Monday, July 31, 2006

Sunda-sundaluhan? Battle for Hearts and Minds...

While Gen. Arturo Lim was being charged, a website was being launched at the same time. Sundalo, Tagapagtanggol ng Pilipino is being projected as a site moderated by idealistic soldiers that want to express their disdain against the current dispensation.

The sudden appearance of this website in cyberspace sparked support, curiosity and apprehension to many netizens both here and abroad. What really is this site all about? Is it for real? Is this some kind of ploy by the AFP top brass and ISAFP to flush out disgruntled soldiers and their civilian supporters?

Ellen Tordesillas of Malaya had written an article about Sundalo. She and another blogger, Yuko had tried to correspond with the site moderators. They both received what we all think and perceive, a computer generated reply to their comments and queries. They then sent another response to Ellen about her misgivings about the validity of their site. They asked her how they could prove to her that they are for real. They also advised Ellen to send a criteria of how to meet her standards.

I too am skeptical about the site. Further browsing and deep understanding of the issues posted there would confuse the reader. Some postings there seem to discredit the advocacy the site would like to present. If I should develop a site with an advocacy or cause, I would be straightforward and present my case to the reader with utmost clarity. Some bloggers have poited out glaring contradictions on the site. One perfect example is the supposed link of the Communists and the Magdalos. Inclusion of this in the site only bolters the case of the government's allegations. Still another is the inclusion of Gen. Ermita. Unless Ermita is a turncoat, the inclusion of his speech in the site would confuse the reader. MenOk another blogger, also pointed out how detailed the site was. The moderators even apologized for the slow uploading of their site. MenOk has pointed out that the site's counters recorded only 7,000 hits. We all know that that is not enough to knockout a site. With moderators promising a faster browsing speed, one would wonder how they can manage this, unless they have a highend package with the webhost, one cannot ask for more bandwidth.

Still, the moderators would like a dynamic interaction with the readers. This is good, but could also be interpreted as a tool of assessing the magnitude of the support and sentiments from the populace. One may feel that they are being led on to reveal their sentiments which of course could lead to exposing the supporters of the various groups of disgruntled soldiers. Others may view it as an experimental strategy by the administration and ISAFP. For sure, they are aware of the huge potential of blogging especially the untapped power of blogging to convince and persuade.

With all these observations in mind, we cannot discount the possibility of the site as being a farce. So readers and fellow bloggers, its all up to you. Visit the site, browse and discern. Try to read between the lines and then draw your own conclusion. As for me, what started out as skepticism has turned to disbelief.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

INSENSITIVE? Look Who's Talking

The recent hospitalization of the pretender had sparked a new round of finger-pointing and mud-slinging. Malacanang defenders blamed the opposition and other critics for the pretender's illness. After news broke out that the pretender had been rushed to St. Luke's Hospital due to the flu, several "unsavory" comments were made by the public in different shows aired over the radio.

Her allies dared the opposition to lend a hand in nation-building instead of adding to her headaches. They even went as far as citing the pretender's hardworking habits added to her illness. She had been diagnosed as suffering from the flu and had been advised to lessen her workload. She will be resting in the comfort of her presidential suite for her "much needed" rest.

She had been rushed to the same hospital last month due to diarrhea. This was just before she left for her European sortie to promote our "slaves" and to kiss the hand of the Pope.

Several critics had opined that she could be attended to by the palace infermary and medical staff. Its just a simple case of flu. To her alalays este allies pala, such comments were uncalled for and insensitive. They said that we must appreciate the pretender's efforts at pushing our country forward. Adding that she is such a workaholic, she even brought her laptop to the hospital despite being advised to rest.

To me, "look who's talking?" A simple flu and diarrhea is no cause for alarm. While the average Filipino could not even afford basic medical services, the gall of these lapdogs to say such remarks. The government's medical allocation for every Filipino is a measely 25 centavos a year. The pretender is lucky, she can avail of the best medical services anytime of day, anytime she wishes. How many children die of diarrhea and complications from flu every year? And these are very curable illnesses at this modern age. Was the government sensitive to their plight? The 25 centavo allocation is not even enough to buy a piece of candy at todays prices.

Hindi kaya sila kinikilabutan sa mga pinagsasabi nila? Who's insensitive now? Reps. Silverio and Salapuddin should shut up. Their remarks only highlight this administration's callous attitude towards the Filipinos. So the next time the pretender gets sick, I hope she keeps in mind the ordinary Filipino who toils everyday to pay her high taxes and get "scraps and leftovers" for basic, social services. I also hope her lapdogs think twice before opening their cavernous mouths.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

When the Funfare Ends.....the Nightmare Begins

What we witnessed yesterday was an early bid by Malacanang to promote its candidates for next years elections. She played to the gallery's delight. Hi-tech presentation and use of "props", dazzled the cheering crowd. She made sure to patronize all those who have helped her sagging presidency. Its no wonder why security was so tight. She made sure that those who wished to spoil her "extravaganza" would not get in. Despite the heavy rains, the opposition rallied outside the prostituted halls of congress.

She made sure she acknoledged her generals(?), her Cha-Cha Brigade, her "local" boys and her lapdogs. The highlight of her SONA was a powerpoint presentation on how she intends to turn the Philippines into a theme park that would rival Disneyland. The only things missing are cablecars and ski resorts. Had we had snow here, what else would she think of building. Her grandiose plan of making our country into a first world country would definitely incur huge expenditures that even her economic team wonders where the funding will come from. For sure, there will be a new round of borrowings as the administration has to take care of her political allies as well. Revenue from taxes will not be sufficient to pay off our debts and basic services expenditures. Should they choose not to borrow, we all know that the education and health sectors will be the least of their priorities.

But all things said, it was but a political rally. She obviously baited the re-electionist into supporting her or they would not get the projects she promised. These trapos in turn will use these mega-projects to entice the voters. This has been the modus operandi of the administration since day one. Her antics hopefully will pay off. But discerning minds even by the ordinary man on the street had learned to read between her li(n)es. She and her allies will definitely be facing a differnet electorate come 2007.

Its obvious they have given up on their Cha-Cha bid for now. They must now prepare for the coming elections. Her mega-regions was to serve as bait for the electorate. This will be her way of blackmailng the voters and the opposition alike. Despite the IRA and CDF laws, the administration continues to block the release of these funds to those who oppose her.

Now, we must all prepare for the elections. If the administration has laid its chips on the table this early, we must start to educate our voters. We must make our voices and true sentiments be heard. If this becomes a referendum of sorts, lets show this arrogant administration that we, the common man holds the key to the future of this country. And that no politician can hoodwink us into selling our votes to the devil.

Yes Madame President, "a journey of a thousand miles does not start with the first step, it starts with your demise."


Know More About the Electoral Process

A good friend has started a new blogsite to educate the electorate. Postigo Luna, an advocate of clean and honest elections has embarked on a new endeavor. For those who believe in the sanctity of the ballot and our right to elect our leaders, please visit his BLOG. You may also wish to join his EGROUP.

These sites will give you an insight on the "what and how" of the electoral process. They are highly informative. Please find time to see what these great sites have to offer.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Who's Shouting? War of the Words

Obviouly, somebody is getting restless. The Sigaw ng Bayan came out first, with mouths blazing. Answering the pretender's call to start the great debate, this group spearheaded the defense of the "presidency" through what most called "PI ni Gloria". Now it faces a voice in the wild, One Voice. One Voice is an advocacy group that questions the timing and motive to revise the 1987 Constitution. Despite being banged on all sides by oppposition groups from all sectors, Sigaw launched a signature campaign. Aided (funded?) by the different agencies of government, especially the DILG, they reportedly gathered 10 million votes(?).

While this is yet to be verified, One Voice came out with a tv ad which I found very appealing. Its Sigaw's turn for a media blitz. Coming out with a full page ad which seems to question One Voice's motives and goals and to undermine the personalities behind it. Now we have a word war of sorts, but it does not stop there. It has turned ugly as it seems Sigaw would like to turn a debate on principles to an all-out class war. And I thought the all-out war is directed only at the insurgency. I have yet to hear from One Voice any kind of cheap shot to destroy Sigaw.

Sigaw accused One Voice of being anti-poor. And even cast doubt on One Voice's convenors calling them elitists. I know some of its members come from prominent families but they comprise only a small segment of One Voice. To my understanding both Sigaw and One Voice are multi-sectoral. If we follow Sigaw's assertions that they are composed mostly of the poor, one would wonder where their funding is coming from. To venture into something so big entails a lot of expenses. And this tactic of starting a class war is sickening. Basing on how Malacanang operates, isn't it quite obvious who's bankrolling Sigaw's operations? In the end, the poor will be again at the losing end. This administration has done enough damage to our insitutions and society. I wonder when their lust for power will end.

In the end, credibility will play a very important role in this war of words. I will withold some of my opinions for now and see where this leads to. But one thing is for sure, enshrined in the constitution is my right to vote. And to me, that right is sacred. I will never relinquish that right. I would like to actively participate in choosing who to best lead this nation. I will never allow anybody else to elect for me the leaders of my country.


Friday, July 21, 2006

The Subic Rape Case

An appeal has been sent to me regarding Nicole. She is the young Filipina allegedly raped by an American marine inside a van in Subic. I extend this appeal to all concerned bloggers to show their support for Nicole. I have linked her site and please feel free to browse through it. (Nicole Info. Bureau)

We must as a nation, stand behind her cause. Its not Nicole alone that this case is all about, its the Filipinos dignity that is at stake here. We may be divided politically, let us as a nation stand together behind Nicole. Let's not allow her to fight this alone, let us show the world that the Philippines cares and loves its own.

Please visit her site and learn more about the case.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Deathtrap: LEBANON (Incompetence and Insincerity)

With the latest debacle this administration is facing, when and where will the next conflict erupt?

Despite the obvious mishandling of the Lebanon evacuation, Malacanang has not changed its policy of sending our contrymen to toil in distant lands. While bombs were raining down in Lebanon, the Pretender gainfully exchanged pleasantries with Khadaffi. Upon her return, she boasted of bilateral agreements which will enable more Filipinos to work in Libya. What astonishes me is her lack of interest with the lives of more than 30,000 OFWs trapped in Lebanon.

Her cabinet boasted of a "Plan" to get these OFWs out. Ermita even said there are many escape routes our people can take to get out of war-torn Lebanon. "Ikaw kaya ang pumunta dun and like Moses, lead our people to the Promise Land?" Cimatu even had a "wilder" suggestion. He would plant big Philippine flags so the Israelis would avoid hitting our people. He must be a big fan of Nardong Putik and mistook our flag for an amulet. While several countries have been evacuating their nationals, ours were left in the cold to fend for themselves. The administration had asked these OFWs to find shelter and protection in Catholic churches. They also admitted the lack of funds to effectively evacuate our weary countrymen. Total cost of evacuating the 30,000 Filipinos is estimated at more than $8M. So far, the government has released "loose change" to help fund the evacuation.

One would wonder where the OWWA funds are. Our OFWs are charged $25 by OWWA before they leave the country. Other fees are also collected by different government agencies in connection with their travel and employment abroad. With the volume of Filipinos leaving everyday to work abroad, one could say these fees are more than adequate to fund the evacuation. Which now leads us to the question of where these funds went? These funds are to assist our OFWs in their time of need. It seems that the OWWA's well is dry and funds exist only on paper. Where did all these money go? Perhaps to the campaign kitty of the pretender?

The remittances these OFWs send is what keeps our economy afloat. The sad part is when turmoils like the Middle East is currently embroiled in puts the lives of these OFWs at risk. Lack of strategy and contingency planning has endangered the lives of our "New Heroes". Despite the enormous contributions these people make, our government could care less but instead push more of our people to seek employment elsewhere even if they put their personal safety at risk. Abused by the very government tasked to care for them, they slave long hours in their desperate attempt at making life a little better for their loved ones.

The sad reality that lack of oppurtunity in spite of the administration's assertions that the economy is picking up is what drives these people to leave behind their families. The callous way this administration has treated our people is unforgivable. Just think of the social repercussions this policy of enslaving our countrymen in other lands has on our society. With their children left to fend for themselves and the increase of marriages gone sour, how can the basic unit of society fight for its continued existence?

Lebanon is truely a deathtrap and a showcase of the administration's incompetence and insincerity towards our unsung heroes.

*I'd like to express my thanks to Yuko, Anna, Vic, Jon Mariano, Emilio, Toots Ople and Uniffors for highlighting the cause and plight of our OFWs the world over. May your tribe increase.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Omen of Things to Come?

I have been observing the recent events and the actions taken by this administration. There seems to be a pattern unfolding. While the news of Bolante and the CBCP hugged the limelight, there are issues that have been relegated to the sidelines. There have been a succession of actions taken by the administration and its dogs in the recent past. After the fall of the six Magdalos and the turnabout of two more, the DoJ and its attack dogs has turned their ire on the different sectors who in one way or another caused humiliation on GMA. Gonzalez even pointed to members of the opposition, advocacy groups and the business sector as conspiring to overthrow the current regime. He went as far as to imply that certain bishops snd other clergy are in cahoots with both rightist and leftist elements to topple the government of GMA.

There seems to be a crackdown, both actual and implied on the opponents of the administration. I sense the administration has something up its sleeves. They have experimented and tested almost all constitutional and unconstitutional means to see how the people will react. The obvious apathy and disinterest the majority of the people led them to think the time is ripe. I also think the time is ripe for another dictator to rise.

So many signs have been exposed by the administration that one cannot discount the possibility of another martial law. As we all know, the administration has launched not only an armed response but also a psy-war on virtually every group that had opposed it. It has succeeded into making the people complacent of the goings on in the political arena. With their constant propaganda, they have succeeded in weakening if not totally destroying the opposition. Depriving it of the support of the ordinary man. Despite being so corrupt, the adminstration has been successful at painting the opposition as being more corrupt and opportunistic. It had managed to pit opposition against opposition, institution against institution and the elite against the poor. They have succeeded in dividing the nation to isolate and keep in check its opponents.

Now we see a surge in militarism. Retired military men supportive of GMA had landed jobs in the different agencies in government. We even have the military taking on the role of the police. With the appointment of Esperon, expect a more ruthless leadership in the AFP. She is now assured that any discontent in the military can be easily "fixed" by Esperon. One by one, she has appointed her minions in the different agencies in government despite the uproar/opposition the rank and file and other sectors have expressed. She had even managed to "buyout" the holy of holies into saving her from any moral persecution. She is slowly consolidating her forces and in effect had tightened her grip on the nation.

Marcos did the same things before declaring martial law. He first made sure he will get the support he needed when it mattered most. He created a sense of impunity and apathy in society that anything he did was readily accepted by almost everyone. I hope I read these signs wrong. The inability of those GMA tasked to saving her through Cha-Cha had not produced the results she wanted. Anna, a regular commenter raised the question of what the Madyaas is all about in Ellen Tordesillas' blog yesterday. My take on this group is it will be a new political party come election time. I liken it to the KBL (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan) of the Marcos era. For sure its not an advocacy group but more of GMA's answer to the several coalitions now arrayed against her. Her allies had been trying everything to prevent any election from taking place in 2007.

We first heard the faint shouts of Sigaw ng Bayan, Then Abalos saying there is no approved funding for the elections. The curtailment of basic human rights, extrajudicial killings of the legitimate left and journalists, "discovery" of assassination plots, and small isolated bombings followed next. And now, the witch hunt that the "Inquisition" este, the DoJ has cooked up with the help of Lt. San Juan and Amb. Seneres pointing to several businessmen and other groups in a plot to overthrow GMA before her SONA.

I may be wrong with my observations and some may even dismiss them as simply paranoia. Hell, I might even have an excited, over-active mind. Could it be pure speculation or are we just myopic to see the big picture? Vigilance is our only weapon for now. But one thing is sure, we'll in for a very rough ride with this current regime if we don't get our acts together.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Envelope Please!

Last weekend, the CBCP's meeting came to an end. They then issued a Pastoral Letter which left a burning sensation in everyones stomach. Much has been said about its contents and the CBCP was pelted by the left, center and right. But the issues did not stop there, this week saw the CBCP in the spotlight and equaled even Bolante's arrest in the US. This time, its not about their stand on certain issues but more to what led them to see things differently.

Like any organiztion, the CBCP has disagreements too, but it seems that the moral decay that pervades in the administration has "infected" even the pius. Reports have indicated and which was confirmed by the CBCP itself point to several bishops being feted by the Palace. Malacanang has since defended the occassion and dismissed that it was used to influence the bishops to somehow be more light on the administration. The CBCP was to tackle the impeachment of the "sitting president".

But what is mind-blowing are the envelopes that were distributed to those who attended. "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts", and old saying goes. And indeed, the envelopes contained money. It was suppose to be "donations" for the different diocese of the bishops, supposedly for poverty alleviation in line with GMA's anti-poverty program. What is striking is the timing and the rationale behind it. With the countless NGOs who help the poor, why channel the funding through the bishops? Is this some kind of bribe to get a more favorable outcome?

Now the bishops are pitted against each other. One side questions those who accepted and the other justifies their acceptance. What is clear is somehow, this has touched a moral issue which the bishops must face and discuss among themselves. Its obvious that there are clergy sympathetic to the palace and there are those who would rather see the truth come out.

Where does this lead to? Obviously, the administration had cast doubt on the crediblity and integrity of the Catholic Church, choke one up for the administration who has once again managed to destroy an institution. Who then is the winner in all these? The envelope please!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

BOLAnte: Finally Caught

It seems there is justice afterall, it may not be here in the Philippines but somewhere else.

After several months of avoiding the senate to shed light on the Feltilizer Scam, Bolante was finally caught. Not the Philippine Immigration but the U.S. INS. Reports say that his visa was cancelled. The U.S. Homeland Security confirmed his arrest and detention. His bail for his temporary liberty is set at $100,00, a very steep amount for a visa related infraction. The U.S. Embassy in Manila has denied it has a hand in the arrest and refused to comment on the case as it is purely a legal matter.

Malacanang also discounted reports that Bolante contacted them to seek assistance. They however said that the Phil. Embassy in L.A. will afford him the same assistance it gives to other Filipinos. Bolante, despite an arrest warrant from the senate and a case filed in the Ombudsman was able to travel freely in and out of the country.

Now that Bolante has finally been caught, we can expect the senate to once again tackle the Fertilizer Scam. This however is far from over. We can trust that the administration will do everything to prevent the truth from coming out. We can expect the administration to employ a lot of backchannel negotiations to ensure Bolante's continued silence.

To give Bolante extraordinary assistance would strengthen GMA's critics belief that they had a hand in the Fertilizer Scam. To allow Bolante to stay in jail will help hide the truth. Expect Bolante to fight the extradition case the senate is contemplating on.

For now, we can all be content that Bolante's flight has come to a drastic and abrupt end. The irony is justice was served not by our agencies but another country's. Justice is not as "BLIND" in the U.S. as it is in the Philippines.

Maybe the DoJ and the Immigration can take a few lessons from the INS on how to apply true justice.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Parallels and Double Standards

Monday night, this week, a tape purporting Gen. Danilo Lim's announcement of withdrawal of support from the administration was aired on ABS-CBN's Bandila. This has stirred a hornet's nest and threatens to open a Pandora's Box that could shed light on the events of Feb. 24 and 26.

Since its airing, former Amb. Seneres has come out saying he knew about Lim's plan and even floated names of civilians which included prominent names. Although he later pointed out he has no firsthand knowledge of their involvement, he stressed he was consulted by Lim.

While all this was happening, DoJ's Raul Gonzalez in an interview said, "a succesful coup is patriotic, a failed one is a crime". Sen. Biazon and Rep. Golez however thinks there is a parallel between the Garci tapes and the Lim video.

Somehow, Lim's attempted "Withdrawal of Support" can be tied to the Garci scandal. The military, specifically the Marines were implicated in the alleged 2004 presidential vote rigging. Several generals were mentioned in the Garci tapes and has since been promoted to juicy military posts. But a few who had the guts to speak their mind has since been discharged, restrained to barracks and worse, faces court martial proceedings.

So there really is a connection between Lim's tape and the Garci tapes. Looking deeper in why Lim had this mindset is an affirmation of what the administration had been trying to prevent from coming out. This only justifies the ramblings in the military, especially the Marines. Gen. Miranda of the Marines was suddenly replaced which sparked a stand-off led by Col. Querubin with several other Marine officers and men. Citing the use of the Marines in partisan politics, Querubin refused to accept the sacking of Miranda. He opined that professionalism in the Marines is being threatened.

In the meantime, Gonzalez insist that Lim intended to stage a coup. While most would say that the tape clearly showed a withdrawal of support from the current dispensation, the administration's stand is it was a failed coup attempt. Regardless of what it should be called, the fact is that Lim has to face the music, but in a military court and not what the Doj wants. Lim is not a civilian and should not be tried by a civilian court. Which leads to another dilema that Gen. Senga must contend with. How will this new bone of contention be resolved? Would the general bow down to the so-called civilian authority, or would he be bold enough to go against what the palace wishes and try Lim in a military tribunal.

Could Lim have committed a crime? Was it purely military or can be considered a civilian crime as well. We have witnessed several times how the DoJ (mis)interpreted our laws. Several times to the liking of the administration. What is clear and glaring is how Malacanang with its arrogance has gotten away with so many things. Its only be lately that its one-sided brand of justice been put in check by the Supreme Court. But still, we can see how justice for a few is injustice most. That fact remains that the laws in this country can be bent by those in power to suit its needs. Selective application of the laws that continue to rip this nation apart.

So indeed, there appears to be a parallel in the Lim and Garci tapes and with both comes the truth. The truth that must come out to put closure on the issues the continue to divide this nation. And let's hope that justice will not be played upon by those in power to satisfy the whims and caprices of a very "selected" few.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Morally Devoid

In a previous post, I discussed the moral decay that pervades the administration today. This couldn't be more glaring than the tit for tat that's been going on between the CBCP and the palace. After Bishop Yniguez filed an impeachment complaint against the pretender in the palace (as a citizen), the administration's rabid lapdogs quickly pounced on him relentlessly.

Stating that the church should lay off politics, GMA's cohorts one by one invoked the separation of church and state. The administration's allies have been carping on national media about the CBCP's decision to stand behind the bishop. The palace went as far as telling the CBCP to sanction Bishop Yniguez for his actions. Bunye of the now infamous "I have two tapes" has said that the impeachment has nothing to do with morality and dismisses it as simply a form of political harassment by the opposition. This is echoed by the entire administration camp.

How stupid can these people be! I was taught that to lie, cheat and steal is wrong. I just wonder how the administration can quickly say that these allegations are not moral issues. This only shows how morally devoid these people are. They have no right to stay in office with this kind of reasoning. To be a just and lawful person, one must know what is right and wrong. By these actuations, these people had shown to us how immoral they really are. Should we as a nation continue to believe that these people are serving us faithfully? They are nothing but a bunch of self-serving thugs playing god.

Finally, they revealed to us their true color. Arrogance and deceit had completely blinded even their souls. Continuesly living in their lies, they now have the gall to dictate to the church what is right and wrong. Now I believe these people are totally devoid of any iota of morality.