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This refers to your editorial, “Rice and circuses,” which appeared in your Feb. 6 issue.
For those watching, the Senate hearing on rice smuggling last Monday was a distressing experience. We do not know which of the following occasioned the most wailing and gnashing of teeth: the fact that the identity of David Tan, the alleged central figure in rice smuggling, was finally resolved at the level of the Senate [...]
By Edilberto C. de Jesus
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago estimates that senators legally get P1.4 million a month in compensation and allowances. What do we get? Lately, allegations that some senators get much, much more in criminal pork barrel scams and serious questions about the integrity of the institution.
By Solita Collas-Monsod
Barely into the New Year, the first salvos for the 2016 election have been fired. Presidential candidates are already being attacked and, of course, the President himself is not immune (belying the “lame duck” label).
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.
Sweat the small stuff seems to be the mantra of certain senators in the wake of the prime-time spitting match between their colleagues Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Short of burying their heads in the sand, these senators could only purse their lips primly and appear unperturbed for the cameras as the two threw parliamentary behavior out the window and engaged each other in language that would make even the proverbial sailor blush.
By Rina Jimenez-David
“It was none of my doing, and yet I cannot do anything about it” was how Senate President Franklin Drilon expressed his frustration over the current blue ribbon committee hearings on the pork barrel scam.
By Edilberto C. de Jesus
The title I owe to Benedict Anderson, the eminent scholar of Southeast Asian history and politics. Studying the electoral landscape, Anderson described the Philippine system as “politics in a well-run casino.”
Unless necessity invents another excuse, the controversial businesswoman at the center of the pork barrel scandal will appear at the Senate today (Thursday), not as a visiting privileged guest but as adverse witness in a blue ribbon committee inquiry. Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind or principal operator behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, likely won’t confront any of the first three senators implicated in the controversy during the hearing; nevertheless, the possibility of legal or emotional fireworks in a packed Senate hall remains potent indeed.
By Randy David
For the sheer drama it packs, the scheduled appearance of Janet Lim-Napoles at the Senate could rival in TV viewership the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona and of then President Joseph Estrada. What Janet might say before the Senate blue ribbon committee could permanently tear apart the fabric of Philippine political life. No doubt, it is events like these that make politics more fun in the Philippines. But, as we have seen, their implications for system reform are uncertain. Usually, they produce changes in the actors but not in the script.
The Senate as an institution is now groaning under the weight of embarrassment caused by the pork barrel scandal.
When Ted Turner, founder of Cable News Network (CNN), was asked why he donated $1 million to the United Nations, he answered: “I want to be on the side of the good angels.”