• Trampling on the congressional power of oversight


    BECAUSE of the surfeit of Senate inquries, arising from the great number of hearings conducted by Senators Koko Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetrano in their effort to take down the candidacy for president of Vice-president Jejomar Binay, we in the Manila Times have taken the view that we should only encourage and support a congressional inquiry if it pertains to a matter of urgent public interest and far-reaching national importance. We will look askance at inquiries called out of personal pique or for clearly personal reasons.

    Among current public issues, there is perhaps none more worthy of congressional inquiry than the state of rehabilitation and recovery in the areas struck hard by Supertyphon Yolanda/Haiyan in November 2013.

    Two years after the event, the situation certainly deserves looking into.

    As we write this comment, accusations are flying left and right about the shortcomings and management of the rehabilitation and recovery effort. Along with grave questions about where all the money donated and appropriated has gone.

    Former Senator Panfilo Lacson, who served at one time as the rehabilitation czar of the government, the other day once again lamented in a public statement that the comprehensive rehabilitation and recovery plan which his office crafted and which President Aquino approved and committed to implement, is not being followed by the implementing agencies. They are not doing their jobs, he said, and so the nightmare of Yolanda continues to haunt us.

    He declared that if not for the non-government sector and the bilateral and multilateral agencies from foreign countries, which responded and assisted beyond anyone’s expectations, nothing much would have been accomplished ain two years.

    For their part, many local government communities, particularly Tacloban City, which was Ground Zero of the typhoon, continue to complain of inadequate government support for their recovery efforts. Particularly lacking is adequate funding for the building of permanent shelters for thousands of typhoon victims families. Targets pledged and committed have not been met.

    National leaders, including vice-president Jejomar Binay and some senators, have also been loud in criticizing the inadequacy of the administration in meeting urgent needs and requirements.

    For demanding a full accounting and report on the status of rehabilitation programs and projects in the areas struck by Typhoon Yolanda, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has drawn a sarcastic reply from presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, who told him gruffly: “It’s now 2015. The President is not Marcos and the ruling coalition is not KBL.”

    This is an unbelievably insolent comment from an unelected official of the executive, in response to a legitimate inquiry by an elected member of the Senate on a matter of great public interest and national concern.

    From the story which we read online, all Senator Marcos did was ask a series of questions about the Yolanda rehabilitation and recovery program.

    He asked:
    “What did we receive? What have we done with it?

    “How far on the master plan for rehabilitation are we? Saan tayo nagkukulang?

    As we remember our Constitution and the need for comity in legislative- executive relations, both houses of Congress, through their committees and their members, have the power of inquiry and oversight in the conduct of programs by the executive.

    Sec. 21, Article VI of the Constitution clearly provides: “The Senate or the house of Representatives, or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected.”

    In the exchange we see before us, we are not even dealing yet with a formal call for an inquiry by Senator Marcos, yet already there are fireworks.

    Since Secretary Lacierda appears to be very knowledgeable about the progress of the rehabilitation and recovery program, and about the monies involved, we suggest that the Senate should call him posthaste to testify in open session. Perhaps, he will be able to explain to the satisfaction of all what so many of us in the media have so far been unable to comprehend.

    Both sides should welcome the opportunity to say their piece in a formal inquiry. And we in the media will gladly cover the proceedings.

    The Yolanda catastrophe and the people of East Visayas deserve full inquiry and closure. Otherwise, the wounds will not heal.


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. Yes, I for one have been against the Senate Sub Committee hearing conducted by the 3 stooges Senators and supported by the Porky Senators Drilon and TG Guindona. They all know that there is no single evidence that cropped up during the entire hearing. They committed the greatest blunder in their political career, now they will surely lose in the May 2016 election, except for Bar Topnotcher Koko Pimentel who has 3 more years to go. They all know that VP Binay can not be forced to show up in the sham hearing for the simple reason that they they not give the Office of the VP just small courtesy of inviting him appropriately but through the media, live interviews over radio/tv and print and there they lambasted VP Binay being a magnanakaw, ipakukulong and so forth. VP Binay was already judged when was this Senators shenanigan have been appointed or elected as judges of the Senate. VP Binay submitted his counter affidavit and voluminous documents to disprove the allegation against him but the 3 stooges continue to malign him. LETS SAY THAT BY NOT REVIEWING DOCUMENTS FOR SIGNATURE OF VP BINAY IS ALREADY A CRIME SINCE WHEN? THE ACTS OF SIGNING IS CUSTOMARY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS THERE ARE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF DOING THE REVIEW AND SEEING TO IT ALL ARE IN ORDER. WHAT A SHAM ARE YOU SENATORS OF THE BANANA REPUBLIC NAKAKAHIYA KAYO NAG PAGAMIT KAYO. IF THAT IS YOUR LOGIC THEREFORE ABNOY IS EQUALLY GUILTY FOR SIGNING PDAF, DAP AND OTHER RELEASES WHICH WERE AN ACCOUNTED AS OF THIS DATE.

    2. tama kuya alan,trillanes at pimentel, wag nyo hayaan si binay na mamuno sa ating bansa, wala syang kwenta.

    3. barron antonio on

      maawa naman sila sa mga biktima, antagal na nangyari ito, hangat ngayon hindi parin sapat ang kanilang natatangap na tulong galing sa gobyerno, bulok talaga kahit kailan.

    4. bruno belarmino on

      ang kukupad talaga kumilos nitong mga mga pwesto dapat n po talaga silang palitan, dapat yong may mablis na solution ang matapang na askyon!! #DC2016


      to Samilin and Manuel: just do not vote for Binay and stop talking, I’m not sure you’re paid hacks


    6. As one of your “The Manila Times” readers, please oblige the present government to disclose, those specific countries with their respective donations for Yolanda victims: In addition,

      a) who was authorized to receive those money & what bank it was deposited?
      b) how much were spent now?
      c) why for two years now – no amount were given to those affected provinces or places?

      Such disclosures could abreast specific countries who have given donations for Yolanda victims.

      More power & God bless.

    7. Kelly DelaCruz on

      This matter of WHY rehabilitations are so slow in the Visayas is essential to uniting our nation. otherwise there will be an unspoken animosity between those in the visayas and those from luzon. it is unjust, but do generations need to pass for this matter tobe resolved?

    8. Where is the yolanda money? plain and simple? We really need someone who checks out these things for us folks busy with earning a living.

    9. why they clinging for the donation of the govt im sure they will corrupt it,. di tulad ng isa nating senador si peter alan cayetano na handang tumulong kahit anong oras,.

    10. kung ano ang tulong na kailangan yun ang ibigay pero ang iba nga dyan kailangan pa sa gobyerno mangaling pede naman sila na lang pano nila ito mareresolb kung ganyan ganyan,.. dapat talaga dyn matapang na solusyon at mabilis na aksyon sen. cayetano ikaw ang kailangan

    11. kailangan dyan yung may paninindigan matapang na solusyon mabilis na aksyon katulad nalang ni sen cayetano

    12. dapat pag tulong ng karamihan ang usapin di dapat pa pogi,. di tulad ng iba dyan pag nangangailangan aksyon agad si sen. cayetano ang kailangan natin

    13. In the aftermath of Yolanda, Senator Alan Cayetano filed Senate Bill No. 1940 on Thursday which, if enacted into law, would establish an “Emergency Response Department” (ERD) that will be headed by a person with a rank of Cabinet Secretary. Then Rehabilitation Czar Lacson said the rehab and recovery plan which his office made and PNOY approved was not being followed by the implementing agencies. the question is of course, Why?

    14. malinis ang hangarin ni sen. alan na matigil na ang kurapsyon sa ating bansa. para tayo ay magkaron ng asenso at magkabangon sa kahirapan…..
      ngayon andito kana sen. alan salamat sa lahat ng naitulong nio lalo nasa sa yolanda victims….

    15. Edwin lacierda ranks as the leading vagrant among the cabinet members which is headed by a nincompoop exec in Pnoy. ” Malasado”- snide remarking retorts and politicking thrash talk – all these do not differ from abnoy, jim paredes and cynthia patag. YELLOW Freaks and LPs.. They are curt, uncouth and uncultured. Just check the pettiness of their thoughts, illogical/illogic truly dim-witted and undeservingly lacking in civility. Rabble rousers just like Ninoy, their lord. I wouldn’t want to send my grandchildren to the schools where they came from.

    16. BECAUSE of the surfeit of Senate inquries, arising from the great number of hearings conducted by Senators Koko Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetrano in their effort to take down the candidacy for president of Vice-president Jejomar Binay, we in the Manila Times have taken the view that we should only encourage and support a congressional inquiry if it pertains to a matter of urgent public interest and far-reaching national importance. We will look askance at inquiries called out of personal pique or for clearly personal reasons.

      i totally diagree with the first paragraph that is written on this article. Is it really personal if the chose to investigate any anomally on a project and check for graft and corruption posibility? I think what Cayetano, Pimentel and Trilanes have done the right job. The reason why the proverty rate is going up it is because public officials are not giving back what is due for the public. Connecting that to Yolanda Rehabilitation is totally agreeable because he question now where is the fund for rehabilitation. Mainly the problem of our Government now is graft and corruption. Cayetano, Pimentel and Trillianes did the right thing.

    17. There should be a specific depart to handle situtaion like yolanda calamity to be more organized and assurance that there will be a rehabilitation after a calamity struck a region. ERD as suggested by Sen Cayetano would be the best department if it will be established.

    18. Guillermo Hernandez on

      In one word……THIEVES ! ! !

      The vast sums of foreign donations are now part of Aquino’s and the Liberal Party’s
      2016 election trillion pesos war chest to ensure that they remain in power. Where else
      could have they gone ?

      THIEVES ……in bold and capital letters !

    19. the situation is similar to the 1990 earthquaqe, too much donations aid casnh in kind coming but some of those4 was missing not accounted ganito din ngayin nwwla and tulong from the international communties

      • barron antonio on

        too much donation sa bulsa lang nila napupunta, asa pa sa gobyerno, dapat ng palitan ang mga nakaupo talaga

    20. I am glad to read this editorial . We must be more sensitive to important issues that needs to be addressed in the Senate and House of Representatives, wherein the lives of our countryman should matter more than their personal agendas.
      The Media is just as responsible and I salute The Manila Times in reporting more valued
      worthwhile issues with full public concerns!
      Also the MRT/PDAF/DAP / 44 SAF MASSACRE . How can we forget and find Closure and Solutions if we cannot investigate it ? The very people that were elected sitting in the Senate and House are not even wanting to talk about it nor do their JOB ?

    21. Buti pa si Sen. Alan nagbigay ulit ng tulong sa mga nasalanta ng bagyong yolanda sa Tacloban. Di tulad ng iba na dalawang taon na ang nakalipas di pa rin tapos ang mga proyektong ipinangako.

    22. Maganda tong gumagawa ng inquiries nila Sen. Alan Cayeatno tungkol sa rehabilitasyong mga ginagawa sa tacloban tungkol sa di sapat na atensyong naibibigay ng gobyerno lalo na at grabeng pagkasalanta ang naranasan nila sa bagyong Yolanda. Sana maungkat rin kung san napupunta ang pondng nakalaan bakit ang kupad ng usad ng pagtulong sa mga nasalanta gayong dalawang taon na ang nakalipas. Sana sa pagpapaimbestiga nila Sen. Alan ay mabigyang linaw ang usaping to.

    23. Manila Times is wrong to characterize the surfeit Senate inquiry of widespread Binay’s corruption in Makati City for truth of lesser importance to voters than than the Pnoy’s empathetic Yolanda victims rehabilitation, but for all we knew, both were on the top of the scale that both nothing deserve praise. We cannot continue to embrace wrongly directed “Tuwid na Daan” of Mar Roxas emulated from callous President Aquino and so with the deeply sited corruption allegations of the family Binay. Both do not deserve votes by the public.

    24. Maybe they need more people to succeed in taking down the candidacy of the useless candidate named Jejomar Binay.

    25. Lacierda has been arrogantly skirting the issue, esp if asked by Marcos, because he knows that those donations will never find their way to Tacloban, and this govt has no intention of using it there. Obvious ba? 2 years and nothing to show for it, except for a useless monument?

    26. A question to Pinky Lacson, what can the people of this country expect of a headless one. We have a President who issues instruction but does not know how to follow-up nor manage or supervise.

    27. Matthew Parkes on

      Clearly the rehabilitation of Tacloban etc… is too important to entrust to Filipinos, especially Filipino politicians.

      Donor nations should be asked to manage the entire rehabilitation effort. That’s the only way to guarantee that anything will be done properly.