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By Neal H. Cruz
The reply of the Supreme Court to my Feb. 24 column on a 26-year-old homicide case was published here last Monday, with no comment as requested by Theodore Te, court administrator and public information chief. Still, I cannot help but be curious about why eight Court of Appeals justices inhibited themselves from the case one after another. The eight brave and honorable justices did not say why.
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.
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
• The guarantee of judicial fiscal autonomy in the Constitution is explicit.
Five years ago the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) realized the need to increase the national budget for health. As one of the resource persons in the hearing in the House of Representatives at that time, I pleaded that the budget for the Department of Health be supplemented to meet the demands of healthcare.
Urban poor leaders advocating amendments to the 1992 Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) visited the House of Representatives and Senate early December to hand over copies of a letter to certain legislators. In that letter, they thanked the lawmakers for legislation that favored the poor and asked for their continued support for the poor. They also sought their help to get the UDHA amended. The group believes that the proposed amendments to the UDHA will address and solve many present-day housing issues, including eviction.
By Amando Doronila
The Second Million People March (MPM) to protest the abuse of the pork barrel, this time held in Makati City on Oct. 4, turned out to be a pathetic parody of the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship.
It’s true that the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that pork barrel funds are constitutional—at least thrice since 1994, in fact.
By Solita Collas-Monsod
Shortly after he became Speaker of the House of Representatives in February 2008—his predecessor Joe de Venecia having been removed on orders of then President Gloria Arroyo over the NBN-ZTE scandal—Prospero Nograles, together with Edcel Lagman (who was chair of the House Committee on Appropriations), released a coauthored paper titled “Understanding the Pork Barrel.” It should have been called “In Defense of the Pork Barrel,” because that is exactly what they did.
By Juan L. Mercado
Mid-July, Benhur Luy blew the whistle on the P10 billion cornered by Janet Lim-Napoles through 20 bogus nongovernment organizations. Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Gregorio Honasan, plus 23 congressmen, delivered the shekels, he claimed.
It’s nice that even in the absence of the right to reply, the Inquirer gave sufficient space to Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao for him to respond to the Aug. 19 report titled “Why Congress won’t act on call for probe.” The facts as stated by Representative Aggabao in his Aug. 27 letter may be all true. However, the Constitution did not establish Congress as or to be an eleemosynary institution.
I cannot put my finger on what the advertisement of the House of Representatives, 15th Congress, was all about (Page A4, 7/21/13). If the House leaders were thinking to impress on people’s minds that the House in the 15th Congress was really for good governance even as the JLN scandal was written all over it, I’d tell them, think again! On the other hand, if they were thinking to suppress the stink of the JLN scandal, I’d say good luck.
Should the Senate and the House of Representatives investigate the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam? The new Senate majority leader, Alan Peter Cayetano, suggests that the public look elsewhere. Because the allegations implicate at least five senators and 23 congressmen, any legislative inquiry would turn emotional, Cayetano said.