Becoming irrelevant to the secular society

Catholicism in the country is becoming irrelevant in today's secularized society. Many of the Catholics are good only in name but in their actual living they no longer practice the teachings of the church. This is now the very sad reality in the Philippine Catholic society. The Filipino family, which is the basic foundation of society, is being attacked by the secular culture of D.E.A.T.H.S. (Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Population Control, Homosexual Marriage, Sex Trade Legalization) and yet the church's efforts to protect the family is not even gaining enough support from its own flock.

Maybe the time has come for the Catholic church in the Philippines to wake up to the reality that the Philippines is no longer a predominantly Catholic country. Statistics may show that many former Catholics have now been changing religious affiliations, while other Catholics have become practical atheists.

What about the rest of the Christian denominations in the country, what has been happening in their respective flocks? Are they also experiencing relatively similar things as the Catholic flock? Has Christianity in general become irrelevant in today's secularized world? With how secularism had grasped today's society, it seems that the verse, "You are the light of the world and the salt of the earth" has now become a mere religious cliche'. Many Christians seem to only love the "feel good" effect that they get from the messages in the pulpit but in their daily living they are not actually doing what they are hearing.

The secular world is always clamoring for absolute freedom and ultimate individual human rights, and the world's governments are happy to provide them. And so since today's societies wanted the laws to serve their every desire, their secular governments willingly crafted them. Welcome to the world of democracy -- a secularized government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Nothing of God, by God, and for God.

God help the governments of the world... or maybe not. Let us live with and hopefully learn from the consequences of our self-guided decisions and actions.

"O, mga katoliko, dawn mass uli tayo mamaya ha. Ang saya kasi ng feeling ng Xmas natin pag palagi tayong nag a-attend ng dawn mass."


Let us be an extension of the Lord's hands


Kababayans, parts of Mindanao are severely devastated by typhoon Pablo and many are suffering. They need all the help we can give.

May our hearts be touched by God's love and be moved with compassion that we may show kindness and extend our helping hands to our kababayans in Mindanao who have been broken by life's circumstances. We never know the only remaining thread that some souls in that devastated area may be hanging on to is our kindness. Let our kindness be an extension of the Lord's hands that those broken souls can hold on to for strength in their moment of weakness.

Bless others; and you too shall be blessed evenmore.
Nothing of evil intent could ever come from God, but when bad things happen, God is able to turn blessings out of them. Would you be willing to be an instrument of God's blessings?



No Dynastic Reputation Is Immune

FVR urges Congress to pass anti-political dynasty bill
By Amita O. Legaspi
GMA News Online

Former President Fidel V. Ramos has added his voice to those calling for a law against political dynasties, admitting the absence of such has allowed rich and powerful families to abuse their authority and the country’s resources. “Nakikita naman natin na sinasarili nila ang mga [resources]… kakaunting pamilya na mayayaman, malalakas,” Ramos said in an exclusive interview with GMA News Online editor-in-chief and News To Go anchor Howie Severino aired Friday morning. He lamented the fact that more than two decades after the Constitution was crafted, Congress has yet to define what a dynasty is, therefore preventing it from coming up with a law against political dynasties. “Ang sabi ng Saligang Batas, that (dynasty) is prohibited, as may be defined by law. Pero hanggang ngayon, after [nearly] 26 years of the '87 Constitution of [the late President] Cory [Aquino], wala pang naisasabatas na definition of what is political dynasty kaya katakut-takot ‘yung turncoatism,” said Ramos, who succeeded Aquino in the presidency. “Simple lang ito: ilagay natin sa language of the Constitution ‘yung definition of political dynasty and the punishment or the penalty, if you are liable,” he added. Article II, Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution states that: "The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law."

He also said there is no need to amend the Constitution in order to put a stop to political dynasties.

“Para sa akin, dapat meron tayong maliit na reporma sana sa ating Saligang Batas. Hindi amendment to the Constitution ang pinag-uusapan [kundi] the enactment of the law to define what is a political dynasty,” he said. Ramos noted that the Constitution has a provision that bars the president from appointing any of his relatives to the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity to an executive position. He was referring to Article VII, Section 13 paragraph 2 which states that: “The spouse and relatives by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree of the President shall not, during his tenure, be appointed as Members of the Constitutional Commissions, or the Office of the Ombudsman, or as Secretaries, Undersecretaries, chairmen or heads of bureaus or offices, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.” He said this definition could be adopted in the anti-political dynasty bill.

“Ilagay din natin ‘yan sa political dynasty, para tapos na. Ngayon, ‘yung mga amendment or revision sa Saligang Batas ay mangyayari sa Kongreso ‘yan kaya mahirap din ang proseso na 'yan, pero meron tayong people's iniative,” Ramos said. At the Senate, an anti-dynasty bill — filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago — is still at the committee level. Under Senate Bill 2649, political dynasty exists when the spouse of an incumbent elective official or relative within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity holds or runs for an elective office simultaneously with the former within the same province or occupies the same office immediately after the term of office of the incumbent official. The bill further states that political dynasty exists where two or more spouse or relative within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity run simultaneously for elective public office within the same province, even if neither is related to an incumbent elective official.

According to Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, such bill will most likely be approved in the Senate, but not in the House of Representatives. He narrated that in 1995, the Senate was all set to submit a committee report on the anti-dynasty bill but decided against it upon learning that their counterparts in the House will not act on it. He said the 1995 version of the anti-dynasty bill had a specific, realistic definition of a dynasty. Former Vice President Teofisto Guingona had a similar experience. In 1987, the anti-dynasty bill introduced by Guingona passed the Senate with 16 votes in favor, three opposition, and one abstention, according to a 26-page petition for mandamus he filed Thursday with the Supreme Court asking it to compel Congress to craft an anti-dynasty law. "Congress [then] took no action on the bill passed by the Senate. The bill died in the House of Representatives," the petitioners, which included Guingona, said.


Few years ago, I was amazed to discover this mushroom growing on the cushion material of a wrecked chair in our junk pile.

If in government institutions where political dynasties are left to flourish unchecked and tolerated by the constituents, it would just be a matter of time before the virus of "innocent" corruption begins to grow like mushroom, and no dynastic reputation can ever be fully effective to immunize itself against the disease.


Gov’t officials challenged to sign waiver on bank funds

By Matikas Santos, Tetch Torres

Senate minority floor leader Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday challenged all government officials to sign a waiver opening up their bank accounts.

Cayetano said that the waiver should be amended into the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) Law.

“I have appealed and I am appealing to [President Benigno Aquino III], ask your Cabinet members to start by signing a waiver opening up their bank accounts to the Ombudsman, for example,” Cayetano said.

Chief Justice Renato Corona, in his testimony Tuesday, signed a waiver allowing the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to probe his bank accounts and business interest. But he said he will only submit it if the 188 lawmakers who signed the impeachment complaint against him and Senator Franklin Drilon will sign a similar waiver.

Prosecutors and Drilon said Tuesday that they have no intention of signing a waiver because it was not related to the impeachment trial.
“I believe it’s a valid issue, but the timing was not right,” Cayetano said.

“Perhaps after [the impeachment court renders] a decision, all government officials should sign a waiver to show that it’s not true [the government] was only going after the enemies of [President Benigno Aquino III],” Cayetano added.

‘Tuwid na daan’

He said that the waiver for government officials to open all bank accounts was “the next logical step in the “tuwid na daan” (straight path) campaign of President Aquino, since there was already the Anti-Red Tape Law, the Freedom of Information bill, and the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice.

Cayetano agreed that the waiver would “muddle the issue” if it was done during the impeachment trial “but right after this impeachment case, if [government officials] are not hiding anything, what is wrong with signing a waiver?”

Cayetano said that when he challenged former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo to open up his bank accounts, he did it first and without condition, unlike Corona who would only sign his waiver with the condition that the 189 others would do it first.

Part of his proposed amendment to the SALN law was to include bank account records in the waiver of the SALN.

“The banking system will not be ruined if a small elite group, let’s say from the Office of the Ombudsman or it can be a composite group in [the Anti-Money Laundering Council], that will also look into these bank accounts,” Cayetano said.

Waiver challenge snow balls
Meanwhile, a Catholic school official and some bishops also supported the challenge to government officials to open up their bank account records.

Fr. Ranhilio C. Aquino, chair of Jurisprudence and Legal Philosophy of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) and Dean, Graduate School of law, San Beda College , said those who accused Corona of not disclosing bank records must also show that they are not guilty of committing the same offense, otherwise it is hypocritical, said.

“There is a condition, those who accused him (the Chief Justice) of not disclosing his bank records should come to court with clean hands,” Aquino said.

“That’s a principle of equity. He who comes into equity must come with clean hands. They have to make sure that they are not guilty of non-disclosure, otherwise it is hypocritical,” he added.

During Wednesday’s impeachment trial, lead prosecutor Niel Tupas said they will not sign the waiver. The prosecutors added that they have nothing to hide and their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth will be available after the impeachment trial.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said government officials should take Corona’s challenge and sign a waiver .

“Those accusing him should also set the example by disclosing their dollar accounts,” Pabillo told church-run Radio Veritas Wednesday. “That’s why the challenge of the Chief Justice is good for other lawmakers to show their assets.”

“There is really something wrong when they want a person to disclose his dollar accounts but his accusers refuse to do the same or don’t want to be transparent,” he said.

Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said government officials accepting Corona’s challenge would erase doubt on every public servant’s credibility.

“The nation will benefit a lot if they will sign a waiver,” Arguelles told the CBCP news.

Retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said Corona’s dare “is but a statement that those accusing him of dishonesty in making his SALN are dishonest themselves.”

“That’s why the basis of this is let us know who have no sin and throw the first stone. That’s the message,” Cruz said.

3 Lawmakers bite Corona ‘waiver’ challenge

Despite being brushed off as a publicity stunt by Senator Franklin Drilon and members of the House prosecution, three of the 188 lawmakers who signed the impeachment complaint are willing to take on Chief Justice Renato Corona’s dare to sign a waiver on their bank deposits.

Pangasinan Representative Kimi Cojuangco, ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio, and Kalinga party-list Representative Abigail Faye Ferriol said that they were willing to take on Corona’s challenge, stressing that they have nothing to hide.

Even members of the minority bloc stepped up to the chief magistrate’s condition for signing his waiver.

Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, however, said they were willing to open their bank accounts if the 188 lawmakers and Drilon would do so.

Drilon and the members of the House prosecution team have already told the impeachment court that they had no plans of signing their waivers.

The Nation On Trial

By Fransico S. Tatad
Opinion, Manila Standard Today

Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona came to the Senate impeachment court yesterday to speak in his own defense, but he unexpectedly turned the tables on Malacañang and his accusers by asking them what evil he has done to deserve not only the present trial but also the sustained vilification against him and his family the past five months.

The senator-judges listened in reverential silence as the chief justice gave his statement to the court.  The crowd, which had melted away after the first few days of the trial, had returned, filling the gallery to the rafters.  All eyes were on the chief justice.  As far as they could see, Corona was the only one who stood accused. But after listening to him, it became clear he had shifted the burden on the Aquino government.
Corona gave three reasons for Malacañang’s determined campaign to convict and destroy him.   He said President Benigno Aquino III could not forgive him for the Supreme Court decision awarding Hacienda Luisita to the farmers whose ancestors had owned it from the very beginning.  Second, the President wanted to gain full control of the three branches of government.  Third, Mr. Aquino appears to have fallen captive to the communist Left, whose designs on the government could only be facilitated if the Judiciary were destroyed.

Corona’s appearance brought the trial to its highest, or next highest point. But it was not yet “the moment of truth,” contrary to what one banner headline said.  The moment of truth is when the bullfighter and the bull face each other inside the bullring for the kill.  That will come when the senator judges finally decide: Guilty, or Not Guilty, or—in the words of Pennsylvania’s Sen. Arlen Specter at the Clinton trial—“Not Proven.”  However, it may have turned the tide of public opinion, and that of the court.

Until yesterday, Corona seemed to be facing a terribly uphill fight.  That was partly because matters that had nothing to do with the Articles of Impeachment had been permitted to enter the domain of the court.  Malacañang has exerted no effort to make its intervention in the case discreet; the big stories attacking Corona were coming not necessarily from the prosecution but many times from Malacañang spokesmen, and from the President himself.  Corona could not even get legal relief from the Supreme Court.

After Corona was impeached by 188 congressmen who signed the impeachment complaint at Malacañang’s bidding without reading the eight Articles of Impeachment, five petitions were filed with the Supreme Court seeking to restrain the Senate from hearing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.  This became six when Corona’s lawyers added their own petition.
But led by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile,  the Senate said it was not answerable to the Supreme Court for its decisions, and warned the High Court against intervening. And the court apparently took the Senate’s word for it.

But hardly any trial day passed without the senator-judges lecturing the prosecution.  After 26  trial days, the prosecution rested its case after dropping five of the eight articles.  Of the remaining three, Article II appeared to be the strongest; it alleged Corona’s failure to disclose all his assets in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.  But the court could not say if violation of the SALN law  was an impeachable crime.   Article II also  failed to allege “ill-gotten wealth” or graft and corruption, so the  court enjoined the panel not to try to raise that charge or to dig into Corona’s alleged dollar bank accounts, whose secrecy is  absolute.

Still, on February 17, some party-list and civil society politicians asked the Ombudsman to investigate Corona for his alleged failure to include certain bank deposits in his SALN.  The Ombudsman readily obliged, even though the same charge was already being heard at the trial. Then on April 20, while the trial was on recess, the Ombudsman ordered Corona to explain “within 72 hours” alleged bank accounts in his name and dollar deposits purportedly amounting to $10 million.

Corona challenged his accusers and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to substantiate their accusations. Thereafter  he would take the stand himself, he said.  Thus, on May 7,  Morales astounded the trial with a Powerpoint presentation of Corona’s alleged dollar banking transactions from 82 accounts, admittedly obtained illegally from the Anti-Money Laundering Council, without a court order, as required by law, and without  verifying the information herself.

Yesterday was Corona’s turn to make his own Powerpoint presentation and to expose Morales’ presentation as deceptive and false.

Having heard both sides,  the senator-judges must now decide whether the charges against Corona are impeachable, and have been proven, and whether he is  to be judged on the basis of those charges, or on the basis of something else. Should he be acquitted because he has done no manifest harm to the nation, or should he be convicted because he has offended and continues to offend the President?

It is said that the mind is like a parachute, it only functions when it is open. But being open-minded still doesn't always guarantee fairness in how one sees things because the mind is also like a camera. And like a camera, the mind's appreciation is always limited only to what perspective it chooses to focus on. And just as buttons and controls on the camera are used to adjust the photo to desired result, similarly, personal biases tend to affect how things are appreciated to suit preference -- be it for or against the object or subject.


Let there be no double standard

“You have heard that it was said to them of old time, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,’ but I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God; nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘no.’ Whatever is more than these is of the evil one." (Matthew 5:33-37)

"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every worthless word they have spoken." (Matthew 12:35-36)

See to it that truth is not lacking; lest anyone who hears and desires to turn away from evil will make himself a prey. It displeases the Lord to see no justice. (Ref.: Isiah 59:15)

Let there be no double standard; let justice be applied to everyone. As truth is demanded from one public official, let truth be demanded from everyone in public office.

Judgment for one is judgment for all. By the judgment we made through our representatives in the House of Congress acting as Judges for the people, we are judging ourselves as a nation. The Lord has put us in a rare situation to judge for ourselves our very own collective selves. Like the church, a nation is a body of people and each individual is a member of the body. One member's ailment or disfunction affects the entire body. Therefore it is foolish for other members of the body to condemn another ailing or disfunctioning member -- they should not forget that they only belong to the same body and it is only the same one blood that flows and circulates throughout all of the members.


Why China is Unwilling to Submit to UNCLOS

"China’s ethnocentric reading of the past neither bolsters its territorial claims in the South China Sea, nor helps to promote peace with its neighbors." --Philip Bowring

China's selective reading of history weakens its South China Sea claims
By Philip Bowring, a Hong Kong-based journalist and commentator
South China Morning Post News

The tendency of the Communist Party government in China, as elsewhere, to rewrite history to reflect changes in personnel or ideology is well known. Less noticed, however, is the tendency to rewrite national history to justify expansionist foreign policies. The recent stand-off between Chinese and Philippine ships is a case in point.

The confrontation resulted from Philippine attempts to arrest Chinese vessels fishing in the area of what is known in English as the Scarborough Shoal, to China as Huangyan Island, and to the Philippines as Panatag Shoal. This is a collection of rocks, reefs and lagoons in the South China Sea about 200 kilometers west of Subic Bay, the former US naval base. It is approximately three times that distance to the mainland of China and more than twice that to Taiwan.

Thus, it lies clearly within the Philippines’s exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers). Chinese vessels would have a right to fish in its waters if the shoal could be shown to be genuinely Chinese.

China’s case as expounded by the Foreign Ministry is one where the only history that matters is Han Chinese. Its claim reads: “It is China who first discovered Huangyan Island” and “drew into China’s map in China’s Yuan dynasty (1271-1368AD)”. This is like Europeans claiming that they got to Australia before the Aboriginals or the Americas before Native Americans.

As China in particular should be well aware, 700 years is not very long. Chinese were actually latecomers to navigation beyond coastal waters. For centuries, the masters of the oceans were the Malayo-Polynesian peoples who colonized much of the world, from Taiwan to New Zealand and Hawaii to the south and east, and to Madagascar in the west. Bronze vessels were being traded with Palawan, just south of Scarborough, at the time of Confucius.

When Chinese Buddhist pilgrims like Faxian went to Sri Lanka in the 5th century, they went in ships owned and operated by Malay peoples. Ships from what is now the Philippines traded with Funan, a state in what is now southern Vietnam, 1,000 years before the Yuan dynasty.

China makes much of the early 15th century expeditions of Zheng He to the Indian Ocean and Africa. But Indonesians had been crossing that ocean at least 1,000 years earlier, settling in Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world. Their twin-outrigger ships enabled quite swift passage across the ocean, and the Indonesians also left their mark on the coast of Africa before being supplanted by Indian and then Arab traders.

It is absurd to imply that the ancestors of today’s Filipinos were unaware of the Scarborough Shoal, which lay relatively close to their shores and on the route to Vietnam. No one settled there because the rocks are, for practical purposes, uninhabitable. The fact that it was put on a map in 1279 does not make it Chinese any more than Taiwan was Chinese until occupation by and settlement from the mainland some 300 years ago. For the preceding 4,000 years, Taiwan had been the domain of Malay peoples related to today’s Filipinos.

China also justifies its claims to Scarborough Shoal by reference to the Treaty of Washington (1900) and the Treaty of Paris (1898) between the old colonial power, Spain, and the new one, the US. It is bizarre to find China, which is so keen to deem colonial-era treaties as “unequal”, resorting to them to make its case. Beijing argues that because there is no mention of Scarborough/Panatag/Huangyan in either treaty, it was not included in Philippine territory.

Given the number of islands comprising the Philippines, this is irrelevant. The treaties both refer to the “Philippine archipelago” and by any normal definition of archipelago, Scarborough falls within that, even if it is marginally to the west of longitude 118 degrees east mentioned in the treaties.

The weakness of China’s case explains why it is not prepared to discuss overlapping claims with its regional neighbors as a group, and why it will not submit South China Sea issues to international arbitration under the terms of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. In the case of the (never inhabited) Scarborough Shoal, its claims would almost certainly be rejected.

The fact that China has a long record of written history does not invalidate other nations’ histories as illustrated by artifacts, language and genetic affinities, the evidence of trade and travel. Indeed, advances in science are uncovering huge areas of unwritten history of people who either had no writing or, as in the case of the Indian-derived scripts found in pre-colonial Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, were written on palm leaves and other materials which decayed long ago.

China’s current power may make such issues of actual history irrelevant. But if it wishes to be respected by its Southeast Asian neighbors, and in particular the 400million Malays of the island states (Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei and east Malaysia), it had better develop some respect for their history. Han sense of superiority may seem justified by the role of overseas Chinese commerce – much helped by Western colonialism – in modern times. But it cannot be assumed to be permanent and is a poor basis for regional peace.

In Hong Kong, this sense of superiority is even proclaimed by the government in attitudes to brown Asians, be they Afghanistan’s cricket team or the warning against travel to the Philippines. “Asia’s world city” should feel ashamed.


Specks and planks in our eyes

It’s up to Senate to let presentation of Aquino SALNs
By Karen Boncocan

Manila, Philippines—It is up to the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, if it would allow the defense to present the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) of President Benigno Aquino III and other government officials during the proceedings.

This was how the spokesmen of the prosecution panel saw the issue on discussing other officials’ SALNs through the defense panel’s request for subpoena of testimonies from members of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), specifically for the purpose of baring documents used in three stories “SALN: Good law, bad results,” “Great filers, big barriers” and “House of Secrets”.

Marikina Representative Romero Quimbo said that if allowed, the Senate would fall into “the very trap that is being laid out by the defense” which sought to “divert the attention” of the public by trying to expose whether other government officials have failed to declare assets in their SALNs.

“I think what is important is that the Chief Justice is not just accused of omitting entries… [he] is accused of completely lying under oath.”

Quimbo pointed out that Corona, for years, skipped the declaration of his properties in his SALNs “which he is supposed to do under oath. This is a clear act on the part of the Chief Justice to completely violate the SALN law and actually lie under oath. That is the accusation as far as we are concerned.”

“I think the Senate has also mentioned that the SALNs of the different other public officials are irrelevant to this case,” Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III said, adding that should the impeachment court approve the request for subpoena, the prosecution “will just have to abide by whatever the impeachment court will decide.”

“We’ve always said that the SALNs of other public officials are not an issue here [but that of Corona].”

Prosecutors filed on Monday, an opposition on the said request for subpoena by Corona’s lawyers, and Quimbo said that they would continue to “oppose any diversionary tactic on the part of the defense.”

He said that it was irrelevant to the case whether other officials violated the SALN law since for them “there’s always a remedy. Bring them to the Ombudsman, file an ethics case.”

In Corona’s case, there was only the impeachment, explained the spokesman. “We are going through that today, let us not be distracted.”

He said that if the defense really wanted to bare SALNs of other public officials, “tingin ko pinakamaganda nilang ipakita ay iyong mga SALN na hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa natin nakikita. Iyong SALN ng iba pang mahistrado ng Korte Suprema.”

“Buksan ang SALN ng iba’t ibang opisyal. Simulan kaya natin doon sa SALN ng mga Supreme Court justices na up to today ay hindi pa rin nakikita.”

* * * * * * *

A PCIJ report on the failure of members of the House of Representatives to live up to the same standards they are imposing on Chief Justice Renato Corona, whom they impeached for failure to make public his statement of assets liabilities and networth. PCIJ found out that only two congressmen have voluntarily made public their SALN; none of the House prosecutors have made their SALN public.

* * * * * * *

Now that Corona’s controversial SALN has been made public and P-Noy has challenged him to justify the discrepancies there, it behooves P-Noy, too, to comment on his own net worth, based on his SALN. As shown in Corona's SALNs from 2002, when he entered the SC as associate justice, the CJ's net worth increased pretty steadily in small increments until 2010, when it increased by 57.5 % over his 2009 worth.

On the other hand, P-Noy should explain why his net worth maintained a small but very steady increase every year since 1998, when he became a member of the House for nine years and for three years as senator; but suddenly it registered a whopping 250% increase in 2010, when he became President with his government salary of P820,000 a year.

Read full story at: Tale of Two SALNs

* * * * * * *


Government officials' SALNs. This is the real issue. When this impeachment trial is over, how can we Pinoys honestly say that we have rendered a fair judgement (guilty or otherwise) on one government official based on his SALN if we do not apply the same standard of judgement also to other officials of the government? The law concerning SALNs must be used fairly and must also be applied equally to every officials of the government starting from the highest position of the land to the lowest. What is achieved if CJ Corona is judged guilty of violating the law on SALN while other government officials are practicing the same violation and are equally guilty of the same mistake if put under the same scrutiny as the impeachment court?

If there is one thing good that this impeachment trial may bring, it is this: Real public accountability for all government officials, not just CJ Corona. The public trial has turned in such a way as to self-judge every participant of the trial, namely, the accused, the senator-judges, the prosecutors, the defense, the witnesses, and even the spectators.

In the Lord's way of justice, the essence of His judgement starts with giving every person the realization and opportunity for self-evaluation so that one could judge his neighbor as according to how he judge himself. If we are willing to judge a person according to one standard, then we must also be willing to submit ourselves to that same standard.

"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Mathew 7:3-5)


This was how it was then. How is it now? Has anything really changed?


"All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth." —Friedrich Nietzsche

"It’s not a matter of what is true that counts but a matter of what is perceived to be true." —Henry Kissinger

"The greatest friend of truth is time, her greatest enemy is prejudice, and her constant companion humility." —Chuck Colson

"Not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, does the enlightened man dislike to wade into its waters." —Friedrich Nietzsche

"The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim."
Gustave Le Bon

"The foulest damage to our political life comes not from the ‘secrets’ which they hide from us, but from the little bits of half-truth and disinformation which they do tell us. These are already pre-digested, and then are sicked up as little gobbits of authorised spew. The columns of defense correspondents in the establishment sheets serve as the spittoons."
E.P. Thompson

"From the cowardice that shrinks from the truth; from the laziness that is content with half-truths; from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth – oh God of Truth deliver us!"


Live Streaming of CJ Corona's Impeachment Trial


Remembering Our Dear Cory


Memories of her may die with the passing of time, but the impact of the legacy of this reluctant leader will surely live and flourish for generations to come. May her dreams for the nation rise from the ashes of people's distrust of leaders, and passed on to flourish in the new hearts and minds of the next generations.

We remember you our dear Cory on your birthday today. Thank you for what you have sacrificed for our country.

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth. (Ecclesiastes 7:1)

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning. The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8)


Tale of Two SALNs

by Belinda Olivares Cunanan

News reports today said that President Noynoy is asking CJ Corona to explain the discrepancies “between (Corona’s) statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) and as reflected in his declared properties.” Asserting that CJ's defense team could be resorting to “squid tactics” on this issue, P-Noy was quoted by Star as saying “What is being asked is, ‘Did you file the SALN? Did you disclose it publicly? He (CJ) can only say: ‘I filed on this date and it came out in this newspaper’ in meeting the public disclosure requirement of the Constitution.” ‘
P-Noy’s prosecutor-allies have succeeded in forcing public disclosure of CJ Corona’s SALN through a subpoena issued by the Senate trial court to the SC Clerk of Court. All the SC justices’ SALNs have been withheld from public scrutiny for the past 23 continuous years by the High Court, through an en banc resolution issued during the term of the late SC Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan in 1989, and followed all the way to the Corona Court. Since last Wednesday, when the subpoena took effect, Corona’s SALN has become open season in the internet, in gross violation of rules of the Senate trial court against UNAUTHORIZED disclosure to the public (two House prosecutors were seen taking cell-phone pictures of it and are prime suspect of this violation).

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Now that Corona’s controversial SALN has been made public and P-Noy has challenged him to justify the discrepancies there, it behooves P-Noy, too, to comment on his own net worth, based on his SALN. As shown in Corona's SALNs from 2002, when he entered the SC as associate justice, the CJ's net worth increased pretty steadily in small increments until 2010, when it increased by 57.5 % over his 2009 worth. The explanation of his defense team for the increase is that CJ sold property, and the prosecutors will be on the look-out for this.

On the other hand, P-Noy should explain why his net worth maintained a small but very steady increase every year since 1998, when he became a member of the House for nine years and for three years as senator; but suddenly it registered a whopping 250% increase in 2010, when he became President with his government salary of P820,000 a year.

The behavior of the two top officials' net worth is quite easy to see and compare in the following two charts:


The question that comes to mind is: what accounts for the whopping 250% leap in P-Noy's net worth? Some folks I checked out his chart with opined that perhaps it was due to inheritance from his late mother Cory, who passed away in August of 2009. Or perhaps it could have been his divestment of his share of Hacienda Luisita to, reportedly, one of his siblings, although someone else argued how it could have been from Luisita when that estate has been badly ailing financially, especially in the last few years? Or could this increase have come from considerable campaign contributions that were unspent during his candidacy in 2010 (because there was just too much of them)?

Then the next question is, did the President pay the correct taxes on either or all of these financial developments that favored him?
P-Noy should explain the gargantuan jump in his net worth, just as CJ will be made to explain his own increase in net worth when he was appointed to the helm of the High Court.