Is Grace Poe just an ordinary trapo?

poe inquirer

Who is this lady, and is she an angel? [Photo source: inquirer.net]

The question arose as I was listening to the Senate committee hearing on police modernization chaired by Senator Poe. PNP Chief Alan Purisima was the primary witness.

Let me begin by listing some observations . . . that is, opinions . . . arising out of that hearing:

The Purisima hearing

These are my “top of mind” conclusions and they can certainly benefit from counterpoints or elaborations.

  • Grace Poe is very good. She was the main inquisitor. She does not look like a bulldog, but she acts like one. I think she is tougher than Senator Cayetano who is the main inquisitor on the Makati garage hearing. She does not appear to have a political agenda but still goes straight for the throat . . . yet somehow manages to do it without exhibiting personal malice. Irritation, yes. Malice, no. She is well prepared, well-organized, and always working toward a tangible finding or action.
  • PNP Chief Purisima is a bad manager. He sets poor examples (accepting lavish gifts, failing to participate in exercise routines, failing to show up for a Senate hearing, and blaming others for his bad judgments). In that way, he promotes the value system of the PNP as one of favor, power and patronage. He apparently does not work with in-house attorneys and does not manage the budget or processes to achieve an important goal: holding policemen accountable for good behavior and service. Internal affairs appears to be woefully under-funded and ineffective. But the Camp Crame mansion is sure nice.
  • Filipinos are largely insecure about their safety and view that the PNP is a part of the problem rather than the solution. Citizen’s groups made this clear. Good ideas are put on paper but do not get translated into good results. In other words, the PNP is “all hat, no cowboy”, in responding to citizen complaints.
  • The meeting findings will definitely aid in the development of legislation.

Background on Grace Poe

I have long held the view that Grace Poe would be a good presidential candidate, even though she is “green” in terms of government experience. I think she has the skills to be president. Indeed, the meeting chairmanship solidified my belief that she is an exceptionally talented manager and leader.

But a hole has appeared in my confidence. Oddly, it is in the “character” component of her credentials. This is the very area where most people see the Senator as an angel, a straight-path woman cut of the same cloth as President Aquino or Jesse Robredo.

Here are my three prior articles on Grace Poe:

  • Mar Roxas, Ping Lacson and Grace Poe, February 7, 2014. A comparative analysis that concludes that Grace Poe would win among three selected candidates due to her strong character and the popularity of the Poe name.
  • The Poe Files: A Little Matter of Parentage, March 7, 2014. Considers the rumor that Grace Poe is the love child of former President Marcos and makes the statement that a person should be judged on his or her own merits and deeds, not by association, and certainly not by rumor. Strongly endorses Poe.
  • Poe Part II: Do Filipinos Grasp Freedom?, March 8, 2014. Elaborates on the previous blog to address the importance of respect for the individual. Argues that Grace Poe should be judged according to her own character and deeds.

What is corruption?

It seems to me that most people view corruption as a realm of theft of money, kickbacks, or gaining from trading government services for personal gain. I hold that it is much more elaborate than that. So rather than using a canned definition from one of the dictionaries let me lean on The Humpty Dumpty New World Dictionary, a robust tome that allows us to cite our own definitions to clarify exactly what it is we intend to mean:

  • Corruption (noun): the process whereby an individual takes advantage of his public position to acquire personal advantage in ways that are unethical or illegal.

You will notice that my definition is harsher than those who only consider hard crime, such as theft of taxpayer money, as corruption. I hold that it is also corrupt for an individual to do INTENTIONALLY that which is unethical to achieve personal gain from a public position. This is the area where traditional politicians tread the very fine line between politics and corruption. It is evidently easy – for it is common – to step over the line to do corrupt acts.

I have harshly criticized the Senate for refusing to form an Ethics Committee to deal with charges against the three (alleged) plundering senators. Apparently no senator is willing to chair the committee to bring their misbehaving colleagues to task. The senators are afraid of being harmed by their powerful colleagues who are evidently vengeful people.

That negligence – the failure to seat an Ethics Committee – is, to me, a form of intellectual corruption. It is a gross failure to serve the public’s interest . . . for personal advantage. Intentionally.

Consider this. The Poe hearing on Purisima raised the point that many crimes are not reported because people are afraid. Chief Purisima was lectured by Senator Poe to make sure people have an easy way to call the PNP to report crimes.

Perhaps she has not noticed that she and other senators are behaving exactly like fearful citizens. Their failure to hold misbehaving (either negligent or criminal) senators to account is like seeing someone being beaten and robbed across the street, ducking one’s head and moving on down the road. Doing nothing.

They see that fellow senators are probably stealing citizen money, they duck their heads and they do nothing. Intentionally. Waiting for the DOJ, Ombudsman or courts to do the tough, courageous work.

They know what the public interest is, but they fail to act. For personal advantage.

Corruption.

Well, the Ombudsman would not take a case against Senate Majority Leader Drilon, I suspect. He is responsible for getting committees put together. The Ombudsman is more concerned about hard theft or breaking of the law. A matter of ethical negligence doesn’t count.

But it should count for voters who are asked to judge a candidate’s character. Personally, if I had a vote, Senator Drilon would very likely not end up with it.

Grace Poe’s “independence”

One of the values I have ascribed to Senator Poe is that of “independence”. For example, she went to the United States as a young woman apparently to escape overbearing parenting (her parents didn’t like her boyfriend). Then, she ran as an independent for her senate run, going neither with UNA nor the LP coalition, although she became closely aligned with the LP coalition as the race matured.

How my confidence in Grace Poe was shaken

You may have read my “Tweet Blog” comment in the right column a while back, an acerbic remark about Grace Poe’s demand that Chief Purisima resign compared to her strange silence about the Binay corruption scandal and her silence about the cases of the three (alleged) plundering senators. What’s with that?

binay poe

Jejomar Binay and Fernando Poe

I know that she has some loyalty to the Binay clan because Jejomar Binay helped orchestrate her father’s presidential campaign in 2003 and 2004.

But wait a minute.

Wait just a minute here.

Maybe I’m reading her independence wrong. Her failure to join with a political party in her senate run is a deed, for sure. It can be looked at as good if the purpose was to stand alone. It can be looked at as bad if she was afraid to associate with LP because it might offend Jejomar Binay. That is, if she did not have the forthright courage to stand for straight-government principles because she needed to return some kind of personal allegiance to the Binay clan.

Personal advantage.

But this was not malicious or unethical because the only person who could be harmed by her allegiance to Jejomar Binay was herself.

However, the attack on Chief Purisima, versus a complete silence on Binay and the plundering senators, is very different. Those are deeds, too. Silence is a choice. A deed. An act.

Those deeds DO affect citizens. She could be helping a corrupt man escape investigation.

Is she playing it politically safe? Would acting on the public’s behalf threaten her relationship with the Binay clan? Is she coddling a personal relationship? Returning a favor?

Tell me just exactly HOW that is any different than PNP Chief Purisima taking on the gift of a house and a car from friends.

How it is any different from the sordid acts of power and favor that define a traditional politician?

Because I’m not seeing the difference.

Trading in favors, for personal advantage.

Being blind to public interest.

Intentionally.

Corruption.

A distasteful chain of thought

That’s my chain of thought. I don’t like it. But that’s the chain of thought.

My thinking is that Grace Poe is very likely not independent. She is a trapo, a traditional politician, dealing in power and favor, debts and personal advantage . . . over her mandate to take care of citizens. If her standard for Chief Purisima is that he must go on leave or resign for accepting gifts, how can she hold a different position for a man who, by very convincing evidence, has been the architect of gross theft of public monies? Likely billions.

She can easily convince me I’m wrong. She can do this by being consistent in how she condemns those who appear, from all evidence, to be corrupt, or who have been formally investigated for corruption.

I once wrote that Grace Poe was unusual because, when she speaks, people listen. So the great disappointment here is that, rather than using her special talent and her admired role among the masses to promote a better Philippines, she is holding back. Intentionally.

For personal advantage.

If it is not corruption, if it is not unethical, if it is politics as usual . . .

It is for sure an unforgivable shame.

 

Comments
88 Responses to “Is Grace Poe just an ordinary trapo?”
  1. manuel buencamino says:

    Good insight. Grace is also very close to the Estradas, closer even than she is to Binay. Her dad and Erap were best friends. And I’m not sure but I think Erap is also her godfather. How she balances her role as a public official and her personal associations is worth watching.

    As to the Ethics Committee, I think the membership should be mandatory and composed of the entire Senate with the Senate president as chairman and the majority and minority leaders as vice chairs.

    I guess your definition covers both graft and corruption.

    (Google) Graft, a form of political corruption, is the unscrupulous use of a politician’s authority for personal gain. The term has its origins in the medical procedure whereby tissue is removed from one location and attached to another for which it was not originally intended.

    (Wiki) Political corruption is the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.

  2. andrewlim8 says:

    Grace Poe: Galit sa corrupt, huwag lang barkada ni Erap? (Mad at the corrupt, except for friends of Erap?)

    Hmmm……

    🙂

    To be fair to her, she needs further watching.

    • Joe America says:

      Yeah. There ought to be a hierarchy of loyalties with citizens being at the top of the list for government employees. Period. Anything less than that puts private interests above those of the nation. Might as well just sell us to China if that’s what patriotism means hereabouts. Same values.

  3. 2BFair says:

    Joe, I too have closely followed Grace Poe’s career, as I have followed your blog. This is the first time I’m commenting on any of your posts. I guess this may come across slanted, as I am admittedly a fan of Poe’s …

    I hope your view is not one that is shared by too many people yet, and I hope to help nip it in the bud. I agree with your view before, that Poe is and ideal contender for 2016. Let’s not count her out yet.

    Some food for thought …

    The reason she didn’t join LP for 2013, is not because she didn’t want to offend Binay, but because she was already invited to join the admin slate by PNoy, even if she wasn’t a member of any political party. So why would she suddenly need to join LP at the 11th hour? She would have no need or reason to. This is why she remained independent.

    As far as having blind loyalty to Binay, the Estrada’s, or any member of the UNA or the so-called opposition for that matter, that relationship was severed back in 2012, when Binay and Erap didn’t want her to run for the Senate. It was only later, after she had already been invited by PNoy, that Binay and Erap realized the embarrassment that was in store for them if people would learn that FPJ’s daughter would not be running in their slate. So they did a last minute political move, and “adopted” her as a “guest candidate”. After which they dropped her from their list anyway, just a day into the campaign period.

    Regarding her stance on the 3 senators accused of plunder, keep in mind that she was one of the first senators to give up her PDAF. She was one of the senators, as well, that signed the Blue Ribbon committee’s report and findings submission to the Ombudsman.

    In the case of the Blue Ribbon sub-committee’s investigation on the Makati Building 2 controversy, she has not attended any of the hearings for these simple reasons — 1. There are no questions left untackled by Pimentel, Cayetano, and Trillanes. 2. She is not a member of that committee. If she were to attend those hearings, what would have been the first message to come to mind? Remember that when the hearings started, based on surveys at the time, she was the only formidable competition for Binay, for the presidency. The message would have been that she is joining the Makati hearings to promote herself and attack Binay, because she wants to run for president. She has expressed time and time again of her reluctance to run for president. 3. She already has a full plate as she heads 2 committees (Public Information, and Public Safety & Dangerous Drugs) and she is a member of 2 more (Agriculture and Public Services).

    Going back to the 3rd reason I mentioned, I can therefore explain the following:

    Why she held a hearing regarding the PNP and Chief Purisima — because the PNP falls under the purview of the Committee on Public Safety & Dangerous Drugs

    Why she pushed for the FOI bill — because she is the Chair of the Committee on Public Information

    Why she participated in the investigation on the garlic cartel and overpricing — because she is a member of the Committee on Agriculture

    Why she heads the investigation on the MRT fiasco — because she is a member of the Committee on Public Services, and was invited by Osmena to head the subcommittee hearings specifically on the DOTC

    It would be easy to join the bandwagon and attack the 3 jailed senators, or attack Binay in the Makati hearings. But to what end? IMHO, she already proves herself week after week as a no-nonsense leader that works hard and produces results, without having to pander.

    So, to say that she is that she is “holding back. Intentionally. For personal advantage.” is grossly unfair to a person who, as you said is a neophyte, but is working hard to prove herself, and has already done much IMHO, for the country, compared to many who have been in government for years.

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate the clear, comprehensive point of view, and I’m sure other Poe fans will appreciate your clarification and endorsement of the senator. I was taken aback by her demand for PNP Chief Purisima’s resignation before any kind of due process had been held. It seemed out of order against the backdrop of absolutely no action from her . . . or any other senators regarding the three jailed senatorial suspects . . . and against absolute silence regarding Vice President Binay’s case, which has trekked far along the senatorial due diligence process. I also read that numerous House reps were preparing to swap their LP party membership for UNA (prior to the scandal getting rather large), so I know there are allegiances in the background that the public does not know.

      I would be very interested to know Senator Poe’s position on both the three jailed senators, and VP Binay. It would mean a lot more to me than the frequent statements we get from Senator Binay.

      • 2BFair says:

        actually she never called for Purisima’s resignation. That was Ping Lacson. Poe recommended to Roxas that he consider putting Purisima on administrative leave while the Ombudsman reviews his case.

        regarding the potential hemorrhage of LP party members to UNA, this i think is inevitable given the track record of Filipino politicians. but Poe will most probably join a party if she wants to run for president, and of course, it won’t be UNA

        admittedly, Poe’s wearing kids’ gloves when it comes to the 3 senators and Binay, does seem disappointing at first glance, but i believe Poe continues to show delicadeza and not appear a traitor or epal, after all, she may not be a trapo, but she is a politician (but the statesman type and not the sleaze ball)

        thanks for replying. i truly respect your opinions.

        • Joe America says:

          Administrative leave. Thanks for the correction. I would like to hear someone in an official capacity demand that VP Binay go on administrative leave, and would love to have heard that from the Senate Ethics Committee regarding Senators Revilla, Estrada and Enrile. It is strange having the relentless attacks and demands for resignation being made against Executive people (Abad and Purisima), which are really based on soft charges rather than hard theft accusations, whilst the (apparent) outright thieves are allowed to remain in office with no demand for accountability outside the slowwwwwwwww legal process. It is plain awkward with VP Binay at this point. How can he do his job, really, with the dark cloud gathering and people backing away from him?

          I hope you comment here more often. You represent your case very, very well. I’m sure I’d learn a lot from you, and so would other readers.

    • manuel buencamino says:

      2BFair,

      1. But Grace is a member of the Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations Committee aka the Blue Ribbon Committee which has 17 members and 3 ex-officio members. So practically the entire Senate belongs to the Committee.

      Here is the list of Sen. Poe’s committee memberships as ennumerated in her official web page. (http://www.gracepoe.ph/) 1. Accountability Of Public Officers & Investigations 2. Bank, Financial Institution & Currencies 3. Climate Change 4. Education, Arts And Culture 5. Energy 6.Environment And Natural Resources 7.Finance 8. Government Corporations & Public Enterprises 9. Health And Demography 10. Labor, Employment & Human Resource Development 11. Local Government 12. National Defense And Security 13. Public Services

      Obviously 13 committees, 2 chairs and 2 vice-chairs is a full plate and so she has to prioritize. So the question is, does not the accountability of public officers merit priority?

      2. So there are no questions left untackled by Pimentel, Trillanes and Cayetano?

      But there were so many follow-up questions that she could have asked of Junjun Binay and others had she attended the hearings. She grilled Purisima when she was not satisfied with his answers. Do you think she was satisfied with the answers of Mayor Junjun, the Makati officials who were defending the cost of the garage, and the construction company that built the garage? Do you think she would have nodded her head instead of prodded Mayor Junjun when he called his garage world-class even if it had rolled-vinyl floors and gypsum board walls, and green even if did not undergo the certification process and did not get a green tag? Really, as good as the three named senators are, they can’t cover everything, specially not the follow-up questions.

      3. “The message would have been that she is joining the Makati hearings to promote herself and attack Binay, because she wants to run for president.”

      So in effect what you are saying is Sen Grace Poe made a political calculation to avoid the hearings so she would not be accused of politicking? Doesn’t that smack of politicking as well?

      But more importantly, it does not speak well of a politician if she avoids her duty to hold officials to accountability simply because she does not want to be accused of politicking. What does that say to her commitment to get to the bottom of things, to finding the truth? Besides even if she were not touted as a presidential contender, she can still be accused of acting at the behest of someone. The first defense against investigators is to question the motives of the investigator, she ought to know that.

      Now I like Grace Poe. But how she balances her official life with her personal ties bears watching. She should show up at the next hearing and exhibit the same intelligent questioning she that she exhibited with Purisima.

      • 2BFair says:

        Manuel, sorry I guess I’m at a disadvantage … are you the same Manuel Buencamino who has a political blog and writes for interaksyon.com?

        What I posted are merely my opinions based on what I can recall from the news I read and what I see and hear on TV and radio. I will try to make time and research my answers before I post in the future.

        I should have said she isn’t a member of the Blue Ribbon “subcommittee” that Pimentel, Cayetano and Trillanes formed.

        I thought I had already dispelled the accusation that she is close to Binay and Erap. Her father was admittedly, but after what they did to her in 2012, I seriously doubt that you can still accuse her of that.

        Since she is one of the better performers of her group, I wouldn’t think of telling her what and what not to say or do. She has good insight. She has held her own so far.

        I guess we can agree to disagree, but at least we do agree on one thing … I, too, like Grace Poe.

        • Joe America says:

          Ha, yes, there is one and only one MB, and he graces our pages from time to time to keep an opinionated American from getting too far out of line, and to share the assorted wisdoms he has acquired over his many years. 🙂 ps, I often do as you do, write from recollection rather than doing detailed research. It gets me in trouble now and then, but it sure is faster . . . . ahahaha

        • manuel buencamino says:

          2BFair,

          One last piece of info. Sen Grace Poe was an active participant in the Blue Ribbon hearings on the PDAF scam.

          Yes. But I stopped writing for Interaksyon last year. Although I still have my blog. I started posting again about a month or so ago. But mostly I post a lot in FB these days.

          And I hope we can also agree on something else. I like Grace Poe but I like Leni Robredo better. 🙂

          • chit navarro says:

            YES!!!YES!!! I agree with you on that, Mr. Buencamino. I too like Grace Poe but I like Leni Robredo a lot better. (I don’t know why the lady was not in JoeAm’s radar when he wrote the piece on possible presidentiables).

            First, – Cong. Leni is a pro-bono lawyer in Naga City during the government days of Mayor/SEc. Jesse so she is really exposed to the grassroots.

            Second – She had a great mentor in Mayor/Sec. Jesse and the Robredo tag would be such a shame to tarnish now. With 3 smart girls around her, I am sure it will take something very, very, very special to get her corrupted.

            Thirdly – the personal friends of Sec. Jesse then are still with her (check out Yoly Ong’s article in Rappler on her endorsement for Cong. Leni to the presidency.). In her bid for Congress, she toppled one of the longest dynasty in Camarines province and she was supported by one of the richest woman in America – remember the disqualification case filed against her due to this campaign contributions from overseas? (am also writing from memory…:) )

            Lastly but perhaps the best – Her heart and mind is in the right place: SERVICE TO THE NATION ala ROBREDO. She’s had good bills in the Senate.

            In great contrast to Sen. Grace Poe who is really, really a newbie in politics. She may have been an independent lady in America but that is not the same as being really exposed to the real world of the marginalized in our country, working and defending them and working with NGO’s too.

  4. Cory Hipolito says:

    Thank you Joe, my exact sentiments. I sent Grace Poe a message via her FB page asking her to clarify why she is mum about Binay. Of course, I did not expect an answer and therefore I didn’t.

  5. Bing Garcia says:

    It had to be brought out.

    • Joe America says:

      We have old style politics and new style politics, the latter represented by Jesse Robredo, the former by the UNA stalwarts. It is wise to identify exactly where each congressman resides, especially the legitimate presidential candidates.

      • S-Tambay says:

        Why is that,LP and NP (TRAPOS) already lost their credibility because they are the followers of corruption..

        • Joe America says:

          You sent three comments under three different names . . . the others being Juliet and Lapulapu, short and meaningless allegations, from the same computer. That makes you not only a troll, but a devious manipulative one. All further comments from computer 69.58.102.170 will be considered spam.

  6. BFD says:

    Hi Joe,

    Again, your commentary is like a laser that slices into the morrow, opening up perspectives that might go unnoticed by the general public because of the facade of the personality being projected.

    Kind of a hyperbole, but that’s how I can describe your comments on Grace Poe, which is a good thing because that’s what I’m seeing also, why the sudden silence from this lady in white?

    I await her answer to your blog if it’s forthcoming…..

    BFD

    • Joe America says:

      Well, you are waxing eloquent yourself, BFD. Thought I was reading shakespeare . . . ahahaha. I don’t expect her to reply, but I expect that she will read the blog. She’s read at least one previously (which she probably liked better).

      • BFD says:

        Hahaha, your blog seems to make me dig down into the pit of my mental well of vocabulary and spin out those words I could not express if I were speaking to you face to face. As you have said, this is a blog that discusses opinions and ideas openly (hoping without backlash from trolls) wherever side of the fence you’re in.

  7. It is hard to discern a true Filipino populist from a demagogue in Philippines’ political arena. I see a true Filipino populist as someone with integrity, honesty and courage to deliver what the society need. A Filipino demagogue is someone with flawed character who uses populism for self-aggrandizement and personal wealth-building. Applied to Grace Poe, I think she is a true populist who still needs to summon her courage to stand tall in the midst of demagogues.

    • Joe America says:

      Perhaps he is being prudent if she is set on not running in 2016. Still, her attack on Purisima was a little unbalanced considering the pampering others are getting.

      • I do not think she will run for higher office in 2016, aside from Senate lead. Yes, she was assertive in her questioning of Purisima and had kept quiet about the Binay, which led to few people concluding that she is an opposition ally. Who knows? All we can do is watch her moves and go from there.

        I honestly believe that Guingona or Pimentel should ask the entire Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations Committee members to attend each hearing if they are not part of another committee hearing in the same day. Better if he can make their presence mandatory so there will be no room for rumors.

      • Juana Pilipinas says:

        Did you see Purisima’s house touted by Failon and other ABS CBN reporters to be an ostentatious mansion? That is a middle class home! Why is Failon not flying his helicopter over all the Binay houses and properties? Hehehe. That “damay” thing is contagious.

        • Joe America says:

          The number of people whose credibility Binay is taking down with him is escalating. Add Failon and de Castro to the list. De Quiros. Harry Roque. Poe?

          • giancarloangulo says:

            Binay has been revelatory. Just list down the names of the reporters who seems to get their talking points straight from the Binay camp and you get a list of reporters either with no integrity or no cajones to ask the hard questions. As an aside rappler has sunked to a new low for me after the binay hearings. I hope I am wrong to think that but I am beginning to believe the rumors of where it is getting its funding.

  8. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. The definition of corruption given closely adheres to the first form used by the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) of the New South Wales government:

    o A public official improperly uses, or tries to improperly use, the knowledge, power or resources of their position for personal gain or the advantage of others.

    2. The ICAC definition, while admitting of other forms, provides two other forms, the second involving dishonesty and the third involving not a public official but a simple citizen:

    o A public official dishonestly exercises official functions, improperly exercises official functions in a partial manner, breaches public trust or misuses information or material acquired during the course of his or her official functions.

    o A member of the public influences, or tries to influence, a public official to use his or her position in a way that is dishonest, biased or breaches public trust.

    2.1. A good example of dishonesty would be the actuations of political dynasties. And a good example of private citizen influence would be the deliberate attempts at distortion by news media.

    3. But ICAC makes a very specific characterization of what constitutes corrupt conduct. This is wilfulness: “Corrupt conduct is deliberate or intentional wrongdoing, not negligence or a mistake.”

    3.1. Again, this accords with the emphasis on INTENTIONALITY.

    4. Before commenting on Senator Poe in a separate post, let me deal with the Ethics Committee.

    *****

    5. It is interesting to note that the US Senate did not have an Ethics Committee before 1964. Previously, ad hoc committees were formed as the need arose and only for “the most obvious acts of wrongdoing, those clearly inconsistent with the trust and duty of a member.”

    6. I do not think that an internal Ethics Committee is viable in part because a necessary ingredient of oversight is independence. There must be a distinction between areas of self-criticism and self-harm. Self-criticism is viable and necessary, but self-harm is counterproductive and impossible.

    6.1. I would suggest that in much the same way as a justice of the Supreme Court is impeached and adjudged by Congress, a member of the Senate should be impeached by a body of citizen(s) and adjudged by the Supreme Court sitting en banc.

    6.2. Currently, the purview of the Ethics Committee is limited to three areas: (a) unparliamentary acts and language; (b) violation of confidentiality of executive sessions of the Senate; and (c) violation of internal rules of proceedings. It does not encompass criminal acts; this is as it should be.

    6.2.1. The first area would define the terms of reference for Supreme Court oversight.
    6.2.2. The second and third areas, being internal matters and within the scope of self-criticism, may be dealt with by the Senate as a whole.
    6.2.3. Criminal acts are the province of the Sandiganbayan.

    6.3. The penalties of suspension or expulsion seem appropriate. I do not think an internal committee would be able to impose the latter – ever.

    6.4. Would external oversight put a damper on privilege speeches that deal with matters of public interest? I would not think so. But it should deter plagiarism (Sotto); discourage inutile self-defence and self-aggrandizement (Revilla and Estrada); and provide relief from karaoke (Revilla).

    6.4.1. I do not envision impeachment for self-aggrandizement, but I do for Sotto-copy and infliction of karaoke.
    *****

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      IMPORTANT: BY DEFINITION POLITICAL DYNASTIES ARE A FORM OF CORRUPTION.
      *****

    • Joe America says:

      Willful, yes indeed. My word was “intentional”, and that distinguishes from accident or good intent later judged wrong (DAP). I think your recommendation for a “Congressional Ethic’s Board” of outside citizens of some repute is excellent. Clearly, the Senate does not have what it takes to police its own behavior. I mean, I believe they have even allowed some of the members to sing in chambers from time to time, your 6.4.1. So that is the pudding that proves the eating . . . or whatever . . .

  9. andrewlim8 says:

    WHO IS JAIME PERFECTO TAGALOG AND WHAT IS THE COALITION OF FILIPINO CONSUMERS?

    Off topic, but current news: I am curious as to the background of that fellow Tagalog and his group. Is there really such a group and what were their activities in the past? The name itself sounds fishy, since when you call yourself an advocate for consumers, you normally deal with issues like product quality, warranties, pricing, consumer rights protection, etc.

    What happens when you google “Coalition of Filipino Consumers”? You will find a site for “National Coalition of Filipino Consumers.” In that site you will find a disclaimer distancing them from Mr Tagalog and his phantom CFC:

    http://www.consumerpinoy.com/2014/10/ncfc-official-statement-on-the-activities-of-mr-perfecto-tagalog/

    http://www.consumerpinoy.com/2014/08/coalition-of-filipino-consumers-is-not-the-national-coalition-of-filipino-consumers/

    It turns out Mr Tagalog has used the group for his own advocacies, and he is a political operative of a Bulacan based politician. Who is he? An Arroyo loyalist?

    It also looks like the NCFC is the real consumer rights group dealing with consumer rights issues based on its activities listed in its website (Issues like telecom charges, issues with DTI, etc), unlike Mr Tagalog’s CFC. .

    Now Purisima may have done improprieties. But that group of Tagalog is as sinister as it can get.

    • Joe America says:

      Very enlightening, andrew. Thank you. It is important to know which CFC we are talking about, for sure. Worth a blog? (ahaha, you not me!)

      • Dolly Gonzales says:

        Agree completely with andrewlim8 on the sinister nature of Tagalog’s group. Extremely relevant, not off-topic at all I think, given the impression that the Purisima issue is meant to divert attention away from the Binay inquiry.

        In the PNP case, there seems to be two stories existing simultaneously:


        1) Is Gen. Purisima corrupt?

        An explanation is needed for the huge SUV-discount, what the ‘White House’ donors get in return for their donation, etc. If he’s corrupt, he’s unfit to lead the PNP.


        2) Who desperately wants Purisima out, and how will they benefit if he’s removed?

        Purisima says he’s cracking down on a firearms-related syndicate within the PNP. (May or may not be related, Mar Roxas has recently suspended eight gun dealers for missing high-powered firearms.) The exposé on Purisima is tightly-orchestrated, and those behind it seem able to:

        – unleash senators as attack dogs;
        – mobilize influential journalists;
        – pull the strings of “cause-oriented-group” puppets; and
        – conduct a sustained media campaign.


        Both questions must be addressed separately, but until the second is answered, it is not prudent for Purisima to leave his post. Otherwise, the shadowy group — who uses senators and media to do their dirty work — will get what they want, to the detriment of the Filipino public.

        • Joe America says:

          Two very keen points. Corruption is a slippery devil. Ethical violation or criminal? Good question.

          As to the firearms crackdown, there may be meat to that. As the blog grows, I have an ever-expanding network of inside sources, and one of them informs me that INC (Iglesia ni Cristo) controls much of the firearms business, and may represent an anti-Purisima force. The hatchet job done on him by the ABS-CBN news team is understandably frustrating for Purisima.

          I’m with the President again . . . although I observe that Purisima seems to lack some managerial basics.

        • Tessa says:

          Yes, obviously in a different way, so therefore the charge against him should be accepting Bribe instead of Plunder.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Dolly,

          On Purisima, I think he should go or be made to go. The President has set new standards for performance, transparency and accountability, and the General does not meet those standards except perhaps on the second one.

          I watched the hearing and it is obvious that the General does not have the wherewithal – orally, corporally, mentally or morally – to do the job.

          Caveat: I do not have the advantage of your close perspective on the issue of security, and do acknowledge your point that the General’s corrupt tendencies must be examined further, if later.
          *****

          • Dolly Gonzales says:

            edgar, I agree, Purisima does not meet the high standards PNoy has set 🙂 The viciousness of the attacks, though, is an important factor, because there’s a distinction, as Joe and Tessa point out, between plunder and unethical acts or bribery. I’m not saying the second one makes him fit to be PNP chief. In fact, the opposite.

            It is the ferocity of the attacks I find puzzling. In deferring his removal, it intensifies efforts to get rid of him. This activates more pawns of whoever is behind it, and thus, more clues. Take the youth group “supporting” Purisima in the streets. 1) Their placards have KKK written on them (supposedly to stand for Kabataan Kontra Korapsyon), and 2) they readily admit being paid to be there.

            I just find those two details odd. Like the political version of a backhanded compliment. Not meant to support him at all, but make it appear he’s paying people for support. Not meant to praise him but to mock him, and mock PNoy for trusting him (a KKK).

  10. I don’t agree, I think that if you’re going to effect any change, you have to keep yourself in the game and playing. I don’t think you can look at it from a black and white perspective wherein everyone who is unwilling to go after the senators or Binay is automatically part of it, everyone is operating on shades of grey. You have to look at the bigger picture and pick your battles in order to stay in a position to be able to do the good that you want to do. Sure, you can try and be a white knight and be absolutely gung-ho, but if you lose your place then ultimately, it’s the corrupt politicians who will win because they’ll still be in power and you won’t be.

    We do not live in a perfect system that rewards the good and punishes the bad. As evidenced by the most recent pulseasia survey, you can do completely stupid things like Tito Sotto and still have a ton of voter support. You can’t just blindly charge into every injustice because that’s an easy way to solve nothing.

    • Joe America says:

      Strong argument, Mark, and I suspect 99.9% of all politicians in the world agree with you. The problem I have with that “pragmatic” approach (or variable morality) to one’s political positions is that it invariably puts one on the slippery slope of power and favor, and at the bottom is corruption. I believe strongly in personal principles applied to one’s profession. Take the one that Senator Poe is applying for Chief Purisima: “You have been charged with corruption. To preserve the integrity of the PNP, you need to go on leave of absence.” Now, it may be pragmatic for Senator Poe to keep silent about the Makati corruption scandal, and VP Binay. But if a reporter asked her a question such as “Should VP Binay go on leave of absence?” I would think that ducking and dodging or mealy-mouthing around would be what a lot of people would do. But I’d say her chances of getting elected would RISE if she said something on the order of: “There is no law requiring that Mr. Binay go on leave, but as a custodian of trust our government, I’d hope that he would be sensitive to the importance of preserving the integrity of the office of Vice President.”

      Anything other than that allows people like me, and a growing number of smart internet advocates, to condemn Ms. Poe for being a hypocrite if she applies two different standards.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        At its extreme, I call this stance the Baycas Protocol: the path to non-corruption must not admit the slightest deviation from the straight path.
        *****

      • Ana says:

        I agree with your analysis of Grace Poe. She’s after Purisima for the P25 million house inside the camp. That’s good. But what I find appalling is that she’s acting like some lily white senator after the corrupt suggesting that Purisima take a leave and go through a lifestyle check but at the same time being COMPLETELY SILENT on the plunder charges against Jojo Binay who allegedly overpriced the Makati Parking Bldg. by almost A BILLION!!! And Grace Poe continues to keep silent where Jojo Binay is concerned even after more witnesses testified not only to the overpricing of the Makati Parking Bldg. but other buildings too built during the encumbency of former Mayor Jojo Binay. That is the height of hypocrisy.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes indeed. And it appears the press have a very limited range of people they will ask to comment. Like, Senator Binay, Senator Cayetano and the spokespeople for VP Binay. Where’s Miriam? Where’s Angara? Where’s Poe? Where’s Escudero? If they are waiting for “due process”, and don’t want to accuse Binay, fine. But at least support the subcommittee as an important element of due process. Otherwise they let Binay undermine the power of the senate by calling the hearings a “kangaroo court”. Poe will be forced to define a position as the case goes from the subcommittee to the full committee. Can’t wait. She will define herself, and in doing so, define the Philippines. One way or another. For straight dealing or for power and favor . . . and corruption.

  11. Dolly Gonzales says:

    I think this is such an important article, Joe. For Sen. Grace Poe’s benefit, really.

    I voted for her, but the combination of her actions on VP Binay and Gen. Purisima is giving me pause. It’s clear that she does not want to be perceived as playing politics in joining the Binay hearings, as it may appear she’s attempting to destroy a 2016 presidential opponent.

    The problem with that is, she’s playing politics in order to avoid appearing like she’s playing politics.

    As you wrote, Joe, “…for personal advantage. || Being blind to public interest. || Intentionally. || Corruption.”

    ‘Playing politics’ becomes clear-cut when a politician is guided by the questions:
    What is the overriding public interest here?
    Is it necessary to play (clean) politics to serve that interest (and not my own)?

    Sen. Poe’s silence on the Binay hearings makes me rethink my admiration for her when she participated in the PDAF inquiry. There, she seemed to set aside personal friendships (i.e., with the Estradas) and put the welfare of the public first. But now I wonder: Did she only question Napoles because the latter was involved in Malampaya, a scam apparently instrumental in her father’s loss to Arroyo in 2004?

    • Joe America says:

      Actually, I intended it to be for the good Senator’s benefit, and the fact that it strikes a chord with a lot of readers makes me glad that I raised the matter. See as well my comment to Mark Philip Wu.

      • Dolly Gonzales says:

        It’s clear in your article that you’re not putting down Sen. Poe, but paying her the ultimate compliment of being held to the highest standards. 🙂

        I’ve just read (and agree with) Mark Philip Wu’s astute comment on a politician having to keep herself in the game and playing.

        That’s what I thought at first about Sen. Poe. Nothing wrong with it on its own. Even after she apparently changed her mind about joining the ocular inspection of the parking building. Sitting on the fence or choosing one’s battles isn’t corruption, if it serves a greater purpose that benefits the nation in the end.

        But then she jumped on the Purisima bandwagon, an issue which only the most… uhmm… innocent… will not see as a diversion, considering that the mediamen leading the exposé are perceived protectors of VP Binay.

        Poe’s active involvement in this apparent protection of Binay topples her from the fence she’s been sitting on, and making her land on the side of Binay.

        • Joe America says:

          She sits on the full committee that will review the subcommittee’s work. So I am deferring final judgment on the Senator until I see what she says and how she votes, if there is a vote of record on action to be taken. I can understand why she would choose not to comment on an active case before the subcommittee.

  12. Frine Cristina Sanchez says:

    Her silence re Binay is deafening. Trapo? Perhaps not yet but very likely on the way. Taking an MRT ride “in aid of legislation”, having her staff document it and distributing it to media outlets– what is this if not incipient show-biz trapohood. What her “independent” stance tells me is that Grace Poe is looking out for Grace Poe.

    • Joe America says:

      I echo that wariness, based on the intensity of her attack on Purisima.

    • parengtony says:

      I would not mind Grace Poe take MRT rides more frequently in the same way I admire Lee Kuan Yew for commuting to work everyday, Pope Francis for forswearing all forms of lavishness, and President Pepe ( Uruguay President Jose Mujica) who still drives an old Volkswagen Beetle.

      Incipient show-biz trapohood?

  13. edgar lores says:

    *******
    ON GRACE POE’S SILENCE

    1. Why single out Grace Poe?

    2. First, let us take out the 7 senators allied with the Veep: Binay N, Ejercito, Enrile, Estrada, Honasan, Revilla, and Sotto.

    3. Second, let us take out the 3 senators of the Senate subcommittee conducting the hearing on MPB: Pimentel, Cayetano, and Trillanes.

    4. Third, let us take out the 1 associate of the 3 senators: Pia.

    5. Fourth, let us take out the 5 senators who have spoken about the senate hearing and/or related matters:
    – Drilon. He said the subcommittee had jurisdiction.
    – Guingona: He assigned Pimentel to chair the subcommittee.
    – Marcos: He said Binay should attend the hearing.
    – Osmena: He said the hearing would damage Binay’s popularity.
    – Santiago: She has spoken out against political dynasties.

    6. Fifth, let us take the 2 senators whose opinions do not matter: Lapid and Villar.

    7. Thus far we have taken out 18 out of 24 senators. The remaining 6 who have been silent on the Binay issue are: Angara, Aquino B., Escudero, Legarda, Recto, and Grace herself. Three are senatorial newbies.

    7.1. Angara is a member of the subcommittee but has not been visible. A young trapo, scion of an older trapo.
    7.2. Aquino’s father and uncles support a Binay run. A dutiful son.
    7.3. Escudero wants to bury Marcos at Libingan. A confirmed trapo.
    7.4. Legarda should be in the list of Binay’s allies, item 2 above. A trapo.
    7.5. Recto, although a Liberal, and his wife are being considered as a running mate of Binay in 2016. Another trapo.

    8. Which brings us to Grace. Although a newbie, Grace is important because she is seen as a potential contender for higher office, and she has spoken out against corruption.

    8.1. She was vocal in her criticism of Cunanan in the PDAF scam.
    8.2. She has been vocal in her criticism of Purisima.
    8.3. She is a sponsor of FOI.
    8.3. Therefore, in not voicing out her opinion on Binay, Grace is a trapo in the making.

    P.S. I may have missed relevant comments of the last 6 senators on Binay.
    *****

    • Joe America says:

      Intriguing analysis. You walked forward into what I started with, walking backward in disappointment that Senator Poe was so hard on Purisima. I wouldn’t have minded at all if she had at least plowed (ploughed?) a little ground on the alleged robbers before beating up on a guy who seems merely to have accepted favors.

      Politics is politics, and you have just named five additional people who will go down in flames for standing by Binay long past the time when they should have read the tea leaves, or the plunderers praying together, better. Presuming he goes down.

      The matter will go quiet once the subcommittee ends its work, and until the full committee makes a recommendation. I don’t see how Binay gets out of the vise, frankly. The hostility toward him on the internet is rising to shrill decibels. I don’t see the full committee not acting after receiving all the testimony that has been rendered, including that from a tearful COA head Heidi Mendez, who’s house has been ransacked two times, and who received a telephone threat yesterday before her testimony. “It’s political” as the main defense is already ringing quite hollow. Physical threats on the COA head is not politics except to the most warped of the power and favor crowd.

      I think Grace Poe’s position will likely be “I’ll express my view at the committee session” and not outside that committee. And I presume she will be consistent with her attack on Purisima and ask the Vice President to take a leave of absence. If she’s doesn’t, I’ll borrow Angry Maude’s typewriter. It smokes.

      • parengtony says:

        Senadora Grace always tries to do a good job specially when she is the “captain ball”. The FOI Bill recently passed by the senate is a good example. As Chair of the Committee on Public Order, she has taken full responsibility for the Senate hearings on the allegations vs the Chief PNP.

        Her frank observations vs Purisima are all well founded. His acceptance of a P2 million discount on the Prado purchase, for instance, was not only improper but also illegal based on the anti graft and corruption law. Her pointed criticisms of the Napolcom’s track record is something not seen from PH politicians, trapo or not.

        • Joe America says:

          Very good, parengtony. That would certainly explain why she was outspoken on Purisima but not on Binay. It is her JOB to be direct and to the point . . . and lawful . . . when she heads a committee. Point taken.

        • Ana says:

          I agree that she should go after Purisima. But why does Grace Poe behave as if the senate hearings on the plunder cases against Jojo Binay in the tune of billions is not happening. Going after P25 million linked to Purisima but looking the other way at BILLIONS OF PESOS linked to Jojo Binay? How long will it take her to compute that P1 Billion is 40 (FORTY) TIMES P25 million? Lifestyle check and “take a leave” for Purisima? I agree. But why hasn’t she suggested the same for Jojo Binay that he go through a lifestyle check and take a leave from the NHA where houses are being continuously constructed for the poor? Isn’t she concerned that given the allegations in the tune of billions in overpricing there may also be overpricing in the houses being built by the NHA?

          • parengtony says:

            Prof. Solita Monsod’s column today:

            “My attention was recently caught by a news report that on Sept. 22 the Sandiganbayan (SB) found Zenaida Maamo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Sec. 3 (h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and that it had sentenced her to a prison term of six years and one month (minimum) to 10 years (maximum), plus perpetual disqualification from public office.

            What was her crime? As mayor of Liloan, Southern Leyte, Maamo hosted in 1995 a visit by President Fidel Ramos. She contracted out the catering for the affair to seven eateries, one of which apparently belonged to her. The bill for everything amounted to some P87,000 (50 persons, 3 meals a day x 5 days, and 350 persons, 2 meals x 2 days). The amount that went to her eatery was P43,000. I repeat: P43,000.”

            This, to my mind, shows that the lady Senator’s effort to help the public arrive at the truth about the PNP chief should not be taken against her. A crime is a crime and a precedent is a precedent no matter the amount involved.

            I consider Senator’s Poe’s determined advocacy of the FOI bill as a most concrete basis of my personal conclusion that she is not a trapo.

            • Joe America says:

              That is a pretty impressive counter-opinion to that expressed in the blog. Prof. Monsod is a straight shooter as far as I know. I’ll elaborate on Purisima in next Wednesday’s blog.

  14. BFD says:

    The alarming thing about the Makati Parking Building that I saw is this:

    No CHECK and BALANCE is happening in the City of Makati.

    No one is questioning the city leadership on what they are doing. This should have been localized in the first place. It seems to me there’s no vibrant opposition group in Makati.

    Did you see the vice mayor of Makati saying in the Senate subcommittee he is blind to the goings on in City Hall?

    Let’s compare that with the Manila City in the time of Mayor Lim with an opposition vice mayor. Every move of Mayor Lim is being contested by his Vice Mayor, Isko Moreno.

    Now, that I think is what is lacking in Makati. Makati has become subservient to the Binay clan.

    • Joe America says:

      Culture of impunity, eh? Intimidate the hell out of COA and go on about the dirty business.

      It struck me that senators like Poe who remain quiet as Binay castigates the subcommittee as a “kangaroo court” are undermining the power of the senate. Even committee chairman Guingona has not spoken out for due diligence.

      Is Binay the Godfather of the senate, or what?

      • BFD says:

        Another thing I observed is the lack of protection for the auditors so they can perform their duty. COA auditors are essential in having that check and balance. They have to be insulated from threats and violence.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, and not just Ms. Mendoza, because I’d imagine local auditors also face thugs in many communities. You have just sparked an idea for a blog . . . about the way crooks are given too much latitude to operate with impunity. Hiding behind bank secrecy, using intimidation, the fact that DOJ is under-skilled and staffed. COA likely the same. And the courts are “pliable”. Thanks.

        • parengtony says:

          The reality about COA auditors (in general) is that it is quite profitable to dance with the music. Bantay Salakay enabled by the culture of impunity.

      • parengtony says:

        Considering that Binay seems to welcome the threat of impeachment as floated by Joey Salceda, perhaps Binay is confident of having strong ties with more than a third of the Senate membership.

        • Joe America says:

          Right. Plus he wouldn’t get jailed, would not be impeached, would claim everything was “political” and waltz into the Palace as president. Let the Ombudsman deal with it, is better.

  15. brianitus says:

    Uncle Joe,

    Hmm, cognitive dissonance?

    To be fair to Sen. Poe’s position, the major point of difference between Binay and PNP Chief Purisima is that the latter ADMITTED accepting favors that could be perceived as an ethical issue. As for the Binays, I don’t think even the threat of torture can make them admit to using their position for personal gain. In that sense, Sen. Poe is playing it safe by not saying anything about that issue because there is no certainty. The three stooges–err, the three senators are really making it look like a hunting expedition for wild Binays.

    In my eyes, Sen. Poe is calm and cool, much like the folks in Malacanang whenever a team mate comes under fire. However, it would be nice if she did call out Binay and the other three stooges already in jail. She could be a potential trapo.

    As for the palace, I won’t try to hurt my brain cells by trying to decipher if they’re trapos running the show. The big boss can tolerate the PNP chief’s behavior and is even said his faith in his appointee remains unshaken. Hmm, isn’t tolerating unethical behavior the same as being unethical? Isn’t support for erring team members also the same as patronage? Aside from that, the president has no statement condemning Binay, right? He’s also playing it safe because his family also owes the Binays. I would also love to see the president crack his whip at bigger names. He can hit small time names in small agencies but never the big ones. Maybe his kaleidoscope needs a bit of cleaning.

    Just feel free to correct my logic functions. Like, our politicians play it safe! Wow! Trapos run the country.

    Anyway, I think the biggest talk should be about ethics. The CSC chief said it plainly–it may not be illegal, but is it ethical? That should be the question thrown at all presidents. Blame the lawyers?

    Sorry if I see this thing differently. If we apply the framework you used for this piece, even the big man in the palace is going to get it. Maybe all of these politicians are just team players. I’m going to sleep and rethink this whole thing.

    brianitus

    • Joe America says:

      Actually, we see things pretty much exactly the same. Wishing to see a little bit more from Poe and believing the President is being too loyal to Chief Purisima. I’ll have more to say about the Chief on Wednesday which allows me to accept the President’s decision to stick with him, even though I’m sorry to report that the President’s popularity will receive another hit for that decision. Let’s look at it from the President’s perspective. The guy was there for me when my father was shot and my family was in extreme danger. I’ll be there for him. He also perhaps sees things about Purisima’s performance that we don’t, and has the benefit of Roxas’ view. Maybe there is nobody better, eh? Even though from my perspective, it looks like the Chief sets a bad example as a manager. If there is a better manager about, I think I’d assign the chief to a different job. Special assistant to the President in matters of security or somesuch. The reason I’d keep him on will be a little clearer on Wednesday.

      • brianitus says:

        Same thing applies to the Binay clan. If presidential muscle was able to move a CJ out of office, why won’t the same muscle move the VP out of office?. That CJ was the head of a co-equal branch of government. Now, here we have the VP, someone perceived to be more corrupt than that CJ Corona, why can’t I hear the same anti-corruption anger from the president? Let’s call a spade a spade. The President is a Trapo. He’s playing the same game.

        Personally, I won’t blame any of these politicians for playing the game. That’s how the rules are set. Change the rules. Change the game, imho.

        It it isn’t only Purisma that we’ve seen the president’s loyalty. Remember the highly unethical “I buy pirated DVDs guy”? Didn’t hear anything negative after that one.

        Anyway, the president isn’t perfect. I guess I never expected him to be that. I guess that is what is wrong with this country. We never really set the rules for leaders. That’s why people tend to be selective in applying criteria, like ethical behavior.

        • Joe America says:

          No, I don’t think so. Just the opposite. The President is NOT playing politics, and is letting due process work. The pressure should be applied to the Ombudsman, who is independent, not President Aquino, who has already been accused of being a dictator. We see the evidence. We see the evasions and denials from the accused. Or it is for the people to demand ethical accountability from VP Binay and insist that he resign or go on leave of absence. I fault the people more than the President. My guess is the steps are:

          Committee recommendation that the Ombudsman take up the case of the garage (one month)
          Ombudsman takes the case
          Ombudsman finds probable cause (4 months)
          Court receives case
          Court agrees to probable cause; bailable offense (one month)

          Binay will try to hold out and delay things past 2016, and will call in every favor chip he has to try to get elected.

          • brianitus says:

            Why can’t the pressure come from him? I don’t see the same fire he had when he decided to get rid of the CJ. Is he playing politics?

            • Bert says:

              We must remember that Pres. Noynoy is a personal friend of Binay since way back during the time of RAM’s coup attempts where then the young Noynoy was wounded in an ambushed in the vicinity of Mendiola. They say the deep friendship started after that incident.

              Because of that relationship, I was expecting the president to be exerting efforts to pressure the Senate probers to go slow on Binay. The fact that he’s not doing that, or so it seems to me, leads me to conclude that the President is in a bind. It’s so very hard to make a decision when one is faced with a dilemma like that where you have to weight between what is good for the country you love, or your dear friend.

              I am hoping the President will make the right decision.

  16. Miguel says:

    There are too many irrelevant discussions in your thesis that simply want to make a long article to project substance. But your thesis could be stated in just a few sentences. That Grace Poe, not participting in the Binay investigation, may aactually be a Binay-lackey with her family’s long association with Binay. That such is a trapo move.

    But you could not substantiate further. To be ‘shaken’ is too strong a feeling without strong logical basis. Reading through your train of thought brings me to ponder not on the motivation or character of Poe but on your mind-set, motivation and ability to analyze politically.

    Your logic just amaze me, and amuse me, too…

    • Joe America says:

      Actually, it is a main technique of this blog, that we frequently write illogical and even irrational material to cause the mind to boggle, and thereby expand.

    • Addie Cuizon says:

      @Miguel: The main thesis of a blog could always be summed up in a few sentences. It is how you develop and support that thesis that separates your writing from being mere ramblings to a good blog. Now I ask, what is the point of writing a blog if you were required to observe the rule of brevity and minimalism? If you would have your way, all bloggers would write only one paragraph blogs. If you wanted Mr. Joeam to be more concise, or if your attention span does not stretch out to more than a few sentences, just read his tweets. 🙂

      @Joeam: You are correct in saying that Grace Poe had been rather silent on the Binay controversy and unusually noisy on the Purisima issue. But I do not necessarily take it against her because there is a perfectly rational justification for it. You have to factor in the fact that she is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and was very active during both the Purisima hearings and the Mamasapano senate investigation of which Purisima was also a central figure. She is therefore a much sought-after resource person for media people, which explains why it would seem that she is making much noise regarding the Purisima issue. On the other hand, she was not part of the Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee that investigated Binay. If I were a journalist or even a member of the general public, her opinion would be of less value to me than those of the members of the BR Subcommitte themselves when it comes to Binay. For her to chime in and make noise about the issue would make her look like an interloper who wanted to get in on the action and extract media mileage out of it. In fact, the only other Senator who is not a member of the BR subcommittee that was relatively vocal about the Binay issue was Senator Miriam. But then again, that is who Miriam is. She is always vocal about everything.

      I share your observation, though, that Grace is not playing her cards well. The Filipinos have given her tremendous support. In coming up with a decision on her political future, her primary consideration should be the Filipino people, not a certain Filipino PERSON by the name of CHIZ who happen to have an oversize ego that matches the size of his political ambition. She cannot seem to make her own political decisions without including Chiz in the equation. That makes me question her sense of independence and her fitness to be a leader. That shows her lack of experience, lack of conviction, and maybe — lack of principles.

      I also do not believe much in the leadership skills of Roxas but at least he has shown that he can sacrifice political ambition for the welfare of the Filipinos when he willingly stepped aside for PNoy in the last presidential race.

      That being said, there is but one overriding theme for me in the upcoming Presidential elections: that Binay must not win. Else we’re going back to the dogs. But that is for another day . . . 🙂

      Keep up the good work Joeam.

      • Joe America says:

        Excellent non-political assessment of Senator Poe’s various positions, and thanks for that. I agree, her position on VP Binay was delicate and could be compared to President Aquino’s, as he, too, did not take any overt action to condemn the Vice President until after the Vice President resigned and turned vindictive. It will be interesting to see how Senator Poe handles 2016, as it will define her in many ways, as you suggest.

        Comment more often, Addie. You have an excellent neutral, reasoned viewpoint that would help a lot of us sort through the issues.

  17. Jonnah says:

    I used to admire her but the more she talks she’ s becoming obvious.. I hope she really cares for the poor people and use the people’s taxes wisely ..

    • Joe America says:

      She is a bit of a gameplayer, yes. That has become clear. And her transparency is for popular consumption, that is, she is a natural media animal. What she really will do is unknown, and her capabilities to deal with heavy crises are suspect, based on the naive simplicity of the Mamasapano effort, wrapped up in overbearing self-righteousness.

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  1. […] [11] JoeAm. “Is Grace Poe Just an Ordinary Trapo?” (October 02, 2014). Retrieved from https://joeam.com/2014/10/02/is-grace-poe-just-an-ordinary-trapo/ […]



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