POSTSCRIPT / May 11, 2014 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Juico’s quitting PCSO seen as her liberation

LET’S TWEET!: This Sunday morning we first greet the Philippine National Police for joining Twitter. To @PNPHotline: “Welcome po, Mamang Pulis! Good move joining Twitter, short & swift.

To readers who still have not discovered the exciting world of Twitter, we share some of our latest postings as samples of what is exchanged, at a fast clip and at not more than 140 characters:

Margie Juico quits as PCSO chair, finally liberated from the unChristian task of persecuting an ailing GMArroyo.

Another set of amateurs taking over admin posts with expiration of ban on appointment of poll losers.

Why 2 separate Senate hearings on EDCA (Santiago & Trillanes committees)? Drilon losing control?

Logically Santiago’s legal angle shd take precedence. Pointless for Trillanes to talk defense etc if EDCA is unconstitutional.

With the doctoring of NapolesList we should start calling the DoJ secretary Dr Leila de Lima.

• ‘TELL-ALL’ NapolesList, you say? As told by Doctor DeLima, it’s just a ‘TELL-THREE’ meant to pin down Enrile, Estrada & Revilla.

PH credit rating upgraded. Much like “pre-approved” credit cards peddled in malls. Shylocks luring us to borrow some more?

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LIBERATION: It was not Margie Juico herself, but us, who described her leaving the PCSO as her “liberation”.

We have long wondered how she could still sleep knowing that the only evidence against former President Arroyo to prop up the plunder charges against her was GMA’s ministerial “OK” in the margin of a memo for the release of PCSO intelligence funds.

A president’s routine approval of release of such funds is dictated by long-established procedure, but it does not follow that the president approves of any fund misuse that may happen down the administrative line.

Meanwhile, it is intriguing that the reported plan to have Cavite Rep. Erineo “Ayong” Malicsi replace Juico was greeted in some social media with such comments as it is almost like giving Dracula access to the blood bank.

With the approach of the election season, it is normal in Philippine politics for all government-controlled cash cows to be herded under reliable party operators.

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‘PAHINGA NA MUNA’: But Margie, 65, was more relaxed than we thought. She simply told the STAR: “They don’t have to drag me out of my office. I don’t want to get in his way. Let him have it. I have reached retirement age. I have served over two decades. Pahinga na muna.

She was appointments secretary throughout Cory Aquino’s presidency, and served as her assistant until her passing in 2009. She was a PCSO board member under the Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo administrations, but quit out of delicadeza when Cory called for GMA’s resignation in 2005.

“Nothing has changed as far as my loyalty to President Aquino is concerned,” Margie said. She dismissed rumors that she was asked by Malacañang to resign because she lost the plunder evidence against Ms Arroyo.

She also brushed aside speculation linking her resignation to the suspension of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas from the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club for verbal abuse of club employees. The club board happens to be headed by her husband Philip, who served as agrarian reform secretary under Cory Aquino.

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FRUSTRATION: Margie’s resignation is another example of a performing asset quitting because of frustration with deadly political intrigue that started in the 2010 election season, when then presidential wannabe Mar Roxas stepped aside for Noynoy Aquino to win the presidency.

One wonders if Roxas is now collecting on a political debt in preparation for 2016.

Margie and her entire family, headed by husband Philip, have been known for their total devotion and loyalty to the Aquinos starting with Philip who first met then senator Ninoy Aquino in 1971 and then became a faithful follower during Ninoy’s incarceration, exile and the events after his assassination.

Margie’s service to Cory spanned 23 years. When Cory fell terminally ill, Margie organized the novenas for her healing and survival.

The Juicos were with the Aquinos in good times and bad. Margie, we are told, even promised Cory in her deathbed that she and her family would continue to be of service to the Aquinos in any capacity even after she is gone.

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SUCCESS AS MEASURE: It is no surprise that some of the qualities that Cory was known for, such as detachment from positions of power, humility, simplicity and faith in God, somehow found themselves in Margie.

That may explain why she did not hesitate to resign after some ambitious individuals surrounding P-Noy started to invent stories about her supposed inefficiency, questionable transactions, and alleged ties of family members with gambling personalities.

But Margie can look back to her successful management of PCSO, leaving behind a cash surplus of P16.6 billion — up from the minus-P4-billion she had inherited. Her predecessors had a cash surplus of P3 billion but left behind unpaid obligations of P7 billion, including tax deficiencies.

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‘MAHIRAP GUMAWA NG TAMA’: Margie and her board, including general manager Joy Rojas, made all PCSO transactions more transparent and the entire PCSO more rules-oriented. In short, all good governance processes were observed.

In terms of serving indigent patients, its main mandate, records show that close to 800,000 Filipinos have benefitted from PCSO’s charity medical services in 2012 and 2013.

One fellow, I think it was President Noynoy Aquino himself, once said in Filipino: “Gumawa ka ng tama, ipaglalaban mo pa. Bakit kay hirap gumawa ng tama?”

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 11, 2014)

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