The Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), cooperating with the Washington DC-based
International Consortium of
Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) recently published a two-part report that
revealed that Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos Manotoc, eldest daughter of the
late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos is the beneficiary of a secret trust
account held in the British Virgin Islands.
If this report is proven to
be true, then the Marcoses have indeed been thumbing their noses and lying
to the Filipino people all this time. Imee’s mother Imelda Marcos now a
congresswoman used to proclaim that she had become but a poor widow. The
Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) however, estimates that
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos stashed away roughly $5 billion throughout his
The PCGG was formed in 1986
by then Pres. Corazon Aquino’s Executive Order No. 1. The commission was
tasked with recovering all the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos and his cronies.
The PCGG’s success rate has been underwhelming due to its having lost a
significant number of court cases. One big loss last year was the
Sandiganbayan’s dismissal of the case against cigarette magnate Lucio Tan
despite strong evidence against him. It is alleged that Marcos and Tan had a
60-40 business arrangement, the former dictator of course having the larger
share. Sadly the PCGG has over the years turned into a typical bureaucracy
more concerned with its own survival than with accomplishing the task it was
By the PCGG own admission
it had no clue Marcos Manotoc’s Caribbean trust account—called the Sintra
Trust—even existed. The commission only found out along with the millions of
Filipinos who read the PCIJ report. But now that the commission is aware of
its existence, it is obligated to look into this matter. PCGG’s current
chairman, Andres D. Bautista, appointed by President Benigno Aquino III in
September 2010 appears more energetic and willing to go the extra mile to
recover the Marcos’s stolen wealth. A far cry from his predecessor Camilo
Sabio, a Gloria Arroyo appointee who epitomized the aging bureaucrat under
whose watch the PCGG would lose one court case after another.
There are proposals on the
table to abolish the PCGG once and for all, as it appears to have outlived
its usefulness and is now costing the Philippine taxpayers a significant
amount each year. But before the powers-that-be decide to pull the plug,
let’s give the commission one more job. Recover the Sintra Trust. Do it not
only for all those who suffered under Marcos’s brutal dictatorship; do it
also for the country. The Philippines after all is the rightful owner of all
the Marcos stolen wealth. Published
While the Aquino administration has been making many of the right moves lately, such moves remain woefully inadequate given the situation the Philippines faces with China. If President Benigno Aquino III entertains any hope of keeping our islands in the Spratlys, he needs to get off his behind this minute and start building a strong coalition with other nations.
A country's president must be a statesman. Someone who is genuinely concerned about the welfare of his people—especially those who have the least in life. A president must also be fair. Fairness after all underpins what justice is all about. Everyone, be they exceedingly wealthy or totally destitute deserves equal treatment under the law.
The Philippines Is Not a Friendly Place To Do Business In
On the surface, the Philippines can seem like an enjoyable and friendly place to do business. But scratch the surface and you’ll find yourself in a strange and alien world where a whole new set of rules and attitudes apply. Just recently, the Fraser Institute, a well-known North American think-tank, ranked the Philippines third from the bottom, on its annual survey of the best places to do business for mining companies.
To All Those Who Were Part of the EDSA People Power Revolution—Thank You!
On February 25, the Philippines will celebrate the 28th anniversary of the People Power revolution known as EDSA One. For four days in February, 1986, freedom-starved Filipinos amassed on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), in front of Camps Crame and Aguinaldo to shield Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, General Fidel Ramos, and their military supporters from possible assault by forces controlled by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The Arc of the Moral Universe and the Salvador “Bubby” Dacer Case
How long before the people responsible for the Dacer-Corbito murders are brought to justice? The hopeful answer may be found in a speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol on March 25, 1965 when he said: "How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever. How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow. How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
Will Ruby Tuason’s Revelations Make a Difference? Remember This Is the Philippines
Another whistleblower Ruby Tuason will soon testify before the Department of Justice, and the Philippine Senate. And probably before the Ombudsman, the Batasan committees, the Sandiganbayan and other courts as well. Her appearances will likely involve high drama, moving testimony, and bombshell revelations that will be plastered across the front pages of Philippine dailies and reverberate throughout social media.
Macho, Macho Men and the Matriarchal Philippine Society
An online article a week ago concluded that the reason that Deniece Cornejo the vixen in the Vhong Navarro mauling incident was being mercilessly vilified was because Philippine society tends to treat women that way (LINK). The writer a certain Tricia Aquino in collaboration with Judy Taguiwalo a University of the Philippines professor in the Department of Women and Development Studies, try to paint a bleak picture of Filipina women as persecuted second-class citizens who end up being blamed for the troubles that befall them.
We Must Learn from the Past, for the Future of Mindanao
Will the signing of the last annex of the peace accord between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) finally bring lasting peace to troubled Mindanao? Everyone hopes so. But let’s go back several decades in time and see how the country fared in a similar situation back then.
The Internet: Keeping Philippine Politicians Honest
On January 20, 2014 Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., delivered his long-awaited privilege speech to refute the charges and allegations leveled against him regarding the misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Unfortunately, the senator’s speech was light on facts refuting the charges, and heavy on counter-accusations and theatrics.