Thursday, September 12, 2013

PNoy, the Furies, the Angels, the Offensive Line, and the CORY Incarnates

The discussions in the barbershop were lively and entertaining. It started when someone asked if PNoy would be able to sustain his “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” (no corruption, no poverty) campaign considering the exposé of the Pork Barrel Scam that may involve even some of his political allies.
Someone said that he will because he would like to go down in history as one who paved the way toward reversing a culture of corruption in government and in our society.  
Another one said that he must resist any temptation to protect any plundering official, friend or foe alike but pursue the campaign more aggressively instead, for the sake of his martyred parents, CORY and NINOY.
PNoy and sisters Viel, Balsy, Pinky, and Kris
The most interesting observation that came up was the role and influence of the women surrounding PNoy.  First, is that of his sisters Maria Elena (Ballsy) Aquino-Cruz, Aurora Corazon (Pinky) Aquino-Abellada, Victoria Elisa (Viel) Aquino-Dee, and Kris Aquino.  All straight shooters, they make sure that PNoy never veers from the “Matuwid na Daan” (Straight Path) that he set forth.

Second, is that of his official family. Playing very significant roles in the battle against the Pork Barrel Scam, plunder and other graft and corruption charges are women.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, COA Chair Grace Pulido-Tan, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda calls Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, and Commission on Audit (COA) Chair Grace Pulido-Tan, “The Three Furies” – after the three Greek goddesses who were sent by the Gods to battle the evil forces.

Former SC Chief Justice Art Panganiban calls them PNoy’s Angels.  Added to Lacierda’s three as Angels is Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares.  He describes them all as “gutsy ladies”.

In relation to the Pork Barrel Scam, Justice Panganiban says that they are called upon to “(1) identify, investigate, prosecute and penalize the scammers; (2) recover as much of the scammed public funds as possible; and (3) avoid a repetition of this mess.”

Ombudsman Morales, under Republic Act 6770, has the disciplinary authority to suspend and dismiss elective and appointive public officers.  She can also file criminal and civil actions against legislators.  Of course, among others, she can also file civil cases for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth.

We already know the roles of de Lima’s DOJ as the prosecution arm and of the National Bureau of Investigation, an agency under DOJ; Chair Tan’s COA whose audit report started the exposé; and Commissioner Henares’ BIR in investigating the criminal and tax liabilities of the scammers.

The Offensive Line

In an earlier column, I described the “Angels” and “Furies” as an all-woman “offensive line” for PNoy.  I likened them to the Washington Redskins’ offensive line that ironically called themselves “Redskins Hogs”. With them the Redskins won 3 Super Bowls in one decade.  PNoy’s “offensive line” is composed of women with strong moral conviction, with “balls” and, as Ninoy would describe them, “with the heart of a lion.”

In the same article I added SEC Chair Teresa Herbosa whose role in determining fake NGOs and Corporate contractors with direct or indirect affiliation with Napoles and/or the plundering lawmakers.  The use of “piercing the corporate veil” comes in handy.

Former Chief Justice Panganiban also recognizes the role of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the PCGG in PNoy’s anti-corruption campaign.  

BIR Commissioner Kim Henares, SEC Chair Teresa Herbosa, AMLC Exe. Director Julia Bacay Abad
AMLC is empowered to identify, freeze, confiscate, and recover proceeds of corruption.  SEC Chair Teresa Herbosa is a member of the council.  But its Executive Director is another smart and daring lady, Atty. Julia C. Bacay-Abad who is concurrently a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank.

PCGG is mandated not only to recover the ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies but also to investigate non-Marcos graft and corruption cases like the pork barrel scam.  In fact, it has extraordinary powers that include holding persons in contempt, taking over business enterprises provisionally, and conducting preliminary investigations.  One of its Commissioners is another smart and gutsy lady named Ma. Ngina Teresa “Maita” V. Chan-Gonzaga who graduated as valedictorian from Ateneo Law School; a 4th placer in the bar exams; and obtained a Magister Juris from Oxford University.

Congress is the centerpiece if we talk of budget/spending reforms.  In the House, PNoy could rely on neophyte Rep. Leni Robredo to take the lead.  In the Senate, Freshman Senator Grace Poe could become a leader in the straight path campaign.  Suspension or even expulsion in Congress can be resorted to for bad behavior.

Audit Commissioners Heidi Mendoza and Rowena Guanzon of COA are proven to be great team partners and reinforcements in the battle.

While the campaign is mostly focused on fighting corruption through justice via the above-mentioned lady warriors, there are other fronts where equally smart, courageous and honest women in PNoy’s official family do contribute in these trying times.

In social welfare and poverty alleviation, PNoy has Secretary Dinky Soliman. Advising him in the peace process is Secretary Teresita Deles.  In the Labor front, he has Labor Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz and dealing with Filipinos overseas is CFO Commissioner Imelda Nicolas.  In higher education PNoy can always rely on Secretary Patricia Licuanan.

Of course, PNoy always feels the presence of Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte and that of Chief of Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Celia Ann “Cookie” Feria in Malacañang Palace.

Judicial and Electoral reforms are necessary for a just, fair, and free democratic society.  PNoy’s appointment of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and COMELEC Commissioner Grace Padaca would greatly help accomplish the needed reforms.

I am sure that there are thousands of other women in the bureaucracy who silently and without fanfare follow PNoy’s lead and his hopes for ”matuwid na daan” governance.

Somebody also mentioned some nuns and ex-nuns who are within PNoy’s circle who also give him unsolicited advice.

This prompted one of the participants at the barbershop who has been quiet throughout to suddenly speak up to add a new name to all these women helping, influencing, and bravely taking up the cudgels for PNoy.

CORY Incarnates!

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