WEEKS after the May 2010 elections, a question confounded Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ C. Aquino III and his fund-raisers and allies in the Liberal Party: What to do with excess campaign donations that had then reached tens of millions of pesos?
In winner-takes-all fashion, not just votes but also funds had flooded the Aquino camp. This is even as a fund-raiser and a senior campaign staff would later say in separate interviews that Aquino had already served notice that he did not want to accept more donations. In Aquino’s mind, says the senior campaign staff, the last-minute bettors were not true believers but simply people angling to cut deals with the emerging election victor.
IF LAWS on campaign finance were enforced to the letter, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose ‘Jinggoy’ Estrada, and Sergio Osmeña III, along with Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda R. Marcos and perhaps even Vice President Jejomar Binay should not be occupying their seats right now. That would be because they or the political parties that nominated them have yet to submit to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) a Statement of Election Contributions and Expenditures (SECE), as required by law.
TEN months, nine lives, and a flurry of finger-pointing and paper work later, the controversy over the media coverage of the 2010 Luneta hostage-taking incident by the country’s biggest and most influential television and radio networks has come down to feeble fines of P30,000, and a virtual slap on the wrist.
The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), the national association of owners and operators of radio and television stations in the country, has levied fines on two major television networks and one radio network for broadcasting information that it ruled could have compromised police efforts to rescue the hostages during the day-long hostage-taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand on Aug. 23, 2010.
The media are not only failing to regulate themselves; more importantly, some media organizations are actually depending on the government to intervene, in effect eroding the very principle of self-regulation itself.
IT HAS been described as an “investment in the next generation,” with its supposed results of millions of healthier, better educated Filipinos not expected to be realized anytime soon. But the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program is also an investment that is drawing a substantial chunk of its capital from foreign loans, a fact that has many observers raising red flags.
“The poor of the future will be the ones who will carry the burden of paying off this debt,” says Freedom from Debt Coalition Executive Director Milo Tanchuling, who believes it would be better if the CCT relied on locally sourced funds. That the government is also vague about alternative funding prospects for the program has only made those like Tanchuling uneasy – and wondering if it’s an initiative that is sustainable.
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