Draft Supreme Court decision leaked to SWS head


A draft Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was reportedly leaked to Social Weather Stations president Mahar Mangahas.

The important question: Why?

Was SWS asked to do a quick poll on the impact on public opinion of the different versions of an SC decision?

It was Mangahas himself who boasted in an email June 17 to his e-group in the midst of its members’ intense discussions on the constitutionality of the DAP and its impact on President Aquino’s government:

”It so happened that just this afternoon I read the SC decision. Its very last line is: ‘This Decision is immediately executory but prospective in effect.’

Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc actually reported June 20 that it was a “newspaper columnist (not the Star’s)” who read the decision. Bondoc however did not identify the person.

I followed up Bondoc’s tip and found out that it was Mangahas, who’s really not much of a columnist but is known more for heading the lucrative SWS, a tool not only for measuring, but affecting public opinion, since the 1980s.
However, Mangahas after he felt he was the “columnist” being alluded to in Bondoc’s column, and obviously realizing the import—even criminality—of his boast, back-tracked and claimed that he was referring to the SC decision on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)—which was made November last year.

He even wrote his group members: “I have already been cc’ing Jarius. He should have figured out (by now, anyway) that I meant the released SC ruling on pork barrel/PDAF, not DAP which has no decision yet. He could have checked with me by email instead of rushing to write that, “a newspaper columnist had in fact read the ruling etc.”

Mangahas wrote: “What I quoted in my Ateneo group was the last line of the SC ruling on PDAF, not on DAP.”

Members of Mangahas’ e-group of Ateneo 1958 alumni were incredulous though. One wrote:

”The discussion thread was all about the constitutionality of the DAP. PDAF was never talked about. The discussants on the DAP were Vic Barrios, Ted Laguatan, Alex Gaston, Ed Roa, and Rufo Colayco.

“In the middle of the discussion, Mahar interjects his email right on top of Vic Barrios’ email telling everyone that he just read the SC decision… everyone was surprised and assumed that it was on the DAP… since this was the subject matter, not the PDAF.

“Now Mahar is saying that the SC ruling he cited was on PDAF, not the DAP.

What a dissembling weasel!”

Another wrote: “Makes you wonder whether the copy that Mahar read (please refer to his earlier post below) is a leaked copy of an SC ruling that has not yet been released, or a fake (na-kuryente si Mahar).”

If Mangahas did get a leaked copy of a draft SC decision, the only reason for this would be that his SWS was being asked to undertake a quick reading of how public opinion would be on the Court’s decision – or different versions of it – on the DAP.

In response to my query about this, Mangahas in an email said: “Whenever we are consulted about a possible confidential survey, on any issue, it is unethical for us to disclose it.”

Most commentators have already pointed out that if the Court decides that DAP is unconstitutional this could be the biggest blow to the Aquino administration. It could even be grounds for impeachment.

Mangahas’ reference to a ruling that would be “prospective” has been reported by the Manila Times newspaper as one way to uphold the constitution, that the DAP is blatantly unconstitutional, yet the Court would absolve Aquino of any crime.

How public opinion would take this obviously could have been Mangahas’ polling task, and the SC draft decision probably was leaked to him in order to help him formulate the survey questions.

While Filipinos take polls as the “voice of the people,” many social scientists have rigorously demonstrated that these could be easily used to manipulate people’s views, partly because of such survey’s bandwagon effect and people’s preference to be part of the majority.

A classic example was when Senator Sergio Osmena in 2007 asked polling firm Pulse Asia to do a survey on who Filipinos think is the most corrupt president ever.

This was undertaken in a period when so many charges, all unproven to this day, were being hurled in media and in Congress against then President Arroyo and her family. Of course, since people had been barraged with the accusations, 45 percent answered that it was Arroyo.

A more recent case was the deployment of SWS in the administration’s campaign to remove Corona in 2012. It conducted a survey — its financiers unidentified — which claimed, “73 percent of Filipinos wanted Corona convicted.”

Ethical pollsters wouldn’t touch such a topic as no survey questionnaire would be able to capture important facets of the subject, such as respondents’ awareness of what the Chief Justice was being accused of and whether they understand these accusations.

Such a claim by SWS that 73 percent of Filipinos favored Corona’s conviction obviously made it easier for the Senators to accept bribes – via the DAP funds – and convict the Chief Justice.

Aquino’s DAP – undertaken mostly from 2011 and 2012 – involved the virtual junking of much of the budget allocations specified in the General Appropriations Laws passed by Congress. Instead, Aquino’s Budget Secretary Florencio Abad hijacked many such allocations to programs and projects the administration preferred, claiming that this was in order to speed up disbursements to spur economic activity.

The DAP was kept secret and was uncovered only when Senator Jinggoy Estrada, to retaliate against accusations of his theft of his pork barrel funds, alleged that the administration bribed senators into voting for Corona’s impeachment by offering them P100 million in new funds, raised through the DAP mechanism.

* * *
Part II of my series “Revealed: Aquino’s fake anti-graft campaign” on Wednesday.

Facebook: Rigoberto D. Tiglao


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  1. Constitutionality Issue of PDAF and DAP.

    The Supreme Court ruled PDAF as unconstitutional with a retroactive application; while DAP

    (as leaked by Mangahas to Bondoc and his email buddies, and pick up by R. Tiglao) is also

    unconstitutional but” immedietely executory but with prospective effect’. Why the

    diffence in these two rulings’ application. The Constitution as the supreme law of the

    land is applicable in all its aspects and provisions effective from the time of its

    ratification by the people and on-wards. Acts (like the PDAP and DAP, whether by

    legislative or executive fiat) if violative of the constitution and so ruled and construed

    as such unconstitutional from time the acts are committed, and, therefore retroctive to

    time of performance or commission of such act declared unconstitutional. To rule an act as

    unconstitutional but withholding its applicability to such past act which is the very

    ISSUE ruled upon, and then state the ruling is prospective in effect, is an opposite

    conflict in application. The Supreme Court declaring a past act unconsitutional but

    executory only on future similar violative acts takes the form of a legislative enactment

    which Judiciary, as a separate branch of government can not usurp, as that power belongs

    to the legislature. It is enough that the ruling resolved the issue of its

    Constitutionality but can not stretch the interpretation to touch on when its applicable.

    The unconstitutionality of an act reverts to the time the act declared unconstitutional

    was performed which must perforce be retroactive. If DAP is ruled unconstitutional, acts

    (like granting members of Senate additional pork barrel from DAP as a bribe to convict

    Corona) performed under and within this Program is prohibited. Hence, Sec.Abad and Pnoy

    must face the consequences of their unlawful actions, and must be prosecuted and

    impeached, respectively for violations of the Constitution.
    Jun Adan
    New York City

  2. Now is the time for SWS to ask the question:
    Who the Filipino people think the most corrupt president in this country?
    Then publish the result in the PDI and Philstar.

  3. In three days it’s possible. The way SWS and Pulse Asia did it is they asked some people took their names and address and asked the people what’s their favorite softdrink and telenovela. That’s it.

  4. Kung didisisyunan ng ating kataastaasang hukuman na unconstitutional ang DAP at ang desisyong ito ay may prospective effect lang at hindi retroactive, hindi ba ang magigiging desisyon na ito ay taliwas sa naging desisyon sa PDAF na may retroactive effect? Nagiging maliwanag pa sa buwan na ang naging desisyon sa PDAF na may retroacrive effect ay para lang sa mga oposisyon sa politika sa legislative branch ng ating gobyerno at ang magiging desisyon sa DAP na may prospective effect ay para maisaiwas ang executive branch ng ating gobyerno sa mga posibleng kasasangkutang kaso nito sa unconstitutional use ng DAP ng nakaraan. Ito ay malaking kalokohan sa sinasabing “tuwid na daan”! Sana ay magising tayo at manindigan sa bagay na ito dahil kung magkakataon napakalaking insulto ito sa ating mga mamayan.

  5. this yellow administration is the worst ever in the history of the nation. no less than the president is deceiving the people… aided by congress, his cabinet and the supreme court.

  6. Alejo Rosete on

    I do not believe in SWS Survey and Pulse Asia Survey. Who are the financier of these surveys? Tell us the name of these peoples who financed the surveys?

    Tell me your friends and I will tell you who you are.

    SWS and Pulse Asia are pro-administration survey company.

    Hoping and praying that the Supreme Court will not succumb to the Chief Justice and Justice Mervic Leonen. Otherwise, the wrath of the people will be directed towards them – which means the death of “Democracy” in our Country.

    The line of questioning of the Surveys are directional and manipulative – the answer to these questions (what ever is your answer) is always for the Administration.

  7. Hanep na yellow administration talaga ito…the worst, ever!

    It is all the yellows’ fault that we have sunk this low…

    • I totally agree! I wish there would be more of us who share this opinion. It seems that there are still a lot who “idolize” Pnoy and still think he is the least of the evils.

  8. jesus nazario on

    Everybody and his uncle know that the major social survey companies are part of the propaganda machine of the admin, period. So what the heck is SWS denying about that what he referred to was DAP and not PDA in his discussion with his Arrnew colleagues ? Emails follow a discussion “train” and participants to a certain topic train USUALLY stick to the topic unless a stupid participant steps in. These people are Arrnewans and presumably nobody among them is stupid,

  9. 73% to impeahced and convict CJ Corona was a blatant lie by SWS, !!! that trial was all over the world,and we fil/ams less that old fart ambulance chaser that calls himself Ted Laguatan are solidly aganst the impeachment of CJ Corona,we saw that as the most blatant abuse and connivance by the executive and legislative branch of our goverment, then we find out about DAP, and for the executive to even bring it all the way up to the SC despite the fact that the funds was silently created, silently given and was silently taken by corruptors in our government and now we even have to endure the fact that noynoy ,congress and the SC is thinking of once again conniving amongst themselves about the constitutionality of that crime you call DAP,is not but an insult to us all filipinos of the world—and if that is how those leaders would take advantage of our govenrment, then we will fund and find ways to fight back….abd use the world to our advantage–

  10. I always say filipinos when they talk dont understand what each is saying. They always get confused. You need to ask why. Its like they dont like to explain anything. Its easy that way right. Keep people confused, let them think you mean one thing & if it turns out wrong then say no i meant this. Speak in english more & you will have less confusion. But i see this everywhere all the time in the philippines but i see it very rarely in my own country. But also some like to confuse people as in the pork barrel case its all about confusing or trying to confuse people. But once again i think it shows the stupidity of the filipino, as it happens so often. Like with the hold orders on the pork barrel people. They want them stopped leaving the country but they havent even supplied their correct names as on their passports along with their date of birth. Is it incompetence or stupidity, i know what i think.

  11. Again, surveys should always be accompanied by information on who commissioned the survey, what were the survey questions, where were the surveys taken, and the number of people who participated in the survey. Without the information, surveys should not be published in any nationally-circulated newspaper.

  12. Does this development mean that the SC Justices are also being bribed? For me, it is very possible that PNoy, King of Pork thru Sereno has been working very hard to delay, foot-drag the decision so PNoy and Abad will be exonerated from their clear and deliberate illegal act. If so, what can we expect from future Supreme Court decisions if they will do such shameless acts?

  13. Journalism at it’s best……

    Very good article as usual from Mr. Tiglao. God bless Sir.

  14. As they say: “A statistician is a man who draws mathematically precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.” No amount of lying on the part of Mr. Mangahas can justify the foregone conclusion that the DAP is unconstitutional. The Netizens are not “dumbos”! How come there are some moves to spare the President and Mr. Abad from criminal liability should the DAP be ‘officially’ declared unconstitutional by the SC?

  15. Please lang SC, ilabas na ang inyong DAP supreme court decision at baka mapanis na o kaya ay mawalan ng kabuluhan sa takbo ng panahon.

  16. SWS or Pulse Asia are both proven unreliable ,Filipinos has demonstrated grave disappointment on how their own President and his cabinet members along with his Congressmen/Senator allies has manipulated the gov’t for their personal interest ,and the only branch of gov’t left to get fair justice is the final arbiter , the SC which hopefully will not fail the people esp. the less fortunate.


    I salute you Mr. Tiglao who fearlessly take the cudgels of the ordinary Filipino
    to expose the truth about what is happening in the government. I really
    have the highest respect for newspapermen like you Mr. Tiglao of the Manila
    Times, Mr. Francisco Tatad and Mr. Jojo Robles of the Manila Standards and
    Ms. Ninez Cacho Olivarez of the Daily Tribune. You all deserve my respect and
    admiration. But I do tell you that in this country for as long as there are these
    people who are blind and have eyes and conscience who refuse to see and
    feel the reality, no matter how you report the truth, it will only be a voice in
    the wilderness. Do not get me wrong because you guys certainly make the
    difference in this country. You represent the oppressed ordinary Filipino. And,
    my gratitude goes to the three of you. Unlike these yellows, these newspapers who
    are administration friendly who cannot see what is happening to their country, these
    who sing alleluya’s for this president inspite of his being the most corrupt, incompetent
    and vindictive. What happened to the DAP of which funds were used to bribed
    members of congress in the impeachment of Corona and what happened to the
    victims of Yolanda are more than sufficient to prove that this president is the worst
    of its kind the country’s history. No other president made a wholesale bribe to
    members of congress. No other president neglected victims of calamities such
    as Yolanda that even foreign journalist like Christianne Amanpour said that this will
    define his presidency and no other president was as vindictives such as him.
    Philippines wake up and remember these happenings in the country. Do not be
    fooled by this damn liar president.

  18. blowcoldblowhot on

    Political surveys in the United States, to cite an example, are conducted by different pollsters, but the results are more or less the same. Not so in the Philippines, with the yellow pollsters that can even conduct a nationwide face-to-face polling of 1,200 respondents in just three days. How is that possible?
    SWS claims its field work is being done by its in-house field workers. The survey firm does not say how many it has, but considering that the survey is claimed to have been conducted in just three days nationwide, SWS would have to have hundreds of field workers that work only when there are polls. That is unbelievable.
    Field researchers can at most, interview just five respondents in a day, if the so-called random picks are strictly followed. It is just impossible to conduct face-to-face interviews of 1,200 respondents and finish the field work in just three days. Telephone interviews, yes, but face to face?
    It is improbable that the first five people selected at random would be easily accessible to the field worker. This means that the field worker would have to skip at least five places to get another random respondent and skip that again if that respondent does not respond.
    What is likely is that the respondents are not chosen randomly but have been predetermined, in which case, the survey results from these yellow survey firms are highly suspect. Having predetermined respondents would translate to ensuring that the survey results would go the way the survey firm and its backers dictate.
    SWS, for instance, once had an exit poll that strangely enough, even had “undecided voters” included. How on earth can there be undecided voters in an exit poll? Also, that same SWS exit poll survey even had a percentage of Iglesia voters and came out with the conclusion that the Iglesia vote is not solid. But in exit polls, the only question that is to be asked is who these voters coming out of the precincts voted, not their religion. The only answer is that the respondents were not only predetermined, but that the exit polls were not conducted with voters exiting from the voting areas.
    More to the point, those predetermined respondents may have been chosen by these yellow surveys in administration-friendly areas, apart from the Palace ordered results.
    Besides, whether it is Pulse or SWS, these surveys are hardly conducted nationwide, as they merely do their polling in 20 provinces, if at all, when there are 80 provinces in the country.
    Worse, with predetermined respondents, and obviously chosen respondents by these yellow surveys, none of these surveys can be claimed to be the pulse of the people ,
    What these surveys represent would be the work of yellow survey manipulators and the Palace people, maybe. Not the people.