Posts from the ‘Only in the Philippines’ Category

I Wish I Were Jeane Napoles (Part 2).


To further infuriate the dozens of readers who lambasted my previous blog on celebrity daughter/socialite/designer/magna cum laude/jetsetter Jeane Napoles, I am going to reiterate my sarcastic declaration:  This Jeane Napoles is a lucky lucky girl.  Why?

Just look at the celebrities she is rubbing shoulders with.

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Nysnc lead singer and actor Justin Timberlake!!!

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Teenage singer sensation Justin Bieber!!!!

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Mega Action Star Tom Cruise…este…Steve Carrell.

and…(hold your breath!)

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The President of the Philippines himself,  President Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III !!!! My goodness gracious!!!! Lucky lucky girl indeed!!!

Well, you cannot blame belle riche Jeane Napoles for rising to the level of the President Pnoy.   Just like the latter, she also has a thing for Porsches especially sports cars and SUVs …..

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Too bad that Pnoy does not have a  Porsche Cayenne and his Porsche 911  is second-hand (was sold already).  At this point in time we can consider Jeane Napoles is better off than him in this category!    Mind you we are not even counting the dozen of luxury cars (Porsche, Range Rovers, BMW, Mercedes, Hummer, etc.) allegedly owned by her mom, the celebrity detainee Janet Lim Napoles.   Lucky lucky girl indeed this Jeane Napoles!!! (now, my readers, please take note of the sarcasm!).

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Patingin-tingin na lang si Pnoy. Samantala si Jeane, 2 and Porsche!!!

Talking about rising up to the level of the President, there is another Porsche driver who I suddenly remembered:  Customs clerk Paulino Elevado (teak, what happened to his case?).

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Iba talaga ang sumasakay ng Porsche!!! (Porsche drivers are one of a kind!).

Pinoy ako, Pinoy Tayo…


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(photo credit: abs-cbnnews.com)

If there is a crystal clear testament to the Pinoy craziness, it is photo of a man picking up bullets while Philippine soldiers rid Zamboanga City of Moro  National Liberation Front (MNLF) attackers.  Sayang ba ang brass? 

Sin More, Suffer Less.


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If  you were caught stealing a $500 cellular phone in the Philippines, chances are you will be locked up in a hot and piss-smelling crowded jail for 7 years.

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However, if you are charged or convicted with a non-bailable crime like plunder (stealing more than 50 million pesos from the government), chances are you will be detained in a military hospital or jailed in your very own sprawling mountain resort.  And if you’re lucky enough, you may be pardoned shortly and able to run for public office (and win!).

Is this crazy?  Only in the Philippines its not.

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In the case of celebrity/billionaire/detainee/alleged scam artist Janet Lim Napoles,  the meaning of special treatment of a high profile detention prisoner has gone to a record high.

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First, imagine the country’s most wanted woman (with a ten million pesos bounty) surreptitiously slipping through the tight security cordon and surrender to the country’s most powerful man – the President himself.  Talk about Presidential special treatment!

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Second, Janet Lim Napoles was allegedly escorted by  President Aquino to Camp Crame, the seat of the Philippine National Police for “proper turnover.”

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Third, with no less than the second most powerful man in the Philippines, Vice President Mar Roxas and the Chief of the PNP making sure that  the most valuable detainee has been transferred to a relatively comfortable detention center at the PNP Camp Sto. Domingo.

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Fourth, Janet Lim Napoles is given round the clock tight security by the elite Special Action Forces of the PNP and medical check up by PNP doctors.

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Fifth, Janet Lim Napoles has always been represented by the best lawyers in the country.  She was once  represented by the Marcos Ochoa Serapio and Tan (MOST) Law Office, allegedly the most influential law firm in the Philippines today (Ochoa – being the President Aquino’s Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa). (source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/445587/law-firm-denies-lawyering-for-businesswoman-in-alleged-pork-barrel-scam).

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Janet’s current lawyer is a veteran litigator and well-connected  Atty Lorna Kapunan.  She is allegedly the former law partner of Presidential Spokesman Atty. Edwin Lacierda. (source: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top-news/18669-other-big-name-fugitives-urged-to-surrender-to-the-president).

Who said that being a big time crook (or charged of being one in the case of Napoles) does not have its perks?

If we do not abolish Pork, Pnoy may become the Biggest “Baboy.”


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Let us say, the 1 million plus angry Filipinos who went to Luneta today are successful in petitioning President Benigno “Pnoy” Aquino to abolish the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the pork barrel.  What will happen next?

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One thing sure is that all that money that Pnoy will deprive the Senators and congressmen will become his very own very bulky “pork barrel.”   Instead of money going to these lawmakers, it will be Pnoy who will disburse funds for priority development projects.  If Pnoy thinks some province or city needs funds, it is up for him to provide it directly.  All in between who have allegedly misused it and involved in the pork barrel scam are left out in the cold.

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This puts Pnoy in an all-power political position.  Those who are accustomed to a “pork diet” will surely fall in line to get it and do whatever it takes to get it.  Even to sell their mothers to have it.

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Pumapatak na naman ang Pera sa Bubong ng Bahay!


Let us start with the problem:

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Every 21 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness.

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780 Million people lack access to clean water.

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The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.

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Potable water resources in Saudi Arabia may be depleted by 2050 if nothing is done.

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A liter of mineral water cost around one US dollar.

Now the opportunity….

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The Philippines is not only rich in natural resources like natural gas, minerals (gold,iron,silver, etc), it has an abundance of that one thing that is getting to be the most valuable commodity in the world: Water.

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Unlike Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich gulf nations that are bursting with oil, the Philippines get to be visited by 20 plus typhoons a year that pour millions of cubic meters of rain water.  If only this fresh and potable water is just gathered, stored, bottled and exported to countries that are badly lacking water, the Philippines will be on its way to become a world economic power.

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Water Reservoir Picture

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Imagine if only flood-prone communities in the Philippines will devise ways of gathering rain or pooling flood waters and have these purified (don’t underestimate Pinoy talent, they can always come up ingenious ways of collecting rain water!).  This potable water supply can be supplied  to Saudi Arabia the way the latter supplies the Philippines with crude as if it is flood water in that desert kingdom.  Soon the Philippines will be sending huge water tankers to the Middle East and all the other countries which have oil but no water!  Watta bright future!

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So instead of ranting about the misfortunes every time a tropical depression enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility.  Think again!  rain water coming down can be your source of fortune.

How to Fight Corruption Effectively (Part 1): Corruption-Free Highways.


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BLIND ITEM:  It is simply ironic that in a country where anti-corruption slogans and promises win elections, the home province of a top government official  (well, not President Benigno “Pnoy” Aquino as this one supposedly comes from that tiny province) has a very corrupt public work office.  The province’s major roads are often scraped open and “reconstructed” by multitude of village boys instead of heavy equipments.  Imagine portions of a 3-year old highway (relatively new) being “re-blocked” by manual labor.  No wonder the province’s road and highways become “abortion roads” just before the elections.   This makes travelers wonder if the province’s public  engineers  really finished their engineering decrees as they seem not able to design and build roads that can last more than three years.  Greatest suspicion is these engineers are in cahoots with everybody- from the high level politicians down to the lowest muscle man who work the highways.   They continue to build defective roads (those without provision for drainage or protection from landslides) in partnership with private contractors, for politicians who allegedly get hefty commissions (as much as 25%) while taking advantage of  manual labor to beef up their re-election bids (mind you, most of these road re-blocking projects are done just before the elections).

 

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Well,  this racket of corrupt politicians, inept engineers and lousy private road contractors is not news.  This has been going on for years, if not decades.

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What makes it extra disturbing this time is that the present administration used “Matuwid na Daan” as its anti-corruption banner line. In other words, this does battle cry does not go well with the fact that corrupt road builders still go unpunished in the Philippines.

How can this be stopped?

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Yes. it can.  If only the Philippine government thinks out of the box and changes the way  public infrastructures are built.  The following are three simple and achievable ways to eradicate corruption from public infrastructure development:

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First, the Philippine government should require public work engineers to undergo skill and theoretical examination.    This will determine whether they still have strong grasp of basic engineering skills in road building.  And in the spirit of transparency, these examinations should be conducted by independent groups – such as from those from the academe (UP, Ateneo and Mapua).   Surely, the result of these examinations will reveal the real capability of the country’s engineers.

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Second,the government should establish a strict project completion watchdog that will certify to the proper completion of the infrastructure project before final payment is made.  This body should be composed of engineering experts from the private sector and should use world engineering standards.  A member from the Ombudsman should be a must.

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Third, the government should equip the Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH) with sufficient construction equipment to do the work themselves.    For many decades, the DPWH relied heavily on private contractors to do their job.  This is simply ridiculous.  This is like the Philippine military relying on private security guards to handle national security.   So if the military is currently acquiring multi-million jets and ships to defend our territory, why not give the DPWH the dump trucks, bulldozers and road rollers they need for road repairs.  At the very least, it will save them from the expenses of public bidding as they can do the work themselves.

There are several other measures available but the government seems reluctant to consider it.  Simply stated, corruption is rooted on efficiency.

 

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What MR. CHEAP JUSTICE really wants to suggest:

 

If it is really impractical for the government to follow the three suggestions above, it can at least try sure shot infrastructure contractors – those who were able to  build enormous world class structures in record time but cost-efficient manner.  Who else but the prolific builders of the Philippine private sectors.

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Why don’t Pnoy rely on Shoemart Development Corporation (SMDC) or Robinson’s Land to build public highways and bridges following their fast and efficient ways of building their shopping malls?

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If SMDC is able to build extraordinary structures (like the mall on stilt SM Marikina or the gargantuan SM Aura Mall in Taguig), building bridges and highways is chicken feed.  Furthermore, Pnoy will be assured that Henry Sy or his children will destroy their billion dollar empire over a “tong pats” of let us say 10%.

Woman of the Year: BIR Commissioner Kim Henares


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Once in a blue moon, a ultra-straight, no-nonsense, and decisive individual finds his or her way to the government to bring about genuine change.  One such person is  Atenean lawyer and Georgetown alumna Kim Henares who is considered  a precious gem in President Benigno C. Aquino’s treasure chest.  True to her value, Atty. Henares continues to prove that she can bring about change in what is considered one of the corrupt bureaus of Philippine government, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

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No doubt about it, Atty. Henares is one tough cookie and is not afraid to go after the untouchables and  big fishes that evaded former BIR commissioners.  Her latest move -some say is a social suicide – even pit her  against her companeyos and companyeras in the legal profession, doctors and professionals who are not paying the proper taxes.  This is one concrete proof this iron lady  is does not fear any opposition or hurdle along the way.

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Salute to you, Atty. Henares!

Chief Justice Suggestion:  While it is true that having a fearless and honest BIR Commissioner  will set a new feat at the BIR by making taxpayers like the professionals pay the right taxes,  President Aquino should realize that tax collection will be effortless when taxpayers are convinced that taxes collected will be used wisely and properly by the government.

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As such, he should put somebody at the other end of the process –  the post audit of government fund in order to make sure that taxes collected are properly spend and not pocketed by corrupt government officials.  Stated simply, President Aquino should also put somebody like Atty. Henares at the Commission on Audit (COA).  Without a strong reviewer of how government funds are used, admirable effort by honest officials like Atty. Henares will be frustrated.

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