Archive for the ‘abuse of authority’ Category

By: Artemio V. Panganiban – @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 12:14 AM February 26, 2017

….The most recent jurisprudence on the ill-gotten wealth of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos titled Estate of Marcos vs Republic (Jan. 18, 2017) and written by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno.

Stripped of legalese, the decision:
1) listed the couple’s alleged ill-gotten wealth,
2) recalled that the “known lawful income” of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos from 1965 to 1986 had been unanimously fixed at $304,372.43 in Republic vs Sandiganbayan (July 15, 2003),
3) reiterated that any cash, property or assets of the Marcoses in excess of the said sum would be deemed “ill-gotten and forfeited in favor of the State,” and
4) affirmed a unanimous Sandiganbayan decision (Jan. 13, 2014, penned by Justice Efren N. de la Cruz and concurred in by Justices Teresita V. Diaz-Baldos and Alex L. Quiroz) in which “the pieces of jewelry, known as the Malacañang Collection, were labelled as ill-gotten and were consequently forfeited in favor of the Republic.”

In the 2003 case referred to in Item 2, bank deposits amounting to $658,175,373.60 were deemed ill-gotten and forfeited in favor of the State. Also, in the 2012 case of Marcos Jr. vs Republic (April 25, 2012), the assets, properties and funds of Arelma S.A. (“an entity created by the late Ferdinand E. Marcos”) in the sum “of USD 3,369,975 as of 1983, plus all interests and all other income that accrued thereon” were also deemed ill-gotten and forfeited in favor of the State.
$5-B wealth. Per Item 1, the 2017 decision incorporated in its footnotes the petition, dated Dec. 17, 1991 (yes, more than 25 years ago), in civil case 0141 that the Presidential Commission on Good Government filed in the Sandiganbayan listing the
alleged ill-gotten wealth, “approximated at US$5-B and which include”:

1) The holding companies, agro-industrial ventures, land holdings, buildings, condominium units, mansions, cash, and other properties, here and abroad, described in the affidavits of Rolando Gapud, Bonifacio Gillego, Jose Y. Campos, and
Antonio Floirendo.
2) “Painting and silverwares (sic) already sold at public auction in the US worth $17-M … aside from the jewelries (sic), paintings and other valuable decorative arts found in Malacañang and in the US estimated to be about $23.9-M…”
3) “Philippine peso bills amounting to P27,744,535.00, foreign currencies and jewelries (sic) amounting to $4-M and Certificates of Time Deposits worth P46.4-M seized by the U.S. customs authorities upon arrival of the Marcoses in Honolulu, Hawaii…”
4) “US$30-M in the custody of the
Central Bank…”
5) “Shares of stocks in Piedras Petroleum Co. Inc. and in Oriental Petroleum & Minerals Corporation worth P500-M…”
6) “Shares of stock in Balabac Oil Company worth about P42-M as described in the affidavit of Mr. Raymundo S. Feliciano … plus the 60% of the sequestered assets of CDCP in the amount of P172,378,030…”
7) “The… P10M as described by Jesus Tanchangco … and the 45% beneficial ownership of FM in Landoil as stated by Jose de Venecia, Jr. …”
8) “The … Philippine pesos and US dollars deposited in the Security Bank & Trust Co. (SBTC) totaling P974,885,480.46 and US$6,522,361.29”
9) “… shareholding (sic) of the Marcoses in SBTC which were sold by the PCGG at Pl61,200,000.00 and which has (sic) increased to P238.7-M including interests, but excluding P15-M already received by PCGG,”
10) “Other properties already recovered such as the 21 vehicles registered in the names of Fernando and Susan Timbol … worth about P5.1-M…”
11) “Philippine peso deposits in Traders Royal Bank totaling over P1-B…”
12) “Other properties in the US already recovered in the total amount of US$25.7-M…”
13) “Bank deposits in Luxembourg, Hongkong, the Cayman Islands, US and other countries which have not yet been fully documented and the approximate amounts therein cannot yet be determined…”
14) “Secret deposits in Swiss banks, which” are “the primary and principal object of this petition for forfeiture pursuant to judgments of the Swiss Federal Tribunal…”

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/101965/ill-gotten-wealth-marcoses#ixzz4Zltaq1eG
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By: Ador Vincent Mayol – Senior Reporter / @adorCDNInquirer Visayas / 02:58 PM February 25, 201

CEBU CITY–The Supreme Court (SC) has granted the request of a Cebuano lawyer to strip him of his title and functions to protest the alleged corruption in the profession, particularly in the prosecution service and the judiciary.

Lawyer Dionisio Cañete was elated upon receiving the Notice last Wednesday.

He said he was extremely disappointed when nine of the 10 cases he filed before the prosecutors’ office from 2014 to 2016 were “maliciously dismissed” despite having presented strong evidence.

Three of the nine dismissed cases were overturned by the Regional State Prosecutor.

When he returned to the prosecutors’ office, Cañete said the case folders of these cases could no longer be found.

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/875282/sc-grants-cebu-lawyers-bid-to-be-delisted-from-corrupt-profession#ixzz4Zl0heCXw

Warrant of Arrest Menorca

[NOTE: The one they arrested for libel (1/ 19/2016) is Lowell Menorca II, former INC minister, but the one on warrant of arrest is Lowell Menorca III. Below is ABS-CBN”s Ted Failon interviewing].

Ted Failon: Pwede bang makuha yung pangalan ng … yung pangalan ng pulis ngayon diyan. Ano ang pangalan niya, ano ang rango niya, anong presinto siya.

On Phone: Sir ano po ang pangalan nyo sir? Ano pong pangalan po ninyo?

 Supt. Ed Leonardo.

Ted Failon: Anong istasyon? Anong presinto?

On phone: Ano daw pong istasyon? Presinto?

Supt. Ed Leonardo: Police Station 10 po.

Ted Failon: Police Station 10. Pwede bang matanong si Police superintendent? Ano ang hawak niyang papel ngayon para arestuhin ka?

On phone: Ito po, sandali po.

Supt. Ed Leonardo: Opo sir.

Ted Failon: Magandang umaga po sir, Superintendent. Ano po ang inyong basehan para po arestuhin si Lowell Menorca?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Meron po kaming warrant galing po ng Marawi City.

Ted Failon: Marawi City?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Opo.

Ted Failon: Ano pong paglabag?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Libel lang naman po ang kaso niya at bailable naman. Kaya lang, nung sine-serve eh nagkaroon po ng commotion dahil nanlaban po yung mga kasama niya pati siya.

Ted Failon: Opo. Kasi po, ang clain po ni Lowell, eh meron pong mga hindi naka unipormeng pulis na sumunggab sa kanya. Siguro naman po natakot yung tao.

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Para lang po iyon makalapit pero nakapalibot po yung mga naka unipormeng pulis. Meron pong mga body guard siya.

Ted Failon: Pero sandali lang, bakit ho kayo magpapalapit ng hindi naka uniporme. Di ho ba mas tama, mas dapat o tama na ang lalapit ay naka uniporme?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Hindi po. Ang pag monitor po sa kanya ay naka civilian po na mga pulis natin para po hindi siya makahalata na merong pulis dahil po may warrant siya. Baka maaaring mag i-wave siya ng arrest o [Not audible]. Nung inaresto na po siya eh puro naka uniporme na po ang nakapalibot sa kanya. At nung binabasa po yung warrant na sini-serve sa kanya, inagaw po nung babae at sinampal pa yung pulis. Yun ang masaklap dito. Tapos gumawa po sila ng commotion para hindi siya mahuli.

Ted Failon: Sinampal ho yung pulis?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Opo. Sinampal po nung babae na matanda.

Ted Failon: Yung naka unipormeng pulis, sinampal?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Hindi po naka uniporme yung pulis.

Ted Failon: Yun nga po, kasi kung ikaw man din, di ba, kung ikaw man din po kasi ang may mga pagbabanta sa buhay, susunggaban ka ng mga naka civilian na tao, palagay ko naman, mauunawaan naman po ninyo, supt, di ba, matatakot ka rin?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Opo naintindihan po namin yun. Kaya naman po nagpakilala agad. At nung lumapit ay naka palibot naman po ang mga pulis nan aka uniporme na katunayan na mga legal po na mga awtoridad ang dumadakip sa kanya.

Ted Failon: Sige po. Ngayon po, supt, kayo ho ba ay sumisiguro ho ng kaniyang seguridad?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Opo. Ako po mismo ang sasama sa kanya, dadalhin po namin siya sa istasyon para po idokumento. At kung gusto niyang mag piyansa, eh right po niya yan, eh sasamahan pa rin po namin siya para makapag piyansa. Yun lang po. Wala pong masamang plano sa kanya kundi mai-serve lang po yung warrant. Yun lamang po.

Ted Failon: Kayo ho ba ay miyembro ng Iglesia din, spt.?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Opo. Opo. Ako’y tinawag lang para sumunod dito.

Ted Failon: Kayo po’y miyembro din ng Iglesia ni Cristo?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Opo. Opo. Member po ako.

Ted Failon: Opo, kasi po, I hope you don’t mind me saying this, siyempre po, di ho ba, alam po naman ninyo ang nangyayari po sa inyong simbahan, may away. Hindi ho ba? So…

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Yun pong mga bagay na yun, eh… hindi ko na po pupuwedeng makipag discuss sa inyo yung mga bagay na yan.

Ted Failon: Kaya nga po, kaya nga po, but with all due respect, Supt., siguro nauunawaan naman din po ninyo, yung hinuhuli po, itiniwalag ninyo – ng inyo pong simbahan, meron po silang alitan po sa inyong mga pinuno, kayo po ay miyembro ng Iglesiang aktibo, but… you know what I am saying, right?

Spt. Ed Leonardo: Naiintindihan ko po yung iniisip ninyo. Pero nandito para po i-serve lang po yung warrant.

Ted Failon: Yes sir, opo, opo. Opo, sige po, Supt. , ang atin lang po lamang yung safety ni G. Menorca at mabigyan po ng siguridad po yung tao at yun pong kanyang karapatan po naman ay mabigyan po ng proteksiyon. Salamat po, Supt.

 Spt. Ed Leonardo: Maraming salamat po, Sir Ted.

 

Source: ABS-CBN News 
Published on January 19, 2016
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3awSlZo4RE&feature=youtu.be
[Interview by Ted Failon]
Transcribed by Florafe Corotan

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 20.00.52

 

 

 

 

 

Nikko Galicia

[FEU Law Legal Writing], December 5, 2014

WON: Church and State

Philippines is known for being a Christian nation in Asia, majority of people (90%) being of the Christian faith. [1] Our country is also known as a secular nation with a constitutional separation of church and state. [2] This separation is stated in our Constitution, under the Declaration of Principles, Bill of Rights, even in the Legislative Department. [3] Although, until now, the separation between the Church and State is still not clearly defined.

Earlier this year, a legal action has been filed against the Philippine Postal Corporation, for its issuance of postage stamps commemorating the 100th founding anniversary of Iglesia ni Cristo, on the grounds that it violates the Constitution on sponsorship of the religious activity. [4] The provision he raised reads:

“Article VI, Section 29. (2) No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher xxx”

Government officials commented on the matter, and both former Governor Dela Cruz and Presidential Spokesman Lacierda believes that the stamps are not unconstitutional, as they are only commemorative. [5]

A similar case has already been decided way back 1937 in Aglipay v. Ruiz, in issuance of postage stamp in commemorating the Eucharistic Assembly in Manila. [6] It was ruled in favor of the Government, explaining that the purpose and intent of the issuance was not for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church, but the Government was only taking advantage of the event to raise funds as authorized by the law.

In a 1971 case decided by the US Supreme Court, it is where the “Lemon” test was introduced to determine the involvement of the Church in any Government activities. [7] Although the case has been decided in the US, it could be used as a guideline in Philippine courts. Lemon test have these points to answer; Purpose, Effect, Entanglement. On these three points, courts can determine if the intent of the law or government activity does support any system of religion. [8]

Given these laws, cases, and guidelines, Philippine government may say that there is indeed a separation of the Church and State, however, it is not clear where does the line that separates them reside, and we can only rely on the adversarial system to set that line for us.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_Philippines

[2] Id.
[3] 1987 Philippine Constitution,
Article II, Section 6. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.
Article III, Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

Article VI, Section 29. (2) No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher, or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium.

[4] http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/615126/taxpayer-sues-phlpost-over-iglesia-ni-cristo-postage-stamp
[5] http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/610819/is-phlposts-iglesia-ni-cristo-stamp-unconstitutional
[6] Aglipay v. Ruiz, G.R. No. L-45459, 64 Phil. 206, March 13, 1937
[7] http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2011/0713_santiago1.asp
[8] Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 US 602, June 28, 1971

INC dapat makipagdebate kay Bro. Eli Soriano

Old post, Standing issue. The challenge of Bro. Eli Soriano to the INC. Reporter Bening Batuigas said>>

Kung ako ang tatanungin parang nakikinikinita ko na sa susunod na mga araw, itong si Soriano ay sa kalaboso ang babagsakan. Hindi biro ang impluwensiya ng INC, di ba mga suki? Dapat sigurong tanggapin na ng INC itong hamon na debate ni Soriano para matapos na ang sigalot na namamagitan sa kanila.

(TRANS: If I would be asked, as if I can see that in the coming days, this Soriano will be imprisoned as his fate. The influence of the INC is not a joke, right? Perhaps the INC should accept now the debate challenge of Soriano to settle the differences between them.)

By

December 10, 2013 | 8:29 pm

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has ordered the producers of GMA 7’s “Unang Hirit” to issue a public apology and pay a fine of P20,000 for an episode where news anchor Arnold Clavio berated a guest.

In the Nov. 5 episode of the morning program, Clavio used what the MTRCB deemed was “rude language” in interviewing Alfredo Villamor, counsel for businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

The board said that in response to a memorandum released on Dec. 4 by its ad hoc committee, GMA 7 promised to air a statement acknowledging that the “Unang Hirit” interview “should have been done differently … and that Clavio … crossed the line of proper conduct.”

Also in compliance with the MTRCB order, the statement, which should air for three consecutive days, is supposed to include: “The program likewise offers its apologies to Villamor in particular, the public in general, and especially to all the members of the legal profession who may have been offended by the words and actions of Clavio.”

The memo pointed out that the program “failed to take immediate, effective and timely intervention” to prevent the broadcast of the interview “with indecorous language and demeanor.”

Thus, it said, the committee was “constrained” to impose the P20,000 fine and required “Unang Hirit” to undergo “a period of close collaboration for one month” to ensure child-sensitive and youth-friendly programming in future episodes.

Mandatory seminar

The committee required network executives and Clavio to attend a mandatory seminar with MTRCB chair Eugenio Villareal “on media and the legal profession in the context of both audience-sensitivity and the administration of justice.” (The seminar was set Tuesday and Wednesday, at the MTRCB office in Quezon City.)

Overboard

During Clavio’s phone interview with Villamor, the news anchor commented: “Pang-sira ka ng araw eh (You’re ruining my day),” and “Tatawa-tawa ka pa (You can still laugh).” Two days later, Clavio issued a statement, admitting he had gone overboard. “I ask for your understanding if I said anything offensive,” he said.

Clavio explained that Villamor was the only lawyer with whom he could discuss Napoles’ hearing on the P10-billion pork barrel scam after counsel Lorna Kapunan resigned. The anchor was visibly irritated when Villamor failed to answer certain questions.

The MTRCB pointed out the importance of heeding the Code of Professional Responsibility, which states: “A lawyer is prohibited from making public statements in the media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.”

The Board added: “Certainly, neither the program nor Clavio … can insist on eliciting statements from Villamor as regards matters beyond the latter’s professional engagement.” During the interview, Villamor repeatedly told Clavio that he was not in a position to discuss the pork-barrel hearing since he was in charge only of Napoles’ case on serious illegal detention.

‘Bubble Gang’

Meanwhile, the MTRCB also summoned the producers of GMA 7’s gag show “Bubble Gang” to a mandatory conference on the “alleged discriminatory and derogatory portrayal of women” in its Nov. 29 episode.

The segment, “D Adventures of Susie Luwalhati,” drew complaints from the MTRCB’s monitoring and inspection unit because it showed the character Susie (Rufa Mae Quinto), “clad in a skimpy, low-neckline tank top,” applying for a job as cook and seller of puto bumbong.

In the skit, the stall owner (played by Beethoven Bunagan or Michael V) showed Susie how to cook and remove the puto bumbong from its bamboo tube. This, the MTRCB memo said, “while a group of men ogled, apparently with sexually oriented delight as her breasts shook vigorously [as she handled] the bamboo tube … Susie gave the impression, quite arguably, that she was simulating male self-abuse.”

Disrespect

Citing Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, the memo added: “It appears that the segment stereotypically portrayed a woman as an object of rather frivolous, albeit carnal, delight. When women are treated as commodities, they are disrespected and degraded … It cannot be helped for one to surmise that even the name of Quinto’s character is from the Filipino word for breasts. This arguably magnifies an overall intent on the part of the program to typecast the woman as a mere sex object.”

The conference, attended by network executive Eva Arespacochaga, program director Uro de la Cruz and talents Bunagan and Quinto, was held on Dec. 9 at the MTRCB office. According to a subsequent post on the board’s official Twitter account, the show has promised to ensure gender-sensitive content.

Inquirer columnist Randy David spoke of a “gridlock culture” in his Feb. 29 commentary in relation to the Iglesia ni Cristo prayer rally that paralyzed Metro Manila traffic the previous day.

We might as well speak of a political gridlock arising from the propensity of some politicians, such as Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, to throw their weight around—literally and figuratively—as we have seen in the ongoing Corona impeachment trial.

Prosecution lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre is right: If you demand respect, you must see to it that you yourself deserve respect. Santiago has lost all credibility by lawyering for Corona even as she sits as a senator-judge. I think she is a teacher by negative example to the 3,000 Bar passers whom Chief Justice Renato Corona vainly tried to recruit to his defense team, but whose sense of propriety prevented them from doing so.

As to the Iglesia ni Cristo, they may be contributing to the political gridlock as well by mixing politics and religion, but after a fashion. Or not too well. They said that the Luneta prayer rally was a purely evangelical event. But we all know it plays politics come every election, in exchange for political concessions, such as appointments of members to certain positions. The group held a similar prayer rally that was an undisguised show of support for Erap when he was impeached in 2000, but look what happened. I wonder how it would react if Corona is unceremoniously booted out of his Padre Faura office kicking and screaming after the Senate impeachment court is through with him?

—NORMAN YANUS,

normanyanus@yahoo.com.ph

FIRST PUBLISHED HERE: http://opinion.inquirer.net/25785/miriam-inc-and-corona

By Conrado de Quiros

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Renato Corona has the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Well, Arroyo had the INC, too, especially toward the end of her rule when the CBCP had a change of heart, following the change of leadership from Fernando Capalla to Angel Lagdameo, which was quite a sea change from hell to heaven. Arroyo had a change of heart, too, and turned from one Mafiosi to another. She so tried to make sipsip, or ingratiate herself, to the INC in the twilight of her rule that she even declared the day of Eraño Manalo’s death a day of mourning, a national holiday. Not unlike Ferdinand Marcos declaring Sept. 21, 1972, a day of national thanksgiving.

The INC has grown over the years to become the second biggest church in this country. You’ve got to wonder, though, what it is asking its fold to do. Over the same years it has grown, it has been trying to keep certain prominent citizens out of jail or, in the case of public officials, keeping them in power. Take Lope Jimenez, the prime suspect in the murder of his niece-in-law Ruby Rose Barrameda-Jimenez. The suspected killer pointed to him and his brother, Mariano, as the ones who had ordered him to abduct and murder Ruby Rose, and then seal her body in cement inside a metal drum. The kin of Ruby Rose allege that Lope joined the INC to begin with to protect his fishing business. Arroyo’s last justice secretary, Agnes Devanadera, dropped the case against him before she went. Leila de Lima has resurrected it.

The INC as well has tried to influence the court in Jason Ivler’s case. Ivler of course was that vicious thug who shot that young man, Renato Ebarle, in cold blood over a trifling traffic altercation. He was the same vicious thug who shot it out with cops when they discovered his hideout and arrested him. This is the guy the INC wants free to roam the same streets our kids do.

Indeed, Eraño Manalo’s INC (like Capalla’s CBCP) was hugely responsible for propping up Arroyo’s rule, particularly after the sound of Arroyo’s grating voice helloing Garci hit the airwaves.

Not too long ago, the INC made headlines by railing against the government for axing Magtanggol Gatdula, the director of the National Bureau of Investigation and an INC stalwart. P-Noy himself did the axing after finding out that Gatdula had a hand in the illegal detention of a Japanese fugitive. Despite De Lima’s strenuous attestations that the justice department did its homework before recommending Gatdula’s dismissal, the INC complained that he was not given a chance to explain.

And now Corona.

A few months ago, the INC held a political rally thinly disguised as a prayer camp-out to express support for him. And not quite incidentally to give the world to glimpse its clout, a thing especially addressed to the senators and congressmen, some of whom would be seeking a new lease on life in next year’s elections. Today, as this newspaper reported several days ago, it has been going around trying to persuade the senator-judges to find Corona innocent as grace in exchange for a boost to their political ambition. As Faustian an exchange as you could get.

All of this must make us ask: Why do we allow this?

Why do we allow the INC to begin with to interfere in elections? We know that INC members vote as a bloc for the candidates of their leaders’ choosing. We know this because that church doesn’t bother to hide it; it parades it as one of the reasons for joining it or currying its favor. At least the Catholic Church believes in giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God’s the things that are God’s. This one believes in socking it to Caesar, or sucking up to Caesar, in God’s name. This is out-and-out flouting of the separation of Church and State, a thing expressly forbidden in a democracy. And yet we see no law stopping it, and yet we see only politicians seeking to profit from it.

READ MORE> http://opinion.inquirer.net/29267/why-do-we-allow-this

by Philip M. Lustre Jr.

The Iglesia Ni Cristo is a minority church that is always on the wrong side of history. It has a track record of supporting most unholy causes to pursue certain opportunistic objectives.

It supported the Marcos dictatorial rule and, until its tragic end, it did not say anything, much less act, against the three ills that plagued the Marcos regime: the over centralized graft allegedly committed by Marcos, his family and friends; the unrestrained crony capitalism that benefited Marcos and his crony friends; and, the wanton disregard and violations of human rights that led to torture and disappearances of thousands of political activists and even ordinary citizens.

It is notorious for supporting candidates in every election. Voting as a bloc, the INC is reported to have been using as political leverage its capacity to marshal political support from its members.

It is said to have been currying favor from political leaders, whom it feels to have given the political support to win in elections. It pushes, albeit quietly and without fanfare, the appointment of its members for key government posts. Lately, it is said to have been pushing for the appointments of certain friendly but unqualified non-INC members, but to no avail.

Political opportunism is its hallmark. In the 2010 elections, it was said to have backed up the candidacy of another presidential candidate, but left him for good after he was certain to lose. On the last minutes, it went to support Benigno Aquino III, who incidentally won by more than five million votes from his nearest rival.

Political scientists once studied the INC’s capability and capacity to influence the course of Philippine history. While its members are reputed to vote like automatons in every election, its influence is not that deep.

It could influence the electoral outcome in some local posts, especially in hotly contested congressional districts, cities, towns and provinces. The INC vote could represent the swing vote in those political constituencies.

In national elections, the INC influence is doubtful except for the last two or three slots of the top 12 in every senatorial elections.

Political scientists estimated that the INC bloc is good for 1.2 or 1.3 million votes. While it could monitor the votes in the Culiat area, which hosts its national headquarters in Quezon City, or San
Juan City, where its first church is located, it could hardly monitor votes of its flock in other areas outside of Culiat and San Juan.

In short, its political influence is exaggerated, owing largely to media reports that tend to describe this minority church as powerful and influential.

The political record of the INC is not the only object of concern. The INC is not exactly endearing to the labor movement because of its leaders’ abhorrence to join any legitimate action by workers against business establishments.

Henry Sy’s SM, notorious for allegedly circumventing the Labor Code to its corporate interest, has adopted as an unwritten policy the hiring of workers belonging to INC for reason of “industrial peace.” The same thing has been happening in certain industrial enclaves.

A labor leader once harshly described the INC as “the religion of the scabs.”

Last year, the INC supported then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, asking certain lawmakers, whom it supported in the 2010 polls, to vote against her impeachment. But an overwhelming majority of the members of the House of Representatives voted for her impeachment, causing
embarrassment for the minority church.

This week, the INC mobilized its members to support embattled Renato Corona in what appears to be a show of force on Tuesday. But it remains questionable whether it could match what the majority church and certain minority churches could jointly muster in certain issues.

As the impeachment trial shows, Corona’s removal from office could be another big embarrassment for the INC, just like what had happened to Gutierrez, who, after she was impeached, chose to quietly resign her post.

Read more here
http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideOpinion_mstd.htm?f=%2F%2F2012%2FMarch%2F3%2Feveryman.isx&n=opinion&d=%2F2012%2FMarch%2F3

By Jose Ma. MontelibanoPhilippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:11:00 01/28/2011

The optimism of the people are high, riding on a fresh administration, affirming that integrity and decency in governance was more what people needed than geniuses to wield power. I surmise it is because of the reputation that Ferdinand Marcos had been known for much of his life, as a brilliant lawyer and astute politician. Yet, he oppressed the people with the same intelligence and political expertise. Talent, indeed, does not hold water to integrity and honesty.

Gloria also had her own reputation as someone who was hard-working and an economist. These virtues, in the hands of the wrong person, become tools of plunder and instruments of evil.

It is true that the poverty of tens of millions of people deserve the most talented and decisive in the economic field. Yet, it had never been the lack of economic expertise that produced the poverty; rather, it was the exploitation of power for personal gain, the extraction of the country’s natural resources and the manipulation of the majority poor, that forced a rich land and gifted people to become marginalized.

I wonder who understands how native intelligence and a sensitive, creative culture can degenerate into uncontrollable divisiveness and a survivalist mindset. It is a classical breakdown of what is noble to what is animalistic, the damaged culture that scientists talk about. It used to be a universal pattern when colonization dominated the rest of the world. Many delude themselves into believing that a mental construct of centuries can quickly deconstruct itself when native rulers replace foreign masters. In fact, it does not most of the time. In fact, it becomes worse often enough.

The mindset of governance has always been elitist, even before Spanish colonization. The datu system could not have been less authoritarian. However, being home-grown in a culture that was very much family-oriented, it is more than probable that most datus were paternalistic more tan dictatorial. After all, the datu and his people were not enemies, just as the kings and their people belonged to one another.

Democracy, then, has upset the applecart of both tradition and human history. Democracy is dismantling a leadership mindset that has always been top down by introducing the process of a ground up participative governance. Much of the world today mouths democratic wishes. Some even claim adherence. The fact remains that democracy is struggling to survive its infancy stage in human evolution.

The need for respect is primordial in a democracy. The rule of the majority is not theoretical, not in a democracy. It must be a felt value by the people. While most decisions cannot be directly representative of what people want or don’t want, the sense that the common good prevails is a necessary belief of the people.

A credible justice system is designed to act like a guidepost. The rule of law is a foundation of all societies, but it is most crucial in a democracy. The rule of law and the application of meritocracy as the major moorings of society can make democracy work. Without them, the rule of force propping structured authority often co-opts a disturbed country. In the Philippines, the justice system is suspect, the highest judges perceived as partisan, lacking in integrity and objectivity, drawn to partisanship and loyalty to appointing powers.

We stand today inside a moment when great change is possible from the higher aspirations of a people under a new government. The key orientation then is change, a change from one point moving towards another. The starting point of change is corruption and the poverty it has spawned. Those who do not stand on the value of change do not deserve to lead the country because they will guarantee that no change will happen.

Change is not easy. Confronting corruption and its tentacles in every nook and corner of governance, with great help from a private sector who tolerated, even abetted it, requires a courage that belongs to heroes. Even poverty will be used as an excuse to compromise, as though to help the poor makes it necessary to dirty one’s soul. President Noy had heroes for parents. Maybe, he realizes today why destiny played it that way.

Many in the official family of national and local governance will relent to a reduction of corruption because they will be afraid that simple integrity and honesty will prevent them from receiving resources they need. The President can bend to Congress and the Senate, the mayors and governors to the President, the innocent to corrupt judges and justices, candidates to Comelec officials, and down the long line.

Those who compromise will tell themselves that they have to sell their souls in order to help their people. Little do they know, or try as they might not to know, people are enslaved in a national web and culture dominated by corruption. In a corrupt environment, the people are the victims, especially the poor. The people are not saved by compromise, they are punished and condemned by it.

That was why I thought that the Truth Commission was such a necessary instrument to battle corruption with. That is why I continue to believe that a Truth Commission is the only way to hit several birds with one stone. Aside from thieves and plunderers possibly getting imprisoned, the culture of honesty is once again being highlighted as non-negotiable. When the Supreme Court said that the Truth Commission was unconstitutional, I thought President Noy would bring the case to the people and establish Truth Forums everywhere.

But fate is a more masterful and brave player in life. A lowly auditor who is convinced of the guilt of plunder suspect General Carlos Garcia and the support that he receives from other personalities of power, Heidi Mendoza is saying she is on a truth mission. She is showing extraordinary courage for an ordinary Filipino. She is affirming that heroism is not the exclusive virtue of personages in high places, but that it can be the result of fighting those in power and with great wealth.

Filipino. Pilipinas natin. Our country demands from us, from all of us, a personal contribution to nationhood. Corruption prevents a sense of unity, keeps people and sectors apart, exploiter here, victim there. Governance is not just about them up there; it is truly more about you and me here.