“That President Bongbong Marcos is mulling over shutting down the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations is good news, and the President shouldn’t waste time in doing it.”
I cannot start this volume without expressing my eternal thanks to all who greeted me on my 95th birthday last September 15. They all made my day, Santa Banana!
What really made my day were the many surprises I got, the most notable of all from Senator Robin Padilla, who greeted me with a personalized video, the first time a noted senator like Robin, No. 1 among the list of 12 senators elected last May 9, did. Thank you, thank you, Senator, you really made my day.
Another surprise I got was from no less than my Opinion Editor, who greeted me with a poem he composed about me as the oldest living Filipino media person still working as a columnist of the Manila Standard. My eternal thanks to you, Honor Blanco Cabie.
I was also touched when my former driver of 20 years, who no longer works for me, our family carpenter and several household helpers no longer in our employ, called to greet me.
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The latest news I have heard so far from the World Health Organization, and subsequently from the Department of Health is that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight.
I do not know when, but after almost three years going through a dark tunnel, at long last, we are all beginning to see light at tunnel’s end.
Many of my relatives, friends, and acquaintances have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I thank the Lord that my wife and I may yet see the light at the end of the long tunnel, my gulay!
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Senator Robin Padilla is doing well in inviting notable resource personalities in an effort to see what amendments to the 1987 Constitution will be best for the country.
One such person was noted and veteran lawyer, at one time secretary of justice and solicitor general, Atty. Estelito Mendoza, who brought legal gemstones to the attention of Senator Padilla and his committee on Constitutional Amendment and Revision of the Code of Laws.
Atty. Mendoza raised two points:
First, that the Martial Law provision of the 1987 Constitution under Section 18 which removed the phrase which included “imminent danger thereof” should be restored in case of invasion or rebellion when public safety requires it because without the phrase “imminent danger thereof,” martial law may be too late where there is actual invasion, or actual rebellion or when public safety is required.
I wholly agree. With the phrase “in imminent danger thereof,” when there is actual invasion or rebellion, it may be too late to declare martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Second, that the Judicial Bar Council be abolished and all appointments to the judiciary be made by the Commission on Appointments composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
After all, Congress represents the people of the Philippines and judicial appointments should pass through the people.
Under the 1987 Constitution, all appointments are concentrated within the power of the President through the JBC composed of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as chairman ex-officio, the Secretary of Justice, and a representative of Congress, as ex-officio member, a representative of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, a professor of law, a retired member of the Supreme Court and a representative of the private sector.
While the JBC composition may not be politicized, the provision in the charter who the president may choose among three nominees is political in nature.
In effect, this is politicizing the judiciary. I have always been a critic of this provision in the 1987 charter because I believe that it promoted political proteges and in effect politicized the judiciary.
Thus, I fully agree with Mendoza that it should be the Commission on Appointments that should approve all judicial appointments. This way, anybody can oppose appointments to the judiciary.
If there are some sectors that are afraid that the 1987 charter should be amended, the findings of the Padilla committee suggest some people are still traumatized by Martial Law and dictatorship.
That’s precisely why there is need for amending the 1987 charter, which then President Cory Aquino said was only temporary and should be amended to fit modern times.
This is now the time to amend the 1987 Constitution and update it because of its many shortcomings.
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That President Bongbong Marcos is mulling over shutting down the POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations) is good news, and the President shouldn’t waste time in doing it.
I have always been against giving permits to such to operate in the Philippines because the operation of offshore gambling is a form of gambling which is illegal in China, their main market.
But, sadly enough for me President Duterte allowed it because all the licenses and taxes the government got from POGO operations provided the country with no less than P2 billion.
But, unfortunately, Santa Banana, Duterte failed to see its detrimental effects to the country, not only in the form of criminality, when syndicates and cartels in Mainland China made the country their playground in kidnapping for ransom POGO Chinese workers and other forms of crimes, tinting the country’s image in the process.
The imminent shutdown of POGOS in the Philippines came from the President’s sister no less, Senator Imee Marcos, saying that whatever financial benefits the country gets from POGO operations cannot compensate for all acts of criminality POPGOIs are giving the country’s image as a peaceful and orderly country.
Then President Duterte welcomed POGOs to the country to attract Chinese tourists to come to the Philippines during his pivot to China.
Sadly, first, we had that “pastillas” scam that corrupted no less than 83 immigration officials at the international airports.
Then, Santa Banana, came rampant kidnappings for ransom and other acts of criminality by mainland Chinese crime syndicates that took advantage of the easy entry of Chinese visitors to the country, which in effect made the Philippines their playground to commit crimes.
Mister President,close down all POGOs. The sooner done the better.
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It was well that Bongbong listened to his chief legal counsel Juan Ponce Enrile not to grant resigned Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez extra powers which he wanted as newly-assigned Presidential Chief of Staff.
Santa Banana, would you believe, as the new Chief of Staff, a position that had already been abolished during former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration, Rodriguez would have power over all government agencies and departments, and all contracts similar to the power of an executive secretary!
But, JPE, ever alert towards efforts of Rodriguez to have powers, immediately filed a memorandum to the President, thwarting the efforts of Rodriguez to assume the powers of an ES.
In fact, as far as I am concerned, it would be better for President Marcos Jr. not to reassign the resigned ES to any position close to Malacanang.
With people like Rodriguez close to Bongbong and giving his aid and assistance, President Marcos Jr. does not need enemies.