Category Archives: Law Enforcement

PHILIPPINE SENATE RENAMES PORK BARREL HEARINGS TO ‘SPAM TOCINO HEARINGS’

imageManila, Philippines –  Pork barrel has become a universally-accepted term for discretionary funds allocated to politicians to use for their local pet projects. But the term has a very bad reputation in the Philippines, thanks to a 10 Billion-peso scam that siphoned taxpayer money into fake non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and into the personal accounts of some business people and politicians.

The Philippine Senate is currently holding hearings to look into the alleged involvement of some of its members – Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla, Jr. It has cast a not -so-favorable image for the entire Senate.

So, in an attempt to diffuse  the negative image brought forth by the pork barrel scandal, the Senate unanimously agreed to rename the Senate investigation to “Spam Tocino Hearings.” The idea came from Hormel Foods, U.S. manufacturer of Spam . Hormel recently came up with a limited edition of  its popular canned meat, capitalizing on the popular Filipino cured pork called tocino. 

Senate officials said that renaming the hearings would give their investigation some “stateside” flavor while promoting the ever popular Filipino breakfast fare tocino.

Filipino activists immediately criticized the Senate move, accusing the senators of whitewashing the investigation while perpetuating Filipino colonial mentality.

Incidentally, Spam Tocino is available on the Hormel Foods website for $3.00 a can plus shipping. Hormel can only ship to U.S. addresses.

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OSCAR-WINNING SONG ‘LET IT GO’ CLIMBS TO NO. 1 IN PHILIPPINE MUSIC CHARTS

Philippine Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (photo credit: philstar.com)
Philippine Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (photo credit: philstar.com)

Manila, Philippines – “Let It Go,” the Oscar award-winning best song from the Disney animated film, “Frozen” shot up to number one in the music charts in the Philippines, and this happened in less than 24 hours.

The song was composed by Robert Lopez, a Filipino American, and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez.  But that was not the reason the song climbed up the music charts.

At a Philippine Senate hearing investigating the 10 Billion-peso pork barrel scam involving detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and implicating three senators, state witness Dennis Cunanan was being grilled by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. 

Santiago repeatedly asked Cunanan, who was the director of the Technology Resource Center (TRC) when the pork barrel scam happened,  what he knew about the involvement of the senators.  TRC, a government corporation, acted as a conduit for the release of pork barrel funds to fake non-governmental organizations or NGOs.  The senators who were allegedly involved in the scam were Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla, Jr.

 “Wow. I’m very interested in what you have to say,” Santiago told Cunanan at one point of the questioning.  When Cunanan hesitated to confirm who he thought was the mastermind of the whole scam, Santiago said, “Let It Go”  in a Karaoke-style musical tone.

Immediately, the social networks exploded with the Santiago quote and radio stations started simultaneously playing the song from “Frozen.”  In just a few hours, “Let It Go,” became the number hit on the Philippine music charts.

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF FILIPINOS GATHERING IN FRONT OF THE U.S. EMBASSY IN MANILA

Aerial view of Roxas Boulevard in front of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines
Aerial view of Roxas Boulevard in front of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines

Manila, Philippines – The U.S. ambassador to the Philippines may be in deep trouble.

On Saturday, Ambassador Philip Goldberg encouraged Filipinos to travel to the U.S., saying the visa application process is relatively “easy.”

“The majority of people who apply are approved for visas. It’s rather a standard and very easy process.  You make an appointment, you go in, you have an interview and as long as you are a stable resident of the Philippines, you’re going to get the visa and you enjoy the United States,” Goldberg told reporters at the U.S. Embassy’s road show at a mall in Pasay City.image

Soon after he made this statement, Filipinos started lining up in front of the U.S. Embassy on Roxas Boulevard and by noon Sunday, police authorities estimated the crowd at 500,000. Independent media reports say that the crowd may swell to one million by the time the Embassy offices open at 8:00 a.m. on Monday.

Manila mayor Joseph Estrada said the city has not seen a crowd this big since last year’s Million People March which was organized to protest the pork barrel scandal that rocked the Philippine government.

U.S. Secretary of State John  Kerry is scheduled to fly to Manila later today to meet with Goldberg and deal with this developing situation.