Corruption entrenched
SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2015 - 9:00am

The long list of persons charged, dismissed, or suspended by the Ombudsman is the best evidence that corruption is happening throughout the government, national and local.

The latest crude case of corruption is the extortion of passengers at the airports after being planted with bullets in their bags.

The Ombudsman has charged over two dozen generals and top officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for various offenses.

There is continuing corruption at the National Penitentiary (Bilibid) in Muntinlupa as well as in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) as it tops the list of most corrupt Philippine agencies in a March survey by CNN.

Four government departments have recorded many cases of questionable disbursements, namely Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Department of Agriculture (DA).

Dozens of officials and private individuals have been charged in connection with schemes to skim up to P10 billion in government funds, including billions more from Yolanda rehabilitation funds.

The Commission on Audit (COA) has questioned the lack of public bidding for P25 billion in defense contracts.

There are charges of bribery against justices and judges.

The smuggling tripled from $7.9 billion in 2009 to nearly $27 billion last year, based on International Monetary Fund data.

Pork barrel more than doubled to over P20 billion annually.

Aquino’s P157-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is the largest malversation in Philippine history.

Yes, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s “Daang Matuwid” policy has failed.

With only eight months to go, President Aquino can no longer claim success in his anti-corruption campaign, aggravated by his refusal to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, as he promised voters.

Aquino has somehow failed to curb corruption because he only targets high-profile opponents and held back on members of his own party, friends and associates.

Earlier, the United Nations (UN) warned the Philippines that it will remove us from membership if Aquino or the next President could not improve the country’s corruption level in the next five years.

Piecemeal 3rd World War

Pope Francis has called the six coordinated Paris terror attacks by the Islamic State (IS) militant group as “piecemeal Third World War.”

President Barack Obama, President Vladimir Putin, and British Prime Minister David Cameron led a chorus of world leaders condemning the Paris attacks, which has left 129 persons dead and more than 352 wounded, 99 in critical condition.

This disturbing reality is that if Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) can do it with such ease in an efficient security state like France, then no country, including the United States, is safe.

Despite not postponing the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit, President Aquino assures the public that all security precautions are being taken to keep the country safe. The President convened the Cabinet security cluster to check the country’s security measures and other contingencies ahead of the APEC summit. The safety and security of around 10,000 delegates and media representatives from the 21 member economies of the APEC is no joke, the government should ensure a peaceful and orderly manner summit conference.

President Obama said: “It is not just an attack on the people of France but this is an attack on all humanity and the universal values that we share,” in an address at the White House.

French President Francois Hollande called the Paris attacks an ‘act of war’ as the Paris capital’s normally bustling streets feel eerily quiet. The Paris attacks were “prepared, organised and planned overseas, with help from inside (France),” Hollande said.

“Forced with war, the country must take appropriate action,” Hollande declared. French bombers mounted a major sortie on ISIS positions in Raaga, Syria.

Some of the terrorists blamed Hollande for intervening in Syria’s war.

Duterte’s senators

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has come out with his list of candidates for the Senate he has endorsed.

Among them are former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) advocate Susan Ople, former Senator Panfilo Lacson, Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Rep. Martin Romualdez, and retired Philippine National Police (PNP) General  Samuel Pagdilao.

PAO lawyers station at NAIA

Instead of deploying prosecutors at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), following the alleged tanim-bala extortion racket, lawmakers are suggesting to have Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) boots in airports to extend assistance to OFWs in legal trouble, such as facing problems on documentation, employers, contracts, or even criminal cases.

Senator Bongbong Marcos criticized the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) deployment of prosecutors in the NAIA in connection with the growing cases of tanim-bala scheme, saying it is the victim of the scam who need free defense counsels against corrupt airport security personnel, not to prosecute against those who were victimized by the said racket.

The airport officials should intensify efforts in protecting the welfare of OFWs against corrupt officials and personnel by providing help desks to respond to their concerns swiftly and in the most modern and effective way possible.

The government response must not take too long in extending help to OFWs.

Tidbits

Roxas Boulevard is closed not only to vehicles but also to pedestrians.

Seven hurt in three separate grenade explosions in Kabacan, North Cotabato and Cotabato City.

The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) will vote on the Grace Poe disqualification case today. A close vote is predicted. Attention is focused on how Senator Pia Cayetano, a lawyer, will vote.

FVR: Paris terrorist attacks can happen in other countries.

 

ACIRC AQUINO ASIA PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON BUREAU OF CUSTOMS DAANG MATUWID DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE PRESIDENT PRESIDENT AQUINO STRONG
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