News and Events

4 types of sleaze: RP has them all

Posted: 2010-02-19
Category: In the News

GOTCHA by Jarius Bondoc
February 19, 2010
The Philippine Star

Malacañang insists that departing President Arroyo can and will appoint the next Chief Justice despite the Constitutional ban. Executive Sec. Ed Ermita challenges opposers to bring the issue to the Supreme Court. He assumes there are more Arroyo loyalists than independents among the 15 justices. But will they reverse jurisprudence just to suit her?

Solid are the precedents against midnight presidential appointments. In the latest no less than four Chief Justices concurred. It concerns President Ramos’s appointment of two judges on Mar. 2, 1998, which the SC rejected. Then CJ Andres Narvasa penned the decision. He cited the Constitution’s Article VII, Section 15, which forbids the President from making any more appointments two months before a presidential election up to end of term. Then-Justice, later CJ Hilario Davide assented; it was he who authored the provision in the 1986 Constitutional Commission. Then-Justices, later Arroyo appointees as CJ, Artemio Panganiban and Reynato Puno voted with them.

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Rey Manalo, Bantay-Dagat (Bay Watch) head in Tingloy, Batangas, is pulling our leg. Of the 18-foot whale shark that beached on the isle Tuesday with no fins and tail, he claims that fishermen accidentally netted it. “They must have tried to rescue the creature with their bare hands, but could not do so without cutting off its fins and tail,” Manalo was quoted as saying.

Phooey! It would be infinitely easier to snip the net than neatly saw off the giant fish’s appendages, which was how it looked. The butanding intentionally was butchered for money, then left to drown, starve or bleed to death. Manalo is trying to fool the public. Was he sleeping on the job, or does he know who the poachers are? Any which way, he must be fired by the mayor of Tingloy. If the latter loves his constituents, he must protect their emergent ecotourism earner of butanding-watching. If he doesn’t, even the butanding-caring people of Donsol, Sorsogon, might suffer bad publicity from this environment crime.

WWF-Philippines gathered these details: Sunday the Bantay-Dagat of adjacent Mabini shooed away from municipal waters a Lemery-based commercial fishing vessel. Monday dusk the intruder was spotted lurking in Tingloy territory. Tuesday dawn the whale shark beached, hardly breathing. Vets deduce that the poachers took all night to merrily knife away the creature’s fins and tail. It was the Bantay-Dagat of Mabini that reported the crime, not Manalo’s unit in Tingloy. WWF has put up a P100,000-reward for info that can lead to the criminals’ arrest.

Ironically this happened only a week after the Philippines hosted a 50-nation conference to protect seven threatened shark species, including the butanding. Twelve participants, led by RP, signed a shark conservation protocol that bans “shark finning,” or harvesting appendages for the soup delicacy.

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In town for a lecture series, corruption researcher Dr. Michael Johnston identifies four main syndromes:

  • Influence-market corruption — dominant in the US, Germany, and Japan. Private parties buy influence from without, targeting institutions that decide major policies, or agencies that award huge contracts like erecting an aircraft carrier.
  • Elite cartels — the trade-fixing ranges from the entire Korean shipping sector to a small Botswana community, in cahoots with regulators. In Italy all parties to the right of the Communists pretend to fight each other, but actually exchange plum deals behind closed doors.
  • Official moguls — like in China, Indonesia and Kenya. The official who issues licenses would run a private business using his government office and computer, in the very field he regulates.
  • Oligarchs and clans — typifying, Johnston says, the Philippines, Mexico and Russia. Relatively few persons, each with followers, compete or collude to control the economic and political systems, reaping rewards for their followers and themselves. The collapse of Mexico’s long-reigning oligarchs from the PRI (Revolutionary Institutional Party) gave way to a new breed of drug-dealing oligarchs.

Two-dozen guests yesterday listened to Johnston’s presentation, sponsored by the Asian Institute of Management and the Asia Foundation. They concluded that RP should not be classified only under No. 4 but in all of the above, for obvious reasons. Johnston is author of the book, Syndromes of Corruption: Wealth, Power and Democracy.

(More on this in succeeding columns.)

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Six-year-old Alessandro Yoshiko M. Lao needs your help. Suffering at his tender age from T-Cells Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, “Yoti” has been in and out of hospital for emergency treatment and chemotherapy. His mom, Janisah Mala, had to quit work to take care of him and a second son, only a year old. Dad works as a restaurant server; his income is just enough to feed the family. Yoti needs sponsors for his last two chemo-cycles, to be followed by cranial radiotherapy and, lastly, maintenance phase. With your donations and prayers, he can be a cancer survivor after three years.

For details and photos, check out his Facebook account: Alessandro Yoshiko M. Lao. Or YouTube videos labelled “Janisah”.

Mom Janisah Mala can be reached at +63917-6060853. Donations can be sent to Alessandro Yoshiko M. Lao, Metrobank Account No. 0703 0701 85211.

Details of Yoti’s current bills are available at UST Hospital: tel. +632 7313001 local 2385 Accounting Clinical Division. Dr. Montenegro, resident-in-charge.

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“The weaker you are, the more you need to be strong. The stronger you are, the more you should be
wary of your weakness.” Shafts of Light, Fr. Guido Arguelles, SJ

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