September 2013

By Perry Diaz

Consul General Marciano A. Paynor Jr. cuts ceremonial ribbon assisted by retired Ambassador George Aducayen Jr., former Mayor Ruth Asmundson of the City of Davis, and Governor Jerry Brown's Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil.

Consul General Marciano A. Paynor Jr. cuts ceremonial ribbon assisted by retired Ambassador George Aducayen Jr., former Mayor Ruth Asmundson of the City of Davis, and Governor Jerry Brown’s Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil.

Sometime in May of this year, 2013, Dolores and Perry Diaz called a meeting to discuss the formation of Eskwela Natin. They had been thinking about doing this since their first grandchild was born eight years ago. Four more grandchildren were added to their family over the years. They thought that it might be a good idea for their grandchildren – and other Filipino-American children, too – to learn about the culture of the Filipino people and to re-connect to our heritage.

Indeed, re-connecting to our Filipino heritage is a worthy cause and deserves our attention and acceptance. There are a lot more Filipino-American children who need to be taught about the rich and diverse Filipino culture, ensuring the unique traditions of the Philippines are passed on to the next generation in a safe and fun environment.

Dolores searched the Internet to look for an existing Filipino school so she could get some ideas and not start from scratch. She couldn’t find any to model it after.

So Dolores and Perry decided to go ahead with their own ideas on how to form a Filipino school. They came up with the number of sessions, how long a session and favorite topics to teach the children. It included language, history, geography, culture, tradition, arts, music, cuisine and sports.

LogoAndrea Diaz-Vaughn, designed the website, and all the communication material including the logo, which is now copyrighted and a registered trademark. She also designed the letterhead, flyers, pamphlets stating our mission statement, goals and vision, all of which are in the Eskwela Natin Facebook account.

The corporation papers were filed with the California Secretary of State on August 8, 2013. Its non-profit status 501 (c)(3) is pending.

Community involvement

They then invited all the community leaders to share their ideas with them and to propose organizing a Filipino school. Not all attended but those who attended were enthusiastic about the notion of forming a Filipino school, which the group decided to call, “Eskwela Natin.”

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The group formalized Eskwela Natin on their second meeting and elected the Officers and Members of the Board of Directors. The 16-member Board of Directors, which includes all the Officers as ex-officio members, consists of the following: President, Dolores V. Diaz; Vice President, Ester Carrasco; Secretary, Gladys Carrasco; Treasurer, Josie T. Canlas; Community Liaison Officers, Lilia Rivera and Celsa Taraya; Public Relations Officer; Perry Diaz; Curriculum Development Chairperson, Evangeline R. Hinnenkamp; and Board Members, Sonny Alforque, Beep Alo, Joe Carrasco, Andrea Diaz-Vaughn, Didi Loteyro, Josie Patria, Ernie Santos, and Ramon Taraya.

First session, May 19, 2013

First session, May 19, 2013

Although Eskwela Natin relies on volunteers and the strong support of the various Filipino organizations in Sacramento, it is autonomous in nature. However, the majority of the Officers and Members of the Board of Directors are leaders and members of local organizations. This is what makes Eskwela Natin unique and formidable. It has the full support not only of the leaders but more so the support of their members as manifested in the composition of the Board of Directors, which consists of leaders and members belonging to the following organizations: Maharlika Lions Club, Filipino Community of Sacramento and Vicinity (FCSV), University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Sacramento and Vicinities (UPAASV), Sinag Tala, Filipino Women’s Club, Pacific Rim Heritage Foundation, Filipino Fiesta of Sacramento, Sampaguita Toastmasters Club, and Bayanihan of Sacramento USA.

Volunteer teachers

The teachers are Eskwela Natin’s most valuable asset and resource. They volunteered all the time and effort to make the school successful. They have full time teaching careers but still committed to making the lesson plans, handouts, homework and logistics of running a school. Dolores wrote the lesson plan for the first session which included teaching some Filipino words, introducing and coloring the flag and map, tourist spots and even had a Santacruzan procession with all the props of the sagalas and flowered arches.

Officers and volunteer teachers with Consul Reginald Bernabe

Officers and volunteer teachers with Consul Reginald Bernabe

The teachers are the following: Evangeline R. Hinnenkamp (head teacher), Lilibeth Brewer, Anna R. Mestidio, and Blanche D. Unciano. Two student assistants helped them throughout the program. They are: Myra Garcia and Anela Olivera.

The program

The grand opening of Eskwela Natin was held on May 19, 2013. Philippine Consul General Marciano A. Paynor Jr. was the keynote speaker. He cut the ceremonial ribbon assisted by Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil of the Governor’s Office, former Mayor Ruth Asmundson of the City of Davis, and retired Ambassador George Aducayen Jr. A reception followed the program. The first session followed thereafter.

Forty-one Filipino-American youth enrolled in the program. Sessions 1 to 9 covered all the aspects of Filipino culture including language, history, geography, culture, tradition, arts, music, cuisine, and sports. The last 15 minutes of each two-hour session was devoted to cooking lessons. Eskwela Natin Vice President Ester Carrasco, a professional Filipino cuisine caterer, conducted live cooking demonstration of Filipino dishes like adobo, tinolang manok, sinigang, and other popular Filipino dishes.

Students dancing Itik-Itik

Students dancing Itik-Itik

Their arts projects included creative design of Ati-Atihan masks and decorating jeepney models. They were also taught folk dancing. The girls were taught Itik-Itik and the boys were taught Sakuting. One of their final assignments was to list 50 to 100 Filipino words. Amazingly, they passed the test with colors!


On September 22, 2013, the first graduates of Eskwela Natin, 36 in all, received their certificates of achievement. Robert Abelon of Assemblyman Richard Pan’s office gave special certificates of achievement to the graduates as well.

Students ready to perform during the graduation

Students ready to perform during the graduation

Consul Reginald S. Bernabe of the San Francisco Philippine Consulate was the keynote speaker and numerous leaders and majority of local Filipino organizations were present to witness this historic event.

Performances by local talents included the following: the Maharlika Lions’ singing of the Star-Spangled Banner and the Philippine National Anthem, “Bayang Magiliw” (Beloved Country); Rollie Mamauag’s rendition of the patriotic song, “Bayan Ko” (My Country); the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Sacramento and Vicinities choral group sang, “Ang Dalagang Filipina” and “Halina”; and Remy Solomon’s rendition of the popular hit, “Ako Ay Pilipino” (I am Filipino).

The graduates’ performance included singing of the popular folk song, “Bahay Kubo.” It brought down the house! Then the older students recited a poem (tula), “Sa Aking Kababata” (In My Youth) by Dr. Jose P. Rizal, our national hero. The program climaxed with the graduates dancing the folk dances they learned in class: Itik-Itik and Sakuting.

Future projects

In her welcome remarks during the graduation ceremonies, Dolores announced that future plans include a winter program for high school Filipino-American students, gathering books about the Philippines to be part of a library, and developing a summer program for next year.

“We have an overwhelming mission to fulfill and a legacy to bequeath,” said Dolores. “We’ve only just begun and the rest is also up to us. Join us at Eskwela Natin as we endeavor to re-connect, preserve, and perpetuate our Filipino heritage.”

Eskwela Natin hopes to attract more Filipino-American youth who want to know about their culture and by doing so would develop strong affinity to the Philippines.

It is interesting to note that during the visit of then Philippine President Cory Aquino to San Francisco in 1987, she told thousands of Filipino-Americans who attended the banquet dinner honoring her: “You may take Filipinos away from the Philippines but you cannot take away the Philippines from Filipinos.”

Eskwela Natin would perpetuate that mantra by re-connecting the Filipino-American youth with the Philippines.


President Dolores Diaz gives her welcome remarks

President Dolores Diaz gives her welcome remarks


Head Teacher Vangie Hinnenkamp with two students reciting a poem by Dr. Jose P. Riza

Head Teacher Vangie Hinnenkamp with two students reciting a poem by Dr. Jose P. Rizal

Dolores Diaz and Consul Reginald Bernabe

Dolores Diaz and Consul Reginald Bernabe

Perry and Dolores Diaz with Consul Reginald Bernabe and Robert Abelon of Assemblyman Richard Pan's office

Perry and Dolores Diaz with Consul Reginald Bernabe and Robert Abelon of Assemblyman Richard Pan’s office

Students singing "Bahay Kubo"

Students singing “Bahay Kubo”

Students dancing Sakuting

Students dancing Sakuting

Vice President Ester Carrasco gives closing remarks

Vice President Ester Carrasco gives closing remarks

Jeepneys decorated by students.

Jeepneys decorated by students.

More jeepneys.

More jeepneys.

By Val G. Abelgas

Rest-in-PeaceMy heart raced fast as we approached Binan Doctors Hospital last Friday. My daughter and I had just landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and asked to be driven straight to the hospital where my 89-year-old mother had been lying in bed for 19 days.

My brother had e-mailed me two days earlier to suggest that if I planned to come home, to do the trip earlier as our mother, who we fondly called Inay, had been calling my name for the last two days and that she might not last long. I had to finish work on that week’s issue of the newspaper I was editing in Los Angeles and booked the first flight available after the print deadline. All my brothers and sisters, including those living in Australia and Saudi Arabia, had been by her side in the last few days.

She clutched my hand as soon as I sat by her bedside, looked at me straight in the eye and muttered an unintelligible word as tears fell from her eyes. That afternoon, we had her moved to my brother’s house as she had wished and for the first time in days, she slept soundly that night as my brothers and sisters, some grandchildren and her youngest brother gathered around her.

The next day, she gasped her last breath as I and a brother held her hands and all her children gathered around her. Our beloved Inay was gone. She had held on until all of her children were with her in her final moments.

Inay, who never had any major sickness in her 89 years in this world, was rushed to the hospital for pneumonia, the scourge of persons her age. Perhaps she could have fought on and lived longer. But she was visibly tired and wanted to join my father who had passed away 17 years ago.

When I last visited her in March, I told her to stay healthy and maybe if she was strong enough, she could visit me again in the US as she had done thrice when she was stronger.

“Galit ka ba sa akin?” she snapped in her usual punch lines. She was joking as she had always done in her happy years on earth, but I sensed that there was some sense of truth to her words. She was having difficulty walking in the last few years and I realized that she wanted to rest and didn’t want to be a burden to her children.

When she visited my brother in Melbourne last year, she was too weak to walk but resisted any attempt by my brother to push her on a wheelchair. He had bought a wheelchair for her two-month visit, but she never used it. She was too proud and wouldn’t be caught riding on one.

Inay was a fulltime mother all her life. All she did was take care of her seven sons and two daughters, and later when we had our own families, our children, too. She faced all the problems that usually confront big families by her own self while my father worked to provide for our needs. When there wasn’t enough, she found a way to fill the table, and provide for other needs. She was there when we had personal problems. My father was the disciplinarian, and my mother balanced it with her charm and understanding.

Although we always had a maid, Inay helped wash our clothes, cook our meals and attend to other chores. She was always there for us and was always willing to sacrifice for us and our children.

For all these, we loved her unconditionally. My only regret in life is that I couldn’t be there with her and my father in the twilight of their lives, when they needed our loving and caring the most. All I could do from a distant shore was call her from time to time, send money to help in her needs, and visit her occasionally.

Last Sunday, my five brothers and two sisters, her 25 grandchildren, several great grandchildren, her many friends, our other relatives and former neighbors gathered at the memorial chapel of San Nicolas de Tolentino Church in Quezon City, where she had served as volunteer for many years, to celebrate her life. Even the lavandera who washed our clothes when we were still kids growing up in Quezon City was there to pay her last respects to her “Tiyang Adeling.”

We all had fun recalling the old days, exchanging news about family and friends, sharing food and pleasantries. It was a time to both grieve and celebrate the long and happy life of my mother. I know that Inay, who never missed family reunions and made sure everybody was happy during these events, loved that we gathered not to weep for her, but to celebrate her life and our own lives.

Inay’s presence will sorely be missed when the huge family that she and my father raised with selfless devotion meet again for a reunion on Christmas Day as we had done through the years. She had known the importance of moving on, having lived for 17 years after the passing of my father in 1996 and for six years after my brother died in 2007.

I grieve for the passing of my mother. But I know that the grief will soon fade and only fond memories of those years spent with her will remain. Farewell, my mother. I love you with all my heart.


By Aurea Calica
The Philippine Star 

Senate-in-session-Drilon-presidingMANILA, Philippines – Senators were given a total of P1.1075 billion late last year and early this year by the executive department – on top of their P200-million regular Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel – so they could help in accelerating spending on key infrastructure and other projects, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) disclosed yesterday.

“In the interest of transparency, we want to set the record straight on releases made to support projects that were proposed by senators on top of their regular PDAF allocation toward the end of 2012. These fund releases have recently been touted as ‘bribes,’ ‘rewards,’ or ‘incentives.’ They were not,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in a statement.

Abad said the releases, which were mostly for infrastructure projects, were part of what is called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) designed by the DBM to ramp up spending and help accelerate economic expansion.

“To suggest that these funds were used as ‘bribes’ is inaccurate at best and irresponsible at worst,” Abad said, apparently in reaction to an allegation of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada that Malacañang had offered additional pork barrel to the senators as “incentive” or reward for the ouster of then Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona.

Estrada has been charged with plunder along with two other senators in connection with the pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

He did not answer the charges against him in his privilege speech last Wednesday but revealed other cases of alleged PDAF misuse by other officials.

In 2012, most releases were made between October and December, Abad said, based on letters of request submitted by the senators.

Those who received P50 million each during the period were Estrada and Senators Antonio Trillanes, Manuel Villar, Ramon Revilla Jr., Loren Legarda, Lito Lapid, Alan Cayetano, Edgardo Angara, Ralph Recto, Vicente Sotto III and Sergio Osmeña III.

Then senator Francis Pangilinan received P30 million. Sen. Ralph Recto received P23 million in October and P27 million in December.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III got P25.5 million in October, P5 million in November and P15 million in December or a total of P45.5 million.

Then Senate minority leader Vicente Sotto III also received P50 million in two batches from October to November.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III received a total of P44 million – P35 million in October and P9 million in December.

Then Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile received P92 million in December while his successor Franklin Drilon got P100 million.

There were two earlier releases made in late August 2012, according to Abad.

They were for Senators Gregorio Honasan (P50 million) and Francis Escudero (P99 million).

No funds were released in 2012 to Senators Panfilo Lacson, Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Abad said.

In 2013, he said releases were made for funding requests from the offices of Arroyo (February, P47 million) and Pia Cayetano (January, P50 million).

“This was not the first time that releases from DAP were made to fund project requests from legislators. In 2011, the DAP was instituted to ramp up spending after sluggish disbursements – resulting from the government’s preliminary efforts to plug fund leakages and seal policy loopholes within key implementing agencies – caused the country’s GDP growth to slow down to just 3.6 percent,” Abad said.

Other recipients

He said DAP had also satisfied the funding requirements of other lawmakers, government-owned and controlled corporations, national government agencies, and local governments.

He said in 2011, DAP also supported projects like the relocation of families living along dangerous zones (P10 billion), equity infusion under the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (P10 billion), landowners’ compensation under the Department of Agrarian Reform (P5.4 billion), the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s comprehensive peace and development program (P8.6 billion), and “augmentation” of local government units’ Internal Revenue Allotments (P6.5 billion).

In 2012, Abad said DAP also funded crucial projects like tourism road construction under the Departments of Tourism and Public Works (P5 billion), the national government’s share in the Government Service Insurance System-Department of Education premium payments for teachers (P4 billion), Department of Agrarian Reform-Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Tulay ng Pangulo (P1.8 billion), Department of Health-DPWH rehabilitation of regional health units (P1.96 billion), DepEd’s public-private partnership for school infrastructure (P4 billion), and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ capital infusion (P20 billion).

For this year, President Aquino suspended DAP disbursements following the release of a Commission on Audit special audit report on irregular PDAF use.

“DAP releases are usually funded from unreleased appropriations under personnel services, as is the case when positions are either not filled up or filled up late. The releases may also be funded from the un-programmed fund – due to revenues generated beyond the target, such as GOCC dividends – carry-over appropriations unreleased from the previous year, as well as budgets for slow-moving items or projects that have been realigned to support faster-disbursing projects,” Abad said.

“While it is unfortunate that DAP releases are now being maligned to serve some very questionable political interests, we hope that these fund releases are seen exactly for what they are: as a valuable fiscal tool for accelerating government spending and the delivery of public goods and services to the people, not as an instrument for political coercion,” Abad said.

Defending pork, again

As the nation braces for another anti-pork barrel rally on Oct. 4, Malacañang is reiterating its position on the need for the President to keep lump sum funds for emergency expenses.

“We have already explained a number of times the rhyme and the reason for the existence of what they persistently or insistently call the ‘presidential pork barrel.’ In the past few weeks, you have seen that put to use,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over radio station dzRB.

For instance, Valte said the funds to be used for the rehabilitation of Zamboanga City laid siege by the Nur Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front would come from the Special Purpose Funds or the lump sum appropriation for Aquino’s office.

“And again, nobody will argue that what happened in Zamboanga City is something that was unforeseen or unplanned. So, we have reiterated that position numerous times and there has been no allegation of misuse as far as the Presidential Social Fund is concerned, as well as any Special Purpose Fund under this administration,” Valte said.

She said the President should be able to respond immediately to crisis and this could only be possible if funds were readily available.

“And there is an amount of flexibility that is needed in some of the Special Purpose Funds that are not under the line item (appropriations) for agencies,” Valte added.

Meanwhile, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said she expects the Office of the Ombudsman to complete its preliminary investigation into the plunder charges filed against 38 individuals, including three senators, within a short period.

While Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has stated that it would take no more than a year to complete the preliminary investigation, Santiago said the process should be completed sooner since the Ombudsman only needs to secure a counter affidavit from those accused.

“She won’t be swayed by the tricks of the experienced lawyers to postpone or delay the case because lawyers for the case, they try to delay as much as possible,” Santiago said.

Greater trust

At the House of Representatives, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. expressed optimism yesterday the 16th Congress would emerge stronger and enjoy greater trust and respect from Filipinos as lawmakers continue to confront the raging controversy over the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds.

In his address to his colleagues after the proposed P2.268-trillion national budget for 2014 was passed on second reading before dawn Saturday, Belmonte said he was gratified that House members continued to function efficiently “amid the PDAF controversy that is hounding our institution.”

“I am truly inspired by everyone’s capacity to go beyond the realm of self-interest and to think collectively of what is best for the sake of the continued integrity of our institution,” the House leader said.

“With the commitment and cooperation which you have showed, I expect that the 16th Congress will rise above the prevailing challenge, stronger than ever and enjoying even greater trust from our people,” he said.

He said lawmakers hit the ground running when the 16th Congress opened in July, “laying the foundation of good policies and laws that will redound to national development.”

“Already we have submitted to the President for his action the enrolled copy of the SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) Elections Postponement bill, which we expect to be the very first law passed in this Congress,” Belmonte said.

He expressed gratitude to House leaders and members for setting their political differences aside in tackling the budget program and putting an end to budget re-enactment.

“Listening to the interpellations (on the proposed GAA), I can say that our colleagues did their work with great interest, with great information at hand, painstakingly and at times too lengthily. Nonetheless, they contributed immensely to the work and I would like to thank them,” Belmonte said.

He said the P25-billion PDAF that was supposed to be allocated in 2014 was broken up and the projects to be funded by it are now listed in detail in the proposed national budget for transparency.

“For the first time we will pass a budget that not only identifies the various items and objects of expenditure, but also presents the results that we want to achieve, and the major final outputs that departments and agencies must deliver according to their mandates,” he said.

He said the proposed GAA was crafted as “a budget for inclusive development… and can serve as a powerful tool that will help sustain the positive momentum of growth and reform that is upon us and has been with us for the past three years.” – With Marvin Sy, Paolo Romero



By Federico D. Pascual Jr.
The Philippine Star 

Senator-judges.5WHO’LL BE LEFT STANDING?: The Senate Yellow Ribbon committee should hold a final hearing soonest — but only to listen to the public confession of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles — then disband in the name of sanity and decency.

The public can no longer put up with this Senate charade, performed at great taxpayers’ expense, of the corrupt investigating the corrupt.

There should be some way of forcing the senators who have dipped their sticky fingers into the pork barrel to return at least 99 percent of the loot as an initial act of restitution to mitigate the plunder.

After that penitential act, the Yellow Ribbon committee can self-destruct. Senators who want a closer view of big-time corruption in government can just look at themselves in the mirror. That solo act is less oppressive to taxpayers.

Hopefully, the senators can then return to their primary job, which is lawmaking.

* * *

WHISTLEBLOWERS: Since most government officials are not ready and willing to curb corruption (precisely many of them run for office to partake of the fruits of corruption), the people themselves may have to take the bull by the horns.

We tossed the problem to former congressman Willy Villarama when he joined us the other Friday at the breakfast forum of the Capampangan in Media Inc. (CAMI) at its Bale Balita (House of News) at the Clark Freeport.

Villarama said that the pork barrel scam was a result of a weak and corrupt system that only the involvement of a vigilant public — including courageous whistleblowers like those in the Napoles caper — can minimize.

Whistleblowers blew the lid off the multibillion-peso hijacking of lawmakers’ pork barrel (Priority Development Assistance Funds). Notable among them was Benhur Luy, a nephew and former employee of Napoles, whose revelations have shaken the foundation of the rotten system.

* * *

CITIZENS’ WATCH: Taking off from the pork scandal and similar experience of other countries battling government corruption, Villarama proposed the creation of vigilante groups to operate as imbedded whistleblowers.

“People of goodwill must be whistleblowers to check the activities of grafters and corrupt members of our society,” Villarama said. In government agencies, he added, these could be insiders.

He batted for the adoption of a system that encourages and protects government workers in monitoring operations and reporting anomalies without jeopardizing their personal security and tenure.

He said the reporting system can be backed up by a strong community network that will follow up cases and engage in a “shame them” campaign against officials who refuse to resign or mend their ways.

* * *

FOREIGN MODELS: Villarama noted that a growing number of countries have taken steps to lick corruption in all sectors by encouraging “whistleblowing” by citizens, especially in government and in private enterprises imbued with public interest.

The United States, for instance, enacted The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 to encourage people to report law violations, gross waste of funds, and abuse of authority by federal employees.

It also put in place a “Whistleblower Protection Program” run by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to shield personnel who report violations in work places, such as airlines, commercial motor carriers and consumer product manufacturers.

India’s private group, Janaagraha, has even started to operate a website – – to encourage citizens to help curb corruption.

Brazil recently followed suit in the global trend to fight corruption by passing Law 12,846 on Aug. 1, 1913, imposing stiff administrative and criminal sanctions against foreign and domestic companies that bribe government officials.

* * *

GROWTH PLANS: Another guest at Bale Balita the other day was Mabalacat City Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales who outlined an ambitious development plan to transform the new city into a Makati of Central Luzon.

Many things conspire to make Morales’ dream come true. It has ample flood-free space for growth and is a prime location with main Luzon arteries (North Luzon Expressway, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and the MacArthur Highway) leading to it.

A built-in catalyst for development is its sprawling world-class airport that could be, if the political demigods in Manila would allow it, the alternate premier international gateway to Luzon.

The only missing link to this aeropolis plan is a fast-track rail/road link to Manila that will rush airline passengers and goods to and from the national capital in 40 minutes or less. Plans for it are at an advance stage.

* * *

FUNDS AVAILABLE: Mabalacat has around 90 percent of the original Clark air base that the Americans returned in 1992 already with a top-quality airstrip that can take the biggest aircraft there is. A similar strip has been built beside it.

By law, this dominant city gets two percent of gross earnings of all Clark locators within its area in the Freeport. That amounts to some P180 million a year.

That share, plus the P250-million Internal Revenue Allotment from the national government, the millions in assistance being pumped in by Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda, and the city’s collections add up to a sizeable sum that keep development moving.

Morales has scheduled in early October a summit of all stakeholders involved in or affected by the planned development under the city’s P705-million annual budget. The meeting will take stock, plan and serve as consultative body.

* * *

INTERMENT: The late Magdalena Ernani Carillo Lopez of Angeles City who died last Sept. 24 will be buried today at the Holy Mary Memorial Park in the city after the 9:30 a.m. mass at Chapel I of the memorial park. She was the mother of Sonny Lopez, manager of the Public Relations Dept. of Clark Development Corp.

* * *

FOLLOWUP: Access past POSTSCRIPTs at Follow @FDPascual on Twitter. Or like POSTSCRIPT on Email feedback to

By Carmen N. Pedrosa
The Philippine Star  

Comelec Commissioners (File Photo)

Comelec Commissioners (File Photo)

While it is the Napoles pork barrel scam that has caught the public imagination on just how corrupt the government is, it is the Smartmatic-PCOS elections that is the mother of all scams. It hits at the heart of our democracy because it is designed to end people’s sovereignty. So the two must not be separated.

The incumbent government has one and the same objective – to control and dominate the country without declaring martial law or setting up an authoritarian government. The most offensive part of the strategy is to present a campaign against corruption while being even more corrupt than previous administrations. And worse it does not hesitate to destroy institutions in its drive to eliminate opposition and impose tyranny.

* * *

Comelec under this administration is to simply ignore the travesty of the 2010 and 2013 that computer experts and political analysts have already shown to have been failed elections.

But even in the midst of political turmoil, the Comelec has announced preparations for the next election. It shows a disrespect for democratic processes and the law.

As far as the Comelec is concerned it has turned over elections to a foreign group in violation of the Constitution. Officials headed by Chairman Brillantes are acting more like thugs and will continue ignoring the law. It is banking on the ignorance or complacency of a vast majority of Filipinos who do not care or bother to understand just what happened to the 2010 and 2013 election.

But the few who do care have documented the anomalies in Smartmatic generated election. They have fought hard to show how it happened that instead of voters as human beings, pre-programmed machines decided who wins or who loses in elections.

* * *

The latest expose comes from a group that has decided to go around the country and explain their findings to as many people as they can. It is important that all this are documented. Comelec may ignore it but the facts are there to refer to in a future time for redress and more importantly when we are made to account for in history.

They begin their report with the acknowledgement that there has been cheating in elections since “our republic was established up to the present time.”

The May 2013 synchronized presidential and local elections was no exception even if it was done through an automatic electoral system. The fraud came from the use of pre-programmed machines itself.

It was expected that an automated electoral system would be the answer to fraud and cheating in manual elections. That is why very few are inclined to believe that the machine-generated election can be manipulated. On the contrary, the machines and the programming were used to carry out fraud on a wholesale basis unlike the retail fraud from manual elections.

“The authors of RA 9369 purpose was “to destroy and dismantle the COMELEC’s cheating infrastructure of the manual voting system; prevent cheating by “slow manual count” through fast transmission and canvassing of results, and to provide provisions to ensure the accuracy of vote counts and authenticity of Election Returns. None of this was accomplished.

Six safeguards were to be set up for the automated electoral system to work: Internal certification of AES, review, testing and certification of the Source Code, digital Signatures Voter-Verified Paper Audit and Verification, Random Manual Audit Prevention of Fake Ballots via lamps.

“Under the law, the COMELEC is mandated to create a Technical Evaluation Committee. Its duly is to certify, through an established international certification entity to be chosen by the Commission from the recommendations of the Advisory Council, not later than three (3) months before the date of the electoral exercise, categorically stating that the AES, including its hardware and software components, is operating properly, securely, and accurately, in accordance with the provisions of the laws.”

But according to this groups findings, as other groups have already found was that the technical evaluation Committee falsified their report:

They reported a 100% accuracy on the PCOS reading where in fact it was reported on the mock elections conducted by the TEC that 1 out of 6 marks were erroneous.

They also reported that PCOS passed the transmission test, where in fact for the Mock elections held at UPIS, it took the PCOS 2 hours to transmit.

And lastly, on the Technical Evaluation Report, they stated and admitted that they just partially complied with the law by not fully following and observing the requirements prescribed by the Automated Election System Law. We are talking of elections and COMELEC and other government agencies are falsifying and disregarding the law.

Take the issue of the source code which directs the PCOS machines how to read votes, transmit result and tally votes.

“The Commission did not allow the political parties and candidates or their representatives, citizens’ arm or their representative to examine and test) to review the source code. If they are not hiding anything, why won’t they allow the source code to be reviewed, anyway it is prescribed in the law.”

“The election returns transmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be used as the basis for the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of a candidate.” the report adds.

In other words, without the digital signature, no election result could be considered authentic. Therefore the result of the elections must be deemed null and void.” This is not the first group that has come out with this conclusion.

The group has additional evidence that they are not ready to release to the public at this time except to specific individuals.

But their conclusion based on their findings as with other groups is that we had failed elections. They have made it their duty to report it as widely as they can by going around schools and local and present their findings.

They were told horrendous stories of how Comelec officials would brazenly sell their “expertise” for changing election results to losers. Indeed results favor the highest bidder. In one case, the Comelec official concerned reopened a bidding by saying that the winning bid has not yet paid anyway. The group described that with so much money exchanging hands for election results, it would dwarf even the Napoles pork barrel scam. More likely they think that the scam is a direct offshoot of the need to raise money to pay for winning elections.

All the reports from different groups should now be put together and collated as a single report to confirm that we had failed elections in 2010 and 2013.

Indeed the Napoles pork barrel scam could be an offshoot of the buying and selling of election results by Comelec officials to particular candidates. When people agitate and ask that the entire government should resign for the Napoles pork barrel scam it is redundant. They are holding office illegally anyway having been elected in failed elections. Unless both issues are investigated and related together (not by the offenders and criminals please) and steps are taken to put our government system right, we cannot return to normalcy. It would be a betrayal of our responsibility as sovereign citizens if we did.

Indeed we must battle “normalcy” if it means sweeping the offences under the carpet. To accept senators to act as judges of their peers when they have themselves been part of the corruption is an exercise of “normalcy”. Even the chairman of the blue ribbon committee investigating the Napoles pork barrel scam has no qualms about investigating his peers as a only part of a normal day’s work at the Senate. The hypocrisy must be stopped. The times do not call for “normalcy” but for drastic radical actions.

Our Appointment with Destiny

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS*

Philip-ChuaThe origin and formation of the Filipino people dates back at least 50,000 years ago, long before the development of the Austronesian languages.

Fast forward to March 16, 1521, when the Philippines was discovered by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan.

Filipinos, in general, have always excelled wherever they were.

One such Filipino was our national hero, Jose Protacio Rizal, an FMG, yes, a foreign medical graduate, who obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree in Madrid, Spain, in 1885, 128 years ago.

He was a European-trained ophthalmologist, one of very few specialists at the time, when specialization was not even popular.

Rizal, believing in the brilliance of his people, exhorted the Filipinos to regain the pride in themselves and in their race.

Some say the history of the Filipinos in the United States dates back to 1763, when the Manilamen, as Filipinos were called then, all sailors on the Manila Spanish Galleons, jumped ship and settled in the bayous and villages at St. Malo and Barrataria Bay, Louisiana, just outside New Orleans.

That popular historical version puts it at 250 years ago, but actually records show that Filipinos, then known as “Luzonians,” first set foot in 1587 on Morro Bay San Obispo, now known as California — 13 years before the considered first settlers, who were from the Great Britain, arrived in the 1600 in what we now call the USA.

So, to set the record straight, they were Filipinos, and not British or American Indians who first set foot in America, some 426 years ago.

We, Filipino, are therefore technically not foreigners in the United States!

Today, there are more than 3 million of us in America and about 11 million overseas, comprising about 14% of the total

population of the Philippines, which is almost 99 million.

Remittances from all us this year is expected to be 22.5 Billion, US dollars. Without this infusion of money to the Philippine economy, the government would literally shut down.

If all of us stop these remittances even for a few months, the country would go bankrupt.

The global Filipinos are indeed a vital and powerful lifeline for the Philippines, its government and its people.

Filipinos have a literacy rate of 96-98% and majority of us are fluent in English. No less than 47.9 % of us in the United States have at least a Bachelor’s Degree.

Twenty percent of the world’s seafarers are Filipinos. There are 1.2 million sailor and cruise employees around the world.

In the USA alone, there are 22,000 physicians and more than 50,000 Registered Nurses and caregivers, thousands in businesses, electronics, media, law, art and sciences…the rest in stores, restaurants, casinos, and in almost every facet of the economic and social infrastructure of the nations they live in, serving their communities.

Indeed, the more the world knows about Filipinos, the more they’ll love us….except, of course, our corrupt politicians and some snakes in our won forest.

So, imagine a world without Filipinos!

In the United States alone, most hospitals and clinics, factories, casinos would be handicapped severely, if not paralyzed and close, without Filipinos.

We, Filipinos, are indeed a Sleeping Giant, and we have every reason to be proud as Filipinos.

All we, global Filipinos, need today is to wake up from our slumber, unite, and claim the glory of a people long victimized and dominated, no longer by past foreign powers and conquerors, but by our fellow Filipinos themselves, our very own elected officials in the government, whose plunder of our nation, through pork barrel and other means of robbing our national treasury, has disenfranchised, marginalized and neglected our people, more than 30% of them now languishing in the gutter of poverty, robbed not only of clothing, food, and shelter, but of their dignity, honor, pride, and a future.

As these corrupt leaders fill up their pockets and bank accounts, the poorest of the poor Filipinos go to bed at night hungry, not only with empty stomach but with empty hope and empty dreams.

Fortunately, in 2010, the Filipinos at home and abroad have elected by an impressive landslide a man of integrity and honor.

While the progress of fighting the deeply-rooted culture of corruption is slower than we all would like to see, there are many encouraging signs of the change we all dream and hope for, like the arrest of former president Gloria Arroyo, who is facing several criminal charges, the impeachment and forceful removal from office of former Chief of the Supreme Court, Renato Corona, who is also facing charges for unexplained wealth and tax evasion, and about 4 weeks ago….the incarceration of Janet Lim Napoles, apparently the mastermind behind the ten billion-peso pork barrel (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam.

She is expected to turn state witness against 37 others implicated in this scam, including Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, Senators “Jinggoy” Estrada, Bong Revilla, Gringo Honasan, and Ferdianad Marcos, Jr.

More than 4,000 vigilant Filipinos marched and rallied against the Pork Barrel scam near EDSA, which has led to the surrender of Janet Napoles and the ongoing investigation today.

I am sure more heads will fall.

There are several other investigations on corruption going on the Philippines…courtesy of the Aquino administration.

All these could NOT, would NOT, have happened if we had a president who was corrupt.

The impressive economic boon in the Philippines and the excellent international credit rating of the country today are the impact and fruits of an honest and transparent leadership from the top.

I only hope and pray that the one who succeeds Noynoy Aquino in 2016 is equally a leader of integrity, honesty, and transparency.

Otherwise, we shall be back to square one and waste all the changes and progress achieved so far.

Filipinos around the world, must come together, even in our diversity, even without unanimity, and unite for a common cause, and inspire our people towards responsible

citizenship, and our nation, towards good governance and ethical leadership.

When united, this sleeping giant could harness super power and clout.

Just think about it: If each of the 14 million of us outside the Philippines contributes just one single dollar, we shall easily and painlessly have $14 million as our war chest overnight…….for the humanitarian programs of many organizations like the PMAC and their medical missions, the Gawad Kalinga, and several others.

What we need is a revolution…… not a revolution of arms where blood shall be shed, but a revolution of principles, priorities, attitude, and discipline, where sweat and tears INSTEAD shall be shed to bathe our nation clean.

All the little miracles and providential omens developing in our country and among Filipinos around the world today are a manifestation of positive things to come.

You, who are here today, leaders of our people in your own right, embolden my sustained faith in the Filipino people.

You represent what is best in humankind, and your nobility and compassion towards our fellowmen ensure the Filipino a rightful place in history.

You are not only the source of hope for our people but the foundation of dignity and pride for the Philippines.

I have an abiding faith that the Filipinos are destined for greatness.

Leaving this world after this life is not a tragedy. Dying without

making a difference, without significance, without leaving an inspiring legacy behind, is.

I am, therefore, making this clarion call to all of you within the reach of my voice, and to all within the reach of yours tomorrow, to unite and join the crusade, the revolution, and come together for a noble cause, to serve our poor, to renounce corruption, to reclaim our lost glory of the 1950s and ‘60s, and recapture our dignity, honor, and pride as a people and as a nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, with all these signs and symptoms and heartaches of our suffering fellowmen back home, let us not wait for SURGERY to open our heart.

Let us come together now as our brothers’ keepers, as our nation’s loving patriots, to serve a cause nobler and greater than our individual selves, and, someday soon make OUR appointment …..with destiny.


*Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, is Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and Chairman of the Filipino United Network (USA). He was Chairman of Cardiovascular Surgery at Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital, and former president of the Association of Philippine Physicians in America and the Society of Philippine Surgeons in America. His website is and his email address is

By Bernie Lopez

Author’s note. Encounters with Filipino seamen in Athens. This is a true story, with the dialogue reconstructed. In the 70s, I hitchhiked 25,000 kilo­meters for 18 months, drifting through 18 countries in Europe and North Africa. Totally broke, I settled in Amsterdam. My adventure was dubbed eastwind, the wind from the east blowing west. If Monching or Kardo (not their real names) or one who knows them, will read this, please keep in touch.

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

On my second day in Athens, I wandered into Syntagma Square in the center of the city.

“Hey you, Filipino,” a Greek waiter in all white spoke.

“Hello,” I countered.

“You Filipinos are the craziest people I have met ever.”

“Really now. How come?” I countered.

There were about ten waiters dressing up with white linen a long table about half a kilometer long across the entire square. It practically ended at the horizon.

He continued, “You see this table, 300 meters long? This table is for big shots like the mayor of the city or an impor­tant business­man. This table is expensive. Only rich people have their parties here.”

“What does that have to do with crazy Filipinos?” I asked.

“You see that crazy Filipino over there?” he pointed to one giving instructions to the waiters.

“That’s the crazy Filipino? Looks normal to me.”

“You don’t understand. He is a humble second officer in a Panamanian ship that just landed in Piraeus yesterday. He can’t possibly afford to hire this long table.”

“If he is a Filipino seaman, he can,” I said.

“That’s what I mean. You guys are crazy. He saves his salary for five years and spends it all in one birthday bash. He is inviting all Filipinos in the entire city of Athens, I mean all. Now, tell me, what is the logic in all that?”

“I don’t think you would understand even if I explained it to you,” I countered.

“Try me.”

“Well, okay. Filipinos have a different way of looking at things. Money is not everything. You work your ass off, that’s okay. But for a Filipino seaman, you earn money to spend it.”

“I give up. You’re just as crazy. I wouldn’t kill myself for five years inside the belly of a lousy ship just for a birthday party. He’s crazy.”

“I agree. He’s crazy alright. But he likes a birthday bash. What can you say? I must meet him and get invited,” I said.

I walked over to him and he smiled upon seeing me, speak­ing in our native language, “Name’s Monching. What ship are you from?”

“Name’s Bernie. No ship. I’m not a seaman.”

“You’re invited anyway to my birthday tomorrow night. All Filipinos are invited, no matter who they are, what they are, nurses, musicians, bar girls, whoever. Listen, I’m busy. You go talk to my friend Kardo over there.” he pointed to another Filipino and left to give more instruc­tions to the waiters.


I went over to Kardo. He had a huge dapple bag with him. He was in the US navy.

“What ship?” he asked.

“No ship,” I answered.

“What are you doing here?”

“Not much. Just passing through?”

“And you’re not a seaman?”


“That’s strange. You must be a tourist.”

Filipino seamen were not aware of Filipino drifters, hitchhikers, which were rare at that time. I did not bother to explain.

“Listen, man, I need help,” he whispered furtively, look­ing away to see if there was anybody else listening.


“You see this?” he opened the huge dapple bag. I peered in and saw a ton of blue seal Salem and Winston cigarettes, green and red like Christmas decor. “You help me. We sell this in the night bars. You get free drinks.”

“You’ve got about $2,000 worth in there, right?”

“Five. Okay, okay, I’ll give you a commission,” he whis­pered cloak-and-dagger style.

“I’m not interested in a commission. I’d like the drink though.”

“You’re on. Let’s go.”

“You navy men are crazy.”

“Of course, that’s the only way to be. Listen, this is nothing. I smuggled Harley Davidsons in Corsica.”

“You got anything in mind aside from making money on the side?”

“Of course. Women. You want a woman tonight? On me.”

And so we left Monching, fixing up his birthday party, and went around the bars. I was amazed the bartenders knew him. He must have been smuggling cigarettes regularly for years. We had one or two free drinks in every bar. After about ten bars, we were dead drunk. The dapple bag was now almost empty. Kardo treated me to American steak somewhere. I could hardly walk. I couldn’t go home, so Kardo dragged me to his three-star hotel. Pretty good. I ended up with a hangover and missed Monching’s party. I could have met the entire Filipino community of Athens but I had a splitting headache from retsina, the Greek wine which smelled and tasted like aviation gas to a Filipino.


Balitang Kutsero
By Perry Diaz

Janet-Lim-Napoles-and-Noynoy.3It was reported in the news that Janet Lim Napoles surrendered to Noynoy personally in Malacañang at 9:37 PM on August 28, 2013. That was what Noynoy’s spin meisters told the media. But Kit Tatad claims the story was pure baloney. He said that Janet secretly met with Noynoy in Malacañang at 10:00 AM on August 28, 2013.

My investigative reporter James Macaquecquec called the other day and said, “Boss! I have in my hands the mother of all scoops!” “What mother are you talking about, James?” I asked. “Well… uh… I have a secretly recorded CD of their conversation. I’ll play it for you, okay boss?” James said. “Okay, let’s hear it then,” I replied.

“Here it is, boss,” James said.

(James plays the CD)

Janet: Thanks for seeing me on a short notice, Noynoy.

Noynoy: I had to cancel my date with two Guest Relations Officers. You know, GRO’s.

Janet-Lim-Napoles.7Janet: Of course, I know GRO’s. After all, I was once a GRO… the best! I thought you’re not into that thing anymore. What happened to your scholars?

Noynoy: They’re getting too expensive for me. High maintenance talaga. Besides, I prefer GRO’s. They’re very professional… like you. Mga generals pa ang tricks mo!

Janet: Those were the good old days. But that’s nothing compared to what I have now!

Noynoy: I know. Now, you have senators and congressmen in your…

Janet: Ay naku, they’re boring. But they have lots of pork! Lots of moolah!

Noynoy: I know. You’ve been very selective.

Pork-barrel-scam-lawmakersJanet: Aba! Dapat naman. I only picked those who have huge pork barrel allocations. And thanks to you for increasing the senators and congressmen’s pork barrel allocations.

Noynoy: I did it for you because you’ve been so generous with the kickbacks from my pork barrel when I was still in Congress.

Janet: You were my guinea pig then. Pinag-practice-san lang kita, Noynoy. Hehehe….

Noynoy: Ikaw, talaga! Kwela ka parin! Hahaha…

Janet: By the way, now that you have a huge presidential pork barrel – P1.3 trillion! — maybe we can renew our… er… friendship.

Noynoy: It’s hard to do that now cuz of your high profile. Delikado.

Janet: Well, let’s take care of my problem first then and then we can have fun again.

Noynoy: We’ll see. What’s your problem, ba?

Janet-Lim-Napoles-mugshot.3Janet: I need your help, Noynoy. I’m in big – BIG — trouble!

Noynoy: I know you’re in big trouble, Jenny.

Janet: I love it when you call me, “Jenny.” That goes back to my GRO days. You were my best customer then and very generous with tips.

Noynoy: Well, it was not my money; I got it from my barrel of pork. Hahaha….

Janet: I know, that’s when I thought of the idea of hooking up with senators and congressmen. They have lots of pork!

Noynoy: They’re all in trouble, too.

Janet: And so are you, amigo.

Noynoy: Me in trouble? You’ve got to be kidding!

Janet: No, I’m not kidding. I really need your help, Noynoy, or should I say, “Mr. President”? Oh, I have videos; just so you know.

Noynoy: Videos? Videos of what?

Janet: Well, you know… videos of… you know what I mean.

Noynoy: I thought you destroyed them all, Jenny.

Janet: Yes, I did… except for three. They’re my insurance policy just in case…

Noynoy: Which ones are those?

Janet: One of them was taken on the eve of your swearing-in. It’s your best video.

Noynoy: I don’t remember that.

Janet: Well, let’s play it then, okay? Here it is. I’m putting it now oin the DVD player. Just relax and enjoy the show.

(Janet plays video)

Noynoy-and-OchoaNoynoy: It’s dark. I can’t see their faces.

Janet: That’s you there and that’s Jojo next to you.

Noynoy: How did you get this video?

Janet: Jojo gave it to me.

Noynoy: My Jojo?

Janet: No, it’s not the Jojo in the video. It’s the other Jojo. The one that lives in the Coconut Palace… your sidekick.

Noynoy: Ang walang hiya! Traidor! I thought he was my friend! I’m gonna kill him!

(A knock on the door. Jojo enters the room)

Jojo: Sir! Wake up! You’re having a nightmare again! Wake up! Wake up!

(Noynoy wakes up)


Noynoy: Huh? Where am I?

Jojo: You’re in your private room behind your office, sir. You’re having a nightmare; you were shouting at someone!

Noynoy: I had a bad dream! What time is it?

Jojo: It’s 9:37 PM, sir. Well, sir, somebody is waiting for you in the Music Room right now. She said she’d only surrender to you.

Noynoy: Surrender? Who would that be?

Jojo: It’s Janet, the Queen of Pork.

Noynoy: Ang walang hiya! I’m gonna shoot her!

# # #

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real characters are coincidental. This story is satirical and is not intended to disparage or defame anyone.


Making life worth living
By Ellen Tordesillas

Sama-sama na tayo lahat. Thanks to Inquirer for photo.

Sama-sama na tayo lahat. Thanks to Inquirer for photo.

The speech of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada may not be as explosive as expected but the public is benefitting from it because we are getting a bigger and more realistic picture of how rotten the system is, and how “tuwid na daan” is being drawn with crooked lines.

Estrada is one of three senators (the two others are Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Juan Ponce-Enrile) charged with plunder in connection with the anomalous use of their PDAF as allegedly operated by Janet Lim Napoles.

Estrada, in his 90 minute speech, never denied his involvement with Napoles’ scam. His complaint was, why only the three of us?

It is distressing because what we are seeing is a quarrel among thieves. But we console ourselves with the wise words of old folks that “When cattle rustlers quarrel, the farmer gets back his cow.”

Are we going to get back our cow? That all depends on the public’s vigilance.

We are most interested with the disclosure of Estrada that after the Senate overwhelmingly for the conviction of then Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona, a priority crusade of President Aquino to reform the justice system in fulfillment of his campaign promise to eliminate corruption in government, those who voted to convict were given P50 million each.

Estrada related instances when the Priority Development Assistance Program was used as “carrot” by Malacañang under Aquino, just like what Gloria Arroyo did, whenever they want something from members of Congress like the ouster of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez (she was eventually persuaded to resign in exchange for not filing charges against her and for her to get her full retirement benefits); the Sin Tax bill, and the Reproductive Health bill.

Estrada said: “Here now, Mr. President, as our people must know, are some ugly facts and information on the PDAF that our people must know and which i challenge anyone to deny.”

His most important disclosure: “Hindi na tuloy tuloy nakapagtataka ng kumalat ang balita na ang mga kongresista at mga senador ay inalok din ng PDAF para siguraduhin ang impeachment at conviction ng dating Punong Hukom ng Korte Suprema.

“Hahayaan ko na ang taong bayan ang gumawa ng konklusyon kung ito ay totoo o hindi, pero ito ang aking maidadagdag sa kwento — after the conviction of the Former Chief Justice, those who voted to convict were allotted an additional 50 million pesos as provided in a private and confidential letter memorandum of the then chair of the senate finance committee. Saan galing ang pinamigay na pondo? I am sure alam ni Secretary Abad ang sagot sa tanong na ito. At sigurado din ako na hindi unilateral decision ni senate president drilon ang pamimigay ng 50 million pesos kada senador.”

Here are the names of the 20 senators who for the conviction of Corona: Edgardo Angara; Alan Peter Cayetano; Pia Cayetano; Franklin Drilon; Francis Escudero;

Jinggoy Estrada; Teofisto Guingona III; Gregorio Honasan; Panfilo Lacson; Lito Lapid;

Loren Legarda; Sergio Osmeña III; Francis Pangilinan; Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III; Ralph Recto;

Ramon Revilla Jr.; Vicente Sotto III; Antonio Trillanes IV; Manuel Villar; and Juan Ponce Enrile Jr.

The three who voted for the acquittal of Corona were Joker Arroyo; Miriam Defensor-Santiago; and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

P50 million times 20 is P1 billion. We believe that’s our money. We also would like to know how it ended up in the hands of senators and how it was spent.

Reactions of senators and Malacañang to the P50 million revelation of Estrada:

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad: Illogical. Absolutely, completely not true. As far as I’m concerned, we did not bribe the lawmakers.

Former Sen. Panfilo Lacson: I confirm the P50-million “incentive” that was allegedly given to senators who voted to convict then Chief Justice Renato Corona. Drilon told us about it in a caucus.

Senate President Franklin Drilon: That is not true. I have yet to see that letter mentioned by Sen. Estrada.

Sen. TG Guingona: I got additional P50 million but it was not connected to Corona conviction.

Sen. Pia Cayetano: I don’t know anything about it.

Sen. Alan Cayetano: I didn’t get paid for voting to convict Corona.

Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang: I do not know exactly what senator Lacson was referring to…there are many things coming out now. Some of them may be true. Some of them may not be true.

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