Now open: Special court for reversal of BADAP ruling

All is not lost for President BS Aquino, whose cognitive ability still can’t fathom why BADAP (BS Aquino Disbursement Acceleration of Pork) is unconstitutional.

The only way for the 13-0 Supreme Court decision to be reversed is to file his motion for reconsideration before a “special division” presided over by no less than J. Raissa Robles, who wears the bright and shiny robe of Yellow justice.

In J. Robles’ sala, a Cory-era executive order (the Administrative Code of 1987) allows BS Aquino and budget man Butch Abad to put money—our money—on their or their favorite lawmakers’ pet projects, even if they’re not in the budget, and even if the Constitution forbids it. And BS and Butch can fund such projects out of “savings” magically generated in the middle of the year. They could even declare the existence of excess (“unprogrammed”) funds even if tax and customs collections have fallen short.

And we should believe J. Robles because her legal opinion is supported by a grand total of one (1) lawyer, ex-senator Rene Saguisag, her amicus curiae, who’s willing to testify that J. Robles’ legal reasoning was sound because (and who would have known?) her dad was a lawyer.

Plus, Raissa and her hot hubby, Alan, are “makulit” and “fact-checking” journos. #TheyAlready!

We hope they’re “makulit” enough to investigate whether projects such as an e-library for the House really stimulated the economy as BADAP purported them to have.

But it’s too late because J. Robles has dug in despite contrary opinions by two law deans, constitutionalist Joaquin Bernas and Ranhilio Aquino.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise since she had already overruled the 13-0 decision junking BADAP. Such is the beautiful legal mind of J. Robles. If she doesn’t make the cut as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, we’d probably slash our wrists like Deniece Cornejo or end up having “mixed psychosis” ala Gigi Reyes.

With her self-centered blog, J. Robles, it seems to us, is marketing herself as a self-made legal expert. We wonder what the other little lady of Yellow journalism, Marites Vitug, has to say about this.

It’s a pity if we don’t get to see the fruits of J. Robles’ big ideas about democracy, justice and law. Hers is the kind of justice where the rule of law is “debatable,” and “it’s for the good of his country” trumps that pesky little book called the Constitution. “His,” of course, refers to BS Aquino, who, she imagines, was just channeling Lee Kuan Yew, a “strong leader who made up laws for the good of his country.”

And this is all good for democracy, J. Robles pontificated on her Facebook wall, as Filipinos still needed to “make up their minds as to the kind of leader they want,” as well as “what powers he can wield” and “how he should be answerable for using those powers.”

Poor us. We thought all that had already been decided by the Filipino people in a 1987 plebiscite that ratified the Constitution, which every president including BS Aquino solemnly swore to “defend and protect.” We thought presidential powers had already been defined by Article VII and limited elsewhere in that tiny little booklet we thought, quite naively, should be respected as the fundamental law of the land. Even by journos.

In Raissa’s scheme of things, there’s nothing wrong with BS wielding imagined presidential powers and defying a co-equal branch on primetime television. That’s healthy democracy, like in Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore, where the press is given freedom and enough Lee-way to praise the virtues of the Lees to high heavens.

Raul Dancel enjoyed it so much he had culture shock when he was shipped back to Manila recently. Raissa should visit Singapore more often and feel at home. We just hope quarantine won’t bar her in case they detect either two of these nasty afflictions: Benigno-coccemia or the MERS-Coloma virus.


BS BFF’s bungled Palace premiere

Our pompoms, tarps, and standees were all set, our scream ready to erupt in the fangirliest fashion, for the world premiere of Jorge Cariño as ABS-CBN’s official Malacañang reporter last July 14.

The coverage that day was quite challenging, at least for journos who have developed uncanny expertise in investigative “botcha” reporting and can’t tell the BS in President Aquino. BS practically challenged Supreme Court justices to a fist fight, his threat sticking out like a big yellow dirty finger. It’s like he was pounding the gates of Padre Faura and telling the men in robes, “Lumabas na kayo! Mga bobo kayo! Napapaligiran ko na kayo!”

So it was just fitting that the Kapamilya reporter assigned to deliver the top news that evening was none other than Cariño, a veteran of typhoons, rallies and Toto Mangudadatu events. More importantly, he’s a certified BFF of BS.

But there’s just one problem. The BADAP coverage requires intense brain activity if one is to go through the maze of budgetary gobbledygook cooked up for a billion and one reasons by Butch Abad.

We felt the Presidential BFF struggled mightily to make sense of BS Aquino’s battering ram of a speech aimed at the Supreme Court. So to our utter disappointment, Cariño’s much-awaited standupper was nowhere to be found in the first gap of TV Patrol’s July 14 newscast even if the top story was the BS address.

What could have been reason? Did his dog eat his script? Was he stalled in hellish traffic from the Palace to the “Borloloy” building? Or did his nose simply bleed so profusely that he had to stop by Red Cross for blood transfusion?

The point is we waited, sat through Doris Bigornia’s agonizing interviews showing Tayuman “tambays” comprehending nothing about what BS had just said. There were even more reactions c/o one Zen Hernandez. The man of the hour, our boy Jorge, was nowhere to be found until late in the newscast when a fine specimen of masculinity appeared on our TV screen. Ah, finally.

His Q&A with anchorman Ted
Failon was so insightful that we remembered nothing shortly afterward. So what were the context and implications of the BS speech? Heck, our reporter couldn’t even give an idea when the Palace would probably file an MR. Clue: Deadline is five days from when he filed his report.

He also mixed up his figures. Referring to the government’s 116 DAP-funded projects, our man told TV Patrol’s millions of views that the number was: “Mahigit isang daan at animnapung proyekto.”

The answers missing in the standupper were somewhere out there, probably still hidden in the deepest recesses of Cariño’s brain. Thus, they didn’t show during the banter with Failon, who, unfortunately for Jorge, had done his homework on BADAP like he always does.

Jorge was reduced to a presidential parrot. He practically just read from a hard copy of BS’ speech, adding nothing of value to the public discourse. To be fair, he looked dashing in those dark-rimmed glasses.

Of course, we can’t entirely fault Jorge for the big letdown in the biggest coverage of his day-old stint as Malacanang reporter. Who and why put him there in the first place?

We now look forward to ABS-CBN’s SONA coverage. With Cariño as the main man, we’ll sit back, relax, and enjoy the comedy show.

Blogger overrules SC, declares BADAP constitutional

The search is over for the next associate justice. Who’d better replace Roberto Abad at the Supreme Court than the little lady with a blog?

She’s Raissa Robles, who had a light bulb moment last week after that unanimous SC decision thumbing down the BS Aquino Disbursement Acceleration of Pork (BADAP).

And so she penned her own dissenting opinion last July 8. Her ruling: BADAP is constitutional.

Raissa is perhaps the only journo in the history of mankind to prove 13 justices dead wrong and save Daang Matuwid in the process.

If not for her, we wouldn’t know that the justices and their useless army of legal researchers overlooked Chapter 5, Section 49 of the Administrative Code of 1987. For all the legal minds at Padre Faura, it took only a journo of Raissa’s caliber to stumble upon the crucial section that will “yet save” BS Aquino and the brains behind BADAP, Butch Abad.

Mind you, Raissa’s “eureka!” happened one fortuitous Monday morning at breakfast, right after reading a story by Jess Diaz on The President’s Star. The article referred to the seven-page DAP memo by Abad that was approved by BS Aquino. That sent Raissa scampering for the SC ruling, which cited the legal justifications of the Abad memo, chiefly the Administrative Code.

A few Google searches later, then, voila! Section 49—“Authority to Use Savings for Certain Purposes,” including “priority activities that will promote the economic well-being of the nation, including food production, agrarian reform, energy development, disaster relief, and rehabilitation.” Also in the list is the “repair, improvement and renovation of government buildings and infrastructure and other capital assets damaged by natural calamities.”

Words of advice for J. Bersamin, J. Carpio, and J. Brion: they ought to cover their heads in shame and go quietly back to law school. They’re no different from those students they flunked in the bar. All those reams of A4 bond paper wasted by the entire Supreme Court!

And that was just Raissa at breakfast, the muckraking journo who happened to be reading a Yellow paper.

Imagine what she can do while donning those purple judicial robes. Given more copies of The President’s Star and other obscure Cory-era statutes, who knows how many legal loopholes she could find?

The Supreme Court could surely use her legal research skills. Remember the Corona impeachment trial when people were kinda wondering if she was really part of the prosecution team? J. Robles will surely bring a new standard of justice in the high tribunal, the type that’s prepared to absolve BS Aquino of any and all wrongdoing because he only has the purest of intentions for the country, while throwing the books at his enemies for the slightest infractions.

With Raissa in the Supreme Court, BS and Butch will get the justice they rightfully deserve. And they can pool “savings” even in the middle of the year, spend them on off-budget projects, or use them to grease the legislative mill.

J. Robles can surely be relied upon to be blindfolded like Lady Justice herself and tip the scale against dark entities like Corona.

Too bad Chief Justice Meilou Sereno is not retiring until 2030. We’d love to see one of our own occupying the highest place among the Gods of Faura, shining her bright light of omniscience on the rest of us ignoramuses in media, and her equally clueless peers at the Supreme Court.

ABS-CBN taps BS buddy to cover Aquino

Roll out the yellow carpet coz Jorge Cariño is coming to the Palace!

That’s right. ABS-CBN News’ most credible and most accomplished reporter will soon be its official Malacañang correspondent, rightfully replacing RG Cruz who will return to his old beat, the House of Representatives.

“In our continuing efforts to improve our coverage and news gathering functions in an integrated and multi-platform environment, we are implementing changes in the assignments of reporters,” according to a newsroom memo, which detailed the minor changes affecting Cruz, Cariño, and other reporters of little consequence.

Days of future, past

Cariño, Cruz: Days of future, past

We hope it wasn’t triggered by a “personal” request made by BS Aquino, who felt he wasn’t getting all the good press he so deserved from the de facto government station with Cruz around.

BS couldn’t be more excited with the departure of Cruz. It seems this particular ABS-CBN journo is completely immune to Benignococcemia, Yellow fever or Hepatitis-BS, such that no amount of spin-doctoring could convince him that this administration doesn’t suck.

He’s also a vocal admirer of Gloria Arroyo, the root of all evil in this world and beyond, and that is his original sin. More importantly, Cruz doesn’t fit in BS Aquino’s definition of an “objective” Malacañang reporter. Such a journo should be a simpleton, totally incapable of asking tough questions and unable to detect silly and rambling responses from BS or his mouthpieces. He should be afflicted with MERS-Coloma virus, which is characterized by blind allegiance to BS’ “other” camera-shy and unwilling spox.

The ideal journalist for BS Aquino is someone who reports only his administration’s version of things, people with no ability to think and analyze BS even if it’s crapping on them, right on the face. He wants docility.

Clearly, the industry is not aspiring for maturity like say, in American political coverage. In the White House press corps, the most effective reporters were those who were critical of the sitting prez. Such was David Gregory when he covered Bush 43 for NBC News, Ed Henry who’s covering Barack Obama for Fox. Helen Thomas was like that to many presidents she had covered.

As for Jorge, we’re not sure if he even knows that Helen, David or Ed exists in this dimension. Boom!

Of course, it’s not to say that Cruz is in the league of Ed Henry or David Gregory. But at least,  he’s among the few “thinking” reporters at Mother Ignacia, people whose careers are not dependent on CCTV scoops.

When Cruz was plucked out of the House beat and moved to Malacañang, we thought it was the dawn of a new era in Kapamilya journalism. We saw it as a direct challenge to BS, putting a relentless Arroyo defender and a vocal critic of the President to cover him on a daily basis. But the myth of the newsroom being insulated from outside forces, particularly of the political kind, proved to be just that: a myth.

It’s a problem not endemic to the Kapamilya newsroom. We’re reminded of powerful editors yielding editorial control to highly influential media operators who dictate the complexion of news and the outcome of coverage from behind the scenes. Yet don’t be surprised if you come across these same editors pontificating about “truth” and journalism ethics in media forums.

As ABS-CBN’s new Palace reporter, Cariño brings to the Malacañang beat his vast experience as a radio field reporter and later as the face of “Umagang Kay Ganda.” His integrity is unparalleled, his reputation unsullied by allegations of orbital practices.

We can’t wait to tune in on our favorite noontime gag show, the daily Malacañang press briefing. This should be fun.

In good faith, Yellow media steer DAP scandal away from BS Aquino

If it were any other public official, especially anyone with any remote connection to the evil incarnate from Lubao, it would have rained impeachment complaints already at the House of Representatives.

But it’s President BS Aquino, a saint-in-waiting who’s just completing his salvific mission on earth before he takes his rightful place at the right hand of the Father.

Still, the issue, viewed from the perspective of a disinterested observer, is quite disturbing, to say the least.

Here’s BS Aquino authorizing his budget man, Butch Abad, to collect billions in government “savings” for projects to be determined by the executive branch, in a practice that fits all the criteria of a pork barrel system–presidential pork, in this case.

Abad, by a stroke of pure bureaucratic genius, issued a seemingly innocuous document that actually wrested the power of the purse from congressmen and senators, then placed it upon himself. BS Aquino authorized Abad’s slick move so the buck ultimately stops with him.

But BS Aquino acted in “good faith,” that we all must accept with the blind loyalty of Gru’s minions. So no journalist in his right mind should ever dare question BS Aquino’s involvement in this whole BADAP (Benigno Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program) mess. Not even if he used the same money collected by Abad–our money–as inducement to senators so they would convict a sitting Chief Justice whose political color didn’t happen to be yellow.

That political hat trick, inspired by the very corrupt practices he so abhorred in the not-so-distant past, now haunts him.

Now come members of the Yellow media to the rescue. The emerging strategy, as it appears, is to insulate BS Aquino and contain all culpability within Abad and his budget circle. But the President’s men are not exactly being cooperative, what with pronouncements to the effect that BS Aquino ultimately masterminded the BADAP system.

Thus, news organizations like the President’s Daily Inquirer and the Aquino Broadcasting Station are left to their own devices, guided only by their sworn duty to protect the immaculate image of BS Aquino through their journalism.

Consider PDI’s July 2 issue, which came out the day after the Supreme Court struck down BADAP practices as unconstitutional. The front page essentially ignored the angle of BS Aquino’s possible impeachment, a very real consequence of the BADAP scandal even if Congress is delirious with Yellow fever.

The President’s Star found a teeny-weeny space for the impeachment story, but the story served only to nip any such possibility in the bud. “Lawmakers: No impeachment of Noy,” its title screamed.

The following day, PDI came out with a déjà vu of a banner story alleging that a portion of DAP money had also gone to Napoles NGOs. The suspects, as usual, were Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile, Bongbong Marcos, and Tito Sotto.

Their likely culpability notwithstanding, it seemed to us as a smokescreen in a news coverage that should have held Malacañang officials, particularly BS Aquino, accountable. But that’s what Journalist of the Year Nancy Carvajal was probably for: to parrot whatever the pork scam whistleblowers, and the forces behind them, wanted published in the country’s most influential paper.

Over at the Kapamilya network, there was a noticeable affliction of Benignococcemia in the TV Patrol newscast on July 2. Despite the BADAP story, the Noranians in the news managers prevailed and so they devoted at least three stories about BS Aquino’s reason for denying Ate Guy the National Artist Award.

But we still consider ourselves fortunate. For if Doland (!) Castro didn’t take it easy that day, he would have produced another “botcha” exclusive. That, for sure, would have been the top story and the SC decision on BADAP might have been bumped off the news lineup altogether.

Yellow journo gets ‘yolo’ moment with Obama. You won’t believe what she did next.

What happens when you pluck lifestyle editors out of their cozy cubicles then take them to Malacañang to meet the world’s most powerful man?


People Asia

People Asia

Because you only live once (Yolo!), we can’t blame Philippine Star lifestyle doyenne Joanne Rae Ramirez if she tapped into her vast network of powerful connections within President BS Aquino’s administration just to see Barack Obama in the flesh. The enterprising journalist that she was, she managed not only to get a “wide smile” from the POTUS; Obama even shook her hand. Swear to God, #YouAlready!

All this was giddily documented in the latest issue of People Asia whose editor-in-chief happens to be Joanne herself. And since she’s the boss, she could turn the magazine into her personal scrap book immortalizing her once-in-a-lifetime encounter with Obama.

Indeed, it pays to have powerful connections. They got Joanne a front-row seat to the hottest event in town. Her excitement was not unlike that of teenagers fangirling over Taylor Swift.

So enamored was Joanne with Obama during the Palace state dinner last April 28 that she probably forgot that she was supposed to cover the visit of the President of the United States, not her personal encounter with him. In case she had forgotten, she was supposed to be a journalist that day, not a fan girl.

“When President Obama entered the Rizal Hall with his beaming host President Aquino, he was given rousing applause. I took a chance and called out ‘President Obama’ from outside the cordon of the press pool, where I positioned myself, and he turned towards me as I held out my right hand. I almost fainted with his wide smile, but then his Filipino security aide blocked by hand,” she recalled in her People Asia article.

“But I persisted and whaddayaknow, President Obama turned back slightly and shook my proffered hand. I swear! (I’m sure the Palace CCTVs have it!)”

We swear! We would have melted (as in literally!) if we were in Joanne’s Christian Louboutins!

Shame on the Star photographer for failing to capture that singular moment when Barry “turned back slightly” and caught sight of Joanne! She had to make do with a poor-quality screen grab from the Palace video so the rest of us unfortunate hoi polloi could see how she beamed at POTUS’ mighty presence.

But the day’s biggest booboo belonged to Obama’s security detail who failed to recognize that Joanne’s a member of that elite group of woman journos that would have given Barack the “Man of Steel” award if only BS Aquino didn’t get it first.

If only the Secret Service men knew Joanne, they would have opened an express lane to their boss. After all, she’s just a girl, gushing over an American president, asking him to… notice her.

Pope promotes PDI’s Pajero bishop

We were struck with awe as Pope Francis, the most media-savvy pontiff since John Paul II, allowed an aging bishop to catch the last trip to the cardinalate. But it’s not because Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo’s set to become the first “Prince of the Church” from Mindanao.

It’s because not a peep was heard from the usually censorious editors at the President’s Daily Inquirer, save for the obligatory news item. We wondered why there was no protest from the demigods at Chino Roces corner Yague and Mascardo. More than two years ago, Quevedo was part of “Pajero 7,” that group of supposedly SUV-loving and condom-hating bishops subjected to relentless pounding by PDI’s Gloria-hating, condom-crazy moral arbiters.


Quevedo’s original sin, according to PDI’s moral code, was getting some from Gloria’s gravy train. But all that has been washed away and Quevedo’s as white as snow.

It could have been great copy! We have a popular pope who’s dumped his shiny, black Mercedes Benz for a spartan Ford Focus, appointing as cardinal a pro-Gloria and therefore black-as-sin bishop who rides around his dirt-poor diocese in style. Could the pope have simply forgotten to do a quick Google search on Quevedo, so he could have stumbled upon that infamous PDI exposé based on the unimpeachable testimony of its very reliable source, PCSO chief Margie Juico?

How come PDI’s acting like Pajero 7 didn’t happen?

Well, we know. It’s one of those sordid episodes PDI would rather forget. There were actually no Pajeros. It’s like saying the Morong 43 were actually in Antipolo. Or the Batasan 5 were holed up at the GSIS Building in Pasay. Or the Abadilla 5 were actually 4. It’s something the PDI newsdesk, error-prone but still claiming the gift of infallibility, has never apologized for, along with the harried and hackneyed use and reuse of tired monikers of whoever that was who couldn’t shake off the hangover after watching the “Magnificent 7” in the 1960s.


Quevedo’s “Pajero”

That’s what happens when you have newspaper editors willing to be used for vicious Yellow propaganda packaged as a scoop, exercising the power to declare the enemy guilty until proven innocent.