Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Tyranny of the Aquino Regime

For those who do not feel it yet, we in the Philippines are now under a state far worse than martial law. At least with martial law, there was no hiding behind the veil of democracy -- Marcos said it loud and clear that he was placing the nation under martial law.

Not so with the Idiot-in-Chief now sitting in the Palace. He chooses to veil the tyranny now reigning over this hallowed land with talks of "daang matuwid" and democracy, when in truth, democracy in the Philippines is dead. It died last night, at 8.50 pm.

The constitution of the Philippines grants the right of every citizen of the Republic the right to travel. But enemies of Gloria Arroyo (particularly in the Executive branch of government) think and act like they are above the law and the constitution, hindering the former president to travel to Singapore by issuing a watch list order despite a Temporary Restraining Order by the High Court, an order that is effective immediately.

If a person like Gloria Arroyo, with her status and her money and influence could have her right to travel so blatantly taken from her by the powers that be, what about us ordinary citizens?
A person -- an official no less -- who knowingly and deliberately acts in direct violation of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in General is tantamount to treason, and all of those involved in this travesty should be hanged.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

No Let Up

Despite the growing dismay of many Filipinos over the viciousness of hearings being conducted by the Senate, the senators who have an axe to grind with the former first family have stepped up their attacks with no sign of let up in the horizon.

Ping Lacson is on a warpath and wants another witch hunt conducted, this time focusing on the alleged behest loans of Roberto Ongpin witht the DBP. The only reason Ongpin and his loans ar being investigated is because Ongpin is close to the former First Gentleman.

i can only imagine what lies will be spewed on the senate floor to make Ongpin and his company appear like villains, when the truth of the matter is that Ongpin is the victim in an evil plot to discredit him. So far, the evil plot has taken the life of a young lawyer. How many more lives, i wonder, is the senate, particularly Ping, willing to sacrifice for his vengeance?

Sadly, it seems that the Senate is no longer interested in the truth but simply interested in investigating anything having to do with the former first family. The only good thing to come out of these hearings is that people are becoming more and more disgruntled with the upper house.

These vengeful trio of Senators -- Guingona, Drilon and Lacson) are clearly abusing their powers as legislators, but no one seems to be able to stop them from their grave abuse of powers. We are now at a point where the Senate can be used to vilify and falsely accuse anyone who earns the ire of these so-called "distinguished gentlemen", without the benefit of a fair and just trial -- and the Filipino nation should be fearful of this.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Time to end the witch hunt; If you have proof, take it to court

The Senate has apparently deemed itself so powerful as to become both judge and jury in what they call "hearings in aid of legislation", a thinly veiled reference to the witch hunt they are conducting against the formr first ocuple Gloria and Mike Arroyo. Senator Drilon has even gone far to preempt any defense the former First Gentleman would make. In an article in the Inquirer wesbite today by Cathy Yamsuan, Drilon said:

Expect Mike Arroyo’s lawyers to produce a deed of sale bearing the name of another person to show that the husband of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was not the owner of the two secondhand helicopters sold to the Philippine National Police, Sen. Franklin Drilon said on Sunday.

I wonder if Drilon realizes that he is a legislator and not the prosecution attorney? Come to think of it, the people constituting the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee are composed of people who have axes to grind against the Arroyos. To expect them to be fair would be impossible, but to act like Brutus and Cassius in front of Caesar, hungry for blood, is going a little bit too far.

These Senate hearings have gone on long enough, and with its supposed mountains of evidences and witnesses against Big Mike Arroyo, it is time to move from the Senate to the courts -- unless deep in their heart of hearts, these so-called Honorable (daw) Senators know that the evidence wouldn't pass muster in nay court of law. Could this be the reason why all their witnesses are being presented in the Senate and not in court?

We have jurisprudence with regards to these "hearings in aid of legislation". In Bengzon, et al vs Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (

G.R. No. 89914 November 20, 1991)

, the Supreme Court said, in part:


The "allocation of constituional boundaries" is a task that this Court must perfomr under the Constitution. Moreowever, as held in a recent case, 12 "(t)he political question doctrine neither interposes an obstacle to judicial determination of the rival claims. The jurisdiction to delimit constitutional boundaries has been given to this Court. It cannot abdicate that obligation mandated by the 1987 Constitution, although said provision by no means does away with kthe applicability of the principle in appropriate cases." 13

The Court is thus of the considered view that it has jurisdiction over the present controversy for the purpose of determining the scope and extent of the power of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to conduct inquiries into private affirs in purported aid of legislation.

Coming to the specific issues raised in this case, petitioners contend that (1) the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's inquiry has no valid legislative purpose, i.e., it is not done in aid of legislation; (2) the sale or disposition of hte Romualdez corporations is a "purely private transaction" which is beyond the power of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to inquire into; and (3) the inquiry violates their right to due process.

The 1987 Constition expressly recognizes the power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. 14 Thus, Section 21, Article VI thereof provides:

The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committee may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected. 15

The power of both houses of Congress to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation is not, therefore, absolute or unlimited. Its exercise is circumscribed by the afore-quoted provision of the Constitution. Thus, as provided therein, the investigation must be "in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure" and that "the rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected." It follows then that the rights of persons under the Bill of Rights must be respected, including the right to due process and the right not to be compelled to testify against one's self.


One of the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution to an individual is the right against self-incrimination. 24 Thir right constured as the right to remain completely silent may be availed of by the accused in a criminal case; but kit may be invoked by other witnesses only as questions are asked of them.

This distinction was enunciated by the Court in Romeo Chavez vs. The Honorable Court of Appeals, et al. 25 thus —

Petitioner, as accused, occupies a different tier of protection from an ordinary witness. Whereas an ordinary witness may be compelled to take the witness stand and claim the privilege as each question requiring an incriminating answer is hot at him, an accused may altother refuse to take the witness stand and refuse to answer any all questions.

Moreover, this right of the accused is extended to respondents in administrative investigations but only if they partake of the nature of a criminal proceeding or analogous to a criminal proceeding. In Galman vs. Pamaran, 26the Court reiterated the doctrine in Cabal vs. Kapuanan (6 SCRA 1059) to illustrate the right of witnesses to invoke the right against self-incrimination not only in criminal proceedings but also in all other types of suit

It was held that:

We did not therein state that since he is not an accused and the case is not a criminal case, Cabal cannot refuse to take the witness stand and testify, and that he can invoke his right against self-incrimination only when a question which tends to elicit an answer that will incriminate him is propounded to him. Clearly then, it is not the characeter of the suit involved but the nature of the proceedings that controls. The privilege has consistenly been held to extend to all proceedings sanctioned by law and to all cases in which punishment is sought to be visited upon a witness, whether a party or not.

We do not here modify these doctrines. If we presently rule that petitioners may not be compelled by the respondent Committee to appear, testify and produce evidenc before it, it is only becuase we hold that the questioned inquiry is not in aid of legislation and, if pursued, would be violative of the principle of separation of powers between the legislative and the judicial departments of government, ordained by the Constitution.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Court holds that, under the facts, including the circumtance that petitioners are presently impleaded as defendants in a case before the Sandiganbayan, which involves issues intimately related to the subject of contemplated inquiry before the respondet Committee, the respondent Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is hereby enjoined from compelling the petitioners and intervenor to testify before it and produce evidence at the said inquiry.


Fernan, C.J., Melencio-Herrera, Feliciano, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Medialdea, Regalado, Davide, Jr. and Romero, JJ., concur.


In my humble opinion, with my elementary understanding of the law and its workings, the Senate hearings are clearly not being done in aid of legislation but as a form of trial by publicity. Clearly, the statements made by some senators that Mike Arroyo is sure to go to jail for his involvement in the "helicopter purchase" scandal shows the true intention of the solons, for, if it is truly in aid of legislation, they have no more need to pursue these hearings, for they have enough to craft new laws or rectify existing ones to prevent such incidents from ever happening again. The only purpose left for these hearings is to continue to vilify the Arroyos and humiliate them, without giving them the chance to defend themselves in a court of law, as guaranteed by our Constitution.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Misguided Idiots (or Anatomy of a Pinoy Troglodyte)

I feel sorry for some of the people who populate the comments section of the GMA News TV Website, particularly the anti-Arroyos. For all the words these troglodytes sacrificed to the altar of commentary to make a sentence, many comments are still incoherent. Many still seem to resort to name-calling, perhaps thinking that that approach is an accepted application of civilized debate. In an article written by Mark Merueñas of GMA News on their website, a Mr. Ivan Henares was quoted as saying:

"I don't want to hear GMA [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] anymore. Start focusing on his term. He should already stop lambasting the previous administration," Henares said in a forum at the Miriam College in Quezon City.

"Does he have problems with the past administration? Let the courts deal with that. He should be rallying the Philippines towards a better country," he said.

And surely as the sun rises in the east, the anti-Arroyo netizens gave us their two cents (perhaps less) worth:

How can you let the courts deal with the Arroyos? E si Chief Justice appointee ni GMA. And the wheels of justice in this country turn awfully too slow if they turn at all. Ano kalimutan na? Dali magcriticize ng ginawa o di nagawa ni P-Noy pero to say thatone does not like to hear about GMA anymore is again forgetting without justice being served. Kaya nauulit ang mali, di naitatama kasi puro move on ang alam.
Marilou seems to have forgotten that only the courts can convict Gloria. If they don't file a case against her in court, all the witnesses and evidences being paraded in the Senate will amount to nil. I wonder how Marliou plans to get her much-anticipated justice without the courts? Here's another priceless comment:

The person who made this comment seems to be delusional. May LAYA na daw tayo. Teka. Kelan ba nawala ang kalayaan? Even during the administration of PGMA, may laya naman eh. In fact, i can recall that day after day after day, the opposition kept lambasting the former president in the media. Even the anti-Arroyo columnists kept firing their daily anti-Arroyo potshots in their columns. This wasn't like the time of Marcos where journalists were imprisoned for writing anti-government articles.

Why should this administaration do away with the Arroyos, unless these people goes to jail, no one will respect our Law. Nothing will happen to PHL. How can we improve our image and invite tourist if the money intended for the development of tourism promotion are also put into the pocket of CORRUPT OFFICIALS.
How can "these people" go to jail if the only venue evidences and witnesses are presented are in the Senate and not in the courts? Remember folks, for those who don't know the difference, the Senate hearings are done in AID OF LEGISLATION. The Senate cannot convict the Arroyos. Only the courts, which have JUDICIAL POWER can do that. Fortunately, there are some who know the difference, to wit:

Arroyo ka ng Arroyo hindi muna ginagampanan ang trabaho mo paunlarin ang bansa. Maraming walang trabaho, mataas ang bilihin yan ang problema hindi si Arroyo. Nagsasayang ka lang ng oras, may korte para kay Arroyo. Ikaw magtrabaho ka paunlarin ang bansa. Pinepeste mo kami

You're right there. Ang mga taong nagcocomment dito na dapat panagutin ang may kasalanan ay sarili lang iniisip at ayaw umasenso. Daig pa ang nga judge na nakaupo sa pwesto. Bakit hindi na lang hintayin ang hearing. May mas mahahalaga pang bagay na dapat gawin. Gugulong at gugulong ang hustisya at habang nakafocus ang pamahalaan sa mga kaso laban kay GMA mauubos din ng mauubos ang oras nila.
In the end, these anti-Arroyo critics have to understand that these Senate hearings are pointless, and that the only way they can achieve justice is to give Gloria Arroyo her day in Court to answer all the allegations being hurled against her. Without that, there will only be accusations and allegations and that is all.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Let your shirt do the talking

First there were silent protests, then came indignation rallies. Then the internet age came and blogs became the new venue for expressing one's opinions (fil. Kuro-Kuro). Now you can let your shirt do the talking with KuroKuroKo Shirts. their shirts are great conversation starters, great for expressing political opinion and great pang-japorms! Order your shirts by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

What's wrong with us?

In Conrado de Quiros' column in the Inquirer's online edition today entitled What's Wrong with us, Conrado bemoaned the fact that we Filipinos have a forgiving nature -- that this covers all manner of sins. He cited as an example the drama that ensued as a result of Angelo Reyes' suicide. In his first two paragraphs, de Quiros wrote, and I quote:
The first time I saw it in quite a dramatic way was when Angelo Reyes shot himself in the heart before his mother’s grave. His preference for the heart rather than the head apparently held a symbolism of sorts. He had promised his mother he would never tarnish the name he carried. With his gesture, he begged her forgiveness, without necessarily admitting the things he was being accused of.

Reyes was in fact being accused of corruption. Specifically of soliciting, and receiving, millions in pabaon, or a send-off gift on his retirement. It was a grave charge that took him by surprise and embarrassed him thoroughly at a Senate hearing. This was his way of recovering from it.

What the veteran columnist missed was a very important point -- every allegation of corruption against Angelo Reyes remains just that: allegations. For in truth, in this country of ours, many people watching the ever-increasing idiocy of Senate hearings think of these investigations as trials, with evidences being piled up one after the other, failing to realize that what they are watching are not trials but hearings in aid of legislation. Even the phrase "in aid of legislation" seems to skip some of our less-than-brilliant solons.

Until all evidences presented in these so-called hearings are brought to an actual judicial venue, these evidences mean nothing, even for the sake of argument, if they are true. The Filipino people could be forgiven for not being able to discern the difference, but for people in the know, and by "in the know" I refer to people whose duty it is to know the difference, including, but not limited to, people of the fourth estate, there can be no forgiveness.

If it seems too way up there for the esteemed Mr. de Quiros, let me remind him that under our system, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and no matter how many evidences and witnesses may have been paraded before the Senate against Reyes, the Senate is not a judicial body to render decisions on one's guilt or innocence -- a simple truth that seems to escape many of our fellow citizens, and much more of our solons.

But the point is moot since General Reyes already took his own life.

De Quiros goes on to ask: Has the culture of awa so addled our brains we can no longer allow a space for justice in it? Look at how prevalent it is. Look at how malevolent it is.

Before we dismiss this culture of awa as sentimental balderdash, let me remind our readers, especially of the yellow variety (if they managd to read my blog up to this point) that the culture of awa is what elevated your venerated Cory Aquino to power. People rallied behind her in her bid for the presidency because they felt sorry for the widow of Ninoy Aquino. Make no mistake, it wasn't Cory's political cunning or her courage (remember Cebu) that got people to support her. It was, firstly, the disgust of the people over the Marcos administration and, secondly, the pity people felt for her and her family.

Can we no longer allow a space for justice in it? Of course we can, but not through columns, articles and hearings. Justice can only be meted out by the courts, and despite all evidences and witnesses people seem to have, it boggles the mind why no one bothers to file cases to bring about Mr. De Quiros' much-lusted-after justice. That's what's wrong with some of us.

What is wrong is that we as a people tend to believe the media because it is convenient. What is wrong is our love affair with the ensuing telenovela-type hearings, salivating from one juicy controversy to the next. What is wrong is that some of us tend to leave out the facts when it conveniently suits us, and print those that are sure to titillate the ignorant masses.

And aye, there's the rub!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Vengeance-Hungry Aquino II Admin claims its Second Life

First, it was the unsubstantiated accusations against former Defense Chief Angelo Reyes, now it's the new DBP Board's witch-hunt. In both cases, Reyes and Benjamin Pinpin (a brilliant lawyer for DBP) committed suicide due to stress and depression.

Benjamin Pinpin committed suicide by hanging himself inside an undisclosed hotel room a few days ago. Emil Jurado, in his column for Manila Standard Today dated August 4 wrote:

It seems that the new DBP Board is trying to discredit the old board through falsehoods and half-truths. This seems to be the trend nowadays with the Aquino II regime and its appointed henchmen. The way these people dig up old cases or invent new ones just to put the previous administration in a bad light is sorry enough, but to cause a person to sign a false affidavit that led to his suicide is pure evil.

All of these actions just to link the former first gentleman Mike Arroyo to alleged anomalies. I'm beginning to see an evil pattern woven by this administration -- and that is to come up with dirt against the past administration BY ALL MEANS AVAILABLE -- and that, it now seems, to include falsifying documents. In an article by Doris C. Dumlao that appeared on, she wrote:

Pinpin, who had worked at the documentation unit of the DBP’s legal department, was among the 20 employees who were given “show cause” letters by the DBP board. Industry sources said that as of last week, Pinpin had signed an affidavit to support allegations that the DBP’s P510 million loan to Delta Venture Resource Inc., a company led by former Trade Minister Roberto V. Ongpin, was anomalous.

Although the loan had long been settled ahead of maturity, it was widely believed within the DBP that some people in the new board were attempting to dig deeper into the transaction on suspicion that the paper trail would eventually lead to former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Many employees have not been happy with the way the investigation was being handled and were concerned that this was disrupting the organization, banking sources said.

Ongpin, a local partner and representative of the British banking giant Ashmore, which has over $50 billion in assets under management globally, has denied allegations of fronting for his friend Arroyo and challenged critics to show proof otherwise.

According to people familiar with the suicide notes left by Pinpin, the lawyer had thought he could absolve himself and save his family by signing an affidavit. “Signing the affidavit was the biggest mistake of my life,” based on excerpts of the notes circulating among DBP employees. “I exposed myself by going beyond the truth.” (highlighting by mapangurirat)

But DBP employees are no longer keeping silent. They are up in arms over what the new board is doing, which is in all honesty, a witch hunt. Many are aghast by the steps being taken by the new board to please their appointive powers up in the upper echelons of the executive branch. Again, in Emil Jurado's column dated 4 Agugust 2011, he mentioned a text message being circulated by employees of the DBP which reads:

It is sad that some people have to come up with lies under the pretense of truth just to make it appear that they are better than their predecessors. It now appears that far from the alleged straight path, these people are taking the crooked path in order to make themselves look good, and their enemies look bad. But i firmly believe that no amount of lies can cover the truth. All these so-called evidences being paraded about like prized shetland ponies are nothing but show pieces, eye candy with no bite. Is it any wonder why until now, no cases are being filed against their vilified enemies?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Out of sight, out of mind

Call Gloria anything you want, but as Emil Jurado would say, you can never question Gloria's work ethic. After Typhoon Juaning hit Bicol, there were complaints from Albay Governor Joey Salceda about how PAGASA failed to inform them that the typhoon would be passing through their province. This is less than a week after the yellow president praised the agency for their accurate predictions and forecasts.

Now many people are asking where the president was at the height of the typhoon. Of course, we can expect his mouthpieces to say that th president was monitoring the situation, but wouldn't it have be better if the president made himself visible during the storm?

I remember in years past, PGMA, even when a typhoon was pounding Manila, would be out of Malacanang, attending the NDCC meetings or checking out evacuation areas. This is clearly not the case with Penoy, who has been out of sight, out of mind. The most visible official i have seen so far last Friday was that noisy undersecretary of PAGASA.

At a time when the people need to see leadership, the president was clearly absent, choosing to delegate authority rather than take charge. It is surprising since the yellow president and his palace have been known to micromanage anything that has anything to do with his perceived arch-enemy, Gloria Arroyo, but doesn't want to involve itself with things like disaster management. Ika nga, out of sight, out of mind. In his July 29, 2011 column, Emil Jurado had this to say:

And where, oh where was DSWD head honcho Stinky Soliman? Up to now, Albay has yet to receive much-needed relief. If i know my fellow Bicolanos, I would not be surprised if Joey Salceda is a tad bit disillusioned with his President right now.

Now, if you still have doubts, you might want to check the clippings below and see how the present leadership compares to the past when it comes to work ethics.

That's leadership you won't get with Penoy. 30

Thursday, July 21, 2011


With too many problems facing the country that needs to be addressed, it is surprising why the president and his minions try to meddle into every little detail that should be the job of his cabinet secretaries. It is quite telling, though, why the Palace is so interested in the Amaptuan and Bedol brouhaha and everyone who has 25% of his brain working has already deduced that Bedol and Amaptuan will be used by the Palace in their Anti-Arroyo propaganda. Even the hospitalization of Ampatuan is being handled by the Palace, while people suffer from high oil prices and high commodity prices -- something that is equally, if not more important than the Palace's anti-Arroyo stance.

One wonders how the president could appear to be doing so much without doing anything at all. Yes, the media shows Penoy doing all sorts of activities, yet the supposed benefits of those activities never seem to trickle down to the most deprived segments of our society. I almost seems like there is no president at all.

Now we are seeing so many explosive revelations about alleged anomalies and election frauds, to which evidences are presented not in a court of law but in the media. It also seems that the government knows they have nothing solid against Arroyo and that they just want her to be tried in the media.

What the President needs to do is stop meddling in everything anti-Arroyo and concentrate on his campaign promises, many of which remain unfulfilled after a year in office. With the SONA just days away, I fear that Penoy will make many more promises without completing first the promises he made during the elections.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Perjury for Margie?

Margie Juico swore under oath in a Senate hearing regarding the PCSO donation to the Bishops that she was not the source of the claim that the Bishops bought Pajeros using donations from the charity office. Juico, who was questioned by Senator Jinggoy Estrada regarding the source of the term "Pajero Bishops" said she never said the word Pajero and blamed the media for taking her statements out of context.

Yet it was Margie Juico herself, in an interview on TV, who said to the effect that she is bothered by the fact that the money donated to the bishops could have been put to good use kesa pinambili lang ng Pajero.

Margie perjured herself and there must be consequences to this. In fact, many people are beginning to suspect that the Pajero issue cropped up in an attempt to "put the bishops in their proper place" and to shame Gloria Arroyo (killing two birds with one stone, so to speak).
She must be held responsible for committing an act so grievous that it placed the integrity of the Catholic Bishops and the Roman Catholic Church to question.

It was indeed a lucky break that Sen. Miriam Santiago did her homework, looking into the claim by the COA that the donations were unconstitutional. In her opening statement, she said that the COA's duty was to audit and questions on constitutionality should have been referred to the DOJ. She even asked why the Senate is wasting its time investigating something so petty, when she has it from a personal source that there is a bigger issue involving the PCSO amounting to billions of pesos.

In her blog, Sen. Santiago presented the following:

Statement at the public hearing on alleged PCSO anomalies

held by the blue ribbon committee on 13 July 2011

The Facts

It appears from the 2009 report by the Commission on Audit that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office charged to its Charity Fund the total amount ofP6.94 million for five utility vehicles granted to certain dioceses of the Catholic church.

On the face of each check, in so many words, the following explanation was typed: “Purchase of one unit 4 x 4 service vehicle to be used by the diocese in its various community and health programs.”

Each of the bishops involved used the PCSO grants to purchase the following utility vehicles: a secondhand ten-year-old Nissan Pathfinder pickup; a Mitsubishi Strada pickup; a Toyota Grandia Hi-Ace; a Mitsubishi Montero; and an Isuzu Crosswind.

The COA report said that this action was a violation of the constitutional provision that no public money should be appropriated, directly or indirectly, for the use of any church.

The Law

The Constitution contains at least three specific provisions concerning the relationship of church and state.

The first provision is found in Article 2, Declaration of Principles, which states in Section 6: “The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.”

The second provision is found in Article 3, Bill of Rights, which states in Section 5: “No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

And the third provision is found in Article 6, the Legislative Department, which states in Section 29 paragraph 2: “No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion. . . .”

The Issue

The issue is whether the 2009 COA report is correct, in finding that the grant ofP6.49 million to certain dioceses of the Catholic church violates the Constitution.

I humbly submit that the COA report is wrong, and that there was no constitutional violation. Under the Constitution, the power of the COA is to audit government funds, not to settle questions of constitutional law. That power is granted only to the Supreme Court. COA should have recommended that the constitutional issue should be raised with the Department of Justice, which is the official legal adviser of the executive branch of the government.

Constitutional Analysis

Constitutional law consists, not only of the Constitution, but also of the cases decided by the Supreme Court on constitutional grounds. So far, the only case decided by the Supreme Court that has some bearing on the present issue is the 1937 case ofAglipay v. Ruiz.[1]

The post office issued postage stamps commemorating an international eucharistic congress of the Catholic church. The issue was whether the stamps used public money for religious purposes, thus violating the Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled that there was no violation:

It is obvious that while the issuance and sale of the stamps in question may be said to be inseparably linked with an event of a religious character, the resulting propaganda, if any, received by the Roman Catholic Church, was not the aim and purpose of the Government. We are of the opinion that the Government should not be embarrassed in its activities simply because of incidental results, more or less religious in character, if the purpose had in view is one which could legitimately be undertaken by appropriate legislation. The main purpose should not be frustrated by its subordination to mere incidental results not contemplated. (Emphasis added.)

Thus, the test is the basic purpose, and not the mere incidental result, of the use of public funds. The basic purpose of the grant of public funds is clearly stated on the face of the checks themselves: “purchase of service vehicles to be used by the diocese in its various community and health programs.” If there is any benefit to the bishop and the diocese, it is merely incidental.

The Threefold Test:

Purpose, Effect, Entanglement

The provision in our Bill of Rights consists of two clauses:

  • The Establishment Clause, prohibiting Congress from establishing a state religion; and

  • The Free Exercise Clause, denying to Congress the power to prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Under the Establishment Clause, the general guide is the concept of “neutrality.” This means that government should act to achieve only goals which are secular, meaning goals which are worldly; as distinguished from goals which are spiritual. Government should achieve secular goals in a religiously neutral manner.

To determine what is a religiously neutral act, the U.S. Supreme Court has adopted a threefold test called purpose, effect, entanglement. To determine whether a law that is religiously neutral on its face violates the Establishment Clause, the Court will consider three factors, which I shall now apply to the pending PCSO case:

1. Does the law have a secular purpose?

Answer: Yes, because the PCSO law (R.A. No. 1169, as amended) authorizes the PCSO “to engage in health and welfare-related investments, programs, projects, and activities,” by itself or in collaboration with others.

2. Does the law have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion?

Answer: No, the PCSO law does not even mention religion.

3. Does the law create an excessive entanglement between government and religion?

Answer: No, as I shall now explain.

The threefold test was laid down in the 1971 case of Lemon v. Kurtzman[2]decided by the US Supreme Court. It is not binding, but it is authoritative in our jurisdiction. In Lemon, the Court said that in determining whether a law involves excessive entanglement between government and religion, we must conduct the following analysis:

1. Consider the nature of the institution that received the benefit from the government.

2. Consider the nature of the aid that the government gave to the bishops.

3. Consider the resulting relationship between the government and the bishops.

The donations pass the threefold legal test under jurisprudence. However, during the hearing, PCSO management apparently admitted that it has not given similar donations to any other religion. If so, then PCSO management appears to be giving preference to the Catholic religion, and that would be a violation of the Establishment Clause.

Repeal the PCSO Charter

As chair of the Senate committee on revision of laws, I shall call a public hearing this August on a new PCSO charter, as well as a new Pagcor charter. Both the PCSO and Pagcor funds constitute the President’s Social Fund, which has served as a black budget, meaning a budget insulated from public scrutiny, confined to the dark and insulated from sunshine, sneaked through the back door instead of undergoing the open process of congressional budgetary authorization.

Under existing law, PCSO generates revenues from the sale of sweepstakes and lotto tickets. The resulting revenues are allocated, as follows:

  • 55% to the Prize Fund

  • 30% to the Charity Fund

  • 15% to the Operating Fund

The Charity Fund and the Operating Fund – or in other words, 45% of the revenues – are allocated by the PCSO Board, apparently with the approval of the President. According to the 2008 COA report, the total deposits to the bank’s current account for the three Funds were in the aggregate amount of P7.603 BILLION.

To give to the PCSO Board the power to allocate the galactic sum of P7.603 BILLION A YEAR is to excavate a yawning democratic deficit. The present situation is feudal and contrary to best international practice. The best practice is the one-fund concept, under which all government revenues are remitted to the Treasury, and disbursed only as authorized by Congress. There should be no President’s Social Fund, because the entire government budget is already his budget. This is why we call it the President’s Budget.

The new law will repeal not only the PCSO charter, but also all the various republic acts that seek to allocate certain PCSO funds to alphabet-soup national programs. The new law will limit the PCSO Board only to the function of regulating and supervising sweepstakes and lotto operations.

The entire revenues for the year will be remitted to the national treasury. Only the President and Congress will prioritize and allocate the fund, except that 5% of the lotto earnings shall be given to local government units, and only 10% shall be allocated for administrative expenses. The PCSO bureaucracy shall be slashed, their allowances and privileges abolished, and the public relations budget removed.

And while this process of building on the ashes takes place, I respectfully move that this blue ribbon committee should immediately recommend to the Ombudsman the criminal prosecution of all PCSO officials responsible for depositing in 2009 with a private commercial bank the sum of P1.548 BILLION without the prior approval of the Department of Finance, as required under DOF Order No. 27-05.

By the process of lateral thinking, I respectfully move to investigate the source of the false report about the so-called “Pajero bishops,” when it turns out that no Pajeros were involved. Who is this maleficent twisted genius? Was this media spin designed to cover up the crime of depositing without authorization in a private bank the sum of P1.548 BILLION? Was this media spin further designed to call public attention away from the annual sum of some P 7.6 BILLION made available to the sticky fingers of the PCSO Board?

Like the wanton world-class theft of public funds and conspicuous consumption generated by the road user’s tax, the PCSO anomaly is bodaciously corrupt. Keep the bishops out of it. #


[1] 64 Phil. 206 (1937).

[2] 403 US 602 (1971).

Miriam's presentation was quite revealing, to say the least.

The best part of the hearing was when Juico' plans backfired, and people were shocked with the revelation that the PCSO donations to the Bishops was blown out of proportion by Juico and the present board, with Juico being booed by the audience during the hearing.

Now that the truth has been revealed, it is time Margie Juico faced justice for wasting the Senate's and the peoples' time and money in a wild-goose chase that now appears to be a smoke screen for an even bigger scandal -- a scandal which might put Juico in a bad light, perhaps?

The ball is now in the Seante's court. They should find Margie Juico guilty of perjury if only to send a message to others that the Senate will not be used to destroy other people's credibility.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


In his show on DZBB last week, Arnold Clavio shared this blind item.

Sino itong mataas na opisyal na opisyal ng gobyerno na niregaluhan ng isang negosyante ng BMW X6M na tinest drive nga niya sa kanyang bahay/opisina?

Clavio, while giving out clues, and with Mike Enriquez joining in the guessing, received a text message from Malacanang via Ed Lacirda saying that they deny that the President bought a BMW X6M, to which Clavio replied:

Oo nga. hindi nga bumili. Bigay nga eh.

It is funny how Malacanang became so defensive about this issue. Guilty ba?