nother whistleblower Ruby Tuason will soon testify before the Department of Justice, and the
And probably before the Ombudsman,
the Batasan committees,
the Sandiganbayan and other courts as well. Her appearances will likely
involve high drama, moving testimony, and bombshell revelations that will be
plastered across the front pages of Philippine dailies and reverberate
throughout social media.
But will it change
anything? That seems to be the sixty-four thousand dollar question. Filipinos have
seen this so many times before. A few "big time" whistleblowers in the recent
past were: Mary “Rosebud” Ong, who in 2001 accused Sen. Panfilo Lacson,
then-head of the Philippine National Police, of involvement in drug
trafficking and kidnap for ransom activities; In 2002 Equitable Bank vice
president in charge of trust accounts Clarissa Ocampo, testified during
President Joseph Estrada’s impeachment trial that she saw him sign bank
documents under the name Jose Velarde; In 2007 Jun Lozada president of the
Philippine Forest Corp. along with NEDA director general Romulo Neri, and
businessman Jose “Joey” de Venecia III of Amsterdam Holdings, Inc. testified
before the Philippine Senate that President Gloria Arroyo, First Gentleman
Mike Arroyo, and COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos, Sr. were involved in a
kickback scheme involving billions of pesos in what became known as the
They were all riveting
dramas in their time. Filipinos everywhere soaked them up—but nothing
happened. None of the above cases have ever been resolved with finality.
Public interest faded, people moved on and Philippine lawyers went to work
gumming up the “works” to keep those cases pending in legal limbo forever.
That’s how it is in the
Philippines—justice doesn’t work. Nothing is resolved, no one is punished,
the nation just shrugs its shoulders and goes on with life waiting for the
next big scandal to break. And Filipino lawyers have become so good at
obfuscation and twisting reality that like master magicians they can make
even a mountain of evidence disappear. So no one should be surprised if at
some point in the future those now accused of the Maguindanao massacre are
As we pointed out in a
previous article, Philippine justice is for the most part non-existent,
inutile, a sham. All Filipinos know this. Thus, why try to make money the hard,
honest way when you can do it the easy, dishonest way and get away with it.
So the question is will the
testimony of Ruby Tuason result in the conviction of any of the senators
involved in the PDAF scandal? Don’t count on it. Based on the past, nothing
will happen. One of those accused might even become president of the country
one day. And Ruby Tuason’s bombshell revelations will end up as just another
obscure footnote in Philippine history.
What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project?
According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range.
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano
The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed.
No More Bangsamoro, Period!
With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah
Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia.
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do
We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines.
Pope Francis Admonishes Pinoys to End Scandalous Inequalities
We had a feeling this was coming. In his first major speech in the Philippines, Pope Francis called for an end to 'scandalous inequalities' in the country. And what better example of a scandalous inequality is there than that a preposterously ridiculous wedding of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera which was officiated by 8 bishops and 7 priests. In addition, this crass wedding featured a 12-foot high wedding cake, a 2-million-peso wedding gown with an exaggeratedly long train that seemed to go on forever...you get the picture.