POSTSCRIPT / February 5, 2012 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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De Lima rewards LRA registrars who testified

WHERE’S THE CASH?: How is the P30-billion pile in the administration’s Conditional Cash Transfer doleout program being used? Is it being spent to alleviate hunger, or poverty, or unrest, or grumbling, or what?

We are asking because until now we cannot reconcile the finding of the Social Weather Stations nationwide survey that while poverty dropped at the end of 2011, hunger among Filipinos has worsened. Who ate the CCT billions?

Maybe the error is in our equating hunger with poverty. Or maybe there is something wrong with the survey, or something wrong with the poor and/or hungry respondents?

Whatever (a most hated word worldwide), there is need for an explanation. If only the Judges in Robes in the Senate were not embroiled in the impeach-Corona trial, they should embark on another inquiry on this. In aid of legislation, of course.

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HUNGER STRIKES!: In the SWS survey, 1,200 adults were interviewed nationwide. That looks like a tiny sample in relation to our 100 million population scattered in an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands.

Can those 1,200 adults truly represent all of us, including the emaciated children walking around?

After saying that 1,200 adults were polled, the reports extrapolated that to 4.5 million families claiming having nothing to eat. We then multiply the families by five and get at least 20 million individuals, a fifth of our population, going hungry! Ano ba yan?

The survey was conducted from Dec. 3 to 7, on those expectant days before Christmas. One wonders if the pollsters were wearing red Santa outfits, prompting some respondents to exaggerate their eating problems to pull the heartstrings of whoever was thought of preparing a Christmas list.

Whatever (again that word!), will the three wise men behind the CCT mystery please explain?

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GOOD JOB: It pays to cooperate with the boss, several Registers of Deeds of the Land Registration Authority learned last Tuesday during the program marking the LRA’s 109th anniversary at the head office in Quezon City.

With Justice Secretary Leila de Lima gracing the occasion, the now “celebrity” RDs who had boosted the prosecution of impeached Chief Justice Renato C. Corona by appearing as witnesses were awarded plaques.

The RDs were identified as Carlo Alcantara (on property sitting on the Quezon City-Marikina boundary), Sedfrey Garcia (Marikina property), Constante Caluya (Makati condo), and Randy Rutaquio (who the gallery said provided “comic relief” on Taguig condos).

The crowd was abuzz with questions if some of the RDs have become condo-owners themselves. LRA chief Eulaio Diaz III may want to check.

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CAREFUL!: The LRA appears to have overshot Malacañang’s expectations. It manufactured an overblown list of 45 supposed Corona properties, including several parking slots, that the House prosecutors paraded as valuable assets that were misdeclared by the Chief Justice.

Now the prosecution, led by Rep. Neil Tupas, is having a hard time squirming out of the embarrassing discovery that many of the 45 properties, allegedly not listed in Corona’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, were pulled out of thin air.

But not everybody was distressed over the confusion. Before the LRA program ended, land developer Paul Tanchi stood and announced that his group of stakeholders will give cash awards to the RDs who have been helping with their paper work.

Careful there. Like the blurred differentiation between low, medium and high crimes that could spell impeachment, the line between “cash awards” and bribes to cooperative LRA personnel is a bit thin.

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CHARTER DAY: February 2 was also Constitution Day, per proclamation of President Cory Aquino. It is a day when not only lawyers but the people, who ratified it in 1987, go back to it to seek the relevance of the 25-year-old charter to the present.

Speaking at the Constitution Day program of the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. at the Manila Hotel, Vice President Jojo Binay stressed that Filipinos should be well-versed with the Constitution to be aware of their rights and protect them when threatened.

Incidentally, Binay was dubbed “the man destined to become president” when he was introduced by past VPCI president Ernesto L. Pineda, who used to be senior justice undersecretary. The VCPI president is Eligio P. Mallari, former head of the Commission on Human Rights.

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BE IMPARTIAL: In a manifesto on the ongoing Corona trial, the VPCI appealed to the senator-judges to be impartial, reminding them that while seeking clarification, they cannot ask “questions intended to build up the case of a party and destroy the case of the other.”

The VPCI also asked that the senators render judgment solely on the basis of admissible evidence and not to be “influenced by their political affiliation or attachment to political parties or political leaders.”

The group said that a judgment based on political affinity and selfish interests will render the impeachment trial a “farce and mockery of the administration of justice and of the basic tenets of the Constitution on due process and equal protection of the law.”

A fair judgment, whether it is for acquittal or conviction, the VPCI said, “will promote the people’s confidence in our government which confidence is essential in sustaining our political stability, economic prosperity, unity, peace and order.”

The manifesto was signed by Mallari and Pineda; executive vice president Marcial M. Magsino; officers Romualdo A. Din Jr., Nestor P. Ifurung, Cresencia V. Pedrosa, Manuel M. Maramba, Vicente S. Pulido, Rogelio D. Evasco, Anita M. Chauhan; and other governors Agustin S. Dizon, Venicio S. Flores, Jose Aguila Grapilon, Marlon M. Lacson, Pascual T. Lacas, Alberto B. Sipaco Jr., Alicia A. Risos-Vidal and Lawrence P. Villanueva.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of February 5, 2012)

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