Tag: GlobalBalita

For the People, By the People

Tick tock! Tick tock! Tick tock!

As our esteemed Perry Diaz of GlobalBalita.Com said below, the Philippine presidential (& vice presidential) election is now less than a year from happening.  And yet voters are still none the wiser who would be running and who should be elected for the highest positions in the land.

No one really has shown exemplary apptitude and total dedication in serving the country and its people with intelligence and savvy during the course of P-Noy’s term(s).  We were only made aware of this situation during typhoon Haiyan’s onslaught of Cebu & Tacloban.  It was globally reported the ineffectual governmental handling of the search and rescue. It was at this time that the word ‘disaster’ really lived up to its true and full meaning!

The politicking is self-serving, lucklustre, downright ineffectual due to lack of experience or corrupt.

The machination that goes on behind the scene also adds to the confusion of the masses and to the politicians themselves.  The unfortunate result of this confusion will bring out the worst in everyone!

To the voters and electors:  YOU GET THE GOVERNMENT YOU DESERVE!

Stigma of corruption

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Jojo-Binay-worried-faceWith less than a year to the 2016 presidential elections, the presidential musical chairs game has started in earnest. And there are several games going all at once by groups called political parties or “coalitions.”

To start with, these political parties are not ideological parties like what you’d see in the United States and other countries. The Philippines’ political parties are just vehicles — like the country’s unique colorful jeepneys — where politicians can take a ride hoping that it would bring them to their destinations. However, if the jeepney they’re riding in is too slow or is caught in a traffic jam, they can always transfer to another jeepney.

Having said that, let’s take a look at what’s going on with the various presidential musical chairs games. Of course the biggest game is in President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP). There are many ambitious participants but only one will be anointed. What would happen to those who would be eliminated? In Philippine politics, there are no gracious losers, only sore losers.

Right now, the LP has only Mar Roxas vying for the party’s presidential nomination, the process of which is for P-Noy to “anoint” who the nominee will be. But Roxas, whom P-Noy had appointed as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to give him more “public exposure,” lacks the popular support for a presidential run. Recent surveys show him running behind three or four other potential contenders. With an anemic showing that doesn’t seem to improve his chances of winning, P-Noy was hesitant to throw his support behind Roxas, who had given way to P-Noy in the 2010 presidential election and settled to be P-Noy’s running mate.

P-Noy’s dilemma

Grace-Poe-and-Roxas-EscuderoHowever, Roxas lost the vice presidency to Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, who, in the final weeks of the 2010 elections, overtook Roxas in the vice presidential derby. As it turned out, a hitherto secret organization known as “Noy-Bi” was credited for Binay’s surge in the campaign. It’s interesting to note that “Noy-Bi” was not a LP-sanctioned campaign organization. However, it was organized by relatives, friends, and allies who believed that Binay was a true Aquino supporter whose link to the Aquino family goes back to the People Power days of the late president Cory Aquino.

What the LP sanctioned was the “Noy-Mar” campaign committee, which consisted mainly of LP old hands and stalwarts. And this was supposedly the organization that pushed hard to get Roxas elected. But the resources the Noy-Bi had were far too much than what the Noy-Mar organization had. With a campaign chest brimming with contributions from the Aquino and Cojuangco families and their rich allies, Roxas lost to Binay.

In the upcoming 2016 elections, we’d probably see Binay pitted against Roxas again, but this time their contest would move up to the presidential level. However, that would only happen if P-Noy would stick to his promise to support Roxas’ presidential run in 2016. But the problem is Roxas has a ghost of a chance of beating Binay.

Game changer

SWS-survey-June -2015The sudden rise of neophyte Sen. Grace Poe in recent SWS and Pulse of Asia surveys was a game changer. No longer is Binay seen as the unbeatable presidential candidate, the surge in Poe’s polls numbers has toppled Binay from his lofty pedestal, which he had distinctly occupied ever since he won the vice-presidency in 2010.

Seeing Poe’s presidential potential, P-Noy invited her and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero to Malacanang to talk about a “united ticket” that would include Roxas since Grace and Chiz aren’t LP members but Independents. But their bond was so tight that Grace has made it known that if she decided to run for president next year, she’d want Chiz to be her running mate. Chiz said that he’d support Grace in any decision she makes.

What P-Noy has in mind is to have Roxas team up with either Grace or Chiz as his running mate, which means that one of them would be sacrificed for the good of the LP coalition. The problem with this arrangement is what would be the role of the person who is sacrificed? But before we answer that question, we should first ask if Grace or Chiz were willing to run for vice president under an LP “united ticket”?

Although Grace hadn’t decided yet whether she’s going to run for president or not, she had taken herself out of the vice-presidential race next year, saying that if she’s going to run for a higher office, it might as well be the presidency.

In the case of Chiz, who has been high on the surveys for vice president, it’s not known if he was willing to be somebody’s running mate other than Grace. Needless to say, he has to make his decision whether to run for president, which is unlikely, or vice president. He could run as Binay’s running mate since the two have good relationship in the past. In 2010, Chiz was one of the leaders of the “Noy-Bi” group, a fact that could dampen any attempt to pair him up as Roxas’ running mate.

Binay-nooseIf Chiz accepts an offer to team up with Binay, they might have the right chemistry to run a good campaign. With Binay having all money to spend in the campaign and Chiz tapping the Filipino taipans’bottomless money pits, they could be a formidable team. However, with Binay’s corruption and plunder cases hanging over his head and the strong resentment against China right now, a Binay-Chiz tandem might not be the way to go. But Chiz has the flexibility to team up with anybody because he, like Grace, is an Independent. In the case of Binay, nobody is willing to run as his running mate. Has the stigma of corruption finally found its mark on Binay?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

Juan Ponce Enrile – In Profile

Being regionalist is a Filipino thing.  My forefathers were from the Ilocos region and as such I should be able to relate to Enrile, him being an Ilocano as well, I should feel for him even a little bit, but I don’t.  I have never liked the man.

As far as I am concerned, he deserves all he gets and more.  If there is any justice in the Philippines, Enrile should be given a one way ticket to jail.  Lock him up and throw away the key!

JPJhermes

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 Juan Ponce Enrile – In Profile

The fall of a Titan

January 6, 2014 | FeaturedOpinionPerryScope

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Juan-Ponce-Enrile.3After half-century of political life, erstwhile Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile stepped down from the pinnacle of power in June 2013, a role that he had performed with calculated planning and precise execution. His adroit balancing act during the impeachment trial of then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona was the epitome of his political career.

Enrile began his public life as then-Senate President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ personal lawyer in 1964. When Marcos was elected President in 1965, he appointed Enrile – who had become part of his inner circle – in various capacities: Undersecretary/Acting Secretary of Finance, Acting Insurance Commissioner, Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Secretary of the Department of National Defense.

In 1971, he resigned as National Defense Secretary, after serving for only a year, to run for a Senate seat. He lost in his first electoral try. Marcos re-appointed him as National Defense Secretary in 1972.

On September 21, 1972, Enrile survived an alleged assassination by communist insurgents as he was riding in his car. Marcos declared martial law citing the ambush attack on Enrile. In 1973, Enrile became Minister of Defense under a modified parliamentary system, one of the most — if not the most — powerful positions under the Marcos martial rule.

Martial Law

Ferdinand-Marcos.4

As one of the 12 architects of martial law, Marcos presented Enrile and the others with a gold Rolex watch each. Hence, they came to be known as the “Rolex 12.” Enrile’s role was crucial because as it turned out the ambush on him was a fake. It was stage-managed to give Marcos a justification to declare martial law.

The turning point in Enrile’s relationship with Marcos came in the early 1980s when Marcos changed the chain of command in the armed forces. Enrile was no longer in the loop! The new chain of command was from Marcos, as the Commander-in-Chief, straight to the Chief of Staff, Gen. Fabian Ver, who was a cousin of Marcos. Enrile swallowed his pride and stayed on as a powerless Defense Secretary.

After Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was assassinated on August 21, 1983, Enrile made his move: he secretly aligned himself with the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), which was headed then by his Aide-de-Camp Lt. Col. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan.

In February 1986, Enrile with support from RAM and the “Cagayan 300,” a shadowy militia – or private army — purportedly organized by Enrile, launched a coup d’état against Marcos. It was also rumored that Enrile got the support of the CIA (Source: “The Gold Warrior” by Sterling Seagrave)

Gen. Fidel V. Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile during the EDSA People Power Revolution.

Gen. Fidel V. Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile during the EDSA People Power Revolution.

However, the day before the launching of the coup d’état, Ver discovered the plot and alerted Marcos. Marcos ordered the arrest of Enrile and then-Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos who was also a cousin of Marcos and also one of the “Rolex 12.” Enrile, Ramos, and their supporters barricaded themselves at Fort Aguinaldo. When word went out that a revolt was in progress, the people rallied around them, which sparked a popular citizens’ revolt that came to be known as the People Power Revolution. Enrile and Ramos were acknowledged as heroes of the revolution.

But fate wasn’t so kind to Enrile. For the second time, the presidency eluded him. Ninoy’s widow, Cory Aquino, was swept to the top by the masa. Enrile settled for the same post that he held under Marcos, Secretary of Defense. But he didn’t stay too long. He was forced to resign in November 1986 after a few months on the job. Cory probably thought that if Enrile rebelled against Marcos, he could do the same to her. Ramos took over the Defense post.

Since then Marcos loyalists and Honasan’s “RAM boys” who were unhappy with Cory’s leadership launched six successive coup d’états. Due to Enrile’s closeness to Honasan, he was believed to have supported the failed rebellions.

Political moves

In 1987, Enrile ran and won a Senate seat. In 1992, he ran and won a congressional seat representing his bailiwick, the First District of Cagayan. In 1995, he entered the Senate race again and won a seat as an Independent.

In 1998, he tried to reach the presidency for the third time. He ran as an independent candidate against then-Vice President Joseph “Erap” Estrada. But Erap was unbeatable.

Enrile votes "No" to opening second bank envelope.

Enrile votes “No” to opening second bank envelope.

During the impeachment trial of Erap in 2001, Enrile was one of those who voted against opening the controversial “second bank envelope.” That vote triggered the Second EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted Erap.

In May 2001, Enrile ran for reelection to his Senate seat and lost. In 2004, he made a comeback and regained his old Senate seat. In 2008, he was elected by his peers to serve as Senate President. He was reelected in 2010.

In 2012, he reached the high mark of his political life when he presided over the Senate impeachment trial of then-Chief Justice Renato Corona. He led a group of seven senators who pledged to vote as one bloc. The group met on the night before the judgment day to decide for acquittal or conviction. Enrile presided over the group discussion and he advocated for conviction to which the group concurred.

Had the group voted for acquittal, Corona would have been absolved of the charges. Once again, Enrile took a step to change the course of Philippine history.

In an attempt to keep a Senate seat for the Enrile family, his only son, then-Rep. Jack Enrile, ran for the Senate in 2013. He was ahead in the polls initially but his ratings fell down after stories of his involvement in the shooting deaths of several individuals surfaced in the news and social media. He lost the election.

Miriam’s bombshell

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago

On December 4, 2013, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago delivered a privilege speech attacking Enrile for a variety of crimes including plunder, illegal gambling, illegal logging, and illegal importation at the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). Miriam also accused Enrile of masterminding the pork barrel scam.

In her speech, she requested Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to investigate the thousands of deaths and forced disappearances during the Martial Law era wherein Enrile served as Defense Minister from 1972 to 1986.

Within days of Miriam’s scathing attack against Enrile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) formed a seven-member special joint task force to investigate Miriam’s allegations against Enrile.

Reflections

Juan-Ponce-Enrile.11Enrile finally reached the end of the road. But the question remains: Is he going to beat the rap? If not, he’d probably end up in a kubol (cottage) for the rich on the grounds of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinglupa City. However, if he beats the rap, he’d probably spend the rest of his life in the comfort of a white mansion on an idyllic island off the coast of Cagayan, his birthplace.

Indeed, life has been good to Enrile who was supposedly born out of wedlock to a poor woman fathered by renowned and married lawyer. Reunited with his father in his early years, he pursued a career in law, which opened a lot of doors to the corridor of power. He occupied high positions in government but the one that he wanted most – the presidency — eluded him.

But whatever fate bestows upon him at the sunset of his long and colorful life, he can reflect and say, “It was good; not bad at all.” Indeed.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PNoy Governmet and Money Management @ 360°

Below is a very interesting article from Perry Diaz of PerryScope at GlobalBalita.

It tells of PNoy’s off the radar personal control of trillion of funds which he authorised and can dispose off anyway he wants without come back of censures from any agency of the Government. The fund is a smack of totalitarianism. 😉

Without an in force freedom of information (FOI), we, the public, cannot know what he intends to spend the monies on. He could be giving these to his kins and cronies, who plotted, cajoled and prodded to put him in power? He could be planning to make a lasting legacy of his family by creating a supedooper monument which could be a monumental mistake as we are now finding out that Ninoy Sr legacy starts and ends with the renaming of the Manila International Airport. Ninoy’s death looks like to end in vain, and sadly by his very own son’s making!!! 🙁

Perhaps it was the wrong Aquinos who have been in the presidential seat. Probably the right one is in our faces all along. Perhaps she is the one……..

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Gran padrino de los ladrones

November 12, 2013 | OpinionPerryScope

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Patronage-politicsIf there is one trait that has remained the bedrock of colonial mentality long after Spain soldLas Islas Filipinas to Uncle Sam for $20 million over a century ago, it is the time-tested “padrino system” that we inherited from the Spanish colonizers. It is ingrained in the Filipino psyche affecting his way of life including the way he deals with others.

Indeed, in today’s Filipino body politic, business and politics are so intertwined in our lives that you cannot do business without politics and vice versa. We conclude a business transaction if it is good politics and we seal a political alliance if it is good business.

As someone once said, “In America the people get rich to enter politics; in the Philippines people enter politics to get rich.” And the way – only way! — to getting rich in office is through corruption.

It is not surprising then that corruption seems to be the standard of governance. Government officials are expected – nay, required! – to adhere to an unwritten “code of conduct.” And for those who don’t adhere to this code, the punishment could be as severe as putting to an end their political future and a closure to profitable corrupt practices.

The most profitable source of ill-gotten wealth among the elected members of Congress is the pork barrel system. In the guise of helping their poor constituents and improving the infrastructure of their congressional districts, pork barrel allocations — or what is known officially as Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) – are released to projects identified and endorsed by the lawmakers receiving the pork barrel allocations.

The beauty of PDAF is that it was designed to release pork barrel funds directly to the vendor or provider of goods through certified and legitimately operating non-government organizations (NGOs) who serve as the implementing agencies. These NGOs are non-profit entities. They are responsible for ensuring that the pork barrel funds are used according to plan. The endorsing lawmakers are not supposed to receive any compensation for their endorsement. In essence, pork barrel funds are exclusively for the benefit of the people.

Pork barrel scam

Better days: Janet Lim-Napoles and President Aquino

(Better days: Janet Lim-Napoles and President Aquino)

But as it turns out, large chunks of the pork barrel funds disbursed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under the Office of the President did not go where they were intended to but went to the pockets of the endorsing lawmakers through a scam operated by Janet Lim-Napoles. This netted her P10 billion in the past 10 years. But the lion’s share went to the lawmakers who were alleged to have received kickbacks amounting from 50% to 70% of the funds diverted from the PDAF.

Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.

(Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.)

However, this could just be the tip of the iceberg. Ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) has produced evidence of massive corruption involving a large number of lawmakers. The first batch of lawmakers charged with plunder and malversation of public funds were Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. But more charges will be filed against other lawmakers and government officials. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima announced that the DOJ is working on the second and third batches of lawmakers to be brought to court.

Patronage politics

Late President Cory Aquino and son President Benigno "P-Noy" Aquino III

(Late President Cory Aquino and son President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III)

Never in the history of the Philippines had these many lawmakers and government officials involved in raiding the PDAF since it was created under another name during the time of the late president Cory Aquino, President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III’s mother.

In 1989 Cory created the Mindanao Development Fund (MDF) and the Visayas Development Fund (VDF), with an appropriation of P480 million and P240 million, respectively. In 1990, the MDF and VDF were combined and expanded nationwide as the Countrywide Development Fund (CDF) with an appropriation of P2.3 billion. In 2000, the CDF was renamed “PDAF.”

Since then, the PDAF has taken a quantum leap under P-Noy’s administration. DBM records show that in 2010, Gloria’s last budget year, PDAF was P6.9 billion. The following year, with P-Noy having full control of the budget, he could have pared down the PDAF allocations. But instead, PDAF allocations increased substantially. In 2011, PDAF more than tripled from 2010’s P6.9 billion to P22.3 billion! In 2012, it was increased to P24.89 billion. It was for the same amount in 2013. But in 2014, PDAF increased to a record P27 billion; however, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping further releases of PDAF allocations and the President’s Social Fund (PSF). Also covered in the TRO are releases from the Malampaya Fund. The TRO was in response to three citizens’ petitions that asked the court to declare as unconstitutional the lump sum allocations under the PDAF and the PSF, and the misuse of the Malampaya Fund.

“Pork Barrel King”

DBM Secretary Florencio Abad and President Aquino

The PDAF is peanuts compared to the presidential discretionary fund, which has grown to P1.3 trillion in 2014. Many constitutionalists claim that this humongous fund is in all appearances a pork barrel. However, amidst a growing public outcry against the presidential pork barrel, P-Noy – dubbed “Pork Barrel King” — has bullheadedly insisted that it is not pork barrel.

But nothing is more offensive than P-Noy’s newly crafted Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a new pork barrel program that was created without congressional authority. DAP was designed to use “savings” from budgeted items, which was legal only if the savings were realized from under-spent budgeted programs or projects at the end of a fiscal year. Legal experts opined that it becomes constitutionally illegal when “savings” result from arbitrarily ending or under-spending a program or project before the fiscal year ended. It’s interesting to note that DAP is created, controlled, and disbursed exclusively by the President. And the kicker is: it’s unaudited!

Indeed, P-Noy has pulled off a coup d’etat against Congress, which effectively grabbed the “power of the purse” from the lawmakers thus making P-Noy a “fiscal dictator” with absolute authority over a large amount of the people’s money.

Interestingly, the DAP in 2012 accumulated about P700 billion for P-Noy to use any which way he wants. Now that is absolute power, which reminds us of Lord Acton’s famous mantra that he expressed in 1887: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

“The buck stops here”

Finger-pointing (Credit: Bulatlat)

Finger-pointing (Credit: Bulatlat)

In the final analysis, one of the causes of the pork barrel scandal was P-Noy’s DAP, which is given to lawmakers at the sole discretion of P-Noy and without the requisite checks and balances to prevent corruption at the highest levels of government. By not putting them in place, P-Noy must be held responsible for the corruption in his administration.

The late U.S. President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that says, “The buck stops here.” This saying was derived from the expression “pass the buck.” It means passing responsibility on to someone else when something goes wrong, which is what P-Noy does all the time.

Recently, P-Noy addressed the people on national television and declared: “I am not a thief!” I believe him. He said that the thieves are the lawmakers who stole from their pork barrel allocations. Yes, these are the thieves who benefitted from P-Noy’s generosity. That makes P-Noy the godfather of thieves, the “Gran padrino de los ladrones.”

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

Legal Thievery @ The Philippines’ GSIS

Hahaha

Why am I not surprised?
They are all at it. Every nook and cranny infected with corruption. They are like woodworms. They are gnawing and burrowing until the treasury crumbles into a sorry mess.

No wonder, there is no money for the Filipino citizens, there is no money for stranded OFWs, no money for crumbling infrastructure, no money for filthy Pasig River, no money to combat incessant flooding, no money for schools, no money for hospitals, no money, no money, no money!!!

BUT there is a lot of money for the top echelon, which are the Government officials. They are like pigs swilling, grinding, cavorting in a bed of billions/trillions of pesos whilst now and again they let slop the barya (pennies) to Madlang people.

Will anything be done to tell Vergara to stop being such a greedy bastard? Nope!

Most Filipinos have gotten used to corruption as a way of life, they are now beaten and could not care less and ready, willing and keen to sell their votes for as little as P50 which is an equivalent of $1 or £0.90.

What about this? We should fight corruption with equal measure of corruption. We should pool our money together and buy votes to ensure that an honest individual get to sit in the presidential seat for 2016. Good idea, huh?!!! 😉

The only problem is that this honest, intelligent, patriotic Filipino is yet to be born! LOL

JPJhermes

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Sonny Coloma
October 29, 2013 | Opinion

By Rey O. Arcilla
Malaya

‘The members of the Malacañang Press Corps are quite happy that Herminio “Sonny” Coloma has been tasked by Noynoy himself to be the chief presidential mouthpiece.’

Sonny Coloma
LAST July, I wrote:

“Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is due to receive a raise of 5 percent in her government grant next year.

“Here, one fellow who does not need a raise in his remuneration next year is GSIS president/general manager Robert Vergara who turned out to be the highest paid government functionary in our midst, including President Noynoy Aquino himself.

“As reported recently by Rappler, according to the Commission on Audit (COA) Vergara last year received P16.36 million in salaries and allowances (almost double the P8.32 million he received in 2011) broken down as follows:
P9.65 million in basic salaries for 15 months; P4.97 million in ‘bonuses, incentives and benefits’; P1.684 million allowances; P7,500 personal economic relief allowance (he needs this?!), and P51,000 listed only as ‘Others’.

“As a former member of the GSIS, I find that amount obscene and unconscionable. I wonder if Vergara knows how much the average government employee is paid.

“I understand this fellow was a hotshot investment banker based in Hong Kong before he was tapped for the GSIS job by President Noynoy Aquino. Could he possibly be making more money now than he used to?

(Or is he simply trying to make as much money, if not more, while in government service? If that is his main purpose, he should have stayed in the private sector. That way he wouldn’t be fleecing poor government employees of what is due them in terms of earnings from their contribution.)

“This is also the same fellow who finds it convenient to simply “dedma” (ignore) another finding by COA that has been raised, and continues to be raised, in this space regarding the irregular treatment of remittances of premiums paid by poor government employees. (Please see one of the “Reminders” below.)

“Please take note, Mr. President. Your bosses want to know what the real score is on this fellow’s horrendous pay. As a GSIS member yourself, perhaps you should be interested to find out too.”

Last week, it was reported that members of the GSIS Board of Trustees received in 2012 P1.25 million (some say P1.4 million) bonus each, including Vergara who is known as “Pretty Boy”, derisively I’m told, among GSIS staffers.

But, alas, someone pointed out that Pretty Boy is also in the PhilHealth board of directors whose members, allegedly, also received about P1 million bonus each.

I checked the PhilHealth website and true enough, Vergara is listed, as of last week, as one of its directors together with the following: Health Secretary Enrique Ona as chairman, DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman, DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas, DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz (an SSS board member too), Civil Service head Francisco Duque, Alexander Padilla, Juan Flavier, Alexander Ayco, Francisco Lopez, SSS president Emilio De Quiros, Jane Sta. Ana and Marlon Manuel.

Question is did cabinet secretaries Ona, Soliman, Roxas and Baldoz get bonuses as well? (I assume the rest did.) Isn’t there a law that prohibits that?

***

Earlier this month, it was reported that aside from the GSIS and the SSS, 18 other government-controlled and –owned corporations (GOCCs) also granted fat bonuses to their directors, all courtesy of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG).

The GCG, created under Republic Act 10149, was supposed to put a stop to the multimillion-peso bonuses and extravagant benefits top executives and board members of GOCCs gave themselves during the Arroyo regime. It has the power to review and reorganize the corporations, as well as fix the salaries, allowances, per diems and bonuses of board members.

Unfortunately, it has been doing the exact opposite of its mandate. Its spokesman issued a moronic justification of its decisions to the effect that GOCCs directors should receive compensation at par with the private sector. The problem is the bonuses and other perks granted to these directors far exceed those received by directors in the private sector and with much less work and responsibility.

Has it not occurred to these conscienceless individuals that the average stakeholder in the GSIS, SSS and PhilHealth does not earn, on the average, in five to seven long years what they get in yearly bonuses alone?! Geeez, may puso at kaluluwa kaya ang mga nilalang na ito?!

Does not the useless GCG realize that? Incidentally, the GCG commissioners should also make public what they get in per diems, bonuses and other perks.

***

The members of the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC) are quite happy that Herminio “Sonny” Coloma has been tasked by Noynoy himself to be the chief presidential mouthpiece.

I can appreciate the sentiments of the MPC members. The few times that I’ve seen Coloma briefing them, he was not only articulate but also direct to the point. You could see that he also knows whereof he speaks. He does not obfuscate, unlike his three other colleagues (Edwin Lacierda, his deputy Abigail Valte and Ricky Carandang) who more often than not do not realize the implications or inaccuracies of what they are saying.

I do not even have to extend best wishes to Coloma. I know he will do well, better at least than his predecessor.

***

About four or five months ago, I wrote about Foreign Secretary Albert “Amboy” del Rosario having been reportedly instructed by Nonoy to get rid of future DFA ex-undersecretary for administration Rafael Seguis. But instead of booting out Seguis as instructed, Del Rosario offered him, reportedly for one year, his old post as undersecretary for Special Concerns now being held by former ambassador Chito Brillantes who, as it turned out, never wanted to give up the job in the first place. In any case, Seguis reportedly turned down Del Rosario’s offer and opted to retire.

In the meantime, Del Rosario submitted to Malacañang his recommendation for former ambassador Linglingay Lacanlale as replacement for Seguis.

However, for reasons known only to him, Seguis later changed his mind and accepted Del Rosario’s offer. He had the recommendation for Lacanlale retrieved from Malacañang. He then prepared another memorandum, which Del Rosario signed, recommending him as undersecretary for Special Concerns not for one year but co-terminus with the President, and Lacanlale to replace him as undersecretary for administration.

The memorandum is now reportedly sitting in the office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa who allegedly does not want to submit it for Noynoy’s signature, presumably on account of representations made by Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes, on behalf of his brother Chito, whom Seguis would be displacing.

So now, the status quo remains, to the consternation and dismay of DFA staffers, not to mention the disgust and disappointment of Lacanlale and Brillantes.

DFA insiders think that allowing the status quo to persist weakens Del Rosario’s leadership and the confidence of DFA personnel in his ability to run the Department. They also feel that the only thing he could do now is to take the matter up directly with Noynoy. I am told Ochoa won’t even give him the time of day.

Who will Noynoy sustain, Del Rosario or Comelec chair Brillantes? Let’s watch what happens.

***

France and Germany are up in arms against the US for allegedly spying on them.

Germany claims that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone might have been monitored. France says the US National Security Agency intercepted more than 70 million phone calls in France over a 30-day period.

Even before the latest French and German allegations, CNN said that other nations had expressed concerns about alleged US spying after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information about American surveillance programs.

I have written about this matter in my column and I wondered what our government was doing after Snowden made his revelations. I am still wondering.

In the meantime, “Amboy” del Rosario had already welcomed the appointment of the new US ambassador-designate to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, even before the latter has been confirmed by the US Senate.

Goldberg is a confirmed intelligence expert who now heads the Intelligence bureau of the US State Department and who was once ambassador to Bolivia. He was kicked out of that country for allegedly spying on the Bolivian government.

Del Rosario’s comment about Goldberg’s appointment seems premature. Are we not supposed to vet his credentials and background first before giving him his agreement? Are we not at all wary of his known background?

For once, let us show some independence when it comes to dealing with the US. Even loyal canines sometimes do – disobey or defy their masters, I mean.

But I guess that would be too much to expect of Del Rosario who is/was allegedly an American citizen or a green card holder at least. Having lived and studied from the elementary grades to college level in the US, the man does not even understand or speak Pilipino. How embarrassing!

Question is what does that make of Noynoy who appointed Del Rosario? An Amboy too? It certainly looks like it at times. I hope I’m wrong.

***

Reminders (for Noynoy):

1) Filing of charges against officials of the National Food Authority (NFA) during Arroyo’s illegitimate regime. Noynoy himself said on several occasions that there is documentary evidence to prove the venalities in the past in that agency.

2) Investigation of reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia and ordering his successor, Robert Vergara, to file the proper charges, if warranted, against the former.

Noynoy should also order Vergara to report to him on COA’s findings that:

(a) He received the obscenely excessive compensation of P16.36 million last year making him the highest paid government servant and;

(b) That, as of four or five months ago, at least P4.13 billion in contributions and loan payments made by 12 government offices to the GSIS had not been credited to the offices as of Dec. 31, 2011.

COA also said the amount of unrecorded remittances could go much higher because only 36 agencies have so far responded out of the 186 that were sent confirmation requests by government auditors. Of the 36, 27 confirmed “discrepancies” in their premium and loan payments ledgers when compared with those of the GSIS.

There are three questions being raised when remittances, or parts thereof, of government agencies are not recorded by the GSIS on time: a) Where are these huge sums “parked” in the meantime?; b) Do they earn interest?; and c) To where (whom?) does the interest, if any, go?

3) Facilitating the investigation of rampant corruption in the military and police establishments.

4) Expeditious action by the AFP on the case of Jonas Burgos.

Today is the 184th day of the seventh year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.

The Justice Department has dismissed the charges against several of those accused in Jonas’ disappearance. Cleared were former AFP chiefs of staff Hermogenes Esperon and Alexander Yano, ex-PNP chief Avelino Razon, retired Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Brig. Gen. Eduardo Ano and Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano. Only Maj. Harry Baliaga will be charged for arbitrary detention, murder and obstruction of justice on the disappearance of Jonas.

“Pwedeng kasuhan ang kamay ng krimen pero ang utak ay hindi?” rued Lorena Santos, daughter of a desaparecido like Jonas.

Mr. President, is this what you meant when you called for a “focused, dedicated and exhaustive” probe of what really happened to Jonas?

***

From an internet friend:

One day, a man goes to a pet shop to buy a parrot. The assistant takes the man to the parrot section and asks the man to choose one. The man asks, ‘’How much is the yellow one?’’

The assistant says, ‘’$2000.’’ The man is shocked and asks the assistant why it’s so expensive. The assistant explains, ‘’This parrot is a very special one. He knows typing and can type really fast.’’

‘’What about the green one?’’ the man asks.

The assistant says, ‘’He costs $5000 because he knows typing and can answer incoming telephone calls and takes notes.’’

‘’What about the red one?’’ the man asks.

The assistant says, ‘’That one’s $10,000.’’

The man says, ‘’What does HE do?’’

The assistant says, ‘’I don’t know, but the other two call him boss.’’

***

Email: roacrosshairs@outlook.com
– See more at: http://malaya.com.ph/business-news/opinion/sonny-coloma#sthash.ssEbQ2X1.dpuf

Porcines Turn to Swines

The Pork barreled Philippines have been nurturing porcine creatures who have turned into swines.  And yet hardly anything is being done to cull these animals that stalk the corridors of power and replace with honest humans (do they exist?!!!)

There is a quote that comes to mind about the absolute greed of these people in power in the Philippines.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
-Lord Acton

Porcines Turn to Swines

The irony about the quote is that the men in the Philippine Government who are absolutely corrupt are not even great men.  They seemed to have gone into politics with one and only one purpose, to get rich quickly and live the life of a power-mongering freeloaders.  They have the open cheque books of the Government.

It seems that the Pork Barrel scandal is just the tip of the iceberg.  It is minute compared to what really goes on and what money exchange hands within the Government, between husbands and wives in politics, as an example.  Totally shocking.  No wonder, Philippines did not jump into the application of the Freedom of Information; there were just too much dirt and salacious goings-on within the walls of the PNoy Government to be found.

The Napoles scandal has turned into a mini extravaganza.  Instead of Janet being cupped and thrown into jail in total humiliation and her monies and properties confiscated, she was hailed as a VIP not only by her cohorts in the Government but by PNoy himself and his chief of staff.  All of them seem to know Janet Napoles quite intimately.  Janet dictates her terms.

Shame on the lot of you.

Andres Bonifacio, Jose Rizal, Apolinario Mabini, Gabriela Silang and many more heroes, the known and the faceless, did not die for freedom so Filipinos are ruled by the most greedy, ineffective officials like you.

JPJhermes, Nagpapatrol

…………………………………………..

Drilon, Abads slapped with plunder on DAP funds vs Corona

October 18, 2013 | Politics & Government

By Arlie O. Calalo
The Daily Tribune

TIME OF RECKONING FOR NOY’S LP ALLIES

Franklin-Drilon.3Karma appears to be swooping down on Senate President Franklin Drilon and Department of Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, as well as his wife, incumbent Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad, as they now face numerous plunder complaints filed against them again.

The latest batch of plunder complaints against them was filed yesterday before the Office of the Ombudsman, coming from a former Iloilo congressman and director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

Former Rep. Augusto Syjuco, in his plunder complaint filed before the anti-graft office, claimed that Drilon had used government funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to allegedly bribe senators to vote for a guilty verdict during the impeachment trial of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

The plunder suit against the Abads and Drilon also concerns the alleged questionable release of funds for a project in the province.

Syjuco claimed that Senate president Drilon and the Abads had violated provisions under the anti-graft laws and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

As a result, he urged Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to immediately order their preventive suspension and “conduct the necessary action on the matter leading to the immediate filing of criminal and administrative cases against them.”

It is, however, doubted that the plunder complaints against Drilon and the Abads will ever reach the Sandiganbayan, as they are close allies of President Aquino.

Philippines is an appointee of Aquino and does not have a track record of elevating cases against the allies of the President and focuses instead on complaints against the foes of Aquino, immediately finding “probable cause” against them and elevates the same to the anti-graft court, despite a lack of strong evidence.

On the first complaint, Syjuco alleged that Drilon gave P70-million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for the Iloilo Esplanade I project.

The complaint read: “Adding altogether the construction of the retaining wall, slope protection, landscaping and amenities to complete the Iloilo Esplanade I is overwhelmingly incredible. This P70-million Iloilo Esplanade I project is absolutely a windfall to the pocket of respondent (Sen.) Franklin Magtunao Drilon.”
While the Esplanade 1 project had been furnished and equipped with lighting, interlocking block pavement and landscaped with ornamental plants, another P13.5 million from the senator’s PDAF was allocated for its improvement on August 2012, the ex-Tesda chief said.

“Obviously, the hasty allocation of another P13-million from the PDAF of respondent Drilon under the guise of the esplanade project is a scam to fund a non-existent project,” Syjuco said.

In a separate complaint, Syjuco said Drilon together with the Abads should be held criminally liable for the questionable release of P752.5 million to Abad’s wife, Rep. Henedina Razon-Abad, which was 10 times her regular pork barrel allocation for the lone district of Batanes.

The former Iloilo lawmaker claimed that the Budget chief provided for the release of about P1-billion which Drilon allegedly used to bribe the senators during the impeachment trial of Corona.

The complaint further read: “He (Drilon) used government funds through DAP to bribe, induce and corrupt lawmakers who, by reason of their office, can ensure the guilty verdict in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona and such other crimes or offenses as may be warranted in the premises.”

This is not the first time Drilon was slapped with plunder charges.

In September, Syjuco filed a plunder complaint against him for alleged irregularities in the construction of the Iloilo Hall of Justice in 1992.

Earlier this month, he filed another plunder complaint against Drilon for an allegedly overpriced walkway near the Iloilo River.

In the two separate complaints, Syjuco asked the Ombudsman to prosecute the three respondents for plunder, violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. He also seeks their preventive suspension.

Drilon was accused by Syjuco for approving the release of P752.5-million to Mrs. Abad.

The former Tesda chief said it was released upon the approval of Drilon who was then chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Sometime last month, Drilon was charged with plunder, dishonesty, malversation of public funds and grave misconduct by Drilon’s former consultant, Manuel Mejorada for allegedly pocketing P60.5 million from the anomalous purchase of a 16.2-hectare property in Iloilo seven years ago and for allegedly receiving kickbacks from the 1992 construction of the Iloilo Justice Hall wherein substandard materials and equipment were used to build a structurally weak and dangerous building, the complaint stated.

Reacting to the reports on the plunder complaint by his former consultant, Drilon denied all the allegations, saying there is no truth to these charges and that “They manipulated the facts.”

In accusing Drilon of plunder, Mejorada alleged that the senator has knowledge in the overpriced purchase of land for a relocation site in Iloilo City using his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
In the case of the three storey Iloilo Hall of Justice Drilon was accused of having used his PDAF, or pork barrel in the alleged anomalous and poor construction of the three-story Iloilo Hall of Justice using P200 million of his pork in 1991, at a time he was still the Justice Secretary of the late President Corazon Aquino.

But Syjuco who lodged the criminal complaint described the offense as a continuing crime, as Drilon is allegedly trying to hide the building’s structural defects by spending another P50 million for repairs using his PDAF allocations for 2012.

In a 28-page complaint, Syjuco said the Iloilo Hall of Justice was erected by contractor Kanlaon Builders Inc., which merely rented its license, without the conduct of a public bidding.

“During the one-year construction of the Iloilo Hall of Justice, it was marred by numerous irregularities, inconsistencies and anomalies. The apex to these irregularities, inconsistencies and anomalies resulted in the resignation of architect Fred Jurilla and project engineer Joven Dechangco Jr. before the project was completed, mainly for reasons that the contractor and sub-contractors repeatedly and manifestly deviated from following the design and specified construction methods despite frequent objections made by the designer,” Syjuco said.

“Among the violations observed by Jurilla was the use of smaller reinforcing bars. He questioned the post tensioning process used by the contractor which has undermined the structural integrity of the Iloilo Hall of Justice, specifically the post tensioning works of the building’s foundations and beam supports,” he noted.
“The contractor used a one-bagger concrete mixer during the installation of the girders and beams which are linked to the building’s foundations. The use of a one-bagger mixer has affected the consistency and uniformity in the mixing and pouring of concrete, which in turn compromised the integrity of the foundation and supports. The rough finish of the beams is also an indication that the concrete was poured in different times and mixes,” Syjuco added.

Syjuco also said that proof of the questionable structural integrity and defects of the building were revealed after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake hit Iloilo in February 2012.

He claimed that no other building was badly damaged except for the Iloilo Hall of Justice, which was why the regional trial courts (RTC), offices of the clerks of court, Philippine Mediation Center, Iloilo Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, Iloilo City Prosecutor’s Office, and the Public Attorney’s Office decided to vacate the premises.

He alleged that Drilon is now trying to fix the structure by spending another P50 million of his PDAF for repair, strengthening and bar retrofitting despite objections by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Iloilo Chapter, the New Hall of Justice Movement, judges, stakeholders and the public in general, reports at that time of plunder complaints filed said.

Meanwhile, another controversy appears to be hounding Drilon as there are questions on why he was in South Korea with Aquino during the trip.

The Palace mouthpieces were quick to defend Drilon, with Deputy presidential speaker Abigail Valte claiming that Drilon went to Korea with the President to give his thanks to that country for the Iloilo river project.
Drilon was part of the official delegation to the state visit in South Korea because he would like to personally extend his appreciation for a river project funded by the Korean government in his hometown, the Palace official on Friday said.

Drilon was the proponent of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project in Iloilo which has a counterpart funding from the Korean government.

“As a sign of appreciation, Senator Drilon became part of the delegation to convey the appreciation, the help that was extended,” Valte said in a media briefing.

Critics have questioned Drilon’s presence in the delegation for the two-day trip, as it is rare that a lawmaker has joined Aquino’s state visits.

In 2011, the Philippine and Korean governments signed a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of the P13-billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project-Stage II, a priority irrigation project of the Department of Agriculture.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/drilon-abads-slapped-with-plunder-on-dap-funds-vs-corona

End of Pork Barrel is Nigh?

It seems to me that PNoy has forgotten who he works for.  Filipinos are screaming to end the majorly scandalous and heavily abused pork barrel (PDAF) but he seems deaf to all the pleas.  PNoy is dragging his feet, obviously heavily held on to by his cohorts in both the Upper and Lower courts of Congress.

PNoy, be the President that you were lucky enough to be accoladed by the Filipino voters.

I think PNoy should present the list of donors to his election campaign.  We would know then who were those people PNoy owes something.  I bet they all hold governmental positions now or using the Government for their own self interests.  What a corruption!!!

Is the end of pork barrel near?

October 14, 2013 | Featured, Opinion, PerryScope

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Abolish-Pork-10-4-13The Philippine Supreme Court, in a move that caught administration officials by surprise, issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) last September 10 stopping further releases of funds from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the President’s Social Fund (PSF). Also covered in the TRO are releases from the Malampaya Fund, which President Benigno Aquino III had used in projects that had nothing to do with “financing energy resource development and exploitation programs and projects of the government” as required by law.

The TRO was in response to three citizens’ petitions that asked the court to declare as unconstitutional the lump sum allocations under the PDAF and the PSF, and the misuse of the Malampaya Fund. The petitioners are former senatorial candidates Greco Belgica and Samson Alcantara, and former Marinduque Board Member Pedrito Nepomuceno.

The respondents include Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, Senate President Franklin Drilon, and House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

Mockery of the Constitution

Supreme-Court-7In his petition, Alcantara said: “The pork barrel system allows the perversion of taxation by providing opportunities for the members thereof to gorge themselves in funds collected pursuant to tax legislation they have enacted purportedly for the public good.”

He called the pork barrel system a “mockery” of the constitutional mandate on “accountability, honesty and integrity of public officers.” He said that the President could end up “controlling” the lawmakers because the system allowed him to release or withhold the funds, which is in violation of the constitutional separation of powers.

It’s interesting to note that while the respondents indicated that they would comply with the TRO, Speaker Belmonte raised an issue. “To abolish it 100 percent, to reform it, to do anything with it, it is my position that it’s a political question which under our system of government belongs to Congress,” he told the media.

Unconstitutional provisions

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

But Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio seems to support the petitioners’ arguments. During the hearing for the oral arguments on the petitions last October 8, he said that the PDAF “on its face is unconstitutional” because the President cannot share the power to utilize public funds with the legislative branch. He said that the power to utilize public funds lies solely with the President; therefore, any power-sharing is unconstitutional. He said that the PDAF is “riddled with unconstitutionality.”

Carpio also said that while the Constitution allowed the President to realign savings, he couldn’t delegate that authority to Cabinet secretaries.

Carpio also said that another unconstitutional provision is the power given to Congress to concur with the realignment of funds, and the privilege given to lawmakers to identify their projects. He said that these provisions circumvent the “power of the President to veto.” “It violates the right of the President to veto projects. It destroys the check and balance when it comes to the executive and legislative branches of government,” he said.

There is a groundswell of support for the abolition of the pork barrel system, which many believe is the source of massive corruption. Indeed, a citizens’ movement for the abolition of the pork barrel system is spreading like wildfire.

Another EDSA?

People-Power-Revolution-EDSA-1986An EDSA “people power” revolution might be welcome to the suffering poor. However, oligarchic forces – like those behind EDSA 1 and EDSA 2 — usually lead this kind of revolution, which is actually anti-revolutionary intended to preserve the oligarchy, albeit with a new set of players. But the people are now tired of “people power” revolutions where “change” is nothing more than re-invented slogans and recycled trapos (traditional politicians).

It is therefore in this context that a “judicial interference” is, imperatively, the only instrument for real change. This is because the executive and legislative branches of government have abdicated from their core responsibility of implementing laws that are consistent with not only the letter of the law but, more importantly, the spirit of the law. And what a better time to do it than now!

Speaker Belmonte can continue to argue that the abolition of pork barrel is the prerogative of Congress and that the Supreme Court should stay out of congressional business. But how can the high magistracy of the land stay out of it when there are – right now! — three valid petitions filed before it? Simply put, the Supreme Court may not have any alternative but to rule on the constitutionality of the pork barrel system. After all, its job – and solemn duty – is to make sure that any law enacted by Congress, if challenged, must be within the purview of the Constitution.

To avoid the death knell for the pork barrel system, Congress must act to reform it and to institute controls to prevent anyone – particularly the lawmakers – from raiding the people’s treasury. But wouldn’t this be akin to the Mafia policing itself to prevent the Mafiosi from committing crimes? For this reason, the only branch of government that can institute real reforms to the pork barrel system and avoid its abolition is the Judiciary.

In reforming the pork barrel system, the high court should be cognizant that lawmakers thrive on pork barrel. Indeed, pork barrel is to Philippine lawmakers as ambrosia was to the Greek gods. It’s their food. Deprive them of their food and they’d wither away.

It would not then come as a surprise if the members of Congress – with collaboration from the executive branch – were to lobby the 15 justices of the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of pork barrel. It is a fight not only for their livelihood but also to save their political lives. In other words, it’s all about self-preservation.

End game

DBM Secretary Florencio Abad and President Benigno Aquino

DBM Secretary Florencio Abad and President Benigno Aquino

President Aquino is now at the crossroads of his presidency. Would he heed the wishes of his “boss,” the people, or would he pander to the corrupt political establishment? It shouldn’t be a hard choice to make; however, there were times when “political expediency” had taken precedence over good governance. And by the looks of it, Aquino seems like he is bent on maintaining the status quo, with some “reforms” to keep everybody happy… except the people.

Last October 14, the House of Representatives announced that the P27-billion PDAF would be scrapped from the proposed P2.268-trillion national budget for 2014. But the PDAF and PSF (President’s Social Fund) are just small portions of the President’s P450-billion Special Purpose Funds (SPF). If you add the SPF, the Unprogrammed Funds, and the Funds Under the President’s Control, you’re looking at a huge pork barrel totaling P1.33 trillion! Does it seem like Aquino’s allies in the House are sacrificing the tiny PDAF to preserve the obscenely humongous presidential pork barrel? However, Malacañang insists that these are not pork barrel. What is it then?

Ultimately, the people will be the final arbiter, which brings to mind the question: Is the end of pork barrel near or is it here to stay? A wise man once said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Yes, indeed.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)