Aquino politicizes Yolanda rehab task

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President Aquino is spitting on the graves of the thousands killed by super-typhoon Yolanda and laughing at the suffering of hundreds of thousands of those whose lives and homes were shattered by the calamity by appointing former Senator Panfilo Lacson as “rehab czar” for the disaster-stricken area.

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How can Lacson’s appointment not be anything but a political accommodation?

For a president to pay a political debtis certainly understandable, even necessary because of realpolitik, for the sake of the country’s welfare.

But doing this to confront the gargantuan task of rebuilding Eastern Visayas, where 4 million Filipinos, the poorest in the country, face the bleakest of futures as their homes have been destroyed and their coconut-based economy ravaged?

Even before his last term as Senator ended June, Aquino announced that he would take in Lacson as a Cabinet member. This was obviously for his support in the past three years, especially in taking out Chief Justice Renato Lacson even without a pork barrel bribe.

But the posts Lacson wanted were already filled up. Because he’s been a policeman all his life, Lacson wanted to be anti-crime czar. But Aquino’s executive secretary Paquito Ochoa held that post, which is officially chairmanship of the Presidential Anti- Organized Crime Commission, and he wouldn’t of course give up the P500 million confidential (read: unaudited) funds of that shadowy agency.

An alternative was for Lacson was to be chairman of the National Police Commission, but the law says that entity must headed by the secretary of the interior and local government, who presently is Mar Roxas. Although Aquino reportedly is getting tired of Roxas’ boo-boos because of his 2016 campaign mode, the President has been told that if he goes, so will his protégé finance secretary Cesar Purisima, and consequently a big faction of his big-business support.

Lacson unqualified for job
Whoever would be in charge of rehabilitating Samar and Leyte would need the skills of a statesman, as the work involves getting local governments and several turf-jealous departments to work together; the experience of a veteran bureaucrat who can navigate the labyrinth of the bureaucracy and inspire its people to get things done; and the insights of an economist, since the task involves reconstructing the area’s economy.

A police officer for most of his working life, Lacson doesn’t have any of these qualifications, nor experience, and some would even question his expertise in handling an anti-crime organization, or any government organization for that matter.

The curse of a politician is his insatiable thirst to be in the newspapers, and Lacson is slowly fading in the public’s mind, as most ex-senators have. And he doesn’t even have a base in Cavite to become a congressman there. Lacson fantasizes that his being czar for Visayas’ reconstruction would put him back in the newspapers, enough to have name-recall to bid for the vice-presidency in 2016.

Lacson just two weeks ago reminded Aquino to keep his promise by vociferously criticizing Aquino’s “Disbursement Acceleration Plan” as “fiscal dictatorship” that is patently illegal. Aquino jumped up to appoint him rehab czar.

Ever Aquino’s “yes” man, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte is saying that Lacson be given a chance to prove his worth. But if he doesn’t, and when there were very clear reasons why he wasn’t up for the job, will we just say sorry to the millions of Warays who’ve been condemned to more years of suffering because of the bad choice of rehab czar?

The horrendous devastation by Yolanda certainly shouldn’t just be an employment opportunity for an unemployed ex-senator, to give him a chance to extend his political life.

But gratitude isn’t a quality Aquino is known for, and Lacson’s appointment may not really be entirely out of his gratitude for his support.

Note that Aquino obviously hates this Yolanda episode of this term. Piqued by the avalanche of criticisms on how he handled the crisis, he could really just be telling the people of Samar and Leyte, especially Tacloban mayor Albert Romualdez: “Panay reklamo niyo. Bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo. Ayan, magtiis kayo kay Ping. “

Or maybe we’re underestimating Aquino. After Lacson bungles the job, he can blame him, not his administration.

Henares: IRS is incompetent
We continue from Monday a discussion of Manny Pacquiao’s tax controversy.

Strip the issue of its technicalities, what Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares is really saying in her claims that Manny Pacquiao is a tax cheat is that the US Internal Revenue Service is incompetent, or stupid in collecting the boxer’s right amount of taxes.

Consider the facts.

Henares’ complaint against national boxing hero Pacquiao involves the income by the boxer made in the US from his fights there and related earnings such as corporate endorsements and share in media coverage of the events. As is also the case here, it’s the company—Top Rank in Pacquiao’s case—which actually receives all of the revenues, computes the profits, and withholds the taxes due on the income of an employee or a contractual person (our champion in this case) and then remits these to the IRS.

Top Rank actually doesn’t have a choice here, or it’ll lose its business permit and be slapped criminal charges, as is also the case here. A 1976 treaty between the US and the Philippines recognizes—quite fairly—that a citizen of one country who’s been taxed in another country for his commercial activity there doesn’t have to pay taxes for the same earnings in his home country.

Now, Henares is claiming that for 2008, the IRS didn’t collect the correct amount of Pacquiao’s taxes in the US, while for 2009, the American tax collector wasn’t able to collect any taxes at all from the boxer, so that the BIR is now collecting those from the boxer. Henares in effect is saying that Top Rank fooled the IRS: “I don’t need the letter from Top Rank. I need the IRS certification, the originals not the copies, that Pacquiao paid his taxes there,” she claimed.

She was referring to official letters (and copies of documents) of Top Rank owner Bob Arum submitted by Pacquiao which reported that for each of his fights, the firm withheld 30 percent of Manny’s purses and paid those monies directly to the Internal Revenue Service via electronic funds transfer.

But Henares has been demanding the certification by the IRS itself that it received the taxes, which in effect means that she thinks Arum is a forger. And that the IRS was so stupid that it didn’t detect the forgery, or was so incompetent that despite the fact that Pacquiao’s fights have been front-page news in the US, it hasn’t bothered to check if this foreigner paid the right amount of his right taxes.

If Congress still has any remaining shred of integrity, it should pass a resolution asking Aquino to fire Henares for shaming a living national hero in the eyes of the world. It should even pass a law exempting Pacquiao for paying taxes for the rest of his life, in gratitude for making Filipinos proud of being a Filipino.

Tuwid-na-daan depravity
Henares’ attack on Pacquiao however isn’t surprising as it reflects the tuwid-na-daan depraved mentality of this administration: Find legal technicalities, and with the vast, discretionary powers of the President, use these against the regime’s enemies or defend the regime.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been kept in jail because of technicalities raised by government prosecutors by delaying the court proceedings. Justice Leila de Lima defied a Supreme Court order in 2011 allowing her to travel for medical treatment abroad, claiming that she had not received the Court’s directive. Aquino bribed senators to invoke the technicality that Chief Justice Renato Corona’s Statement of Assets and Liabilities did not include his dollar accounts.

Recently, Palace Spokesperson Herminio Coloma claimed media killings were “not serious” in the country by invoking the “technicality” that several of those included in murdered weren’t full-time journalists, but, in his words, “a driver of a network, employees of fly-by-night newspapers and a block timer selling skin whiteners”

Mar Roxas on the other hand resorted to his own bit technicality—a macabre one, I would think—to defend his boss insistence that the super typhoon’s casualties were low: To be counted as killed were only those who can be identified.

tiglao.manilatimes.net
www.rigobertotiglao.com and www.trigger.ph

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40 Comments

  1. Tiglao, you are completely wrong in your interpretation of the appointment of Lacson as rehab Czar. The main reason for the appointment is to ensure that the rehab funds do not go wasted or stolen by corrupt officials. He had organizational skills. The relief efforts will be properly organize irrespective of political affiliations of the LGUs. Lacson for one is incorruptable. There is no doubt about that. With him at the helm, it is hoped that all will cooperate and do their part. And because he is not corrupt, more relief funds or donations will be encouraged to come because the funds will be secured. There more and greater help will be provided. Set aside politics so that Lacson will succeed. His success will not be a success for P’noy only but for the Filipino people and the world.

  2. Lacson should have been named Secretary of the Department of National Defense so he’d be in an influential position to lead a military uprising against PNoy.

    • Big mistake! you don’t know who lacson is or was, or you forgot about the scandals during his time. If this happens, it is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. That is one person you won’t want to be president.

  3. Leandro Alcantara on

    I recommend Dick Gordon for the position. I don’t know him personally but based on his performances, capabilities and experiences, he is more than qualified to handle the rehab of those affected by typhoon Yolanda.

  4. juan maki-alam on

    Being in the government I see how politician bastardize almost all institution in the government. At the same time no one is to be blamed except the filipinos for electing a president who has no performance even when he was still a congressman

  5. As rich as America, the IRS will spent 45 cents of stamp to collect 1 cent of back taxes with no exemption..And as poor Philippines, BIR should ran after the millions of back taxes of Pacquiao. Mr. Tiglao should look into a definition of a national hero, Pacquiao is not a hero Mr. Tiglao. If he is, he is still not exempted to pay taxes so as the dead who did not.

  6. Nakakaawa ang Pilipinas in the hands of Aquino etal. What have we done to deserve leaders like these? Oh yes patuloy kasi tayong nagpapauto at nagpapakagago. ang walang kamatayang “bakit sino ba gusto nyo yng mga magnanakaw na yan?” ” at least si Pnoy malinis corrupt-free.” “bkit sino gusto nyo ipalit si binay, Si Enrile, Si estrada?” Cmon! ang mga bulag pipi at bingi na mga kasamahan ni Pnoy ang ganid at makasarili because inspite of the fact that they know that BS Aquino is not even half or half of half qualified for the presidency they shove his dumb ass to out throats making people believe that HE IS THE ONLY ONE who can save this country from the clutches of greed and corruption!! PLEASE!!! di na tyo natuto! We are always settling for less and that is why we are suffering now and will continue to suffer because we always say “pwde na yan kesa naman sa iba dyan.” I feel for the Visayans/Warays/Ilonggos! True what one commentor said, they need someone who at the very least can speak the dialect who had a feel of the needs of the people, who has a background in rehabilitation, planning and leadership. Bakit tyo magsusugal kay lacson kung meron naman mas ibang kwalipikado? Havent they gone through enough hell already? The rehab czar should be able to give them hope and not just false promises. He cannot afford to fail them because really, what else is left for them at this time but hope?

    • agree.. wla naman alam si lacson sa leyte or cebu, the people need someone who knows the place inside out…

  7. BS teflon veneer is no more. It was never because he was clean, it was all PR. Shattered in the tragedy of Yolanda, once and for all. The truth has a way of biting you in the ass…corruption, DAP, abuse of power, pork king etc etc etc.. To jail with you BS Aquino for crimes against the Phl.

  8. “it should pass a resolution asking Aquino to fire Henares for shaming a living national hero in the eyes of the world.”?
    Really Mr. Tiglao? Manny Paquiao a national hero? Manny is an exceptional boxer no doubt but let’s not get carried away calling him a national hero. He did not win any of his fights for the Filipino people. He fought well and won because he wanted to be the champion. A national hero is a defender of the common people against the oppression or corruption of the established power structure. Andres Bonifacio, if I recall my history, did this; and yet is debated to be declared a national hero.

    “Panay reklamo niyo. Bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo. Ayan, magtiis kayo kay Ping.”
    Now there’s a story line worthy of a teleserye. Mr. Tiglao, anyone who can put a spin this thick and put words on people’s mouth should be writing telenobelas and not opinions in Manila Times. I am sorry, you went too far this time.

    • and why is rizal a national hero? when there were other people during his time who did better for the people? who has the right to designate heroism in our country? you can be a hero of basketball, or a hero for giving back the money you found, a hero for defending a man from his enemy, a hero for carrying groceries for a stranger. All great pinoy boxers before were considered heroes. Reason? the country got recognized all over the world because of them. it is not winning every fight, but being out there to fight and represent your country. You could be a hero too, if you represent our country as a chess champion or patintero champion. good luck!

  9. the silver lining to this appointment is that the appointee who’s not qualified will bungle the job and finally put the nail on the coffin of this incompetent and vindictive divisive government.but that of course is dreadful.

  10. James Gutierrez on

    Yes Mr Lacson is not qualified. The president is appointing people in position with a tarnish image like Lacson. People being appointed by the Aquino administration are recycled who in some ways had a go in their previous position but did a bad job. Mr Aquino should appoint someone from the private sector who knows how to oversee the reconstruction of the areas that was devastated by typhoon Yolanda. Someone who has leadership, management capabilities and be able to decide for the good of the area and the people affected, with no political ambition and alignment. Most of all who is honest and will not take advantage of the funds allocated to the rehabilitation.

    In relation to the BIR and Pacquiao issue, hard to believe that the BIR commissioner is questioning if Pacquiao paid his taxes to the IRS. You cannot get away not paying taxes to the IRS in the caliber of Mr Arum, as the IRS will wind up the business of Mr Arum for not complying to remit any money due to the IRS. Ms Henares is an ignorant commissioner, I think its about time for her to resign and get a competent person to do her job.
    Better for her to get Pacquiao and her to seat down and talk. And she need to focus on getting other taxpayer to pay their taxes mostly notably the politician and Napoles involved in the pork barrel scandal.

  11. Nadagdagan na naman ng isang baklita ang tropang yellow sa Malacanang…

    Mga yellow ribbons, nakakasawa na kayo….!

    Bongbong Marcos and Manny Pacquiao 2016…truly unbeatable tandem…solid noth votes with Visayan and Mindanao votes…

    one with smarts, vision and leadership as a mentor, and one with sincerity, charm and heart for the masses…

    • I am for Mayor Duterte. He is a leader who has a political will. Duterte for President in 2016.

    • and you forgot what the marcoses did? oh boy, them again? ho hummmmm!! that is old story. and you have amnesia of some sort. Find people with integrity and with good genes naman, not just the name.

  12. The most qualified person if his health is still okay is former governor Osmena of Cebu. He fathered Cebu to be the most prosperous province in the whole country even without the help from the national government who always preferred helping Olongapo and Clark. He understands the visayans more than Lacson who understands only police matters. He understands economy for the visayans. In fact in his time, he sent so many times cash helps to Leyte and all other provinces after typhoons. If Osmena’s health prevents him, former Cebu governor Gwen Garcia is more qualified than lacson. The touch of a fellow visayan is appropriate at this time. She is caring, understanding and loving; these are the traits that visayan needs more. She understands governance as governor for 3 terms.

  13. I am in no position to judge whether Manny P. has paid the correct taxes or not. I always read Tiglao’s column and have high respect for it, however he seems to have a blind spot on this issue. Taxes are applied to all, regardless of whether we like the person or not. Tiglao’s hero worship of Manny, leading him to claim he alone should be exempt from taxes for ever is ludicrous and demeans the journalist in my eyes.
    Taxation should be fair and equitable, not based on personal whim.

    • Tama ka dyan mr. keefe. Bringing honor to the country does not exempt anyone from paying the right taxes. Aren’t our lowly soldiers, policemen, teachers, and the likes not heroes in their own rights? They all pay their due taxes. Na halos wala na ngang matira sa suweldo nila. Why not mr. manny? I beg to disagree with mr.tiglao’s assertions. Baka gustong ipalit ni mr. tiglao si Manny sa luneta in place of Rizal? That’s too iconic on your part mr. tiglao. Masyadong biased ang judgement mo sa BIR.

    • You seem to have missed my post, here in America, kahit hangin na hinihinga mo me tax. nobody can escape the irs, most especially with amounts like this big. you win $1000 in the lottery me tax na bawas bago dumating sa yo. yon pa? the irs are always watching you, nobody can escape them or you will be in jail. that is how strict they are.

  14. All of a sudden, this is the price that we’ve got during election. Money, Money…we don’t care how long we can deal a suffering of our uncaring minds. Then let’s play politics then if this is what we want. Money, money, all hail for the money…2016 is waiting for our greed hands for the money. Go vote for the money and don’t complain the way they run the hell in our country. This is what the Filipino people want to do in their country. Then don’t complain at all. Shut up your mouth.

  15. Miguel Doromal on

    RT: “Lacson just two weeks ago reminded Aquino to keep his promise by vociferously criticizing Aquino’s “Disbursement Acceleration Plan” as “fiscal dictatorship” that is patently illegal. Aquino jumped up to appoint him rehab czar.”

    Yes. That was pretty much obvious. At one point, Lacson even remarked “wala na yun” to reporters when pressed about joining the Student Council.

    He took the bait. He demanded it.

    Question is, will he be Binay’s VP in lieu of the plunderer Jinggoy Estrada?

    Me thinks he could be.

  16. Kayo ang Boss Ko! on

    Ang IRS, hindi tamang magbuwis!? Henares, mag-aral kang mabuti sa America. Walang lulusot, kapag may nakalusot, magbabayad na may danyos kundi makakapagbayad, kulong o kalaboso ka!
    Never underestimate the IRS, marami ka pang kakaining bigas. Nagpapalusot lang kayo, kasi inggit lang kayo kay Manny P., kasi di nagnakaw at nanggaling sa hirap ang ikinayaman.
    Kay Odong naman, mukhang bulag itong mamang ito! Idilat mo nga ang mga mata mo or maghilamaos ka para, maalis ang mga muta mo!

  17. Juliet A. H. S. Arciwal on

    Mr. Tiglao: Lacson not qualified?
    When did anybody’s being qualified ever become a factor in the BS Aquino administration?
    The important thing to the powers now controlling the government is that they can have all the men willing to make Mar Roxas president in the 2016 election and Korina Sanchez First Lady.

  18. Ruben V. Calip on

    Powerful man Panfilo Lacson is now in President B S Aquino’s top ruling circle. He isformally given the power over the huge amount of money for rehabilitation in Samar and Leyte.
    The shadowy group of people running Aquino’s government can now more easily rule this country as if it were under martial law–even if the legal requirements of emergency rule stated in the Philippine Constitution are violated.
    That is very bad for the populist democracy that BS Aquino’s mother and her people, like Times Columnist Saguisag, retired senator Joker Arroyo, the late Haydee Yorac and several others championed.
    But this whole thing is very good for the plans of those who, like BS Aquino’s father Ninoy wanted to happen in the Philippines. Ninoy taunted then President Ferdinand Marcos (who was elected legally in 1965 and again for a second term as president in 1969) for “not having the balls” to declare martial law. For Ninoy martal and strong-armed government was the solution to make the Philippines a country without mass poverty and without a selfish, unpatriotic elite that had formed an oligarchy. For the Philippines to become a great and prosperous nation, Ninoy said in his speeches, Marcos should declare martial law and do what the Korean and Taiwan generals were doing/
    President B S Aquino may not have these thoughts in his mind, which his enemies say is filled with puerile things/ But the people who are running the Aaunio Administration do. They are the ones who chose Panfilo Lacson and made BS Aquino appoint him as the Rehabilitation Czar.
    Mabuhay and Filipinas!!!

  19. God, please send us a typhoon to blow away Malacanang occupants and their yellow cronies to kingdom come, preferably to Bilibid or hell.

  20. Nakakahawa talaga ang pagka-kulang-kulang(ng isip) ni Noynoy. Ang lahat na govt. officials na binanggit mo na sina Henares, Leila de Lima, Coloma, Mar Rojas, Speaker Belmonte ay mga nahawa na. At ngayon nga si Lacson ay mahahawa na rin. Hindi pa rin nagbabago si Lacson. Ang sabi niya ay gagamitin niya ang kamay ng bakal sa pagtupad ng kanyang tungkulin bilang rehabilitation czar. Nakakakot dahil baka madagdagan ang mga kasong pagpatay katulad ng Dacer-Corbito murder case at Kuratong Baleleng murder case. Nakakatakot talaga dahil ang mga sangkot noon ay maaring kasama pa rin niya hanggang ngayon.

  21. Well said sir, we just hope that you will continue reminding the Filipino people what kind of Abnoy leader, the “matuwid na landas at kayo ang mga boss ko”!

  22. Olivia Salvacion on

    Mr. Tiglao, I never miss reading your columns and every time my blood pressure goes up because many of us are so helpless that despite what the Pnoy government is doing he is still the President to this day. Can a people power to remove this psychotic president be organized as soon as possible? The president is corrupting every agency of the government to discredit and/or shame those who do not toe his line. Three years is very long to wait for a new President. Pnoy is a spoiled brat and I don’t even believe that his father was a martyr nor his mother an icon of democracy. We Filipinos are not ready for a democratic country, we should be under martial rule. Political dynasty should be ended.

  23. who is qualified..can you recommend one you think is qualified? You already concluded that Lacson will fail. Been reading your commentary, you always go to a conclusion not even mentioning the objective, observation and procedure..In other words, you just want the government to fail for good. You should have mention suggestions in your commentary to be successful..Looks like you want Sen. Estrada or Sen. Revilla or even Sen. Enrille to carry out the task. Political??you are very wrong..Your mind just full of politics that failed to the bottom which is so sad in your part..Be ojective and smart in your commentary.

    • Odong, please read with an open mind. Free your mind. The urge to blame somebody is very strong. But one has to look at reality. There are other peopel who are more qualified to do the task. He or she does not have to be a politician or to be well known. Open your mind.

    • Manuel C. Diaz on

      With Lacson as the rehab czar Yolanda casualties body count will increase long after the typhoon is over,

  24. Nobody is more qualified than Panfilo “Pinky” Lacson for the job. For starters, Pinky has a way of making bodies disappear. He can surely make the dead Yolanda victims vanish into thin air and artificially keep the official death toll from rising to 6,000. Just the way Noynoy likes it. Pinky also has the killer instinct to eliminate obstacles and get things done. We can be sure Pinky will eliminate people Noynoy dislikes. Again, just the way Noynoy likes it. Pinky is also good at silencing whistleblowers, just like what he attempted to do to Miriam Santiago on the “cash gift and MOOE” scandal back in Jan 2013. Pinky owns the rare distinction of forcing Kuratong Baleleng star witnesses SPO3 Delos Reyes and SPO4 Dela Cruz to clam up and seek asylum in Canada. Moreover, Pinky can establish another Jueteng stronghold in Leyte and Samar, just as his protege Hansel Marantan did in Laguna by eliminating Vic Siman in the Atimonan Massacre (Hansel Marantan’s sister is now the jueteng lord of Laguna thanks to Panfilo Lacson). With upwards of P150 billion of pocket money for the rehabilitation project, Pinky is well positioned to start a new political career in Leyte since his son fared badly in Cavite.

    For Warays who dare to displease Pinky the Rub-Out King, they will get a taste of what the Kuratong Baleleng people got. To the people of Leyte and Samar, better suck it up. Being gay and all, that’s how our Rehab Czar Pinky loves it. Just the way Noynoy likes it, too. Suck it up.