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Engels started playing with Linux® in 1991 and obtained his Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE), Red Hat Certified Instructor (RHCI), and Red Hat Certified Examiner (RHCX) certifications in 2002. He is in charge of Bluepoint's Total Linux®, Linux Kernel Internals®, Perl & Python Programming, and Extreme PHP curriculum and instruction development.
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Elvin Joseph Sanico was one of the best professors I was privileged to have at the UP National Institute of Physics in Diliman. His use of the continuity equation for steady one-dimensional flow to prove the "silent waters run deep" axiom was really cool!
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In loving memory of CPT Mario B. Mortega Sr., USAFFE, VET (1920-2004)
Open Letter to PGMA
Friday, Feb 3, 2006, 1:50 PM
Eddie sent me a copy of this, his father's open letter to PGMA, today:


Jovito R. Salonga
Kilosbayan House, 7 First St., Acacia Lane, Mandaluyong City
Tel. Nos. 534-5889, 534-5868 * Telefax 534-5873


January 30, 2006


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Malacanang, Manila


Dear President Arroyo:

I am writing this letter on my own initiative and in behalf of Kilosbayan and Bantay Katarungan, of which I am a Trustee and Adviser. These two related organizations are non-profit, non-partisan and independent. Our Trustees do not ask for any favor, position or concession from the Government or from the Administration. Nor do they belong to the Opposition.

Last January 24, 2006, a major newspaper ran this shocking banner headline - “P27 B OF SEIZED MARCOS FUNDS GONE. SENATE TOLD. Budget Dep’t says only P5b remains for CARP.”

We do not take headlines at face value. We check and recheck them at the root source of the news story, particularly if the headline concerns a matter of great public interest. We in Kilosbayan had obtained the Status Report on the Proceeds (Annex “A“) submitted by the Development Budget Coordinating Council (DBCC) which, to our shock and dismay, reveals that other than the amount of P8 billion for the human rights victims during the Marcos regime, there are no more funds available from the Marcos Swiss deposits for the poor, landless farmers under the law (CARP) enacted in 1988, when I was Senate President.

We also have the transcripts of the November 14, 2005 hearing of the Committee of the Whole on the 2006 Budget. We reproduce herein the pertinent portion of the transcripts, where your own Budget Secretary, Mr. Romulo Neri, under examination by Senator Joker Arroyo, admitted that except for 8 billion pesos for the human rights victims, the Marcos Swiss deposits (650 million US dollars in round numbers) had been spent by the Administration in 2004 and 2005.


“COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE (SENATE RESOLUTION NO. 47-
THE GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR FY 2006 )
NG Dizon IX 2 November 14, 2005 3:32 P.M.

SEN. (JOKER) ARROYO: Let me first go back to the Marcos wealth. . .In your tab, “G,” available balance is zero of the . . .

MR. (ROMULO) NERI: We have already removed, Your Honor, the earmark (sic) for human rights victims of 8 billion (pesos).

SEN. ARROYO: Why is it now 8? We have been talking about 10, in fact 11. This certified bill of Malacañang to both houses of Congress speaks of 10.

MR. NERI: Let me check on that, Your Honor.

SEN. ARROYO: All right. Please give us the answers to that no.

THE CHAIRMAN: Just on that, Senator Arroyo. Is it clear now that other than the 8 billion, the Marcos wealth has been spent?

MR. NERI: That’s right. The available balance after removing the 8 billion is zero.

SEN. ARROYO: In other words, 600 in round figures, that’s about 650 (million dollars). You remove the 200 (million dollars, for the human rights victims), so that’s 450 (million). . Roughly times 50 ( the peso equivalent), that’s about 22. 23 or up to P25 billion have been spent, 26 billion have been spent.

MR. NERI: What has been spent based on the tab “G.”, Your Honor, based on these records, is based on the 2004 DAR appropriation of 17. 3 billion and the 2005 DAR appropriation of 9.7 or a total of 27 billion, Your Honor.

SEN. ARROYO: So all of these was spent during this administration.

MR. NERI: Except for the 8 billion, Your Honor.

SEN. ARROYO: No, I mean yes. But all of these Marcos money had been spent by this administration.

MR. NERI: In effect, it was really to cover the budgetary requirements.

SEN. ARROYO: No, no, I’m asking the question of . . .

MR. NERI: Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ARROYO: . . . . the period. The period is that during this administration.

MR. NERI: 2004 and 2005, Your Honor.


The other day, there was a news item to the effect that DAR will issue bonds covering the real properties here of the Marcoses for the benefit of the CARP beneficiaries. This attempt to cover up the disappearance of the Marcos Swiss deposits, except for the 8 billion pesos for the human rights victims, won’t wash.

Incidentally, months ago, I informed Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, in the presence of DFA Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, that Dr. Sergio Salvioni, one of our three lawyers during my time, had uncovered the existence of around 1 to 2 billion US dollars more of Marcos secret deposits in Europe. I hope and pray that for the sake of our suffering people, the recovery of this huge amount - bigger than the $683 m already recovered - will not be jeopardized by the disappearance of the Marcos Swiss deposits.

I recall that last year, more than 6 months after the May 2004 elections, a major paper published on June 19, 2005 my advice “Be not afraid to tell the truth.” Now I realize why you could not tell the whole truth, partly because of the far-reaching implications of the sad truth, as confirmed by the admission of Secretary Romulo Neri.

We who do not seek any favor from you are constrained to conclude that to remain in power, you (1) prejudiced the welfare of our poor, landless farmers and (2) ignored the sacrifices of many persons who devoted all their God-given resources - in terms of time, energy, effort and the little knowledge and talent they might have to help recover the more than 680 million dollars from the Swiss Marcos deposits.

You may recall that we started and organized Kilosbayan in August 1993 because we were against the plan of President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) of compromising with the Marcoses on their plundered wealth.

It is our firm conviction that everything can be compromised by any President or any public official - except truth and justice.

As first Chairman of the PCGG, I filed the Philippine claim to the Marcos Swiss deposits in Switzerland as early as April-May 1986 with the help of PCGG Commissioner Pedro L. Yap (later appointed Chief Justice, now deceased), Solicitor General Sedfrey Ordoñez (later appointed Secretary of Justice) and the efforts of three reputable Swiss lawyers and Members of Parliament - Sergio Salvioni, Guy Fontanet and Moritz Leunberger, who became President of Switzerland later - selected by our RP Embassy in Berne with the expert advice of former Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court Otto Kaufmann, my Yale Law classmate who had just retired when I was appointed PCGG Chair on February 28, 1986 by President Cory Aquino.

On December 10, 1997, the unprecedented 49-page Decision of the Swiss Supreme Court was promulgated holding that:

1. “It is contrary to the interests of Switzerland if this country turns into a haven for fugitive capital or criminal monies. . . it is primarily the duty of the legislator, the banks and the banking organizations to ensure that the heads of the dictatorial regimes cannot, as has happened in the present case, deposit millions of obviously criminally-acquired monies in Swiss bank accounts.”

2. “The Decision of the Superior Court of the canton of Zurich is quashed (reversed)”and “the Decision of the District Attorney for the canton of Zurich is confirmed and amended with the following conditions:

a. The Republic of the Philippines guarantees to decide the seizure or restitution of the assets to the entitled parties, respectively, in judicial proceedings which satisfy the procedural principles established in Art. 14 of the International Pact of December 26, 1966 (UN Pact II).

b. The Republic of the Philippines informs the Swiss authorities about the present state and regularly about all essential developments

--regarding the judicial proceedings for collection and restitution;

--regarding the measures and proceedings to indemnify the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime. “{citing the UN Agreement against torture dated December 10, 1984).

On December 9, 1998 during the administration of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada the Supreme Court, in Chavez v. PCGG, held that the Compromise Agreement of December 28, 1993, which would divide the Marcos loot on the basis of a 75-25 ratio75% for the Government and 25% for the Marcoses - in consideration of the dismissal of all criminal cases, plus their exemption from tax liability, is null and void. As pointed out by then Associate Justice Panganiban, the Compromise Agreement would be “a direct encroachment on judicial powers, particularly in regard to criminal jurisdiction” and that “the waiver of all claims against the Marcoses would be a virtual warrant for all public officials to amass public funds illegally, since there is an option to compromise their liabilities in exchange for only a portion of their ill-gotten wealth.”

Our Supreme Court, on the basis of a forfeiture suit filed on December 17, 1991 by Solicitor General Chavez under RA 1379, unanimously held on November 18, 2003 that the $683 million the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos had secretly deposited in Swiss banks belongs to the Government. In a ruling penned by Justice Renato Corona, the High Court denied with finality several petitions filed by Mrs. Marcos and the Marcos children (Imee, Irene and Ferdinand, Jr.) to set aside its July 15, 2003 decision declaring the $683 million as ill-gotten and forfeited in favor of the Government.

“There is justice waiting to be done,” said Justice Corona. “The people and the State are entitled to favorable judgment, free from vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays, the salutary objective being to restore the ownership of the Swiss deposits to the rightful owner, the Republic of the Philippines.”

The proceeds should go to the landless farmers, under the CARP law and ($200 million) 11 billion pesos should go to the human rights victims. The PCGG Chair at the time was the late Haydee Yorac, who was not inclined to favor any compromise with the Marcoses and other major cronies.

We are also enclosing Annex “B” - List of Disbursements from the Fund as of Sept. 15, 2005 submitted by DBCC (Forfeited Swiss Deposits) as of September 15, 2005 - which shows that the biggest withdrawal and disbursement of the forfeited Swiss deposits took place on April 26, 2004 and immediately after the May 2004 elections.

During the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Liberal Party in Plaza Miranda last January 19, I said in part:

“In all schools and colleges, we teach the youth, the fair hope of the Motherland, that ‘Honesty is the best policy.“ Christians, whether Roman Catholics or not, are familiar with Christ’s command to his disciples “Seek ye the truth, for only the truth will set you free.” If President GMA is right in saying she won the May 10, 2004 elections fair and square - something that can be ascertained in various investigations and by courts and tribunals in the coming months - there should be an end to the senseless squabbles and bickerings that cripple our economy and hinder our progress as a free and democratic society. But if the truth is otherwise, justice must take its normal course. As Rheinold Niebuhr, the great philosopher, puts it “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible. Man’s capacity for injustice makes democracy necessary.” In my view, questions of right and wrong are not decided by shifting majorities. That is why truth and justice should be our guideline in the Liberal Party. We can’t go wrong.” (Published in full on January 21, 2006 by Manila Bulletin)

I am gratified that today (January 30, 2006), two major newspapers (Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star) had a similar banner headline on the Pastoral Statement of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines:

“TRUTH ON GARCI MUST BE PURSUED—CBCP”

"CBCP: CONTINUE SEARCH FOR TRUTH"

No one can validly assert that the CBCP is against you personally. For truth, like justice, is non-partisan.

How about the argument that the Government may be destabilized by the ventilation of critical comments, no matter how truthful? This argument fails to distinguish between Government and Administration. The Administration may be destabilized but the Government will remain stable, as long as it is supported by our people. There were several coup attempts against President Cory Aquino and her Administration - they failed for lack of popular support. The Government, backed up by our people, remained stable.

We respect your high office but we respect truth and justice more.


Respectfully yours,


JOVITO R. SALONGA
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