Archive for May 18, 2009

Failon’s daughter decries NBI delay

GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc, The Philippine Star, Updated May 18, 2009 12:00 AM

There’s something fishy about the delay of the NBI probe of Ted Failon’s wife’s fatal head wound. Wednesday before last, after two weeks of investigating, agents were ready to affirm suicide based on autopsies and accounts of closest kin, pals and housemaids. But after 12 more days they have yet to report their findings. Insiders say the NBI is being forced to conclude parricide, no matter how far-fetched. A higher-up wants to silence hard-hitting broadcaster Ted with false charges. Merely protracting the investigation is malicious enough.

Kaye, Ted’s 23-year-old film-studying elder daughter, writes about the toll on them of the long wait, hoping it would soon end:

“Every May our family celebrates two occasions: Mother’s Day on the second Sunday and my mother’s birthday soon after. She was to turn 44 this year.

“It’s been 32 days since my mother passed away — and I haven’t begun to grieve.

“Our family’s tragedy is stuff for dramatic film. You have a shocking turning point, character arcs, twists and revelations, and an ending that no one can guess. But I wouldn’t want to watch this movie. It’s our life. Magnified a thousand-fold for public consumption, and for the malevolent, a means to an end.

“The malicious have taken something from us that will never be replaced. They grabbed what was supposed to be a private, delicate matter and turned it into a travesty. They abused our vulnerability and rejoiced as we stumbled and fell, weak and defenseless. All this, at my mother’s expense.

“They took aim at their target and have been firing incessantly since the news broke out. Why is there still a case against my father? He who only happens to be a hard-hitting radio commentator for over 20 years? That, despite my public declarations that my mother committed suicide, the truth painfully coming out from a daughter, they still didn’t cease?

“Is it my father’s fault really? That he is good at what he does? And unlike others, he isn’t fearful or easily bullied into silence? That he cannot be bought or allow an expensive collar put around his neck like a loyal dog? Is this the price my father has to pay? Is this the price I have to pay? That my 12-year-old sister has to pay? You see, when they made my father a target, they actually aimed at all of us. We are victims; puppets on strings, being moved by an invisible hand so powerful, that we have been rendered helpless. My family and I are traumatized for life.

“We have been nothing but cooperative with requests of the police and now to the NBI. At a time when we should be grieving a deep loss, starting anew and moving on, we are being subjected to endless inquiries for ‘evidence’ and impositions on our time. Our patience is being tested to the extreme; our agony, prolonged.

“And now that our family needs a moment of serenity, to be together and to put back piece by little piece our life in order, the invisible hand bars us. My father is on the government’s watch list, like a Most Wanted Criminal. According to our lawyers, even if the NBI rules out parricide, he would still have to seek permission from Sec. Raul Gonzalez to travel abroad. His departure can be held back for 72 hours, awaiting the justice secretary’s decision.

“Think about it. If this wasn’t a ‘high-profile case,’ do you think it would have dragged on as long as it has? Maybe a reminder is needed: sino po ba ang namatayan? Why isn’t our family the one anxious to poke around, ask questions and ‘investigate’? What are they so afraid of? Don’t they realize that, even without my father, there are other honest crusading journalists who will be watchdogs of the government?

“If they are indeed using our family tragedy as a ‘lesson to critics,’ God forbid this happens to them. For, they might not have my mother’s grace and strength, which are my crutches as I face every new day.

“Agos lang, Kaye Etong,”

* * *

Its now-you’re-in-now-you’re-not manner towards bidders is putting the Comelec’s poll automation under suspicion. Given the agency’s shady past, people are wondering if it is debarring all seven prospective suppliers in order to revert to manual tallying. That old way lets Comelec cheats rig the canvassing for a fat fee. Either that or some insiders are manipulating things so that a favored bidder gets to bag the P11.3-billion deal.

To magnify the doubt the Comelec is slipping when there’s little time left on the bidding clock. After postponing submission of bid papers from Apr. 27 to May 4, the bids and awards committee on Apr. 29 substantially altered the rules. Via a “clarification” (not a bulletin), it required that, even if a bidder met the financial capacity test of P1.2 billion (10 percent of the contract), he still had to submit a letter or credit or certificate of deposit for such amount. May 1 being a holiday, this left the bidders only three days to convince their banks to extend the appropriate security.

Spotty rule application then led to the disqualification of five bidders. USSC-Sequoia was initially flunked for its newly incorporated subsidiary not having an import license, then momentarily reinstated when the BAC decided that only one member of the consortium needed to have it. In the next breath, the BAC insisted that, without the license, the subsidiary was like the MegaPacific shell company in the failed automation of 1997. The BAC summarily disqualified USSC-Sequoia anew, depriving it due process to defend itself against a new debatable issue.

ES&S-AMA was failed for lacking certifications from two of three clients of completed past contracts for 50 percent of the bidding value. Left unexamined was a document that ES&S is one of America’s biggest election equipment makers in America. In the same breath, the BAC allowed a third bidder “confidentiality” to not reveal the amount of its Venezuelan contract (not only the amount but also the company name were blacked out).

With only two bidders left standing, the BAC unsealed the bids past midnight Saturday. Indra-Hart-Stradcom bid P11.2 billion, Smartmatic-TIM P7.2 billion — an astronomical P4-billion gap for a contract this big.

* * *

E-mail: jariusbondoc@workmail.com

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May 18, 2009 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

Admin takot sa America

SAPOL Ni Jarius Bondoc, Pilipino Star Ngayon,  Updated May 18, 2009

KAKAIBA ang reaksiyon ng Malacañang sa huling alingasngas sa Armed Forces. Kabibisto pa lang ng isang kapitana sa Navy na dinispalko umano ng kanyang heneral ang P40 milyon para sa RP-US Balikatan exercises, hinikayat siya agad ng presidential spokesman na maghabla. Nangako pa ito na hindi makikialam ang Palasyo sa binabalak na Senate inquiry. Dati-rati kung may whistleblower na nagsiwalat ng anomalya, nagkakandarapa agad ang mga “bumbero” ng admin na patayin ang “sunog”. Sisiraang “inggit lang” kuno ang exposer, at ipagtitigasang walang katiwalian. Pero kabaliktaran ngayon sa kaso ni Lt.-SG Nancy Gadian. Pinaiimbestigahan ng Malacañang ang scam sa Dept. of National Defense, na atubili nu’ng una dahil nasa­sakdal rin si Gadian. Nanindigan pa si Spokeswoman Lorelie Fajardo na tutulungan si Gadian, para mapa­rusahan daw ang maysala.

Kaya mabilis ang paghingi ng admin ng hustisya ay dahil pera ng America ang sangkot dito. Magagalit ang Washington kung mabatid na ninakaw nga ang pera nila pero hindi itinuwid ng Malacañang ang gusot. Baka bawiin pa ng America ang suporta kay Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; tiyak na kokolapso siyang parang deck ng baraha.

Nakita na natin kung gaano kaamo sa Kano ang admin. Sa kaso ni US Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, isinuko nito ang sobereniya’t dangal ng Pilipinas. Hina­tulan ng korte si Smith ng paggahasa kay Nicole, pero isinuko siya ng Malacañang sa US embassy. Doon siya idinetene habang inaapela ang kaso, imbis na sa Bilibid. Pero tahimik ngayon ang Pa­lasyo sa bagong usapin ng paggahasa muli ng isang US Marine sa Pilipina sa Makati.

Nakita rin natin ang di-pangkaraniwang sigla ng Malacañang na maipaku­long si dating AFP comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia. Kasi misis na mismo niya ang umamin sa sulat-kamay na lihim na gina­gasta nila para sa sariling kapakanan ang military aid mula sa ibang bansa. E nu’ng panahong ‘yon, 2004, America lang ang nagbi­bigay ng military aid sa Pili­pinas. Kaya hayun, ipina­kulong siya agad, pero hanggang nga­yon walang kaso ang ibang mga tiwa­ling heneral sa AFP at PNP.

May 18, 2009 at 12:00 am Leave a comment


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