Tuesday, February 18, 2014

"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." 

Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

PMAers speak up


PMAers speak up

9:15 pm | Sunday, October 27th, 2013
 5  481  471

For many years, the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. was largely a social club attending to homecoming affairs held annually during the month of February. Parades, class gatherings, picnics and donations for Fort Del Pilar were the order of the day insofar as homecoming activities were concerned. The association honored silver and golden jubilarians, as well as prominent alumni who distinguished themselves in various fields of endeavor, particularly those that rose to high positions in the military organization. There were programs that aimed to promote professionalism in the service but these were few and far between.

When it came to crucial issues of national concern, the association remained silent as though it had nothing to contribute to the exchange of ideas and views in our society. This state of affairs was the result of an association dominated by officers on active duty who are not allowed to publicly express their views on political matters, especially when they contradict official government policy. Neither are they allowed to air their grievances except through the established chain of command. Any violation of this principle could result in disciplinary action, including a possible court martial.

A good example of this reticence to speak up has to do with the “revolving door” policy of the government as it concerns the term of office of the AFP chief of staff. For more than a decade now we have had AFP chiefs serving, on the average, for 12 months at a time. Because of the rapid turnover at the top, appointments in many key positions below such as the head of the Western Mindanao Command, Eastern Mindanao Command, Central Command in the Visayas, the superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and other major commands are basically short-term assignments. The commander has very little time to engage in meaningful planning of long-term projects that could very well bear fruit in the future.

Incidentally, our barangay chiefs, who will be elected today, will serve for a fixed term of three years.

One glaring anomaly that I have raised a number of times concerns the appointment of the head of the PMA. This premier military institution of the land, an institution that produces most of the key leaders of our armed forces, is headed by officials on the verge of retirement. The current superintendent retires in February after less than a year in office. He leaves without seeing any class graduate. His predecessor had even less time, staying at his post for only five months before retirement.
What was on the minds of our military leaders when these appointments were made? Certainly it was not the best interests of the institution. Just what can one expect from officers who are marking time prior to starting a new chapter in their lives?

And so, it is left to retired PMA graduates no longer in the active service, or in government, to speak up for their fellow alumni who share similar sentiments.
This is their voice.

A CALL FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE

Cognizant of the maxim that PUBLIC OFFICE IS A PUBLIC TRUST;

Conscious of the desire of the Filipino people for reform, transparency, and accountability in government operations;

Mindful of the negative long-term implication to peace and order and national security of the improper use of public funds and the non-adherence to accountability of public officials;


Aware of the current issues against the Congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the off-budget Presidential special funds, consisting of the Malampaya Fund, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Fund, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Fund and the Road Users Tax Fund;

Knowing that the current issues are a result of a systems failure in governance, exacerbated by a breach of ethical standards by some public officials; and
Believing that national progress and the upliftment of the quality of life of all Filipinos, especially the less fortunate in society, can be better achieved if public funds are properly used;

We, the PMA Alumni Advocacy Group, composed of graduates of the Philippine Military Academy who are no longer in active service, hereby strongly recommend that:

1. The Congress and the President of the Philippines totally abolish the Congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel funds” in whatever form;

2. The President of the Philippines discontinue the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP);

3. The President submit all unbudgeted funds, like the Malampaya Fund, the Road Users Tax, and the social funds from the PAGCOR and the PCSO, to the budgetary process and oversight power of Congress;

4. The Congress of the Philippines, in turn, provide the President with enough funds to deal with calamities and other contingencies, subject to its oversight power;

5. The Congress enact a law which provides that all revenues of the government from whatever source, including but not limited to the Malampaya Fund, the Road Users Tax, the PAGCOR Fund, and the PCSO Fund, be deposited in the National Treasury to be spent only as may be provided in the yearly General Appropriations Act, repealing or amending as necessary existing laws and Presidential issuances to the contrary;

6. Public officials who have been implicated in the misuse of their “pork barrel funds,” and/or in amassing wealth illegally in violation of the anti-plunder or anti-graft laws, take a leave of absence or resign from their positions, without prejudice to their prosecution for criminal offense as may be warranted;

7. The Judiciary of the Philippines, led by the Supreme Court, initiate reforms within its ranks to ensure speedy and impartial trial to punish the guilty and clear the innocent; and

8. All public officials, including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), set the correct example in good governance, perform their duties as protectors of the people and the State, and not use their office as an opportunity to amass wealth illegally.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Ex-Generals to Aquino: Give up your Pork




Ex-generals to Aquino: Give up your pork
2:13 am | Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Retired generals on Saturday said Malacañang should transfer to the National Treasury the Malampaya Fund and all other state funds spent at the discretion of the President, so their use could be monitored.

The pork barrel scandal that has held the public’s attention for three months now was also being discussed in military circles and the  consensus is to put all government accounts under the custody of the treasury, said retired Brig. Gen. Rosalino Alquiza, former president of the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO).

We have heard a lot of sentiments and positions [on the pork barrel]. I join the recommendation that the Malampaya Fund, the Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) fund and the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) fund that go directly to the presidential fund … should be deposited in the National Treasury and be subjected to the budgetary process,” Alquiza told the Inquirer.

He said this should end the debate on the President’s pork barrel and the abolition of all forms of pork.

Officials of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association (PMAAA), led by their chair, retired Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Reyes, graced the 115th Foundation Day parade of the PMA cadets in Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City.

Reyes made no reference to the pork barrel scandal in the speech he delivered at Borromeo Field.

But in an interview after the program, Reyes and members of the PMAAA board said Alquiza’s position was a common sentiment among the association’s members.

Reyes said the PMAAA wanted good governance to prevail over the anomalies that had surfaced.

He said the PMAAA had been following the debates since the Commission on Audit revealed that P10 billion from the pork barrel of legislators may have been stolen using fake nongovernment organizations linked to suspected scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

The fake NGOs were allowed to facilitate the projects selected and financed through the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of more than 20 lawmakers.

The controversy soon included government expenditures financed by the Malampaya Fund, which represents the government’s share from the earnings of the natural gas project in Palawan.

Napoles’ NGOs allegedly accessed some of this fund, too, when Malacañang disbursed livelihood money for victims of Typhoon “Pepeng” in 2009.

Reyes said the PMAAA was not in a position to pass judgment on how the PDAF or the Malampaya Fund had been spent, but the retired generals believed that all government funds “must go through a clear process of checks and balances.”

Presidential Decree No. 910, issued by former President Ferdinand Marcos, allows the president access to the Malampaya Fund, which is to be used primarily for energy-related projects, Alquiza said.

But PD 910 should no longer be valid after the 1987 Constitution took effect, he said.

Alquiza said the PMAAA was also concerned about “this new mammal called the Disbursement Acceleration Program,” a policy employed by Malacañang to allocate savings to lawmakers which many believe was “used for patronage politics.”

Reyes said the PMAAA did not want the President to lose his flexibility to govern the country, but the solution to the pork barrel scandal would be to reduce the discretionary funds available to his office.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Revolutionary Government


http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2013/10/06/1242011/revolutionary-govt-republica-filipina
Revolutionary govt; Republica Filipina
FROM A DISTANCE, By Carmen N. Pedrosa
(The Philippine Star) | Updated October 6, 2013 - 12:00am

Iceland is Iceland and the Philippines is the Philippines. Both rank high among top users of Facebook and Twitter.  They may be miles apart but thinking the same thing — a crowd sourced Constitution to steer government back to the people.
However Iceland retained its Parliament, its crisis did not warrant removal. Two-thirds of the people voted yes in a referendum for the crowd-sourced constitution but it struggles in the Althing, still the stronghold of the establishment.
Not so the Philippines. Here we could do better than Iceland in crowd-sourcing a new Constitution for a new beginning. The crisis leaves us no choice but for a quick surgery to save the country through a transition council with revolutionary powers.
*   *   *
I do not know Dr. Emmanuel “Noli” Tiu Santos. From his wall in Facebook comes this Strategic Plan for Revolutionary Government.
He is founding president/chairman-CEO at International Academy of Management and Economics (IAME). He is also chairman and president of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS).
Here it is his suggested plan:
1. Proclamation No. 001-82113, Series of 2013
Proclaiming a Revolutionary Government, Revoking the 1987 Constitution, and Promulgating the Transition Freedom Constitution for the Provisional Government.
2. Revolutionary Presidential Decree (RPD) 001-82113, Series of 2013
Abolition of Congress and Pork Barrel in any Guise or Form
3. RPD No. 002-82113, Series of 2013
Arrest of all those involved in the pork barrel scam and other forms of corruption and CONFISCATION OF PLUNDERED OR UNEXPLAINED WEALTH of elective and appointive officials, staff or employees, and private individuals. (Net worth of plundered or unexplained wealth minus net worth declared in the income tax return the year before assumption of public office equals net plundered or unexplained wealth.)
4. RPD No. 003-82113, Series of 2013
Adopt SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE as sufficient quantum of proof of evidence to convict any person, whether government official and employee and private individual, for violation of the Anti-Graft Law, Unexplained Wealth Law, Anti-Plunder of Wealth Law, Code of Ethics for Public Officials, and other related laws, while at the same time repealing the Rule on Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt provided in the Rules of Court, Anti-Graft Law, Anti-Plunder Law Unexplained Law, Code of Ethics for Public Officials, and other related laws.
5. RPD No.004-82113, Series 0f 2013
Criminalizing any abuse of power or discretion for any act or omission through whim, caprice, intent to extort, expectation of graft or bribe money, or personal hostility in any transaction with the government; establishing the presumption of probable cause to commit corruption by delaying the processing of papers required by law, ordinance, rules, or regulations; and requiring only substantial evidence to convict the erring official or employee.
*      *      *
I am now reading “A Wide-Angle View of the Philippine Colonial Experience Thru the lens of Latin America” by Elizabeth Medina, a Filipina living in Chile.
Our efforts today for a new beginning have their roots in our wars of independence in the Spanish period.
The Philippine Republic (Spanish: República Filipina, Tagalog: Republika ng Pilipinas), more commonly known as the First Philippine Republic or the Malolos Republic was a short-lived insurgent revolutionary government in the Philippines. It was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 23, 1899 in MalolosBulacan, and endured until the capture and surrender of Emilio Aguinaldo to the American forces on March 23, 1901 in PalananIsabela, which effectively dissolved the First Republic.
The establishment of the Philippine Republic was the culmination of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish rule.. That constitution was proclaimed on 22 January 1899, transforming the government into what is known today as the First Philippine Republic, with Aguinaldo as its president.
 It was the first Constitutional Republic in Asia. It was titled “Constitución política”, and was written in Spanish following the declaration of independence from Spain, proclaimed on January 20, 1899, and was enacted and ratified by the Malolos Congress, a Congress held in Malolos, Bulacan.
The Republic at Malolos was the first to frame a comprehensive constitution duly approved by an elected congress (A representative democracy). Thus making this, the first Constitutional Republic in Asia. “ — Wikipedia
My friend, constitutional warrior Orion Dumdum has sent the first posting for “A new Constitution for a new beginning.” It was written by Kristian Ligsay Jensen (A Filipino who lives in Denmark) on behalf of the CoRRECT™ Movement.
The draft presented here is a Malolos-style Draft. I’m attempting to create a Constitution for the Philippines as it might look like had we not lost our parliamentary heritage from the 1899 Malolos Constitution of the First Philippine Republic.
I have appropriated a lot of the terminology used in the Malolos Constitution — a parliamentary republic. These terms have a longer tradition of use in the Philippines. Hence, the more usual Anglo-Saxon parliamentary terminology like Parliament, Cabinet, Prime Minister, Minister, and Member of Parliament are respectively replaced with Fil-Hispanic parliamentary terminology like Assembly, Council of Government, President of the Council of Government, Secretary, and Representative.
Where applicable, I have also incorporated features found in the Malolos Constitution, most notably the reintroduction of the Permanent Commission, which was an important part of the First Philippine Republic. The Malolos Constitution was also secular, so I have strengthened that feature as well.
Where there has been some doubt about the features of the Malolos Constitution, whether in terminology or procedure, I have had to extrapolate by looking at the Constitutions of countries from which the Malolos Constitution drew inspiration from, namely: Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belgium, and France.
I have also looked at the Constitution of Spain, which no doubt must have also influenced the First Philippine Republic. Among the countries just mentioned, Mexico’s current Constitution from 1917 is the one that resembles the Malolos Constitution most, so that is the one I drew from most.
The following is based largely on the Amended 1987 Constitution as proposed by the Consultative Commission:
Economic Liberalization:  All citizenship restrictions for the ownership of alienable land, the exploitation of natural resources, the operation of public utilities, the ownership of mass media, advertising companies, and educational institutions, and the practice of professions are removed.
 Evolving Federalism: Local autonomy is enhanced with provisions allowing for the creation of autonomous territories anywhere in the country, and for a federal system to be implemented upon the ratification of the people when at least 60% of the country is composed of autonomous territories.
 Parliamentary System: The current presidential form of government is replaced with a parliamentary form of government, where the executive branch of government is made directly responsible to the legislative branch of government, and the functions of Head of State and Head of Government are separated.