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 business.inquirer.net, 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?