Skip to main content

Noli's PAG-IBIG ads cost taxpayers P500M

Noli's Pag-IBIG ads cost taxpayers P500-M
Written by Carmela Fonbuena
Newsbreak Magazine
Monday, 13 July 2009

Who is benefiting from the advertisements of Vice-President Noli De Castro promoting the government’s Home Development Mutual Fund, also known as Pagtutulungan sa Kinabukasan: Ikaw, Bangko, Industria at Gobyerno (Pag-IBIG) Fund?

To lawyer Ernesto Francisco, it’s the vice-president. He noted that the the ads use De Castro’s moniker, Kabayan, a name de Castro registered with the Commission on Elections when he ran for senator in 2001.

“This is despicable practice, which is obviously designed to promote the candidacy of Vice-President Noli De Castro. It should be stopped. Vice-President De Castro should have had the delicadeza and sense of decency to refrain from using Pag-IBIG funds to promote his candidacy,” said Francisco.

For 2009, a total of P208.5 million has been allotted for the Pag-IBIG advertisements. A big chunk of the budget (P109 million) goes to TV placements. The rest goes to radio placements (P54 million), print media (P16 million), cinema placements (P9 million), and sponsorships (P11.7 million).

Francisco estimated that around P500 million have been spent for De Castro’s Pag-IBIG ads since its airing in 2007.

'Money well spent'
De Castro’s lawyer told abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak the cost of advertising is money well spent for the benefit of Pag-IBIG members.

“The ads are for the benefit of the members of Pag-IBIG in order to attract them to apply for Pag-IBIG loans,” Armando Marcelo of the Andres Marcelo Padernal Guerrero and Paras law office told abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak after a hearing on the case on Monday.

“They are not really meant for pre-campaigning. He (Francisco) is the one saying it. If you look at the ads, they are not really meant for that. It is only in his imagination,” Marcelo added.

Marcelo dismissed Francisco’s complaint as a political move to discredit De Castro, who is among the frontrunners in presidential surveys.

Although he has yet to announce his plans for 2010, De Castro is in the short list of the ruling political party Lakas-Kampi-CMD for the administration’s presidential bet in 2010.

“We don’t see any basis for his filing this suit and why he [Francisco] would spend time and money to file this case,” Marcelo said.

Return the funds
In a taxpayer’s complaint, Francisco is seeking a court injunction against de Castro and seven other high-ranking government officials from using public funds “for their respective political campaigns.”

Francisco said the ads violate Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Francisco also wants the officials to return to the government the funds used to pay for the ads.

The case is pending at the sala of Judge Marino dela Cruz Jr. of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 22.

“These paid advertisements, while purporting to promote the functions and activities of certain government offices or agencies or to espouse certain public interest causes are, on their face and in reality, clear political propaganda designed to promote the personalities and candidacies of the defendants,” according to Francisco’s complaint.

The other defendants include presidential aspirants Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, and rumored senatorial aspirants Health Secretary Francisco Duque Jr., Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) chairman Efraim Genuino.

Francisco also filed a case against Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita for the ads of President Arroyo, who is said to be eyeing a congressional seat in Pampanga in preparation to becoming prime minister under a parliamentary system.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) chair Augusto Syjuco and Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, who also have government-paid ads, were also included as respondents.

Effective endorser?
But according to an affidavit submitted to the court by Pag-IBIG Vice-President for public relations Marjie Jorillo, stopping de Castro’s Pag-IBIG ads “will cause grave injury and prejudice to its members.”

Jorillo was presented as witness in Tuesday’s hearing on Francisco’s complaint. The other defendants are seeking the immediate dismissal of the lawsuit. They have yet to present a witness who can justify their advertisements.

Jorillo argued that De Castro’s ads have been instrumental in the success of the government’s housing program.

“Advertising and publicity has always been a crucial duty of the public relations and information services to ensure that the programs of the Pag-IBIG Fund will be properly communicated to its members," Jorillo said in the affidavit.

“The advertisements complained of, far from being vehicles for private gain, ensure that programs of the Pag-IBIG Fund are well communicated to its members, thereby ensuring success and compliance with the institution’s mandate under its charter,” she added.

Jorillo testified that housing loans extended by the Pag-IBIG Fund increased during the period of de Castro’s advertisements.

From 46,041 loans in 2007, equivalent to P22 billion, it increased by 36 percent to 62,507 loans in 2008, equivalent to P34 billion.

Jorillo said it was the management of Pag-IBIG fund who chose De Castro to endorse the government program because he has the “qualities of an ideal program endorser.” (abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Heart of Summer, a short story

On the first day of April, we moved to a row house in a subdivision carved out of the Antipolo hills. A row house is a nice word for houses that somehow managed to fit into 120-square-meter lots. They looked like matchboxes, really, built near the riverbank. The larger houses, of course, stood grandly at the center of the village, in front of the chapel. We’d be renting the house from the mayor’s mistress, one of three houses she owned there.

The living room of the house spilled over into the kitchen. The house only had two tiny rooms, but it was enough for us. The owner of the apartment we had been renting in Project 4 wrote to us (in pink stationery with the letterhead “Dr. Antonina Raquiza, Ph. D.”) to say that she’d raise the monthly rent to five thousand. If we couldn’t agree to her new terms, we’d have two months to leave. Mama glared at the letter, then said something obscene about our landlady’s father. A day later, she began poring over the ads, looking for cheaper rent in …

A teacher's tales

by Danton Remoto
Remote Control
www.abs-cbn.com/news

I’ve been teaching for 22 years – the longest job I’ve had. This will be my last year of teaching. I will take sabbatical leave beginning April 2009 – a paid leave for one year that senior professors take every seven years, to sleep the sleep of the and come back to school fully energized. But in my case, I will not just sleep and read and gain weight. I will spend my sabbatical leave organizing Ang Ladlad’s campaign, and my own political campaign, for the May 2010 elections.

But because I stayed here longest, that means I love this job. I admire those who’ve spent 30, 40 years teaching without repeating themselves. They’ve taught for 30, 40 different years, not just one year repeated 30, 40 times. Teachers like the now-departed Dr. Doreen G. Fernandez and the retired, but still teaching, Professor Emmanuel “Eric” Torres come to mind. Both have taught with us at the English Department of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Doreen and Eric …

Review of "Pulotgata" The Love Poems"

This is a review of my book that I just read in the Internet today. It was written by Ralph Semino Galan of UST and was published in the Inquirer. It comes in two parts.

Honeymooning with Words, Part I
by Ralph Semino Galan

Love is a favorite subject among Filipino poets, regardless of gender. For despite the influx of modern and postmodern ideologies, the pervasive influence of the Romantic spirit is still prevalent in Philippine literature, especially in poetry. It therefore comes as no surprise that even a gay-identified writer like Danton Remoto has composed extensively verses expressing the intricacies of love and lust, desire and devotion, passion and compassion.

In his third book of poetry aptly titled "Pulotgata: The Love Poems" (Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc, 2004, 88 pages), Remoto delves the depths of the human heart through lyrics in English and Filipino that sing of the anxiety and the excitement, the agony and the ecstasy which accompany the act of love.

The …