A Manila Times editorial has urged the blue ribbon committee headed by Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd to summon Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to inquire about the disposition of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Well, good luck on that. There’s a fat chance that Guingona would ever do that. Even if he’s forced to by public opinion, expect him to “freeze the ball” to prevent any point from being scored against the “tuwid na daan” of the Aquino administration.
At the blue ribbon hearing on the pork barrel scam on Aug. 29, 2013, Guingona was more circumspect in his utterances. When asked by Senate reporters about his impressions on the testimony of Janet Lim Napoles, he told them to wait for the committee report for its findings and recommendations. This was a great improvement from his actuations in the previous Congress where he readily made conclusions on an ongoing blue ribbon inquiry.
It didn’t take him long, however, to show his real stripes. Thus, in the last hearing, he raved over the testimony of Ruby Chan Tuason which he described as a gun-beating three-pointer that had won the game. So, for him, the “game” was already won even if he still has to call more witnesses. His protestations that he hadn’t made any prejudgment are believable only to the Yellows. He called Tuason’s testimony a “game winner” in an unfinished inquiry but to him that doesn’t constitute prejudgment.
Wow, spoken like a true blue defender of the administration’s “tuwid na daan!”
In the previous Congress, he kept on saying that no anomaly like those linked to the GMA administration could happen under the watch of President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd. With such a mindset, it’s no wonder that he was chosen to head the blue-ribbon instead of the more senior Sen. Kiko Pangilinan. He has proven himself to be the unflinching Keeper of the Faith or Gatekeeper at the Senate.
He admitted that no anomaly in the pork barrel could take place without the involvement of the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission on Audit. Yet, he refused to dig deeper into such involvement because, in his own words, nobody had named anybody from those agencies. He never questioned the assertion of original whistleblower Benhur Luy that nobody from the DBM was involved in the pork scam. And this is an inquiry by a supposed premier committee exercising Congress’s oversight functions!
Next Thursday, March 6, the blue ribbon will summon Dennis Cunanan, director general on-leave of the Technology Resource Center that had funneled about P600 million of pork to fake non-government organizations linked to Napoles. Expect Guingona to be gushing again over the testimony of Cunanan, who’s charged with plunder but is provisionally admitted to the Witness Protection Program just like Tuason. Cunanan asserted that he has never made any money from the pork deals, unlike Tuason who said she made P40 million (only?).
Don’t expect Guingona or any other administration ally to ask Cunanan searching questions. Don’t be surprised if they’ll describe Cunanan’s testimony as a major breakthrough, even if Justice Sec. Leila de Lima has been claiming that the government already had an air-tight case against the accused. This early, they’re already praising him as the first head of a government agency to testify against his co-accused. Another three-pointer? Hey, Guingona had already declared Tuason’s testimony a game winner!
Should you still wonder why many are saying Guingona’s panel should now be called “yellow ribbon?” To continue calling it “blue ribbon” would sully the name of the prestigious committee previously headed with great distinction by senators of the past.
EDSA Day and Cory Constitution
A friend, Rolando “Rolly” Narciso, sent a text message supporting the proposal to make Feb. 22 EDSA Day rather than Feb. 25. All risks were present on the first day, and none at all on Feb. 25 when the Marcoses had left Malacanang.
Rolly also maintained that more lasting reforms would have ensued had Cory Aquino stayed longer under the Freedom Constitution. He said that her “rushing” the ratification of the new Constitution and calling for general elections resulted in the resurrection of traditional politicians.
“This is the main reason why the New Philippines reverted (mutated in fact) back to the old order,” he contended.
I have a different take. There was back-sliding because Cory never knew how to govern. If the general election wasn’t immediately held, unelected officers-in-charge would have continued to control LGUs, creating political discontent. In the first two post-EDSA elections, most of Cory’s bets won. If “trapos” had returned, it could only be because people were getting disenchanted.