Home > 2010 philippine presidential election, bayani fernando, Kahindik-hindik, politics in the philippines, presidentiables > bayani fernando admits he received P1.6M cash gift, says he will do it again

bayani fernando admits he received P1.6M cash gift, says he will do it again

presidentiable bayani fernando admits he received P1.6M in cash gifts for his birthday. fernando also said he will do it again, receive the gift in the future as he thought “Wala akong makitang kalabisan.”

we now have a presidentiable who admits he takes bribe or money he did not work for, is not part of his duties and something he did not earn, but money for his birthday gift.

it’s hard to decide what is more wrong here – the fact that he received the money, or that he admitted it or that he says he will do it again in the future. on the last one alone, fernando does not deserve to be president of this country.

if fernando becomes president — how many more P1.6M cash gift will he receive as he sees nothing wrong with it?

what in that makes it acceptable? we think fernando should be jailed!

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando on Wednesday admitted that the P1.6 million he received as birthday “gifts” for four years were sourced from the funds of Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

Testifying before the Senate blue ribbon committee, Fernando said the giving of the cash was an initiative of the MMFF executive committee “in recognition for a job well done of all those who have contributed to the success of the project.”

“The gift, which I do not agree to be called a gift, is not isolated because all sectors responsible for the success of the festival for the aforesaid year were likewise accordingly rewarded,” he said.

MMFF is under the management of the MMDA.

Fernando admitted receiving cash gifts in the amount of P500,000 in 2003; P500,000 in 2004; P100,000 in 2005; and P500,000 in 2006.

Lawyer Espiridion Laxa, chairman of the Film Academy of the Philippines, confirmed that the giving of cash gifts was initiated by the MMFF executive committee.

Citing records, Fernando said MMFF only earned P147.7 million in 2001, or before his term as chairman of the body. In 2002, the first year of his term, the organization earned P315.3 million, or more than double that what it earned the previous year.

According to Fernando, the act of giving recognition has been a tradition of the MMFF since its inception more than three decades ago.

Fernando also denied that these cash gifts caused the diminution of the MMFF fund for its beneficiaries, including the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation Inc (Mowelfund), as alleged by Senate Pro-Tempore Jose Estrada in a privilege speech last May.

“The accusations against me were brought about because the good senator (Estrada) could have been misinformed of the circumstances behind these monies,” Fernando said.

The admission however did not sit well with several senators, including Estrada who had filed Senate Bill 2041 seeking the transfer of the management of MMFF to Mowelfund to prevent similar incidents.

Estrada said Fernando is liable of technical malversation and had violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act despite the MMDA chief’s claim that the money involved was not public funds.

“It’s not only unethical, it’s anomalous because these are public funds. We will submit our findings to the Office of the Ombudsman,” Estrada said.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said Fernando’s statement is a public confession of liability for a crime. “In effect, that is an admission against interest of probative value if you were to be sued in court,” she said.

She said under the code of conduct, public officials are not allowed to receive any gifts at all whether in cash or anything of monetary value.

“Liability is accepting a gift. We are not allowed to accept a gift unless of nominal or of insignificant value,” Santiago said.


  1. Arquenevis
    August 27, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Hmmm… Odd. He does not seem ashamed of receiving it and is rather open and calm. The MMFF too does not seem so surprised. From the point of view of the two, it was almost as if they were either really oblivious (and careless) or thought it was perfectly normal. Is there a back story here? I want to hear it.

    But everything taken, Fernando and the MMFF should have thought the entire matter out.

  2. samvoy
    August 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    As to what CAPACITY is he seating in the MMFF, as plain Bayani Fernando, or as MMDA Chair?

    If as Bayani Fernando, then he could not be questioned in receiving the gift.If as MMDA Chair, then no question — he is liable. But try to understand that he could not have been appointed there if he is not the Chair of MMDA. Remember he even used the resources of his Office to perform his duties.

    If similar gifts were given to all those who made the program successful, why did he took and put it in his personal pocket? If a gift was given to all who worked for the success of the MMFF, then that should go to MMDA.

  3. Sophie
    August 31, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    BF is just being honest in a way and it is a proven character of a man of great character. We need to realise that Honesty as a virtue simply means ‘being true to yourself and to others.’ James Allen aptly stated in one of his writings that, “Honesty means not cheating or overcharging (not necessarily in terms of money) another. It involves the absence of all trickery, lying, and deception by word, look, or gesture. It includes sincerity, the saying what you mean, and the meaning what you say.”

    BF is just being straightforward and candid in that sense. People should know that the Metro Manila Film Festival, as an organization, is supported and funded majority, by the film producers, actors and people in the film industry. It is run as an independent organization and it has all the rights to grant rewards to whoever it thinks deserves the reward. It has all the right reasons to give the man the gift for the MMFF knew that it will indirectly benefit more people in the end because it is supporting the just cause of the man…the cause of delivering this country from moral decline through his candidacy in 2010. The people behind the MMFF believes in the man.

    Please note also that MMFF is not an illegal ‘weteng’ or underground lottery organization that anyhow rewards people with gifts.

    Those few people who are ‘con-BF’ are mostly ’shortsighted’ and ‘bakyamedia-informed’ individuals who gather their perceived ‘wisdom’ from hearsay and don’t really think for themselves, I think.
    They think what other people thought or have said. They have the tendency to continually instruct others, gratis, how to manage their affairs while they are the ones who most mismanages their own affairs.

    “One of the distinguishing differences between a wise man and a foolish is, that the wise man pays careful attention to the smallest things, while the foolish man slurs over them, or neglects them altogether. Wisdom consists in maintaining things on their right relations, in keeping all things, the smallest as well as the greatest, in their proper places and times. To violate order is to produce confusion and discord, and unhappiness is but another name for discord.” – James Allen.

  4. samvoy
    September 1, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I agree with the above post if BF is a plain citizen. But if you are a public official you are governed by certain rules to which you are required to abide. One rule is not to accept any form of gift from whoever your office has official transactions with.

    • Arquenevis
      September 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm

      Exactly. It is a difference if Fernando received cash as Fernando, mechanical engineer and industrialist and Fernando the government official. The problem of Fernando is that the money received was as he was Fernando the government official.

  5. September 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    “BF is just being honest in a way and it is a proven character of a man of great character.”

    So should we give him an award for being honest?

    “BF is just being straightforward and candid in that sense.”

    Candid? Okay. So candid is now synonymous to “unethical”.

  6. September 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    My full reaction: http://wp.me/poZ1a-nH

    6 possible reasons why Bayani received cash gift: http://wp.me/poZ1a-nJ

  7. Arquenevis
    September 2, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Some questions for author, wawam. Please clarify:

    1) You say Fernando accepted “bribe” money. “Bribe” implies that he was part of a cover up for something bad that possibly the MMFF was involved in and was paid to keep quiet. But I do not know of any “cover up” but I do know that Fernando and Jinggoy Estrada have been fighting for months. If there is, please confirm.

    2) The MMDA spearheads the MMFF, (if I’m not mistaken) and as MMDA Chairman, Fernando is expected to do take part. Meaning he does have duties and he is expected to do his work.

    3) If he did accept the money he did it as Fernando the government official and not as Fernando the mechanical engineer and industrialist. So he could be liable for misconduct.

    4) He has been at war with Jinggoy Estrada for months over the MMFF. I think this is just one of the multiple issues surrounding it.

    5) Just a tidbit, Fernando even talked about the MMFF incident (though not about the P1.6M) once in front of a live audience in an ANC forum regarding his presidency even if not directly asked about it and that was back in June 2009. He was annoyed about his war with Estrada yet unafraid to bring the topic in public. It seems he is open about his war with Estrada.

    6) Fernando isn’t the only person who received money. I do know that even Manny Pacquiao took part in the MMFF but I cant tell if he received a gift. If so who else received money?

    7) I am not sure if what Fernando did was “stealing”. Based on the article and other reports, the MMFF seems to have given money to him (and others)freely. I am not a lawyer but would that still count as theft?

    • September 2, 2009 at 8:26 pm

      it is really simple, the law says government officials are supposed to recieve money that is their the salary that they are allowed to receive based on the law. anything else they receive in the performance of their jobs is illegal.

      for fernando to day he does not see anything wrong with what he did and saying further he will do it again tells me he does not deserve to be president.

      fernando as early as now is saying if he ever goes to new york for an official business, he will accept an invitation to dine at Le Cirque for his wediing anniversary celebration if the brother of a congressman pays the P1M dinner tab. we are seeing here in bayani fernando another gloria macapagal arroyo. he is the next bayani for receiving cash gifts among goernment officials. what is next another nbn-zte deal?

      from the article:

      Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said Fernando’s statement is a public confession of liability for a crime. “In effect, that is an admission against interest of probative value if you were to be sued in court,” she said.

      She said under the code of conduct, public officials are not allowed to receive any gifts at all whether in cash or anything of monetary value.

      “Liability is accepting a gift. We are not allowed to accept a gift unless of nominal or of insignificant value,” Santiago said.

  8. Arquenevis
    September 2, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    So just to clarify, yes I know Fernando can be liable for receiving the “gift”. And I think the MMFF should have thought twice before sending money to a government official.

    What confuses me in your article is that you use the words “bribe” and “steal” which can imply different things. If he accepted the gift as a “bribe” that means that he is part of a cover up (which does not exist). If he “steals” money, that means he took P 1.6M from the MMFF without their permission (but the MMFF gave money to Fernando freely and they are even willing to defend him claiming that under Fernando’s leadership, their income tripled from P150M to P450M).

  9. September 2, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    fernando is corrupt – he has taken advantage of his government position for his personal gain, to the tune of P1.6M. he is like arroyo – arroyo received a wedding anniversary gift with a value of P1M for dinner, fernando received a cash gift worth P1.6M and he does not see anything wrong with it and says he will do it again. how many more birthdays will fernando have, what about christmas, wedding anniversarys, valentines and other celebrations? fernando does not deserve to be president.

  10. Primer C. Pagunuran
    September 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    BF – now his own man?

    Even hours before the national executive committee of the merged Lakas-Kampi would have voted secretly, 42-5 in favor of Gibo, former colleagues from the House of Representatives of defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro already served advance notice that he will be the party’s standard bearer. Not a BF. Therefore, as so it is said, so it shall be done and done it was. Left in the cold, BF will not be his own man.

    BF’s long-time investment as loyal to the party since 1992 did not pay off. On the other end of the scale, a newly recruited one-month old party member in the person of Gibo earned him a fortune far greater than what he has invested by way of rate of return. Therefore, Gibo may have just violated cardinal party norms in the unseen process. But so be it.

    This comeuppance is telling. Call to mind that Mar, the president of the Liberal Party suffered the same fate when he himself has to give way to a Noynoy Aquino simply because the latter asked for it perhaps so cavalierly. Within the Nationalist People’s Coalition itself, it has been a political tug of war between a Chiz and a Loren.

    As events unfold in the political landscape, it is even more telling to now find a Noynoy on one end of the spectrum and a Gibo on the other hand – as they are cousins on the side of the Cojuangcos. Does this happenstance come as a departure from the vicious invasion of the phenomenon that we call ‘political families’, dynasty if you will? Plainly, it is. Not to be taken for granted is the fact that Noynoy, in case he wins is a son of a former president just like GMA.

    History repeats itself, come to think of it. We have GMA as older generations also had DM (Diosdado Macapagal). Just as we had Cory, would we have a Noynoy as if we wish to ‘overextend’ the term of Cory? The same holds for GMA if it were already the negative version of a once ‘better’ president in the person of her father. It is for history to also attest more accurately as to the real score in the political topography of their respective historical periods.

    Who did not say that for every action, there is a corresponding counter-action? This is what resulted in the selection process of the merged administration party from the point of view of former Speaker Jose de Venecia as he posited it to be illegal, null and void. Certainly, he believes that Gibo was not elected by a ‘legit group’ but rather by a ‘cabal of limited few’.

    Facts are indubitably clear. There was not a convention held for the purpose to be participated in by as much number as possible in order to really represent the sentiment of the party at large. But then again, one can just as quickly dismissed this whole fiasco as one of ‘intra-party’ feuds but would be more likely veer away from truth.

    Events that recently unfolded such as the Noynoy fresh-from-the-40th-day grief play dramatic and this Gibo marathon drama hatched exceedingly quick. It most wantonly displaced BF whose belief in loyalty to the party as the highest premium has been betrayed. After all, he is not a member of this so-called “Old Boys Club’ that my former boss, Prospero Pichay has always bragged about.

    To bank of party machinery is old-fashioned thinking. JDV failed on it dismally when he run for president and so too with Gibo, most predictably. Comparatively, Gibo is even made of lesser stuff in terms of overall statesmanship, so he just might be holding on the wrong rope. But a lot more interfacing realities are cracked open this time that Gibo is being launched as the presidential candidate to beat. Why?

    Gibo will be joined by DILG Puno in a perceptibly ideal tandem. Will it work? What does that publicly express from the point of view of impact analysis or the Lakatosian futuristic programmes? Well, we can see the rearing of some ugly heads – the armed might of not just the Armed Forces of the Philippines but more so with the armed might of the Philippine National Police. There is reason to be scared given the perceived orientation of a Gibo to allow a kinder if kids’ glove treatment for a GMA post-presidential term immunity.

    Now that Bayani lost his precious bid to walk out with an empty bag, what else is new? BF would have wished, as he did appeal, that all party members should have been allowed to choose and not just by a the committee. How the party proceeded with this selection is a public statement itself that again, there must have been a ‘lapse in judgment’ as it did crack open some potential legal disputes in its exercise. At bottom, the democratic criterion has been subverted.

    There seems to be one last route to tread for BF to bolt the party he gave all his loyal trust on. In fact, he was the first to signify his intention to run for president and this one of Gibo is uncharacteristically too belated. After all, BF says he is “desidido, pursigid, diretso, tatakbo”. Just like FVR, perhaps, history is lamp post for BF to run under the best and last available option he deems best.

    It cannot be taken for granted that someone worked behind the scene to let this scenario unfold. And the man we publicly know as the kingmaker is this time’s next to the king himself. If that bears fruit, let come what will. BF may well have to leave it to the electorate to decide.

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