October 2010

Watch what one journalist said is either the biggest hoax of the 20th century or the most important moment of the century if not the millennium.

CLICK TO VIEW VIDEO >> Signs from God

With Due Respect
By Artemio V. Panganiban
Philippine Daily Inquirer

OUR PRESENT system allocates the great powers of government to three major branches: legislative, executive and judicial. To bring about the prosperity and well-being of our people, they are expected to work together. At the same time, each of them is mandated to check the errors and misdeeds of the others. While successful governance is the ultimate target, abuse is ever present and must be checked.

Presidential dominance. Historically, presidents have always wanted dominance. Most of them have been able to sway Congress but the Supreme Court has often been a thorn. To lord over the country, the shrewd Ferdinand Marcos not only declared martial law and abolished Congress, he also cowed the Supreme Court by appointing all its members and restricting its powers. Instead of checking abuses, the Marcos Supreme Court became his legitimizing rubber stamp. Claiming to have very limited power, the Court allowed Marcos to rule the country without effective judicial review.

Upon her ascension to the presidency in 1986, Cory Aquino—to renew the sparkle of democracy—demanded the resignation of the entire judiciary and appointed her own choices to the Supreme Court (that in fairness included some veterans—like Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera and Hugo E. Gutierrez—who were perceived to be independent of the Marcos regime) and other courts.

More significant, the 1987 Constitution strengthened judicial prerogatives. The Constitution-makers at the time believed that the past Supreme Court could have disemboweled the dictatorship had it been granted sufficient authority and independence.

Duty, not power. So they gave the entire judiciary—not just the Supreme Court—the specific duty to intervene and strike down “grave abuse of discretion” committed by any branch or instrumentality of government. To stress, the Constitution imposes this intervention as a duty, not just as a power or authority. A power can be relinquished, but a duty cannot under any circumstance be evaded or relinquished.

Because of this bounden duty to strike down grave abuse of discretion, the Supreme Court became “activist,” never hesitating to intervene on almost every matter under the Philippine sun, to the chagrin of every president since then: Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Even Cory Aquino suffered setbacks in the hands of the independent Supreme Court she created.

During her nine and half years in office, President Arroyo was able to appoint 20 SC justices, some of whom retired during her term such that she was able to replace them with younger jurists. In fact, in 2009 alone, she was able to name seven new justices, almost half of the whole Court. She was also able to appoint three chief justices: yours truly, Reynato S. Puno and the incumbent Renato C. Corona, who will sit for eight more years, much longer than P-Noy’s six years.

In contrast, P-Noy will be able to appoint only four justices; the first—Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno—was named last August 13. He has to appoint two more in June 2011 after Justices Conchita Carpio Morales and Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura retire. He will choose the fourth after Justice Roberto A. Abad turns 70 on May 14, 2014. Justice Martin S. Villarama will hang his robes on April 14, 2016, but P-Noy will probably refrain from appointing a successor, per his stance against midnight appointments, since that date falls within the prohibited period.

P-Noy’s options. P-Noy cannot hope to dominate the Supreme Court by declaring martial law a la Marcos because his mother, the icon of democracy, will haunt him. Neither can he institute a revolutionary government like Cory because he won his mandate via an unquestioned popular vote, not through a people power revolution. Nor can he name all of the justices like GMA, unless by some unforeseen cause they all resign or die or are impeached.

But he has his own strength to secure the Court’s imprimatur: his overwhelming popular mandate. Despite the bungled Hong Kong hostage crisis, P-Noy still enjoys a wide 71 percent public approval. He could use this great asset to remind the Court subtly that the Filipino people are behind his leadership and program of government.

True, decisions are not won or lost on the basis of popular palatability but on reasoned arguments flowing from legal principles and precedents. But the Court is not immune or averse to public opinion. It must, like any other public institution, face its critics. To succeed in a face-off, it must enjoy residual public trust. This is why it created a Public Information Office, and why at times the justices come out of their cocoons to defend their acts.

Not having the sword of the military, which is wielded by the president, or the power of the purse, which is controlled by Congress or the “raging mob,” the Supreme Court is effective only as long as it retains the faith and trust of the people. Without public support it will become inutile for it cannot enforce its own pronouncements.

At the same time, P-Noy should make sure that he is legally right. He can retain his strength only as long as he is perceived to be right. He must have seasoned legal gladiators and battle-tested advisers capable of independently reviewing the work of his gladiators. As I wrote last week, cases are won or lost not only on the analytical formula of facts times law equals decision (F x L = D) but also on the sociological method of personality times stimuli equals decision (P x S = D).

(Comments are welcome at chiefjusticepanganiban@hotmail.com.)


(Update 2 – 8:39 p.m.) Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, who was recently exonerated by his colleagues from allegations that he plagiarized portions of a ruling on World War II comfort women, is facing another accusation of plagiarism.

This time, the website pinoymoneytalk.com has claimed that Del Castillo’s April 8, 2010 ruling that granted permission to Ang Ladlad to participate in the May 10 elections as a party-list group allegedly contained plagiarized portions from at least three sources.

Reached for comment, Supreme Court spokesman and administrator Jose Midas Marquez said the high tribunal will only tackle the matter when the latest plagiarism allegations are brought to the court formally.

The Supreme Court justices are on recess until November 16, and GMANews.TV could not reach Del Castillo’s office for comment.

In a text message, Marquez said: “Admittedly, this second allegation is only a ‘preliminary’ study. It is suggested that before serious allegations like these are hurled, especially at this time, they be results of deliberate and thorough consideration, as they add nothing but further confusion to the present situation.”

The table below prepared by GMANews.TV compares the portions pointed out by pinoymoneytalk.com with the original text allegedly copied by Justice del Castillo in his ponencia about the Ang Ladlad case without proper attribution.

Portions of Del Castillo’s Ang Ladlad vs Comelec decision Original sources
Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, and this freedom applies not only to those that are favorably received but also to those that offend, shock, or disturb. Any restriction imposed in this sphere must be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued. Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of such a society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every man. Subject to paragraph 2 of Article 10 (art. 10-2), it is applicable not only to “information” or “ideas” that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population. Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no “democratic society”. This means, amongst other things, that every “formality”, “condition”, “restriction” or “penalty” imposed in this sphere must be proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.

(From Section 49 of the Handyside vs United Kingdom decision by the European Conventin on Human Rights)

Otherwise stated, the COMELEC is certainly not free to interfere with speech for no better reason than promoting an approved message or discouraging a disfavored one. While the law is free to promote all sorts of conduct in place of harmful behavior, it is not free to interfere with speech for no better reason than promoting an approved message or discouraging a disfavored one, however enlightened either purpose may strike the government.

(From Hurley vs. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston Inc. decision of the US Supreme Court)

However, as far as this Court is concerned, our democracy precludes using the religious or moral views of one part of the community to exclude from consideration the values of other members of the community. Religion is an integral aspect of people’s lives, and cannot be left at the boardroom door. What secularism does rule out, however, is any attempt to use the religious views of one part of the community to exclude from consideration the values of other members of the community.

(From Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36 decision of the Canadian Supreme Court)

A ponencia is a decision written by a magistrate, also called the “ponente” of the ruling or decision.

Reacting to the allegation, Marquez said: “As it is, it appears that the alleged plagiarized phrase has been used in a thousand other writings without citation, and has become a generally accepted principle of law. Be that as it may, the further issuance of a statement on the matter shall be stayed, until this issue is formally brought before the Court.”

For his part, UP law professor Harry Roque Jr. pointed out a total of eight portions in the Ang Ladlad ruling that may have been plagiarized from other sources as well. The first three are similar to GMANews.TV’s list (see chart), with an additional five points. (Click here for PDF file of Roque chart, or here to view his original blog post.)

Vinuya vs Executive Secretary ruling

The Supreme Court recently cleared Del Castillo of plagiarizing the ruling on comfort women.

The sources of Del Castillo’s alleged “borrowed portions” of the ruling without proper attribution were:

  • “A Fiduciary of Theory of Jus Cogens” by Evan Criddle and Evan Fox-Decent;
  • “Breaking the Silence on Rape as an International Crime” by Mark Ellis, and
  • “Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law” by Christian Tams.
  • Ten of the 15 SC justices voted to clear Del Castillo, saying his researcher had no “malicious intent” when she “accidentally deleted the footnotes” attributing the contested portions to the three foreign sources.

    “Microsoft Word program does not have a function that raises an alarm when original materials are cut up or pruned. The portions that remain simply blend in with the rest of the manuscript, adjusting the footnote number and removing any clue that what should stick together had just been severed,” the Supreme Court added.

    In a dissenting opinion, however, Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the court’s ruling will set a dangerous precedent because it will make “malicious intent” a necessary element to constitute plagiarism.

    “Unless reconsidered, this Court would unfortunately be remembered as the Court that made ‘malicious intent’ an indispensable element of plagiarism and that made computer-keying errors an exculpatory fact in charges of plagiarism, without clarifying whether its ruling applies only to situations of judicial decision-making or to other written intellectual activity,” said Sereno. – VVP/YA/HS/JV, GMANews.TV



    SC legal researcher behind ‘plagiarized’ rulings named

    The investigative publication “Newsbreak” has identified the legal researcher allegedly responsible for the “plagiarized” portions of at least two Supreme Court decisions penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.

    On Wednesday, journalist Carlos Conde identified the researcher as Michelle Ann U. Juan, a former Ateneo School of Law professor, an alumna of the same law school, and a Bar topnotcher.

    According to Newsbreak, Del Castillo’s lawyer, retired Court of Appeals Justice Hector Hofilena, declined their request to interview Juan.

    The Newsbreak report could not be independently confirmed. GMANews.TV tried to contact Juan but Del Castillo’s staff said she is out of the office, because the justices are on recess until November 16.

    On April 28 this year, the Supreme Court promulgated a ruling denying the plea of World War II comfort women to have the Philippine government compel Japan to apologize and provide compensation for the sexual slavery victims.

    However, months later, allegations cropped up that portions of the Isabelita Vinuya, et al. vs Executive Secretary ruling contained plagiarized portions.

    The sources from where Del Castillo allegedly borrowed without proper attribution were:

  • “A Fiduciary of Theory of Jus Cogens” by Evan Criddle and Evan Fox-Decent;
  • “Breaking the Silence on Rape as an International Crime” by Mark Ellis, and
  • “Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law” by Christian Tams.On October 12, the Supreme Court later cleared Del Castillo of wrongdoing, saying he could not be faulted because his researcher accidentally deleted the footnotes that contains attributions to the three sources.”The mistake of Justice del Castillo’s researcher is that, after the Justice had decided what texts, passages, and citations were to be retained, including those from the Criddle-Decent and Ellis, and when she was already cleaning up her work and deleting all subject tags, she unintentionally deleted the footnotes that went with such tags — with disastrous effect,” said the SC.Clues to Juan’s identityThe court did not identify the researcher, saying her name “need not be mentioned.”

    However, the decision left clues to her identity. These clues, outlined below, helped Newsbreak identify her.

  • The researcher graduated from a leading law school
  • She graduated third in her class (Her profile at the Ateneo said Juan graduated third in her batch)
  • She served as editor-in-chief of her school’s law journal (Juan was editor-in-chief of the Ateneo Law Journal)
  • She placed fourth in the Bar examinations (Juan ranked fourth in the 2002 Bar exams)
  • She has a master’s degree in the International Law and Human Rights from a prestigious United States university under the Global-Hauser programJuan taught legal researchAccording to Newsbreak, while Juan’s profile at the Ateneo Law School website does not indicate she earned a degree from the Global-Hauser program, she is “listed as one of the ‘graduate editors’ of the New York University’s law school’s Journal of International Law and Politics for 2007-2008, the same year she was a Hugo Grotius scholar.”Newsbreak said it is ironic that Juan may have been behind the assailed decisions because she taught legal research at the Ateneo, among other subjects.Newsbreak also said that even if the court decided to withhold Juan’s identity, its readers provided links to Juan’s profile on the Ateneo law school website.

    Accomplished lawyer

    According to the Ateneo law school website, Juan was a professorial lecturer in their school, teaching legal research, legal logic, property, and private international Law.

    The website said Juan graduated 3rd in her batch and received a special commendation for her thesis. She was also a recipient of the St. Thomas More Award.

    Juan was likewise the Editor-in-Chief of the Ateneo Law Journal and an oralist of the Ateneo team to the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition.

    In the 2002 National Bar Examinations, Juan placed 4th. After finishing law, she worked as an associate of the law firm Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles. She specialized in domestic and international arbitration, cross-border transactions, and commercial litigation.

    Juan later worked with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, and nongovernment organizations (NGO) such as the Assisi Development Foundation, Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples Education, Ilawan Center for Peace & Sustainable Development, Tugdaan Mangyan Center for Learning and Development, and the Indigenous Peoples Livelihood Assistance Network.

    She also served as the Legal Director of the World Youth Alliance, an international NGO in New York City promoting the dignity of the person in international policy.

    Juan, as a Hugo Grotius Scholar in International Legal Studies, was also admitted to the master of laws program of the New York University School of Law.

    Plagiarism case number 2

    In the wake of the uproar over the court’s decision to clear Del Castillo, another accusation of plagiarism hounded him.

    A source from the legal community who is familiar with the issue told GMANews.TV that “it’s an open secret” that Juan was the legal researcher responsible for the so-called plagiarism in the Vinuya and the Ang Ladlad decisions.

    Just this week, the website pinoymoneytalk.com, and UP Law Professor Harry Roque Jr., lawyer for the comfort women, alleged that the court’s April 8, 2010 ruling on Ang Ladlad vs. Comelec contained plagiarized portions as well.

    It was Del Castillo who wrote the ruling that allowed Ang Ladlad to participate in the May 2010 elections as a party-list group.

    (Click here to see a comparison between the portions without the proper attributions and the original text allegedly copied by Justice del Castillo.)
    –Sophia Dedace, VVP, GMANews.TV


  • Lowdown
    By Jojo A. Robles
    Manila Standard Today

    Our First Tourist in Hanoi, President Noynoy Aquino, has claimed credit for the strengthening of the peso against the dollar, saying that the surge of the local unit against the American currency proves that the Philippine economy is improving. “It tells us that the world is looking at us,” Aquino crowed.

    Funny, but only Aquino seems to have come to that conclusion. All currencies in emerging markets like the Philippines have been posting gains against the weakening US unit—a phenomenon that has to do with the continuing economic woes of the Americans and definitely not because of any perceivable uptick in the domestic economy, with or without the help of this administration.

    In fact, other countries in Asia where what is now being called the currency war is raging have been hard at work in keeping their local exchange rates stable and low, to prevent spikes from disrupting their export-oriented economies. That war consists of countries artificially intervening in currency markets—by buying up their own currency to keep their exchange rates down.

    It is not to the benefit of any country that is dependent on exports (overseas labor and outsourced business processes, apart from actual goods, in our case) to allow its currency to strengthen. In the thick of the battle are the Chinese, who have refused to let market forces dictate the yuan’s value against the dollar and who have only allowed its value to rise marginally against the American unit since 2007.

    But to actually come out and say that a strengthening peso improves the economy—to an audience of Filipino overseas workers in Vietnam, who have seen the purchasing power of their remittances reduced by a stronger peso, no less—must be the height of either ignorance, callowness or both. Not only is Aquino claiming credit for something that he did not do and which could cause serious harm to the economy, he also seems perfectly willing to attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of his own countrymen.

    The world may be looking at us, as Aquino says, but only because our government looks truly foolish right now by acting as if a potential threat is actually a good thing. If I were Aquino, I’d lay off the street food in Vietnam—it must already be causing him to hallucinate.

    * * *

    Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has weighed in on the Supreme Court plagiarism controversy, urging the tribunal to exercise judicial restraint and not “to use its strong hand when it feels bruised or hurt.” Enrile, who issued the statement as a UP Law alumnus, “as a legislator, public servant and as a humble member of the Bar,” is so far the highest-ranked public official to comment on the kerfuffle—and to take up the cudgels for the 37 UP Law faculty members whom the high court is threatening with sanctions for criticizing the tribunal’s inaction on the associate justice who wrote the plagiarized decision.

    Enrile asked the court to understand that its own actions have opened it to criticism, and that it cannot ask that the freedom of expressing that criticism be suspended on its mere say-so. “I strongly believe that, sadly, the Supreme Court has made itself vulnerable… and must render itself open to legitimate criticism” when it adopted the decision of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo in the court’s ruling on the “comfort women” supposedly abused by Japanese forces in World War II.

    “I respectfully submit that the Supreme Court’s independence, honor and integrity were not besmirched by the release of the UP Law faculty’s statement,” Enrile wrote. On the contrary, “the Court’s independence, honor and integrity, including its moral ascendancy, have been placed under a dark cloud of doubt unfortunately by the intellectual dishonesty of one of its own.”

    In no uncertain terms, Enrile said the blame resides squarely with Del Castillo. “Plagiarism is a grievous affront not only to the Supreme Court itself but to the Philippine judicial system,” he said.

    “To claim as one’s own the intellectual work of another without proper attribution is theft of intellectual property,” Enrile said. “Such practice has no place especially in the drafting, preparation, debates, discussions and decisions of our courts, most especially, the Supreme Court.”

    But the high court compounded Del Castillo’s error when it adopted Del Castillo’s ponencia. “The tenuous justification offered as an excuse for the non-attribution of copied intellectual material, followed by the adoption by the majority of the questioned ponencia on a most sensitive and internationally significant issue such as the right of the ‘comfort women’ to demand the State’s action on their behalf, has stirred much concern and controversy,” Enrile said.

    The Senate president said that the public was expecting the high court not to side with Del Castillo and make sure that his “reprehensible conduct would not be allowed to stain the Court’s reputation.” Instead, the Supreme Court went after the UP Law faculty, “who wished to voice out and protest what they honestly believed to be a serious wrongdoing on the part of an Associate Justice and a mistake on the part of the Court.”

    “Freedom of expression which embraces academic freedom may be orphaned should our Highest Court choose to use its strong hand when it feels bruised or hurt, rather than to act as its faithful guardian,” Enrile urged the court. “Ultimately, it is the Supreme Court, acting as the stronghold of civil liberties and rising above its own frailties, which is in the best position to cleanse itself and its ranks and repair the damage brought upon its image before the nation and before the world.”

    If the high court refuses to listen to Enrile’s well-considered and perfectly logical arguments, then that is its prerogative. But if it continues to threaten its critics when they point out the occasional mistake that even Supreme Court justices (being human) make, then heaven help us all.

    As for Del Castillo, he should realize by now that he is causing more and more damage to the tribunal every day that he remains in his post. He should do the right thing and resign—and take that pathetic excuse for a researcher, law professor and bar topnotcher who wrote his decision with him on his way out.

    * * *

    The country lost another prominent sportsman with the death from bladder cancer yesterday of Kookie Ramirez at the age of 52. Ramirez, son of the late local racing legend Pocholo Ramirez, competed in many local and international race car events but finally got out of his father’s shadow when he started the popular “Run What You Brung” series in 1996, in which amateur race drivers were given the chance to drive their stock and modified cars on an actual race track.

    Kookie’s remains will be available for viewing starting midnight tonight at the Christ the King Parish Church on Greenmeadows Avenue in Quezon City.


    Theres The Rub
    By Conrado de Quiros
    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    MANUEL MORATO corrects the things I said about his stand on the PCSO’s transfer “in the interest of truth.” I hope his tongue has not developed sores from uttering that phrase.

    I’ll respond in the interest of beauty.

    1. “The 50-year lease agreement with the Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc. (PTSI) is rent-free. The ‘payments’ for the use of its 6.5-hectare property are mandated by law as a grant (by President Quezon).”

    Whether you call it “grant” or “rent,” you are still paying. Indeed, whether you put “payments” in quotation marks or not, you are still paying. That is P2.4 million a month in addition to a yearly endowment of P2.4 million each to the PTSI and the Quezon Institute. That is bigger than the P2 million monthly that the PCSO will pay the PICC once it transfers there. Once it transfers there, it will no longer make “‘payments’ for the use of its 6.5-hectare property mandated by law as a grant.”

    Morato’s ploy is like someone saying, “Oh, my cousin doesn’t pay rent, he just gives me P2.4 million a month out of pakikisama.” “What if he decides to not pay you P2.4 million out of pakikisama?” “Then I’ll kick him out.”

    The current PCSO grounds are “rent-free” only in the Moratic sense of the word.

    2. “I know Margie Juico more than De Quiros claims to know her. We were together in the PCSO for eight years. Ask any PCSO employee if she truly has a heart for the poor.”

    I just did. Everyone says she does. I asked them as well if Morato truly has a heart for the poor. They rolled on the floor and nearly died laughing.

    By the way, Margie Juico also knows him more than he claims to know himself, or present himself in public. They were together in the PCSO for eight years.

    3. “No one in the PCSO believes Juico’s claim that the building will collapse in case of a big earthquake because her claim is based on an erroneous study. (Its findings) cannot be applied to old structures.”

    I don’t know which is more mind-boggling, the ease with which Morato speaks for everyone, or indeed anyone, in the PCSO, or the ease with which he renders judgment on engineering matters.

    Juico’s claim is based on this: In July 2009 two groups of engineers from the DPWH recommended the PCSO transfer because its QI quarters had become unsafe. On August 27, 2010, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson wrote the PCSO board recommending “that the building be immediately vacated before a major earthquake occurs.” The DPWH based its evaluation on the structural investigation conducted by Philips Technical Consultant. On October 25, 2010 Isagani Versoza of the Building Office of Quezon City wrote the PCSO “concurring with the findings of the DPWH that the building already has major structural deficiencies making [the building] dangerous.”

    Morato’s claim is based on this: He knows more about buildings than builders in the same way that he knows more about movies than moviemakers. I know the PCSO has to do with Sweepstakes, but what are the odds Morato is right and the DPWH is wrong?

    4. “I did not sign a board resolution agreeing to relocate the PCSO-QI offices
    to another building. My suggestion, as approved by the board, was to rent air-conditioned tents.”

    Board Resolution 926 of Feb. 1, 2009 says right there at the beginning: “immediate relocation of PCSO personnel and equipment to a new venue.” It says nothing about renting air-conditioned tents. Certainly, it says nothing about relocating to the same grounds. Relocating to a new venue was what the resolution said and the board approved.

    Board Resolution 926 of Feb. 1, 2009 says right there at the end, among the signatories: “Manuel Morato.”

    5. “Juico’s claim that the rent at the PICC for only half the space of the present PCSO-QI office will be only P2 million a month is false. Why not tell her to produce the contract that she forced the general manager to sign? Because of its anomalous nature, she is hiding it even from the employees
    . That alone says a mouthful.”

    The contract says in black and white P2 million. Frankly, I don’t know why Morato hasn’t been brought to court as many times as he has years on his body. He just feels free to mouth anything in public, without thought, without proof, without shame. He should really do himself a favor and stop talking about mouthfuls. The only reason I can think of why people do not sue his pants off for patently libelous utterances is that they’re afraid they might be left with a most unpleasant sight if they win.

    6. “I did not ‘ban’ Lino Brocka’s ‘Orapronobis.’ I gave it a Parental Guidance rating. The truth was, the theater owners told Brocka that ‘Orapronobis’ would not be accepted in any theater because there was a threat from rightists that they would bomb theaters showing the film.”

    He did not ban “Orapronobis” only in the Moratic sense that PCSO doesn’t pay rent to QI. Certainly, it wasn’t for lack of trying. He tried to “X” it until public clamor forced him to revise his rating. He even tried to enlist Malacañang to his cause, saying the movie was bad news for Cory, except that Cory, like Margie, was too decent to fall into the trap.

    Why am I not surprised that he should also speak for the theater owners? And invoke someone—Brocka—who is not around to refute him? What happened to all the other movies he X-ed? The theater owners also told their makers their movies would not be accepted in any theater because there was a threat from the fanatics they would camp outside the theaters and pray until their perfectly safe walls crumbled like the walls of Jericho?

    While at that, I asked na rin the CCP and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts if he truly has a heart for artists. They nearly lynched me for asking.

    Then and now, he is:


    By Aytch S. de la Cruz
    The Daily Tribune

    Nothing has changed with the Palace since the days of former President Arroyo.

    A small newspaper with a few readers got into the nerves of President Aquino yesterday as he blasted away at obviously The Daily Tribune for a story quoting Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez as saying that Aquino may fail to complete his six-year term as a result of his poor management skills and his reliance on unsound legal advice from Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa, instead of heeding “the voice of the people.”

    Before a gathering of Filipino workers in Vietnam, where he is on a state visit, Aquino branded the newspaper as a product of those who benefitted from the past corrupt system of government.

    “Just take a look at what is happening to the Supreme Court today. There’s a Manila-based newspaper of minor circulation, minor only because it only has few readers, they are hitting us again. They say I am being given wrong advice and that I was not listening to the voice of our people and my executive orders are being criticized anew,” Aquino said.

    Aquino has claimed previously he never

    reads The Tribune due to its mostly critical stories against him. In branding The Tribune as having benefited from the Arroyo administration, Aquino was speaking in contradiction since it was the only newspaper that the Arroyo administration attempted but failed to take over as a result of stories which the former administration believed to be highly critical against it.

    It is fact that Aquino and his relatives, being allies of Arroyo, benefited from her regime.

    In an impromptu speech he delivered before the Filipino community in Vietnam, Aquino flayed at the newspaper for publishing Gutierrez’s prediction that he might not successfully complete his six-year presidency

    Obviously distraught by the story, Aquino criticized the newspaper which he, however, refused to identify.

    The Tribune yesterday carried a story quoting Gutierrez as saying that honesty alone will not save him (Aquino) as he has lost the people’s trust and confidence and, if it continues, “he will be losing all the goodwill. He must consult people and ask those who know and not only his two trusted Cabinet officials.”

    Aquino apparently has taken this particular criticism the wrong way and started treating everyone who renders negative judgment against his actions and decisions as “enemies” who, he claimed, benefitted from the crooked systems of the previous administrations.

    Nearly all of the executive orders issued by Aquino and crafted by the two-man Palace legal team have been questioned before the Supreme Court, the latest of which was Executive Order (EO) 7, which sought to cap the excessive perks and salaries being received by officials of government-owned and –controlled corporations (GOCC) and other government financial institutions (GFI).

    Aquino reiterated EO 7 was really nothing new since former President Arroyo issued a similar order during her incumbency although this was not faithfully implemented which allowed the corrupt GOCC and GFI directors to steal millions from the nation’s purse.

    “Was it wrong for us to release an executive order that says ‘enough of taking undue advantage’ (of the people’s money)? I guess we are at the right Palace. We are serving the people and their interest is what we are looking after. Now, there are those who are saying that such type of executive order is wrong and is not reflective of the people’s desires. Those who think like that are pitiable,” Aquino commented.

    Aquino also discussed “achievements” of his administration to the Filipino community in Vietnam, boasting anew of the supposed improvement in the economy particularly in the stock market and the much-vaunted 43,600 jobs he promised to create upon nailing investments from foreign companies during his visit last month in the United States.

    The Chief Executive further expressed that his confidence in all the members of his Cabinet remains despite all the criticisms that are coming their way and will just continue performing their functions in an effort to replace the twisted culture existing in the country.

    “We will strive to do our utmost (best). I am gifted with a very good Cabinet (and officials) are dedicated, if not more dedicated than me… Can we change our (political) culture, our system under just six years? I don’t think we can do it but it’s our ambition. We have already taken a huge leap,” he added.

    “We have let our people get used to what they can expect from the government. We are going to oblige those who will (inherit our government) to continue what we have started. That is our ambition and it’s already happening since the beginning (of our administration),” Aquino added.

    For his part, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, claimed Gutierrez was just misinformed when he implied that Aquino was just relying on his legal advisers or select Cabinet members whenever he comes up with a decision on specific matters.

    “That (Gutierrez’s statement) is incorrect. The President consults all the Cabinet members and consults specific members on specific topics. So, again, let me state it’s a non-sequitur on the statement of the bishop that an alleged poorly advised legal team will lead to a shortening of his term—that totally doesn’t follow. And we also refute the statement that the President is getting bad legal advice—he is not,” Lacierda said in a press briefing he hosted yesterday in Malacanang.

    He said Ochoa and De Mesa carefully studies all the EOs that have been released by the Palace thus far and the petitions being lodged by the complainants against them before the high tribunal do not exactly translate to bad legal advices.

    Lacierda also underscored that Aquino’s EO 2 which revoked the appointments of those who were believed as “illegal appointees” of the former President will stand notwithstanding the latest petition filed by lawyer Dindo Venturanza who is currently seeking a legal remedy before the SC for the nullification of his promotion as city prosecutor of Quezon City on Feb. 23, 2010.

    “It will stand until there is a contrary opinion to its constitutionality. We are going to enforce EO 2. This is a concern that we have precisely when the status quo ante order was issued [by the SC],” he stressed notwithstanding the complaints raised by the petitioners that they were not given due process upon termination from their duties by the government.


    By Manolo B. Jara
    The Gulf Today

    MANILA: President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino has admitted the continued presence of cheats and corrupt officials in government but vowed that their days are numbered.

    “There are people with us who are pretenders and cheats,” the President told members of the Filipino community with whom he had dinner in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday as he added:

    “They may think I don’t know what they are doing. We are going to make an example of them. They will be my targets in the coming weeks.”

    Aquino left for Vietnam on Tuesday for a two-day state visit and to attend the 17th annual summit of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as well as talks with Asean “dialogue” partners including the US, China, Russia, India, Australia and South Korea.

    In a Malacanang press statement, Aquino explained that as a bachelor he has all the time to fulfil his commitment to introduce major reforms and stamp out graft and corruption in government.

    However, he refused to elaborate or identify the corrupt officials, saying this might enable them to hide evidence before punitive action, like filing of charges in court against them, could be undertaken.

    At the same time, Aquino expressed optimism that with the ongoing campaign, the Philippines would improve significantly in its standing in the corruption index of Transparency International (TI).

    In its 2010 report, the Philippines ranked 134th among the total of 176 countries surveyed by the TI for its Corruption Perception Index.

    The TI, based in Berlin, Germany, is an international organisation which monitors corruption on a global scale.


    We’re waiting Mr. President.  Start at DILG. — Perry Diaz

    Aquino has time to go after grafters

    By Leila B. Salaverria
    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    HANOI, Vietnam—A bachelor President with time in his hands will be the scourge of the bad eggs in government.

    President Aquino said those who are misleading the Filipino people had better watch out, he has all the time in the world to go after them since he is a bachelor.

    “There are people with us who are pretenders and cheats. They will be my targets in the coming weeks,” Mr. Aquino said in a speech before the Filipino community in Vietnam.

    “They may think that I don’t know what they’re doing. I am a bachelor, which is why I have a lot of free time. I have a lot of time to go after them, and we are going to make an example of them,” he said, bringing laughter to the audience.

    The President’s romantic life has been the subject of much gossip and speculation, with talk centered on his recent breakup with his girlfriend and the identities of the women he has been dating since.

    But when it comes to his personal life, Mr. Aquino has appealed for privacy, noting that so little of it remains.

    Mr. Aquino later told reporters he could not give any details about these bad eggs in government so as not to tip them off and give them a chance to hide evidence.

    But he said these people would either be suspended or sacked, and would be charged in court, if necessary.

    In his speech, Mr. Aquino said government should show the people that it cares for them and would help them reach their full potential.

    He assured Filipinos that his government is aware that its real duty is to serve the people.

    “Be secure in the fact that you have a government cognizant of the fact that it was set up to serve you and not the other way around. We are at your beck and call. Tell us how we could be of better service to each and everyone,” he said.


    October 29, 2010, 2:56pm
    (Photo from Liz Uy's Twitter account)
    (Photo from Liz Uy’s Twitter account)

    MANILA, Philippines – Presidential stylist Liz Uy is keeping her silence on rumors that she is now President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s girlfriend.

    At the red carpet of the Philippine Fashion Week, Liz told “TV Patrol,” “Wala I’d rather not comment na lang. Thank you.”

    Rumors about Liz and PNoy’s brewing romance began flying amid reports that the 50-year-old bachelor president called it quits with Valenzuela councilor Shalani Soledad.

    “TV Patrol” also reported about alleged sightings of Liz and PNoy eating breakfast at the Astoria Plaza Hotel in Ortigas, as well as in a basement restaurant at an unnamed mall last Oct. 17.

    Liz has been working closely with PNoy since the May 2010 election as she is part of his styling team. The popular fashion editor is also said to be very close with the president’s most controversial sister, Queen of All Media Kris Aquino.

    Another one of her close friends, Anne Curtis, however, directly denied the romance rumor between the two.

    “Matagal na naman ‘yon (issue). Siyempre hindi maiiwasan na she’s on the team with everyone, with Paul Cabral, with Juan (Sarte). So, siyempre siya ang babae, siya ang bibigyan ng kulay. And I think it’s understandable kung mali-link kasi ganoon nga, pero wala, it’s all part of the business,” Anne said in a previous interview posted on abs-cbnNEWS.com.

    The former girlfriend of John Lloyd Cruz also dodged inquiries on the state of her heart.

    “Manonood na tayo ng show, manonood na ‘ko ng show,” she said, smiling.

    The rumors linking him to Liz have followed the president to Vietnam, where he went for the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit. Asked for comment on the issue, the president pleaded to the public to respect his personal life–the same response he always gives when he is queried about it.


    Source: abs-cbnNEWS.com

    MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – Celebrity stylist Liz Uy is still keeping mum on her rumored romantic relationship with 50-year-old bachelor President Benigno Aquino III.

    During the Philippine Fashion Week event, Uy offered no comment when asked by journalists to react to the rumors.

    Rumors abound that the President is now dating various women, including Uy, after reports came out that he and Valenzuela City councilor Shalani Soledad have split up.

    According to rumors, Aquino and Uy were spotted eating breakfast at Astoria Plaza Hotel in Ortigas. They were also reportedly seen eating in a basement restaurant of a mall last October 17.

    When asked to comment, Uy said: “Wala. I’d rather not comment na lang. Thank you,” she said.

    Uy’s close friend, actress Anne Curtis, has already denied the issue.

    The stylist, former girlfriend of John Lloyd Cruz, also evaded questions about her love life.

    Uy, Preview Magazine’s fashion editor-at-large, is part of a team that takes care of the President’s wardrobe and looks. She is also a close friend and stylist of the President’s youngest sister, Queen of All Media Kris Aquino.

    Aside from Uy, the President is also being romantically linked to television news reporter Patricia Ann Roque and Barbie Palagos.

    But up until today, Aquino still refuses to discuss his personal life in public.

    When asked about the rumors involving Uy, the President, who was in Hanoi, Vietnam for the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, reiterated his appeal to the public to stop prying into his personal life. – Ginger Conejero, ABS-CBN News. With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News