Friday, February 28, 2014
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
PMAers speak up
9:15 pm | Sunday, October 27th, 2013
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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
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 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 Malolos, Bulacan, and endured until the capture and surrender of Emilio Aguinaldo to the American forces on March 23, 1901 in Palanan, Isabela, 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.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
What are transition councils for?
(The Philippine Star) |
Updated September 22, 2013 - 12:00am
With Noynoy Aquino fast developing into a lame duck president, the talk among responsible Filipinos is how to move on — what do we do to make sure the country does not deteriorate beyond repair.
We have been let down so grievously by those to whom we have entrusted the running of our country.
We need to tackle national problems strewn in the wake of the latest government crises – the Napoles expose of pork barrel scam and the fighting in Zamboanga that has cost dozens of lives and with no prospect of ending. Letting it just fester will be our doom.
More and more are thinking of seizing hold of the situation instead of letting matters just drift. There are various scenarios to consider — the most crucial of which is to create a transition government and get the most able, experienced and patriotic Filipinos with unsullied reputations whether in or out of government to keep the country’s institutions running properly.
It may be ironic but the first task of preserving our chosen democratic way of life is to create a revolutionary government acting as a transition council. The test of revolutionary government would be to write a new Constitution and overhaul the entire system of governance.
We must keep repeating that to ourselves that any other solution will fall short of stopping pork barrel scams and public moneys being filched by politicians to the detriment of the country. Neither do we have the luxury of time.
Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
* * *
To those with reservations and hope that something can still be done to save the country from utter perdition should be reminded that at present all officials elected in 2010 and 2013 are illegally occupying their posts. The government acting through the Comelec is stonewalling all questions regarding this election so the duty falls on the citizenry to pick up the gauntlet.
These elections were failed elections and remain unresolved to this day.
How can an illegal government try the criminals of the Napoles pork barrel scams when it does not have the mandate from the people?
Moreover, the investigation is being made by people who took part in the crime either by actual commission or neglect in doing something about it. We have a government claiming to be against corruption and yet abets the very same corruption. We are deceived.
If we are to create a new society it must be founded on moral principles of government. The revelations of the pork barrel scams leave us no options unless we meet the challenge now of creating a new system that follows the democratic principle of government that is for the people by the people and of the people.
That task should have begun with the election failures of 2010 and 2013. We are not the first country that had had to confront the task of making the leap of change through revolution peacefully if possible and violently if necessary. Only then can we secure the future of our country.
For this we will need to move fast or events will overtake us end up with the status quo, stuck in the oligarchic society we had tried to reform in the first EDSA that fooled so many reformers, some of whom gave up their lives and fortunes for the cause.
* * *
The military is mandated by the Constitution as protector of the state when it is threatened either internally or externally. But it can only act if there is a transition council under the principle that civic authority is supreme at all times. That can happen only if there is a civil transition council that the military can support. Without the transition council the military has no choice but support the existing government under the dictum of civilian supremacy.
Therefore reform-minded Filipinos must create a transition council, empowered to forge a new constitution, punish all government officials who were part of the scam and preside over new elections. All stolen moneys by politicians and officials alike should be returned to the national treasury under pain of being charged with crimes without bail. These moneys could instead be by the state for a new government set up by real ballots and a true counting.
* * *
It is unacceptable that the very same persons who committed the Napoles pork barrel crimes are allowed and continue to be in charge of investigating the crimes.
Only a transition government can work out a juridical procedure to punish those who had shamelessly stolen the moneys intended for infrastructure and social services.
We must pursue this line while the issues are hot and burning and the people have awakened with a new energy to set the country right.
If we don’t seize the moment then we may revert to business as usual with unscrupulous politicians feasting on public moneys with impunity.
* * *
The transition council follows the practice of “provisional government” that has been used in other parts of the world when a country is devoid of government. The Smartmatic PCOS elections combined with the Napoles pork barrel leaves us very little choice but confront the fact that we do not have government – only a seizure by thugs elected by pre-programmed machines only to steal public moneys.
Thieves have broken down our electoral system, violated the Constitution and are helping themselves to public moneys. If that is not an indication that no one is charge, I wonder what else will.
* * *
There are provisional governments, transition councils, interim councils of every kind and hue in most countries after a revolution peaceful or otherwise. We had one after Cory Aquino’s EDSA but it ultimately failed to carry out the reforms envisioned by the revolution. This time we must proceed more carefully as we move to what can be considered a God-given opportunity to try again.
* * *
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Disgruntled forces surface, say ‘crucial decision’ made
Written by Tribune Thursday, 12 September 2013 08:00
ROU SAYS NOYNOY REGIME ‘WEAK, CORRUPT, INSENSITIVE’
Signs of unrest have again manifested in the military ranks as a group which called itself the Reformist Officers United (ROU) issued a manifesto yesterday declaring a stand to “save the country from further ruin and continue the unfinished revolution of our forefathers, the true nationalists of the 1896 Philippine Revolution.”
The manifesto, called an “Article of Faith,” carried the signatures of representatives from all the military commands, the Philippine Army, the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Navy, the Philippine Marines and the Presidential Security Guard, and civilian security agencies Philippine National Police, Coast Guard and the National Bureau of Investigation. The names in the manifesto, however, are all likely pseudonyms. The ROU said it reached a “crucial decision,” which it did not state clearly, after many of its supposed members attended the recent rally at the Luneta Park or the Million People March on Aug. 26.
The decision was arrived at “after much contemplation of the political, social, economic and national security situations that turned from bad to worse, after we have vetted our organization, purged its ranks of opportunists and fake nationalists and after we have consulted some of our elders in the military, legal profession, farmers and those from the business, church, academe, labor and civil society groups.”
“Rest assured, together we will win this battle if possible with less bloodshed,” the ROU said in the manifesto. “We are very much aware of the colonial and neo-colonial circumstances which have denied us the chance to discover our national self and to establish our identity and discover how much our dignity is really worth,” it stated. The group added that the government and many of the country’s leaders have been “weak, corrupt, venal, insensitive and self-serving.”
As a result, foreign powers in the name of friendship and business partnership have interfered in our affairs with impunity, manipulating us, playing with our lives, our country and our destiny, the ROU added.
The group was clearly critical of the administration of President Aquino saying that his government “is no different from his mother’s regime, characterized by callous shamelessness propped up by endless popularity surveys.” It added that the Aquino administration stages spurious public shows of piety and compassion. “It goes through the motions of apologizing for numerous blunders in public yet committed the unforgivable sin of blasphemy to shield its depravity,” the group said.
It described the Aquino administration as being in the shameful tradition of the Makabebes, who betrayed the Philippine Revolution of 1896, and the even more notorious Makapilis who sent many Filipinos to their death (in World War II).
“Pnoy’s government has repeatedly frustrated the honest aspirations of our people by offering its fanciful and deceitful brand of democracy, economy and political lifestyle to unscrupulous foreigners and appealing directly for their intervention to save it from the wrath of long-suffering populace with legitimate grievances,” the ROU added. The group added Aquino has been deceiving the armed forces into “fighting its battles of self-aggrandizement while undermining the military at every turn. It tells its armed service to fight terrorism without credible laws to protect them and the people.”
“Many of our men have already died of loss of blood fighting a war they do not even understand,” the group added. It said occasionally, Aquino throws the military a bone to chew on, like guard dogs to be placated from hunger and reject.
“More than 70,000 of our men in uniform are living as squatters in the urban centers as well as in the countryside,” it added. The Aquino administration has reduced the once-proud military and police organization into a private security force, dedicated to perpetuate its status quo. The group added that a Gestapo-like counter intelligence organization is being maintained by the government “not to spy on the real enemies of the State but to spy endlessly on the office corps, rank-and-file, their families and other innocent targets.”
“From the first day, Pnoy, using useless advocacy of Matuwid na Daan, has actually steered by one direction alone, that of private gains and mindless arrogance,” the ROU added. For more than three long, unhappy years (Aquino) has drifted with neither will nor ability to govern, muddling through all our national crises, setting a record of corruptions and plunder, incompetence and clumsiness, it said. The solutions offered “have been short-sighted, meaningless palliatives and rhetorics that leave the people more frustrated than ever.”
The ROU said the Aquino administration excelled in only two things: the enrichment of its clique and self-congratulations. “What is more unconscionable is that (Aquino) even lionized Janet Lim-Napoles, who stole public funds and enriched herself and unscrupulous politicians. She cannot deny this because there are witnesses and highly incriminating pieces of evidence that will send them to jail the rest of their lives. This is not the right time to read a bill of particular. That will come later,” it added.
The group said that only a few days ago while the political crisis was evolving, (Aquino) apologized to the nation and appealed to the public to support his presidency and the rule of law. “His conscience has become so compartmentalized he does not realize that the very men and women he asked for help were the same men and women victimized by his government’s corruption, plunder, arrogance and incompetence,” it said.
Daily, the public “contend with (Aquino’s) mismanagement, extravagance, arrogance and sexual escapades, it claimed. “They suffer the high prices and the low wages. They suffer the scarcity of jobs. They suffer the absence of transportation, water shortage and high fuel prices. They suffer the breakdown of law and order, moral decay and endless salvaging,” it added. The group also lamented that the Aquino regime has the gall to ask for help from the very people they continued to deprive of their rights and their dignity.
“Pnoy even asked the men in uniform to die for his government and his brand of illiberal democracy. But will they, these people on whose tongues linger the acrid tastes of disillusion, betrayal and greed?,” it added The ROU said it has “allies in the civilian sectors” and will offer the country, “not the tarnished version of EDSA 1986, cheapened and exploited beyond recognition, but the revolutionary spirit of 1896 and its noble dream, a dream filled with a fierce yearning for change: true independence, a sovereign nation, a just and wise government, genuine nationalism, respect for the rule of law, freedom in its best sense and reconciliation.”
“In short, genuine democracy as the Filipino revolutionaries of 1896 installed but only fleetingly enjoyed before decades of subjugation, tyranny and pretense that saw our resources exploited and our values warped and perverted,” the group said. It called on “friends and guests from foreign lands” who the group said it gives respects to their “sovereignty, culture, individuality and business interests.” “We implore you in the name of our country not to interfere anymore with our internal affairs,” it said.
It also appealed to media “to be fair and responsible in your reporting.” “We will not hesitate to fight fire with fire those who will stand in our way and undermine our determination to protect the State and to create a just, wise, efficient and stable society throughout the land,” the group warned. It said that its members will remain anonymous, for the meantime, “but in time we will get to know with one another as some of our forces are still busy gathering intelligence information, infiltrating centers of power of the Aquino Government and carefully assessing its loyal forces on the basis of their morale, command system, fighting capability, intelligence and materiel supplies.”
It said that since the 1986 EDSA Revolution, the Filipino masses “still huddled in their hovels, exploited, hungry and dispossessed. Our bureaucracy is corrupt and inefficient.” “There is systems failure everywhere. The entire country is deregulated in favor of the elite and their crook foreign partners. Prices of basic commodities keep on rising while workers’ wages remain the same,” it added. The group also said there is no peace and order. “The simplest public services cannot be delivered. Our military is demoralized and shot through with politics. Our judicial system does not work. The guilty go free; the innocent are framed.”
The ROU said the country’s strength is vitiated by corruption, plunder and ignorance in high places. “When we protest, the government responds with arrogance and brutality. Our elections are farces, contests of force and money, or sleight-of-hand spewed by computers and automated machines,” it added.