Sunday, May 17, 2009

Malacañang's Refusal to Create Special Board to Investigate Lt. S. G. Gadian's Allegations on Balikatan Fund Mess Is a Gross Miscalculation

17 May 2009

History is not on Malacañang's side in its refusal to create a special board that will investigate allegations of official Balikatan corruption in use of funds from the American government. 

This refusal has repercussions that will reverberate well into the campaign for the next presidential elections. One of the casualties of this decision is the presidential aspirations of Defense Secretary Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro.  This is all about credibility and accountability. Whatever points Gibo may have scored in the last ANC Leadership Forum will dissipate like vapor in the heat that will be generated by the Gadian revelations and its aftermath.

Another casualty, of course, is the VFA. With allegations of official corruption attending the Philippine military's use of Balikatan funds, the move to have the RP-USA Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) scrapped which intensified when the Court of Appeals overturned the rape conviction of US Navy Lance Corporal Daniel Smith is once again gathering steam.  This time, with the 2010 elections less than a year away, more politicians are likely to jump into the bandwagon, thus increasing further the pressure on the Arroyo administration.

These are the related video clips from GMAnews.tv:

Anthony Taberna engaged Officer Gadian Punto por Punto in Umagang Kay Ganda last Friday and this is the ABS-CBN video through kyte.tv:

The still-brewing Lozada bugaboo remains a major concern for Mrs. Arroyo. Lozada was best kept out of jail and away from the public psyche but her bright boys decided they wanted him there and they sure got that — and more — and the rest is history. These bright boys failed to reckon with the fact that Jun Lozada might be afraid of jail, but once there, he has more than enough courage to insist on staying instead of posting bail. Those round prison bars are double-edged swords if certain buffoons still do not know it yet. 

The ramifications of Judge Lorredo's devastating decision to turn over custody of Lozada to the Senate is not lost on those who follow the political scene. It was a slap on the face of Mrs. Arroyo, one she had to bear if the ZTE-NBN whistleblower is not to assume the stature of a certified martyr.  Lozada's appeal has been renewed instantly just as millions of college students, from where he draws his biggest bloc of support, are just barely a month away from terminating their vacations and trooping back to Manila. Not good for a government that needs respite from its self-imposed siege mentality.

If history is to be any judge, the best way to dissipate doubt and dissent is transparent, accountable governance which is what it needs to show in officer Gadian's case.  Without it, Mrs. Arroyo will continue to paint herself into a corner, boxed in by her administration's fumbled handling of its fading power and its dwindling options — the legacy she wants to leave remaining a trail of scandal after scandal instead of a few last hurrahs that might just earn her even a grudging positive mention in history books that are yet to be (re)written.

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