Uniffors


The problem with the high court

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 23rd, 2014

From Businessworld’s Yellow Pad, Manuel Buencamino & Filomeno Sta. Ana III on the Supreme Court

    THE PROBLEM with President Noynoy Aquino and Budget Secretary Butch Abad is they are not mutant X-Men. They have no psychic powers. They cannot foretell what the Supreme Court will do. And they cannot exercise mind control over the members of the Supreme Court.

    The problem is they are unlike Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whose powers were so strong she could exercise mind control over Supreme Court justices even after she left Malacañang. Remember the Truth Commission and the Temporary Restraining Order on Gloria Arroyo’s hold departure order?

    If the President and Abad had psychic powers, the Supreme Court would have upheld the constitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and we would not have a crisis involving the Executive and the Supreme Court. We would have moved forward as a team.

    Aquino and Abad are mere mortals who, in the case of the DAP, want to stimulate the economy through efficient and responsive public spending. The first thing they did upon assuming power was to review government spending, which in the previous administration was characterized by waste. The review slowed government spending and resulted in lower GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate. But the meticulous review of spending, especially in infrastructure, was necessary. Leaks had to be plugged before the ship of State could set sail again. Once the major leaks were plugged, the President and Abad hoisted the sails and went full speed ahead. The DAP was the hoist.

    The DAP, in its essence the use of savings from other budget items to augment resources for underfunded important programs, is nothing new. It was a mechanism that was used by all previous previous administration since Cory Aquino’s, albeit under different names.

    Like everyone not gifted with psychic powers, the President and Abad relied on well-established precedents, the Constitution, and the Administrative Code of 1987, specifically Book 6, Chapter 5, sections 38, 39, 49 (9) and (10). The Supreme Court on the other hand chose to ignore those well-established precedents and sections of the Administrative Code, focusing instead on those provisions in the Constitution that clashed with the provisions of the same Constitution the President and Abad stood by.

    Such is the game of lawyers. Each side can present legal arguments to bolster its case. However, only the Supreme Court can end the debate and decide which argument is valid.

    Having a final arbiter is good because lawyers will debate until someone puts a stop to it. But the final arbiter must always be one whose impartiality is above suspicion. The rule of law, too, is founded on predictability and stability. And the rule of law eschews judicial overreach.

    To repeat, each side in the DAP debate has legal and constitutional arguments. The administration’s position is not a lonely one. The erudite lawyer Rene Saguisag, a gadfly for any administration, emphasizes the point that the President’s case on the DAP is “legally tenable and defensible.”

    Even though the Supreme Court used legal arguments to strike down the essence of the DAP, the effect is devastating.

    The Supreme Court ruling reinforces the belief that it creates instability and unpredictability of rules. The DAP, or its various forms in previous administrations, is normal practice. It is a fiscal tool for budget management and even for macroeconomic management. But the Supreme Court ruling, especially its presumption of the absence of good faith on the part of the Executive, will make the bureaucracy timid and in the immediate term will paralyze the implementation of projects.

    The signal for bureaucrats or civil servants is that any innovative reform that invites controversy is dangerous. Bold reformist decisions and actions run the risk of being subjected to the intrusive interference of the Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court’s overreach is best illustrated by its insistence on its definition of savings (which is what is saved by near end of the year). This is vastly different from how a businessman, an economist, a student or a housewife determines savings.

    The DAP ruling should be seen in the broader context in which the contemporary Supreme Court has created policy and institutional instability or unpredictability. To name a few:

    • In March 2011, the Supreme Court reversed its own ruling on the cityhood law, specifically turning upside down an earlier decision on the illegality of converting municipality into cities.

    • In October 2011, the Supreme Court, invoking technicality, took back its “final” resolution, which ordered the reinstatement of 1,400 flight attendants of the Philippine Airlines.

    The president of the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines, Bob Anduiza, said: “Imagine, by a mere letter from Attorney Mendoza, the Supreme Court recalled three previous decisions!” (Estelito Mendoza is the lawyer of Philippine Airlines.)

    • In November 2013, the Supreme Court declared the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the pork barrel system unconstitutional even though it ruled three times before that the PDAF or its earlier version, the Countrywide Development Fund, was constitutional.

    In fact, in the first decision, the Supreme Court said that the pork barrel system was “imaginative and innovative.”

    Apart from the reversals of decisions, opaque actions tarnish the integrity of the contemporary Supreme Court.

    During the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona, then Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno agreed to testify before the impeachment court on how it reached its decision on the case of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association case. The Court gagged her.

    Another instance of opaqueness is the ongoing investigation on the “Madame Arlene” case, which is about the allegation that this woman acts as a fixer with the Court. The investigation started months ago, and we haven’t heard a pip about it.

    And now the Court is divided as to whether to suspend or dismiss a Sandigan justice who Associate Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez found guilty of accepting a bribe to acquit Janel Lim Napoles in a malversation case connected to the purchase of Kevlar helmets. Who voted for dismissal and who voted for suspension? Only the Court knows.

    In light of all these, it is perfectly understandable that we question the Court’s ruling on the DAP. Enough is enough.

    And so, if the problem with the President and Abad is they are not X-Men, the problem with the Supreme Court is it has become the team of Magneto — unrestrained, disruptive and divisive mutants.

Manuel Buencamino and Filomeno Sta. Ana III are fellows of Action for Economic Reforms.

Steep and sudden drop in Pnoy’s rating explained

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 14th, 2014

I interviewed the heads of the two ratings agencies regarding the sudden and steep drop in the President’s performance and trust ratings.

I interviewed the heads of the two ratings agencies – Pulse Asia and SWS – and asked them what was the biggest cause of PNoys poor ratings.

    “Is it pork barrel?” I asked.

    “No,” they replied.

    “Is it the SC decision?”

    “No,” they replied.

    “Is it the high prices?

    “No,” they replied.

    “Is it his handling of China?”

    “No,” they replied.

    “Then what is it?”

    “Nora Aunor.”

We moved on…

    “How do you explain the improvement in Binay’s ratings?”

    “The people sympathized with him. They thought he was Nora Aunor’s father,” they replied.

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Collect and Attack

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 11th, 2014

Headline ng Philippine Daily Inquirer – Vocal DAP critic also got P25M from fund (HERE)

Neri Colmenares is the party-list representative of Bayan, the primary member of the Makabayan bloc whose sole purpose is to use democratic processes to bring down democracy.

    In a text message, Colmenares said he was not informed of the source of the funds but he stressed that these were fully liquidated.

    “I was not aware that projects I nominated were funded by the DAP nor did I receive documents that show these came from the DAP,” he said.

    The lawmaker said he proposed the projects to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

    “I nominated school supplies and feeding projects for the poor to the DBM. I checked from the DBM if they funded the projects and they funded P15 million for hospital assistance and health kits under an item called Continuing Appropriations and not the DAP,” he said.

Ayus ka. Basta tanggap ng tanggap, gastos ng gastos pagkatapos pag nagbago ang ihip ng hangin ikaw ang mauunang tumira doon sa pinagkunan mo ng pondo. Idol!

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In one cell?

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 6th, 2014

Sen. Enrile and his chief of staff Gigi Reyes filed a joint motion with the Sandigan that they be held in the same cell. The court approved their request on condition that a video camera be installed in their cell.

The PNP leadership refused the Sandigan order saying, “We can’t force our policemen to watch them.”

But a friend said he would volunteer for the job. He said Enrile was very angry at Gigi for being careless in her dealings with Napoles and he had to see how a 90 year old man gives tongue-lashings and finger-waggings to a fiftyish woman. :-)

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Misplaced indignation and outrage

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 6th, 2014

Once again the outrage and indignation brigades are throwing righteous fits. This time over Ateneo University accepting a donation to the school’s scholarship fund from Imelda Marcos.

Why get all righteous against it?

First of all, Imelda is giving not taking. She’s giving around 100 scholarships for Ateneo. Masama ba yun?

Dapat pasalamatan siya embes na insultuhin siya at ang Ateneo.

Ilagay kaya ng outrage and indignation battalions ang sarili nila sa lugar nung 100 estudyanteng gusto pero kulang o walang pera para makapagaral sa Ateneo.

Go ahead and punish Imelda if you want but don’t punish her scholars.

Second, they say that Imelda’s donation comes from money stolen from us etc.

Teka muna.

We accept money as grants and donation from Spain, the USA, and Japan.Our former colonial masters. Our oppressors Didn’t they steal from us? Did they not mistreat us?

How about grants, donations, scholarships, awards etc from Rhodes, Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Mellon, DuPont, Nobel etal. Malinis ba ang pinanggalingan ng pera ng mga foundations/organizations na yan?

Rhodes plundered Africa. Did Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Mellon, DuPont etal become rich by behaving like model citizens? How about accepting a peace prize from Nobel who got rich from his invention: dynamite?

Hindi ba iyan mga philanthropy na iyan ay itinayo para linisin at ma-deodorize ang reputation nung mga bilyonarong iyan? O pwede din naman na itinayo yan mga foundations na yan dahil feeling guilty sila sa ginawa nila para yumaman, diba?

Kung ganun na feeling guilty sila eh di parang restitution na din ang charitable works nila, diba? Bakit sila pwede at si Imelda hindi? Bakit pagiinitan si Imelda at sila hindi?

What if Imelda starts building free hospitals for everybody, are we supposed going to reject that too?

Let’s welcome Imelda’s donations. Let’s encourage her to spend her wealth on our needs. Let’s save our outrage and indignation for the right occasion.

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World Cup news

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 3rd, 2014

1. Did you wonder why there was a commotion after the referee rewarded Robben’s magnificent dive with a penalty?

I did. So I investigated.

I learned that the big argument between the referee and his Dutch team mates was because the referee wanted to take the penalty kick himself.

2. Netherlands striker Arjen Robben announced he will retire from futbol after the World Cup…to concentrate on training for the next Olympics diving championship.

3. Columbian striker James Rodriguez’s first name is pronounced Hames. Jejeje.

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How to end hazing

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 3rd, 2014

If schools are held responsible and made to pay hazing victims and their families millions and millions of pesos in damages, I bet schools will make sure that frats disappear faster than you can say, “Buttfuck!”

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Jinggoy, paki-explain nga, labyu

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 3rd, 2014

Doktora Loi Estrada to Jinggoy

    “Anak, akala ko ba pinaliwanag mo sa akin na yun DAP ay ginamit pangsuhol sa mga senador para bumoto na ma-impeach si Corona, eh bakit ngayon nasa mga dyaryo na si Bongbong Marcos ay nabigyan din ng P100M mula sa DAP? Anong ibig sabihin niyan, sinuhulan din ni Noynoy si Bongbong para bumoto contra sa impeachment ni Corona? Paki-explain nga, Labyu….”
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Doctor misses the big one

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 26th, 2014

Raissa Robles blogged about Sen. Enrile’s request for hospital arrest during his plunder trial.

    “Old age and declining health are reasons the former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile cited for the court to grant him bail.

    The request was accompanied by a May 16, 2014 medical certificate from a Dr. Claver Ramos of Makati Medical Center.

    Dr. Ramos, an internist specializing in nephrology listed a long list of ailments that the 90-year-old Enrile has:

    1. diabetes mellitus,
    2. dyslipiddemia,
    3. essential hypertension,
    4. extensive coronary artery calcification in the right coronary,
    5. left anterior descending and left circumflex,
    6. multifocal ventricular premature beats,
    7. episodes of bradycardia,
    8. colonic diverticulosis,
    9. thoracic and lumbar spondylosis L4-L5,
    10. alpha thalassemia,
    11. macular degeneration,
    12. chronic lacunar ischemic zones,
    13. scattered small luminal plaques of proximal middle segments of basilar artery, both horizontal and insular opercular branches of middle cerebral arteries”

It seems like the good doctor forgot to include Kleptomania in the list of ailments plaguing the old man. :-)

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Breaking News

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 23rd, 2014

Breaking News:

    Cockroaches and rats held a rally protesting the presence of pigs in the Camp Crame detention center.
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