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 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.
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.
How could they not have known that the Napoles NGOs were fake?
With Senator Bong Revilla already in police custody in Camp Crame and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile set to join him any day now, people need to start asking tough questions going forward. The privilege speeches of the senators along with the histrionics that accompanied them are thankfully now over so we can all address this issue more objectively.
The Self-Perpetuating Elite of the Philippines
In an essay published in the July 1968 issue of the American magazine Foreign Affairs, a novice Philippine senator described his country as “a land in which a few are spectacularly rich while the masses remain abjectly poor. . . . a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy… a people whose ambitions run high, but whose fulfillment is low and mainly restricted to the self-perpetuating elite…a land of privilege and rank – a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste.”
PHL Legislators Implicated in the Napoles PDAF Scam Face Definite Jail Time...Maybe
In the United States former four-star General and until recently Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki was forced to resign as head of the VA by the ongoing healthcare scandal that has enveloped that agency. While one can safely assume that Shinseki was not involved in the actually transgressions being investigated, the fact that he headed the agency meant he had command responsibility over its entire staff. And their wrongful acts, whether he knew about them or not, cost him his job. That is the way things work in properly functioning democracies. In the Philippines however, things tend to get a little unusual.
Why All the Fuss? We Knew They were Corrupt Anyway!
So finally the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. But we Pinoys should not be surprised at all. We all know how corrupt our country is. Even before former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was accused of electoral sabotage and the misuse of public funds in 2011; even before Joseph “Erap” Estrada—an earlier president was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan in 2007; even before Ferdinand Marcos, a president-turned-dictator, was booted out of the country along with his family and cronies twenty-eight years ago; we Pinoys knew they were corrupt.
The Case of Denise Cornejo and Cedric Lee, a Litmus Test for Pnoy and Philippine Justice
Now that the star attraction in the alleged Vhong Navarro rape incident is in police custody, the upcoming trial will be a litmus test for the Aquino administration as well as the Courts. The almost universal perception is that Philippine justice is broken and does not work. Laws are applied inequitably with the wealthy and powerful living almost above the law, while the common "tao" finds himself at the losing end of cases that usually drag on for years.
Obama's Visit a Shot in the Arm for a Struggling Ally
After essentially showing the American Military the door in the early '90s, Filipinos have of late come to the realization that they need their "Uncle Sam" more than they thought they did. And back then the United States was also more than happy to oblige as their Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission had been closing down hundreds of military installations all across the USA.