• We have serious unfinished business

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    I left the country more than two weeks ago, and the central focus then of Senators Antonio Trillanes 4th, Alan Peter Cayetano and Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and their principal media ally was the alleged wrongdoing and ill-gotten wealth of Vice President Jejomar Binay when he was still mayor of Makati. I came home yesterday from that short trip, and the same parties were still focused on the same thing. Only the intensity of the assault seems to have changed.

    For the past few months, this has been the single most important issue confronting the three young terrors of the Senate, and their principal ally in the conscript press. Everywhere else, everyone has managed to discuss other things—Ukraine, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), Hong Kong, China, Russia, India, BRICS, Ebola in West Africa and the United States. But not here, and not our three senators.

    Now, everyone else seems focused on what the three young senators are trying to do to Binay. Except perhaps for the National Transformation Council, which believes the nation’s most pressing irreducible minimum business is a regime change and a total overhaul of the electoral system as a condition sine qua non for the holding of the next election, and for Greco Belgica and his group, who believe that the immediate jailing of all those involved in the misuse of the unconstitutional multi-billion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) will bring about the needed regime change.

    This is perhaps but natural and normal where spectacle has replaced substance.

    It is not quite the same as the old Roman spectacle of feeding Christians to the lions, but the act appears close enough, however differently situated the characters. Lacking governance and the basic goods in life, the people need to be entertained, and the Senate circus is prime entertainment. The three terrors see Binay as the biggest single threat to their political ambitions, and so he must be thrown to the lions. Thus, the Senate blue ribbon committee (actually subcommittee) investigation.

    As we have said a few times before in this space, it is all-wrong. It is against all forms of decency and fair play, against the Constitution, and against the Rules of the Senate, particularly the Rules Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation. The act of finding out whether or not a person is guilty of a crime, especially one that is already in the hands of the Ombudsman, or which properly belongs to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, is strictly the business of the courts, where Congress may not interfere. The least of us recognize this as the “separation of powers.”

    The three senators began their investigation on the basis of an allegation about overpricing in the construction of a Makati city building, coming from a former Makati city official, who had earlier filed the same complaint before the Ombudsman. No one has bothered to find out whether the Makati politician had sought out the senators for help, or whether the senators had sought out the Makati politician to provide them with a “case” against Binay. But that information is critical.

    The original allegation has since branched out into a grand fishing expedition. From Makati, the expedition went into Binay’s Rosario, Batangas farm. Until now, they insist on calling it “an inquiry in aid of legislation.” But it is not at all, and can never be, an “inquiry in aid of legislation.” Not because there is no pending legislation that would benefit from the investigation, but simply because legislation is clearly not the purpose of the investigation.

    Its sole thrust and purpose from the very beginning has been to show that Binay is guilty of wrongdoing, that he is corrupt and unworthy to aspire for higher office, which he has admitted is his immediate goal. In fact, the most arrogant and abrasive of the three senators was known to have boasted that he would have Binay jailed by December. And those testifying against Binay have been offered official protection under the “witness protection” act, which has never happened, and has no need to happen, in a mere “inquiry in aid of legislation.”

    Now, to repeat a question we have asked before, who are these senators conducting the investigation? Without going back to their previous lives, it is enough to note that they are senators who had received at least P50 million each from the unconstitutional DAP for voting to convict and remove Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona on May 29, 2012, at the behest of Malacañang. They are guilty of corruption, they do not have clean hands.

    They have no right to investigate anybody at all, unless they first survive investigation and prosecution for their own crimes. In a more civilized society, they should have immediately resigned after Sen. Jinggoy Estrada revealed the payoff, and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad officially confirmed the same. So the real question is, why are they still there?

    Now, for all their venom and bile, they have failed to back up their allegations against Binay with the slightest scintilla of evidence, and they have refused to bring him to court, which alone could decide and should decide his innocence or guilt. Obviously their objective is simply to destroy Binay’s reputation or at the very least to embarrass him.

    Have they succeeded in that objective then? No, they have not, but they certainly have wounded him. But they may have inflicted more severe damage on the Senate, on the judicial system, on the conscript media, on the general moral and political environment, and, lest we forget, upon themselves

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    24 Comments

    1. Circus as it maybe my fellow readers, it will hit the media and hopefully lessen the ignorance of the people who sold their votes for a month of food on the table and 6 years of life on the streets. WE need public servants like these three, irregardless of what they may be ” Accused Of ” from the leftist and the opposition party. Constitutional or not, the playing field is leveled if the citizens are made aware and the perpetrators are exposed !

    2. The publicity hungry 3 Stooges should investigate too the DAP scam and other anomalies of their
      Allies, or they are selective in their
      investigation. LPs and allies are
      spared and protected while foes and opposition are harassed and demonized.

    3. Can the Blue Ribbon Committee please also investigate all the Senators who received the illegal DAP money from PNOY which includes the 3 stooges : Trillanes, Cayetano and Pimentel. These 3 senators received illegal DAP money and what they are doing to Binay is just to cover up for their own illegal acts including the major issue againsts PNoy which is the DAP. They want to cloud the bigger issue, the bigger crime which is the illegal DAP so they are instead focusing on the Makati City Hall Parking- a local issue so the Filipino people will hopefully forget the bigger , national DAP issue against PNoy and Abad and all the Senator/Congressmen recipients of the DAP. Which is more important the DAP and NAPOLES issue or the Makati City Hall parking lot ?

    4. Corrupt stooges handling the Binay investigation should first clear their abuse of public funds. This farcical circus is akin to the pot calling the kettle black,

    5. The senate investigation on Binay is an educational process. It educates the people how their tax money is being misspent if not stolen. Tatad’s tolerance of corruption during the time of Marcos resulted to our impoverishment while he benefitted from it.

      • So it is educational and fit for the UP College of Law Curriculum to incorporate the bias, lack of etiquette and absence of observance of legal ethics that characterize the Senate Zarzuela? Isn’t it that the legal skimming, organized plunder and technical malversation of PDAF and DAP funds orchestrated by the Simyon-Florencio Tandem is a better Harvard Case Module that citizens of the world can learn from?

    6. Why cant some people bear the thought that this is not a legal exercise but is the start of the 2016 presidential campaign where the people have the political and human right to examine all the candidates with a microscope to see how much corruption is written into their DNA? That that should be enough to trump any aspirant’s legal right should be common sense except of course to those who belong to the beleaguered camp. If the PCGG inquisition was acceptable even if Marcos and his men had already fallen from power, why not this senate inquisition against someone who looks like a weapon of mass corruption that is aimed at the highest post of the land? If there are strong indications that the man who is after your daughter is a drug addict and dealer, but he tells you to follow the law and prove that in court first before you attempt to keep your girl away from him, the world will understand if you shoot that guy between the eyes. But for the sake of upholding some legalistic principle a man who smells like a crook should be given a chance to rape the treasury? Look at this from another angle: Binay is being given all the chances to disprove all the lies against him. How is he faring?

      • I guess, your logic is awash with holes. It is never the job of Jojo to disprove those allegations. The onus of proof lies in the accusers and that is jurisprudence. By the way, the creation of the PCGG is unconstitutional and its creation can still subject its creator to answer for the misdeed.

      • In a court of law you are right, but for the purpose of making sure that the next president is clean and honest for a change, you are very wrong. Yes I know that the PCGG is legally untenable, I only cited it to show that many of those who are opposing this inquisition against Binay did not object to the PCGG inquisition against Marcos and his men. I guess consistency in moral and legal standards are not essential to the legalistic and moralistic yellow ribbon regime’s legacy.

    7. Senators Trillanes, Cayetano, and Pimentel are the new breed of young statesmen who are not afraid to expose traditional and corrupt politicians who are hiding behind the loopholes of the law while they amass ill-gotten wealth. What is wrong with trying to find out who the real owner of the Hacienda in Rosario, Batangas really is? What is wrong with trying to find out why capital gains tax was not paid during the sale of the hacienda and how the agrarian reform law was deliberately violated? The senate investigation is not about persecuting VP Binay; it is about stopping corruption.

      • If indeed there was a crime committed, let the NBI and the Ombudsman do their job. The Senate can never arrogate unto itself the job of those government agencies.

    8. Vicente Penetrante on

      Maybe the trio of Sub-Blue Committee senators simply want to show that could be better than NBI agents, without giving up their senatorial posts.

    9. I agree with the damage done to everyone. I am tired of the three stooges and the scripted kangaroo court in search of political demolition.

    10. The principal aim or purpose of the senate investigation is to INFORM the people of facts available or discovered, and let them form their opinion on the matter. In a democratic country where the people are the supreme authority, informing them through mass media is the best way unlike other bodies where they are not directly involved. While we have established legal institutions on these matters, only a few are privy on these very important issues in our times of so many corruptions in government.

      • A Senate investigation to inform people of “facts” is not the function of the Senate as a whole , nor of any senator for that matter. Informing people of facts is the function of media and of NBI and the police.

        A Senator is elected to enact laws, not to destroy peoples reputation. This is the function of showbiz commentators.

        If any crime has been committed, it should the Ombudsman and the Sandigan bayan and not the Senate. This is a mixup of roles and functions in the government that leads to abuse and chaos.

      • Bonifacio Claudio on

        “Trumped up facts”, yessss !!! You & the kinds of you are gullible to rubbish made-up info without proof… Gossip won’t stand up as proof of guilt in a court of law. that’s the very reason “the three young terrors in the senate”, as Mr. Tatad puts it, “those testifying against Binay were put under the official protection of the ‘witness protection’ act” so they could say anything to incriminate Binay without fear of being sued back.

      • Indeed, they should investigate the plunder of PP160 Billion euphemistically termed as DAP by the Simyon-Florencio Tandem.

    11. This administration and it’s leaders are trying their darn best to kind of railroad this so -called yellow ribbon sub-committee investigating the alleged kickbacks made by Jojo Binay and his unexplained wealth and corruption. This administration is used to this exercise. They succeeded when they successfully impeached Renato Corona by doing the same sinister plot and found him guilty of an unimpeachable offense. No body can stop this bakla PNoy administration from any and all illegal acts.

    12. Herman P. Hondojare on

      You are very right Mr. Senator Francisco Tatad these 3 senators have severely infected a venum to our country and to the people twisting the basic rules of law they have wasted millions of peoples money In Aid for their Ambitions or Re-Election in 2016.

      Filipinos are no longer fools to believe or vote them again for their hustler mentality, grandstanding, the new government after the 2016 election must file criminal cases on these person lock them in jail including bs aquino, abad and all others who plunders millions to billions of Filipinos money.

      Filipinos must unite to choose a nationalistic government and share information for the selection through media, social network and emails.

      God Bless The Philippines

    13. Many readers are now calling the 3 senators (Trillanes, Cayetano and Pimentel) the 3 stooges. And rightly so. Because they have been most ridiculously entertaining in exposing themselves as breathing specimens of mediocrity and insubstantiality. The truth about Binay could better be sought by a judicial body like the Ombudsman with its investigative tentacles. Now an anti-corruption body in the US has joined the fray and promises to reveal more devastating findings about Binay’s hidden wealth in the US. It is time to move on to the corruption charge against Drilon and his overpricing crime also. If fair is fair, then this must be looked into next by the Blue Ribbon Committee.

      The writer posits that the 3 senators also masked with mud, and have equally unclean hands due to their own records of corruption have no right to instigate those corruption charges against Binay. There is a valid point here. Which does not preclude however any investigation by the right body.

      Mr. Tatad’s sharp and witty comment referring to the ridiculous zarzuela where the 3 stooges have managed to feature themselves in, is most apropos. We have indeed a disgusting case of a spectacle replacing substance. A case of a public spectacle calculated to destroy and persecute. In the interest of justice, the public must not feast on this, unless the charges are sufficiently substantiated.

      • I’m reminded of the saying, “those who are the loudest in their threats are always the weakest in their actions”.