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
We’ve all heard the saying “justice delayed is justice denied.” That maxim has been around since time immemorial. In fact the Pirkei Avot (Hebrew for “Ethics of the Fathers”) which dates back to the 1st century B.C. mentions an old rabbi saying that goes: “the sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied." In 1215 A.D. a clause from the Magna Carta similarly declares that “to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."
Okay so she's George Clooney's wife, she's got great looks, a law degree and ambitious enough to make a name for herself apart from that of her superstar husband. Fair enough. So Amal Alamuddin Clooney decides to take on high profile cases of injustice around the world. Even better. But filing a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? What's up with that? Better do your homework Mrs. Clooney. It won't take long for you to realize that Arroyo is getting exactly what she deserves.
Manny Pacquiao Should Not Be Given a Tax Exemption
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has proposed a bill to grant Manny Pacquiao a special tax exemption for the income he will earn from his May 2nd boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pimentel justifies his bill as a "fitting tribute" to the Filipino eight-division world champion adding that "Manny is now part of our history and of world sports history. Let’s give him this tax incentive in recognition to his invaluable efforts to promote boxing and the country around the world."
With Negotiators Like These on Our Team, Who Needs an Opposing Side?
What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project?
Why is the NBI Going After Those Who Uploaded the Sagonoy Video?
According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range.
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano
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.
No More Bangsamoro, Period!
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.