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Errors in Ongpin’s profile

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque has very low standards for modern women when he said former dancer Mocha Uson was a good example.

I wonder what potion Uson gave him. To think Roque wants to be a senator. Does he honestly believe Filipinos will be that stupid to vote for him?

***

Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin was ranked 12th among the richest Filipinos by Forbes Magazine. However, Forbes’ profile of him, available online, contains some errors. I hope Forbes corrects itself.

Ongpin pointed out three errors in the March 11 issue of the magazine.

First, with regard to the charge of insider trading in the sale of Philex Mining shares in 2009. The truth is that Ongpin has denied the charges and the Sandiganbayan has dismissed all the charges against him in 2015.

Ongpin has been vindicated!

The second error is with regard to the Securities and Exchange Commission fine of $3.4 million and the supposed prohibition against him from holding office in public companies.

Ongpin appealed this before the Court of Appeals. The CA has granted this appeal and has permanently enjoined the SEC from enforcing the penalties in 2017.

Forbes failed in its research when it said Alphaland, which Ongpin chairs, is a $45.7-million property developer. This is fake news! The truth is that Alphaland is a $1.2-billion high-end property developer.

I put forth these corrections because I personally know Bobby. He was one of my brightest students in Ateneo High School in the early 1950s.

Forbes also said that Ongpin resigned as chairman on gaming company PhilWeb, which he founded. This was after President Rodrigo Duterte singled him out as an “oligarch”—farthest from the truth!

The truth is that Ongpin was singled out by former President BS Aquino III just because he was friends with former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Ongpin has not denied this—and why should he?

Ongpin is in fact a self-made man. I am proud of my student—he is a cut above the rest.

***

Charles L. Black Jr., a constitutional law expert, came out with a handbook on impeachment. The US and other countries use this as reference on the matter.

For those who are interested in impeachment, its grounds: standard of proof, admissibility of evidence, nature of an impeachment case, and judicial review. These are things our lawyers—and everybody else— should take to heart.

What struck me most about Black’s treatise was “betrayal of public trust” as a ground.

I quote:

“Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, with utmost integrity, with utmost loyalty and with utmost efficiency. They must act with patriotism, they must act with justice, and they must lead modest lives. Otherwise, they will be liable for removal from their respective public offices for betraying the public trust.

If the public officer who betrayed his public trust is the President or the Vice President, or a member of the Supreme Court, or a member of a constitutional commission or the Ombudsman, he is liable to be removed from his position through impeachment proceedings.”

The Philippine Constitution also provides that a public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth.

In the case of the President or Vice President, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Commissions, and other constitutional offices, and officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law.

Section 1 and Section 17 of Article XI are mandatory and preemptory demands of the Filipino people. They must be obeyed and fulfilled by all persons concerned. “No public official or employee of the government, no matter how high his rank or how vast his powers may be, can cavalierly ignore these commands, disdainfully defy them.”

A reading of this section on “betrayal of public trust” will show that contrary to what some people said that the late Chief Justice Renato Corona was ousted on non-impeachable offenses. Section 1 and 17 of Article XI of the Constitution shows that he in fact betrayed public trust in not including his peso and dollar accounts in his SALN.

Logic dictates that if Corona was convicted for not filling out his SALN properly, Sereno, by submitting an incomplete set of SALN, must also be convicted. She also betrayed the public trust.

She did not file her SALN when she was a professor at the UP College of Law. She violated the Constitution, which means she is guilty of the ground of “culpable violation of the Constitution.”

Sereno’s lawyers should read Black’s handbook.

As I said, she is already damaged goods. Even if she returned to the Supreme Court, she would clearly be ineffective and her presence would just divide the judiciary.

Does she not have an iota of self-respect and delicadeza left?

***

I wrote last week that cockfighting in the Philippines is a cultural sport that must be promoted. First, it brings revenues to the government. Second, it draws tourists for its uniqueness.

In the Philippines, cock breeding is now a multi-million peso business. In every town or municipality, there are cockpits that become very busy on Sundays and holidays. Believe it or not, a well-bred cock costs as must as P20,000. Wagers come up to as high as a million pesos.

Department of the Interior and Local Government acting head Eduardo Año must be told that local governments could collect millions of pesos in revenue out of cockfighting. And this is from business permits only.

President Duterte, a long-time mayor of Davao City, knows this too well.

Topics: Harry Roque , Mocha Uson , Charles L. Black Jr. , Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin , Eduardo Año , Department of the Interior and Local Government , President Duterte
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