Friday, December 17, 2010

Vizconde Massacre Suspects are NOT your Usual Suspects

The Asian Human Rights Commission is right - the Philippines is lawless and that you cannot protect your family. The police cannot protect you, or even, solve a crime. The courts cannot bring justice to victims. 

Remember the movie Casablanca in the end when Claude Rains decide to let Humphrey Bogart off the hook after shooting the German officer? He ordered his men to round up the usual suspects. You do not frame rich and powerful people.

Hubert Webb and company are not the usual suspects. They are sons of powerful, rich and famous people. They have money. There is no way the police or the NBI will risk their life and jobs by framing people with money. If they were not interested in justice, they would have framed a nobody and the case would have been forgotten. If they just wanted the media to stop asking questions, they would have framed anybody who had no money, no connections, somebody with a record and that will be the end of it.

But they charged and convicted rich kids.  
You do not do that unless you know they did it. 

The supreme court says that the star witness is not credible. Here in North America, witnesses against mobsters are  "not credible." In the United States, crime families are brought down by one of their own who turn state witness. That state witness may have committed hundreds of "killings" on behalf of the crime family he is testifying against. Who else would know about their activities except their own? Witnesses are people who turn against their own. A suspect is one who confesses to his own crime. A witness and a suspect are just two sides of the same coin. The suspect goes to prison while a witness walks away. That is the only difference. You can't have a law-abiding, morally outstanding citizen as witness all the time. If the witness was law-abiding, he or she would not be with criminals. In this case, Alfaro would not have been with Webb and company in the first place if she was an outstanding citizen. 

Freddie Webb claims that even when he was senator (HE WAS A SENATOR WHEN IT HAPPENED), he did not interfere with the case. That is because he was just starting his first term and did not have time and opportunity to cultivate friends in high and different positions yet.

So, don't try to tell me that they did not do it when they face the cameras with tears in their eyes. 

Let me guess what will happen next to Webb and company. 

They will follow the good example of OJ Simpson and try to find the killers of the Vizconde family. Simpson did it by going to the golf course. Webb and company will probably travel the world.

The Supreme Court has acquitted the main suspects in the much publicized
Vizconde massacre case, ending their years of burden for being
Rather than closing the case that has gripped the hearts of a grieving
husband and father and the whole nation, it has further provoked many
questions, including: Who really killed Estrellita Vizconde and her
daughters Carmela and Jennifer?Voting 7 for acquittal, 4 dissenting with
the majority opinion, and 4 abstentions, the high court has allowed Hubert
Webb, the son of a former senator, and other scions of influential families
to be freed.The acquittal ruling bars the filing of an appeal as per the
doctrine of double jeopardy.In a press conference, SC spokesman Jose Midas
Marquez said the decision is couched on "the failure of the prosecution to
prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.""The majority is questioning the
quality of the testimonies [of witnesses]...and their inherent
inconsistencies," he said.It was only Webb who filed a petition for
acquittal, but because of the conspiracy doctrine, the other accused have
also been cleared.The others are: Antonio "Tony Boy" Lejano, son of actress
Pinky de Leon; Michael Gatchalian and Miguel Rodriguez, sons of prominent
lawyers; Peter Estrada, son of a wealthy businessman; Pyke Fernandez, son
of a retired commodore; and former police officer Gerardo Biong.Marquez
said the high court is ordering their immediate release from prison "unless
held for another lawful cause."The Bureau of Corrections has to report what
it has done within 5 days.Associate Justice Roberto Abad wrote the
decision. The other concurring magistrates are: Associate Justices Conchita
Carpio Morales, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza
and Maria Lourdes Serrano.The dissenting opinion was written by Associate
Justice Martin Villarama, Jr. The other dissenters are: Chief Justice
Renato Corona, Teresita de Castro and Arturo Brion.Four magistrates
abstained: Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, who earlier testified during
the case hearing; Mariano del Castillo, whose wife is working for one of
the Webb's counsel; Presbitero Velasco, Jr., who has close relations to one
of the parties; and, Antonio Eduardo Nachura, who was former Solicitor
General.‘We have nothing to do with the loss of his family'Former Senator
Freddie Webb, father of Hubert Webb, on Tuesday thanked God for answering
his prayers that his son be acquitted in the Vizconde massacre case.In a
radio dzMM interview, Webb could hardly speak with emotion after hearing
that the Supreme Court had acquitted his son in the gruesome massacre 15
years after the latter was sent to jail for the crime."You have to
understand - he has lost 15 years of his life. Since Day 1, we have already
been saying that he was in the US but only a few people believed it. We
cannot blame them because at that time there were so many things being
written in the newspapers that if I didn't know anything about the case, I
would be the one to throw a stone at Hubert Webb. And now it has finally
come to light. The Lord will answer your prayers," he said.
Asked his message for Lauro Vizconde, Webb said: "There is a difference
between him and me. Alam naman niya... kahit paano nag-imbestiga din kami.
We have nothing to do with the loss of his family. I agree with him. I
could imagine... at least tama siya na at least ang anak namin nandiyan.
But I don't know son has been in jail for 15 years for a crime he
has not committed."Webb said he is now on his way to prison to finally see
his son be freed. "I don't know if there is paperwork but I am on my way to
pick up my son," he said.Vizconde assails decisionMeanwhile, an emotional
Lauro Vizconde cried and fainted after hearing the news that the Supreme
Court had acquitted Webb and the 5 others accused.Vizconde was immediately
surrounded by relatives and supporters who have been with him 19 years
since the massacre, reported ABS-CBN correspondent Jing Castañeda, who was
at the family's residence in Parañaque City after the decision was
announced on Tuesday morning."Panawagan. Hindi po nakuha sa dalangin natin
kaya po kayo na po ang gumawa ng paraan kung paano magkakaroon ng hustiya
ang pagkawala ng aking mga mahal sa buhay," Vizconde said.While slumped on
a chair, Vizconde tearfully said, "Ewan ko...Diyos ko! Bakit mo po ako
pinababayaan?"The former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) said he did
everything he could to get justice for his wife Estrellita and daughters
Carmela and Jennifer."Ginawa ko lahat ng magagawa ko sa tulong ng lahat ng
nagmamalasakit sa akin. Pero wala. Maski mga dasal ko, parang hindi
dininig," he said.When asked what he would like to say to his family,
Vizconde replied, "Wala akong masasabi sa kanila basta sa kabilang buhay,
doon na lang po kami husgahan pare-pareho."Vizconde pointed to supposed
lobbying at the high court in the decision."Ano pa ba ang masasabi natin?
Kaila pa ba sa inyo ang rampant corruption sa ating gubyerno? Umpisahan mo
sa pinuno sa kaibabaan. Kaya yan ang kinatatakutan ko, hindi magtatagal
iyan nga ang nangyari," he said."Kilala na. Nalaman na ng taongbayan. Kaya
ko ibinulgar yun para at least man lang sana ay magkaroon ng dalawang
pagiisip. Pero hindin pa rin. Sakim ng salapi alam ko," he added.The
grieving manFor many months, the nation waited for the decision of the
Supreme Court following the failure of police authorities to present the
one last evidence that could have further held Webb as the culpable
party-the sperm specimen found in the body of Carmela.The wait, however,
was said to be more excruciating for the complainant. Lauro Vizconde found
himself at a loss as to how such kind of carnage has befallen his family.On
the morning of June 30, 1991, the 47-year-old Estrellita, 18-year-old
Carmela and 7-year-old Jennifer was found murdered in their home in BF
Homes Subdivision in Parañaque.It was only after 4 years that an
eyewitness, Jessica Alfaro, emerged and gave context to the crime.Alfaro,
who was a confessed drug addict, submitted several testimonies that
befuddled the minds of legal pundits, conspiracy theorists and film makers
alike.In the end, then Parañaque trial court Branch 274 Judge Amelita
Tolentino gave credence to the issues raised by the prosecution including
the relevance of Alfaro's testimony.The accused were convicted on January
6, 2000.Alfaro's testimonyAlfaro, who is now in the United States and
married to one of her then bodyguards, testified that she was with the
suspects on the night of June 29, 1991.They had then finished a shabu
session until they decided to go to Carmela's house. Webb was supposedly
smitten with the young lass and decided he would rape her.Alfaro said she
was tagged along because Estrellita only allowed her daughter to entertain
female visitors. The group, in 3 different cars, had to go back and forth
the subdivision waiting for the right moment to enter the Vizonde's home.
All had sniffed shabu with each turn.Alfaro said she saw Webb follow
Carmela while the others acted as lookouts. Estrellita was supposedly
killed first before Webb raped Carmela.Jennifer tried to stop Webb but was
hurled to a wall and then later killed.Est
rellita had sustained 13 stab wounds, Carmela had 17 and Jennifer had
19.After the carnage, Webb called policeman Gerardo Biong supposedly to
clean their "mess." Biong supposedly destroyed vital physical evidence such
as the clothing and the bloodied bedsheets.The charge sheetThe panel of
prosecutors, which filed the case in 1995, said "neither can we discredit
Alfaro merely because of the inconsistencies in her two sworn statements.
Citing Angelo vs. Court of Appeals, the Court refused to discredit the
testimony of a witness accusing therein petitioner for the slaying of one
Gaviano Samaniego even though said witness failed to name Angelo in his
affidavit which was executed five (5) months earlier. Granting, the Court
continued, that a part of the witness' testimony is untrue, such
circumstance is not sufficient to discredit the entire testimony of the
witness."On the defense's rebuttal, the prosecution said "denial is a
self-serving negative which cannot be given greater evidentiary weight than
the declaration of a credible witness who testified on affirmative
matters."Their alibis were supposedly weak, including Webb's claims that he
was in the US when the murders happened.Departure stampsThe defense
produced documents and presented 95 witnesses while the prosecution
presented only 7 witnesses. The accused were meted out the penalty of
reclusion perpetua.They also lost the case before the Court of Appeals on
December 16, 2005. This was affirmed on January 2007.Dissenting opinions
emerged there, however. They gave credence to Webb's passport issued by the
Bureau of Immigration which bears a departure stamp of March 9, 1991 and
arrival stamp of October 27, 1992.Webb also presented certifications from
the US-INS Washington DC confirming his entry to the United States.Then
Justice Lucenito Tagle, who is now Comelec commissioner, said: "To hold an
accused guilty as a co-principal of conspiracy, there must be sufficient
and unbroken chain of events that directly and definitely links the accused
to the commission of the crime without any space for baseless supposition
or frenzied theories to filter through."Supreme CourtLegal wheels continued
to turn after the SC earlier announced it was deciding the case even
without the DNA sample it had asked.The lawyers of Webb filed contempt
charges against the police authorities who supposedly lost the exculpatory
evidence.Fiscals, on the other hand, said that the same evidence is not
anymore important considering the voluminous texts and other pieces of
information they had submitted. Their case, of course, is anchored on their
wins before the lower courts.The controversy came to another peak when
Biong was released from prison after having fully served his sentence.The
Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, where Vizconde is a member, cried
foul. It said Biong's release from prison showcased of things to come.The
decision of the magistrates proved their fears.Marquez said: "The court
will decide cases in accordance with facts, whether the decision is popular
or unpopular."

SC: Webb acquittal is final 

By Marlon Ramos, Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court on Friday virtually shot down as an exercise in futility a plan to seek a reversal of the tribunal’s decision acquitting Hubert Webb and six others of the Vizconde massacre case.
The high court’s administrator and spokesperson Midas Marquez on Friday warned that the plan of Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta to file a motion for reconsideration might only hurt and “give false hopes” to Lauro Vizconde, whose wife and two daughters were brutally murdered in June, 1991.
Vizconde had openly assailed the tribunal for clearing the convicted killers of his wife Estrellita, and daughters Carmela and Jennifer in a controversial decision early this week.
While nothing could stop Acosta from filing a motion for reconsideration, Marquez said, the tribunal would likely deny the petition or note it without action.
“Based on existing jurisprudence, acquittals are final and immediately executor,” he said.
He added that this explained why the court ordered the New Bilibid Prisons to report in writing within five days its action on the release order for Webb et al.
According to Marquez, Article III Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution explicitly states that “no accused should be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense.”
“The rule against double jeopardy is enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution,” he said.
On Acosta’s argument that Rule 15 Section 2 of the high court’s internal rules allows the filing of appeals, he said “the same did not cover acquittals.”
“This is a general rule of the Supreme Court that only applies to civil cases, election and commercial law cases in which the Supreme Court’s rulings are subject to motion for reconsideration,” he said.
“But I would like to think that acquittal is an exception to that rule because it goes against the Constitution.”
In the case of the Aquino-Galman convicts, Marquez said, the high court ordered a retrial of the case after they were acquitted when it ruled that there was a “mistrial” of the case in the Sandiganbayan.
“The retrial was prompted by a motion for certiorari in the Supreme Court. In the case of the Vizconde massacre, the highest court of the land had already made a decision. So in what court would they file a motion for certiorari,” Marquez asked.
“The problem with their stance is that it’s giving false hopes to the old man. If the Supreme Court dismisses the motion, then the court would again be put in bad light,” he added.
Acosta for her part said on Friday that five persons claiming to be witnesses had called her expressing interest in testifying in the 19-year old case.
“Nothing’s sure yet but these people said they are interested, but then asked me, how about their security? So we will still screen those people,” Acosta said in a press conference.
Asked on what the prospective witnesses will testify to, Acosta said, “To prove that the accused was in the country at the time the murders were committed.”
The PAO chief said the group might use the testimonies of the new witnesses in their motion for reconsideration to the Supreme Court, to be submitted before the 15-day deadline for such motion expires on December 30.
One of the witnesses in Acosta’s team is eyeing is a son of a retired justice who saw Webb a day before the massacre in Parañaque City.
A National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agent, Jun Nombres, also denied claims that Alfaro was an NBI asset.
“No, she was never an agent. She would hang around the NBI then and gave us two jobs, but she was never an agent or asset. She was just testing the waters if she could trust the NBI,” Nombres said.
Former NBI director Mariano Mison described the voluminous documents submitted by Webb’s camp as “trash.”
“The one who signed the certification and documents should be in court to identify those records. Those are trash,” he said.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Aquino slams Supreme Court Decision

If you don't agree with the decision, does it make the decision political? But if you liked the decision, does it make it impartial? Aquino is already blasting the Supreme Court as biased against him to prepare the public when they make a decision regarding the Hacienda Luisita issue. There is a big chance that the decision will be against him. When it happens, he will claim that the SC has been against him all along because GMA stacked it with cronies. 

Aquino slams SC decision 

Don’t stand in my way, he warns ‘blind, deaf’
By Norman Bordadora, Marlon Ramos, Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Filed Under: Benigno Aquino III, Judiciary (system of justice),Government, Graft & Corruption, Politics

MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III, reacting sharply to a Supreme Court rebuke, Wednesday night slammed “those pretending” to be deaf and blind, and warned he would not allow them to get in the way of his campaign against corruption.
In a nationally televised address, Mr. Aquino said that he would persist until damage to Filipinos had been rectified, declaring that “while I am here, I wouldn’t allow that Filipinos would be oppressed.”
The Arroyo administration, he said, is not like other past regimes and should not be treated as such, reacting to the court’s 10-5 ruling that former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s rights are guaranteed against the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
“How can we treat an administration that served for almost two terms the same? If you are an administration that went beyond what is expected under the law, then you are indeed different from the rest,” the President said minutes after getting a copy of the court decision whose salient points were announced by a spokesperson on Tuesday.
“I ask those who are pretending to be blind and passing themselves off as deaf, please don’t stand in the way of my task,” Mr. Aquino said.
Asked what he planned to do next, he said that it seemed to him that the next best step was to amend the executive order creating the Philippine Truth Commission.
He said he would not allow Arroyo to become “untouchable” because that would be a sad day for Filipinos.
Thank you gift
Solicitor General Anselmo Cadiz earlier Wednesday denounced the decision as nothing more than “a payment of gratitude” by justices appointed by Arroyo.
Visibly upset, he called on the magistrates to put behind them the Filipino trait of pasasalamat for the “future of our nation … children and grandchildren.”
“The justices are just humans who value relationships… and gratitude. But I’m asking them to rise above this because our accountability is to the people, not just to one person,” Cadiz said at a newsconference.
The solicitor general said the court ruling was consistent with the tribunal’s past decisions, which seemed to “protect” Arroyo from corruption charges during her nine-year tenure in Malacañang.
“This is a sad day for the country because the Supreme Court prevented President Aquino from pursuing his promise to the people that he would prosecute the corruption committed by the past administration,” he said.
Abuses protected
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said in a one-page statement titled, “Equal protection is protecting the many from abuses of the few,” that the court ruling was a “setback in the campaign against graft and corruption.”
“The investments of the past administration in the Office of the Ombudsman and the high court are now paying off, as present executive actions to correct injustices and abuses of the past regime and to punish the perpetrators are frustrated at every turn, not for lack of effort on the part of the present administration, but because of wise institutional investments of the past regime,” she said.
Equal protection
“The voting by the members of the court on politicalquestions, namely, on actions of the Aquino administration against the past administration, readily shows that the lines which now divide decision-making in the court are principally political and no longer doctrinal,” she said.
De Lima stressed that “equal protection applies within a class, not between a few who stole and abused, and the many from whom they stole and whom they abused.”
She noted that while the Constitution prevents the appointment of Supreme Court justices by only one Chief Executive, a “loophole” in the Constitution “prevailed” that enabled Arroyo to pack the high tribunal with her appointees.
This included the position of the Chief Justice “despite the ban on appointments, itself also declared legal along the same familiar lines of voting which have now become only too familiar,” she said.
“This is the evil which the Constitution intended to avoid, but which now appears to be rearing its head at the cost of frustrating the administration of justice on the abuses of the past,” De Lima said.
Right is right
Asked for comment, Chief Justice Renato Corona toldreporters, “You read the decision and then you tell me if it’s political or not.”
He said he was not hurt by criticisms, saying “personal feelings do not matter” in his job.
Asked if he could give an assurance that the tribunal had become an Arroyo rubber stamp, Corona said: “The only assurance I can give is that right is right and wrong is wrong and right will always be right and wrong will always be wrong.”
Defiant truth commission members, in a two-hour emergency meeting in Malacañang, Wednesday vowed to carry out their mandate.
“This gave us greater courage and determination to pursue our goal,” said former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., the commission chair.
Pointing out that the solicitor general was appealing the court ruling, Davide said the panel would continue to exist until a final decision was handed down.
‘Everyone’s wondering’
Davide said he did not see any infirmity or ambiguity in Mr. Aquino’s Executive Order No. 1 and lamented that the decision might have destroyed a very important pillar of the Aquino administration in the fight against graft and corruption.
“We encourage the public to continue submitting complaints,” Commissioner Carlos Medina later told the Inquirer. “We are disappointed but it is clear that this latest development will not deter us in our campaign to go after people involved in massive cases of graft and corruption.”
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Solicitor General Cadiz attended the meeting which agreed to file a motion for reconsideration of the court ruling.
In the meeting, Medina said he and other commissioners expressed surprise with the manner by which the high tribunal made public its decision.
Medina said he and other commissioners were wondering why the Supreme Court decided to leak the decision even before a ruling could be written.
“Everyone’s wondering,” he said. “This is one issue which answer only the Supreme Court knows.”
Political court
Cebu Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Meinrado Paredes said the decision showed that the high tribunal had become a “political Supreme Court.”
“We have to defend the institution,” Paredes said, “because it is the last bulwark of democracy,” adding that “it was like they were covering the truth.”
“Maybe, it’s payback time for the justices of the Supreme Court who were appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” Paredes said.
“It’s possible they will reprimand me but I have to explain. I cannot suppress my own right by not also telling the truth and giving my honest opinion.” With reports from Christian V. Esguerra, Christine O. Avendaño and Jhunnex Napallacan, Inquirer Visayas

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Star Witness in Vizconde Massacre gives hope to surviving patriarch

How many times can convicted felons ask the SC in the Philippines? If he did not rape her, then he participated in her murder. He should still stay in jail. By the way, while awaiting judgement from the court, try asking PNOY for amnesty. If he did it to soldiers before the court can make a decision, what's to stop him from granting you amnesty? 

Star witness gives Vizconde hope from hiding 

By Miko L. Morelos, Cathy C. Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The star witness in the Vizconde massacre has offered words of encouragement to the family’s patriarch who has expressed apprehension that the life sentences of the accused might be overturned by the Supreme Court.

In a text message sent through Lauro Vizconde’s lawyer, Jessica Alfaro insisted on the strength of the case against Hubert Webb, the primary accused, and six others in the murders of Estrellita, Carmela and Jennifer Vizconde on June 30, 1991.
“The evidence against Hubert is strong because I was an eyewitness,” Vizconde said Alfaro texted him in Filipino last Thursday.
Vizconde said the message was “a reminder” to him of the testimonies that were admitted at the trial.
Alfaro may have thought that “I had forgotten the strong points of the case, and what these were,” he said.
Alfaro appeared worried that Webb’s and the others’ life sentences for the murders and the rape of Carmela 19 years ago may be cut short due to a technicality.
She insisted that her testimony and those of at least two other witnesses were stronger than the accused's alibi.
Vizconde said Alfaro had kept in touch, calling him from abroad using phone cards apparently to prevent interested parties from locating her.
Vizconde said Alfaro continued to move from one country to another. "She has monitored recent developments and is worried that Hubert's lawyers have filed a motion to acquit him."
It will be recalled that Webb's father, former senator Freddie Webb, said in interviews last week that the defense presented "more than 400 pieces of evidence," most of them documents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He lamented that Court of Appeals Associate Justice Amelita Tolentino, who presided over the case as a judge of the Parañaque Regional Trial Court, had dismissed the evidence presented by the defense.
“I was an eyewitness along with Mila Gaviola, the maid of the Webbs who washed Hubert's bloodstained T-shirt right after the massacre,” Alfaro said in her text message to Vizconde.
She added that two security guards manning the entrance of BF Homes where the massacre occurred told the court they saw Webb enter the subdivision.
“On the night of the massacre, (the guards) saw Hubert pass through the entrance of the subdivision where the house of Mr. Lauro Vizconde is located,” she said.
“The alibi of the accused was not true. It was already November when Gary Valenciano saw Hubert in America. That was five months after the massacre, when he had already gone into hiding,” Alfaro's message read.
Vizconde said Alfaro asked him to share her text message with the media.
Webb's lawyers filed a motion in October claiming that his constitutional right was violated by the state "through negligence or willful suppression (by) fail(ing) to produce the semen sample that could have proven (his) innocence."
The defense had consistently demanded that a DNA test be conducted on the semen sample taken from Carmela.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), however, did not have the equipment to do a DNA analysis at the time of the murders.
The NBI announced recently that it no longer had the semen sample in question, saying that it was turned over to the Parañaque RTC at the time of the trial.
Vizconde expressed his fear that the Supreme Court might reverse the appellate court’s decision upholding the verdict of the lower court because of intense lobbying purportedly being orchestrated by the Webbs.

Kidney Donation Shortage in the Philippines

This is what you get when even the Philippine government wants to make money from the organs of donors (MOSTLY POOR PEOPLE). This was never about protecting people. 

Kidney shortage bared; DoH asked to review donation policy


November 29, 2010, 5:49pm

MANILA, Philippines – Doctors revealed Monday a severe shortage of donated kidneys and asked the Department of Health (DoH) to re-assess its policy on organ donation, saying it hampers their ability to save the lives of more patients.
In a letter to the DoH, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) asked health officials to “re-assess its policy on organ donation.”
“As I speak, there are numerous patients in the country who are fighting for their lives, in a death row-like cue, waiting for this life-saving procedure to be performed on them.
Unfortunately, due to the current policy of the Department of Health to put a ban on non-directed donors, these patients will die without the needed organs to save them,” PMA President Dr. Oscar Tinio stated in the letter.
PMA defines non-directed donors as those who donate organs without specifying the recipient of their donated organ.
“The non-directed donations go to anybody in the waiting list. This is one of the biggest source of viable donated kidneys and this what was banned by the DoH,” Dr. Mike Aragon, chairman of the media affairs of the PMA said in a separate interview.
The reported illegal sale of kidneys in several areas in the country prompted the DoH to come up with Administrative Order 0004 in 2008 that banned transplantation for foreigners.
An IRR was also instituted that strengthened the donation of living non-related donors to patients needing transplantation. This means the donors are operating on an “altruistic” nature in donating their organs.
The DoH policy reversed its previous rule that allowed transplants on foreign patients after approval from the Philippine Network for Organ Donation and Transplantation (Phil NETDAT). This was after the DoH found that there was a 62 percent increase in foreign patients who acquired kidney transplantation from 2002 to 2006. In 2008, the DoH also observed that the supposed limit in performing transplants among foreign patients, 10 percent of the total number of transplants a year, have been exceeded both in accredited and non-accredited hospitals of DoH.
Tinio noted that there is a severe shortage on donated human kidneys nationwide that was “further aggravated” by a restrictive government policy to limit organ donation only to related donors, deceased donors, and directed non-related donors.
The PMA official noted that at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), the number of transplants came down by 20 percent in 2010 from the usual more than 300 transplants on Filipino patients every year. This is contrast to the rising demand of transplant which PMA estimated by 10 percent annually.
“There are almost 12,000 dialysis patients in the country today. Of these, at least half are suitable transplant candidates. If there are 6,000 transplantable patients and only less than 500 gets a kidney, therefore only eight percent of the need can be supplied,” Tinio said.
In 2007, the DoH announced there was an estimated 1,046 organ transplantation procedures performed in the country. But it was reduced to 679 in 2008 and it went down further to 511 in 2009.
“We acknowledge that abuses were committed in the past and we definitely condemn these unscrupulous acts, however, the fact remains today that there is not enough supply of donor organs that can save the lives of our patients,” Tinio said.
“If there is a defect in the nation’s human organ donation system it should be fixed by putting the needed safety nets. Choking the already limited supply of life-saving human organs in the country will surely kill the system and the lives of our patients with it,” he added.
Kidney transplant amounts to P2 million and up, the PMA estimates.
The doctors suggests for the DoH to institute safety nets against abuses in kidney donation and transplantation that includes greater surveillance and implementation of regulations by the DoH assisted by the private sector; elimination of organ brokers; a government-regulated system of donor recruitment and allocation guarded by the private and religious sector; a government and private sector supervised post-donation follow-up of donors; promotion of deceased or brain dead organ donation and the enhancement of our country’s emergency medical services capabilities to support the program.

Sex and the Single Filipino President

Where love has gone; President Aquino still looking 

By Thelma Sioson San Juan
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Please ignore my love life muna, baka maging zero na (you might jinx it),” President Benigno Aquino texted me recently.
Mr. Aquino has brought home $2.4 billion in investment pledges from his US trip last September. And the windfall in foreign investments—$500 million from Nestle and P2.5 billion from P&G—should mean more jobs for Filipinos, a major campaign promise.
But do these figures stick in people’s minds? No. They’re not sexy enough. To a teleserye-obsessed country, “zero love life” is sexier. It whets the appetite for romance. Style makes better headlines than substance, especially in politics.
Can the country’s first bachelor President (if you don’t count the widower Elpidio Quirino) ever have a love life? Should he have one?
To the millions of women out there who might want to know how they can catch the attention, if not win the love, of the country’s first bachelor President in modern times, here are a few tips from those who know him well:
His type? According to a friend, he likes them fair and chinita, but then there could be exceptions. But certainly, his previous girlfriends were pretty, if not beautiful. Nice figures, too.
Makeup and style? As Liz Uy and Shalani Soledad proved, one can have either the barest of makeup or the glamazon look.
Dieting is a no-no. He’s not appreciative of dinner mates who are scared to eat.
Have friends who will not talk and will respect personal space, certainly not friends who will mount a media campaign. In a word, low-key.
Don’t have a political/business/military agenda.
Fight the urge to get a product endorsement.
Have a sexy body—and a sexier mind. Remember, he likes stimulating conversation.
And, as always:
Know and live your values. Magpakatotoo (Be authentic).
Know how to know, truly understand, appreciate and enjoy him, and each other.
We better stop right there because if the list gets any longer, he knows he might just have a zero love life.
Filial piety 
He told me years ago that he hoped to get married in his 30s, which became “40, and no later,” because he hoped to enjoy his children. Can you imagine I’d be 50 and my kid would only be 10 years old, he’d say, doing the maths. Those calculations are now moot of course.
Responsibilities to a famous mother who was destined to become the country’s democracy icon, former President Corazon Aquino, and to his siblings had always taken precedence in the life of this only son, to the point that filial piety became his comfort zone.
He did have a number of relationships but, although some lasted many years, none would end in marriage. Some attractive and interesting woman would invariably catch his eye, but a factor or two, in time, would, as a friend once put it, “kill the sparks” and somerelationship standards wouldn’t be met, and he would eventually opt out.
Like any single man or woman who’s been through many a relationship, he can spot a minefield kilometers away. And instead of traipsing right through it, he prefers to stay away.
Alone at day’s end
So now the bachelor President goes home to Pangarap, the presidential digs with a vast living and entertaining showcase, every night alone. Usually tired from the day’s burdens, when he enters the door, he walks across the living room and straight to his bedroom or to the music room beside it where, if he’s up to it, he listens to his extensive and varied CD collection.
He heads straight to his bedroom, he says, because lingering in that huge empty living room, he says, merely rubs in the fact that he’s alone at the end of the day.
Sure, he gets nonstop text messages 24/7, which he almost always tries to reply to (he does reply even past midnight), but then he’s the type who loves a good conversation. He loves talking to people, and in a relationship, it is stimulating conversation that keeps him reeled in. That, and good, delicious food. That’s why he enjoys going out on dates—his attempt at getting a life, or so he likes to think.
The councilor
At the start of their relationship, he and Soledad, the 30-year-old Valenzuela councilor who was his girlfriend until about two months ago, had great rapport, but their hectic schedules just did not prove conducive to a lasting relationship.
They tried to keep the spark alive to the very end, according to a friend. But then some incompatibility, perhaps in their perspectives on life, became apparent, the friend said.
But they have remained friends, and Mr. Aquino remains on good terms with Soledad’s mother, Evelyn.
Soledad, who now cohosts the ambitious prime-time game show of Willie Revillame, is being linked romantically to Revillame, with serious talk of marriage no less. She’s been spotted wearing the two-carat diamond he gave her—a token of goodwill when she signed up for the show, it is said. It’s also said that Revillame, who’s known to shower friends with gifts, is shopping around for a house for her. (See related story in Lifestyle on Page F1.)
The stylist
Mr. Aquino found his stylist Uy interesting, again because they had good rapport; she also indulged his love of music. According to a friend, what drew him most to Uy was her candor about everything.
(Of course, Soledad and Uy are physically attractive, to begin with.)
Mr. Aquino and Uy dated briefly, but they never went steady. And, according to a close friend, the bachelor President was not “busted” (repeat, not busted), contrary to the media spin. He stopped seeing Uy when it became obvious to him, said the friend, that he would have neither the time, the stamina nor mind-set to continue the pursuit. After all, he’s no longer a 20-year-old lovestruck bachelor—and he’s trying to run a country.
So who will be his stylist now? Presidential garb and grooming are the least of his worries, if they ever were in the first place. Besides he could always go to designers JC Buendia and Paul Cabral, who are responsible for his wardrobe.
Through all this, Mr. Aquino hasn’t really said a word, being the gentleman his parents raised him to be, and also because he insists, perhaps with some naiveté, that his private life be kept private.
He still hopes he can have a little personal space, even in a “fishbowl,” as he puts it.
Perhaps his way of remaining grounded or down to earth is by keeping in touch with a few close friends and going out malling, or to restaurants, even fast food, if and when his schedule allows.
A new romance?
One evening, two Fridays ago he went to a clan gathering at the Lopas, his cousins. It was actually a private party. There, an observer noted, he was easily surrounded by people, many of them women. He stayed longer than usual because he became engrossed in a conversation with one woman who, in the next few days, media would identify as Len Lopez.
She’s a finance career woman in her 30s who is an Ilongga (though perhaps not belonging to the ABS-CBN Lopez clan). She works with his cousin-in-law. He asked her out that weekend because he became interested in her. Like him, she’s also not in a relationship.
Will they go on seeing each other? Depends on how that interest is sustained—and on whether or not she can stand the media heat.
Goldfish can live in the fishbowl because they know how.
Prizest catch
Whenever Mr. Aquino says that he fears women will stay away because they don’t want the intense public scrutiny, he seems to forget that he is President. And the President—whether in the movies (Michael Douglas in “The American President,” remember?) and in real life—is always a prize catch, if not the prizest catch.
But that’s precisely it, a friend says. Mr. Aquino doesn’t want a woman to go out with him just because he is president or because of his lineage. He can get rather suspicious of a woman’s motives, the friend says.
P.S. The President truly believes he will find the right one and will marry her—someday.