Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why couldn't INC's 'medical-dental mission' in MM, involving 1.6 million participants tomorrow have been scheduled today, so traffic wouldn't be snarled; but apparently it's just a cover for INC's mounting disgust with P-Noy admin---a super-typhoon of a political statement and A THREAT. Drilon asked for senators’ list of “priority projects” running into many millions, just weeks before Corona trial began. Knowing this generous bounty, could 19 senators have voted no to CJ conviction? Naked bribery in this trial worst form of corruption.

The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) central headquarters in QC.
Tonight we heard MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino quoting Education Secretary Armin Luistro's announcement that classes in elementary and high school levels in twelve cities in Metro Manila will be suspended tomorrow, Monday, Oct. 14. The reason, according to Tolentino, is that DepEd fears that students would be caught in horrendous traffic owing to the medical and dental mission of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), called “Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko Lingap sa Mamamayan,” tomorrow which is expected to draw some 1.6 million participants.   

At first I thought it was the report of an approaching typhoon in the wake of the departing “Santi” that caused the classes cancellation. It turned out  it was really the INC mission that caused it.


I have nothing but praise for such a mission, as heaven knows how badly our people need such such medical services, given the woefully limited health programs of the Department of Health. But my first instinct was, couldn’t the INC have held it today, Sunday, instead of tomorrow when it would surely choke up even more the already monstrous traffic in the metropolis? 

I felt that there have been already too many cancellations of classes for our students, whereas holding that INC out-reach today instead of tomorrow would produce for the INC the same effect, without affecting classes.

It's turning out, however, that Monday HAS TO BE THE DATE OF THE OUT-REACH---FOR ONE GOOD REASON. 


An observer opined today that perhaps the INC is driving home a statement not only of its sense of mission, but also its capability to paralyze an entire metropolis. I note that INC held a similar mission in Davao City many weeks back and that city came to a standstill for a whole day. These medical missions are also perceived as a build-up to the INC’s 100th Anniversary celebration next year, led by Ka Eduardo V. Manalo.

It turns out, however, that this massive out-reach project tomorrow is not just a medical mission; it's aimed to be A POWERFUL POLITICAL STATEMENT from the INC of its mounting disgust for the P-Noy administration that it helped install in power over three years ago.

Recall how the INC also came out in a massive rally at Luneta prior to the Senate vote on CJ Renato Corona in May last year. 

In my blog last Wednesday, I already reported that INC was planning mass action for tomorrow, Oct. 14, in Mendiola, in protest of the pork barrel anomalies and corruption in this administration. But it turns out that INC would be delivering a super-typhoon of a statement in the ENTIRE METROPOLIS tomorrow---aimed at the Palace . 

With the seeming unification of various religions, led by the Catholic Church, the Protestant Churches and now the INC, President Aquino should not just sit up and take notice. He should read the writing on the wall: RESIGNATION as the graceful way out for him. 


The shameless employment of pork barrel and other public-fund projects in both chambers of Congress continues to hog the headlines, as new secrets  about them are revealed, it seems, by the day. A big story in the Inquirer today indicated that six administration senators received in 2011 funds from supposed government savings coursed through the controversial “Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), over and above their regular pork entitlements of P200 million each a year.

The senators mentioned, namely, Alan Peter Cayetano, Ralph Recto, Antonio Trillanes IV, Teofisto Guingona Jr., Sergio Osmena III and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, were said to have addressed their request letters for P100 million each to then Senate Finance Committee Chair Franklin Drilon, who disbursed these amounts accordingly.

These requests were part of the whopping P1.1 billion in additional lump-sum funds released from October to December 2012, months after the conviction for inaccurate SALN of Chief Justice Renato Corona by the Senate impeachment court.


It seems that we citizens are by now getting inured to these revelations but what I find most significant in this recent story was the TIMING of the disclosure inside the Senate of the availability of these extra lump-sum funds for the senators.  

According to the story, Sen. Drilon, now Senate President, had made known on Nov. 22, 2011 a directive to a senator, asking him to submit to the Office of the Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office his list of priority projects requested. The same directive appeared to have been issued to other senators and many of them submitted their priority lists on the eve of Drilon’s imposed deadline.

The story said that the six senators’ priority lists came a month after the DBM had announced implementation of the P72.11 billion in additional projects funding for the senators from savings from 2010 and 2011.


What is interesting in the story about these new lump-sum funding entitlements was that these were made known as available to the solons JUST WEEKS BEFORE THE FILING OF THE IMPEACHMENT CASE AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA by 188 members of the House representatives (sans reading the complaint as the Constitution mandated) in December 2011.  For weeks before the actual commencement of the Senate trial on Jan. 16, 2012, rumors were already blowing wild that Corona would be impeached.  

It was obvious that the announcement of the DBM's P72.11 billion in additional projects and Drilon’s subsequent letter asking the senators for their list of priority projects WERE ALL MEANT TO INFLUENCE THE VOTE OF THE SENATORS AGAINST CORONA that early.  And influence them it did.


Sometime during the one-month break in the impeachment trial in the Senate early in April 2012, the defense lawyers of Corona called a press conference at Club Filipino where they denounced reports of alleged bribery of the senators of about P100 million each to vote conviction.  When the Senate court resumed later that month, the senators ganged up on the defense lawyers, forcing Atty. Judd Roy to issue an uncharacteristic apology to the senators who, in the words of Sen. Pia Cayetano, were exposed to undeserved public opprobrium by that allegation.

It turned out that Judd Roy was right all along---Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, in his privileged speech three weeks ago, laid wide open the charge of bribery in the vote of 20 senators, including himself.

As I have said in this blog a couple of times---which cannot be overstated---nothing is worse than the corruption of bribery of the senators’ votes during the Corona impeachment trial. For it was the public’s hope and belief all along that the honorable crimson-robed senators would vote according to their individual conscience, as God gave them the light to see. 

It turned out that the Senate trial was all pera-pera lang---a morality play whose moorings came loose in the first burnish of blinding gold.

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  1. Corona deserved to be removed from SC as it turned out in the impeachment trial.

  2. It is better to have a silent but fruitful rally than to have a violent one. kudos for them and a warning to the administration. they must clean up and come clean their closets are rotting now.

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