President Rodrigo Duterte said that the cases filed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales against former President Benigno Aquino III, for usurpation of authority and graft, are bound to fail. Mr. Duterte is a lawyer and former prosecutor. I believe him.
In fact, I would say that Morales filed these cases in an attempt to protect Aquino, who had appointed her. Perhaps she wanted to ensure the dismissal of the charges.
How could Aquino have committed usurpation of authority when, as president and commander-in-chief, he was the very authority?
And how could he have committed graft and corruption when he did not steal anything?
Aquino was ultimately responsible for the Mamasapano massacre. Thus, he should be charged with homicide through reckless imprudence.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption put it so well. They likened the incident to a bus accident where 44 passengers were killed and the driver was charged with driving without a license.
So what should be done with Morales?
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I have many questions about the sellout of the Prieto-Rufino family of the broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer to Ramon Ang:
First, were the owners pre-empting the possibility that President Duterte may use the Milelong property against them? Recall that President Duterte lambasted the Prietos and Rufinos as oligarchs who profited from their connections with the previous administration. The President was reacting to the Inquirer’s continued criticism of him.
Second, are the Prietos-Rufinos washing their hands of the publication and selling their stake to Ang, one of the contributors to the campaign of President Duterte?
Third, will the sale affect Dunkin Donuts, also owned by the Prietos-Rufinos, which has been slapped with a tax-evasion issue before the Bureau of Internal Revenue?
As they say, “Abangan.”
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Inquirer started as “Mr. & Ms.” magazine during the latter years of the Marcos administration. It was first financed by, believe it or not, Juan Ponce Enrile.
The husband of Eugenia “Eggie” Duran Apostol was his contractor. Eggie constantly went to him to ask for money to put up a magazine as an underground publication against the Marcos dictatorship. Enrile relented and together with others was able to raise P900,000 for the publication.
Known newspaper icons like Max Soliven, Luis Beltran and Art Borjal also joined the magazine.
It is said that first lady Imelda Marcos found out what Enrile did and it started a rift between them. At the time, Enrile had already established the Reform the Armed Forces Movement to break away from Marcos.
Soliven and Beltran told me that the idea of Apostol was to have a cooperative but this did not materialize because the Prietos-Rufinos had already taken over the publication.
Thus, Soliven, Beltran and the others sought the help of the late Betty Go Belmonte to put up another newspaper, The Philippine Star. I should know because I was part of the team that started it. Now, a majority of The Star is owned by Manny Pangilinan.
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There are reasons President Duterte continues to have excellent approval and satisfaction ratings.
He is the leader we have always longed for. He is strong, dedicated and committed to what he is doing, for example, in the war against drugs and corruption. He did not hesitate to fire his friends and supporters upon a whiff of corruption. And now he is fighting terrorism in Marawi by imposing martial law in Mindanao.
Another factor that endears him to the masses is that they are able to identify with him. Though coarse and vulgar, he is understood by majority of the people.
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In a meeting with newsmen, National Economic and Development Authority director general Ernesto Pernia talked about the Duterte administration’s plan of lifting the equity limit on foreign investments in the Constitution. From 40 percent, they could now own 70 percent.
I would go as far as allowing even 100-percent ownership. I don’t see why we even restrict the entry of investments.
Perhaps nationalists would support this. But business has become borderless.
Lifting restrictions on investments can also mean lower prices. It will bring greater benefit to the people.