Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Good or bad, political dynasty must be stopped



Good or bad,
political dynasty
must be stopped




By BERTENI "TOTO" CATALUÑA CAUSING
Author of the book entitled "Simplified Libel Law in the Philippines"
President, Hukuman ng Mamamayan Movement, Inc. (HMMI)
President, Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM)


The fight against political dynasty has unwittingly gotten the biggest boost from the anger of the population against Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or the so-called pork barrel.

But this is not enough.  The people have to go on fighting! Else, the evil will triumph.

Remember that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do not enough. So we must exert the very best we could to keep the gains bear more fruits.


THE BEGINNING


Briefly, the cry against pork barrel started in the most unexpected manner. 

A young man named Benhur Luy through his mother sought help from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to rescue him from detention by the powerful silent operator named Janet Lim Napoles. 

After the rescue, Luy executed affidavit that shocked the NBI about a massive, simple but systematic pocketing of all or substantially all of the PDAF for at least one decade.

Inquirer reporter Nancy Carvajal got wind of it and she courageously reported all what Luy spilled out. 

At first, this author felt that most people did not mind the news reports about what could be the biggest thievery of all time involving lawmakers, particularly including the most popular ones.  Many thought it was just another story of corruption that will end up in nothing.


THE STUMBLE


Then, this author stumbled upon the Tumblr account of Jeane Lim Napoles, daughter of Janet Lim Napoles. 

On her account were posted many photos of her showing her in the extraordinarily lavish lifestyles, wearing a set of apparels that cost even up to Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000.00), marked by a Hublot watch that sells for One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00), YSL Tribute shoes, Herve Leger dresses that display the upper base of her boobs, Chanel clutch bags that cost by hundreds of thousands of pesos, etc. 

This author wrote a very short blog about that discovery featuring therein photos copied from her Tumblr account that was open for the public to see. 

Upon seeing this, this writer said to himself that this will provide evidence against the denials by Janet Lim Napoles.

That short blog posted on July 19, 2013 went viral registering readership views of at least 70,000 in three days. 

It was also on that day that a son of Napoles sent a feeler to this author requesting to take down the blog in exchange for any price this author would name. 

This writer politely rejected the idea because it will ruin his career as a private practicing lawyer and counter-proposed that the author would post whatever refutations the Napoles family will request to be published to balance the effect of the very short blog.


THE UNEXPECTED CALL


Thereafter, a spontaneous call among Facebook community to launch a Million March in Luneta and the rest was history.

Impassioned FB Filipinos organized and coordinated the march that was planned not to be political.

The rally went on shocking the whole country.


THE SUPREME COURT ACTED ON


This cry against pork barrel motivated several others filing petitions to declare pork barrel and Malampaya discretionary funds as null and void.

This ended up with the Supreme Court declaring all forms of discretionary funds as NULL and VOID primarily.

This is because it destroys the principles of the Constitution that each of the great bodies of government (the Executive, the Legislative composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the Judiciary) must be separate and independent and that each body should provide a system of check-and-balance for the good of the people who ratified the Constitution. 


THE EVIL EFFECTS OF PORK BARREL ON
NATIONAL STAGE, POLITICAL DYNASTY


For one, how can the principles of check and balance and independence of each body when this pork barrel will be used by the President to bribe the lawmakers to support his agenda or the lawmakers to hold the President by the neck by not supporting him if the pork barrel funds are not released to them. 

This evil of pork barrel caused Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to succeed in defeating impeachment bids against her by threatening not to release discretionary funds of congressmen if they will support the impeachment moves. 

This the collusion that resulted from pork barrel also caused failure to the attempts to investigate the Hello Garci raid of voters’ will.

Most importantly, this pork barrel provided power for the political dynasties of congressmen in the provinces.

They used these funds to keep their voters’ base. The funds they gave to provide scholarship funds for the children of their voters, the funds that they gave to the families of their voters as doleouts, the funds they used to pay their political officers during campaigns, the funds they used to pay poll watchers, the funds they used during rallies, the funds they used to buy votes, all come from their pork barrels that they manipulated to be turned to cash for their pockets.  This is not to talk about those parts of the pork barrels they used to build mansions, to capitalize their businesses, to hire bodyguards to kill enemies.


SUPREME COURT’S KILL VS
PORK BARREL NOT ENOUGH

There is no doubt that when the Supreme Court finally declared pork barrels as null and void, the ability of the congressmen to keep their political dynasties in the provinces has been struck hard. 

However, the creative minds of thieves are always novel.

They can still manipulate to insert the funds they want in the budget of various departments. In the provinces, you can discover these budgets inserted as part of the budgets of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the form of fertilizers and seedlings, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in the form of funds for farmers who are beneficiaries of agrarian program, and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the form of conditional cash transfers.

The ability of the lawmakers to do some magic is one reason that the fight against political dynasty must never stop. 

One reason is the experience that tells that if guards are down legislators who may have good hearts become abusive in funds.


POLITICAL DYNASTY IS 
LIKE THAT OF NEPOTISM


The wisdom behind prohibition against NEPOTISM is substantially the same as POLITICAL DYNASTY.

Under the present laws, it is prohibited for any appointing authority to appoint a relative to the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity.  One reason here is the law avoids the possibility--to repeat, mere possibility--that the appointing power and his appointees will raid and abuse the office where they serve.

Please take note that one thing in common between the law against nepotism and the Constitutional declaration against political dynasty is that both seek to avoid only the "possibility" and not the actual happening of a possibility.

Another thing that is common between the two is that not all persons involved in nepotism or political dynasty are bad.

But again, even if there are good nepotism appointments, as there are good political dynasties, too, the law and the constitution prohibit nepotism nevertheless.

If nepotism is defined as an act of tending to collect, concentrate and perpetuate powers in the clan concerned, so is political dynasty.

The only difference between nepotism and political dynasty is in the manner of getting the office: in Nepotism it is through appointment while in Political Dynasty it is through election.

Those who are for allowance of political dynasties may argue that we have to respect the voice of the people, too, who voted relatives to virtually all powerful offices or to one high office in perpetuity.

However, the argument that the voice of the people is the voice of God so that it must be respected is true only if there is that REAL and GENUINE election.

In our country, there is no such a thing as GENUINE ELECTION.

This is because of the fact that MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS HAVE NO GENUINE FREE CHOICE AND FREE WILL TO CHOOSE. 

This lack of genuine freedom to vote is due to the fact that majority of the voters are either easily bought in local elections where it is already a tradition that only those who can buy votes can win or easily swayed when there is a sustained expensive national campaign advertisements that only those national candidates who have plenty of money can mount and maintain. When added with a name to boot, a candidate would have a bigger edge as in JV EJERCITO who suffixed his name with "ESTRADA" and BAM AQUINO.


THE FIGHT MUST GO ON


Over and above these stories, there is nothing that can beat the importance of continuance of the fight.

Each of Facebook Filipino must do his or her own little share in this endeavor this year.  For those who have either little time or who are wanting in courage, it is enough for them to make a few comments or “like” each post that are relevant to this battle.

Those who have knowledge or who happen to know about corruption related to government funds are encouraged to send a Private Message to this author.  It will be better for those who have documents to scan them and email them to this author at berteni.causing@gmail.com or totocausing@yahoo.com.

Let’s go!



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