Everything you've wanted to know about RP politics, but were afraid to ask.

Posts Tagged ‘Commission on Audit’

How to solve a problem like Jejomar?

Posted by akosistella on June 10, 2010

Calling a Spade…
By Solita Collas-Monsod

On top of all those people surrounding President-elect Noynoy Aquino reportedly punching and kicking and clawing (figuratively speaking, of course) and generally jockeying for positions — remember that as president he has appointing power over more than 10,000 government and government corporate positions — the Binay victory has just given him the mother of all dilemmas: how is he going to solve the problem of Jejomar?

The problem arises because Aquino’s main campaign battle cry was to fight corruption, and of course Binay’s alleged corruption is legendary. Just ask Glenda Gloria, who did a piece on the very subject sometime in 2001 or 2002; just ask Conchitina Sevilla Bernardo, who was Binay’s vice mayor after the EDSA Revolution, and resigned in disgust because she couldn’t stomach what she considered the betrayal of the principles of the People Power Revolution through the comeback of corruption by someone who claimed to be the opposite of the traditional politician or “trapo.” Just ask any businessman in Makati, come to think of it — especially those in real estate development and/or construction.

Or Teddy Boy Locsin. Or another Binay vice mayor, Ernesto Mercado. Of course, in the case of Locsin or Mercado, the counterclaim may be that these people are sour-graping, since they were formerly very close to Binay, but had a falling-out because of broken promises.

Or how about the Commission on Audit, who discovered the overpricing involved in the building and equipment of the Makati Hospital and the Makati City Hall. Or the BIR, who claimed that Binay did not remit the withholding taxes of the Makati government employees, to the tune of around P1 billion?

Or how about the researchers in a public expenditure study, who found out that the City of Makati spends more on its education materials than the rest of the Philippines put together?

All smoke, and no fire? Not to anyone who wasn’t born yesterday.

So that’s what Noynoy has to contend with. What are his choices? One alternative would be to do a Carlos Garcia, who as vice president, ascended to the presidency when Ramon Magsaysay died in an airplane crash, and then ran for his own term as president in 1957. He won it, but the vice presidency was won by the opposition party candidate — Diosdado Macapagal. Garcia did not appoint him to any position in his administration.

The benefit to Aquino of doing a Garcia would be that he will have given a very strong signal to the Filipino people that he meant what he said about fighting corruption, and that he would not allow anyone tainted to work with him in the executive branch.

The fact that Aquino and Binay are personal friends will make the message go over even more effectively. Truly walang kai-kaibigan when it comes to making decisions. Wow. What a way to start setting new directions for the Philippines.

What about the cost? Well, Binay might then do a Diosdado Macapagal. Which means spending his entire term as vice president campaigning for the presidency in the next elections.

Macapagal won against Garcia’s bid for reelection — in spite of the fact that Garcia would have had to step down after three years as reelected president, because he would have served eight years by then — and presumably even the opposition vice presidential candidate would be secretly campaigning for him. In the same manner, Binay might also win the presidency in 2016. And the gains from six years of fighting corruption might all be for naught.

But wait. There is a substantive difference between the two situations. In 1961, Macapagal ran on a reform platform against the alleged rampant corruption of the Garcia administration (and as if to validate the charges, the latter appointed over 300 officials literally the night before he turned over the presidency — and these midnight appointments were reversed by the Supreme Court, obviously of a different caliber then the present one). Unless Noynoy completely bungles it, Jojo Binay will have a difficult time convincing anyone that he is reform-minded.

So forcing Binay to twiddle his thumbs during his vice presidency might not be that costly after all.

Except…as the saying goes, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” This saying apparently dates as far back as Chaucer in the twelfth century, who called idle hands the devil’s tools. Who knows what ideas a bored mind will come up with? Or a person seeking revenge for an insult? Noynoy’s security detail might have to be on red alert all the time, even if Binay has publicly proclaimed that Noynoy has nothing to fear from him on that account.

How about if Noynoy appoints Binay to a position that would do the least harm (as far as corruption is concerned anyway)? Well, maybe. Just like Fidel Ramos, who appointed Vice President Erap Estrada (not of the same party) to a non-cabinet, position — as anti-crime czar (chair of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission). Or like Erap himself, when he won the presidency, who appointed Vice President Gloria Macapagal to be DSWD secretary.

The benefit of this kind of move on the part of Noynoy would be that Binay would not be humiliated (and seek revenge), and would not have all that idle time on his hands (and be the devil’s tool). Plus, he may bungle the job (having been given enough rope to hang himself), and find himself out of favor with the Filipino people.

The cost would be that, if he gets a cabinet position, Binay would be privy to the inner workings of the administration, and be able to make use of this knowledge when (notice I didn’t say if) he does run for the presidency.

Not very attractive choices for the incoming President. Which is why he is going to have to think long and hard about how to solve a problem like Binay — actually, I am sure he has already been wrestling with the problem.

But one thing sure: appointing Binay to the DILG — which was offered Binay in exchange for the latter’s not running for the presidency — would be like setting a fox among the chickens. All costs, no benefits. (BusinessWorld, June 10, 2010)



Posted in 2010 elections, Noynoy Aquino, Opinion, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

APO, gov’t press, printing campaign materials for bets

Posted by akosistella on May 5, 2010



Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

THE ELECTION Code is clear: Any printing press owned or controlled by the government is prohibited from being used in any election campaign or partisan political activity.

The penalties for officials of such an entity caught in violation of the law range from one to six years jail term without probation, along with disqualification from public office and forfeiture of the right of suffrage.

But some officials of the APO Production Unit, Inc., which is under the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), say the company is “private” and is therefore free to print campaign materials for one of its board members who is among the candidates for local office on May 10, as well as for the son and a brother of two other company officers.

This is even though the company has been shuffled from one government agency to another through the years, seems to have become a dumping ground for protégés of people close to Malacañang, and has its books pored over from time to time by the state bean-counter, the Commission on Audit (COA).

Its corporate policy-makers and officers also acquire their positions through a “desire letter” from the president of the Philippines.

via Business Insight Malaya.

Posted in 2010 elections, Comelec, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lakas senate bets grumble over fund lack

Posted by akosistella on March 11, 2010

Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III and lawyer Raul Lambino pointed to the dearth of television and newspaper advertisements, and campaign posters for the candidates.

“We’re being out-postered by the opposition,” Bello rued in a phone interview, referring to the more popular reelectionist senators and congressmen topping the polls for senatorial candidates.

“We’re out-advertised. It’s as if we’re not running,” said Lambino, who initially denounced the Lakas-Kampi coalition then turned around and joined the slate as a substitute candidate.

Click INQUIRER Politics.


COA asks Binay, et al to explain ‘deficiency’ in P1.2B projects

MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Audit has asked the Makati City government to explain why it implemented P1.2 billion worth of infrastructure projects last year without the approval of the city council.

State auditor Danilo Rodriquez of the Makati COA told the Inquirer that the agency sent an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) dated Feb. 18 in which it asked for an explanation from Mayor Jejomar Binay as well as the city accountant and city budget officer.

Rodriguez said that as of Wednesday, he has yet to receive a reply from any of the three officials.

Click Inquirer.net


Madrigal, 2 VP bets to inspect ballots, poll machines

Only presidential aspirant Senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal and two vice presidential hopefuls have agreed to inspect ballots and automated poll machines on Thursday at the request of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Earlier, the Comelec invited presidential and vice presidential candidates to visit the National Printing Office in Quezon City (NPO) where the ballots are being printed, and Smartmatic-TIM’s warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna where the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines units are being stored.

Click GMA News TV

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Posted in 2010 elections, Comelec, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Power rates set to soar

Posted by akosistella on February 17, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Power rates are expected to soar as the impact of averting blackouts and the rate adjustment mechanisms of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) are reflected in electric bills, the government said yesterday.

Francis Saturnino Juan, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) executive director, said the impact of running the diesel-fired power plants at the height of the blackouts will be reflected in electric bills next month.

Click Philippine Star.

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Posted in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

P7.14B lost in DA’s ‘wasteful’ operation

Posted by akosistella on February 16, 2010

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is the hands down “top performer” in wasteful fund management either through bungled project implementation or missing and diverted funds.

In terms of bungled or incomplete projects, the DA wasted P7.14 billion, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in a report covering the period of 2008 which it has submitted to the Office of the President.

Click Business Insight Malaya.

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P50-billion government funds missing – Recto

Posted by akosistella on February 15, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Almost P50 billion of government funds released to national agencies, local government units (LGUs), private foundations, and people’s organizations (POs) are missing, former senator Ralph Recto said yesterday.

Recto, a senatorial candidate of the Liberal Party, cited the Commission on Audit (COA) report on taxpayers’ money disbursed to state agencies, LGUs, foundations, and POs in 2008.

The COA report showed that P24.81 billion of the unaccounted funds was disbursed to state agencies. The Department of Agriculture received P17.45 billion, the biggest allocation.

Click Philippine Star.

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Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gringo biggest spender in Senate in 2008

Posted by akosistella on February 1, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – The 23 members of the Philippine Senate incurred over P300-million in expenses in 2008, according to records from the Commission on Audit (COA).

Sen. Gregorio 'Gringo’ Honasan, a military rebel-turned-politician, emerged as the biggest spender among the 23 lawmakers.

In 2008, Honasan’s expenses reached P17.9 million. In 2007, when he returned to the Senate, his expenses from July-December 2007 amounted to P8.109 million.

Click ABS-CBN News Online Beta.

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