POSTSCRIPT / August 19, 2012 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Doctor knows GMA state of health better

POLITICAL vs MEDICAL OPINON: Between President Noynoy Aquino sitting in Malacañang and a medical doctor directly examining former President Gloria Arroyo, who knows better her state of health? Who is more credible?

Since the alleged crimes committed by the former President are already in court, should it be the President and not the judge with jurisdiction over the cases to decide if the accused be detained, freed on bail, or allowed to seek the best medical care she could find?

In continuing to bar the ailing Ms Arroyo from seeking the appropriate medical attention of the specialist of her choice, is President Aquino willing to take full responsibility for whatever might befall her — including “sudden death” as her doctor had warned?

We recall that when Ninoy Aquino (Noynoy’s father) was allowed by then President Ferdinand Marcos to go abroad in 1980 for treatment of his heart ailment, the opposition leader had already been convicted and sentenced to die by firing squad.

In contrast, Ms Arroyo still enjoys the presumption of innocence. In fact, the judge has said the evidence against her in the election fraud case is weak.

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LET’S TWEET: It is personal, but I prefer Twitter’s faster clip and the discipline of its 140-character limit per posting. For readers who have not been able to follow us on Twitter, here are some of our tweets (a few made in a light vein) since my last Postscript column:

* A good practice is to text home/friend the taxi’s plate number, your location & destination as soon as you board.

* In PAGASA weather updates, the forecaster should add at the end “Oo nga pala, meron na (o wala pa) po kaming pamasahe.”

* Did RolitoGo escape from Munti or was he kidnapped? Maybe both: he was KIDNAPPED but he ESCAPED and reported it to d police.

* Which is which: Metro Manila is sinking or Manila Bay level is rising? (PS: It is both, according to our colleague Alex Magno in his column on “subsidence” yesterday.)

* How could a National Artist award have been given to Dolphy when Malacañang, it has turned out, planned to give d same NA award to FPJ?

* If you had iPhone5, Galaxy S3 & BlackBerry Bold9900 & you want to discard one of them, which one will it be? Why?

* On SenSotto speech on RH bill, it’s better to discuss its content rather than d way it was written. Don’t evade d core issues he raised.

*If SenSotto’s writer went straight to d source of a blogger who quoted d source first, did d writer also have to credit d blogger?

* If the “facts” given by SenSotto in his speech on the RH bill are false, let’s reply with the truth, instead of attacking his person.

* Learn from the experience of LeeKuanYu’s Singapore as it moves toward the sunset. Read http://tinyurl.com/9xwst34

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JOHN HAY CASE: The Bases Conversion and Development Authority filed last Aug. 15 not one, not two, but 52 counts of malversation against developer Camp John Hay Development Corp. This is for allegedly refusing to return to BCDA 26 hotel rooms that CJH DevCo gave to BCDA in 2008 as partial payment of its lease rentals.

Before this, BCDA filed a case against CJH DevCo for allegedly squatting on BCDA premises. It turned out, however, that the very premises where CJH DevCo allegedly squatted were part of the property leased by BCDA to CJH DevCo.

Later, BCDA filed another case against CJH DevCo for alleged double sale of a log cabin. It turned out, however, that there was no sale to anyone before the cabin was given in dacion to BCDA.

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MALVERSATION?: It is curious that the case is for malversation, although it is not clear from reports if it is for malversation of public funds or public property. (A Freedom of Information lawcan make it easier for the public to pry out the documents in the justice department.)

Lawyers have told us that malversation is a crime committed by a public officer held accountable for public funds or property. Note that CJH DevCo is not a public entity but a private corporation.

Neither is the property in question one for which CJH DevCo has a public duty to be responsible. Lawyers said that since the property is the subject of a purely commercial transaction between BCDA and CJH DevCo, it is out of the realm of malversation.

Actually BCDA has been benefiting from the leaseback arrangement, as in similar cases where unit owners, through leaseback agreements, receive their share from hotel operations.

In fact, there have been reports that on many occasions BCDA had requested for, and availed itself of, free use of hotel rooms.

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BAGUIO SUFFERS: While all this is happening, Baguio has been suffering. This prompted City Mayor Mauricio Domogan last week to urge BCDA to respect the decision of the Regional Trial Court and submit to arbitration so development of Camp John Hay could proceed.

The city government is entitled to 25 percent of the legal lease rentals that CJH DevCo should pay BCDA, plus an equitable share of two percent from the gross income of operations within John Hay. Such revenue has been on hold because of the controversy.

Baguio continues to be deprived of hundreds of millions of pesos that should go to its socio-economic, tourism and environmental programs, and also to helping victims of natural calamities that have hit the Pines City.

Instead of wasting government resources pursuing the cases, BCDA may want to consider arbitration. Such move will allow all parties, including Baguio residents and the military, to benefit from Camp John Hay’s development as a model tourism, recreational and environmental site.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 19, 2012)

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