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Language commission chief charged with faking documents à la Napoles

/ 05:52 AM September 19, 2013

MANILA, Philippines—The former chair of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF),  Jose Laderas Santos, has assailed what he called the “Napoles-style of faking state documents” allegedly committed by current KWF Chairman Virgilio Almario as he also asked the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the irregularities committed by the National Artist for Literature.

In a Sept. 9 letter to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Santos said Almario’s illegal acts, mainly tampering with official pronouncements by Malacañang and other government agencies, as well as historical records, were “totally incompatible with the Matuwid na Daan policy of the Aquino administration.”

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Worse, the ex-KWF head alleged, the highly irregular acts of Almario were made right in the KWF office at the Palace.

Santos, also a former print journalist, noted that “similar actions committed in the past by government officials were meted (out) with administrative and even criminal sanctions.”

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Not exempt

Almario’s “identification as a national artist does not exempt him from obeying our laws and respecting our patrimony,” he emphasized.

“Our country is in turmoil due to scandals, primarily centered on graft and corruption caused by faked and manipulated papers,” he also stressed.

According to Santos, Almario has been “using government funds and manpower in his unauthorized campaign to change the Filipino translation of the country’s name Philippines from Pilipinas to Filipinas.”

“He is also deploying KWF personnel and facilities in maliciously erasing Pilipinas in our consciousness as the country’s official name,” he said.

Not in charter

He noted that the KWF is an agency “mandated with the research, promotion and preservation of Filipino as our national language, as well as the 176 other Philippine languages all over the country.”

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“Nowhere in the KWF charter says that the institution can be used or act by itself in changing the name of our country,” added Santos, who was commission head from 2008 to 2013.

Almario earlier admitted in an interview with the Inquirer that the Palace had yet to give the KWF the go-ahead to change the Filipino translation of the Philippines from Pilipinas to Filipinas. He acknowledged that such a change would require the passage of a law.

But he asserted the necessity of promoting the “P to F” campaign to explain the wisdom of adopting Filipinas as the country’s international name.

He pointed out that Filipinas, as the corrected spelling of Pilipinas, was an “application of the national orthography,” or the standardized system for writing words using letters according to established usage.

Palace scolding

Last month, Malacañang took to task Almario for tampering with the President’s official message on the recent 225th birth anniversary of the poet Francisco Balagtas.

The Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) asked the KWF head to make the necessary corrections in commission publications and refrain from altering the official message of Aquino.

The KWF  changed the country’s name Pilipinas to Filipinas in the official invitation of the agency’s first-ever congress on the Filipino language, held on Aug. 19 at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City with the President as guest of honor and speaker.

The plaque presented to Aquino during that congress also contained Almario’s alteration, Republika ng Filipinas.

During the first National Congress on Language, the delegates passed five resolutions. They are:

— A resolution to encourage the designation of a system of teaching Pilipino to foreigners

— A resolution to campaign to retain the Pilipino course in colleges and universities so that they will not run out of teachers in Pilipino in different levels.

— A resolution to campaign for the use of the Pilipino language as a medium of instruction for teaching in schools nationwide.

— A resolution to campaign for the use of Pilipino as a platform for information technology.

— A resolution to encourage the use of Pilipino in propagating religion in the Philippines.

All resolutions referred to the national language as “Filipino.”

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TAGS: Filipino, Jose Laderas Santos, language, Ombudsman, Pilipino, Virgilio Almario
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