Gardeners look at the complexity of a simple story 

Attack as the Best Defence

Enrile –From:

Enrile is almost ninety years old now and as young and alert as any stem-celled octogenarian can be. His Chief of Staff Gigi Reyes left the country before any charges could be filed against her and is therefore technically not a fugitive and not easily reached even by the long arms of the law if she can afford one of those extradition-free tax-haven shores thousands of miles away – which she possibly could.

No less than Senator Miriam Santiago, former secretary and wedding god-daughter of Enrile, said that without Reyes’ testimony, no other direct evidence will be available for the prosecution to prove plunder against Enrile.

Enrile is one of the veteran few who fully understand the nature of the current court – the court of public opinion – that it is not to be confused with the judicial courts that can send you to jail if you are found guilty, although he knows too that all courts are somehow related to each other, which is why you should never neglect one or the other, and which is why, too, it is never easy to “fight city hall,” or Malacanang in this case.

He and “fellow-indicted” Jinggoy Estrada know that there is no need yet to defend themselves. When they are attacking you, a strong and quick counter attack is traditionally the best defence.

First, Enrile says that he is willing to open his bank accounts to prove that no money from either businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles or her aide, Benhur Luy, was transferred there. If you are hard-core Enrile out there and you heard this, you’d be really happy and run around defending your idol to the hilt.

Second, he says he gave his funds to local government units (LGUs) only and did not authorize any of his employees to transfer funds to nongovernment organizations (NGOs). To be [legalistically] precise, said his lawyer de la Cruz, Enrile did not sign any document directing the use of his funds to NGOs. He only signed documents to allocate funds to local government units. If his people or his employees did not follow his instruction or did something else to divert the funds to NGOs, know that Senator Enrile did not order it, the new lawyer said.

“There is no command responsibility in criminal law. Administrative liability, yes you may hold a person to that and file an administrative case but not in a crime. Can you rape someone by negligence? The person was raped because I did not guard him or her? Is that my fault?” Enrile’s lawyer asked. “His instruction and endorsements to the implementing agencies were to release his PDAF to identified LGUs. There is a standard authority for the chief of staff or the deputy chief of staff to sign [documents] on his behalf but if they entered into an illegal transaction, Enrile did not know that.”


To people who do not know any better, Enrile wants to say: “I’m sorry; I was too liberal with my staff, specially my Chief of Staff, maybe. But believe you me – I am not in the habit of giving illegal orders.” Enrile’s former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, had allegedly authorized the release of millions of Enrile’s pork barrel funds to questionable NGOs linked to detained Janet Lim-Napoles.

How did Reyes feel when she read all this from wherever she was abroad and saw that she was probably being set up as Enrile’s escape-goat? She did shoot back quick and said she was very disappointed and very sad. But some were sharp enough to note that even if she were not a goat, far from it, she nonetheless had already escaped, which was more important. Then, in the same breath, Enrile announced to all and sundry that he never betrays – he never abandons his own. Given almost seventy years of recorded actions, this latest of Enrile was another one for Ripley’s “Believe it or not.” Could Reyes believe Enrile? Or did they not plan this whole scenario together?

A Falling Out Among Thieves – or how to destroy a tight Senate club

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Senator TJ Guingona, summoned Janet Lim-Napoles to testify at its hearing last Thursday, the 26th September. The Ombudsman did not allow Napoles to go and the Senate President, Franklin Drilon, sided with her against Guingona. Why?

In a statement he issued after the no-show hearing, Guingona boomed that he will pursue the investigation to fulfil his promise that “no stone shall be left unturned.”

“When witnesses are gagged and barred from appearing before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and a subpoena for a vital resource person remains unsigned, I, as chairperson of the Blue Ribbon Committee, am duty-bound to defend the rules of the Senate and most importantly, to defend the Senate’s power pursuant to the Constitution.”

He added, “With the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings on my side, I call on all forces who wish to weaken, diminish, and destroy the power of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the Senate itself to stand down, back off, and allow us to do our job.”

TJ also said: “The Supreme Court, in the case of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee v. Judge Majaducon (GR No. 136760, July 29, 2003), reminds us that even the court has no authority to prohibit the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee from requiring a respondent to appear and testify before it. This is clearly applicable to this Committee’s desire to compel Janet Lim-Napoles to be present in its hearings.”

Guingona and Drilon are party-mates, and allies of the President. Their collision course, however, seems to be for real.

Is Senator TJ merely doing the will of his father, former Senator and Vice-President Tito Guingona who is known to be an arch-foe of Enrile and would therefore want Napoles in his committee to decisively link Enrile to her activities?

And, for his part, is Senate President Drilon not merely doing the will of Malacanang by keeping Napoles out of such a public hearing to insulate her from questions prepared by Enrile and company that may force her to link President Aquino, Secretary Mar Roxas and Secretary Abad to her many activities in the past? Had not her daughter so innocently brag in Face Book about her closeness to PNoy, Mar and other top administration power-holders?

The people are holding their breath on this, and if not handled properly, gagging Napoles may be the equivalent of the unopened envelope in the Estrada impeachment trial that led to Estrada’s downfall.

Another Bomb? – Senator Estrada’s Privileged Speech


While the Senate President and the Blue Ribbon Chair were still fighting, one of the three accused senators, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, slammed what he claimed is the selective persecution of him and two other Senate minority members who have been portrayed as “thieves and scoundrels” in the P10 billion pork barrel scandal.

He also exposed the partiality and extreme lack of objectivity of a politicized Commission on Audit (COA), which has not highlighted irregularities in the disbursements of the funds of administration allies –  like Senators Miriam Santiago and Alan Peter Cayetano; former senators Manny Villar, Kiko Pangilinan; House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales and former An Waray Congressman Florencio Noel, to name a prominent few.

Estrada gave examples regarding the Executive Department’s use of pork barrel increases and releases as a form of rewards and incentives to secure legislators’ nod for pet legislations and other political purposes.

Another big explosion happened when he revealed a private and confidential letter dated May 2012 allegedly showing that  “those who voted to convict [former Chief Justice] Renato Corona were given additional P50 million.” He also revealed how pork funds were used to get the Reproductive Health and Sin Tax laws passed. In her alleged crusade against corruption, Malacanang, it would seem, was the No.1 corruptor, barring none.

“We do not know where these came from. Perhaps, [Budget Secretary] Florencio Abad knows where from,” he said. He claimed that the Cabinet secretary has been very silent since the pork scam scandal broke out. Is there truth to the talk going around that while still Congressman, Abad was in fact the very first client of Napoles?

Estrada charged that cooperative legislators whom Malacanang needed could get “over and above” the minimum allocation of pork funds worth P200 million per senator and P70 million per congressman.

In sum, without defending himself as yet against all the allegations hurled at him so far, saying that he would do so at the proper time in judicial courts, Estrada was now publicly laying the predicate for “selective prosecution” and the government’s gross violations of the Constitution’s “equal protection clause” when he recited one paragraph after another the instances of other legislators being exempted from mention by the COA or indictment by the DOJ.

It does look like we must expect now a propaganda war that may last longer than expected.

From Revolutionary Mood to Revolutionary Situation?

What effect will all this have on the majority populace? Will it depend on the media or will even the media be unable to control media effects? Will a subjective mood turn into an objective situation – a revolutionary mood into a revolutionary situation when the government becomes dysfunctional in serious ways and various sectors and subsectors of the populace go their own route expecting trouble any time? Gardeners have noted that business commentators are so loud in their silence. All is quiet in the business front.

A few have started to talk about “Transition Councils” – a term masking the fearsome “Revolutionary Councils.” [1] They say that the Napoles pork barrel combined with the earlier Smartmatic PCOS elections of 2010 and 2013 leaves us very little choice but to confront the fact that we do not have government – only a seizure of power by thugs elected by pre-programmed machines. Thieves have broken down our electoral system, violated the Constitution and are helping themselves to public moneys.

Patriots find it unacceptable that the very same persons who committed the Napoles pork barrel crimes are allowed and continue to be in charge of investigating those crimes. The current investigation is being made by people who took part in the crime either by actual commission or neglect in doing something about it. We have a government claiming to be against corruption and yet it abets the very same corruption or worse. So these patriots say that only a transition government can work out a juridical procedure to punish those who had shamelessly stolen the moneys intended for infrastructure and social services. Like the majority populace manifested by the earlier Yahoo poll, these guys are in a revolutionary mood, seeking more effective ways to bring about change.

They remind us that provisional government, transition councils, interim councils of every kind and hue are not a new concept. Many countries have had them after a revolution peaceful or otherwise. We had one after EDSA but it ultimately failed to carry out the reforms envisioned by the revolution. This time we must proceed more carefully as we move to what can be considered a God-given opportunity to try again.

They emphasize that if we are to create a new dispensation or a just society it must be founded on moral principles of government. The revelations of the Smartmatic and pork barrel scams leave us no options unless we meet the challenge now of creating a new system that follows the democratic principle of government that is for the people by the people and of the people. But for this we need to move fast or events will overtake us and we end up with the status quo, stuck in the oligarchic society we had tried to reform in the first EDSA that fooled so many reformers, some of whom gave up their lives and fortunes for the cause.

The next obvious question, however, is: what role will the military play in such a transition government? The Constitution mandates the military to be the protector of the state when it is threatened either internally or externally. “But it can only act if there is a transition council under the principle that civilian authority is supreme at all times. That can happen only if there is a civilian transition council that the military can support. Without the transition council the military has no choice but to support the existing government under the dictum of civilian supremacy.

“Therefore reform-minded Filipinos must create a transition council, empowered to forge a new constitution, punish all government officials who were part of the scam and preside over new elections. All stolen moneys by politicians and officials alike should be returned to the national treasury under pain of being charged with crimes without bail. These moneys could instead be used by the state for a new government set up by real ballots and a true count.”

Finally, who will credibly initiate the formation of such a revolutionary transition council, under what circumstances, when? Questions upon questions. As in all matters of this nature we only know that they are happening when they happen.

“Only in the Philippines!” “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” Well, wail, “God bless the Philippines!” FINIS

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