Tag Archives: Senate President Frank Drilon

Beware of Miriam in ICC senate hearing

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

By Alex P. Vidal

NOW that Senator Teopisto Guingona III has set the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the alleged overpriced Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) project on November 17, the occasion will serve as a moment of truth for both the accused Senate President Franklin Drilon, et al and their accuser, Manuel “Boy M” Mejorada.
Although the merits of the serious charges Mejorada thrown at Drilon, et al will be tackled in the formal investigation to be initiated by the Office of the Ombudsman, the senate committee hearing is always considered by the public as the primordial barometer to spot the vagabonds, the tearjerkers, and the ninny lobcocks.
Like in the other high profile senate investigations, we expect hearing proponent, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, to again grab public attention and bring those invited to appear in the hearing in the edge of their seats.
It was Santiago who sponsored a resolution calling for the inquiry after Mejorada’s well-publicized filing of plunder and graft raps against Drilon, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and other Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials in relation to the P700-million project in Iloilo City.


Now that Drilon has announced he was willing to inhibit himself, we expect him to skip the hearing and monitor the event on TV somewhere else.
Of course, people would love to see Drilon’s presence so he can dispute the allegations leveled against him by his former Twitter accountant handler and media consultant for Iloilo.
But based on all indications this early, it looks like the senate inquiry will unravel without the presence of the senate president.
Mejorada, the most excited person in the entire imbroglio, has expressed willingness to appear in the hearing even before Guingona announced the November 17 date.
Mejorada’s face to face encounter with the fire-spewing Santiago, a fellow Iloilo resident, is now inevitable, barring unforeseen circumstances.
As she is wont to do, Santiago, 69, a former trial court judge, usually starts her spiel with a fierce lecture, or a cross-examination-like juggernaut that usually leaves the invited guests immobile, confused and flabbergasted, especially if they are imbeciles and intellectually inept.
There is a popular saying in the gallery that if there are rats inside your stomach and you can easily be intimidated by a staccato of words and high tones, you better stay away from the senate committee hearing lorded over by Santiago.


To an ordinary invited guest, Santiago always sounds intimidating even if she asks the most basic questions such as “can you state your complete name and other personal circumstances?” and “Why you are here and what is your role in this committee investigation?”
Mejorada should not expect a joy ride once Santiago starts to open her laser-laced mouth during the hearing.
It’s always better to be prepared ahead of time than to be zapped with shockwaves of unexpected questions that will catch a person flat-footed.
He should anticipate harsh and even gruesome questions especially about his background as a media practitioner and as a government official.
Mejorada’s past and present links with politicians—winners and losers in the previous elections—are also expected to be brought up.
Battle-scarred and intrepid, Mejorada knows where he is heading to.
We all know that Santiago is deadly when it comes to marital and extra-marital affairs.


She is merciless even the way she describes innocent individuals caught in between the scandals.
Her sharp tongue has tormented a lot of prominent and little-known individuals who found themselves like being thrown into the lion’s den or like being mauled black and blue by the spinach-eating Popeye after the hearing.
Look what she did to Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and his concubines (plural).
Drilon’s co-accused will also suffer from emotional and intellectual discombobulation if they go to war unmanned and unprepared.
For sure, the hearing will be a battle of not only credibility, but also of documents.
There are allegations of overprice in the ICC project, financed partly by Drilon’s Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP), and Mejorada insists he is determined and ready to prove it.
Drilon claimed there was no any anomaly in his pet project for Iloilo City.
Let’s proceed with the senate committee hearing.

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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in POLITICS


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Can we just stop and talk awhile?

“Maybe then we could go for a ride drive down to the countryside. Get away from the gray and frenzied hurly-burly of the city life.” JOSE MARI CHAN

By Alex P. Vidal

THERE has been so much hatred and violence in the local, national and international news these past weeks.
Crimes, immorality, political bickering and graft and corruption have dominated the headlines and overshadowed so many positive events in the fields of foreign relations, education, arts, science and sports.
An Iloilo provincial official announcing to the world in a national event her displeasure toward her philandering husband and wishing in jest that he be injected with an anti-Ebola virus so that his womanizing days will come to a screeching halt.
A former Iloilo municipal mayor hauling her estranged husband to court for physical and verbal abuse.
A city hall consultant lambasted by his wife in the social media because of, again, womanizing.
Cain and Abel tearing each other apart publicly like real life enemies and dragging the name of the city mayor in their brutal mudslinging skirmish.


A city mayor and his erstwhile councilor allies swapping insults in their Facebook accounts and their respective sympathizers joining the fray.
A capitol bigwig accused of enriching himself at the expense of super-typhoon Yolanda victims and hiding his loot on an island.
A tough municipal mayor accused of ordering the murder of the assailants of his son, including the assailants’ family members who wanted to rescue the victims.
Tensions have exacerbated in the national level due to the endless muckraking of the main dramatis personae trying to malign each other in preparations for the mega political derby in 2016.
A governor apologizing not to his wife but to his younger mistress for the leaked sex photos and video that have caused a tidal wave of humiliation among their respective households before the national media.
A transvestite murdered by an American sailor for not revealing his/her true sexual preference.
Cops accused of “hulidap” and molesting women lawbreakers under their custody.


Filipino peacekeepers coming home from Ebola-hit Liberia treated like Ebola patients and driven away to a secluded Luzon municipality for quarantine as their superior officers and town officials squabble.
Even the social media is not spared from man’s hateful fulminations.
The rift between Senate President Frank Drilon and his former media consultant for Iloilo, Manuel “Boy M” Mejorada, has escalated in the national level when Mejorada filed plunder and graft raps against his former boss before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Drilon’s Iloilo sympathizers have banded together and impeached Mejorada’s integrity as a retaliatory act.
There is now a smorgasbord of name-calling, insults, character assassination and even physical threats.
The war has deepened and emotions are at fever-pitch.
Meanwhile, Mejorada continued to fire his artillery in the national media hopping from one TV and radio station to another in a bid to cripple Drilon in the bar of public opinion.
Tension exacerbates each time followers of both parties engage in unnecessary word wars and heated debates in the media programs and coffeeshops.
Why don’t they take a break first, stay calm and sober, stop and talk awhile?

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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in POLITICS


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Killing Boy Mejorada will complicate matters

“Murder’s out of tune,
And sweet revenge grows harsh.”


By Alex P. Vidal

WHILE walking inside the La Paz Public Market in La Paz district, Iloilo City last Monday night, I overheard in a loud radio set inside a billiards hall former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel “Boy M” Mejorada while being interviewed by Aksyon Radyo anchorman Joecel Banias.
Mejorada said he was ready to appear in the Senate blue ribbon committee that will investigate the alleged overpriced construction of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC).
Mejorada has filed plunder and graft complaints against Senate President Franklin Drilon, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and six other government officials and private individuals in relation to the P700-million project before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Although Drilon, who hails from Molo district, Iloilo City, has expressed willingness to inhibit himself in the soon-to-be announced committee hearing prompted by a resolution filed by fellow Ilonggo Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Mejorada said he prefers to see Drilon in the senate hearing “so we can discuss the issue face to face.”


Mejorada insisted there was overprice in the mega project and respondent Drilon must be held accountable for the alleged loss of P488 million from the coffers of the government.
Drilon has denied the allegations of his former Twitter handler and media consultant for Iloilo.
When Banias asked Mejorada if he has received threats in his life considering that he stirred the hornet’s nest involving big names in Philippine politics, Mejorada, who first served as executive assistant of former Iloilo Governor Neil D. Tupas before being promoted as provincial administrator in 2006, quipped: “Ila man ina grupo a (It’s also their own group).”
Mejorada said “God will protect me” if indeed He believes in Mejorada’s crusade against graft and corruption.
During the 2013 local elections when he campaigned against Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Mejorada claimed that certain characters, some of them members of drug syndicates, wanted to kill him.
Some of those who allegedly wanted him dead aired their threats via the social media and even showed the weapon they intended to use against Mejorada.


He identified an alleged drug lord in Brgy. Muelle Loney, City Proper as one of those who are itching to shoot him if their paths will cross.
Mejorada walked with a bodyguard most of the time until after Mabilog was reelected overwhelmingly.
If Mejorada was saying that the persons allegedly interested to kill him belong to “the same group”, was he insinuating that some of those included in the plunder and graft raps were allies of the drug lords who wanted him dead during the heat of the 2013 local elections?
We are concerned that some of Mejorada’s enemies might take advantage of his rift with Drilon, et al and harm him (God forbid) while he is in the thick of battle against the respondents of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) brouhaha.
When so many people want to eliminate a certain individual, chances are his most recent enemies will be blamed.
We know that Drilon, a national figure and a potential presidential aspirant, is not a violent person.
We can’t speak the same for other characters caught in the web of the imbroglio and those sympathetic to the senate big man.
Now that the issue has exploded into horrific proportions and is now known worldwide, killing or attempting to kill Mejorada at this time will only complicate matters.

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Posted by on November 5, 2014 in POLITICS


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No ‘movement’ for cold Frank Drilon

“Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.”Mao Zedong

By Alex P. Vidal

THE LAUNCHING of several “for president movement” slogans in and outside the social media has become a fad among political organizers from various regions nowadays.
The Ilocanos have launched the “Bongbong Marcos for President Movement”; “Jojo Binay for President Movement” for the people of Makati; “Rudy Duterte for President Movement” from Davao; and “Mar Roxas for President Movement” for the people of Capiz, and so on and so forth.
But we have yet to hear the Ilonggos mount the “Frank Drilon for President Movement” battle cry.
Some remnants of the People’s Reform Party (PRP), however, have started to inch their way to various universities and colleges and re-echo the “Miriam Defensor-Santiago for President Movement”.
Defensor-Santiago and Drilon are two of the most battle-scarred and prominent politicians from Iloilo touted by experts as “presidentiables” or potential candidates for the highest office of the country.
Only Drilon, however, does not have a known “movement” or group of supporters pushing for his presidential candidacy in 2016.


We remember a mysterious “movement” that emerged several years ago when Drilon was still the labor secretary and subsequently the justice secretary under the Cory government.
This was the “Movement Again Drilon” or MAD.
Whatever its objective, how it all started and who were its organizers, it failed to derail the senate big man’s meteoric political rise.
Drilon is supposed to be the most senior among politicians queuing for the presidency.
The senate president is supposed to be among the closest to President Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino III.
Long before DILG boss Mar Roxas earned President Noynoy’s trust and confidence, Drilon was already working with the Aquino clan during the post-EDSA Revolution.
On July 28, 2005, Drilon’s fellow “Hyatt 10” mutineers were already prepared to hand him the vice presidency on a silver platter and install then Vice President Noli De Castro as president.
This was when they called for then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation in the heels of the “Hello Garci” scandal.
Drilon has served as cabinet official for five presidents in a row, and must have also been salivating for the presidency ahead of Roxas and Binay.
Only Drilon himself can confirm if he is really interested to run for president or vice president.


Ideally, the interest to run should come first from Drilon himself, not from any “movement”, in the event there is one.
But Drilon has been incoherently passive.
Even his body movements are formless in as far as the presidential derby is concerned.
Although both Marcos and Duterte have not yet confirmed they were interested to eye the presidency in 2016, their respective ”movements” have already started juxtaposing and combing the entire archipelago at fever-pitch these past months.
The Ilonggo votes are a force to reckon with in the national elections.
We are the third biggest voting population next to Luzon and Cebu.
There is an age-old political wisdom that says if you want to win a national office–for president, vice president and senator—you must win first in Western Visayas.
With all the support of political bigwigs in Western Visayas allied with the ruling Liberal Party, we are puzzled why until now no “movement” has snowballed to endorse Drilon’s bid in 2016.
If he is not really interested to run, no “movement” is necessary to push him.
Politics is not a game of coercion.
We can bring the horse to the river, but we can’t force it to drink.

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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in POLITICS


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Pork verdict a World Cup goal for Filipinos

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” Nelson Mandela

By Alex P. Vidal

While soccer fans were waiting for the coronation of either Germany, The Netherlands, Argentina, or Brazil in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Filipinos already secured their World Cup victory courtesy of the Supreme Court’s 13-1-0 goals against the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) recently.

Malacanang-backed DAP collapsed like a deck of cards and exposed this administration’s subservience to pork barrel to finance infrastructure projects and the like.

Malacanang’s embarrassment, however, became the nation’s victory. A victory sweeter than the FIFA World Cup.

Results of the Filipino People vs DAP championship dominated the major news headlines even in the Middle East, Americas, Australia, Europe where there are large Filipino communities.

Now that DAP has been declared unconstitutional and nipped in the bud, the bleeding of the national treasury will now come to a screeching halt.


The Supreme Court ruling stopped the thieves masquerading as public servants in their tracks.

But the sweetest World Cup goal came from the higher court’s order for those who have siphoned millions of DAP or pork barrel share to return the money.

The money belongs to the Filipino people and the SIN-nators and other lawmakers who feasted on DAP under this administration shouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, ordered the Supreme Court.

But while we are jubilant about our own domestic World Cup conquest, we feel sad that some of the major infrastructure projects that have started rolling down the city and province of Iloilo are among those expected to be torpedoed.

Senate President Frank Drilon’s name came out first in the list of sin-nators with large sums of DAP appropriations at P100 million as of December 2012.


Drilon picked the tab from the DAP of most multimillion pesos worth of projects being implemented through the Department of Public Works and Highways and  inaugurated by no less than President Noynoy Aquino in Iloilo City last June 27.

Drilon has confirmed that DAP partly funded the almost P1-billion Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) at the Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao district.

“Partly funded” means money has already been funneled to the gigantic structure President Aquino described as like the Sydney Opera House.  

What was shocking and repulsive, to say the least, was the revelation that some of the sin-nators who claim to be “champions” of public service and integrity like presidentiables Francis Escudero (P50 million), Allan Peter Cayetano (P50 million), Loren Legarda (P50 million), and Antonio Trillanes IV (P50 million) are also closet pork eaters.





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Posted by on July 2, 2014 in Uncategorized


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No need to tell P-Noy to relocate Malacanang to Iloilo

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”  John C. Maxwell

 By Alex P. Vidal

When President Noynoy Aquino visited Iloilo City last June 27, Senate President Frank Drilon did not have to repeat the mea culpa he made in July 2005 when he asked then President Gloria Arroyo to relocate Malacanang to Iloilo because of heated anti-administration rallies in Metro Manila.

It may be recalled that a week later, Drilon and his fellow members of “Hyatt 10” withdrew support from Mrs. Aquino, but failed to topple the diminutive but wily Pampangena from the presidency when calls for withdrawal of support made to other governors in the country failed to snowball.

Ilonggos hated graft and corruption, poll cheating and the country’s lack of direction in the socio-economic and political spheres, but they were not ready to risk the country’s future in the hands of homunculi political adventurists.

The Brutuses, who were mostly members of the Arroyo cabinet, turned their backs from their lady boss and decided to cut and cut clean in a foiled bid to install Vice President Noli De Castro as new president and Drilon as new vice president.


All governors in Western Visayas, however, ignored Drilon except Iloilo Governor Neil Tupas Sr. Iloilo City mayor and now Rep. Jerry Trenas sided with Mrs. Arroyo, his former college professor. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. and son, Rep. Raul Jr., also prevailed over the Ilonggos to rally behind the embattled Mrs. Arroyo.

In Bacolod City, then representative and now Mayor Monico Puentevella, Mrs Arroyo’s chief ally and regular companion in foreign trips, moved heaven and earth so that Negrenses wouldn’t jump ship despite his stormy relationship with then mayor and now Rep. Evelio Leonardia. Western Visayas – Antique, Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros, Guimaras – rescued Arroyo from FPJ’s Mindanao juggernaut in the 2004 presidential polls.

The political atmosphere when Mrs. Arroyo was in Iloilo in July 2005 was different compared last June 27, 2014. The nation at that time was like a brewing cauldron with opposition leaders, including some disloyal Arroyo minions, concealing a hatchet in their chests in the heat of the “Hello Garci” tumult that refused to die down months after Mrs. Arroyo put away the late Fernando Poe Jr. in the presidential elections.

President Aquino is not a hated figure compared to Mrs. Arroyo. Despite the skullduggery committed by some of his cabinet men and his bizarre mannerisms, President Aquino is still perceived by most Ilonggos to be incorruptible.

Rallies in Metro Manila ripped him not because he amassed unexplained wealth and murdered critics, but because of perceptions that he reenacted the same policies adopted by his predecessors that impoverished the nation and empowered the oligarchs.


When he made that infamous invitation to Mrs. Arroyo to transfer Malacanang to Iloilo in a speech, Drilon probably did not anticipate the tidal wave of negative reaction from the public. Without the “Hyatt 10” mutiny, the invitation would have been dismissed as a mere consuelo de bobo (an idiot’s recompense) for a woman leader who appeared to be fast losing a mass base as a consequence of that ill-advised “I’m sorry” spectacle.

Malacanang does not need to be transferred elsewhere literally. Malacanang is the president himself. A good president makes a good leader and leaves an indelible mark in the hearts of the people.

A bad president can never be absolved by any relocation of the seat of power. His incompetence and inefficiency will haunt him whether he holds office in Metro Manila or in Visayas and in Mindanao.


Aquino was in Iloilo City to inaugurate the P4-billion worth of infrastructure projects that included the P2.1 billion Iloilo circumferential road, the ongoing construction of the P700-million Iloilo Convention Center, the P550-million Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue, and the P170-million Iloilo River NHA Subdivision Phase I in barangays Lanit and Camalig in Jaro district.

Judging from the support shown by local leaders led by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, we don’t see any tell tale signs that some Iloilo and Bacolod leaders will ditch President Aquino now that the choice for his successor in 2016 has become crystal clear.

Western Visayas governors and mayors, however, did not prevent some of their factotums to escort and spend precious time with Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was also in Iloilo City attending to other activities.

It was a rare occasion where the country’s top three leaders were present in one city to inaugurate and attend to different activities. Their presence in Iloilo City immediately caught political fire and brimstone in the national level.

It is said that in politics, when Western Visayas growls, the whole nation listens.   

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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Uncategorized


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