Constitution

The Real McCoy

If chimps on the lower end of the social scale collectively draw a line in the sand, threatening serious consequences if those at the upper end step over it, we have the beginnings of what in legal terms is called a ‘constitution’.” – Dr Frans De Waal, Primatologist

A not so long time ago, in a place not so far away, in Maharlika, a kingdom in the planet of the apes, a group of influential subjects rose against their ruler, the Alpha MacCoy. Their reason for doing so was simple: the Grand MacCoy did not rule his subjects impartially. He frequently granted favours to his closest kin and followers. He often inflicted serious bodily harm on those who would cross-wires with his camp.

After casting the corrupt MacCoy down from his throne and chasing him away from their territorial boundary, the wise old men of the coalition set about to write a set of rules to govern the tribe from then on. They decided to choose their leaders based on consensus rather than through physical intimidation and dominance.

To avoid the favouritism for which MacCoy was reviled, they decided not to allow their rulers to be succeeded by their descendants or close kin and to set limits on their terms of office to allow a rotation of leadership. The ‘tyranny of cousins’ was about to end. Unfortunately, to gain the support of the rest of the tribe which included remnants of MacCoy’s faction, they decided to leave it to an assembly of elders to be elected by them to decide how this rule would be enforced.

And so began the next chapter in the tribe’s evolution. Unfortunately, after a considerable amount of time, the elders who comprised their assembly chose not to enforce the rule against self-perpetuation in power through the election of kin. Having seen the way MacCoy succeeded in amassing great wealth and power, they through collusion now sought to perpetuate themselves in the assembly through legal succession.

As time went by, the citizens of the post-Maharlikan age started to notice that their assembly no longer resembled the kind of body that their founding elders had envisioned. It became clear that those on the upper scale showed no restraint in exercising their privileges. About seventy per cent of all seats in their assembly over a period of sittings were now controlled by these new elites.

The citizens began to petition their grand arbiter to step in and break up the new ruling ‘maccoys’.

Unfortunately, by this time, there were numerous voices in their community who wanted to preserve the system that they had. Given that now they had elected officials, they felt that their new leaders and their families should enjoy their just desserts. “These are the real maccoys,”they said, “people who have distinguished themselves through their honest work and abilities, not through gladiatorial combat with other alpha male-types and they have proven this by their electability, time and time again.”

“Not so,” said one wise old sage, who studied the pattern of elections and had shown that the longer an elder sat in their assembly, the greater the chances an heir would join that assembly. He had revealed through his oracles known as “instrument variables” that it was not due to good family traits or characteristics that the succession took place, but rather simply a case of power begetting power.

Another priestly shaman who had studied this problem too came up with a different parable. The election of these maccoys was not the problem. The real problem lay in the lack of rivalry from competing camps that led to callous leadership. There were certain areas in their kingdom where some maccoys had done well and promoted the welfare of their citizens. This came about because rival elders were present who would try to outdo them in this.

That may be so, and yet the result of the oracle kept ringing in the ears of some of the citizens. If power begets power then it means that the best person does not always get elected and that the original distribution of power affects subsequent generations in a self-perpetuating manner. Regardless of how the heirs discharged their functions, this fact undermined the legitimacy of their ascension into office.

It began to dawn on them that rather than distinguishing between good maccoys and bad maccoys, real from fake ones, that a real and serious debate was needed on whether to enact the original intent of their founding elders. Many, many moons had already passed, and yet their voice had not been heeded. It was time for them to re-examine, whether they had really chased Alpha Maccoy out of their kingdom, or whether in fact they had harboured him in their hearts.

Do not demonize the Executive Department

The statement of Fr. Castro is entirely, baseless and speculative, the $434-million financial compact to help the present administration to address the issue on poverty and corruption.  No such thing as embracing the US ideology in exchange for this grant. That is a complete lie. – Fr. Castro is completely hallucinating for making such remark. Father, please do not demonize the Executive Department. Read more

BSAIII statement on the declaration of martial law in Maguindano

Official statement of Senator Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino on the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao, December 5, 2009

On the Declaration of Martial Law in Maguindanao

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.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

BSAIII statement on Con-Ass

Official statement by Senator Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino on moves to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly (Con-Ass), June 9, 2009

On Charter Change

“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.”

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

A Philippines that Works: Economic Vision and Platform

Speech by Senator Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III delivered on January 21, 2010 before the members of the Makati Business Club at the Peninsula Manila Hotel, Makati City

Four-part video of the speech, courtesy of NoyTV on YouTube:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAFlybsqCjc&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV-Uyoe_eso&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnM2qrEpEes&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Andlyzn6f1A&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

A Philippines That Works Economic Vision and Platform

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.

Thank you.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

Transcript of BSAIII's answers at Youth 2010: Bumoto Para sa Pagbabago

Transcript of Sen. Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino’s answers at Youth 2010: Bumoto Para sa Pagbabago, ANC Presidential Youth Forum, January 29, 2010, De La Salle University-Manila

Transcript of Answers at the DLSU Youth Forum

Question from Ingga Bianca Sobreikerri of St. Scholastica’s College

Ingga Bianca Sobreikerri: Senator, kayo po ba ay sang-ayon sa Reproductive Health Bill at paano po ninyo ilulunsad at ipaliliwanag sa ating mga kababayan ang ganitong batas gayong ang inyong pamilya ay kilala bilang maka-Diyos?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Ang posisyon po namin ay tinatawag na responsible parenthood, ang statistics po namin ay ganito, ang sabi po kanina ng isa nating katunggali wala po tayong population problem. I think we will all agree that if you at one parameter for instance education, there is a problem in classrooms anywhere from 20 to 40 thousand, we are not already able to meet the needs of the people who are already here and that responsible parenthood basically says each parent should be reminded, ipaalala natin sa bawat magulang may dinala kayong anak sa mundong ito, mayroon kayong obligasyon na paaralin, pakainin, may tirahan na maayos, damitan at iba pa.

Hindi po puwdeng bahala na kung ano ang mangyari dun sa anak, yun lang po ang minumungkahi namin. Ngayon po, ano ang solusyon po diyan? Mayroon po tayong educational campaign na ipapaalala po itong mga responsibilidad na ito, yung paghuhubog ng konsensiya at yung values po, iniimbitahan po natin ang bawat isang simbahan na maki-lahok at ibahagi yung kanilang mga pagtu-turo para maliwanagan yung paghuhubog ng konsensiya, nasa atin pong Saligang Batas na mayroon pong separation of Church and State, tayo ay isang demokratikong bansa, hindi po marapat na ang gobyerno po natin ay magdi-dikta sa sinoman kung ilan ang anak na dapat nilang dalhin sa mundo, kung paano nila pa-planuhin ang kanilang pamilya, pero mayroon pong obligasyon nandiyan po sa Saligang Batas na ang gobyerno, ipaalala sa bawat isa na mayroon po tayong tungkulin sa pamilya na nagiging “nuclear family” o susi sa lahat ng pagre-resolba sa lahat ng ating problema.

Huling paalala lang po, noong EDSA po, mayroon tayong humigit kumulang 50 milyon katao,ngayon po ay nasa 93 hanggang 97 ang tinatayang mga mamamayang Pilipino. Geometric ang progression sa population at kung tayo ay parang walang nakikita, walang sasabihin at walang naririnig, siguro po yung mga bata na hindi na nagkakaroon pagkakatong matunghayan ay lalong hindi magkakaroon ng pagkakataon kung tayo’y patuloy na mananahimik.

Questions from a panel of De La Salle University-Manila students

Panel member: Sa pagpasa ng batas ukol sa contractual employment sa mga kumpanya, paano po ninyo ire-resolba ang mga issue ng security of tenure o employment sa ating bansa?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Yun nga po ang problema, contractualization does not have security of tenure that there will be mutually exclusive, ang tanong nga po dito, mayroong kontrang isyu po dun yung comparative advantage natin versus other countries, labor lang po for the most part ang ating dear value added, tapos we’re pricing ourselves out of the market, yung aming plataporma, stresses education and education enhances the skills, the skills and job potentials that will open up because of an enhance and more skill full labor force hopefully will ensure the tenure and potentials for having meaningfull and dignified jobs here in the country and as well as abroad.

Gusto kong sugpuin ang “contractualization” at the same time ayoko namang patayin yung mga negosyo na kakaunti na lamang nandiyan na ang dami na nga pong lumikas sa ating bansa, wala naman ho talagang makikita sa solution sa extreme positions, saan ba yung happy compromise dito? Natutugunan yung kapakanan ng mga manggagawa, natutugunan din naman yung pangangailangan ng mga negosyo para maka-compete sa global market, huwag po nating kalimutan malapit na po tayong ma-obliga under various treaties na magbukas ng ating mga pinto sa dayuhang mga kalakal at mga produkto, so kailangan na po tayong maka-laban sa ating domestic market at mangyayari po yan, kung talagang naka-focus, yung isa po saking mga panukalang batas yung kung paano ibalik yung konspeto ng bawat kompanya na ang pananawa dapat ay hindi kayo o kami kapag nagtutugunan at nag-uusap ang management at labor pero bumalik tayo dun sa tayo, kompanya natin ito, paano natin palalaguin ito? Ang mga minungkahi natin dito ay yung productivity incentive.

Panel member: Sinabi po ninyo sa inyong palatastas na hindi po kayo magnanakaw, pero paano naman po ang ibang opisyal? Ang taong ko po, mayroon na po kayong nagawang kongkretong mga paraan bilang isang mambabatas para siguraduhing mahuli at mapanagutan ng mga ahensiya o mga opisyal na napatunayang nagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan o naging kasama sa katiwalian?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Salamat sa tanong mo, palagay ko naman hindi ka absent nung nandoon tayo sa mga ZTE hearing, nandoon tayo kasama sa impeachment, nagtatanong tama ba yung paratang dun sa hello Garci, among other things, kasama ako sa impeachment for that matter, sinubukan narin nating iwasto yung sistema, doon sa AFP, DND budget, pagka-tagal tagal, 1974 pa po, hindi po subject to public bidding yung kanilang paggugol ng budget na yun, isang taon po ay umabot ng P1.8 billion ang tinatayang savings is between 5 to 10 percent, we could have saved a hundred and 80 million and devoted it to something else. Pero ang dulo po nun, I think I have proposed an amendment accepted to GAA for something like 9 or 10 budget seasons already kaya lang pinapalusutan at ginagawaan ng paraan para magkaroon ng failure of bidding, ang dami pa po nating ginawa, na hindi lang tayo naging interesadong itaas yung sarili nating bangko dahil tumutugon lang po ako sa ipangako ko na paglilikungkuran ang taong bayan, hindi ko na kailangan pang ipagmalakihan pa kung ano iyong ating nagawa.

Questions from Ted Failon, host of the forum

Ted Failon: Mayroon bang nagawa si Pangulong Arroyo na dapat niyang panagutan pagkatapos ng kanyang term?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Sa akin po pananaw, YES. Ang problema po dito….

Ted Failon: Kung YES sa paano pong paraan?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Dapat po magkaroon tayo ng closure sa lahat ng issues, ang issue nga po dito yung kulang ng transparency, mayroon po tayo for instance yung fertilizer scam na kalian naimbestigahan, 4 years after the crime was committed, kailangang may katiyakan sa kaparusahan, kung tao po ay hindi mamamansin dito sa mga issues na walang closure, para narin nating sinabi na ituloy natin itong sistema na mali sa atin pong palagay. Paano natin hahabulin yan? Nandiyan po ang ating mga korte, nandiyan po yung ating mga investigative arms, pero may obligasyon din naman tayo na protektahan ang karapatan ng lahat, dahil sabi nga po ng aking ama, yung pagtatanggol sa karapatan lalo ng kalaban mo ang talagang batayan kung talagang may demokrasya o wala, yun po ang hahabulin natin. Pangako ko po ay closure on all of the issues, kailangan pong magkaroon ng resolution kung sino ang may kasalanan ay kailangang may tiyak na kaparusahan.

Ted Failon: Ginoong Aquino, ano po kaya ang pinakamabigat na isyu na dapat nyang panagutan?

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Napakahaba po ng listahan, baka kulangin po tayo.

Ted Failon: Isa lang po.

Senator Noynoy Aquino: I think she has destroyed a lot of institutions that we have replied upon to have a vibrant and functional democracy. Ang dami na hong nagkwestiyon. Pati simbahan kinukwestyon. Pati ang ating mga korte nakukwestiyon. Dulo po nito, may gagawing kasalanan, sasabihing sagot pulitika lamang at parati hong nabibinbin na malaman natin ang katotohanan. Tuloy yung dapat mali ay tila sa ating pananaw ay naging sistema na. Naging syang palakad at kalakal po sa ating bansa na talagang nagpapahirap sa ating mga kababayan.

Closing statement

Senator Noynoy Aquino: Magandang hapon ho sa lahat. Ako’y nagpapasalamat sa pagkakataong ito. Palagay ko po ang pinuno, klaro ang mga posisyon sa lahat po ng isyu. Mahirap po sundan kung pabago-bago o naliligaw paminsan-minsan at bumabaliktad ang kanyang mga desisyon. Sa katanungang mayroon bang kasalanan si G. Arroyo, dapat mayroon tayong paninindigan. Tama o mali ikaw ang mag didikta sa buong gobyerno kung uusigin o hindi. Pag tayo po ay sasagot na nakakakaba ng konti, bakit ang unang papasok sa ating kaisipan ay hindi ko idedepensa ang sagot ng isang katunggali. Bakit ho depensa kaagad kung gayong nasa oposisyon sya? Kailangan ho suriin natin kung ano ang pinanggalingan natin, dahil sinasabi ng lahat, marami ang mali sa kasalukuyang sistema. Tayo ho ba ay nagpanatili sa sistemang yun o tinututulan natin yung mali? Pakitingnan po ang aming mga record. Maraming salamat sa lahat.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

Manifestation of BSAIII at the joint session of Congress on martial law

Manifestation of Sen. Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III at the joint session of Congress on martial law, December 14, 2009

Manifestation at the Joint Session on Martial Law

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, the President lifted the proclamation of martial law. Under different circumstances or perhaps if done by a judicious President, her act should have calmed the public groping for answers as to whether there was an existing rebellion at the time of the proclamation. But her act has raised more questions that need to be answered.

We join the condemnation of the massacre of 57 Filipinos in Maguindanao. Condemnation is not enough. We need to unearth the conditions that allowed such a crime in order to prevent a recurrence.

If we are to remain committed to the constitutional principles upon which the whole fiber of a just and orderly society rests, it behooves us to continue to inquire as to the factual basis of the declaration of martial law.

Was there truly a legal basis for declaring martial law in Maguindanao?

Was the restoration of peace and order the real reason for the imposition of martial law or are there other reasons yet unseen?

Was it to instill fear, given the very negative connotations of martial law?

Was there actual, not just impending, rebellion?

Was martial law imposed to cover up the discovery of DND/PNP arms and ammunition proving government support for the warlords that have delivered questionable election victories to this administration in the past?

Was it to enforce such overwhelming control to prevent any leakage of information and suppress evidence of electoral fraud and other crimes?

Was it meant to re-establish control of the alleged massive electoral fraud machinery in time for the 2010 elections?

Was this a test case for implementing martial law rule in the entire country?

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, the people deserve an answer, an explanation of the circumstances that led the administration to resort to this action. The joint session of Congress was the ideal venue for providing the needed enlightenment. Let the people’s voice be heard and indeed, it is through us that they will be heard. Let us not shirk from our responsibility, lest we transform ourselves into a passive accomplice of this administration’s penchant for constitutional defiance.

The President’s action has deprived Congress of its constitutional mandate to exercise oversight on how martial law powers are wielded.

Some claim that with the lifting of the proclamation of martial law in Maguindanao our constitutional duty in this whole exercise have become moot and academic. But as elected representatives of the people it is within our constitutional duty to ensure that this historic convening of both chambers of Congress will not be an exercise in futility.

It is for this reason, Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, that this representation urges both chambers to create a jointly appointed Independent Commission that will study and come up with recommendations to Congress in aid of legislation as to clearly define the conditions that would warrant the declaration of martial law, a definition of how the Commander-In-Chief should exercise martial law powers and to provide guidance to the Congress in the exercise of its oversight function over this presidential prerogative.

[Archived from the official campaign web site of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III]

Clef two-factor authentication