Archive for June, 2010

Both Aquino and Arroyo opposed to planned sale of confiscated widow’s jewelry

PCGG Commissioner Ricardo Abcede appears to be determined in his plan to auction the jewelry of Imelda Marcos, despite opposition from incoming president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and outgoing president Gloria Arroyo.

Aquino said that “they waited for 20 years but did nothing. Why are they now in a hurry?” It’s just a matter of days before the next administration takes over. Sources from Malacañang said that “Arroyo was leaving it to her successor to decide on the final disposition”

Commissioner Abcede however, insisted that the jewelries were just gathering dust in the vaults of the Central Bank. Among the items intended to be sold were those gathered in Malacañang Palace after the Marcoses fled and those that were confiscated by Customs authorities in Hawaii.

1. Ramon Revilla (Lakas Kampi)
2. Jinggoy Estrada (Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino)
3. Miriam Defensor Santiago (People’s Reform Party)
4. Franklin Drillon (Liberal Party)
5. Juan Ponce Enrile (Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino)
6. Pia Cayetano (Nacionalista Party)
7. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. (Nacionalista Party)
8. Ralph Recto (Liberal Party)
9. Vicente Sotto III (Nationalist People’s Coalition)
10. Sergio Osmena III (Independent)
11. Lito Lapid (Lakas Kampi)
12. Teofisto Guingona III (Liberal Party)

These 12 senators were proclaimed by Comelec and will serve for 6 years.

Isn’t it strange that I should be writing again about the MPC? I thought it’s only appropriate that I write about it this month when we celebrate the Philippine Independence Day.

But wait. The MPC managers have changed the name of MPC. They no longer want it to be identified as the Multi-Purpose Center, presumably because of the notoriety that has been identified with the name. They now refer to it as PACC or Philippine-Australia Cultural Centre. So you’re not supposed to see it as MPC. Everyone is expected to see it as PACC. Now you see it, now you don’t.

But it’s the same people managing that 21-year old project – the Philippine-Australian Community Foundation, Inc. (PACFI) Among the permanent members of the board are Luz Tiqui and Mansueto Villon. Yes, you heard it right – I said “permanent,” because they want to occupy their positions ad infinitum. And because they know they will not live forever, they have planned to immortalize their names when they finally become residents of Pine Grove Memorial Park. They have encouraged their children to form the MPC Youth. One member is no other than the daughter of Luz Tiqui.

So they have sold the old MPC in Rooty Hill for $750,000 and bought a new property that cost $1,150,000 in far-away Schofields. Where did they get the money to pay for the difference? The easy answer is another loan, of course, the interest of which will drown the donations of uninformed “planned givers.” The new site was declared as a “high risk, flood prone area by Blacktown Council. Therefore, when flood waters rise, it will be another case of “Now you see it, now you don’t.”

The PACFI has finally come up with a second edition of its newsletter. It is dated March 2010. The first edition came out last year, on March 2009. They have not disclosed how many copies were printed but those who were able to get hold of a rare copy of the 2nd edition may well again refer to the newsletter as “Now you see it, now you don’t.”

There was nothing much to read in the newsletter, except for some group pictures that include Mayor Charlie Lowles and Arnul Pan of PAL.

What people really want to know is the financial aspect. How much money has so far been spent, how much money has been collected and how much money, if any, has remained in the bank? How much longer will it take for this 21-year-old project to be completed? Will it take another 20 years? The previous donors have given up hope that they would see this “Never Never Land” during their lifetime. Some may have already died.

During a rare media conference that happened a few years ago, I asked Manny Villon, if they have a target completion date. His reluctant reply was “It depends on you people.” So they have passed on the responsibility to us but why in the world won’t they vacate their positions?

Good luck to the new donors. I sincerely hope that you reap the benefits of your donations during your lifetime. Otherwise, your donations will be another case of “Now you see it, now you don’t.” — by Nostradino

I am still in the Philippines, till mid-September. The election has come and gone. Being a ‘foreigner’, I was unable to participate; instead, I just observed in one of the public schools in Los Banos, Laguna. The first automated election was a success, but, with the glitches common in newly- introduced technology.

I hope these will be refined in the forthcoming elections. I did not take photos as cameras were not allowed inside polling precincts. The newspapers would have the news as they happen and when they happen.

By the way, the Sentinel is well read by the Filipino community. I left (a copy of) the March issue in Cebu when I was there during the Lenten week. I heard it’s still being circulated.

Aldo (by email)

It seems that the random manual audit of the May 10 election returns is confirming that the automated results tally with the actual information in the ballots cast, based on returns from 30 polling precincts. This is great news and indicates that the PCOS machines have not been tampered with, particularly the scan and tally programs.

The automated May 10 polls are indeed something that we, all Filipinos, could be proud of! In less than 24 hours from the closing of precincts, some local elected officials have been proclaimed and three aspirants for President have conceded. The US and the European Community have sent their congratulatory praises to the Filipino people. The peso has strengthened from P45.53 to US$1.00 last May 7 to P44.76 to US$1.00 yesterday, an appreciation of 1.7% within a period of one week.

Butch Travinio (by email from Manila)