News Flash

August 04, 2015, Tuesday
  • Sen. Trillanes cites security risk as primary reason why his witnesses in bribery charge vs. 2 CA justices won’t be able to testify. 5 hours ago |
  • Sen. Trillanes says his witnesses in bribery charge vs. CA justices won’t be able to appear before the CA hearing. 5 hours ago |
  • Sen. Trillanes says he will appear before CA hearing on Aug. 14 to explain his bribery charge vs. 2 CA justices. 6 hours ago |
  • Trillanes ordered to appear at CA hearing on Aug. 14 at 2 pm & explain why he shouldn’t be cited for contempt for bribery allegations. 6 hours ago |
  • CA tells Sen. Trillanes to explain his allegation that 2 CA justices got P 25M each in bribes to stop Makati Mayor Binay’s suspension. 6 hours ago |
  • DMCI tells Supreme Court that Torre de Manila is outside the boundary of Rizal Park. 6 hours ago |
  • DMCI tells Supreme Court that it followed all ordinances, rules & guidelines in building Torre de Manila. 6 hours ago |
  • Comelec Commissioner Christian Lim says the poll body can adjust its calendar of activities & extend campaign period when there is election. 6 hours ago |
  • LTFRB sues 2 fixers who had long been loitering in the agency’s vicinity & offering fake franchise to applicants. 6 hours ago |
  • Sen. Chiz Escudero says Comelec should castigate candidates abusing election rules instead of extending the campaign period. 6 hours ago |
  • Sen. Jinggoy Estrada has been experiencing light-headedness and acid reflux. 6 hours ago |
  • Sen. Jinggoy Estrada will undergo medical check up at Cardinal Santos Medical Center from 6 pm Tuesday until Thursday. 6 hours ago |
  • Sandiganbayan grants Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request for a medical check up at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City. 6 hours ago |
  • PAGASA says frequent heavy rains in the afternoon in Metro Manila are just due to thunderstorms. 6 hours ago |
  • PAGASA says there is no weather disturbance currently affecting Metro Manila. 6 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ is forecast to move west northwest at 20 kph. 6 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ was located 1,770 kilometers east of Luzon at 2 pm on Tuesday. 6 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ outside PAR has gustiness of up to 245 kph. 6 hours ago |
  • Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ outside PAR carries maximum sustained winds of up to 215 kph near the center. 6 hours ago |
  • Signal Number 3 may be raised over Cagayan when Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ enters PAR on Wednesday morning. 7 hours ago |
  • Batanes may experience Signal Number 4 when Typhoon ‘Soudelor’ (with local name ‘Hanna’) enters PAR on Wednesday morning. 7 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos & Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo attend Liberal Party meeting in San Juan today with Mar Roxas. 7 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos & Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo say no one has asked them to run as Roxas’ vice pres’l bet. 7 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos says she may run for Congress but she has not made up her mind. 7 hours ago |
  • Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos says she is not eyeing the vice presidency. 7 hours ago |
  • Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo says she hopes Sen. Grace Poe will agree to become Roxas’ runningmate. 7 hours ago |
  • Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo says if ever she will seek a higher post, it may be the senate. 7 hours ago |
  • Camsur Rep. Leni Robredo says she has no plans of running for vice president. 7 hours ago |
  • Pampanga to experience power interruptions on Thursday. 12 hours ago |
  • Sen. Jinggoy Estrada says Binay’s ‘True State of the Nation’ or ‘TSONA’ reflects the real performance of the Aquino gov’t. 12 hours ago |
  • De Lima says DOJ has no evidence that will pin down House members to the alleged BBL payoff. 12 hours ago |
  • House Sgt. At Arms Radovan says their CCTVs store only 5 days worth of videos before these are automatically erased by the system. 12 hours ago |
  • House Sgt. At Arms Nicasio Radovan says CCTVs in Batasan Complex have no recording of alleged BBL payoff last May 25, 26 & 27. 12 hours ago |
  • Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano says Binay should release his ‘true SALN’ instead of delivering a counter-SONA. 12 hours ago |
  • DOTC Sec. Abaya hits back at Binay & says the VP does not understand the root cause of the MRT problem. 12 hours ago |

A cancer called Abad

By Jojo Robles | Jun. 05, 2014 at 12:01am

Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani has joined the growing chorus of voices calling for the resignation of embattled Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. “Abad must resign if he is not involved in the scam to clear his name,” Bacani said.

I’ve always liked Bacani, who I consider that cleric in the manner of retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz—unafraid to speak out and possessed of a highly-developed sense of civic duty. However, I must disagree with Bacani on Abad, who I believe should resign whether or not he is actually involved with his self-confessed student, Janet Lim Napoles.

As I’ve written previously, the sense of righteousness that forced Abad to resign as Gloria Arroyo’s education secretary in 2005 in the wake of the “Hello, Garci” scandal —in which he was not involved —should now compel him to quit because of his reported involvement in the pork barrel scam, where he has been identified by no less than Napoles herself as her mentor. (The reasoning which Bacani made to call for Abad to resign is ironically the same one used by Abad’s supporters, who cannot believe that someone as supposedly righteous as Abad will get involved with Napoles; presumably, these people have concluded that this is why Abad should remain in his post.)

However, if Abad is truly involved with Napoles, then he must resign even more quickly than if he isn’t involved. If Abad is dirty and remains in his position as overseer of the nation’s treasury, that is an unmitigated disaster.

Meanwhile, I see that the person snarkily described by fellow columnist Bobi Tiglao as the other half of President Noynoy Aquino’s brain (the other half being Abad himself), Senate President Franklin Drilon, has said that the growing clamor for Abad to quit is motivated by “politics.” The palace spokesman whose job it is increasingly to defend the indefensible, Edwin Lacierda, has gone Drilon one better by saying that Abad is being pressured to resign because Aquino himself is “incorruptible.”

These are intriguing positions to take. While it may be true that no evidence has been found to directly link Aquino to Napoles expect for his inordinate interest in Ma’am Jenny’s plight, it is certainly foolish to conclude that the link does not exist at all; even a President as clueless as Aquino will take pains to “layer” his dealings with people like Napoles.

To conclude that Aquino is incorruptible simply because there is no evidence currently to prove otherwise is simply wrong. For instance, if both Drilon and Lacierda are correct, then Gloria Arroyo, who has been in jail almost as long as Aquino has been in office despite the failure of both the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan to find evidence linking her to corruption all these years, is truly being persecuted instead of being prosecuted, as Winnie Monsod recently said.

What Aquino has (and what, to a lesser degree, Abad had before Napoles called him “sensei” and before it was exposed that practically his entire family was in government’s employ) is the perception of incorruptibility. It is a perception that Arroyo never enjoyed, much to her misfortune.

Of course, perception, unlike hard, judicially acceptable evidence, has been known to change quickly. This is why I think Malacañang has decided that defending Abad is its current top priority—so that the stink of pork doesn’t reach Aquino and even land him in a jail cell when his time is up.

So the palace game plan, as far as I can tell, is to defend Abad at all costs—unless he quits on his own. But I have serious doubts that Abad will leave on his own accord, not only because all of his relatives might lose their jobs, but also because he must still remember how hard it was for him to be unemployed for three straight years and to still pay a little over P8,000 in income taxes.

* * *

Ultimately, Abad, like Drilon and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, is simply too close to Aquino to be sacrificed. But because Aquino has chosen to “hold on together” with his closest associates, as Dinky Soliman once crooned, the President may go down in flames with them all.

Aquino’s “we’re all in this together” attitude apparently cannot grasp the concept that Abad has become a liability, a cancerous limb that will infect the whole body of his presidency and which must be surgically removed to preserve the uninfected whole. If it is at all true that Aquino himself is not corrupt, then he could be corrupted by his continued association with Abad.

If Aquino never received a centavo in campaign contributions from Napoles but Ochoa did, or if he never bribed a member of Congress with pork but Abad did, or if he never went further that having pictures taken with Ma’am Jenny but Drilon and his wife did, then the President is as corrupt as any name in any of the Napolists. They’re all in this together, after all.

If you don’t like Aquino and Abad stays on, you should be happy because that could lead to the ultimate unmasking of Aquino as just another corrupt politician, only with a better funded, longer lasting and more painstakingly crafted image of incorruptibility. But think of the high cost to the country, too.

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