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Privilege Speech of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, July 25, 2006

Posted: August 6th, 2008 @ 1:13am

With your indulgence, I rise again today on a matter involving the true and authentic accounting of the state of the nation.

As we begin this Congress, Mr. President, may I take this opportunity to extend my warm congratulations to you on your assumption as Senate President. The Senate and the entire Filipino nation look forward to an enlightened and independent leadership who will steer this Chamber with honesty, dedication and commitment, as with your predecessor.

I also like to take this opportunity to convey and acknowledge my highest esteem to Senate President Franklin Drilon for his noble act of statesmanship of honoring a gentleman's agreement.

The tenant in MalacaAang may have much to learn from you, not only in terms of honor, but in your governance, in guiding and steering this august Body during many critical and crucial periods.

Yesterday, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivered her state of the nation address before a selected audience effectively sanitized by over 16,000 police personnel against those who disagree with her.

And this well-choreographed gallery, who would rise and applaud even the most trivial and inconsequential issues in Mrs. Arroyo's speech, has gone to wild extents to take us into that make believe world, that enchanted kingdom of Mrs. Arroyo's dreams. This has been unfortunately propped up by personalities whose egos are massaged when their names are mentioned.

But unlike those in the gallery in Congress yesterday, there are many of us who are trying to figure out, whether what we heard yesterday was the state of the nation fiction, fable, fairy
tale or fantasy.

Nang marinig ko ang state of the nations address ni Ginang Arroyo, muli na naman akong kinabahan para sa ating bansa at sa ating naghihirap na mga kababayan.

Nagulantang ako sapagkat katakut-takot na naman ang pinapangako ni Mrs. Arroyo na hindi natin alam kung saan manggagaling ang pondo.

Kinabahan din ako nang marinig kong sabihin ng dating kalihim ng Department of Budget and Management, si Secretary Ben Diokno, na itinataya niyang maaring aabutin sa humigit-kumulang na kalahating trilyong piso ang gastusin para sa mga pinapangako ni Ginang Arroyo sa kanyang SONA kahapon.

Kalahating trilyon, hindi po milyon at hindi po bilyon.

Sana ang kanyang mga winika kahapon na balak niyang gawin ay kanya nang inumpisahan noong siya ay nang-agaw ng kapangyarihan. Ang hindi niya nagawa sa Ioob ng halos anim na taon ay sa aking pananaw mas hindi niya maaaring tapusin sa Ioob Iamang ng mas maikling tatlong taong nalalabi sa kanyang panunungkulan.

At kinilabutan ako dahil nararamdaman ko na panibagong mga buwis na naman ang ibig sabihin nito at ito ay nagbabadya ng panibagong pahirap at kalbaryo na naman sa sambayanang Pilipino.

And yet, Mrs. Arroyo claims we have funds. Where will these funds come from? Another EVAT? Panibagong R-VAT? More foreign loans? Or are they found in some far-away fantasy land, or sa Disneyland, or sa Los Angeles to be delivered by characters like Joc-Joc Bolante? Your guess is as good as mine.

The state of the nation report we heard yesterday was not anywhere near an accounting of the performance of Mrs. Arroyo's administration, which is what true and authentic state of the nation address should be.

Instead, what you and I, and the Filipino nation heard was another wish list, a shopping list, or another of those catalogues of promises which Mrs. Arroyo plans to do and which we have heard before during the past six years.

What we heard are deadlines and targets that appear to justify why Mrs. Arroyo must remain in office for the next three years or even beyond 2010 because those projects cannot be realized or accomplished in five years time, according to some quarters.

The SONA you and I heard is not an accounting of what has been done, of what has been fulfilled, of what has been accomplished by this regime.

It is a recitation of an overly ambitious, yet hollow package of empty rhetoric, not matched by resources and reality. It is not my intention to belittle these noble and far-reaching infrastructure projects outlined in the SONA of Mrs. Gloria Arroyo.

It is not my wish to make it appear that these remarkable initiatives are not important. By all means, they are important. The only problem is the track record of Mrs. Gloria Arroyo of wheeling and dealing, and of making promises she cannot deliver or does not intend to deliver.
Our problem is that the SONA has completely and curiously ignored that original sin of legitimacy and electoral fraud in 2004.

Her legitimacy as President remains today a big question mark, for amid the glossy and mind-boggling project that she released yesterday in her SONA, she continues to evade the issue of legitimacy and the 2004 elections.

This, she summarily dismisses as “old issues” and “old fights.” Unfortunately, this does not cleanse her of this original sin.

And yet, Mrs. Arroyo pontificates about electoral reforms and automation to bring credibility to our electoral exercises.

Mrs. Arroyo’s SONA has completely and curiously ignored the issue of the fertilizer scam and Joc-Joc Bolante, and so many other scams, the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard scandal, the IMPSA contract, the peace bonds, the tax scams, the road users’ tax, the North Rail Project, the Venable contract, and so many others, which all have been glossed over, at least for the time being.

Mrs. Arroyo also does not say that we have been listed as among the most corrupt country in Asia, and occupies a prominent position in the list of corrupt countries in the world.
And yet, Mrs. Arroyo sanctimoniously talks and preaches about the fight against graft and corruption but did not explain who, how and when will the culprits be prosecuted and brought to justice.

Ang lakas ng loob niyang magsalita tungkol sa paglaban sa corruption. Dapat unang tingnan niya yung kanyang paligid
at yung kanyang asawa. ‘Pag nababasa ninyo sa pahayagan, halos lahat ay dinidiin ang kanyang asawa. Magmula sa Bureau of Customs, magmula sa PAGCOR, at magmula sa kadami-daming ahensiya ng gobyerno, wala pang ibang itinuro kundi ang asawa ni Mrs. Gloria Arroyo - si Attorney Mike Arroyo.

Mrs. Arroyo’s SONA has completely and curiously ignored the many incidences of human rights violations and the growing and disturbing statistic of heinous crimes of killings, assassinations, and ambushes of journalists and broadcasters, of militants and activists, and of other prominent and respected citizens.

Mrs. Arroyo does not make mention that international organizations have identified the Philippines as among the most dangerous places for media in the world.

Mrs. Arroyo’s SONA also does not at all account as to how many of the perpetrators have been arrested, prosecuted or convicted.

Mrs. Arroyo does not make mention of the illegal and unconstitutional arrest and detention of the five leaders of the United Movement for Justice and Democracy, which her police and military officials initially denied and subsequently admitted.

I am certain that there are many other cases, particularly in the countryside and rural communities, not as publicized as this one.
There are cases, for instance, of the two U.P. students allegedly kidnapped by the military and who remain missing to this very day.

And yet, Mrs. Arroyo has the temerity to condemn political and extra-judicial executions.

And yet, we all saw yesterday how she admired one of the generals who has been accused of killings everywhere in the country.

Mrs. Arroyo’s SONA also does not make mention her regime’s performance during her almost six years of illegitimate stay in office in delivering basic services, especially in terns of health care, hospitals and health centers, school buildings and classrooms, unemployment and so many other basic needs which remain wanting today.

Mrs. Arroyo also does not make mention of the unemployment and underemployment rates and whether her earlier promise of generating ten million jobs is being realized.

And yet, Mrs. Arroyo talks about social inequity and economic disparity. She instead mesmerizes and distracts us with highfaluting programs of super-regions and public investment efforts.

She does not tell us that some of these infrastructure programs have been promised before and have been initiated by the previous administration like the Subic Highway, where funds from the Japanese were obtained during the administration of President Estrada.

Sabi niya kahapon sa SONA, "I talked to the Japanese government and they gave me funds to fund these projects." I received a call from my father yesterday after she delivered her SONA. According to him, it was during the administration of President Estrada when these funds were obtained to finance several infrastructure projects like the Iloilo International Airport, which can be confirmed now by Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Proyekto ni Pangulong Erap inagaw ni Mrs. Gloria Arroyo. Kung hindi ka ba naman sinungaling, bakit mo sasabihin sa taong bayan 'yan? Proyekto ni Presidente Erap, naging proyekto ngayon ni Mrs. Gloria Arroyo. Wala na siguro siyang maibigay sa taumbay na tama. Nang-aagaw pa ng kredito.

Finally, Mrs. Arroyo does not report to us the state of the public debt and borrowings, how much it is now, and how much more we are bound to incur.

I have been told unofficially that this administration is borrowing at the rate of US$1 Billion every month to cover up deficits.

I am also told that Mrs. Arroyo's borrowings in her almost six years of illegal stay in office have exceeded that incurred by Presidents Aquino, Ramos and Estrada.

Ang pagkakaintindi ko, ngayon, hindi pa ipinanganganak ang batang Pilipino, may utang na. Hindi natin alam kung paano ito babayaran. At lalong hindi natin alam kung saan at paano it ginamit.
And yet Mrs. Arroyo’s SONA is ominously silent on these. There is no concrete agenda offered to us on how to manage the debt issue. Instead, we are brought to the fantasyland of new and expensive projects, the funding of which remain vague and unclear.

Kukulangin ang Iahat ng oras ditto ngayong hapong ito upang mailahad ko ang ;tunay na kalagayan n gating bansa sapagkat ang nakikita ko ay ang laganap na paghihirap n gating mga kababayan sa mga slum areas, ang malawakang pagdarahop ng mga pulubing namamalimos sa mga lansangan, ang mga kababayan nating namumulot ng mga tiring pagkain, ang mga batang nagkalat na sa kanilang mga murang katawan ay nakasalamin ang kagutuman. Dagdag ditto ay ang walang humpay na patayan at malawakang nakawan sa pamahalaan.

Ako po ay litung-lito, nanlulumo sapagkat sa kabila ng mga katotohanang tayo ay lalo pang nababaon sa putikan ng kahirapan, mayroon pang lakas nang loob si Ginang Arroyo na linlangin ang ating mga kababayan.

Saan po tayo patutungo? Mga pinagpipitagan kong mga kasama dito sa Senado, siguro ay kailangan na nating gumising at maglakas loob na gisingin din si Mrs. Gloria Arroyo.

Are we being promised again by Mrs. Arroyo to lead us to that promised land of milk and honey where manna upon cue will fall into this wilderness of frustration and hopelessness?

Or are we, as what we have experienced almost six years ago, merely returning to that boulevard of broken dreams marked by scams and scandals, repression and suppression, and lies and deception?

Ang laban natin kay Ginang Arroyo ayhindi laban lamang para Iumaban. Ito ay mga katotohanang dapat lamang mabatid ng ating mga kapwa PiIipino, sapagkat sila ang dahilan kung bakit tayo, ay naririto ngayon.

I have here a copy of the projects during the administration of my fathers which I mentioned a while ago and which are being claimed by Mrs. Arroyo.

Four projects were financed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and under the Special Loan Program or the Obuchi Loan.

Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, the loan amount is Y41,931,000,000.

New Iloilo Airport, the total amount is Y14,724,000,000.

Mindanao Container Terminal, Camanava Floor Control. Ito po ay panahon ni Pangulong Joseph Ejercito Estrada at hindi sa ilalim ng administrayon ni Mrs. Gloria Arroyo.

Anyway, we do not seek to fight Mrs. Arroyo in her own dreams, sa kanyang panaginip. We ask her to stay in her fantasyland so we can face reality in this country in the most sincere and prudent way.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay ang ating bansa.

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Copyright © 2008 Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada

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