Breaktime: Fake it to me gently | Inquirer Business

Breaktime: Fake it to me gently

Some groups are still bewildered by the constant need of the Aquino (Part II) administration to exploit statistics to prove, for all and sundry and for all time, the supposedly fantastic performance of our dear Benigno Simeon, aka BS.

Our leader BS even recited an unbroken string of economic statistics in the recent Sona, including the amazing drop in the poverty rate in the country, although it turned out that the administration actually, well, ah, “adjusted” the poverty threshold.


Thus, the use of statistics elicited a negative reaction from Archbishop Socrates Villegas of the archdiocese of Lingayen (Pangasinan), who also happens to be the president of the influential CBCP, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Villegas said: “Government and corporate figures remain items of cold statistics, until they are translated into better lives among those now most disadvantaged.”


We all know the reason why the current administration such as the Palace boys of our dear leader, BS, never failed to use economic statistics that somehow showed extraordinary economic progress and all.

And that is, well, to toot their horns.

In a way, Villegas simply wondered whether the impressive economic figures, as claimed by the Aquino (Part II) administration, would actually show the “inclusiveness” of the supposed economic growth in the fast few years.

In other words, the poor in this country remain as poor as ever.

Now, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno even contested the favorite statistical mantra of the administration regarding our being the second-best performing economy in the whole of Asia, perhaps next only to China.

He basically said that it was all a fake.

Diokno, moreover, questioned other fantastic claims of the administration, backed up by official figures, purportedly, such as the improvements in the unemployment rate or the record-breaking FDI, or foreign direct investments.


But my personal favorite congressman, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, a human rights lawyer who figured prominently in the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, ran away with the trophy for statistics bashing.

He actually showed proof that, to massage the poverty figures, the Aquino (Part II) administration actually changed the basis for measuring the incidence of poverty in the country, specifically by lowering the “poverty threshold” to P58 per day.

In other words, if you have P58 a day for the most basic of needs in this world—such as food, clothing, medicine, transportation, education, water, electricity—the government does not consider you “poor.”

Well, could anybody in Congress actually survive on P58 a day?

Basically, critics of the Aquino (Part II) administration rile against the manipulation of statistics by government agencies all in the name of enhancing the image of our dear leader, BS.

In a way, it was the misuse of statistics to polish the image of our dear leader, BS, and perhaps his chosen candidate for 2016.

They were not even gentle in breaking to us the news that the administration actually used figures that were, well, doctored. You know—fake.

Thus, “fake” statistics would simply add to the steady stream of scams in this country, such as the pyramiding “investment” schemes and pervasive spurious land titles.

Incidentally, a high-profile business figure, named Jimmy T. Tang, owner of Avenue Electrical Supply Co. (Avesco)—a Manila-based dealer of industrial, electrical, electronics and communications products—made news waves regarding a land dispute involving fake titles.

Tang reportedly bought more than 700 hectares of government land in the booming central business district of General Santos City in southern Mindanao.

It turned out that the property has been embroiled in a longstanding land dispute.

Based on reports, the Registrar of Deeds in the city already informed Tang the agency already determined that his land title was spurious, based on the reports by the Land Registration Authority, particularly its Task Force Titulong Malinis.

Also, the land that Tang claimed to have bought, has been the target of an investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation.

By the way, the same name “Jimmy Tang” figured in the news again recently, when the BIR filed a criminal case for tax evasion against a certain Jimmy Tang, in connection with undeclared purchase by Jibetronic Trading Corporation (another Tang company) of a  property in the posh Wack Wack subdivision for P93 million.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Estela Sales, head of the legal group, noted that the BIR gathered documents showing that the Tang company already paid for the Wack Wack property in full, although the sale was not reported to the BIR for tax purposes.

Anyway, as one of the honorary presidents of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Tang in fact sounded off alarm bells in GenSan regarding the case of the alleged spurious land tiles.

Really, could a business figure as prominent as him be somehow entangled in a celebrated case involving an alleged fake land title in the fast-rising city?

But the real problem remained the proliferation of fake land titles in many parts of the Philippines.

From what I gathered, the problem became worse in GenSan where some 6,000 fake land titles reportedly were in circulation. In fact, the Senate committee on justice and human rights tried to look into the problem, until of course the Senate preferred to pursue the Binay hearings instead.

It seemed that Tang presented the title for five lots adjacent to the airport, which nevertheless covered almost the entire property that another company, the Alsons Development and Investment Corporation (Aldevinco), has been managing since 1964, under lease agreement with the government.

Suddenly, in July 2003, or after about 40 years of the property under the Aldevinco management, a supposed “Original Certificate of Title” appeared, issued in the name of Romeo Confesor, Excelsa Lauron, Palderico Confesor, Pedro De Ramos and Julita Confesor.

Investigations by the DENR, the LRA and the NBI revealed that it was a fake title. (“Breaktime,” Nov. 17, 2014)

Thus, DENR filed a case against the Confesor group. From what I gathered, the group nevertheless continued to operate in GenSan, pressing for their claim in various government offices, appealing every adverse finding.

Was it possible that Tang was just another one of the alleged “victims” of the Confesor group, apparently unaware of the racket involving fake titles in GenSan? Hmmm.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, General Santos City, GenSan, Jimmy Tang, Poverty
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