Comparing VP Binay’s accomplishments in Makati to Jesse Robredo’s record in Naga City

Just my opinion by Raïssa Robles - Vice-President Jejomar Binay promises that if he becomes president, he will do for the whole country what he did for Makati. This promise has tantalized many poor Filipinos. But what exactly does that mean? In June 2010, I examined in my previous blog site Binay's achievements in Makati because he was pressing President Benigno Aquino Jr. to appoint him Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG) instead of then Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo. This is an update of that post. I've added paragraphs based on my interview with Binay weeks after the piece came out. [NOTE: My blog - with the same name but with a different design - where the original piece was posted crashed because of a malicious virus. ] To understand Binay's brand of governance, I compared and contrasted it to that of another politician - the late mayor of Naga City Jesse Robredo.

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How was VP Binay able to buy three properties even as a young and poor law student?

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Just my opinion by Raïssa Robles - Jejomar Binay credits his good fortune to what my satirist hubby Alan refers to as the Vice-President’s “days of swine and roses.” And Alan is right. Binay’s lawyer Princess Turgano recently explained that it was the Binay family’s piggery and flower businesses that enabled the couple to earn an additional net income of P44.35 million from 1994 to 2010. But what I want to know is: How was VP Binay – orphaned as a boy – able to buy two properties at the age of 22 and a third property at the age of 23 -- while still studying law at the University of the Philippines College of Law?

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Binay fan wants his “idol” to explain the building

Exclusive by Raissa Robles - Embattled Vice-President Jejomar Binay may want to seriously rethink his position that he has nothing to explain. That all allegations of corruption and overpricing swirling around the 11 storey Makati city hall parking building are just “politically motivated attacks.” If cab driver Robin Visin is any gauge, Binay's so-called solid base may be showing some cracks.

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Congress cannot repeal a People’s Initiative law, Bayan Muna congressman insists

Things got even more interesting. Bayan Muna Congressman Neri Colmentares is standing his ground that Section 10 of the draft People's Initiative law is constitutional. Earlier, I wrote a piece asking - Is the draft law being pushed through a People’s Initiative unconstitutional? Former Congressman Teddy Casino posted the following on his blog: In the interest of clarifying concerns regarding the constitutionality of the proposed PI bill abolishing the pork barrel system, I’m posting Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares’ memo on the controversial Section 10 of the said bill.

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Is the draft law being pushed through a People’s Initiative unconstitutional?

Analysis by Raïssa Robles -- Is the Scrap Pork Network behind the People's Initiative promising something that might get shot down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in the end? Something even Congress can easily overturn? Why didn't any official in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines see the potential constitutional defects and suggest amendments to the draft law entitled "An Act abolishing the presidential and congressional pork barrel system, strengthening the system of checks and balances over public funds, prohibiting certain acts, and providing penalties therefore?"

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So you think you know Latin

One of the things that has come out of this debate over the DAP controversy is the resurrection of a dead language called Latin. There was a time in Manila that Latin was de regueur among the youth. If you didn't know any Latin you would not count. Today, only lawyers, doctors and priests have preserved this language that even Italians no longer speak, unless they attend a Messa in Latino in one of those tiny churches in Italy attended by old women. My hubby Alan, who speaks three languages, decided to delve into Latin and he made a surprising discovery. Latin, although long dead and long buried, is still evolving. Especially in the legal field. And so he decided to write about his findings:

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I’m not a lawyer, but this is what I think about the DAP controversy

This is what I'm going to say in today's public forum on the controversial Disbursement Acceleration program, held today at the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP NCPAG) UP Assembly Hall. - By Raïssa Robles - I'm not a lawyer. I'm not yellow, nor red, nor peach. I’m a long-time observer and reporter on how our three branches of government work. I base my conclusions on my own findings. And I’m a citizen of this Republic. My pieces on the Supreme Court ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP have been interpreted by some as a desecration of the 1987 Constitution. A gross misrepresentation of the separation of powers, which is the very essence of our democracy, and a denigration of the congressional power of the purse. Law students and lawyers, in particular, have been quite virulent in their attacks of me. Shocked but at the same time curious, I decided to find out why.

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Read for yourself the actual motion for reconsideration on DAP

By Raïssa Robles - I asked the Office of the Solicitor General for a copy of the Motion for Reconsideration (MR) on the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP. Other reporters were earlier given the same documents. I have decided to upload these documents so that you can directly read them and make your own conclusions. The MR consists of the actual 52-page petition and five annexes.

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Law dean wonders whether the Supreme Court defined “savings” the way Filipinos understood it when they ratified the Constitution

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Exclusive by Raïssa Robles - ABS-CBN's Doris Bigornia had a very insightful news report following President Benigno Aquino's combative speech last Monday. Doris covered the President's speech live in Tayuman Street, Tondo, Manila. When it was over, she asked what the residents thought of it. Few said they understood the controversy over the Disbursement Acceleration Program which the government insists has helped the nation's economy grow. The first woman whom Doris interviewed had a mouthful to say.

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