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
Many Filipinos today are realizing that the single, six-year presidential term as prescribed in the 1987 Constitution is woefully inadequate for a good president like Benigno S. Aquino III. The delegates who wrote that provision in the Constitution must have still been reeling from the almost 20 years of “kleptocratic” rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos when they decided that one term was enough for any future Philippine president. Four years—the presidential term at the time—would be too short; eight too long.
The arrogance of China is becoming readily apparent with each passing day. With their newly acquired economic and military power the Chinese appear unrestrained in their assertiveness towards their neighbors. China, instead of positioning itself as a 21st century superpower appears to be turning back the clock resembling more and more the 12th century empire of Genghis Khan and the Mongol hordes who conquered most of Eurasia...just because they could.
On Her 5th Death Anniversary, We Say 'Thanks for Nothing Cory Aquino'
The passage of time has a way of distilling reality and bringing out truths that are sometimes hidden or lost by present circumstances. Case in point is the overwhelming level of admiration many Filipinos have for former President Corazon Aquino. When she passed away in 2009, the entire nation seemed beside itself in grief. Her casket was mobbed by thousands of mourners as it slowly made its way through the streets of Metro Manila to its final resting place at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque.
The Failure of Philippine Education Is Now Staring Us in the Face
Will the Philippines Ever Become a Developed Country? The short answer to that is no—at least not in our lifetime. While the country has of late improved it credit ratings as evidenced by upgrades from Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's all that perceived progress is illusory. In the Fifties and Sixties, when the Philippines was undeniably the country at the top of the heap in Southeast Asia, people said it would always be the most industrialized country in the region.
So, Should Jejomar Binay Be the Next President of the Philippines?
Though his popularity rating has taken some hits lately, Vice President Jejomar Binay is still far and away the strongest contender for the Philippine presidency in 2016. But is he the right choice for the country? His legions of supporters will give you an enthusiastic "yes;" his detractors however, will tell you "no!" So who's right? To answer our question, lets look instead at Binay's deeds rather than the words of his supporters or detractors.
China’s Military Base on Mabini Reef Violates the Philippine Constitution
While searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 11, 2014, a Philippine Air Force plane flying over the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea sighted Chinese reclamation activity in the Mabini Reef of the Kalayaan Island Group within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. His aerial photographs were transmitted to the Philippine government for analysis.
Napoles PDAF/NGO Scandal: What is Ten or Fifteen Billion Pesos Really Worth?
For those who have been following the Janet Lim-Napoles PDAF/NGO* scandal these past months, it is easy to get caught up in all the rhetoric—the words and phrases repeated day after day. Words like "ten billion" or "fifteen billion" have turned into something akin to "gray" background noise. Words devoid of any real meaning or significance. So let us try to put back some meaning into those trite and often-repeated phrases in order to better understand some of the far-reaching ramifications of Napoles' actions.