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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.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bacani asks Abad to resign, while some solons want him to go on leave out of delicadeza. But he refuses and P-Noy stands by him. There’s speculation that forthcoming SC decision on DAP would rule it FROM HEREON as unconstitutional, but would accept past grants as born of ignorance and therefore innocently doled out. Will the Filipinos accept this view? Drilon and LP cohorts pull fast one over Miriam’s plan to “Section 20” Dinky, thus saving her from 16th by-pass.

Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani

Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani has publicly asked Budget Secretary Florencio Abad  to resign, and this is an overwhelmingly popular demand. If a survey were made right now of people’s sentiment now on this issue, it would be hands down for Resign, Abad.  But he is not resigning because, according to him, he was not in the list of whistle-blower Ben-Hur Luy and therefore Luy’s is the correct list and not Janet Napoles’.  Ang babaw ng argumento, but this is what may happen when a public official has become so inured to corruption.

Abad denies that he was Napoles’ mentor in setting up fake NGOs and channeling legislative pork barrel to them. But the question is, would the queen of scams lie about Abad’s involvement in her grandiose racket and his being her mentor when she is fighting to be admitted as state witness and for her children to be protected from prosecution?

It doesn’t make sense for Napoles to incriminate Abad if he really had nothing to do with teaching her the rudiments of political skullduggery.

XXX

Some solons have followed Bishop Bacani’s plea and are asking Abad to take a leave out of delicadeza, to ensure that impartial investigation of his actuations could be done. But Abad is staying put and President Aquino is at this moment still backing him up, or is P-Noy waiting for the ruling of the Supreme Court that the disbursement acceleration program (DAP), of which Abad was the architect, is unconstitutional---before he cuts off his Budget Chief? 

The DAP is estimated to have amounted to P150 billion---part of which was acknowledged to have gone into financing the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona by the Senate.  Aquino could not have thought up this misuse of the executive branch’s savings by himself. It had to take someone who knows the ins and outs of the government financing world to figure out how to employ these billions in executive savings for the massive “incentives” that had to be handed out to ensure not only the Corona conviction, but also the impeachment of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and the passage of the sin tax bill and the RH bill into law.

XXX

There are speculations that the SC, which postponed deliberations on DAP yesterday,  would ultimately rule on DAP as unconstitutional FROM HENCEFORTH---sort of after the fact---but its application in past years would be allowed to stay---as it was a matter of not knowing earlier the basis of its illegality. A plea for temporary loss of sanity, a moment of aberration, in other words. Besides, argues Malacanang, it has since stopped the practice of doling out DAP (after former Sen. Panfilo Lacson spilled the beans about the Corona conviction at nabuking na). 

Such ruling by the SC, if it comes to pass, would, however, only contribute to the instability of the nation inasmuch as it won’t be accepted by the people. Thus, it’s easy to see that for the Palace the pot would reach boiling point.  Apparently this is shared by some people close to P-Noy, for from the grapevine come reports that President Aquino’s sisters have recommended to him to let Abad go if their brother wants to save his presidency. In other words, sacrifice the primus inter pares, the Cabinet member closest to him.

Abad is stubborn (also because P-Noy probably would be lost without his tested brilliance in finagling public funds), but the sisters should perhaps be the ones to plead with Abad to resign on his own so as not to pull down P-Noy further.

XXX

Speaking of gargantuan funds, there are reports that the bloc of eight senators whom then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile led and influenced to go for conviction of CJ Corona in May 2012 each got P100 million in addition to their PDAFs---one evening just before the judgment, IN  COLD CASH, BUNDLED IN INDIVIDUAL BAGS. This bloc of eight was most crucial as it was the swing vote---without this bloc, conviction couldn't have gotten the needed 16 votes. 

In this connection, I recall that in the latter part of the month-long rest period of that high-profile Senate trial of Corona, his lawyers summoned the media to a press conference at Club Filipino one rainy evening---to float so-called reports about a P100 million pay-off per senator for the Chief Justice’s conviction.

I was at that press con and I thought the defense lawyers’ claim was so preposterous, and aimed at making them summon bravery in the tough last leg of the fierce court battle ahead.  On their return from their month-long break from the Corona trial, the senator-judges were very angry at the accusation; a number of them even denounced the defense lawyers on the floor and virtually threatened them all with disbarment. This forced the defense lawyers to assign lawyer Judd Roy to be uncharacteristically humble and do the dirty job of apologizing for the bribery float.

It turned out that indeed public funds had flowed like they were going to be de-monetized next day in that sordid trial of the century.

XXX

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has “resigned” from her appointment as justice of the International Criminal Court even before going there, owing to her chronic fatigue. This means that her colleagues at the Senate will have a little less than two years more of the “Ilongga Jedi” in their midst. And the senators should be warned that these days she seems to be on the warpath. 

Yesterday Miriam was so angry at the trickery played on her by Senate President Franklin Drilon, her kasimanwa, that TV videos showed, her eyes dangerously slitting again. I don’t have the habit of agreeing with this feisty senadora but this time I don’t blame her for going on a rampage. Drilon and the LPs in the Commission on Appointments (CA) played a dirty trick on her regarding the confirmation of DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman---which showed the length to which P-Noy’s henchmen in Congress would go to protect his trusted lieutenants.

XXX

From the account in Daily Tribune today, Miriam had sent word to Rep. Conrado Estrella III, chair of CA's committee on labor, employment and social welfare, to inform him, out of courtesy, that  she  was going to veto the Soliman nomination---which meant that she would go into her 16th bypass by the CA. With P-Noy less than two years in office would Soliman ever be confirmed? Chronic by-passes for his most valued Cabinet members was becoming a huge embarrassment for P-Noy.

The LPs pushed the issue to the brink this time, prompting even a most loyal P-Noy ally, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, to decry that the President is violating the law on the continued stay of Cabinet members, but without any mandate from the Constitution through confirmation by the CA. P-Noy just keeps giving his favorite by-passed officials interim appointments.

Farinas was referring to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, another favorite by-pass patient at the CA, but he could also be alluding to by-pass champ Dinky Soliman.

XXX

What roused Miriam’s eye-slitting anger was the move by Drilon and his LP cohorts to move the CA’s deliberations on Soliman from yesterday, June 4, to next Wednesday, June 11. What’s the significance of that move?  Under the dreaded Sec. 20 of the rules of the CA any member of this powerful committee may move for suspension of action on any nomination favorably recommended by a standing committee. The Chair (in this case Drilon) is then called upon to suspend the consideration of the nominee, but the stipulation is that such suspension may be taken up in the next succeeding session of the CA.

This is the Sec. 20 ruling that many an executive appointee dreads so much, giving rise to the expression “Na-Section 20 siya.”  The only time, however, that Sec. 20  does not apply to any nominee or appointment is  during the last session prior to a sine die adjournment of Congress.  Miriam had hoped that her Section 20 move would apply on Soliman’s nomination, as it’s still  more than a week before the sine die of Congress on June 12---two more session days for the CA.

XXX

By moving session, however, to June 11, one day before the last day of session Drilon et al made sure that Miriam’s move would be pre-empted. Thus, despite all the gross inefficiencies Dinky Soliman has exhibited in various catastrophes and calamities, most notably in the Yolanda-stricken areas where tons and tons of undistributed rice and relief goods were left to rot in bodegas, she would get the CA's approval---goodbye to her numerous by-passes.

But the Drilon-led move was so stealthy and under-handed ("a dirty trick,” says Miriam) that it’s unbelievable.  But well, no, it’s quite believable too given its political significance: the grapevine reports that should the presidential candidacy of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, P-Noy’s anointed, not take off in 2016, Drilon would be waiting in the wings instead. He wants to be President.

1 comment:

  1. Only The Blessed Mother Is The Only Human WITHOUT SIN ! ! SINNERS,, WE ALL ARE ! ! Are'nt YOU ALSO, MSGR. TEDDY ? ? ? ? PLEASE REMEMBER THE PAST ! ! ! !

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