World court rules Aquino’s 2011 cancellation of Belgian dredging project illegal



Orders PH govt to pay Belgian firm P0.8 billion
THE World Bank’s International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled January 23 that former President Benigno Aquino III’s unilateral cancellation in 2011 of a Belgian firm’s P18-billion flood-control venture, the Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project, was illegal and unfair.

It ordered the Philippine government to pay the Belgian dredging firm Baagerwerken Decloedt En Zoon (BDZ) P800 million, or what it had already put into the country—plus interest costs from 2011 to this month—when Aquino scuttled the project in November 2010, a few months after he took office.

The Rodrigo Duterte administration can’t justly ask us taxpayers to shoulder that nearly P1 billion penalty: It was solely Aquino, not the Cabinet nor any other government body, that recommended the cancellation of the project. In contrast, in the case of the government’s cancellation of the PIATCO Terminal III project, which it also lost, the Cabinet, the Solicitor General and even the Supreme Court had collectively decided that that airport project was riddled with graft.

Aquino didn’t even issue any written order to formally inform BDZ that he was cancelling the contract. It was scuttled in actual practice only through Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima’s refusal to sign the documents accepting the Belgian government’s P7 billion grant to fund the project. If Purisima can’t produce documents to prove that Aquino ordered him not to sign the papers, he should be legally liable for gross negligence in office.

PERENNIAL FLOODING IN METRO MANILA: These two (inset, Aquino and Purisima) should be blamed for torpedoing a major Belgian floodcontrol project, and pay for suit’s damages.

Why should we taxpayers pay the cost of Aquino’s hubris and idiocy? Duterte must find ways and means to legally require these two billionaires—Aquino and Purisima—to pay the P1 billion penalty imposed by the ICSID.

The ICSID apparently decided to reduce the P4 billion that BDZ had asked for in damages, on the ground that its actual costs when the project was cancelled, plus interest and other costs, amounted to only P800 million at present value.

Decision announced
While the ICSID has already announced that its decision had been handed down last week, and while I was informed of its gist, its secretariat emailed me: “Pursuant to ICSID Arbitration Rule 48(4), the Centre shall not publish an award without the consent of the parties. To date, the parties in this case have not consented to the publication of the award.”

Aquino’s cancellation of the Belgian project represents the height of his arrogance and stupidity.

The project would have required little cash outlay from the Philippine government, since BNP Paribas Bank would have provided the bulk of the financing at nearly concessional rates, while the Brussels government would have donated to the Philippines P7 billion for the project.

The project was mainly intended to dredge the Laguna de Bay and the Napindan Channel so floodwaters in Metropolitan Manila would have flowed out through the existing waterways faster and easier.

If Aquino had not cancelled the project, it would have reduced flooding in Manila by 2012, the scheduled completion of the project, or four years ago. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made it a priority of her administration after Typhoon Milenyo brought massive flooding in Luzon and Metro Manila.

“A much deeper Laguna de Bay would relieve residents of Metro Manila, Rizal and Laguna of the flooding that happened at the height of [Tropical Storm] ‘Ondoy’ and [Typhoon] ‘Pepeng’,” then Laguna Gov. Jorge Ejercito, an ardent supporter of the project, said in September 2010. For defending the project, Ejercito was harassed by Aquino’s supporters, leading to his ouster as Laguna governor for overspending in the 2004 elections, the only governor ever removed from office for such violation. A group of Southern Luzon and Metropolitan Manila congressmen even signed a resolution supporting the project and asking Aquino to let it go through.

Seven government departments, agencies and interdepartmental bodies evaluated the project for three years, and endorsed it for immediate implementation in 2010. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in his approval, required under our central banking regulations, of the project’s foreign funding: “Its purpose is to improve the Lake’s capacity as a catch basin to reduce flooding in nearby towns and cities.” Aquino’s Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, in her August 2010 legal opinion, found nothing wrong with it: “The project cannot be construed as a midnight deal since it is covered by official development assistance from the Belgian government.” The Laguna Lake Development Authority general manager whom Mr. Aquino appointed, supported it—and was fired for his assessment.

Belgian prime minister
Even the Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme (who later become deputy secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD) vouched for the project’s integrity, and even submitted to Aquino an independent engineering firm’s evaluation of the project. “As I understand from the report of this expert, the project can be an undeniable improvement for the Metro Manila area and alleviate flooding, improve local transport infrastructure and increase water capacity,” Leterme wrote in a letter to Mr. Aquino in March 2011.

Leterme appealed to Aquino to allow the Belgian contractor to respond to the allegations against the project. Aquino snubbed Leterme, and did not even bother to reply to his letter.

Instead, Aquino ramped up his opprobrium against the project, and claimed that it was a “big joke” since it would “just move silt to another portion of the lake.”

That was an utter lie. The 150-year-old BDZ is one of the biggest and most respected firms in the dredging industry. The project very clearly specified that the dredged material would be deposited in designated sites off Taytay-Angono and San Pedro, which in fact would become reclaimed land where waste-water treatment facilities would be built.

Why did Mr. Aquino cancel such a crucial project? Because of his irrational, apoplectic bias that everything his predecessor President Arroyo, did or planned was corrupt. Just a few months after he assumed office, Mr. Aquino claimed that the project was a “midnight” corrupt deal of the Arroyo administration. The mainstream press of course toed the Palace line, and Aquino even got the leftist organizations, especially Bayan Muna and Akbayan representatives in Congress, to echo his baseless allegations.

After five years in which Aquino’s operatives went over the project’s files with a fine-toothcomb, and even tried bribing and coercing purported whistleblowers, not a single iota of evidence has been unearthed to support the claim that the Laguna de Bay dredging project was riddled with corruption. No wonder the government lost the case at the ICSID.

The cost to us though isn’t just the P1 billion in damages the ICSID has imposed.

The cancellation of this crucial flood-control project will go down in Philippine history as the country’s most tragic, most shameful episode in which P1 billion in in taxpayers’ money will be paid, hundreds of lives were taken, hundreds of thousands of flooded Filipinos put in misery because of the irresponsible ill-will of a President toward his predecessor.

Make Aquino and Purisima pay not just for their arrogance and stupidity but also for the suffering they’ve caused the nation.

E-mail: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Bobi Tiglao and Rigoberto Tiglao


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  1. After an offline emotional outrage. Malumanay na ako.
    Gusto ko sana magbahagi ng aking sagot para panalo ang kada Filipino.

    [1] Dahil meron nang ganitong magandang Project si Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, pede naten sabihin na all her projects were “Not Corrupt”. Na, some were really created with good intentions.

    [2] Ilista ang mga Projects ni GMA na na-cancel at baka meron pang kapaki pakinabang para sa lahat.

    [3] I would suggest that PNoy and Purisima be investigated for cancelling such contracts. I also like to request to investigate those congressmen that con

    [4] I would to request to have the The Laguna Lake Development Authority general manager properly compensated for doing his job. I mean, how could someone be fired from doing his job? The person was the Laguna Lake Development Authority General Manager for God’s sake. He was there to manage the Laguna Lake Development. The Laguna Lake has become the catch basin to Metro. Manila’s population and urbanization/industrialization over-spill. I could only hope that I am wrong that they [the Aquino family] wants to have filipino families flooded so they gain support from their charities donated worldwide and these charities never get to the affected families. I really hope I am wrong.

    [5] I really think this is a good idea being the Pasig River and the Laguna Lake as Metro Manila’s Catch Basin to prevent flooding and for PGMA to really put action into this. I see the “Trend” with these family being Mother Cory stopped Bataan Nuclear Power Plant when put in seat, but still paying Westinghouse for creating it. Then I learn son PNoy stopped dredging of Laguna Lake after seating. This family is corrupt. Nevertheless, I still think we should continue this project and extend it to have them worked on the Pasig River. Clean it up. Please include the waterways in Divisoria. These waterways were filled with life. History tells us these areas were the main cash flow of economic Manila before spanish era and can still be monetized at these era when people willing to pay for beautiful scenes when cleaned up.

    Here is my suggestion. Lower the penalty to half but Purisima, PNoy and whoever is involved pay for it. The FIlipinos can pay for the whole project proposal. Have it extended to clean the Pasig River. Have PNoy and his co-horts pay half of it and the Filipino government the rest. have it also extended to the waterways of Divisoria.

    Compare mostly visited countries and tourists that were willing to pay high amount to have a view of a clean, safe scene. This era is an era of tourism and experience.

    [6] Yolanda Funds, Mamasapano Massacre, SAF44, Hacienda Luisita, Chinese Airports created in Spratlys Island (Backdoor deal by Trillanes)and then saying they were pushing the Hague Rule, the increase in Mining that did not follow environmental safety requirements, Having Presidential Security Guard protect and secure a civilian family while doing personal business (PSG with Kris Aquino). Nothing against you Krissie. I love your tv shows. These were all during PNoy Admin.

    Above all these, what had the Ombudsman had to say? Still no investigation? The previous ombudsman was relieved of duty because of no action from PGMA when they were all allegations up until now. These impeachment were pushed by AKBAYAN and MAKAmasa or whatever their rallyist names were. Now, these were absolutely a case under World Court and they should be charged.

    Anu masasabi mu mr. Efren Reyes of Akbayan Party list? #RallyPaMore #EDSAUlet. #KapitPaMore

  2. Sequester the assets of P-noy to pay for the penalty. I am sure they will still have more than enough to sustain their haciendero lifestyle after that. The people should not be mafe to suffer for the stupidity of its leader in the past. P-noy thought all along that the presidency is just like a walk in the park. Now he should know it is more like walking in a tightrope between thr two towers of Petronas.

  3. Mas mabuti ilibing na lang itong dalawang unggoy na ito sa putik na galing sa ilalim ng Laguna de Bay.

    • They want to us TaxPayers money. Tax Money is Filipino Money for Oursevles and our Families.

      Make those two pay for it or make their family pay for it.

  4. This would be an excellent time for Penoy to apologize for all his wrongdoings before he goes to the mental hospital! Of course he wouldn’t apologize because of his mental state. He should just stay in the mental hospital and let him be there for many, many years!

  5. You got it right..PNoy is simply IDIOT masquerading to be intelligent. Duterte should pursue a case make ABNoy liable to all misdeeds during his term.

  6. for the win-win solution.. Appeal to the Belgian Company to continue the project and ask for lower penalty for the phil government.

  7. thank you Sir, for exposing this. we have been denied of knowing this in the mainstream media in the past. you are precisely correct, they should be the ones to shoulder whatever damages / penalties the court sanctions. it should not be this admin nor the taxpayers .

  8. Empress Azelade on

    If this is true,how disappointing to the tenth level!!!! But the disappointment has just started,what’s next? Next Level na ba Mr.Noynoy and purisima?

  9. Everything about Benigno Simeon Aquino is a mistake and all that voted for him and the Liberal Party also deserve to be jailed. Yes all Liberal Party members and supporters have a special place in hell. Those that deserve to be “killed” are Rissa Hontiveros, Kiko Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Lenny Kwago Robredo, Abad, Jinky key Soliman, Laila Dilima, Noynoy Aquino,BalsyAquino,Kris Aquino,JOSH AQUINO, Bam Aquino.

  10. Mr. Tiglao, I am “looking in from afar, from the outside” basing my remarks on what you said. If this true, (I am not doubting your credibility), but is this? (base on what happened) “like mother, like son”, TWA. I can’t help but ask, is Mr. Aquino really “psychologically sick”, meron bang kulang. Were those previously circulated medical problem was true, as some of his classmates in Ateneo said, (not identifying themselves). Wherein a couple of days there was published narrative from none other than Ms. Carmen Pedrosa that there was something really wrong with Pnoy. Ninoy and his fraternity brothers noticed it while they were in Boston. Granted it is true, but why Filipinos (his families, his secretaries, his friends/confidante), smart, well-educated, with highest integrity (not anymore) packaged him as “capable”. Is it because of Filipinos propensity to “hero worship” flawed character, Why there are still Filipinos who continuously covering-up for him? What really had become of generations of Filipinos.

  11. remedios a.antonio on

    Let the culprits pay for their ognorance.Sue pinoy and purisima and demand that they pay the cost of their foolishness

  12. Genly Carreon your comment and Analysis ia as stupid and moronic as that decesion of Abnoy to Cancel the project. Fyi these tributaries from the different parts of Laguna and Rizal make its outlet in the Lake it is nature or Gods’ design you moron, thats why it is called catch basin. It is like your pozo negro that you have to clean from time to time..It is an honest to goodnes project that will benefit many at less cost to the govt. Malaking portion ng gastos regalo ng BELGIUM GUNGONG.

    • I agree with you Berny100%. Regarding Genly comment, a point he raised in his statement is like, we’ll just have to wait for an earthquake to do away with the dredging, that’s a big bull****.

  13. Maybe it is not to late for Phil. Govt to file an appeal for icsid to reverse its decision by having the present prrd admin admit THAT ON ACCOUNT OF INSANITY Abnoy has zero ability to know or determine what is right from wrong. For Ph govt. to file a reconsideration to the Belgian govt and the dredging company just to continue the project under the same terms and grants.

  14. Maybe when Noynoy Aquino cancelled the project his mental ailment affected his judgment.

  15. Let the culprit pay for it, Abnoy and his alalay Purisima!! All of the Aquinos, they don’t do anything good for the country, lahat pahirap even Ninoy, he has no accomplishment in the senate, what he is doing is just watching Marcos and how he can put the man down.

    • remedios a.antonio on

      Ignorance to the max. Let the culprits pay for the consequences of their stupid actions

  16. paano naging best president yan ayon sa survey??? puro yellowtards ang ininterview ganun ba?
    ano kaya masasabi ng mga senador na yellowtards like trillanes, de lima, hontiveros, drilon, pangilinan, recto at bam aquino?

    • Because UNCLOS has no ability to force China to follow their ruling. Pero ang World Bank, kaya nilang i-enforce and ruling nila sa atin.

  17. This is just one of the projects that was unilaterally cancelled all because of their incompetence and hate on anything that has the imprint of Arroyo.

    Penoy cancelled contracts insisting they were tainted with corruption yet till he left the palace, no case was filed on such corruption charges! Even the Northrail project that many say is full of corruption, no case was filed and in fact the government paid the Chinese contractor the commensurate cost of work they claimed as completed!

    • On issue of Laguna de Bay Dredging Project that was scrap by the Aquino administration was entirely correct. Given the fact that the rivers from the adjacent provinces was diverted to the Laguna de Bay to justify that their is a need to dredge the Laguna de bay, its a fact. And Laguna de bay if not not dredge is good since only the rivers which the government has to dredge since if the Bay is higher in elevation and the Angono and Pasig river is dredge deeper it would force the water to drain faster to the Manila Bay area. And it was discover that the mouth of Laguna de Bay more than fifty meters was block artificially by government engineer’s to show that dredge will push thru. That’s the reason why there was an artificial flood that happen then. And Laguna de bay is a natural caldera which if a strong earthquake will happen, It will create a natural way of liquifaction which the bay will go deeper without dredge the bay area. We will fight to the very end this foreign base manipulation of the Belgian Company…..If war comes. I will be the person to lead. Peste kayong mga kasabwat ni Gloria Arroyo….

      Like · Reply · Just now

  18. What an idiotic move! PNoy doesn’t know anything about governance ! He just knows how to drive his Porsche to Pampanga. Another financial loss to our country. PNoy shame on you!

  19. Richillo Oliveros on

    And some are claiming that he was the best President this country has ever had thus far. In what capacity? Let PNoy pay, it was his decision & his burden to carry, not ours. To consider how much good the 1B could have done if it were used properly. Shame on him & so sad for us.

  20. bakit inu-una nila ang pang sariling interest, nakakalungkot … tayo pa ngayon ang mag bayad nang 800M, sana yung pera na yan ilalaan pa sa ibang proyekto, haaay inang bayan! bakit mi mga tao hindi nag isip nang mabuti para sa bayan!!!

  21. O my gulay!!! Another skeleton came from the closet. How in the world did the ignorance of a leader cost the country this much? Lord please make a way that those who are responsible pay for this. Kaawaan nyo po kami. Amen.

    • All I can say is that all of us Filipino (including those yellow followers) will continue to suffer from all the stupid things Noynoy has done to out beloved country until he is tried in court and sentenced to death (Mamasapano is treason).

  22. We can’t let PRRD be like the past administration who kept on trying to find flaws on his previous predecessors. But I do want former Pres. Aquino to explain and held accountable for this. I don’t know if it’s legal or acceptable for the ICSID as a solution since they already released their decision. But I think that the project is still necessary. It would be great if PRRD could settle with the firm to continue the project to lessen or even avoid the whole penalty. It would benefit everyone including all Filipinos who’re yearly affected by flooding caused by the lake’s capacity and may improve water supply in the process as long as it’s closely monitored by the government to avoid corrupt officials/personnel to be involved.

  23. The amount of comments this has received speaks for itself. I share the same sentiments. The country is longing for justice against Aquino and his associates. He needs to be punished, one way or another his corruption needs closure.. or Philippines will have another open wound that will become more and more infected in time.

  24. Bobi Tiglao maraming salamat! There, there, there’s something corrupt in the mind set of Noynoy. Dapat si Noynoy at Purisima ang mag babayad sa hinihingi ng ICSID para sa Baagerwerken Decloedt En Zoon (BDZ) ng Belgium. Dapat meron ng ‘class suit’ filed against Noynoy dahil pati buhay ng tao na lalagay sa alanganin at ang iba ay patay na dahil sa baha. An Ondoy na ba tayo noon?

  25. BS Aquino’s Policy of Discontinuity without justifiable reasons besides arrogance and vested family interests with the oligarchs in the post-EDSA presidents—as manifested in this International body’s decision that is prejudicial to the interest of the Philippines—is just a continuity of the elites’ policy of franchising history in their favor.

    The Aquinos and their party-mates will be presented as the victims, the oppressed; and neither will they be written in history as the tormentors nor oppressors of the Filipino people they successfully half-baked-ly educated and fooled.

    They have practically controlled the mainstream media and the publishing houses in this Republic that will certainly drain the enthusiasm of academics, thinkers, and the next generation of writers.

  26. The Great Defiant on

    The Mamasapano has not yet to started…
    and here comes the new one…

    when it rains…it pours….

  27. “Thank you Manila Times for putting this putting this out. I doubt if a similar article will come out of other “leading”newspapers. AS an employee of one of the big agencies of the government, we too is a victim of Pnoy’s self-centeredness. He canceled a very valuable project just because the project won’t be finished in time to the end of his term. So selfish!

  28. If the project is still necessary, why not make a deal and continue the project to reduce flooding in metro Manila.

    • Very good suggestion. I was thinking along a similar line. If the Duterte administration could somehow make a deal, there’s a pretty good chance that the Belgian contractor may agree and it’s a win-win solution to both parties. And bring utter shame to BS Aquino.

    • Why would the Belgian company want to or indeed any other company? Philippines has the lowest level of Direct Foreign Investment in Asia, I wonder why!

  29. Who will now sue Noynoy and his BFF Purisima in court?
    Thank you, Manila Times, for this unearthing of yet another blunder of unfeeling Noynoy.
    Paging, Dept of Justice! or the Supreme Court?

  30. Pagbayarin itong si Pnoy at Purisima sa sarili nilang pera para maging aral sa mga taong nilalagay natin na manuno sa atin ay may kasamang mabigat na responsibilidad. Katulad din ng ina nitong si Pnoy na si Cory na ibinasura ang BNPP dahil lang sa kapricho niya kasi ito ay proyekto ni Marcos. Hanggang ngayon ay pasan pasan natin ang pagbabayad ng ginastos dito sa BNPP na hindi natin pinakikinabangan. Dapat isama din ito sa sisingilin sa pamilya ni Pnoy. At ang Meralco na binayaran ng gobierno ni Marcos sa mga Lopez ng ito ay binili ngunit isinauli ni Cory ng libre sa mga Lopez. Dapat din pagbayarin ang pamilya ni Pnoy dito sa transaktion ng Meralco. Bakit dapat pasanin ng taong bayan ang garapal at harap harapan pagnanakaw nitong sila Cory at Lopez.

    • Eh kasi kala nila matitino itong pamilyang ito. Do you remember this CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY! CORY!!! Ganyan ka sira ang ulo ng mga tao nung araw.

  31. Ang katapusan ng lahat tayo pa rin mamayan ang mag babayad niyan. When it comes to chicaneries in the Philippines, there is nothing new under the sun. Nag papalit lang ng mukha at personalities ang mga iyan, pero iisa ang intention(s) ng sino mang uupo diyan kundi pahirapan tayong maliliit. Bantayan ninyo at sa ating din kukunin ang ipang babayad diyan at padadaanin in the form of fees, tolls, and other kind of taxes. Yan ang mabilis na remedyo ng mga buhong na yan. Imbes na habulin at bawiin yung mga nag nakaw ng bilyon-bilyon na pinag hati-hatian nila tayo ang pe-perwisyuhin ng mga yan.

    I trust that this administration, after ironing out the wrinkles of the past, irrespective of who was to blame, would be able to do the best necessary. Of course, it’s not that simple. But as a national attitude, specially among leaders, maturity calls that we find solutions. Enough of the previous administration’s passing the buck. Let us emerge from political immaturity.

  33. One by one, the blunders and proof of PNoys arrogance and stupidity are being unearthed. This could be hastened were it not for the fact that most of the “investigative” media practitioners are either in the pocket of Aquino or rabid anti-Marcos. The biggest sin that he has committed in perpetuation of what his mother has started and what Ramos continued is brainwashing the Filipino people about the real accomplishments of Marcos as against the accomplishments of his mother, Ramos and himself. They have pounded Martial Law to a pulp already and have nothing else to blame Marcos other than that but what have they really accomplished during their term that is not glossed over? It is just refreshing that Manila Times doing the real news reporting.

  34. It seems to me that BS of A didn’t learn from what he’s father was fighting against when he’s still alive.
    I was a Ninoy Aquino’s supporter before and after his assassination. I was an EDSA participants during
    the non-violent civil disorder. It saddened me that the oppressed then turns out to be the oppressor later.
    The guy should be tried in court and if found guilty should be put in jail. It is about time that Juan dela
    Cruz see justice done, no matter what your status in life is. Only then that me may be able to cleanse
    the country of rampant corruption.

  35. This is reminiscent of Cory Aquino’s infamous line “I want the Filipino people to suffer so they will be angry at Marcos” or something like that. Just like Cory, her son had the big greedy and corrupt media at his fingertips to demonize Gloria Arroyo. Just like Cory’s time the Filipino people suffered from the incompetence and crookedness of Noynoy Aquino. Please PRRD prosecute the dirty Noynoy Aquino and his band of crooks and murderers without letup to show that crime does not pay in the Philippines under your administration.

  36. The arrogance and failures of the past administration led by the Phony Noy is trying to get back at him. KARMA, for being vindictive for no reason at all. Because of his doing, the Philippines is instructed to pay almost P1billion and the continued inconvenience of the citizens of metro-Manila and the Laguna Lake vicinity.

    • There are two Purisima that needs to pay Cesar and Allan. This two A-hole should be held accountable not only BS(bullshit) Aquino.

  37. Presidents Cory Aquino and Noynoy Aquino both had habits of stopping the good projects of their immediate predecessors (Marcos and Gloria) even if the projects are good and for welfare of the Filipinos.

    Cory mothballed the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant when she assumed power in 1986, but the government continued paying Westinghouse billions of dollars until BNPP is fully paid.

    And her son Noynoy Aquino stopped this Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project just because it was the project of Gloria Arroyo, and most probably, the Filipinos will pay billions of pesos as court penalties, for this unbuilt project.

  38. Samsamin lahat ang ariarian ng dalawang ito. Bank deposits, local and foreign. Kabahagi niya sa Hacienda Luisita. Gunggong talaga itong si noynoy.

  39. I guess Noynoy is just like his mom, eh? Anything Marcos, no matter how good or visionary, was deemed evil and unnecessary. However, Noynoy continued the BPO industry started during the Arroyo administration and also her pantawid cash transfer program and used these as the campaign material of Mar Roxas.

  40. CALLING ALL YELLOW-BELLIED LIBERAL PARTY PUKES – what say you to this decision of the world trade that essentially is saying that your liberal idol the retarded and stupid penoy akino made such a dumb decision and the nation now has to pay P1 billion for akino’s stupidity!!!!