What happened to the donations?

I CAN’T believe it—President Aquino is ignorant of the Constitution!

When asked in a one-on-one ANC interview what he thought of the disqualification case pending before the Senate Electoral Tribunal against Senator Grace Poe, the President replied: Let the people decide.

I can’t believe that BS Aquino III is not aware of the requirement of the Constitution that a candidate for the Senate, much more for the presidency, must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.

That copout (palusot) of the President now makes me believe that there must be some truth to talks that he really has two candidates for President—the anointed one, Mar Roxas, and an alternative in case Mar does not win—Senator Grace Poe. He want to make sure either one of them will make it.

Santa Banana, this talk about Grace being the alternative candidate of BS Aquino III gets more credible after Grace said that she’ll never attack the President.

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Some of my friends have asked me why I am writing negative things against Grace Poe, like when I say that she is not a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.

Truth to tell, I have nothing personal against the “senadora.” I believe she has the attributes of a good leader—integrity, independence of mind and objectivity. She has shown all that as a senator for three years.

But, my gulay, I also believe that anybody who aims for the presidency must have the necessary experience in governance. The presidency is not a training session. One must hit the ground running.

Granting that Grace makes it, she’ll be spending her first year learning what governance is all about. Thus, she must rely on people around her who could have their own personal agenda.

In fact, if they are both elected, it will be Senator Chiz Escudero who will running the government in place of Poe.

I have nothing personal against Grace. I do not know her very well. One time, our friend Marichu Maceda brought Grace to our former condominium unit at Greenbelt. I was not around at that time, but my wife was. They became instant friends.

As a lawyer, I also believe that the law and the Constitution must prevail. As I always say, “Dura lex sed lex.” (The law is hard, but it’s the law.) Since nobody can be above the law, I must say my piece on the citizenship issue against Grace.

Let the chips fall where they may.

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A party-list congressman said that out of decency, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, chairman of the Senate Electoral Tribunal deliberating on the disqualification case of Poe as senator, should inhibit himself from the case. Carpio is with the former law office known as The Firm, known as the CVC (Carpio, Villaraza, Cruz Law Office) and that Avelino “Nonong” Cruz Jr. is the lawyer of Mar Roxas.

The premise is wrong. After Carpio was named to the Supreme Court during the Ramos administration, he  disassociated himself from The Firm. The CVC partnership has since metamorphosed into the  Pancho Villaraza Angangco Law Office which still carries the logo of The Firm.

The partnership of Avelino Cruz, Sonny Marcelo and Jonathan Tenefrancia has also since disassociated itself from The Firm. They now have their own building.

I know for a fact that Carpio has nothing to do with either The Firm or the partnership of Cruz, Marcelo and Tenefrancia. At one time when I approached Villaraza about a case pending at the Supreme Court, Pancho told me to tell my friend to hire another law firm. He does not like The Firm to get involved in cases where Carpio sits as judge.

If Carpio came out with an opinion that Grace Poe is a naturalized Filipino but not natural-born under international and domestic laws, it was his opinion. It is not binding on the eight other members of the SET. Anybody can always disagree with Carpio, but I believe his opinion on the citizenship of Poe has basis in law and the Constitution.

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The Aquino administration must give the people the real status of the disbursement of both local and foreign donations to the victims of super typhoon Yolanda.

To this day, nearly two years after the tragedy, many Taclobanons are still living in tents and bunkhouses. They are still complaining of lack of aid and rehabilitation.

It is for this that I support the move of the House Independent Minority bloc led by Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez for an immediate audit of and congressional investigation into the status of both local and foreign donations. Nobody seems to know what has become of them.

Romualdez noted that Congress alone approved billions in last year’s  national budget for the rehabilitation of Yolanda-struck areas.

And then the Commission on Audit reported that P382.072 million in local and foreign cash donations were kept idle on Secretary Dinky Soliman’s Department of Social Welfare and Development’s bank accounts.

My gulay, Soliman can be sued for plunder and graft!

It has been two years since Yolanda devastated Tacloban and many parts of the Visayas. No detailed breakdown of the donations has been made. Instead, we can only see the snail-paced rehabilitation. Things get worse for Soliman with reports that P141 million worth of relief goods has already expired or is about to expire because of the incompetence and ineptitude of Soliman.

I still remember the words of former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez.  “Remember you are a Romualdez, and the President is an Aquino. Bahala na kayo sa buhay nyo.” My gulay, that defined Mar Roxas as a public official. And he is now running for president?

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President Aquino cannot seem to accept the fact that Vietnam has overtaken the Philippines in the form of foreign direct investments and economic growth. The fact is that Vietnam has opened its doors to foreign investments. Here in the Philippines, the Aquino administration has become a protectionist regime. The President is still against amending the economic restrictions to foreigners in the Constitution.

It seems he wants to protect his friends in Big Business against foreign competition. Now he needs their support for Mar Roxas.

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