Aquino has debased the Senate into a propaganda weapon


Equalling only President Benigno Aquino’s misdeed, in depth of turpitude, of using and bribing the Senate in 2012 to remove Chief Justice Renato Corona, has been the president’s debasement of the Senate Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, or the so-called Blue Ribbon Committee, as a propaganda weapon.

Aquino, in fact, has been the only President who has exploited the vast powers of the Blue Ribbon Committee to use its investigations as a powerful propaganda weapon to politically demolish his targets’ reputations.

Was there any episode during the administrations of Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, and Gloria Arroyo when the Blue Ribbon Committee acted as a kangaroo court against a personality, as has been so common during Aquino’s regime?

Under Aquino, it was the committee’s investigations that blackened the bishops’ reputations to mute their opposition to Aquino’s reproductive health bill, as well as to add another case against former President Arroyo when the other charges were fizzling out. Past officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office were humiliated in a Blue Ribbon Committee hearing as media preparation before charges were made and arrest orders issued against them. And it was its investigations into the pork-barrel issue that painted the opposition senators as so corrupt that there was hardly a public squeak at their arrest and incarceration.

THE YELLOW RIBBON COMMITTEE Yellow Ribbon Committee at work? You decide: “Blue Ribbon” means independence and expertise; “Yellow Ribbon” is Aquino’s insignia. “Okay. Anyway, I won’t argue with you. Let the public judge.” -- Senator Alan Cayetano after a lengthy question-and-answer episode in the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing Oct 22, when lawyer Martin Subido tried to explain to him that as a lawyer, he has to rely on documents, and not on claims made in a TV reporter’s interview with somebody.

Yellow Ribbon Committee at work? You decide: “Blue Ribbon” means independence and expertise; “Yellow Ribbon” is Aquino’s insignia.
“Okay. Anyway, I won’t argue with you. Let the public judge.”
— Senator Alan Cayetano after a lengthy question-and-answer episode in the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing Oct 22, when lawyer Martin Subido tried to explain to him that as a lawyer, he has to rely on documents, and not on claims made in a TV reporter’s interview with somebody.

The committee’s investigations now have become its last-resort propaganda to weaken the chances of Vice President Jejomar Binay to capture the presidency in 2016.

Binay’s spokesman, Congressman Tobias Tiangco’s reference to that committee as the Yellow Ribbon Committee hits it right on the head.

Believe it or not, ours is the only legislative body in the world to have such a “Blue Ribbon Committee,” or any such committee with similar investigative functions. Other countries have politically matured in junking such an investigative committee as intruding into the work of the judiciary, even as it has a powerful pulpit, the legislative body, for lethal character assassination.

Our Blue Ribbon Committee was invented in 1949 with the same intention as it has today, to throw dirt at a major political figure.

It was Senator Justiniano Montano of the Liberal Party who asked for the formation of a “Blue Ribbon Committee” in the Senate to investigate alleged corruption in government. It turned out the main target of the committee was then President Elpidio Quirino, who, ironically, was Montano’s partymate but who supported his political archenemy in the congressional seat in Cavite from which he retired.

Propaganda tool
Then and now, it was an effective propaganda tool. Montano’s Blue Ribbon Committee investigations produced what we would call now as the urban legend of Quirino’s golden arinola (chamber pot). That canard outraged Filipinos that he would be defeated by a landslide by his defense secretary, Ramon Magsaysay – with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency, most historians have revealed.

Quirino was helpless in telling the media, showing to them even, that his chamber pot was not made of gold, but of brass. It’s the same trick used by the present Blue Ribbon Committee, which has been trying to portray a “350-hectare Binay Hacienda,” when the Vice President has only six hectares leased to the owner of that estate.

Montano was as media savvy as his counterparts in the present. The “Blue Ribbon” term he used as a moniker for that committee had meant the highest level of excellence or quality in those times, as in the best cattle being awarded a “Blue Ribbon.”

The term evolved as a term for ad hoc panels and commissions tasked to study an important issue, consisting of individuals known for their integrity and expertise in the field being studied. It also meant the panel had a high degree of independence from political parties and government authority. Thus, the US Congress’ “Warren Commission” on the Kennedy assassination, the “9-11 Commission,” and the Iraq Study Group had been referred to in the US media as “blue ribbon panels.”

I’m sure with that significance attached to “Blue Ribbon,” you’d agree with me that it is utter stupidity for us to call the Senate Committee on Accountability Public Officers and Investigations, a “Blue Ribbon” Committee.

Its members are nothing but “Blue Ribbon” individuals. They are extremely politically partisan and subservient to Aquino. By background or/and by their performance so far, they are the most incompetent to undertake investigations.

Let’s call a spade a spade, for chrissakes. It’s the Yellow Ribbon Committee. Has this committee ever investigated a yellow ribbon-wearing government official?

Cayetano’s statement above in the Oct 22 hearings of the committee shows its obvious motive is to change public opinion over the front-runner in the 2016 elections. It’s the propaganda hit squad of the Yellow Ribbon cult.

Next week: Why a “Blue Ribbon Committee” is another only-in-the-Philippines thing.

Correction on the SWS report
A source corrected my column on the Social Weather Stations on Oct 22. He claimed that an SWS poll of 1,500 respondents cost P3 million, not P2.5 million as I wrote. For 1,200 respondents the price tag is P2.5 million. I was surprised at his claim, though, that the SWS allows a questionnaire of 200 questions. Doesn’t that make both the pollster and the respondent so tired that replies would be so unreliable?
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao


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  1. Norodin Lucman on

    Pres. Aquino is in the process of debasing the Bangsamoro Basic Law, a prescription for war in Mindanao.

  2. ang dumi na ng senado… kung mag.imbistiga din kaya si binay ky trillanes at cayetano para halungkatin ang baho nila at bayaran din ni binay ang media para isiwalat ang mga ito ano kaya ang mangyayari?Wala na tayong maasahan pa kay abnoy.. Alam naman niya ang ginagawa ng senado… siya pa nga yata ang nag-utos nito… wala ng kahihinatnan ang bansa natin… lulubog na ito… kaya labas na tayo sa mga bahay natin at gamitin ang kalsada para sa makatotohanang reporma….

  3. Does anybody know much this zarzuela is costing the Filipino people? Dapat ipabayad sa 3 Stooges ito..

  4. Sen. Drilon says a need to restore the people’s trust in the Senate, well, the yellow ribbon committee just drag it down deeper beyond restoration and the only way to resuscitate the Senate is to change the members that will not compromise their independence to an equal branch of government. That investigation is going haywire and Sen, Drilon is doing nothing, from the municipal bldg 2 to the alleged ascienda and to what comes next. Clearly the motive is just too obvious.

  5. The senate of today is different
    from the past. The senate now is
    like a PR, or Advertising agency,
    Media, Stage or aTheater.
    Managed by the LPs and its Yellow
    sychopants.They engaged in demolishing their political foes at
    the guise of legislation, their investigation is selective, political
    allies are spared.
    Grin and bear it? or a call to action?6

  6. Aquino wants to remain in power by term extension. If this is not possible then he wants one of his cronies (Roxas or Cayetano, isama na tin natin si Trillanes kahit na wala itong panalo) to rule. Let us bring these guys down. The Philippines need a healthy opposition party otherwise they can do whatever they want kasi na-eliminate na ang opposition..Aquino should resign for failing to fulfill his promises. Here are some other legit reasons why he should resign:– PDAF, DAP, Malampaya, ABAD, Petilla, Purisima there’s so many it is just overwhelming.

  7. I wonder what kind of law they will pass after this sarzuela? Imagine arguing with supposed resource persons and practically telling them what answers these idiots of senators want to hear. These poor excuse of senators are bullshit. I still hope they all become comatose.

  8. The problem is that the senators themselve debased the Senate by their greed, by lining their pockets with plundered funds from PDAF, DAP, etc. They can easily be bought. FOR SALE signs are written on their foreheads.

    Of course, there is seller, enabler and abettor PNOY who controls of BOTH the LEGISLATIVE and the EXECUTIVE Branches. He breaks laws as if he is above the law and Constitution.

    Wait until he steps down and goes to jail. I wonder which hospital will he confined.

  9. The committee is good for the masang pinoy to quickly grasp what is going on. Why did Binay ask for Ombudsman when you know it will take a decade to tackle the issue and not in the view of the Filipino people?

  10. Mr. R. Tiglao, this piece has so amused me, because it reminded me of the so-called “court jesters”, of Shakespearean era. “Yellow Ribbon Committee” to my mind, could well be “Yellow Ribbon Jesters”! Monarchs in Europe, specifically England, employed jesters politically. I know that you are the right person – what with your experiences in politics and in journalism – who could explain to ordinary citizens how it is being carried out in view of shaming, embarrassing, or downright destroying a conceived political opponent (s). Meanwhile, I shall pray the Holy Spirit to enlighten you, you and all your companions at the MT. Mabuhay po kayo!

  11. Magkano kaya ang gastos ni Sen. Cayatano doon sa advertising nya sa TV tungkol sa campaign about anti corruption at sino ang nagbabayad taguig city ba o office of senator cayetano? Magkano ba 30 seconds spot sa TV?

  12. The Senate’s actions to allow a committee to act with only political motives is beyond belief. The Senate’s committee is spending our money for the clear purpose of a political attack. The entire Senate sits by while this diversion of public money goes on and on. The Senate is at an all time low. We should place them all in jail while awaiting trial. Miriam where are you? Speak up!

    • This senate has outlived its usefulness. It is existing only to serve as the executive branch’s executioner. Its leaders received the highest amounts of PDAF and DAP,also known as bribes.
      If only to abolish this once august body, there has to be a constitutional amendment to change our form of government to eliminate all institutions that are spending the most money without corresponding services to the people.

  13. This is a waste of gov’t funds which should have been used to benefit the poor , Those Senators are merely using the “yellow ribbon committee” for grandstanding and just trying to paint themselves anew because they have lost all their credibility ,period .Bobo lang ang maniniwala pa sa inyo.

  14. I recall something of the same nature which started all this uncivilized treatment of persons coming to the senate in response to summons. It was during the ARROYO presidency that the senate started acting like this. Mind you, Arroyo’s party only controlled the lower house at that time, while the opposition controlled the Senate. This was, in particular, the grilling of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales before the Senate. There was a Senator who even called the NSA a PIMP – and even wanted the records to show he called him a pimp. The newspapers next day even carried an unflattering foto of Gonzales holding a half even banana for his blood sugar…

    Also, please don’t forget that this senate’s humiliation of citizens called before it was responsible for the demise of a good and decent man – Gen. Angelo Reyes. At least Jinggoy is getting his karmic comeuppance with regards to this. I wonder when it will be for the others.

  15. We underestimated the Liberal Party. Matagal sila wala sa puesto kaya akala natin mga pipitsugin lang mga miyembro nito. Mali pala. Dahil mga talamak na mga “TRAPO” pala ang mga ito. Kasama na si B.S. Aquino III. Mga katulad lang nila makakaisip ng ganitong paraan para manatili ng matagal sa puesto.

  16. We should focus on the facts presented not on these senators disclosing the basis of what the people had always suspected. We are glad to have young senators doing these presentations. Stick to their presentations not on what you think they are. These facts presented are clear and unequivocal, no argument can overwhelm these facts.We should thank these senators for revealing us to think whom to vote.

    • What you call facts are, in fact ,mere conjectures. Not a single sliver of accurate fact to support the allegations have been presented. We are all craving to know the truth; in spite of the different personalities involved. Our country deserves nothing less.

  17. PinoyAkoPinoyTayo on

    I’ll vote for Binay out of disgust sa ginagawa ng administration sa kanya. Ayoko makabalik si Erap pero wala na choice, I’ve had enough of Aquino.

  18. every time both houses convene for an inquiry, it’s always on the premise that it is in aid of legislation. what the hell? how many inquiries were made and yet do we even see any legislation springing from such inquiries? it’s funny that our country has not matured in the 116 years since we were handed our independence. from spain and then from the united states. the blue ribbon committee should be abolished. if not by both houses, by the supreme court at the very least. the blue ribbon committee convenes for an inquiry to find fault or guilt from among government employees, cabinet members, members of both houses, among the branches of government and most of all, the ordinary citizens of the country. yet my question is this? who does the checking on the members of the blue ribbon committee when there is suspicion of graft and or corruption among their ranks? are they not all corrupt now in one way, shape or form given those who sit at the present blue ribbon committee?

  19. Ang mga yellow Senator na ito,feeling nila mga stupid pa ang mga pilipino ngayon,na umaayon sa kanilang katarantaduhan!
    Ito ang mga makapal at manhid ang mga mukha akala nila ang ginagawa ng bayaran nilang nagsurvey ay maganda ang pinaggagawa ng mga hanggal!
    Lalo lamang silang nababaon sa kumunoy habang nalalantad sa mamamayan ang pinaggagawa nito,
    Winawaldas nila ang salapi ng bayan at wala silang ginagawa para mapabuti ang buhay ng tao!
    Ang kapal ng mga mukha ginagamit ang senado sa pagkukumpanya at ang oras na sinasahuran sila,
    Ito ang mga anay na yellow na patuloy na nagpapahirap sa bansa! Dapat purgahin ang mga uod na ito!

  20. Herman P. Hondojare on

    Filipinos are no longer illiterate or stupid not to understand the truth for reading or hearing the news the obvious motives, illegal act, manipulation of law and abused of power by trillanes, cayetano and pimentel to malice and destroy the reputation of binay family, they are wasting millions of people money on Aid of their Re-Election.

    This kind of people shall not be voted in 2016 election including those senators and congressman bribed by PDAF and DAP, the new government must file a case against them for plundering the billions of the unconstitutional PDAF and DAP including aquino.

    After 2016 Election, Filipinos must unite to file a petition with the Supreme Court of removing the law in the Philippine Constitution allocating billions of money to Congressman and Senators for they are a legislators.

    God Bless The Philippines

  21. P. on

    One thing good about this sitting president’s debasing the senate is the fact that his true color and the true colors of some members of congress, expecially those of the ‘Blue’ Ribbon Committee are bared,,,they are “corrupt”. These are the same people who would like to address each other “The Honorable”, “The Gentleman”, etc. The nerve!

    These happenings or those that happened in the Philippine Congress seems ‘negligible’ or ‘trivial’ to the members. They just don’t know that even outiside the country, when you mention about someone who is a politician, particularly a congressman or a senator in the Philippines to person in the street, one will be surprised that this person knows you’re talking about a “corrupt” individual. In other words, never associate himself or herself to one of them because you are look down upon. (On corruption: An example would be a mention about a certain property which is for sale in the multi-millions of dollars, one would readily say: “Kayang -kaya ng Kongresman o senador sa atin ‘yan.”)

    There’s a dire need for leaders in the Philippines who can be true to themselves. One who can look in the mirror every morning and say to that person in the mirror, “I can see anyone eye to eye, stand tall and I don’t have to say sorry to my Creator because I always struggle to be a Christian to everyone.”

    We don’t need intelligent people to be leaders; we need wise and tested people! Hello, Mr. Joker Arroyo.

  22. we have fat man as senate president and a fat man as blue ribbon chairman with his 3 stooges. being fat means you eat, sleep and don’t work. never in senate history that we’ve many basura there.