• President Aquino is now suspect

    41

    On the face of it, abolishing the hated pork barrel system and throwing to jail senators and congressmen who stole taxpayers’ money using the scheme could have been President Aquino’s great achievement, his legacy to the nation.

    More than that, it is a masterstroke that could put an end the presidential and vice presidential ambitions of opposition Senators Ramon Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada. Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is politically finished to be a leader that could rally opposition senators against Aquino’s man Senate President Franklin Drilon.

    image001There’s a hitch though, a big one that could even engulf this administration.   Aquino himself is getting entangled in the pork-barrel controversy, and is emerging as another suspect politician who has benefited from the alleged schemes of Janet Napoles to siphon government money to his pocket. Worse, he may have known of Napoles’ illegal schemes but has allowed her to operate after he assumed power in mid-2010.

    The photo of Aquino smiling with Napoles’ Jeane daughter in what Malacañang mouthpieces admitted was taken in a private function in Cebu belied the Presidents’ claims that he didn’t know Mrs. Napoles unless, he claimed, he was getting senile. The photo is going viral in social media.  I was surprised that in my Facebook account with less than a hundred “friends”, the photo was posted over two dozen times by different people, many with the comment “buking” (roughly a slang for “exposed”).

    There were several reasons why few believed his spokespersons’ claims that Jeane Napoles was just one of many people the President hardly knows but who managed to be photographed with him, and that he doesn’t know Mrs. Napoles at all.

    The first is the fact that it was the President whom Mrs. Janet Napoles wrote April 17—four months before The Philippine Daily Inquirer broke the pork-barrel scam story—to protest the National Bureau of Investigation’s arrest of his brother for the alleged kidnapping of Benhur Luy, who would turn out to be her principal accuser.

    Why would Napoles, a very rich woman who can afford a phalanx of high-priced lawyers, write the President himself, when she could have asked the help of lower ranking officials, especially Justice Secretary Leila de Lima under whom the NBI falls?

    There are only two kinds of people who write the President directly.

    One consists of crackpots and idealistic ordinary citizens, mostly from the poor and the lower classes, who believe that the Chief Executive has the time to read the hundreds of letters sent to him.

    The second is on the other end of the spectrum: elites who directly bring to the attention of the President an issue that concerns them, or people who warn him of something, They are confident the President will read their letter since they know him personally, or that the President owes them something, usually for electoral campaign contributions.

    Napoles’ letter to the President is intriguing. While its tone is official, it contains too much detail, as if Napoles were narrating something to a friend who needs to know these details:

    “Thereafter, Atty. Levito Baligod, lawyer of the Luy family, together with a Retired General Rodulfo Diaz, demanded P38 million from us in exchange for the dropping of said false charges and bad media publicity, which they started on first and second of April 2013 at Interaksyon, Manila Bulletin and Philippine Star stating false accusations against us. In addition, on 27 March 2013, I met with Atty. Baligod and this time he demanded a higher amount of P250-300 million, excluding their other demands such as: issuance of Canadian visas for the Luy family members including himself; pocket money of US$1.5 million; and the opening of a legitimate pharmaceutical business with a capitalization of P30 million to be given to the youngest sister who will be left in the Philippines.” (emphasis mine)”

    The details of the demands seem to make Napoles’ claims credible.  How could she have thought of such a demand as the setting up of a drug store for Baligod’s sister?  Napoles’ reference to the threat of “bad media publicity” is certainly prescient, as she has become the hated poster girl for the pork-barrel scam.

    Napoles’ claim that a huge amount of money—up to P300 million—was demanded of her and her reference to “bad media publicity” if she doesn’t pay off would be only understandable if she was actually sending the message to Aquino that her problem is of such magnitude that could result in bad publicity that he himself wouldn’t like. The President therefore needed to act on her complaint.

    Even the closing of Napoles’ letter isn’t the type one uses when writing a President (such as, “Respectfully yours,”). It’s a more familiar closing one would use for a friend or an associate: “Thank you very much and God bless.”

    Atty. Baligod in a television interview claimed— surprisingly—that an indication that Napoles had a hot line to Malacañang was the fact that Justice Secretary de Lima was asked the very next day to investigate the NBI regarding Napoles’ allegations.

    (According to one interpretation, after de Lima asked the NBI to explain,  Baligod and the NBI officials who were his accomplices decided to retaliate—as their careers were put at stake—by leaking the allegations on the pork barrel scam to media.)

    Another reason why many believe that Aquino knew Napoles and of her scams is the way he accepted Napoles’ surrender, meeting with her at one of Malacañang Palace’s receiving rooms, where presidents even meet foreign dignitaries and other important guests.  Why did Aquino have to meet her and even escort her to the Philippine National Police headquarters across the city?   What did they talk about in their meeting in Malacañang and in the presidential car, which took over 45 minutes?

    A third reason why Aquino has become suspect is that the Commission on Audit’s special report on lawmakers’ use of pork barrel was incredibly selective.  The report explained this bias by the fact that the Department of Budget and Management—headed by Aquino’s political strategist and ideologue Florencio Abad—“did not provide the Team, despite repeated requests, with complete schedule of releases per legislator from PDAF for soft project.”

    Only P8 billion of pork barrel funds were in fact audited, or 30 percent of the total P21 billion allocated from 2007 to 2009.   It doesn’t seem to be coincidental that the pork barrel funds which were extensively audited were that of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Estrada Revilla, and surprisingly though, also that of Senator Edgardo Angara.

    How did Aquino use his pork barrel funds, and did he use Napoles’ or Napoles-type arrangements? In one statement, Aquino says he remembers using his pork-barrel for some road repairs in Tarlac. In another, he says he didn’t receive any pork-barrel at all when he broke away from then President Arroyo’s camp, which I’m sure isn’t true.

    The COA audit itself lists under his name P40 million in pork barrel fund released. But the DBM has refused to release documents to show how this P40 million was used.

    If this pork-barrel issue is to mean one of the most important anti-corruption projects in our history, Aquino must come clean with regard to his own pork-barrel use and have the DBM release the documents it has withheld from the COA.

    tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
    www.rigobertotiglao.com and www.trigger.ph

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    41 Comments

    1. Mr. Cesar Arellano, pano mo nasabi na Mr. Clean si Pnoy? Vibes ba kayo? Isama mo pa si Madam Cory ar Mr. Tabako na parehong nagpahirap s pinas at nagpakasasa sa pera ng bansa. Natatandaan mo ba kung gano kadalas lumipad si Tabako… ang luisita hacienda na madami namatay na pag aari ng mga Aquino.. Pare pareho lng corrupt ang nasa pulitika..

    2. Mr. Cesar Arellano, pano mo nasabing Mr. Clean si Pnoy? Isama mo p si Madam Cory at si Mr. Tabako na silang lalong nagpahirap sa bansang Pilipinas. Pare pareho lang corrupt ang mga nasa politika. Magkumahog pa ba sila tumakbo s politika kung wala silang mapapala. Umaasa pa ba tayo na meron magiging magandang pagbabago na mangyayari sa pinas. Wala na. Sa laki ng utang ng pinas, sino sa kanila ang magkukusa na paglalaanan ng panahon na mabayadan yon. Wala.. bagkus gagawa pa sila ng ikababaon ng pinas. Kaya mas mabuting magtrabaho ka na lang at tulungan mo ang sarili mo dahil walang ibang tutulong s u kundi ikaw.

    3. This is such a farce. Everyone here knows that in time, this will all be swept under the rug and forgotten. Mark my word, not one person involved in this will ever be prosecuted. It’s a shame really but the only way anything will happen is for the PEOPLE to take to the streets again and hold rallies on a consistent basis, the must not give in to whatever the administration decides etc., they must be vigilant, all media men and writers must keep writing and keep the pressure for this administration to charge those involved and follow through…all these must happen or else every regime after this administration will follow suit and keep stealing from the people knowing that it’s ok and that nothing will ever happen to them…PERIOD!

    4. This author must be thinking P’noy is like GMA. The difference however is, the earlier is “matuwid” while the latter is “baluktut.” Please be reminded that he is one of the most favored recipient of GMA’s corrupt-laden government. I remember him to have been rewarded as our ambassador to Greece with no qualification in foreign service.

      • Har. Har.

        Using your logic, you must be a PNOY bootlicker.

        Just because he was a GMA official all the things he says about the pork barrel scam are false.

        Don’t shoot the messenger. Come up with a better argument in defense of your Student Council prez.

        And please, I detest GMA, too. I wish she’d rot in jail like all these plunderers!

    5. Anacleto Baguioro on

      Ang katotohanan dapat na malaman,at ibalik ang mga sundalo rebellion,sa tungkolin,ipinaglaban nila ang democrasya ng mahihirap taong Pilipino…sila nag tunay na sundalo..at makatao..

    6. The Ph10M reward for the capture of JLN was a sham. Part of a script crafted by Palace boys to pave the way for JLN to bypass the NBI (who were hot on her heels) and to allow her to surrender directly to Pnoy. This resulted in what is now on of the funniest and weirdest episodes of The Daang Matuwid teleserye: The highest public official of the land, the president – in lead vehicle convoy, escorting a shameless scammer who stole billions of public funds to Camp Crame.

      JLN issues a statement thru her counsel that she surrendered to Pnoy because he is the only person she trusts. She doesn’t trust the NBI to give her a fair treatment. A day or two later, Pnoy issues a statement/ INSULT to the NBI alleging of “moles” and “leaks” without naming names which resulted in the resignation of NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas.

      Director Rojas is a key figure in the ongoing investigation of the Pork Barrel scam and JLN’s involvement with corrupt politicians. In a masterstroke (if I may borrow Mr. Tiglao’s choice of word), PNOY has successfully aided JLN and bought her time by successfully derailing if not SABOTAGING the NBI investigation. Worse, we may get a replacement for Director Rojas who may be sympathetic to the palace’s agenda of a cover-up to protect who may yet turn out to be the biggest SUSPECT on this continuing pork barrel investigations.

    7. Ilabas na kc ang record kung saan nya ginamit ang Pork nya pra wala nang agam-agam at paghihinala sa isip ng mga tao. Kung alam nyang malinis ang record nya, bakit nya ito itatago? A leader by example ika nga.

    8. The Ph10M reward was just a sham. Obviously, it was part of the script to allow JLN to “surrender” to Pnoy and prevent the NBI operatives who were hot on her heels. JLN then issues a statement she only trusts Pnoy and fears no fair treatment from the NBI.

      Pnoy in the same breath insults the NBI for alleged “leaks” without naming names thereby putting pressure on NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas to resign out of delicadeza. It is very important to note that Director Rojas is very crucial to the ongoing investigation because of the wealth of information he and his team have uncovered. Now that Director Rojas has been removed Pnoy has successfully aided JLN by derailing the NBI investigation. So obvious.

    9. if only the government is honest and God-fearing,then there will be no corruption and less poverty will be seen in the society.Those who are stealing must be jailed.

      • Yeah. I wish God was head of the COA so we will all know those plunderers from all colors of the political spectrum.

        Most if not all of these past and incumbent officials are guilty of stealing and siphoning their PDAF. It’s just that the Commission on Audit doesn’t get sufficient funding from national government (for obvious reasons) that they lack the manpower to conduct a swift, exhaustive, and extensive audit.

    10. We’re too idealistic for this kind of predicament. Filipinos think that solving pressing issues, all of them, takes only overnight. Again, we’re too idealistic to think that having all them in one issue can change the facade of a tradition, of a corruption eating the soul out of our country. The way I see it, this is going to be the same as any other issues of the past – forgotten and tolerated. Because we Filipinos only see things at face value, we suddenly become monsters wanting to engorge on someone else’s heart without even knowing, not even taking the time, to try and scratch the surface of it all. As a suggestion, when one politician is proven guilty of mishandling his PDAF, don’t blame Napoles for it.

    11. isagani p. avinante on

      It was said that BS Aquino smell rat at NBI. I say, I SMELL PORK in AQUINO!
      I truly regret and I beg for forgiveness that I had campaigned and voted for him.

    12. Almost 1.6 Trillion and PDAF ng ating Presidente kung idadagdag pati ang Malampaya funds na nasa kanyang disposal, ano po ba ang pwedeng magawa nito? Ito po ang pinakasimple 97 M ang kasalukuyang population ng Pilipinas kung sakaling nagmilagro at nagdesisisyon ang ating Presidente na ipinamahagi ng pare pareho sa bawat Pilipino ang kanyang PDAF, ang bawat isa po sa atin ay makakatanggap ng 16,480.00 ibig pong sabihin nyan kung malaki ang pamilya nyo mas malaki ang matatanggap at kapag ginamit ito ng tama wala ng Pulubing Pilipino, wala na ring mahirap dahil meron ka ng pagsisimulan ng kaunting negosyo, lalo pang lalaki ang tax dahil dadami ang perang umiikot sa market at siguradong dadami ang investor dahil sa ganda ng market potential ng Pilipinas kapag ganito ang merkado magkakaron ito ng chain reaction na magtataas sa kalakal ng Pilipinas na lalong magpapapataas ng buwis, sigurado pong mataas din ang sweldo dahil may choice na po ang tao either to start a business or look for a job, at dahil nga sa ganda ng komersyo kahit magbigay pa ng magandang sweldo mga employer kikita pa rin sila, at malamang mawawala na ng unti unti ang korapsyon dahil di na kailangang maglagay ng kahit sinong Pilipino, dahil marami silang opsyon. Pero ito po ay hanggang pangarap lang dahil imposible pong mangyari na ipamahagi ng ating Presidente ang kanyang napakalaking PDAF, Pero san nga ba napupunta ito???

    13. let us not be too judgmental. I agree the plot thickens. If this is true, we won’t let him get away with it. But let us also consider that a president is always requested to pose for photos with people wanting to be seen with him. Part of his social endearment.
      Let us not forget that he was the one who started this campaign against graft and corruption, if it ricochets towards him, then so be it. But I would rather at this moment we have a person to believe it until that get’s shattered. Saan pa tayo tatakbo kung sisiraan nating lahat?

    14. Joaquin Fernandez on

      That is such a good idea, Jinggoy, Bong and JPE to rally the opposition and let us see where it will end. Mr. Tiglao’s articles have become a propaganda and not commentaries as it is supposed to be. The obvious agenda of demolition on the administration is just so glaring. The arguments has lost its salt.

      • Can’t take the truth? Still in denial? The facts speak for themselves and Mr. Tiglao is just putting together all the loose ends in this sordid story of endless government corruption under the Aquino administration.

      • What opposition?

        The people want those plunderers put to jail!

        JPE, Jinggoy, Bong Revilla, et al as much they want Aquino’s own LP partymates who are obviously involved but are getting palace protection with the ongoing SELECTIVE witch-hunt being orchestrated.

        Grow a brain.

    15. The discovery of the Pork Barrel Scandal would provide the executive branch, an opportunity to benefit from the crisis. First, by being decisive in bringing all congressmen and senators an audited recapitulations of their stewardship of the pork barrel funds regardless of political colors. Second, by grabbing the opportunity to reform the present system to benefit the country and discipline erring politicians, and highlight to the community of nations that the Philippines is a safe country for fund managers entrusted by their clients to invest foreign direct investment, FDI. And, lastly, to rid the government of dishonest people whose primary concern is his or her personal agenda.

    16. Bakit may maniniwala pa ba na di kilala ni Noy si Napoles? Tanga lang yun! Makakapal ang mga mukha ng taga Malacanang, ng alam nilang lalabas at lalabas ang mga pictures na kasama ni Aquino si Napoles…inunahan na nila ang press at media. Tsk tsk tsk – buking na buking! Kakahiya!

    17. Eh ! Halata naman si pres. Aquino is isa mga lumustay ng pera ng pilipinas .. Pinaiikot iikot pa dapat sa Kanya nakulong kasama ng iba politician nag nakaw din

      • masyadong mapanghusga yan komento mo kaya mo bang panindigan yan? baka wala kang matibay na ebidensya jan sa sinasabi mo, at baka ikaw pa makulong dahil jan sa statement mo. wag agad magkomento ng ikakasira ng isang tao lalo kung wala kang matibay na basehan at ebidensya.

    18. pictures doesn’t speak the whole story. Why not show the transactions or evidence that they really have connections, not that pictures. It seems common to certain individual to have pictures with politicians and actors in showbiz if they have a chance.. Don’t insinuate bad things with that simple picture, just give me a strong proof.

      • Yes, a pic doesn’t say much, but it is seldom that a president allows himself to be photograph wit anybody. Beside, there are circumstances that would say that the pic is not just mere photo ops. like the letter and the surrender.

    19. Oh, you missed out on the counsel connected to the law firm MOST of Pnoy’s Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa who provided initial assistance to Napoles.

      I have long suspected the Three Kings of the LP are deeply entangled in this pork barrel anomaly. Butch Abad, Frank Drilon, and Mar Roxas. By extension and association, Pnoy being the sitting president (of this student council as Joker Arroyo correctly put it) cannot extricate himself from this quicksand of a mess they have found themselves in.

      The moist eyes of the 2016 wannabes will soon turn into tears when their ambitions vanish into thin air just like the billions of taxpayers money they siphoned from government coffers. There’s mud already on the faces of Jinggoy Estrada (VP bet of Jojo Binay) Bong Revilla (dreaming of presidency) and Bongbong Marcos (the other Bong in the Bong-Bong tandem for 2016.

      We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. There is much to be unearthed. And JPE whose political career and stock has gone south will go down with guns blazing and dragging along enemies and frenemies with him altogether. This will be a lot of fun. But the ultimate fun for us ordinary citizens will be to see all these corrupt politicians put behind bars for shameless plunder!!!

      • Correction, Bongbong Marcos is a victim here, of the machinations of the palace. Bongbong Marcos is not implicated at all. He is innocent. Aquino framed him, it seems, as he assigned 100 million as DAP to Marcos, without Marcos knowing it and then somehow, miraculously, with forged documents, the money which came from Aquino’s pork barrel allocation got released to Napoles’ NGOs.

        Aren’t you following the news? Don’t accuse Marcos, he is obviously innocent. For me, he is the most qualified among all the presidential aspirants. He has the track record to prove he will make a capable president, and he doesn’t have to be a Marcos to run as president. As an individual public servant, he has accomplished a lot, not to mention his academic achievements!

      • The Liberal Party will be walking through the Boulevard of broken dream. About time to change the Administration. A person who tolerate corruption is corrupt, they speak with FORK TONGUE.

    20. The plot thickens… nagkakalituhan na. Hindi na alam ng taong bayan kung sino paniniwalaan… hehehehe…. next phase… magkakasawaan na…. then tatagal … magkakalimutan na….then tapos na… balik sa dating gawi.

    21. Primer Pagunuran on

      Two Ds at work, namely: damage control or demolition job.

      PNoy indicatively has something to keep from public view but can’t.

      We be the judge. To me, his punchline “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” means the same thing when we say “kung walang mahirap, walang corrupt”.

      So I think his principled “daang matuwid” is just a propaganda, nothing else.

    22. Ang Filipino kahit kailan utak paurong or kilala sa pagka crab mentality.It doesn’t mean na nag pa picture yung girl si napoles sa kay president aquino mag kakilalla n sila…Unang una ginawa ko itong komento na ito hindi para protektahan or dahil nag support ako sa presidente.Isang halimbawa nalang ang aking position bilang nsa exicutive or kaisa isang piniy na may hawak na mataas na katungkulan dito sa saudi arabia at dahil dyan kahit saan ako mapunta na okasyon or pagtipon tipon marami nag pakuha ng picture na kasama ako dahil proud sila na ang kababayan nila ay isa sa may hawak na mataas na katungkulan, isa pa si Vice Pres. Binay, marami din nag pa picture sa kanya kahit saan sya napunta ibig ba sabihin nyan na kakilala nya ang mga iyon?Wake up my kababayan alam na natin ang pangyayarinat sino sa lahat ng presidente ang nag tratrabahao ng tama isa pa walang perfecto na tao dito sa balat ng mundo…..

      • then bakit itinanggi ni PNoy na kilala csila ni Napoles???? Oo masabi rin natin na nagpapicture lng sila sa anak ni napoles, but take note mahilig c PNoy ng mga medyo bata pa at for sure inalam nya yon ang parents noon at pwede rin nating masabi na kilala na nya dati pa ang parents ng dalaga kaya ganon sila ka close…

    23. Truly, I think, Mr. Tiglao’s request that Mr. PNoy himself should disclose how he used his own bork barrel during his time is not only fair but also in keeping with his own open book/info policy and campaign against corruption. Sure Mr. PNoy sincerety and integrety will be tainted and compromised if he will not accede to this simply request. Leadership is at the height of truesm and worthiness if itself validated by leadership and true and fast and unpretended action. If mr. president will dili-daly on this, he shall loose a lot if not all his credibility and would loose a lot of public support and trust.

    24. The plot thickens. One just hopes something tangible will come out of this: throwing the thieves in jail for life. However, skepticism among the populace reigns, considering the “wink, wink, nod, nod” culture of the folks who police these things, especially the “police” are the thieves themselves. The version of pork barrel in PI, in contrast with the pork barrel here in the USA are worlds apart. Earmarking a yearly amount for senators and congressmen in the Philippines is definitely asking for trouble! It is “bonehead” idea!

    25. To those who are adept at reading “between the lines”, or who are intelligent enough to decipher hidden psychological warfare tactics, the figures thrown in by Ms. Napoles -38 million pesos and 280-300 million pesos, signify the amount that she pumped into the Aquino election machine. She is merely reminding him of the amount so he can adequately protect her when “crunch time” comes calling. The “ransom’ is interestingly enough- just a “double talk.”

    26. The President is Mr. Clean, please let us be sure of that as we all know! what more can we bleed from our very sincere President who had done his utmost for the good of our country which no one aside from her mother Cory and Fidel. We should instead help him decide what to do with these proven crooks in our legislative body. and not divert the issues.

    27. The letter of Janet Napoles making “SUMBONG” to the president is a dead giveaway of how “DEEP” their “FRIENDSHIP” has been!