Home » column
You are browsing column “Editorial”
Dennis Cunanan, the director general (on leave) of the Technology Resource Center, was the first government official allegedly involved in the so-called pork barrel scam to testify before the Senate blue ribbon committee; that fact gave his appearance at Thursday’s hearing additional import. His position at an agency which channeled Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to suspect beneficiary organizations specifically identified by the offices of at least three senators could illuminate how the scam operated. At the same time, it raised the standards by which he and his testimony, and his application to turn state’s witness, must be judged.
But why is the proposal to form a special court to try cases arising from the pork barrel scam being dismissed so peremptorily? Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s proposition deserves at least some serious thought, but two of his colleagues—Senators Francis Escudero and Teofisto Guingona III—have immediately thumbed down the idea.
The desire of the Aquino administration to ensure that its actions are corruption-free and can stand up to scrutiny is backfiring. Half of its term is over but there is so much yet to be done to restructure the economy for it to generate the jobs required to reduce poverty. And we’re not even mentioning the stalled projects under the flagship Public-Private Partnership program.
Despite our continued exposure to an excess of high-profile or sensational crimes, the assassination of a judge still sends us reeling, still strikes us as deeply offensive. Why? Because we sense it for what it is: an attack on something fundamental, something basic, to our way of life.
The Grameen Bank, which extends small loans to the poor without requiring collateral, is a godsend for impoverished families in Bangladesh. Founded in 1976, the bank (Grameen is “village” in the native tongue) has a simple philosophy: Offer small loan amounts for start-up businesses, make sure that loans are used for what they are intended and that payments are made (peer pressure is often employed in communities). Through the innovative concept of microfinancing, the Grameen Bank has gone on to help the poorest of the poor in Bangladesh. It was made an independent bank by law in 1983, with 90 percent owned by its borrowers and 10 percent by the government.
The good news: The antidynasty bill pending in the House of Representatives has hurdled the committee level—the first time for such a development. To understand why it can qualify as a minor miracle, consider that as much as 70 percent of the members of the current Congress are products of political dynasties. The antidynasty provision present in the Constitution since 1986 has not been fleshed out all this time, simply because legislators will not commit self-immolation by enacting a law that would gut their families’ reliable power base.
President Benigno Aquino III made an egregious mistake two weeks ago when he appointed a recently retired police general, Lina Castillo Sarmiento, to chair the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board.
On Jan. 27, in bad weather, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel with Bow No. 3063 bore down on two Filipino fishing boats in Bajo de Masinloc, sounded its horn continuously, then unloaded its water cannons on both boats “for several minutes.” The facts, as well as the quote, are from the official statement the Department of Foreign Affairs issued almost a month after the incident, on Feb. 25. That same day, the DFA summoned the chargé d’affaires of the Chinese embassy in Manila to explain the incident.
New witness, new hype. Certainly not on the same level as “slam-dunk,” which was how Justice Secretary Leila de Lima characterized the testimony of confessed bagwoman Ruby Tuason. But De Lima’s appraisal of the merit of Technology Resource Center (TRC) head Dennis Cunanan’s turnaround from one of the pork-barrel accused to the latest state witness is as solid and categorical. Cunanan qualifies as a state witness, she said, because his account is “plausible and credible.”
The Inquirer’s series on the Edsa People Power revolution, whose 28th anniversary we mark today, helps deepen our understanding of those four
pivotal days in history.
After the income-eroding and mood-depressing news on power rate hikes, gasoline price increases and monster traffic in the metropolis, the struggling middle class is given hope of relief through a long-overdue tax break.
It’s a hot time in cool Baguio today (Sunday), with the grand float parade providing the colorful climax to the city’s annual flower festival.