This is part of the Right to Reply Bill. I left out the bill’s penal provisions because the sponsors are amenable to amendments.
AN ACT GRANTING THE RIGHT OF REPLY AND PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION THEREOF
Be it enacted by fhe Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
SECTION 1. Right of Reply. – All persons natural or juridical who are accused directly or indirectly of committing or having committed or of intending to commit any crime or offense defined by law or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the right to reply to the charges published or printed in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or to criticisms aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites, or through any electronic device.
SEC. 2. Where Reply Published. – The reply of the person so accused or criticized shall be published in the same space of the newspapers, magazine, newsletter or publication or aired over the same program on radio, television, website, or any electronic device concerned.
SEC. 3. When Published. – The reply shall be published or broadcast not later than three (3) days after the reply shall have been delivered to the editorial office of the publication concerned or to the station that carried the broadcast being replied to.
SEC. 4. Length of Reply. – The reply shall not be longer than the accusation or criticism as published or broadcast.
SEC. 5. Free of Charge. – The publication or broadcast of the reply shall be free of charge, payment or fees.
SEC. 6. Editing Reply. – The reply as such shall be published or broadcast except for libelous allegations.
Rep. Monico Puentevella of Bacolod City and Sen. Nene Pimentel of Mindanao are the culprits. They disguised their personal agendas by legislating the right of reply to all persons natural or juridical.
And the right extends to those “criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life.”
If those politicians insist on the right to reply then I propose they include the duty to reply:
“Sec. 1(a) DUTY TO REPLY – Any government official elected or appointed or any person who benefits from taxes collected from the public who are accused directly or indirectly of committing or having committed or of intending to commit any crime or offense defined by law or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the DUTY TO REPLY to the charges published or printed in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or to criticisms aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites, or through any electronic device.”
Here’s the kind of report in “any lapse in bahavior in public or private life” I want to see the bill’s sponsors reply to:
No Pontius Pilate
An unimpeachable source informed this reporter that (Puentevella or Pimentel), as the case may be, was having a private lunch at a five star hotel in Makati. According to the source, who talked on condition of anonymity, the politician stood up from his table and went to the men’s room. The source followed him. He saw the pol enter the crapper. He heard crapping noises and the toilet flush but he didn’t hear the rustling of toilet paper. The pol, he said, left the mens room without even a glance at the washbasin. The pol then went straight to his table and dipped his unwashed hands in a plate of crabs served family style.
“Why are politicians so casual about their dirty hands?” asked the source.
And no cherry picking allowed, assholes!
My column in Business Mirror is a letter to Ombudsgirl Merceditas Gutierrez.
Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom
by Manuel Buencamino
25 FEBRUARY 2009
I got the following from your official web site:
“The fundamental law of the land gives the Office of the Ombudsman the calling and badge of Protector of the People. This constitutional appellation captures the nature of its various functions: The Ombudsman protects the people from abuse and misuse of governmental power for personal aggrandizement.”
“The Ombudsman and his deputies, as protectors of the people, shall act promptly on complaints filed in any form or manner against officers or employees of the government, or of any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or -controlled corporations, and enforce their administrative, civil and criminal liability in every case where the evidence warrants in order to promote efficient service by the government to the people [Section 13, Republic Act (RA) 6770; see also Section 12, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution]. The Ombudsman shall give priority to complaints filed against high-ranking government officials and/or those occupying supervisory positions, complaints involving grave offenses, as well as complaints involving large sums of money and/or properties [Section 15, RA 6770].”
And from Section 3 of the Amended Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman:
“Form of complaints, grievances or request for assistance.—Complaints may be in any form, either verbal or in writing. For a speedier disposition of the complaint, however, it is preferable that it be in writing and under oath. A complaint which does not disclose the identity of the complainant will be acted upon only if it merits appropriate consideration, or contains sufficient leads or particulars to enable the taking of further action.
Grievances or requests for assistance may, likewise, be verbal or in writing. In any case, the requesting or complaining party must indicate his address and telephone number, if any.”
Madame Protector of the People from abuse and misuse of governmental power for personal aggrandizement, I’m trying to reconcile the above with your position regarding the World Bank report on collusion among public-works contractors.
You said, “I wrote the World Bank and they said, you cannot share the report with the Senate. What can I do? Where did the list [of witnesses who exposed the contractors’ cartel] come from? Is that strictly confidential? How could we investigate if we don’t have a list of witnesses?”
Remember what your predecessor, Simeon Marcelo, did after he received an uncertified document from US Customs reporting the arrest of Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia’s sons for trying to smuggle more than a hundred thousand dollars into the United States?
He didn’t bellyache about the paucity of anything. He didn’t ask to be spoon-fed information. He didn’t ask US Customs to authenticate the document they sent him. When the Armed Forces of the Philippines refused to cooperate with his investigation of Garcia, he subpoenaed the general’s records. He acted with dispatch, without getting hung up on side issues like those you sprung on Sen. Panfilo Lacson:
“We don’t have a copy of the list. In the interest of justice, where did the information come from? Cooperate with us. Tell us the source. Did it really come from the World Bank? Who gave you this list?”
Lady Protector, I am not among those who question your integrity, who accuse you of being a stooge of Bonnie and Clyde. I’m simply someone who wants to know, “Which part of your mandate don’t you understand?”
Hugs and kisses,
My column in Business Mirror is a letter asking Mikey Arroyo’s errand boy to fess up
Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom
Bare it all, Mr. Speaker
“For much too long, these rogue bankers have been able to fend off sanctions by the BSP by resorting to undue interventions in the courts of law, and not least, under the protection of powerful and well-entrenched politicians.” —FSGO (Former Senior Government Officials) statement
Dear Speaker Nograles,
Are you a partner in the Legacy Group?
If you are, then you are part of that Ponzi scheme. How could you not have known there was something fishy about the business?
Rep. Raul Daza said, “I myself was offered by one of these banks high interest rates and a brand-new Toyota Camry, provided that I deposited a huge amount and split it into several accounts of not more than P250,000 each so I would be covered by the deposit-insurance law. I found the offer too good to be true.”
If you are not a partner of Celso de los Angeles, then you must be one of those who were inveigled by his “double your money” scheme. I should feel sorry for you, maybe.
The Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) covers depositors, not accounts. That means even if you divide P18 million into 72 P250,000 accounts, you will only get P250,000. However, you can recover about P3 million if you spread your P18 million over a dozen different Legacy banks.
But if you did that, then you deliberately used the deposit-insurance law to gamble in a dubious double-your-money scheme. Isn’t that having it both ways on the public ticket?
You can collect more than the P250,000 guarantee per depositor by opening dozens of “in trust for” (ITF) accounts or fictitious name accounts a la Jose Pidal.
I asked a friend from the Rural Bankers Association if the PDIC can catch fakes and ITFs.
He said, “Catching fictitious-name accounts is easy because a depositor must pick up his check in person.”
“That presumes a depositor cannot disguise himself, or PDIC won’t hire blind cashiers,” I retorted.
“What about ITF accounts?”
He replied, “Imagine tens of thousands of dummies picking up P250,000 checks.”
The Legacy banks have over a hundred thousand depositors with accounts of not more than P250,000.
It’s been bandied about that some of your Batasan colleagues also deposited millions with the Legacy banks.
Did they use ITFs and/or Pidal-type accounts? If they did, then they defrauded the PDIC, right?
Is that why the congressional investigation is focused on the shortcomings of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission, instead of how many dummy accounts the PDIC has uncovered so far?
The BSP wants to investigate all Legacy deposits not only because they want to nail de los Angeles, but also, I suspect, because the PDIC is borrowing billions for its guarantee fund.
Don’t you think the BSP has a right to know whether the PDIC will, in fact, pay out all that money to legitimate depositors?
Unfortunately, the PDIC says the bank-secrecy law prohibits them from opening the books.
That may be true. But it’s also true that your brother is the president of the PDIC. It doesn’t look good for him not to go the extra mile to find some way to involve the BSP in all this.
You have a lot to explain, Mr. Speaker.
Your brother’s predecessor at the PDIC, Ricardo Tan, alleged you asked him to go easy on Legacy. The House Committee on Banks and Financial Institutions tried to pass a bill to legalize Ponzi schemes for two years. (See my column, “An Angel with Coin,” September 3, 2008.) You sponsored a bill doubling insurance guarantee for rural banks. Your brother is rushing to pay depositors.
Those things don’t look good in the context of millions you invested with de los Angeles, don’t you agree?
We have a right to know all about your P18 million or P20 million with de los Angeles. We pay your salary. You are our servant.
Did you use the money to buy shares in one or more of his rural banks, or did you simply loan it to him? Was the loan with or without collateral?
Did you deposit your millions in double-your-money accounts with one bank or in different banks?
Please don’t say, “Ano ako, gago?”
Just show us the accounts in your name, and we will do the math. Bare it all, Mr. Speaker.
Hugs and kisses,
The Senate’s resident loon says she will defend Mike Arroyo as long as it can be reasonably justified. Unfortunately, reason is not a common trait among the irrational.
Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III gives a rundown of the administration’s tacitics. Published in Business World’s Yellow Pad, 16 February, 2009.
Tactics of Coercion and Deception
by Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III
The do-gooder becomes the accused. Hasn’t this been the pattern under the Gloria Arroyo administration to cover up crime and corruption?
General Francisco Gudani, who revealed the systematic cheating in the 2004 elections that manufactured an Arroyo victory, was relieved from his post for disobeying an order that barred him from testifying in a Senate investigation. Jun Lozada, who exposed the kickback relating to the national broadband network deal, has been charged with corruption.
In the inquiry conducted by the Lower House on the Ponzi operations of the collapsed Legacy group of companies, congressmen associated with Speaker Boy Nograles have concentrated their fire on the regulators, not on the fraudsters. Nograles has acknowledged having made substantial investments in Legacy.
And there is the case of barring seven firms and an individual from bidding on World Bank-financed contracts. Arroyo’s lapdogs in the Senate have trained their guns on the World Bank, not on those found guilty of collusion, not on the accomplices and patron. In the meantime, the Lower House has cleared the two Filipino firms that the World Bank blacklisted.
The administration’ s message to the public is dark and dreadful. Don’t mess with us. We will use all means, legal or otherwise, to destroy whistleblowers.
And by attacking the truth-seekers, the administration creates a red herring. The public’s attention is diverted from the investigation of criminal cases to the pursuit of specious issues.
Take a closer look at the ongoing inquiry into the World Bank’s disbarment of several parties with respect to the bidding on the Philippine roads project. The faction of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor Santiago is trying to paint the World Bank as the villain. Enrile’s Senate is not interested in the collusive practices that tainted the Philippine roads project. Enrile, Santiago, Joker Arroyo, and the like are more interested in vilifying and punishing the World Bank. They accuse the Bank of withholding information and not cooperating with the Senate. Thus, they have moved to issue a subpoena against the World Bank country director, Bert Hoffman.
But here are the facts:
Two World Bank documents are relevant in this case: the Referral Report and the sanctions process document (or Notice).
The World Bank has shared with the Philippine government, specifically the Department of Finance and the Ombudsman, the Referral Report. The Referral Report contains the investigation’ s findings. But of course, it is the Philippine government’s responsibility, not the World Bank’s, to determine whether the country’s laws have been violated. In other words, it is the government’s task to conduct its own investigation on the basis of Philippine laws.
According to the World Bank, “Referral Reports are written to help guide the national investigation and thus typically do not contain all the details and supporting evidence obtained through the Bank’s own investigation.” The Referral Report serves as “an offer to begin a cooperative relationship between the Bank and the Philippine investigative agency, if the investigative agency so desires.”
On the other hand, the Notice provides the detailed evidence and the reasons as to why the parties have been disbarred. The Notice was given to the disbarred firms and individuals so they can have the “information to understand the Bank’s arguments to be in a position to properly defend themselves.” This is in accordance with the basic principle of fairness.
Enrile, Santiago and their faction are angry at the Bank for not providing them the detailed evidence (including the link between Mike Arroyo and a disbarred contractor), which can be found in the Notice.
But then, the Notice is intended for the respondents, not for other parties. But the World Bank has likewise clarified that if the Philippine government “is seeking to investigate the case [it] can always ask the Bank for additional information.”
Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez make a fuss over the World Bank ‘s statement that the Referral Report “should not be cited or referred to in the course of any investigation, report or administrative, civil or criminal proceedings undertaken by the government.”
Are the Finance Secretary and Ombudsman intellectually deficient, or are they plain lazy? What they should do is painstakingly conduct their own investigation. The Referral Report does not intend to provide all the detailed evidence. Further, the World Bank’s administrative rules may differ from those of the Philippine government. And what is contained in the Referral Report does not make any judgment on whether Philippine laws have been violated.
But we should stress this important development: The World Bank has said that “both the Referral Report and the documentary evidence are in the hands of the Office of the Ombudsman. We believe the country has the relevant body of information to consider in carrying out whatever investigation the Office of Ombudsman deems appropriate.” Ombudsman Gutierrez has acknowledged receiving the documentary evidence during a Senate hearing.
There is no reason for Enrile to subpoena the World Bank’s country director. First of all, it will be a breach of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Articles of Agreement, of which the Philippines is a signatory. Article VII, Section 8 states that “all governors, executive directors, alternates, officers and employees of the Bank shall be immune from legal process with respect to acts performed by them in their official capacity except when the Bank waives this immunity.”
Further, the Philippine government, through the Ombudsman, has all the relevant information and documentary evidence, making a World Bank testimony redundant. If the Senate wants to get the information, it should summon the Ombudsman, not the World Bank.
But Enrile, Santiago and company will force the subpoena. That’s part of the game. Enrile asserted (in Filipino): “What do I care about their immunity. Then let Hoffman invoke it.”
The trick is to change the game, create a new issue that will make the World Bank the villain. Enrile and Santiago will raise the flag of nationalism, paint the World Bank as arrogant, and make the real issue of collusion and claims of corruption vanish from center stage.
And to hell with the international repercussions.
Sta. Ana coordinates Action for Economic Reforms (www.aer.ph) .
Over at Filipino Voices, Dean Jorge Bocobo asked “Why not jail Daniel Smith in America?”
For one thing, I think it is impossible to guarantee the safety and security of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, his organs or his appendages in a jail like Bilibid Prison in Muntinglupa. My proof of this is the further assertion that we cannot guarantee the safety and security of even Filipino citizens in Bilibid Prison, much less a hated icon of Yanqui Imperialism and US Aggression.
If and when he is put there by the Lynch Mob, and if and when he is gang-raped himself and we find our proud country and its infamous jail system all over the CNN-CBS-NBC evening news or even BBC specials, then will we rue having insisted on punishing him here.
Take a good look at Daniel.
He’s not in danger of being raped by 300 pound bubbas in an American prison?
Prisons are the same all over the world. The only difference in any prison is how much money or power a prisoner has.
Here’s an oft-told prison tale about new inmates with powerful connections.
A convict is sent to prison. He knows what awaits him there so he calls up a friend who has connections inside.
His friend assures him he has nothing to worry about because the inmates have been told to respect him.
He enters prison and the “mayor” meets him.
“Boss, I am going to take care of you. Don’t worry, you won’t be raped.” says the “mayor”.
The mayor takes the prisoner into a room full of mean rough types.
The new inmate is terrified. He asks the mayor, “Why are these people eyeing me that way; I thought you were going to help me?”
Mayor replies, “You are a privileged prisoner. You get to choose whom you’re going to marry.”
Danny Boy is going to be someone’s bitch in prison. The only difference between Leavenworth and Munitinglupa is the size of the prisoners.
Lance Corporal Daniel Smith was convicted and sentenced to do forty years. That’s enough time for him to learn how to lie face down and enjoy it.
Fucking rapist deserves to become a Prisoner’s Delight!
PDEA Director Dionisio Santiago is to suspected drug pushers and users what Gen. Jovito Palparan was to suspected communists and their sympathizers. Both are a greater threat to democracy and the rule of law than all the drug dealers and communists combined.
Rina-Jimenez David, a columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, cites some very interesting statistics that support what I’ve been saying all along: due process and the rule of law is not safe in the hands of PDEA Director Santiago.
Tasked by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to look into the reasons for the imbroglio between the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Department of Justice regarding the prosecution of drug cases, Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera dug up a number of surprising statistics.
Of the drug cases that made it to court, 78 percent are pending, with the number of accused convicted and acquitted both standing at 7 percent. Some 6 percent of cases have been dismissed, while 2 percent have been provisionally dismissed.
Looking into the reasons for acquittal of the accused, Devanadera found that the biggest number — 29 percent — was “irregularity of arrest, search and seizure.”
“Reasonable doubt” was the reason given for 21 percent of cases, while “insufficiency of evidence” was the reason in 12 percent of the cases.
Other significant reasons were: “inconsistencies in testimony” (13 percent), “failure to observe Sec. 21, RA [Republic Act] 9150,” on the custody of evidence (9 percent), and “non-coordination with PDEA” (5 percent).
Streamlining the process from arrest, prosecution and then conviction of the accused in drug cases isn’t as simple as it seems, Devanadera admits, though she says she knows where it can begin: with the PDEA itself. “Do you know that agents aren’t even aware of the Miranda rule?” she asks incredulously, referring to the rule that requires law enforcement officials to inform suspects of their rights, otherwise the arrest may be deemed irregular and may thus be voided.
The poor rate of prosecution has been harped upon in the course of investigations into the case of the so-called “Alabang Boys.” But if almost a third of all acquittals can be traced to “irregularities” in the manner of arrest, search and seizure, perhaps prosecutors have good reason to insist on what congressmen have dismissed as “technicalities.”
“It’s all right that they be enthusiastic in pursuit of their quarry,” comments Devanadera, “but they must still adhere by the rules.”
And just to remove any doubt in people’s minds that he really does not give a shit about due process, Director Santiago defended his agency’s “operational lapses”
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has defended alleged “operational lapses” by its agents when they arrested three suspects in a high profile drug bust last year.
In a statement, PDEA Director General Dionisio Santiago said that the nine-hour lapse between the arrest and the inventory of the evidence “did not affect the integrity of the evidence confiscated from the boys,” referring to Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph, and Joseph Tecson.
Santiago cited Section 21, Article 2 of Republic Act 9165 which stated that the “apprehending team, having initial custody and control of the seized illegal drugs shall immediately, after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same.”
But Santiago said that the provisions in the law “did not dictate that the items seized be inventoried and photographed right then and there at the place of the arrest in case of warrantless seizures.”
Therefore, Santiago said, the claim that the procedures were “baseless and held no water” was “designed to confabulate matters to veer the mind of the public from the fact that dangerous drugs were seized from [the suspects],”
In a separate interview, PDEA spokesman Derrick Carreon also denied claims by the suspects that they were manhandled by anti-narcotics agents and that they were not drug users.
“Are they saying that we fabricated the drug tests?’ he said. Santiago said that they were “disheartened” by alleged efforts to discredit PDEA and its agents.
Didn’t Santiago brag about planting drugs on suspects?