Friday, July 18, 2014

How PNoy followed Marcos's footsteps on DAP

I. How the Aquinos turned Yellow

The song, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree," inspired Ninoy Aquino's supporters to tie yellow ribbons to await his coming.  After Ninoy's death, the color yellow became associated with Cory Aquino and the anti-Marcos movement.  And after Cory's death, the yellow ribbon became a symbol for those who wish Nonoy, the son of Cory and Ninoy, to run for president. (c.f. Wikipedia: Yellow Ribbon)

When Noynoy became the president, he adopted the color yellow.  He has the pedigree: his father is the face of the opposition during Martial Law and his mother is the icon of democracy after the 1986 EDSA revolution.  "Kung ano ang puno, siya ang bunga." Or as the Gospel would say:
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. (Mt 7:16-17)
Thus, if the parents are good, the children must also be good. But why did a good tree bear bad fruit?  If the Pres. Noynoy Aquino's parents are champions of democracy, why did Nonoy followed the footsteps not of his parents but that of the Pres. Marcos?

II. DAP of Marcos and PNoy

In p. 53 of the Supreme Court's Decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), we can see that the Supreme Court already knows something about DAP: it is not a shiny new thing, but something conceived nearly 40 years ago by Marcos' brilliant mind.  In Section 44 of his Presidential Decree 1177 published last July 30, 1977, we read:
Section 44. Authority to Approve Fund Transfers.The President shall have the authority to transfer any fund appropriated for the different departments, bureaus, offices and agencies of the Executive Department which are included in the General Appropriations Act, to any program, project, or activity of any department, bureau or office included in the General Appropriations Act or approved after its enactment.
The President shall, likewise, have the authority to augment any appropriation of the Executive Department in the General Appropriations Act, from savings in the appropriations of another department, bureau, office or agency within the Executive Branch, pursuant to the provisions of Article VIII, Section 16 (5) of the Constitution.
Compare this with the definition of DAP as summarized by the Supreme Court:
At the core of the controversy is Section 29(1) of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, a provision of the fundamental law that firmly ordains that “[n]o money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.” The tenor and context of the challenges posed by the petitioners against the DAP indicate that the DAP contravened this provision by allowing the Executive to allocate public money pooled from programmed and unprogrammed funds of its various agencies in the guise of the President exercising his constitutional authority under Section 25(5) of the 1987 Constitution to transfer funds out of savings to augment the appropriations of offices within the Executive Branch of the Government. But the challenges are further complicated by the interjection of allegations of transfer of funds to agencies or offices outside of the Executive. (SC Decision on DAP, p. 6)
Eerily familiar?  Notice the key words: President, transfer, augment, funds.

That is why, last February 27, 1987, 25 days after the ratification of the 1986 Constitution, the Supreme Court already struck down Section 44 of PD 1177 for contravening Section 16(5) Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, which is identical to Section 25(5) of Article VI of the 1986 Constitution:
5) No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations. (SC Decision on DAP, p. 54)
In the words of the Supreme Court during that time, in the case Demetria v. Alba:
Paragraph 1 of Section 44 of P.D. No. 1177 unduly over-extends the privilege granted under said Section 16. It empowers the President to indiscriminately transfer funds from one department, bureau, office or agency of the Executive Department to any program, project or activity of any department, bureau or office included in the General Appropriations Act or approved after its enactment, without regard as to whether or not the funds to be transferred are actually savings in the item from which the same are to be taken, or whether or not the transfer is for the purpose of augmenting the item to which said transfer is to be made. It does not only completely disregard the standards set in the fundamental law, thereby amounting to an undue delegation of legislative powers, but likewise goes beyond the tenor thereof. Indeed, such constitutional infirmities render the provision in question null and void. (SC Decision on DAP, pp. 53-54)
III. Two Towers of Dictatorship: PNoy and Marcos

Last Monday, July 14, 2014, Pres. Noynoy Aquino made his defense of DAP.  His defense was nothing new because his points were already answered in the Supreme Court's decision who voted 13-0 against DAP with one abstaining. But there was something new: he threatened the Supreme Court with the following words:
My message to the Supreme Court: We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision. You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was graver, if we were to base it on your decision. Abiding by the principle of “presumption of regularity,” we assumed that you did the right thing; after all, you are the ones who should ostensibly have a better understanding of the law. And now, when we use the same mechanism—which, you yourselves have admitted, benefit our countrymen—why is it then that we are wrong?
What does PNoy want really?  That we go back to Marcos's time with laws written in the forms of Presidential Decrees?  He wants to outdo Marcos as a dictator in the same way as Saruman wants Isengard to rival that of Sauron:
A strong place and wonderful was Isengard, and long it had been beautiful; and there great lords had dwelt, the wardens of Gondor upon the West, and wise men that watched the stars.  But Saruman had slowly shaped it to his shifting purposes, and made it better, as he thought, being deceived--for all arts and subtle devices, for which he forsook his former wisdom, and which fondly he imagined were his own, came but from Mordor; so that what he made was naught, only a little copy, a child's model or a slave's flattery, of that vast fortress, armoury, prison, furnace of great power, Barad-dur, the Dark Tower, which suffered no rival, and laughed at flattery, biding its time, secure in its pride and its immeasurable strength. (The Road to Isengard, The Lord of the Rings, p. 555)
PNoy could never match Marcos's brilliant mind in crafting laws, for PNoy has never passed a single law he authored himself when he was still a senator.  PNoy could never match Marcos's oratorical skills: PNoy can deliver a scripted speech in idiot boards; Marcos reads his script, then sets it aside and speak for hours.  But PNoy has one trusty aid: Abad--the Secretary of Budget and Management who knows all the ins and outs of the budget process as Wormtongue knows all the tunnels of Saruman's Isengard.  And the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was born.  Just as the New Age Movement is just Old Paganism with a new face, so is DAP the same as Section 44 of PD 1177 of Marcos.  Marcos is already dead, but his spirit still haunts us through DAP.  As Mark Anthony said over the funeral of Julius Caesar:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; 75 The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. (Julius Caesar Act 3 Scene 2)
Marcos was an ambitious dictator like Caesar, while PNoy is an honorable man like Brutus--a man who advocates daang matuwid, the straight path of righteousness, a highway before the Lord (c.f Is 40:3), just like the Prophet John who prepared the coming of Christ.  But the highway has turned into a railroad: he railroaded the Constitutional laws in order to implement his good intentions.  Well, the road to Hell is also paved with good intentions.
Ninoy Aquino & The Rise of People Power
Ninoy Aquino & The Rise of People Power
Ms. Cory Aquino Philippines John Goody Missi Moskowitz Betty Lane Faber 10 1986
Ms. Cory Aquino Philippines John Goody Missi Moskowitz Betty Lane Faber 10 1986
A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE SOUNDTRACK: Paalam, Maraming Salamat President Corazon C Aquino- Funeral Service
A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE SOUNDTRACK: Paalam, Maraming Salamat President Corazon C Aquino- Funeral Service
LETTERS TO PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO III - VOLUME I - STAY THE COURSE
LETTERS TO PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO III - VOLUME I - STAY THE COURSE
PRESIDENT FERDINAND E. MARCOS (PHILIPPINES) - MAGAZINE COVER SIGNED
PRESIDENT FERDINAND E. MARCOS (PHILIPPINES) - MAGAZINE COVER SIGNED
Here Lies Love (2CD)
Here Lies Love (2CD)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Catholics and the New Age
Catholics and the New Age
Julius Caesar (Shakespeare Graphics)
Julius Caesar (Shakespeare Graphics)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DAP is like a condom: the making of a tyrant

A. Disbursement Acceleration Program and the RH Law

Last December 21, 2012, Pres. Noynoy Aquino signed the RH Law, which was later declared by the Supreme Court as not unconstituional, but with eight items stricken out.  This law provides stipulates the use of public funds for the purchase of contraceptives (that do not primarily act as abortifacients) and for the sex education of the youth.  According to the complaint being circulated last April for the impeachment and removal of Pres. Aquino, the president accomplished this through the promise of PDAF and DAP to lawmakers:
Using the PDAF and DAP, respondent Benigno Simeon Aquino III coerced and corrupted members of Congress to approve the highly controversial “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health bill” (hereafter RH bill), which the House and the Senate passed on third and final reading on Dec. 17, 2012. To make sure that the lawmakers voted according to instructions, respondent Aquino sent four Cabinet members----Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Secretary of Interior and Local Government Manuel Roxas, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda and Communication Secretary Ramon Carandang—to the Batasan during the voting to assure the congressmen of hefty and immediate PDAF releases in exchange for their votes. On Dec. 17, 2012, the bill was approved on third and final reading by a vote of 133 to 79, with 7 abstentions, after having been approved on second reading on Dec. 12, by a vote of 113-104. In the Senate, the bill passed on third and final reading by a vote of 13 to 8 on Dec. 17.
What is DAP?  DAP is Disbursement Acceleration Program conceived by Abad, the head of the Department of Budget and Management, and Pres. Aquino, the Chief Executive of the government.  In this program, unused funds of government agencies are pooled at the middle of the fiscal year (June 30) in order to provide the Executive department discretionary funds to distribute at will, such as the construction of e-Library of Congress or the Computer Information Technology infrastructure of the Commission on Audit.  In short, DAP is the presidential pork barrel that the President can use to bestow gifts to his allies and coerce the those who oppose him, as what happened to the RH Law.

B. DAP and Contraception

In a way, DAP is like a condom.

The purpose of the sexual act between a husband and wife is two-fold: (1) to physically unite the husband and wife and (2) to beget children.  What a contraceptive does is to retain the union with all its joys and pleasures, but forego with the procreation--the act of making babies.  In a similar way, DAP maintains the fiscal union between the government and the people--with the government enjoying the pleasures of giving and the people enjoying the pleasures of receiving--except not in the way that was designed by Congress when it makes the yearly General Appropriations Act (GAA).  The funds were released, but halfway through the year, the government pools the unused funds and transfers them to other budget items--even to items not budgeted at all or even items outside the Executive department's domain, e.g. Congress.  In a similar way, at the height of sexual intercourse, the semen is released by the man, but caught halfway in the condom's reservoir, preventing the sperms from meeting the female ovum.  The chief executive, the man, can then decide whether he wants to have a baby or not: he can throw the condom away or store his semen in the bank for future use, such as for the in vitro fertilization of his wife (or other men's wives or simply just other girls who wishes to have babies but do not want to have to burden of living with a man).

In his Encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI warned that the use of contraceptives have grave social effects:
17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.
The first prediction is already visible in our society: just look at the movie stars whom we idolize.  How many of them engaged in sexual intercourse within the context of marriage and marital fidelity? The second prediction already happened because of the rise of pornography, offline and online.  The third prediction already happened with the passage of the RH Law: the government shall now fund the purchase of contraceptives and the education of the youth regarding sexuality.

C. Tyranny in the Making

But let us focus on the second prediction:
A man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
If we apply our analogy of DAP to contraception, the chief executive to the man, and the people to the woman, then one ill-effect of contraceptive mentality as applied to public funds through DAP is the rise of an autocratic chief executive, a presidents who acts like a dictator--his interpretations of the law surpasses that of the Supreme Court, his use of public funds surpasses what Congress can appropriate.  The Philippine democratic government system is designed by the Constitution to be a triumvirate or a trinity: the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial--all co-equal and superior in its own sphere.  But with the DAP, the Executive can bribe Congress to submission and can coerce the Supreme Court to bend to his rules.  "Kayo ang Boss ko!"  "You are my boss!"  Pres. Noynoy Aquino always says to the people.  But with the DAP, this phrase stands on its head and comes to mean as "I am your boss."  There can be no other boss than PNoy.

In his speech in defense of DAP, Pres. Aquino challenged the Supreme Court:
My message to the Supreme Court: We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision. You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was graver, if we were to base it on your decision. Abiding by the principle of “presumption of regularity,” we assumed that you did the right thing; after all, you are the ones who should ostensibly have a better understanding of the law. And now, when we use the same mechanism—which, you yourselves have admitted, benefit our countrymen—why is it then that we are wrong?
Here is a tyrant in the making.  And now he is calling all his supporters to wear yellow ribbons in solidarity to his noble cause.  Oh, what an tragedy.  We ousted the Dictator Ferdinand Marcos by holding the yellow banner of Cory Aquino along the length of EDSA.  And now the son of Cory wants us to make another revolution by making us join his feverish yellow campaign.  Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  As Galadriel said to Frodo who offered to her the One Ring of Sauron:
And now at last it comes.  You will give the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen.  And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and Night!  Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain!  Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning!  Stronger than the foundations of the earth.  All shall love me and despair! (The Mirror of Galadriel, Lord of the Rings, pp. 365-366)

Condom Nation: The U.S. Government's Sex Education Campaign from World War I to the Internet
Condom Nation: The U.S. Government's Sex Education Campaign from World War I to the Internet
Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Enlarged Edition (Belknap Press)
Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists, Enlarged Edition (Belknap Press)
Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life
Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life
The Politics of Accountability in Southeast Asia: The Dominance of Moral Ideologies (Oxford Studies in Democratization)
The Politics of Accountability in Southeast Asia: The Dominance of Moral Ideologies (Oxford Studies in Democratization)
Why Humanae Vitae Was Right: A Reader
From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation
From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation
Delusions of a Dictator: The Mind of Marcos As Revealed in His Secret Diaries
Delusions of a Dictator: The Mind of Marcos As Revealed in His Secret Diaries
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Cate Blanchet as Galadriel 8 x 10 Photo
The One Ring - Stainless Steel Gold Finish