formal education program.
The ecology, the platform on ecology is very, very simple. We want to translate it so that there’s no confusion among anyone. If there are no forests, there are no watersheds. No watersheds, no water. No water, no food, no food, no people. Are you aware that we have an 8% remaining primary forest cover? But what is more criminal, is up to today, we have not delineated the forestry lines. So when you talk about preserving forests, you don’t even define what the forests is obviously, we are not preserving anything, and that is there also. I’m sorry, I’m missing the second question.
Question: The second questions asks what you will do come June 30, 2010 when we have no elected president and vice president…
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Number one, the laws on succession are very clear. But can I just tell you, instead of telling all of you our plans, people, let’s not be naive, no? There are talks that certain quarters want to exploit that situation. There are talks of failure of elections or non-proclamation, no-el, so on and so forth. Now, does it behoove me to reveal publicly the plans that we are contemplating at this point in time, and to make our job of preserving this democracy harder by telling our enemies precisely what we will do. I think I will leave my plans close guarded at this point in time and we assure you we are not babes in the woods, and we are ready, as much as possible, we are getting all the necessary info, intelligence and alliances in place, to forestall the grabbing of power by people with purely vested self-interest.
Can I just add, sorry, this has to be really laid in the minds of everybody. We in the Liberal Party say that we are espousing platform-based, issue-based politics. And I am very, very confident that even if I were not in the seat, this occupation is fraught with dangers. I have in the person of my partner, Mar Roxas, somebody who is exactly of like mind, somebody who will pick up if I am unable to finish the job. Therefore, we can assure everybody that will join us, there is a continuity of expectations that are realistic. This is not person-based.
Question: That highlights a weakness in the political system in the Philippines. When we elect you, we don’t automatically elect Sen. Roxas because you’re voted for independently—so it has to be as a team. In the papers recently there was a two-page ad put in by the government claiming all kinds of things: that this president has achieved. It has numerous faults in it. One of the things is that they are very proud of the fact that this economy had been stimulated and helped by the OFWs and their remittances to the Philippines. Those OFWs are Filipinos who have had to leave their families. So society has been hurt badly by it. It’s in fact an economic failure. A failure of government to provide the jobs that they should have had here. What would you do to reverse the situation, to be able to provide the jobs here for Filipinos instead of overseas?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino:: Well, number one, I think I will be lying if I told you that we will have comparable jobs within six years. That I think is an impossibility. But there is I think an obtainable objective of having compensation for people who have skills that have been improved. We can get it to a certain level whereby the increase in wages—although not the same as working abroad—together with the family being in tact, and together with the idea of being a first-class citizen in your own country will be enough to win people away from seeking the greener pasture elsewhere. We believe that the people who have left and who are opting to leave, primarily have no choice. They are political refugees, they are being forced, not for improvement—where it was 20 years ago—but rather even just for survival. And again you’re right. The opportunities have to exist here. Now, when I go around the country, when I go around Metro Manila, the opportunities are so abundant, and all it takes is to do the right thing. For instance, in Surigao City, the table you’re using right now was about the length of this fish—I don’t know what breed of fish that was. But that particular stall in the public market in Surigao City had three of it. The next stall had five of the same size. And the Media asked me in that point in time—this was the senatorial campaign—”Can you raise it up for a photo op?” And of course I’m very macho, and I proceeded to raise it by the head. And the only thing I raised was the head. It was that heavy. And I was saying: “How much would it cost to set up a blast freezing facility here? How much would it cost to turn these things into steaks, train the people to marinate it into that, and export it to countries like Japan or elsewhere, where they’d be thanking us for sharing the bounty … ” Mar Roxas’s home province of Capiz, you go to the beach at low tide, you have a rake, you rake the sand, you get clams. In Metro Manila you get [the fry] of the clams. Why can’t we even get it from Capiz to Metro Manila?
I’m sorry, sometimes I can’t stop, because really, the absurdity, the simplicity of the solutions that are not being implemented really gets to me. The fertilizer scam: The greatest sin is 723 million pesos at least could have started a chain of improving productivity. And for those of you who are not aware, when you plant rice in irrigated lands—and that was the hybrid rice program, that was the fertilizer input program —you can double to quadruple your income for our farmers, especially if it’s irrigated. You can have five harvests in two years. But this current government made the program in 2004 and really turned it into a disaster. We had ten cropping cycles that we lost an opportunity in. But the biggest sin is that even in investigating this alleged crime took four years. That’s why I said ten harvests were lost. So, again, from Masagana ’99 we had a hundred kabans per hectare. Commercially we are already now growing 240 to 320 kabans per hectare. I am told, but I’m still validating this, that UPLB and IRRI are even working further than that. And again: a true fertilizer input program, adequate monitoring, serious credit facilities, can undoubtedly at least make us self-sufficient in rice. We teach agriculturists worldwide. At the end of the day, we import food. That has to stop also.
Question: I think you will welcome this next question. It says: do you already have enough money for the campaign?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: I will be lying if I tell you we have enough money. But, there is adequate … but of course, it makes the process that much simpler. Can I just share with you this bit of information that was given to me yesterday? I understand there was a tsinoy who went to our headquarters in EDSA the other day. He proceeds to donate a certain amount of money, I was not told how much, but he had a simple request. I’ll say it Tagalog cause it really was… I really made my day that day. He said: “Ito yung pera, bumili kayo ng commercial niyo. Naiinis na ko dito sa isang ‘to.” That by the way is not a joke. It really did happen. At some point in time we will have to report that contribution to Comelec. We’ll have all the details then. But it really made my day.
Question: Two quick questions again, Mr Senator. What will be the roles of your sister Kris and your uncle Peping if you become president? Can you give us a specifically categorical answer on your stand on the Reproductive Health Bill?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Kris I think will still be my fashion adviser, which means if she does not like what I’m wearing, she will not keep quiet. I think she even had this barong made. So if she complains I’ll tell her you’re the one who designed it. And that will be the extent. Most of my sisters, and Kris included—Kris is a very busy individual … Anything I ask her, I ask her to attend some ribbon-cutting thing if I become president, that will be an imposition on her time. The three are eagerly looking forward to regaining their anonymity. In fact I’m not even sure if I celebrate my birthday, in the period of incumbency, that they will be present, since it will be a Media event. The role of my Tito Peping: I would be foolish not to seek his wisdom, because of his experience; but at the same time, I will be the one holding the fort. The buck really has to stop with me. I am responsible ultimately for all my actions. Therefore any or all of my decisions will be based on discussion with all the stakeholders as much as possible, but in the end of the day it will be something I can live with in conscience, in what I believe is right regardless on who propounded it.
On reproductive health: Of course, somehow, the secretariat at the senate made it appear that I was an author of the Reproductive Heath Bill. Unfortunately I never authored such a bill. And I intend to interpolate the proposed version before us. The portion that I want to interpolate on is: In government when you have a budget, you don’t use it, you lose it. And there will be provisions of the reproductive health for artificial means of family control. And I want provisions that will ensure that if government hospitals—by cunning, by deceit, by misinformation, etc, are able to expend these budgetary items so that they are replenished, then there’d be penal sanctions for the same.
My position is more properly called Responsible Parenthood; and basically it says, “The state has an obligation to remind parents each child you bring into this world carries with it a certain set of responsibilities: to clothe, to shelter, to educate, etc. That is the extent of what the state should do. So there will be educational programs, campaigns, seminars, symposia, to which we will invite all of the churches to put in their two-cents worth. At the end of the day, the state, in preserving the family, mandated by the constitution has to remind everybody that they will and that they should have these set of responsibilities. The state cannot force as to size, the state cannot force as to method. Now, in fact we will oppose any attempt to do so, because a democratic state has to proceed from individual freedoms.
Question: President Arroyo has intervened in a number of industries: power, oil, cement, pharmaceuticals, food—particularly, sensitively, rice. In state of belief, it was necessary to give people relief from otherwise excessive prices. What would be your policy and action?
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Mrs Arroyo when she was my professor said that there should be minimal government intervention (Questioner: “She’s got a poor memory …”), because distortions are created in the marketplace. But then again, given that … you know, it proceeds from a governance of survival there’s no logic used except “will it help me retain power or not?” Therefore every decision is faulted from the onset because of that perception. We are hoping that we will get our mandate clear: clear and clearly won, therefore we will have the confidence to embark and ask our people. At this point in time we will have to sacrifice by X amount to get to this level. We want to be transparent in all of the dealings. At the end of the day I assume, god willing we have an intervention for instance in agriculture. You had that 723 million debt really bought fertilizers that were correct. That were delivered at a timely manner at an appropriate price. And perhaps even the, as I mentioned, the purchasing aspect of it be reformed. Things will work out on themselves because we made the right decisions on every aspect. When I pass EDSA, and I guess everybody who passes … can I just a question? When was the last time you remember EDSA as being a smoothly paved road? And this is the premiere road of our National Capital Region. I think most of you will say Highway 54, those who are honest. But when we export our construction companies, our engineers, our designers elsewhere, hindi ba world class? How many of you are aware that in this recent tragedy in Haiti, there were so many Filipinos in a professional basis. And I was surprised that even in Bermuda, the same situation holds: Accountants, lawyers, etc. I always assumed that Bermuda, beneficiary of the British Civil Service System, would have a very efficient bureaucracy, and an efficient professional corps. But it turns out it is again it’s again another area for Filipino expertise to shine. So again, they can do it there, undoubtably they can do it better here, so long as the milieu is present that opportunities for everybody are extant. Nobody is excluded, hence our phrase is “Walang iwanan at walang maiiwan.”
Question: I was told that we have to wind this up after two final questions, that I’d like to read. One is: “How will you handle the issue of pagbabago the Filipino people dreamt and longed for” and “as a transformational president, what key qualities would you bring to this task?”
Sen. Noynoy Aquino: Well, number one, you will have to lead by example. I think in fairness to my mother, at the onset of her term she inherited a government that was corrupt top to bottom, for the most part because the top set the example. Something as cop on the street who was being bribed for a minor traffic violation: he used to demand for his bribe. At the onset of my mom’s term, the phrase was, “Teka, hindi ko hinihingi yan a. Binibigay mo yan, pinipilit mo.” There was a recognition that that was wrong. And after that, something as simple as … I complain about traffic, and Mar in I already have an agreement. If we win, and if traffic isn’t solved, we’ll participate in the traffic. We will not ask of anybody that which we are not ready to do ourselves first. Hopefully we will not talk as much, because we are trying to put a spin on something that is indefensible. And siguro the biggest ambition is in the fourth year, it will just be Mar and I talking because everything is working and it’s boring.
Sana po ay hindi na naming kailangan tutukan minut-minuto, dahil nga maayos na ang systema. E ngayon palang ho nagiipon na kami ng mga kwento just in case magkatotoo po yan. Diba? Lahat naman ng magulo sa mundo nating to ay dahil nga yung systema, hinayaan na kung saan interes ng isang tao, isang grupo lang ang importante. Yun ang gusto naming baguhin.
Napansin ko po, hindi nababati ng maayos ang ating mga kasanggang matibay tulad ni Mayor Lim, na nandito po sa entablado.
Nandiyan po si Mayor Aro Mendoza ng Tarlac City!
Nandiyan po si Vice Governor Mark Leviste ng Batangas, matanda lang po ng konti sa akin yan.
Alam ho ninyo ang problema ko, ay mahaba-haba sana yung sasabihin ko sa inyo. Tapos sabi sa akin, paki bilisan ninyo one minute lang kayo at baka magsara yung Comelec.
Ito po ang listahan ng babatiin ko halos naging baliktaran sa papel, tsaka ko na po kayo babatiin kapag mas mahaba ang oras.
Simple lang po ang mensahe natin itong araw na ito: Diyan po sa Manila Cathedral, tatlong buwan pa lang po halos ang lumipas noong atin pong ina ay nandiyan at dadalhin na po sa huling hantungan. Marami pong problema na bumabalot sa aking kaisipan. Unang una na ho doon, wala na po ang ating pinuno, paano kaya natin maibabalik sa liwanag ang ating bansa? Kulang siguro sa tulog kaya’t hindi ko nakita kaagad yung mga sagot. Nakita po natin yung apat na sundalo nandoon sa taas ng truck. Sila ho ay hindi magkakasama sa isang unit at tsaka yung isa po ay miyembro ng kapulisan. Sila ho ay hindi nagtraining para sa trabahong iyon na sinabihan silang siyam na oras kayong hindi puwede kumilos. Pero yung Pilipino ho, tulad noong apat na iyon, bigyan lamang ng pagkakataon, maliwanag kung ano ang tama, gagawin ang tama – yun po ang solusyon natin.
Itong araw pong ito ihahain natin yung ating certificate of candidacy. Ito po siguro ang unang hakbang sa huling yugto ng ipinaglalaban natin. At ano nga ba ang pinaglalaban natin? Kapag tayo po, sa tulong ninyo, ay pinalad, yung pataba po, ang tataba halaman hindi na po yung mga tiwaling kawani ng gobyerno.
Magkakaroon din po ng sistema ng gobyerno na hindi nagpapahintulot o nakapapayag ng nangyaring karumaldumal na nangyari sa Maguindanao, hindi na po pupuwede iyan. Magkakaroon na tayo ng katiyakan na kaparusahan kapag may nilabag ka sa batas natin, iyan po ay itaga na natin sa bato.
Ipinaglalaban din po natin na lahat ng Pilipinong gustong matuto, may pagkakataon para matuto. Ang Pilipinong gustong magkaroon ng trabahong may dangal, magkakaroon ng trabahong may dangal.
Ang Pilipino pong may karamdaman, aarugain ng estado, obligasyon po iyan ng estado. Lahat po iyan, kaya nating makamtan, dahil ako po ay naniniwala sa bansa po natin. Sa singkuwentang porsyento na binubungkal na lupa, hindi ho tamang may nagugutom sa Pilipinas. Kailangan lang po gawin natin yung tama, babawasan natin ng babawasan ang nagugutom at talagang papunta na tayo sa kasaganaan, dahil gagawin po natin ang tama.
Malapit na po tayong senyasan. Baka sabihin sa atin ay malapit na ang lunch break sa Comelec.
Ang importante lang po sa akin na maiwan sa inyo sa araw na ito ay isang bagay:
Yung mga kalaban natin ang daming ipinagyayabang. Lahat na po sila ay ipinagsama-sama ko na. Pare-pareho silang gusto pa ring ipagpatuloy ang paglilinlang, yung pandaraya. Ang sagot ko lang sa kanila: Sige na pumutak na kayo ng pumutak. Sige na magtext brigade na kayo, mag-internet pa kayo. Sige na bilhin na ninyo ang lahat ng commercial na puwede ninyong bilhin.
Pero ang taong bayan, sa akin pong pananaw ay gising na, mulat na at sawa na sa inyo! Papasalamatan ko nalang ho kayong lahat.
Mga kapatid, talagang noong iniisip natin ito, ang dami kong problemang nakikita sabi ko, “Paano nga ba natin malalaktawan iyan?”
At yung sagot po pabalikbalik, simple lang pala, habang nandiyan ang taong bayan maski anong problema kaya nating laktawan. Ang tagumpay po buwan na lang ang pinag-uusapan, ke nandoon ako, ke wala ho ako dito, sigurado po ako itong ating krusada, magpapatuloy at magtatagumpay dahil lahat po kayo ay nandito.
Kaya’t magandang umaga pong muli at maraming salamat sa inyo!
56 electoral protests filed before House tribunal
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines – A total of 56 cases of electoral protest have been filed against members of the House of Representatives who won in the first automated elections last May 10, records at House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) showed.
The cases were lodged before the body even before the 15th Congress formally opens on July 26.
Among the lawmakers facing cases are Ilocos Norte Representative and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, Leyte Representative and television host Lucy Torres-Gomez, Pangasinan Representative Leopoldo Bataoil, Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Farinas, Laguna Representative Justin Marc Chipeco, Quezon City Representative Jorge Banal and Bayan Muna partylist Representatives Teodoro Casino and Neri Colmenares.
The case against Marcos was filed by her defeated opponent, Mariano Nalupta Jr., and his lawyer Ferdinand Ignacio, for not fulfilling the residency requirement.
Eufrocino Codilla Jr., son of the incumbent congressman, filed the case against Gomez, while Bataoil is facing a protest against Maria Blanca Kim Lokin, a former partylist representative of the Citizens Battle Against Corruption.
Incumbent Quezon City Representative Matias Defensor filed the case against Banal, while former mayor Reynolan Sales lodged the case against Farinas.
The group Alliance for Rural and Agrarian Reconstruction Inc. filed cases against partylist groups Bayan Muna and An Waray. Bayan Muna is facing another protest case from former congressman and retired military general Jovito Palparan Jr.
Other members of the House with pending election protests filed against them are Representatives Herminia Roman (Bataan), Eufranio Eriguel (La Union), Randolph Ting (Cagayan), Wilfredo Enverga (Quezon), Monique Yazmin Lagdameo (Makati City), Edwin Olivares (Paranaque), Rosenda Ocampo (Manila), Anna Christina Go (Isabela), Jesus Emmanuel Paras (Bukidnon), Fernando Gonzales (Albay), Rogelio Espina (Biliran);
Mary Mitzi Cajayon (Caloocan City), Isidro Ungab (Davao City), Salvio Fortuno (Camarines Sur), Bai Sandra Sema (Maguindanao), Marie Jocelyn Bernos (Abra), Cesar Sarmiento (Catanduanes), Victorino Dennis Socrates (Palawan), Milagrosa Tan (Western Samar), Antonio Rafael Del Rosario (Davao del Norte) , Nelson Collantes (Batangas), Emil Ong (Northern Samar), Tomas Apacible (Batangas), Aurelio Gonzalez Jr. (Pampanga);
Joselito Andrew Mendoza (Bulacan), Elmer Panotes (Camarines Norte), Renato Unico (Camarines Norte), Jerry Trenas (Iloilo), Mylene Garcia (Davao City), Tupay Loong (Sulu), Nur-ana Sahidulla (Sulu), Francisco Matugas (Suriogao del Norte), Maximo Dalog (Mt. Province), Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Marinduque), and Pangalian Balindong (Lanao del Sur).
Outgoing Speaker Prospero Nograles said the number of cases lodged appear to have exceeded those filed at the start of the 14th Congress.
The HRET is composed of nine members, three of whom are justices of the Supreme Court who are assigned to the tribunal by the chief justice; the remaining six are the members of the House of Representatives chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the parties or organizations registered under the party-list system.
In the spirit of helping this new administration be accountable to the people, the table below catalogs these new and renewed plans and promises from President Aquino’s Inaugural Speech. The promises are grouped into categories that the Pro Pinoy Project will be using in organizing blogs articles and in monitoring the progress of this government.
Dito magwawakas ang pamumunong manhid sa mga daing ng taumbayan… Ang tadhana ng Pilipino ay babalik sa tamang kalagayan, na sa bawat taon pabawas ng pabawas ang problema ng Pinoy na nagsusumikap at may kasiguruhan sila na magiging tuloy-tuloy na ang pagbuti ng kanilang sitwasyon. (Today marks the end of a regime indifferent to the appeals of the people… Through good governance in the coming years, we will lessen our problems. The destiny of the Filipino will return to its rightful place, and as each year passes, the Filipino’s problems will continue to lessen with the assurance of progress in their lives.)
8 & 9
Overall Governance Direction
Ang unang hakbang ay ang pagkakaroon ng tuwid at tapat na hanay ng mga pinuno. (The first step is to have leaders who are ethical, honest, and true public servants.)
Civil Service and the Bureaucracy
Sa mga itinalaga sa paraang labag sa batas, ito ang aking babala: sisimulan natin ang pagbabalik ng tiwala sa pamamagitan ng pag-usisa sa mga “midnight appointments.” (To those who have been put in positions by unlawful means, this is my warning: we will begin earning back the trust of our people by reviewing midnight appointments. )
Palalakasin natin ang koleksyon at pupuksain natin ang korapsyon sa Kawanihan ng Rentas Internas at Bureau of Customs para mapondohan natin ang ating mga hinahangad para sa lahat. (We will strengthen collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and we will fight corruption in the Bureau of Customs in order to fund our objectives for the public welfare.)
Hindi natin ipagpapaliban ang mga pangangailangan ng ating mga estudyante, kaya’t sisikapin nating punan ang kakulangan sa ating mga silid-aralan. (We will not disregard the needs of our students. We will begin by addressing the glaring shortage in classrooms and educational facilities. )
Dekalidad na edukasyon: kabilang ang edukasyong bokasyonal para makapaghanap ng marangal na trabaho ang hindi makapag-kolehiyo (Quality education, including vocational education, so that those who choose not to attend college or those who cannot afford it can find dignified livelihood;)
Serbisyong pangkalusugan: tulad ng Philhealth para sa lahat sa loob ng tatlong taon (Improved public health services such as PhilHealth for all within three years;)
Housing and Urban Development
Tirahan sa loob ng mga ligtas na komunidad. (A home for every family, within safe communities.)
Bubuhayin natin ang programang “emergency employment” ng dating pangulong Corazon Aquino sa pagtatayo ng mga bagong imprastraktura na ito. Ito ay magbibigay ng trabaho sa mga local na komunidad at makakatulong sa pagpapalago ng kanila at ng ating ekonomiya. (We will revive the emergency employment program established by former President Corazon Aquino. This will provide jobs for local communities and will help in the development of their and our economy.)
Infrastructure and Transportation
Unti-unti din nating babawasan ang mga kakulangan sa imprastraktura para sa transportasyon, turismo at pangangalakal. Mula ngayon, hindi na puwede ang “puwede na” pagdating sa mga kalye, tulay at gusali dahil magiging responsibilidad ng mga kontratista ang panatilihing nasa mabuting kalagayan ang mga proyekto nila. (Gradually, we will lessen the lack of infrastructures for transportation, tourism and trade. From now on, mediocre work will not be good enough when it comes to roads, bridges, and buildings because we will hold contractors responsible for maintaining their projects in good condition.)
Palalakasin at palalaguin natin ang bilang ng ating kasundaluhan at kapulisan, hindi para tugunan ang interes ng mga naghahari-harian, ngunit para proteksyunan ang mamamayan. (We will strengthen the armed forces and the police, not to serve the interests of those who want to wield power with impunity, but to give added protection for ordinary folk. )
Kung dati ay may fertilizer scam, ngayon ay may kalinga na tunay para sa mga magsasaka. Tutulungan natin sila sa irigasyon, extension services, at sa pagbenta ng kanilang produkto sa pinakamataas na presyong maaari. (If there was a fertilizer scam in the past, today there will be security for farmers. We will help them with irrigation, extension services, and marketing their products at the best possible prices.)
Inaatasan natin si papasok na Kalihim Alcala na magtayo ng mga trading centers kung saan diretso na ang magsasaka sa mamimili – lalaktawan natin ang gitna, kasama na ang kotong cop. Sa ganitong paraan, ang dating napupunta sa gitna ay maari nang paghatian ng magsasaka at mamimili. (We are directing Secretary Alcala to set up trading centers that will directly link farmers and consumers thereby eliminating middlemen and opportunities for corruption. In this way, funds can be shared by farmers and consumers.)
Gagawin nating kaaya-aya sa negosyante ang ating bansa. We will cut red tape dramatically and implement stable economic policies. We will level the playing field for investors and make government an enabler, not a hindrance, to business. Sa ganitong paraan lamang natin mapupunan ang kakulangan ng trabaho para sa ating mga mamamayan. (We will make our country attractive to investors. We will cut red tape dramatically and implement stable economic policies. We will level the playing field for investors and make government an enabler, not a hindrance to business. This is the only means by which we can provide jobs for our people.)
Layunin nating paramihin ang trabaho dito sa ating bansa upang hindi na kailanganin ang mangibang-bansa para makahanap ng trabaho. Ngunit habang ito ay hindi pa natin naaabot, inaatasan ko ang mga kawani ng DFA, POEA, OWWA at iba pang mga kinauukulang ahensiya na mas lalo pang paigtingin ang pagtugon sa mga hinaing at pangangailangan ng ating mga overseas Filipino workers. (Our goal is to create jobs at home so that there will be no need to look for employment abroad. However, as we work towards that end, I am ordering the DFA, POEA, OWWA, and other relevant agencies to be even more responsive to the needs and welfare of our overseas Filipino workers.)
Sa mga nang-api sa akin, kaya ko kayong patawarin, at pinapatawad ko na kayo. Sa mga nang-api sa sambayanan, wala akong karapatan na limutin ang inyong mga kasalanan…. There can be no reconciliation without justice. Sa paglimot ng pagkakasala, sinisigurado mong mauulit muli ang mga pagkakasalang ito. Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all. (I can forgive those who did me wrong but I have no right to forgive those who abused our people… There can be no reconciliation without justice. When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give consent to their occurring over and over again. Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all.)
32 & 33
My government will be sincere in dealing with all the peoples of Mindanao. We are committed to a peaceful and just settlement of conflicts, inclusive of the interests of all – may they be Lumads, Bangsamoro or Christian. (My government will be sincere in dealing with all the peoples of Mindanao. We are committed to a peaceful and just settlement of conflict, inclusive of the interests of all — may they be Lumads, Bangsamoro or Christian.)
International Relations and Trade
To our friends and neighbors around the world, we are ready to take our place as a reliable member of the community of nations, a nation serious about its commitments and which harmonizes its national interests with its international responsibilities. We will be a predictable and consistent place for investment, a nation where everyone will say, “it all works.”
Walang pangingibang-bayan at gastusan na walang wastong dahilan. Walang pagtatalikod sa mga salitang binitawan noong kampanya, ngayon at hanggang sa mga susunod pang pagsubok na pagdadaanan sa loob ng anim na taon. (No more junkets, no more senseless spending. No more turning back on pledges made during the campaign, whether today or in the coming challenges that will confront us over the next six years.)
Walang lamangan, walang padrino at walang pagnanakaw. Walang wang-wang, walang counterflow, walang tong. Panahon na upang tayo ay muling magkawang-gawa. (No more influence-peddling, no more patronage politics, no more stealing. No more sirens, no more short cuts, no more bribes. It is time for us to work together once more.)
Consultative & Participataory Governance
Papaigtingin namin ang proseso ng konsultasyon at pag-uulat sa taumbayan. Sisikapin naming isakatuparan ang nakasaad sa ating Konstitusyon na kinikilala ang karapatan ng mamamayan na magkaroon ng kaalaman ukol sa mga pampublikong alintana. (We will strengthen the process of consultation and feedback. We will strive to uphold the constitutional right of citizens to information on matters of public concern.)
Consultative & Participative Governance
Kayo ang boss ko, kaya’t hindi maaaring hindi ako makinig sa mga utos ninyo. We will design and implement an interaction and feedback mechanism that can effectively respond to the people’s needs and aspirations. (You are the boss so I cannot ignore your orders. We will design and implement an interaction and feedback mechanism that can effectively respond to your needs and aspirations.)
MANILA, Philippines—Two of the country’s biggest show biz personalities—Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda—have endorsed the senatorial bid of Joey de Venecia III.
The endorsement came in front of hundreds of thousands who attended at the Bangus Festival in Dagupan City where Aquino and Abunda praised De Venecia for his “courageous battle against corruption and poverty.” The two also asked their fans to vote for the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino candidate.
The son and namesake of former Speaker Jose de Venecia thanked the pair, whom he admired “not only for their show biz savvy, but also for their business acumen.” Besides being prized talents of ABS-CBN, Aquino and Abunda are also among the top product endorsers in the country.
“Kris, Boy and I have the same goal of trying to uplift the lives of our countrymen, especially the poor,” De Venecia said in a press statement. Kris Aquino is the younger sister of Liberal Party presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
De Venecia said wholesome entertainment figures like Aquino and Abunda play a large role in national development. “They serve as role models for their millions of fans.”
The De Venecia family has solid connections in local show business, with the former Speaker’s wife Gina being a member of the Vera Perez clan of Sampaguita Pictures.
The backing of Aquino and Abunda came on the heels of the endorsement of De Venecia by the country’s largest labor organization, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
De Venecia said the TUCP endorsement and that of Aquino and Abunda has boosted his candidacy.
In response to the TUCP endorsement, De Venecia said he would redouble his efforts to encourage more investment in the local IT sector and to push legislation that would ensure more frequent minimum wage hikes to reflect the higher cost of living.
“Being the country’s largest labor organization, the TUCP endorsement will go a long way,” De Venecia said.
The TUCP announced this week that it was supporting De Venecia because of his pro-worker stand and goal of producing millions of new jobs through IT.
MANILA, Philippines—Citing “alarming developments” concerning the reliability of the automated elections system, including the glitches that have developed in the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines’ software, the Supreme Court Thursday ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to make public the complete details of its preparations for Monday’s polls.
Voting 12 to 3, the high court directed the Comelec to disclose to the public “the nature and security of all equipment devices such as software and hardware components; the source code for review by interested parties; the terms and protocols of the random manual audit; the certification from the technical evaluation committee that the entire automated system is fully functional and continuity plan is already in place; and the certification protocol and the actual certification issued by the Department of Science and Technology that the 240,000 Board of Election Inspectors all over the country are trained to used the automated election system”.
The decision, penned by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, said the Comelec must comply with the requirements that are provided for under Republic Act 9369, or the Amended Automated Elections System Law of 2007.
The high court was acting on a special civil action for mandamus filed last April 23 by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr., Protestant Bishop Leo Soriano Jr., Quintin Doromal, Fe Maria Arriola, Isagani Serrano and Rodolfo Lozada Jr.
The justices said they were granting only the specific reliefs asked for in the petition because of the proximity of the elections. The petitioners can press the Comelec for other reliefs after the May 10 polls, they said.
The resolution cited news reports on Tuesday that with just six days to go before the May 10 elections, the Comelec has recalled 76,000 compact flash cards because of the widespread failure of the PCOS machines to read and tally votes during the testing conducted by the Comelec and Smartmatic-Total Information Management Corp., the systems supplier.
In its comment submitted on May 4, the Comelec said the petitioners had no legal standing to file the petition and that there was no proof that they had requested the release of the information contained in the documents mentioned in their petition.
The justices said the petitions had “overwhelming support” in the Constitution, citing in particular the provisions on the right to information and the state’s corresponding duty of full disclosure of all transactions involving public interest.
The court also cited the provisions in the Omnibus Election Code, requiring the Comelec to carry out a continuing and systematic campaign to educate the public about elections laws, procedures, decisions and other matters related to its duties; the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards, which mandates all public documents to be made accessible to, and readily available for inspection, by the public; and the Government Procurement Reform Act and RA 9525 (which appropriated P11.3 billion for the automated election), that required transparency in the procurement process and in the implementation of procurement contracts.
Democracy’s last bulwark
“[The] Comelec cannot shirk its constitutional duty to disclose fully to the public complete details of all information relating to its preparations for the May 10, 2010 elections without violating the Constitution and relevant laws. No less than the Constitution mandates it to enforce and administer election laws. The Comelec chair and the six commissioners are beholden and accountable to the people they have sworn to serve,” it said.
Calling itself “the last bulwark of democracy in this country,” the high court said it would spare nothing to ensure that the people’s right to information on matters affecting democratic processes is “fully guaranteed, protected and implemented”.
Concurring with the resolution were Chief Justice Reynato Puno and Associate Justices Conchita Carpio-Morales, Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Arturo Brion, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Martin Villarama Jr., Jose Portugal Perez and Jose Mendoza.
Dissenting were Associate Justices Renato Corona, Roberto Abad and Presbitero Velasco Jr.
The ProPinoy Project is a Global Community Center for all things Pinoy, to connect Filipinos at home and abroad by creating a space for ideas, trends and analyses about the Philippines and the global Pinoy community to inspire informed discussion and transformative action.