BBL crucial for Yellow victory in 2016

by Rigoberto Tiglao on May 21, 2015

Looking at the ecstatic faces of members of the Congress committee who approved the BBL, one would find reports are certainly credible that each was promised P50 million in pork-barrel funds and a further P1 million in cash by President Aquino.

If you look at the list of those who voted yes, you’ll realize many of them are people who really don’t even know the difference between a Maguindanaon and a Yakan.

Yes, despite the controversy and public outrage over it, Aquino and his wily Budget Secretary Florencio Abad have maintained pork-barrel funds in this year’s budget, called Bottom-up Budgeting projects. They amount to P20.9 billion, even bigger than the past several years’ pork-barrel allocations (see my column, “The new pork is BUB, boys,” January 22, 2015).

The cash component is likely to come from the huge funds under the discretion of the Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas, who even took over funds such as those for housing disbursed in the past by other departments.

Why is Aquino so determined, even obsessed, to ram the BBL down the throat of Congress less than a year before he steps down?

Shouldn’t he be reasonable and tell the nation that since he is relinquishing power at end-June 2016, the decision to create an MILF substate in Mindanao lies in the next President and Congress? After all, it would be their headache, wouldn’t it?

Administration congressmen ecstatic over the BBL vote: They won’t be smiling when Muslim Mindanao secedes.

Administration congressmen ecstatic over the BBL vote: They won’t be smiling when Muslim Mindanao secedes.

There likely are petty reasons for Aquino’s steamrolling of the BBL. Since his meeting with the Muslim insurgents’ chief in 2011, he has been obsessed with winning a Nobel, which in his case could come through his role in bringing peace to Mindanao, a feat that had escaped the grasp of her mother whom he believes didn’t think much of him.

The most compelling reason, though, that could explain why such a massive propaganda campaign for the BBL has been going on for several months now, why even Aquino’s business cronies have been conscripted to the task, is that the BBL’s passage, as seen by his strategists, is really the only way for a yellow victory in the 2016 elections. Their logic is as follows:

Just 700,000 votes needed
In the 2010 vice-presidential race, now leading presidential candidate Jejomar Binay won by only 727,084 votes over the yellow heir-apparent Mar Roxas.

The memory of that contest can be reasonably recalled and used for the 2016 presidential elections: there is even a “proxy” for Senator Grace Poe – then Senator Loren Legarda, who also zoomed up in popularity in those times and landed third in the vice-presidential elections.

While the Liberal Party’s shock-and-awe demolition job against Binay may have reduced his voter-preference ratings, I don’t think that has been enough for Roxas or for Poe to overtake the vice president in the current race.

One precedent for this is the case of former President Joseph Estrada. Despite his conviction for plunder and jail term, albeit a rest-house arrest, he still landed second in the 2010 presidential elections, getting 27 percent of the votes. He would have been president really, if Cory Aquino had not died for her son to get such an avalanche of sympathy votes.

One major factor for Binay’s victory was his near landslide victory in the Muslim areas, specifically the five provinces that comprise the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao.

Binay got 474,309 votes in ARMM, or nearly three times the number Mar received.

However, if ARMM goes for Roxas in 2016, and he gets just 60 percent of the votes in that region, that will mean 720,000 votes for him (and for Binay, minus that many), covering for the vice-president’s overall margin in the 2010 elections.

Why would ARMM go for Roxas? Because the Muslims there, after a year of propaganda, have been made to believe that the BBL is a step toward their own substate.

And if they don’t, and they really prefer to be Filipinos, rather than “Bangsamoro,” the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which has more soldiers and arms than the Philippine National Police in the area, and which would control the BM government, would make sure they’d vote for Roxas.

It would actually be a walk in the park for this regime, with the P10 billion it had amassed through the DAP and other government contracts, to shave percentages off other provinces and add to ARMM’s “landslide vote,” to let Roxas win in 2016.

Where did I get that 60 percent estimate of ARMM votes? That’s the percentage of voters in ARMM who approved of the BBL, according to the recent Social Weather Station survey (commissioned by Aquino’s allies).

SWS to justify support
Even if not that many ARMM voters really vote for Roxas in 2016 and he got those numbers merely by cheating, Aquino and his cohorts — if BBL is passed – would point to that survey as justification and smokescreen for why the yellow heir to the throne won.

They would claim that the goodwill among Muslims which the BBL created for the yellow regime, and their fear that it would be dismantled if the opposition won, generated a landslide of votes for whoever would be Aquino’s candidate.

Aquino’s best-scenario plan is to have the BBL passed in June, and after a plebiscite in August, put the BM substate in place. The BBL provides for the disbursement to the BM government of P70 billion as soon as it is set up. Do you think this immoral government won’t use that money for buying support for the 2016 elections?

That is also the main reason why other than P50 million in projects plus P1 million in cash, pro-Administration congressmen have been solid in supporting the BBL.

They have been told that passage of the BBL is the key ingredient to an Administration victory in 2016.

Many of these congressmen are deeply involved in the pork-barrel scam, and they know that with a nonpartisan Ombudsman, they are likely to go to jail if a new administration rises to power in 2016.

The governor of ARMM Hajiv Hatiman, who has a brother in Congress, was given P8.6 billion in funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Plan. How the hell would he, as well as the provincial governors he shared that money with, ever explain how the money was used?

Of course Aquino himself—and he knows this, which explains his jest that he would want to be jailed in “Fort Bonifacio”—stands to go to jail for this very DAP, a massive case of technical malversation.

That is how depraved Aquino and his cohorts are.

To remain in power, they are even willing to risk the dismemberment of our Republic and accede to the MILF and Malaysia’s gameplan for Muslim Mindanao to eventually become a state in the Malaysian Federation.

Abuse of Power

by Rigoberto Tiglao on May 19, 2015

The following article by Manuel Mejorada was published May 18 in his “CoffeeBreak” column at The Daily Guardian Western Visayas, a newspaper based in Iloilo City. I found it very perceptive, well informed, and well written that it deserves a larger audience.

Entitled “The Crucifixion of Jojo Binay,” (which is, by the way, too melodramatic for my taste), Mejorada writes:

With one year to go before the next presidential elections, the leading contender for the highest position of the country has been crucified.

Vice President Jojo Binay has been condemned, vilified and pronounced guilty of corruption before the bar of public opinion by the machinery of government obsessed with seeing to it that nobody, and nobody else, but Mar Roxas will be elected as President.

It’s too early to say if Binay will be crushed beyond redemption by this massive propaganda effort of the Aquino administration. What is certain, however, is that Binay was badly battered by the onslaught of corruption issues against him.

The screaming headlines about the Court of Appeals order to freeze 242 bank accounts directly or indirectly linked to Binay will substantially erode the survey ratings for Binay. Those guys working behind the scenes for Roxas have done a good job.

The question that must be asked is this: Why was the machinery of government thrown against Binay and used to unearth every possible dirty linen that could be used to tarnish his image?

The AMLC—Anti-Money Laundering Council—was put up to comply with international treaty obligations to help stem the flow of “dirty money” around the global financial system. Primarily, the targets for the money laundering watchdog are drug lords, smugglers and crime syndicates. It is not the primary agency tasked to monitor the ill-gotten wealth of politicians.

With that in mind, who unleashed the AMLC in a massive investigation to look into alleged money laundering activities of Binay?

These questions are not being asked because I am defending Binay. Nor am I raising the issue because I dislike Mar Roxas. At the core of the controversy is abuse of power, the same issue that led to the downfall of then US President Richard M. Nixon in 1975.

In case you haven’t noticed, the AMLC hasn’t come out with reports about the bank accounts of drug lords even after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima uncovered the existence of illegal drug distribution activities being directed from within the confines of the National Bilibid Prisons.

We know that it is hard to pin down drug lords and smugglers because 99% of the time, they are detached from the physical evidence of prohibited items. It’s the same way with jueteng lords. The most effective way of catching them is through their bank accounts and
tax records.

But it is apparent criminals are safe from the radar screens of the Aquino government.

It’s only its political enemies that are being tracked down, their every movement scrutinized, and every bank transaction red-flagged. This explains why illegal drugs and smuggling continue to prosper under the “matuwid na daan”. The government is looking the other way; its eyes are exclusively locked on its enemies.

If this isn’t abuse of power at its worst, then I don’t know what is. And Binay is being accused of corruption. It’s tragic because his accusers are guilty of the most rampant corruption in our nation’s history. President Aquino and his cabals, Senate President Franklin Drilon and DBM Secretary Butch Abad, institutionalized corruption through the PDAF and DAP. No less than the Supreme Court made crystal clear just how huge that corruption was.

So Binay has billions of pesos as windfall from his three decades as the prince of Makati City.

But isn’t everybody else in the nation’s corridor of power as guilty as he is?

Take the case of Roxas. It’s public knowledge in Roxas City, his hometown, that his family controls almost every franchise of food chains that open stores at local malls. Isn’t that taking undue advantage of their political power? No business can come in without the imprimatur of the family, according to my sources.

And what about the closest lieutenants of the President?

None of them is ever in danger of being labelled poor. In the last few years, their wealth grew from average to fabulous. Their balance sheets have long abandoned the 7-digit level; their net worths are now in the hundred-million-and-above levels.

None of the President’s political allies have been investigated by the AMLC. None of them have given us a glimpse of their bank accounts. The only reason that’s the case is that they are being protected by the Aquino government. In a sea of corruption, only those that don’t swim with the administration are caught in its nets.

Just the same, the Aquino government should pray hard that Jojo Binay will be pulverized by such efforts. There’s danger that this overkill can boomerang on them. As I have pointed out time and again, the demolition efforts won’t benefit Roxas. His popularity and approval ratings will not rise as Binay stumbles and falls.

Binay is not about to be written off, yet. The point of overflow is approaching, and the public, sick and tired of the abuse of power, might just sympathize with Binay.

If Binay wins, then the next government will have to seriously think of expanding the prison facilities, with careful attention to providing large-sized, heavy-duty beds.


With BBL: Beheadings, floggings and treating women as second-class citizens

May 17, 2015

I am not exaggerating at all. BM Basic Law (BBL) bill champion congressman Rufus Rodriguez claims that his committee has made some 60 amendments to the draft BBL law. That’s a smokescreen. Many of the original bill’s essential provisions haven’t been touched. These provisions will lead to the creation of a sub-state under the uncontested [...]

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Aquino’s vilest political weapon: AMLC

May 15, 2015

Perhaps the vilest weapon that President Aquino has wielded against his political opponents is the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). Make that its Executive Director, rather than the three-man council itself, composed of Bangko Sentral Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. as chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Teresita Herbosa and Insurance Commission Chairman Emmanuel Dooc. I clarify [...]

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Appointing an MILF man: Can Aquino do this?

May 12, 2015

President Aquino recently appointed as member of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) one Sheriff Abas, an obscure lawyer. The only explanation that has emerged for this is that Abas is a nephew of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Jihad Executive Committee member and chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. Nobody, not even a Malacanang spokesman, could put [...]

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Not a democracy, but celebrity rule

May 10, 2015

President Aquino’s disclosure that he intends to tap Senator Grace Poe as his and the Liberal Party’s presidential or vice-presidential candidate in the 2016 elections wasn’t at all surprising. His first choice, Mar Roxas hasn’t, as it is usually put, been “rating well in the polls,” registering pathetic single-digit popularity scores. And if he doesn’t [...]

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BBL’s ‘parliamentary system’ designed for MILF’s total control

May 7, 2015

President Aquino’s Citizens’ Peace Council representatives who attended the Senate hearing the other day lived up to this Administration’s reputation as a student council government. I was flabbergasted listening to their extremely naïve and sophomoric defense of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. One reason why the BBL should be passed, according to Cayetano Paderanga, former socioeconomic [...]

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Why do we allow Trillanes to do this?

May 5, 2015

Three weeks ago, Senator Antonio Trillanes 3rd announced in a news conference he had two witnesses who would testify that two Court of Appeals justices received P25 million each in bribes to stop the suspension of Makati mayor Junjun Binay, Jr. Note: “Witnesses” means persons who saw the P25 million handed over to the recipients. [...]

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‘Peace Council’ Report: MILF couldn’t have written it better

May 3, 2015

Remember their names: Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Howard Dee, Cardinal Tagle, Bai Sumndad-Usman and especially former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide. While I don’t think they authored a single sentence of it, and had really very little to do with its contents, they affixed their signatures to the report of President Aquino’s totally mislabeled [...]

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Deception and dishonesty of Aquino’s ‘Peace Council’

May 1, 2015

It is so sad that it has come to this. In his desperation to steamroller his “BBL,”* President Benigno S. Aquino has corralled distinguished members of our society to falsely portray broad citizen support for it. Aquino on March 27 called for the establishment of a “Citizens’ Peace Council,” which he said “will gather other [...]

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