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
The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed.
With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah
Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia.
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do
We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines.
Pope Francis Admonishes Pinoys to End Scandalous Inequalities
We had a feeling this was coming. In his first major speech in the Philippines, Pope Francis called for an end to 'scandalous inequalities' in the country. And what better example of a scandalous inequality is there than that a preposterously ridiculous wedding of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera which was officiated by 8 bishops and 7 priests. In addition, this crass wedding featured a 12-foot high wedding cake, a 2-million-peso wedding gown with an exaggeratedly long train that seemed to go on forever...you get the picture.
An Open Letter to Pope Francis; Please Read It Before Coming to the Philippines
Dear Pope Francis, your much anticipated visit to the Philippines is just a few days away. We expect that you will have been adequately briefed about the Philippines by the time you arrive. However, there might be a few things your Vatican handlers might have missed—or intentionally "forgot" to mention to you so we hope this letter reaches you in time for your historic visit. Before anything else, welcome!