SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH
By Ernesto M. Maceda
The Philippine Star
After 6 months of the Aquino III administration, the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, US-based think tank and the Wall Street Journal reported that corruption in the Philippines is “pervasive”. It also found that “the government has worked to reinvigorate its anti-corruption drive but these efforts have been inconsistent.”
Heritage Foundation is correct to give the Philippines a low 24 grade in its freedom from corruption category.
Corruption is pervasive in the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, Philippine National Police, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) which includes LTO, LTFRB, CAAP, MARINA and PPA, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) where the 30 percent SOP still exists and biddings still rigged, DND/AFP with reports of overpriced procurement of equipment, DENR with continuing protection of illegal loggers and illegal miners including payoffs at checkpoints, DA/NFA and the Office of the Ombudsman.
Kotong cops and LTO agents are still plying their trade on the streets. Hulidap policemen and even police as criminals have surfaced all over the country.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte just said the government is not sleeping on the job on the war against crime. Yes, it may be awake, but it cannot see the crooks and the criminals among its ranks. Corruption is a crime, Madame.
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SALE OF MILITARY CAMPS … The plan of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima to sell Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame has stirred a hornet’s nest.
Sec. Purisima estimated the potential amount to be raised is P200 billion. At 30 percent, there’s also a potential P60 billion commission to be made.
This plan also implies that Sec. Purisima has given up on the BOC and BIR to collect P200 billion more. Stopping oil smuggling alone will raise at least P100 billion. Collecting VAT and real estate taxes properly and taxing gambling lords, drug lords and smugglers should raise another P100 billion.
Batangas Congressman Hermilando Mandanas has raised a valid point, these two camps are historical sites and should be preserved. Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame were the sites of Edsa I which unseated the Marcos dictatorship.
Secretary Purisima, how about the LTO’s admission that one million motorcycles are not registered, in addition to about 800,000 cars and trucks that are also not registered. How about the non-collection of fees by the Bureau of Immigration? How about the non payment of SSS contribution by employers? How about the non transmission of withholding taxes by banks, corporations and many employers? How about the leakages and grossly disadvantageous contracts at Pagcor?
Attend to these first before conducting a bargain sale of government jewels, Mr. Secretary Purisima!
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LUCKY CHAP … Atty. Romulo Makalintal was definitely the most vocal and consistent defender of President GMA besides being her lawyer during her whole nine-year term. Now he is the leading candidate for Comelec Chairman to succeed Chairman Jose Melo.
What’s his connection with President Noynoy? Was he part of the GMA group headed by former DILG Sec. Ronnie Puno that shifted the GMA administration’s support to P-Noy at the last weeks of the 2010 campaign?
Couple this with the fact that up to now, GMA and her cronies have not been charged with any case of graft and corruption, much less plunder and you have a good case for suspecting that a modus vivendi has been reached.
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WHO IS THE GODFATHER? … Sen. Antonio Trillanes revealed in an interview with Karen Davila that Gen. Carlos F. Garcia had a powerful backer who supported his money making activities. This he gathered from his conversations with Gen. Garcia while they were co-detainees at Camp Crame.
This also explains how Gen. Garcia was able to pay the $2 million cash bail for his 2 sons criminally charged in the US.
BIR and DOJ should now include the $2 million in the tax evasion cases filed against Gen. Garcia. The NBI should now be tasked to look into the matter to try to determine who the rich godfather is.
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BECAUSE SANDRA INSISTED … Immigration OIC Ronald Ledesma issued a press release saying 70 minor Korean children, age 9 to 15, will be deported together with 7 adults who operated a language training center in Lemery, Batangas without permit.
The 70 Korean English students were found to have no Special Study Permits (SSP) and entered the country without a Waiver of Exclusion Ground (WEG) for minors unaccompanied by their parents. They should have paid P6,600 each for an SSP and P3,120 for a WEG but, instead paid protection money to some Immigration officers.
The raid on the Fantasy World language center was conducted only because whistleblower Sandra Cam literally threatened OIC Ronald Ledesma with public exposure if he refused to issue a Mission Order for the raid.
The bottomline, will Ledesma now charge the Immigration officers on duty who cleared them at the airport without payment of WEG fees, and the SSP bureau and Batangas Immigration officers who should have discovered this illegal activity?
There are thousands of Koreans who have entered the country for English classes in Baguio, Angeles, Iloilo, Cebu, Dumaguete and Davao and other cities. Hundreds of millions are involved here which could have helped reduce the deficit.
Ledesma met with officers of the Immigration Officers Association of the Philippines earlier this week at the Emerald Restaurant in Ermita. He lectured them on walking the straight path but his credibility was shot down because of his indiscreet act of bringing with him Ongpin business agent, Betty Chua to the luncheon meeting. Ledesma dropped the name of Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa and DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima as the ones who instructed him to lay off or reassign hundreds of Immigration officers.
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Congratulations to PNP Director General Raul Bacalzo for dismissing from the service Senior Inspector Joselito Binayug who was caught on video torturing a suspect.