Huwebes, Pebrero 17, 2011

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How Philippine public officials rob the coffer




Does Senator Migz Zubiri know that his staff allegedly pocketed eight percent of the almost P600 thousand of the  countryside development  fund infamously known as pork barrel he gave recently to each of the selected mayors in Pangasinan?
When he was in this province he announced to all and sundry that if any of his staff asks for a share in the money intended for the infrastructure project, concerned individuals should inform him pronto.
Here is a problem now: A mayor is persistent to get the cell phone number of the senator because the contractor who bided a school building project has told him that aside from being kept in the dark about the projects, the staff of Zubiri has already taken the eight percent from the whole payment that should go to the contractor..
***
“I thought the percentages taken by senator or congressman run up to 25 percent? Why in this case a minuscule of eight percent only?” I posed to the mayor.
He told me that greed is mitigated when it’s a school building, unlike other infrastructure projects funded by the pork barrel.
In my earlier column, a contractor told me that a solon pocketed personally up to 40 percent of the pork if the project is flood control like dredging. He said accomplishment report of the river bed is hard to verify by government officials who dare to investigate it.
Anyway, nobody investigates it since everybody is in cahoots with somebody.
Woe to lawmakers in other countries. Philippine politicians are the luckiest animal that ever live in the universe.
Wasn’t our country one of the most corrupt economies in the Asian region according to the Hong Kong-based Political & Economic Risk Consultancy?
***
That’s why months before the national election in May 10, 2010, former president Gloria M. Arroyo approved P6 billion flood control project for her favorite solons to implement.
One town in Northern Luzon was a recipient of a P300 million flood control project. But during the wrath of Typhoon Juan in October 2010, 10 dikes in this place collapsed. Reason: Sub-standard projects done by contractors.
Was it because of the prohibited percentage asked by the lawmaker that made the contractor built a sub-standard project?
In that P300 million infrastructure, the solon laughed to the banks with a staggering P120 million commission.
Susmariosep, who said that public office is a thankless job?
***
These are the ways officials of a Local Government Unit in a province, city, or town rob taxpayers’ money.
A veteran official of an LGU who knows the nuances of corruption told me that a P10 million road project would cost only two-third.
He said however that this would not swell to an unimaginable proportion if the following officials would not pocket a significant portions of the P10 million.
He explained that before the project would be constructed it should first undergoes the following:
a) Publication of the project in a newspaper of general circulation or in a conspicuous place; b)Securing prospective bidder; c) Filing of the bidders of the documents’) Pre-Bidding Conference; and e) Submission of the Bid .
He told me that the engineering office only published the total price of P10 million. But it did not put the following costs like administrative overhead, 3.5 %; Value Added Tax, 12 %; Contractor’s Profit, 10%; Overhead Contingency, 10 %.
He said it takes only three winning bidders for the final bid to start...

Can a Col. Borromeo do a Col. Rabusa?

By Mortz Ortigoza


Retired Colonel George Rabusa did not cast accusation at allegedly corrupt generals with clean hands.
He was accused by the Ombudsman (government anti-graft prosecuting body) of three counts of perjury and unlawfully acquiring property and vehicles amounting to more than P43 million. His net worth rose from P618, 000 in 1990 to P7.18 million in 2003 despite his annual salary then being less than P275, 000.
This culprit is a member of Class 1981 of the elite Philippine Military Academy that practices ostracism among fellow cadets who lie, cheat, and steal.
Rabusa’s expose is his come-on for the Ombudsman to include him as state-witness.
As state-witness, he would no longer be going to Muntinlupa (National Penitentiary) in case he would be convicted because of incriminating pieces of evidence prepared by the Ombudsman against him.
Instead those who would be in the jail house would be his former chiefs of staff Angelo Reyes, Roy Cimatu, and Diomedio Villanueva (susmariosep, all four-star generals who should be the epitome of PMA motto’s “Integrity”!) who would be embracing the proverbial cold grills of the detention cell as they would be charged with a non-bailable plunder cases.
***
Lt. Colonel Dionisio Borromeo is a soft-spoken former Chief of Police of Dagupan City. A decorated Philippine Military Academy Class 1988 graduate who was implicated as the protector of the mother-of-all shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) dens in the Philippines. The illegal drugs were found inBarangay Upper Bimmotobot, Naguillan, La Union years ago. The worth of the prohibited stuffs he allegedly protected was estimated to run to P1 trillion.
As Reyes, Villanueva, and Cimatu still roam the country as freemen, Col. Borromeo has long been sleeping on the cold floor of the jail in La Union.
Many people did not believe Borromeo is the sole protector of that mammoth drug hoard. They believed he was only a pawn sacrificed in the games of generals at the Philippine National Police.
Can Borromeo do a Rabusa?
***
In case he will do that, this country will be an exciting place to live in again.
If Egypt got a corrupt President Hosni Mubarak, the Philippines will be clamping a dozen of mini-Mubaraks in a non-bailable charge circus.
Can you imagine drooling readers and viewers hook on their newspaper and TV set everyday as the embezzling case is being sensationalized by the acrimonious media?
***
Holly Molly, what’s this? After I finished encoding this lowly column, the website of Bombo-Radyo Dagupan on its February 3, 2011 news release said that Colonel Borromeo has just left jail by bailing-out P1 million at Branch 33 of the Regional Trial Court under Judge Rose Mary Molina-Alim who is tasked to hear his case.
“Evidence against him is not strong,” as what the judge opined.
Did the prosecutor oppose this application for bail?
According to Bombo, prosecutors handling the case were not able to file within the filing- period their Motion for Reconsideration (MR) as they just receive the judge’s resolution for bail last Monday. The Rules of Court says that MR should commence within five (5) days after the receipt of the resolution otherwise it would be final...

Corrupt Philippines’ generals should commit suicide, too


Probably retired four-star-general Angelo Reyes is a believer of the credo of the Japanese warrior class.
For a samurai, a graceful exit from a shameful act is through the tip of the sword that he plunged into his heart or abdomen. The coup d’grace is by him pushing the sword upward.
In the feudal period in Japan, samurai considered it a privilege and duty to commit hara-kiri, rather than live with shame in their lifetime.
Reyes used his .45 calibre pistol to shot his heart rather than be in jail without bail for a probable plunder case.
Marine Lt. Colonel Vlad Mata, a graduate of the National Defense College of the Philippines and married to Japanese told me otherwise.
He said Reyes is probably a believer of Tom Cruise’s movie “A Few Good Men” than Cruise’s “The Last Samurai.”
In the said flick, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Andrew Markinson, in his extravagantly decorated full class A full blue dress uniform, faced the mirror and shot himself in the mouth with a .45 calibre pistol.
Col. Markinson was involved in an anomaly at the U.S Marine based in Guantanamo, Cuba.
Can’t those suspected malefactors who amassed government funds follow Markinson or General Hasegawa of the “The Last Samurai”?
It seems incriminatory evidences are all over former Generals Ligot, Villanueva, Cimatu, and other retired and incumbent generals in case some whistleblowers come from the wood works to collaborate what Retired Colonel George Rabusa has exposed.
The shame they and their families would face would be unbearable especially if they are convicted by the court of laws.
They would be the object of ire and ridicule by people who know them.
Look at Retired General Carlos Garcia and his family. Before the eyes of the unwashed they are scoundrels based on the preponderances of evidences thrown to them. The honor, prestige, and wealth the family have stolen, er, reaped before have diminished.
Can they still walk in the public with their heads up?
Thus many people doff their hats to Gen. Reyes. At least he has delicadeza to end his life because of the shame he brought to himself and his family.
Curse those callous-faced generals who still circulate in public with their stolen wealth.
The honourable sacrifice they can give to the mother land is to cock their lethal .45 pistol and pump a single bullet to their heart.
“Wag na naman sir,” my friend Tado, who worked as waiter at the officers club at Camp Aguinaldo, cried.
“Why?” I posed to him.
“Pambihira naman kayo, pag nag-suicide ang mga generals natin na kawatan, puro colonel na lang ang maiiwan sa atin. Wala na tayong generals na ma-i-pagyayabang sa peace keeping missions natin sa United Nations,” he emphatically continued.
(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

Pacquiao Should KO Mosley to Prove he is better than Mayweather

by MORTZ ORTIGOZA

Since our dream of a mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather , Jr. is as elusive as the conclusion of a peace treaty between the Israelis and the
Palestinians, then we should satisfy ourselves to use as yardstick the impending rumble between Manny and Sugar Shane Mosley to conclude who is the most superior between them . Mosley is the less shot
Compared to the last three pugs Manny has fought, Shane is the less shot.
Miguel Cotto was resurrected from his death bed by Bob Arum when he fought Manny. The slow moving and Top Rank’s over-hyped Antonio Margarito – who “hanged” Cotto to the guillotine – was a damaged “goods” (of Mosley’s TKO) when he fought Manny.
Joshua Clottey was a joke after he only satisfied himself in re-arranging the face of Manny from Tom Cruise to Walter Matthau, and then sandbagged himself the whole night
that nearly killed some spectators in Texas with boredom.
Pacquiao has tasted TKO
Cotto, Margarito, and Pacquaio have already experienced what was liked to be in the dream-land at the dais. Mosley has not.
The only experience he got near a knock-out is a knockdown from the bigger and taller Vernon Forrest.
This loss to Forrest (twice) is the argument that his two losses to Winky Wright, and his draw to Sergio Mora is about the size (man that was a joke, er, duke in the Light
Middleweight from a natural Welterweight) and style.
Mosley’s go-go style rumble was no match to a turtle shelled but sneaking hitter Wrights. Mosley offensive style was no match to a long reached Forrest and the run-a-away
defensive style of Mora.
The loss of the Pomona, California native to puncher Cotto was disputable.
His then trainer and father Jack said that Shane has been undermined by a breathing problem because of a damaged tissue that made his clashes with Cotto and Fernando Vargas (twice) sluggish.
But after he undergone surgery for that nuisance tissue that blocked 60% of oxygen he breathed, his performances did not only improve. He knocked out big time two
Abram’s Tank poster boys Ricardo Mayorga and Margarito.
Motor Mouth Mayweather did not even knock down Mosley Even Money May schooled Shane in their last fight, he did not knock him down.But if Manny send him to the canvass, that would be a big blow to Floyd. That would be a mother of all rebuttals Pacnuts could argue with Floyd freaks.
As if Pacquaio has knocked –out too the swashbuckling motor mouth of Nevada native.
Then he could say adieu with Floyd, and instead concentrate for his remiss work in congress (Remember, he kept pre-occupying himself in boxing when he was elected to fulfill a full-time job crafting laws for the betterment of his people and not for himself only) if he intends to win a senatorial and a presidential posts that he wants to aspire in the future.
(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

Tax cheats



After 15 years, this lowly columnist who is used to see the lowly edifices of Dagupan City for decades, has visited Cebu City once again recently.
Susmariosep, I was overwhelmed by the progress “Ceboom” has been reaping. Skyscrapers that are mostly high ends, and three to five stars hotels are everywhere.
I thought I was either in Seoul in South Korea or Guangdong in Mainland China– what with those chinky-eyed tourists who walked in the streets and hotel lobby by batches.
To those who just learned how to read economics, Cebu is eight times bigger than our city in terms of yearly appropriation if we base it on our still-stalled and politicized P568 million annual budget against that Visayan City’s P4.4 billion.
I drooled more as “Ceboom” jeans and boots sporting mayor Mike Rama has concluded on his speech in English (Cebuanos are not good in Tagalog, they are a disaster. They pronounced “pig” as “peg” “shit” as “shet”) to us mostly Filipino-speaking delegates of the National Hog Summit at the convention hall of the swanky Water Front Hotel & Casino:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, after this summit, I have some appointments to attend.
I asked your indulgence to go early because this is not an ordinary city. This is a highly urbanized city. This is the queen city of the Philippines. To all and sundry, daghang salamat (many thanks)”.
***
After I arrived from the Queen’s City, I waved my Cebu’s Sun- Star and Freeman daily papers for media men in a press conference in Dagupan to see.
“Look here, each of these tabloids average 32 pages that, holly-molly, are being circulated everyday against Pangasinan’s pathetic newspapers that average eight pages only!”
Manila Bulletin scribe Orly Guirao told me that the thickness of Cebu’s tabloids is the result of the city being highly urbanized. Northern Times publisher Lelia Sy, who crisscrossed the archipelago as PAPI ‘s (Publishers Association Of The Philippines, Inc.) hot shot, quipped that the thickness of the Cebuano papers happened because national broadsheets arrived late in that city from imperial Manila.
“Sun-Star and Freeman are the substitute of Philippine Daily Inquirer and other national dailies there,” she stressed.
***
Mayor Ernie Balolong of Urbiztondo, a big time hog and poultry raisers himself, could only shake his head on the spate of unabated smuggling of bargain-priced pork from the US and Canada in Cebu that threatens the local hog raisers there.
He told me there that swine businessmen in Pangasinan are smiling these days.
He said that after the Christmas and New Year celebrations, the supply of hogs in the market were depleted thus the increased gate price of live pigs for meat vendors.
***
Abono Party- list boss Rosendo So said pork is ubiquitously peddled by vendors in bicycle that roam the villages and boondocks.
Somebody told me that the proliferation of P80 a kilo pork there happened because their local officials are bribed by smugglers.
“Son of a gun, parang jueteng sa amin sa Luzon. Mi tong ang mga opisyales to buy their silence,” I exclaimed.
****
Pangasinan politicians who attended the pig summit were Abono Partylist Robert Raymund Estrella, mayors Balolong, and Leoncio Saldivar of San Nicolas. Ex-Mayor Lito Peralta and his lovely wife who is the vice mayor of Balungao were there, too.
National officials who graced the event were Senator Kiko Pangilinan and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
The event was steered by Abono Big boss Rosendo So whose knowledge in data about importation mesmerized the participants all over the country.
***
Somebody told me that a P700 M budget for 2011 (instead of the present P560 million) is possible in Dagupan. But because of “tax cheats” businessmen, Dagupan City reels with lethargic tax collection effort as compared to neighbouring cities Urdaneta and Baguio.
My source at city hall told me that corporations registered at the Security Exchange Commission like Phinma -run University of Pangasinan religiously pays P2.1 million a year business tax compared to family-owned universities and colleges that paid an incredible P40,000 average a year only.
Hardwares’ like Handyman and DIY that are located at the malls paid an averaged annual tax of P150, 000 a year, higher than the traditional hard wares that do business at the city’s peripheries.
My source at Urdaneta City told me that the city government billed Magic Mall there by P1.360 million.
He could not believe that Nepo Mall in Dagupan- that is two times bigger than Magic Mall in Urdaneta- pays only P600, 000 to Dagupan.
Susmariosep, Is Nepo playing around with its book?
Are the Perezes (Amadito and son Bobom) who run Urdaneta are better than the leaders of Dagupan?
Take for instance a lowly Bank of Makati in Dagupan that pays P400 thousand annually. Its bigger renowned counterpart with an initial of “B” pays only P22 thousand a year.
My source at the city hall told me that they will publish the top 300 taxpayers in the Dagupan for 2010 so the people can see who pays how much, and who pays less.
Does paying less means manipulating their books to escape paying the correct taxes?
This incredibility of taxes my dear readers is reminiscent of that unknown contractor Elaine Gardiola of Batangas who landed as the top 500 taxpayer in 2009 of the country, while billionaire-boxer Manny Pacquiao landed at number 13. Gardiola tax was P 59.54 million, while the Filipino superman – but who does not have superman’s handsome face – was paying only P 7.41 million.
Oh my Gaaad, Nora Aunor was wrong when she cried “Walang Himala!”.
My gay neighbor Swarding was correct when he quipped: “Gaga, merong himala!”. At ang himala ay nasa Dagupan lang.
Geez man, cheaters are bane. They gnaw at the economic fibres of our development.
(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

SM is coming to Dagupan City

by Mortz C. Ortigoza
Has Dagupan City Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez given-up her stance that she and the majority members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod (lawmaking body) can gather and identify who among the 381 tricycle operators can be given a franchise?
Her stance and those of her allies at the SP, drew criticism from other quarters that accused them of usurpation of an executive function – a criminally punishable act.
After they passed the ordinance on franchise, Mayor Lim did not think twice to veto it.

***
In a tit-for-tat power-play-scenario that I told the Vice Mayor recently, she and the SP can override it with two-third votes, but warned her that Lim would expectedly run to the Regional Trial Court and file a Petition for Declaratory Relief with injunction.
It means the mayor will question the actuation of the vice mayor and the SP in court because of his belief that it is his work who and whom will be given a franchise.
“Ang mangyari po after three years there will still be no franchise kasi either of you will outdo each other in petitioning the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court,” I told the vice mayor in the vernacular after I ran out of English inside the session hall.
***
My source at the city hall told me that last Tuesday the vice mayor met the mayor to patch up the franchise’s stalemate.
He said the vice mayor and her allies have no intention to override the veto.
Is it of the no-franchise scare for the 381 new and old (whose franchised ended after the end of Mayor Al Fernandez’s administration) applicants? Or there is a deeper reason that made the vice mayor blinks?
(NOte: Was my source wrong when he informed me about Belen’s no intention to veto? Just this morning, September 13, The S.P has overrode the mayor. But the mayor seems not interested to question that at the court. Was he and the vice mayor agreed for something on their Tuesday meeting?)
**
The ongoing construction of the 5.8 hectares two-level Robinson’s Mall in Calasiao, Pangasinan was the reason that prompted Hans Sy, , scion of the founder of SM Prime Holding, Inc., to meet Mayor Lim at his office in Dagupan City.
According to my source, he agreed in principle with the mayor that before he builds the family-owned super retail store SM at its more than 5-hectare land in Brgy. Tambac, his family should consider the geographical and political realities of the city.
These realities are the conversion of those agricultural (fishpond) lands to commercial that need the imprimatur of the councilors in a resolution.
***
One of the curious questions that cropped-up after the mayor’s announcement:
Would Lim opening the city to the Sys undermine his chain of Magic Malls not only in Dagupan but in the neighboring towns of Mangaldan, Malasiqui, and Lingayen?
My source told me that Benjie said that as a mayor he has a higher calling in serving the people and not just his business interest.
He explained the upsides if the city hosts SM: It would jack-up the valuation of the real property tax the city could collect; increase tourism; and other multiplier effects that would bode well for the city residents.
But would this SM thing rekindle the old rift between the mayor and the vice mayor who have just kissed and made up after former vetoed the tricycle franchise?
Vice Mayor Fernandez as we know is the owner of the much bigger chain of CSI malls that competes with Benjie’s Magic, all over the province..
Would Belen and his majority of dads at the City Council block heaven and earth, hammer and thong, just to torpedo the conversion of the land at Tambac?
Or would the greater number of pro-Belen councilors abandon her and support Benjie in the number games to accommodate SM?
Remember, this is not between the devil and the big blue sea.
Susmariosep, this is between CSI and the Sys of SM who have much bigger, wider, and deeper pocket to change the perception and loyalty of everybody.
(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

Pacquiao vs. Mosley by Court Injunction


by Mortz Ortigoza

The "Vote" of Pacquaio in Twitter is bad taste in the mouth. Voting him for congress work was a waste of precious government funds. He could not even attend a historical session recently that voted for an Article of Impeachment for the Senate to judge an alleged corrupt and incompetent Ombudsperson. The chap is only in Baguio-- a four-hour ride to the House of Representatives. Dereliction of Duty at its worst!
**** 

 What if a Filipino taxpayer files a Petition for Declaratory Relief at the Regional Trial Court near his residence by asking it to decide pronto if world-class boxer Manny Pacquiao can just kept leaving his congressional works because he trains and boxes big time abroad?

What if the complainant asks the court for a preventive injunction or temporary restraining order as the judge diligently decides if Pacquaio has patently abandoned his fulltime congressional job in lieu of the lucrative hurt business?
I wrote this article with concern after reading the recent issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer on the Code of Conduct issued by House of Representatives Speaker Sonny Belmonte to congressmen to follow.

I wrote this article to remind everybody that Pacquaio has a higher calling than the glory of pugilism.
Pacquiao has contract with the Filipinos

Like Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s leader social contract with the people, Manny has a contract with the Filipinos and not with Bob Arum after he was sworn to his congressional job.
That contract is to dutifully do his responsibilities in a full time capacity in terms of regular public hearing, identifying government projects, researching, dialoguing, debating, and crafting laws at the August Chamber.
All of these are for the good of the Filipinos.
These are not about how to earn hundreds of millions of dollars for him and the honour his boxing brought to his country.

Court should decide that Code of Conduct prohibits also solon working in another private job

What the Code of Conduct -that was obviously a copy cat of the laws on lawmakers in the Constitution - says: “A member may not receive compensation or any pecuniary interest and may not permit compensation or any pecuniary interest to accrue to the member’s beneficial interest from any source, the receipt of which would occur by virtue of influence improperly exerted from the member’s position in Congress”,
“A member shall not hold any other office or employment in the government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled-corporations or subsidiaries, during the member’s term without forfeiting the member’s seat in the House”
Pecuniary interest in working full time or part-time in the private sector is apparently silent there.
But this silence could not be an imprimatur for a lawmaker to work in the private sector despite his working fulltime as elective official.

Congressmen would emulate Manny’s working in another job

We should not ignore this silence because this could open a Pandora box for congressmen to emulate what Pacquaio has been manifestly and incessantly been doing outside his congressional work.
A Petition for Declaratory Relief and a TRO for his upcoming Mosley fights can serve as a test case to preserve the long time ignored mockery of a public office.
Pacquiao should know that he is not elected to serve Saranggani only. He should know that he is elected to serve the Philippines.
His office is not like that of a localized Board Member who can be employed in the private sector. His office is a nationalized one that entails full time work.
His office is not covered by the Local Government Code. His office is covered by the Constitution.
If he wants to box, he resigns from his congressional post.
If he wants to be a good congressman, he stops to box.
Upright Filipinos don’t want a pound-for-pound king who masquerades as congressman.
They want a bustling country -where everybody benefits economically- steered by a full time congressman that does not only enrich for himself but help enriched his marginalized constituents.
(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)