Friday, November 9



Unlike retired Bishop Francisco Claver, S.J. whose Philippine Daily Inquirer opinion-piece today, entitled DISCORDANT PROPHETS and quoted in full hereafter, this piece with its title and contents are more directly suggestive and judgmental.

I am also quoting in full, opinion articles of wellknown local newspaper columnists, including its editorials of today. I do so in order to drive home the premise that together with Bishop Claver’s piece, their common and convergent factual observations and conclusions are so obvious and credible even to ordinary laypeople who are apolitical. TIME magazine’s November 12 issue echoes all these local commentaries in its GLORIA IN EXTREMIS article by Peter Ritter.

And mind you, all of these observations and comments are only about ONE RECENT INCIDENT out of many similarly outrageous and mindboggling MORAL aberrations swirling around Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Please note that there is a common adjective or description used by these commentaries about that one incident involving the unrestrained dole-outs and subsequent denials of LARGE AMOUNTS of CASH bribery money being dispensed right there in GMA’s Malacañang office and residence. SHAMELESS!

And so if there are still some 18 or more Filipino Catholic bishops who substantially disagree with all these well-informed, non-partisan and very reasonable opinion writers, it may also be logically said that these bishops must be ILL-informed and/or biased political PARTISANS of GMA, and/or UNreasonable. In short, not just morally confused but OBSTINATELY BIASED.

If also these bishops will not be swayed to be AT LEAST PRUDENT, by their own CBCP President, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, perhaps they will listen to the witness account of a wellknown mystic and visionary, circa World War II, whose written works were spontaneously endorsed unqualifiedly albeit unofficially, by the late Pope Pius XII some sixty years ago. Elsewhere in the website, a section will be devoted starting today or tomorrow, on MARIA VALTORTA’s Poem of the Man God and The End Times. The latter is of the same genre as the more recent “VOLUMES” from “Direction for Our Times”, whose source is an Irish woman called “Anne the Lay Apostle”.

Here are some most relevant excerpts of Valtorta’s “End Times” private revelation, with some emphasis added. Ergo, verbum sapienti satis est!

Jesus says:

My Church has already experienced periods of obscurantism due to a number of various things. It must not be forgotten that if the Church, taken as an entity, as a work, is perfect like its Founder, when taken as a group of people it involves the shortcomings characteristic of what comes from people.”

When the Church – and by this I am now referring to the combination of its high dignitaries – acted according to the dictates of My Law and of My Gospel, the Church experienced bright times of splendor. But woe betide it when, putting the interests of Earth above those of Heaven, it defiled itself with human passions! Woe betide it three times when it worshipped the Beast of which John speaks, namely political Power, and let itself be enslaved by it. Then the light necessarily darkened into more or less deep dusks, either due to the personal fault of the Heads risen to that throne by human cunning, or due to their weakness against human pressures.”

Those [dusky times] are the times during which there are the ‘idol-shepherds’ of whom I already spoke, the outcome, after all, of everyone’s errors. Because if Christians were what they should be, be they powerful or humble, no abuses and intrusions would occur, and God’s chastisement would not be roused, God withdrawing His light from those who rejected it.” (Take note dear “nominally Christian” government officials!)


Discordant prophets

By Bishop Francisco F. Claver, S.J.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last updated 03:45am (Mla time) 11/09/2007

Three bishops repeating their call for the President to step down. Eighteen bishops from Mindanao saying no; 10 more from Northern Luzon joining them, saying no too. Such a public show of discord among Catholic bishops is quite unprecedented. There was division among us back in the ’70s on how to respond to the imposition of martial law, but the division was kept pretty much “en famille,” our differences worked out gradually and openly within the Conference, ending with near unanimity in our Statement on the Snap Elections of 1986.

So what should we make of the new development? Simple, I think. It tells us that we live in a free country -- and our Churchmen are very much part of it! Or could it be that we are an extremely politicized people and our bishops are just as politicized?

Asking that question, I can’t help going back over the history of the involvement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in the country’s politics. From its formation in 1945, it has always been deeply involved. It had to be. The moral bankruptcy of our politics that Archbishop Angel Lagdameo had occasion to lament recently is nothing new. It might be at its worst now, one can argue. But the fact itself? It dates way back to our very beginning as an independent nation. Even earlier, to the days when petty “datus” [tribal chieftains] held sway over our (even then) heavily factionalized tribal societies. Petty datus -- bishops included? -- strutting importantly all over the political landscape, that is what we still have.

A cursory look at CBCP pastoral letters and statements between 1945 and 2005 will show how the vast majority of their pronouncements have been on political and social problems. I counted them: 138 out of a total of 198 -- almost 70 percent. And their message from year to year has been the same. That fact tells us nothing much has changed. Corruption in public life, election anomalies, unremitting bickering, mudslinging, posturing among politicians, vendettas, murders even—that was then. It still is now. As our farmers in Bukidnon province used to say of Ferdinand Marcos’ New Society and its pretensions to progress, “Mao guihapon -- it’s still the same [old society].”

But back to the recent show of episcopal discord. I would like to think that a sentiment, expressed among us bishops the other year when we were discussing the question of the impeachment of the President, is still that of the whole Conference -- including those who are talking at cross-purposes today. And that sentiment? We bishops are not kingmakers; we do not decide who is to rule the country. It’s a principle the bishops try to follow, despite strong temptations to the contrary, especially during election. But by the same token, if they are not kingmakers, neither are they “king-keepers,” or whatever we call those who prop up presidents and political leaders and help keep them in power no matter how disastrous they are for the country.

The real king-makers and -keepers, come to think of it, cannot but be the people. I guess the problem with bishops is that they are people too! So on this particular question of removing incumbent political leaders, they should be part of the people -- as at the EDSA highway in 1986 -- not acting apart from them, and most certainly not presuming to lead in all areas of their life, the political included.

Is that too simple a solution to the quandary of bishops about when or how to act as Churchmen or as simple citizens like everybody else? I don’t know what the answer to that question is, or whether there is any one, real answer, except what we tell our parishioners all the time: reflect, discern, ask yourself seriously what your faith tells you in conscience to do. I suppose we can presume our discordant bishops have done exactly that, even if the fruits of their discernment are at odds.

Still, the question nags. But however one answers it, there is something very clear about the bishops’ role in the realm of politics and that is to keep reminding people there is a moral dimension to politics. This duty, I believe, the Philippine bishops as a Conference have been quite good at, if all those statements we’ve been grinding out is any proof.

At that meeting when we reminded ourselves that it wasn’t part of our job description to be king-makers, we did what I just said. We asked in the statement we issued then that all that was found morally execrable about the impeachment process be attended to by every actor in it. And this meant not only the impeachment seekers but the target of impeachment as well. We decried what seemed to be the main motive of many of those leading the effort: to grab power for themselves. But we also asked the President herself to look seriously into her part in the causes of the turmoil that was behind the effort to impeach her.

The latest point of division among bishops has been the granting of executive clemency to Mr. Joseph Estrada. Again, as all things seem to be with the President, it was pure politics -- hence most divisive, even of bishops. But divided or not, there is one thing the bishops should all be united on: the matter of restitution of the millions stolen. I had occasion recently to remind a member of government that the pardon may be all meant to bring unity and reconciliation to the nation (I think the opposite has happened), but God himself cannot pardon a sinner if guilt is not admitted, sorrow not shown for sin, and in matters of thievery, restitution not made of stolen goods.

On the question of restitution then, there should be no discord whatsoever among our most reverend episcopal prophets.


Excerpts from Volume 1 of Maria Valtorta's THE POEM OF THE MAN GOD


Peace to you all.

It is said: "You shall not bear false witness".

What is there more nauseating than a liar? Can we not say that he (or she) joins cruelty to impurity? Of course, we can. A liar, I am talking of a liar in grave matters, is cruel.

Fear. Many a time man slanders to excuse himself. It is the most common form of falsehood. Evil has been done. We are afraid it might be found out as our deed. Then, using and abusing the esteem in which we are still held by other people, we upset the situation, and we saddle someone else, of whose honesty only we are afraid, with the evil deed we accomplished. We also do it, because at times our neighbour has been the unintentional witness of our evil action, and we want to be secure from his eventual witness. So we accuse him to make him unpopular and thus, if he should speak, no one may believe him.

Behave properly! And you will never need such falsehood. Do you not consider, when you lie, what a heavy burden you take upon yourselves? It is made of subjection to the evil spirit, of perpetual fear of being found out, and of the necessity of remembering the lie, also after years, in all the circumstances and details in which it was told, without contradicting oneself. The labour of a galley-slave! If it only helped to gain Heaven! Instead it serves only to prepare a place in hell!! ......

Since the truth soon comes to light in a thousand ways, why does he who lies not consider that afterwards he will always be suspected? How can one believe what he says? Even if he speaks the truth, and who hears him wants to believe him, there is always a doubt: "Is he lying also now?" You may ask: "Where is the false witness?" Every lie is a false witness. Not only legal ones….

In one of the sapiential books it is said: "A scoundrel, a vicious man, he goes with a leer on his lips ... Deceit in his heart, always scheming evil, he sows dissension ... There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that His soul abhors: a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that weaves wicked plot, feet that hurry to do evil, a false witness who lies with every breath, a man who sows dissension among brothers... His own lips are to blame when the wicked man is entrapped. A false witness is nothing but deceit. The man who digs a pit falls into it, the stone comes back on him that rolls it".

The sin of falsehood is as old as the world and the thought of the wise man concerning it is unchanged, unchanged is also the judgment of God on those who lie….

Go in peace. And may the Truth become your friend….



The Philippine Daily Inquirer

Friday, 9 November '07

The miraculous shower of cash gifts in Malacañang fell on the parched heads of our congressmen and local executives on Oct. 11 -- a date that captures the nature of that miracle: shameless deception.

As we say in Filipino, “Na-onse tayo.” The expression is sharp and streetwise. We’ve been had. Or more precisely, we’re being had.

The latest theologian of cash politics to come forward is Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa, who said last Tuesday that the money the congressmen received actually came from the generous coffers of the President’s own party, Kampi. The cash gifts, Villarosa said, were a “party initiative without the knowledge of the President.”

And of the party chair too, if the party chair himself is to be believed. On Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno conceded that the money for the congressmen did come from the party he chairs, but -- up Twilight Zone music and under -- he did not know anything about it. “Obviously, I was not very happy that I’m the last to know,” he said.

Neither is the public, because Puno was not only the last to know, he was the first to report. As Puno himself put it, “since I have been making public statements I feel that I should have been informed earlier so that I’m not shooting off my mouth.” Translation: I lied.

Let’s take a moment to study Puno’s latest concatenation of prefabricated phrases. If he was, in fact, out of the loop, every single thing he has said about the cash gifts was a lie, mere political spin. Which brings us to a variation on a classic problem in logic: If he lied then, why should we think he isn’t lying now?

When he says, for example, “This has nothing to do with the Palace. I personally did not know about that,” why should we accept his alleged ignorance as proof of the President’s alleged non-involvement? Even if we grant that he did not know the source of the cash gifts, how can he vouch that the President did not in fact leave instructions with someone else in Kampi?

This much is clear. When the man in charge of the country’s police forces says, “I guess if you’re seeing confusion on our part, it’s because we are [confused] ... But certainly, we here [in the Palace] do not have anything to do with any of these things,” he is, yet again, engaged in spin.

The problem with Puno’s version is that it lacks the vital element of plausible deniability. To be believable, his denial of any knowledge of the cash gifts’ provenance requires him to project the image of a hands-off official -- the exact opposite of the hands-on operator that he is.

Consider what Villarosa actually said. She said Puno, as party chair, and Rep. Luis Villafuerte, as party president, knew about the money. “He [Puno] knows the disbursement but not the details,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Consider Puno’s other job. As the presidential political affairs adviser, it is his responsibility to look after the President’s political alliances. If he did not know that the two meetings the President conducted in Malacañang on Oct. 11 -- breakfast with congressmen, lunch with local executives -- involved the distribution of cash gifts, the kind of transaction that cements political relationships in this day and age, then the President needs another political adviser, immediately. But would Puno rival Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita in influence if he were derelict in his duties?

Consider his most recent campaign success. Against the interests of Kampi’s senior leaders,



EDITORIAL – Political bankruptcy

Friday, November 9, 2007

First the administration denied that it was the source of bags containing bundles of cash, with amounts in each pile ranging from P200,000 to P500,000, which were distributed to congressmen and provincial governors during meetings at Malacañang last Oct. 11.

When the consequent public outcry did not die down, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, who also heads KAMPI or the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino, pointed to embattled Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. as the source of the funds. All in all, P120 million in hard cash was reportedly distributed during the meetings.

Later, officials of the League of Provinces said the money came from a common fund to which league members gave regular contributions. Last Monday, Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. denounced the distribution of the cash gifts and demanded to know the source.

On Tuesday another version of the story emerged. Occidental Mindoro Rep. Amelita Villarosa, whose husband is serving life at the national penitentiary for murder, claimed the money in fact came from KAMPI and was meant as gifts for both party members and other congressmen.

With so many groups admitting the crime, it is likely that the true source of the funds needs to remain anonymous. It is also likely that the source has sufficient clout for several groups to be ready to support whatever story Malacañang wants to serve up to the nation. Inevitably, suspicion remains focused on the Palace, but this is one scandal that is unlikely to be investigated thoroughly by Congress.

The bankruptcy of the political system is indicated in the refusal of both Abante and the whistle-blower in this scandal, priest-turned-Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio, to return their little bundles of joy worth P500,000 each. Both argued that there were no strings attached anyway to the cash gifts. Someone is lying to the public, but no one will be held to account for the deception.



Of liars, thieves and ingrates

By Neal Cruz

The Philippine Daily Inquirer

03:39am (Mla time) 11/09/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Frankly, I don’t believe Rep. Amelita Villarosa when she said it was Kampi, President(?) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s political party, which distributed cash “gifts,” “assistance,” “support” (the administration’s euphemisms for bribes) to congressmen and governors in Malacañang recently. Villarosa’s statement is just the latest in the series of lies being told to explain away the bribe-giving in Malacañan Palace, the official home of the President. Note that all of these lies have one common refrain: that Ms Arroyo did not know about the bribery.

But the administration is caught in a quicksand of lies. The more lies it tells to explain the last one, the deeper it is sucked into the muck.

First, it denied that there was any cash distribution. But when some governors and congressmen admitted that they received up to P500,000 in paper bags, and when other congressmen were seen and photographed carrying paper bags as they left the Palace, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno tried to pass the buck to Speaker Jose de Venecia, saying it was the usual “pabaon” [allowance] from the Speaker to congressmen when they go on recess. And he emphasized that Ms Arroyo had no knowledge of it.

But that raised a lot of other questions. Why did De Venecia distribute the cash in Malacañang and not in his turf, the House of Representatives? If it was “usual,” why were the congressmen ashamed of admitting they received it? If it was “pabaon” for congressmen, why were governors also given? And why didn’t De Venecia claim credit for the largesse when he was never shy before about giving out cash to members of his Rainbow Coalition?

So here comes the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), another ally of Ms Arroyo, claiming that the money came from it. The league’s secretary general, Gov. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, said the money was given by the league to governors as a form of assistance; and it came from funds contributed by the other provinces. And by the way, the LPP emphasized, “GMA [Arroyo] did not know about it.”

Assistance? To Pampanga and Bulacan, which are among the country’s richest provinces? Five hundred thousand pesos is just half-a-day’s collection of quarry fees in Pampanga. Evardone’s Eastern Samar needs it more than Pampanga and Bulacan. And if it was from the LPP, why were congressmen also given cash?

Even the liars themselves could not believe this lie, so now comes Villarosa with a new tale: “The money came from Kampi” and, she emphasized, “GMA did not know about it.”

Who knew about it then? Apparently, only Villarosa. Secretary Puno, Kampi chair, didn’t know about it. Rep. Luis Villafuerte, Kampi president, didn’t know about it. Neither did Rep. Jose Solis, another Kampi leader. Chief Presidential Legal Adviser Sergio Apostol didn’t know about it; he said Villarosa should be prosecuted and added that her party-mates should all shut up as their different lies only contradict one another.

Villarosa is deputy speaker, so why didn’t De Venecia know about it?

This latest tale only raised more questions. If the money was from Kampi, why did Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. get P500,000 when he is not a Kampi member?

To explain this contradiction, Villarosa said opposition legislators were also given money. But why were governors also given cash? And why are some Kampi members complaining that they didn’t get any?

Asked where Kampi got the money, Villarosa only replied, “That is our fund.” She refused to elaborate.

Admitting that the half-million pesos was given to Abante during the Malacañang gathering, Villarosa said she gave it to him through another person because she didn’t want to hand it to him personally as “other congressmen might see it and also ask for money.” At the same time, she also said that it came from a pool of funds routinely given to Kampi members. Do you believe that?

I don’t believe the talk that Villarosa is trying to save Ms Arroyo from bribery accusations because she wants her husband, former governor Jose Villarosa of Occidental Mindoro, who is serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of the Quintos brothers, to be granted executive clemency just like Joseph Estrada. She has denied this, of course, but it really makes you think.

What all these tales -- intended to shield Ms Arroyo from the Malacañang bribery -- suggest, at best, is that the President and the leaders of her party Kampi do not know what is going on around them. So how can they govern efficiently? The truth, more likely, is that Ms Arroyo not only knew about it; she also was the mastermind behind it and that the money came from her generous confidential funds and was meant to bribe the congressmen into killing impeachment cases against her. That, they already did the other day.

The panic in Malacañang is forcing it to concoct more lies but it only gets buried deeper in them as the noose tightens around its occupant.


Malacañang’s clumsy liars

By Amando Doronila

The Philippines Daily Inquirer

03:43am (Mla time) 11/09/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- Malacañang acknowledged for the first time on Wednesday that the money distributed to congressmen in the Palace last Oct. 11, after a breakfast meeting with President Macapagal-Arroyo, came from her party, Kampi.

The admission came after 28 days, during which the President maintained a glacial silence, pretending she had no knowledge about the source of the estimated P120 million handout (according to some congressmen, it ranged from P200,000 to P500,000 apiece) and staying above the fray as if to say that it is beneath the dignity of her office to dirty her hands with money distributed to party hacks to ensure her political survival.

Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Kampi chair, stated in a press conference that he was informed that Kampi was the source of the fund, but he was not happy about the news because “I’m last to know about that.” But he came to the rescue of the President, saying: “I really seriously doubt whether the President had any clue.” But it was the same Puno who earlier was quick to claim the money came from Speaker Jose de Venecia, who dispatched the claim with a quick denial.

Puno’s admission was the latest smokescreen thrown around the President to shield her from being directly linked to the cash handout, widely believed as an attempt by the Palace to bribe congressmen to vote down a fresh impeachment complaint against the President, or to prevent its endorsement by the House committee on justice to the full House for a vote prior the transmission of the complaint to the Senate for trial.

Puno’s smokescreen appeared to have failed to cover up the money trail leading up to the presidential doorsteps. On the contrary, the more Palace officials lied through their teeth to throw off the track questions about the source of the fund, the more contradictions appeared and the more blatant the lies became. Palace smokescreen artists have not only turned out to be clumsy liars; they also have undermined their own credibility as well as that of the President. Puno made the admission after Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa, regional head of Kampi, confirmed the claim of Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. that she was the source of the P500,000 he received in the Palace on Oct. 11. Villarosa said the cash gifts were a “party initiative (taken) without the knowledge of the President,” but she passed on the blame to Rep. Luis Villafuerte, Kampi president. She said Villafuerte and Puno knew about the disbursement but did not know it would be distributed in Malacañang.

Asked about the source of Kampi funds, Puno said, “Ask Girlie Villarosa [Kampi secretary] and Abet Garcia [Kampi treasurer].”

The admission of Kampi’s role in the payoff has pushed party officials to passing the buck among themselves in the effort to cover up the President’s involvement. It has also intensified questions about the sources of Kampi funds and how affluent the party chest is. Another Kampi executive committee member, Rep. Jose Solis of Sorsogon, cast doubt on Kampi’s financial status. He said Kampi had a relatively small budget that it could not extend generous financial support to its congressional allies. He said party funds came from the P5,000 monthly contribution of its members, and the party coffers probably held only P700,000. And yet, Villarosa admitted that Kampi (why not Lakas-CMD, the dominant and more cash affluent partner of the majority coalition in the House?), gave Representative Abante of Manila, a member of Lakas-CMD, P500,000. Her lame explanation was that Kampi provided financial assistance on a case-to-case basis regardless of party affiliation, including opposition members.

In the case of Abante, her tall tale is that she gave Abante money because he has a flock ministry and was leaving for Saudi Arabia at the time. Abante said he was surprised to receive the money from Kampi since he was a member of Lakas. From Villarosa’s revelation, Kampi appears to be a cash cow. This gives rise to more questions about whom it is milking for its funding. Villarosa said there was nothing irregular about the doles and that it couldn’t be investigated because the money was “private fund” and, therefore, not subject to audit by the Commission on Audit. She said “that is party fund” and “we’re not supposed to be audited for that.” Her claim that party funds are private funds can be challenged; political parties can also be held accountable for their sources of funds -- for the sake of transparency in their handling of funds used for public purposes, after all, political parties are also public institutions.

Villarosa angered members of the opposition when she said some opposition congressmen had sought assistance from Kampi, for a trip to China. Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora demanded that Villarosa identify the opposition members who traveled to China recently and who received money from the deputy speaker.

If opposition members and non-Kampi members go to Kampi for money, the obvious explanation is that they know where the money is. Kampi is the President’s own party and Lakas-CMD cannot be as generous as Kampi; and Speaker Jose de Venecia has problems with the President; at this point, he would not serve as cashier in the disbursement of funds drawn on his pork barrel to subsidize Malacañang’s effort to depose him.

There’s a limit to the lies that the administration can fabricate to extricate the President from the hole she has dug for herself, not only in the payoff scandal but also in several other corruption scandals. There’s a limit to the public’s tolerance to take lies.


Taking us for fools — with our own money

GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc

The Philippine Star

Friday, November 9, 2007

It’s fantastic that a congresswoman — a deputy Speaker at that — will own up to the scandalous Malacañang cash doles one month after the fact. Nearly eclipsed was a claim of the governors’ league, two weeks late too, that it was they who handed out at the Palace huge amounts in gift bags. They’re obviously covering up for that one person with a real motive to buy the loyalty of congressmen and governors. But they have to put up publicly this insolent show. As critics decry, ginagago na tayo, we’re being taken for fools. And our taxpayers’ money is even being used for it.

Now why would a Southern Luzon regional officer of Kampi party, which is what Congresswoman is, want to give P500,000 to Manila Rep. Benny Abante of the rival Lakas? She claims it was “regular help” for first-term congressmen, but Abante never asked for it. Echoed is the line of the league that they gave “barangay aid” of P500,000 each to neophytes Govs. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga and Joselito Mendoza of Bulacan, but who never asked for it as well. Again, why would the congresswoman be distributing party money in Malacañang, instead of their offices at the Batasan? And why “admit” all this only now, a month after her beloved President Arroyo already was scorned for bribing 190 congressmen and a dozen governors?

Congresswoman’s incredible tale only implicates Arroyo deeper. In other lands public officials resign for committing much less. The head of Japan’s rising Democratic Party resigned Sunday for “causing confusion within the ranks” in failing to reject post-haste a power sharing offer from the Prime Minister. That may never happen in the Philippines. Here, the longer one stays in politics, the thicker the hide becomes.

Still it’s not wrong for voters to expect even only one of the hundred or so new, presumably idealistic, congressmen to stand up and denounce the damning of the chamber they have just joined. But will that happen? Those tyros reportedly were briefed by Budget Sec. Rolando Andaya, once a three-term congressman, on their incoming perks. On top of monthly pay of P35,000, they’d be getting P5.4 million a year for travel, office rental, staff salaries, and such. Not to forget, of course, the P70-million annual pork for which they ran for Congress in the first place. But those who rock the boat — like the opposition minority — would be starved.

So it’s up to whistleblowers Abante, Panlilio and Mendoza to ferret the truth, if they will. They can start by checking the serial numbers of the P1,000-bills they received, if sequenced. Too, if the bundling came from the same bank, which incidentally is not the depository of either Kampi or the governors’ league. There are leads. The cash gifts — bribes — were all given on the same day, Oct. 11, in Malacañang: to congressmen in the morning, governors in the afternoon, but both groups discussing the impeachment rap against Arroyo. Totaling P100 million, the money couldn’t have come from any party, but the people, in the form of kickbacks.

Congresswoman's claim of responsibility for the Palace bribes apes the line of he governors' league. First-termers are unlikely to censure them, lest they be starved. It's up to the whistleblowers to ferret the truth, if they will.