Friday, March 30, 2007

11 Hour Circus: With Chavit As The Clown

A supposed to be tense and life-threatening hostage situation turned into a circus and a tourist attraction. Armando Ducat held hostage the other day, 26 students (from his own daycare center) and 4 teachers. Armed with a pistol, an Uzi and two grenades, he pointed out the ineptness and corruption in government and the insensitivity of our politicians.

With how close the media and bystanders posted themselves to the hijacked bus, one would wonder who was in control. The vaunted PNP crowd control was nowhere in sight. (They were to busy securing the empress) With every passing minute, the entire situation turned from a nightmare into a circus. Sen. Bong Revilla entered the scene and defied the SOP for a hostage situation. He was asked by Ducat to come over. Well, he is somehow related to Ducat being a godfather of one of his children. He was able to secure the release of a feverish kid.

What is suspect and revealed by Ducat himself is the appearance of Team Unity's Chavit Singson. Obviously taking advantage of the situation (media exposure and pa-pogi effect), he entered the bus just before Ducat was set to release the hostages. Many speculated that Chavit was in it all along but was later debunked by Ducat. According to Ducat, he never asked for Chavit. Chavit according to Ducat entered the bus and refused to leave.

Ducat even said that he is against corruption and its impossible for him to call Chavit. He even said NO TO CORRUPTION and NOT TO VOTE FOR CHAVIT. He added that he will not allow himself to be used by any politician and that Chavit did not help him but it is he who may have even helped Chavit. Chavit now insinuates that someone is pressuring Ducat to make these statements. This guy really doesn't give up.

Chavit is once again in hot water as he distributed P500 to the hostages. The COMELEC will be looking into this new case. He asserts that Ducat asked him to do this. Chavit's antics may work in his turf in Ilocos, such is not the same in the national scene. He is now displaying the stuff he is made of, a trapo. A trapo whose only credential to back him up are the 3Gs, guns, goons and gold.

Well, Chavit's stunt backfired on him. He is now being ridiculed by all. His ratings will definitely be affected. Not for the good as he wanted but will even be worse. This is what happens to people who think they can hoodwink the people.

Whose statements would you believe now? Chavit's or the Ducat who said he hates corruption? Now we know who the real clown is.


PEP Coalition Update

I received this update from the PEP Coalition a few days ago.

Today, March 23, 2007, around 4:30 PM, the Board of PEP Coalition learned that its accreditation as party list in the coming May elections was cancelled by the Second Division of the COMELEC. At the time of this posting, the PEP core group still has to issue its official statement. But some initial comments from Vic Ortuoste (PEP's Finance Head and a party list nominee) are posted here. Updates will be posted here as developments arise.

1. The Second Division of COMELEC disqualified PEP.

Per Vic, it was the FIRST division of the COMELEC which had previously cited that PEP needed to submit Board approval, as well as approval of its members, for its participation as party list in the May 14 elections. It is therefore surprising that the disqualification move comes from the SECOND division and not from the FIRST division. PEP believes that jurisdiction over this case rests with the FIRST DIVISION.

Vic also pointed out that the conditions set by the First Division did not state the deadline for the submission of the requirements. Without a specific deadline, the earliest date that is logical will be March 29, 2007 the date for the last day of filing of nominees. The Second Division in its cancellation of the provisional approval cited the requirements of the First Division. But if the deadline was not defined and since the PEP Coalition believes the earliest date is March 29,2007 then how can PEP's approval be cancelled. Clearly the Second Division has erred in its logic. It must be pointed out, however, that as early as February 23, 2007, PEP has submitted more than 6,000 signed approvals to participate in the May 2007 election.

2. Vic Ortuoste read part of the resolution as follows: "More importantly, PEP Coalition Party has failed to prove that its members have consented thereto. What it only provides is that the Board of Trustees of Parents Enabling Parents Coalition Inc has ratified such application.."

Per Vic's reaction, he says this is FALSE! Documentation requirements HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED to the FIRST DIVISION (the division that had cited the lacking documentation). The Board's approval for PEP to participate has been submitted. Signature forms with members' approval have also been submitted. For the Second Division to claim that "PEP Coalition failed to show proof..." just shows it was unaware that the Coalition had already complied with the requirements at the First Division.

Vic said that they first submitted last February 23, 2007, 6,000 plus signatures to COMELEC. This was followed by a second submission consisting of over 2,000 signatures (or a total of over 8,000). The signature form (which you are all familiar with and which is posted in this egroup) has the contact numbers of the signatories, which COMELEC can easily verify.

PEP Coalition also believes that the Special Power of Attorney (SPA) executed by its members already gives legal authority to the Board of the PEP Coalition to act on their behalf. The SPA is meant to allow the Coalition to represent the members in all matters relating to their cases as well as to relieve the Coalition from constantly going back to its members for specific approval each time permission was needed. The SPAs, by their very legal nature, should have been proof enough of members' approval. The submission of the 8,000+ signatures of the members is simply A REITERATION of that initial authority given to the PEP Coalition Board and should be viewed then as more-than-sufficient compliance with COMELEC's requirements.

Vic further added that the issue of participating as a party list was one of the items discussed in the recent National Assembly last February 2007 attended by a large number of PEP members.

3. The COMELEC resolution was issued late afternoon of Friday, March 23.

It is no longer surprising that Friday late afternoons is the most popular time for coming down with controversial (and sometimes highly irregular) decisions. The approval of the rehab plan by Judge Barza was done late Friday; warrants of arrest issued for the PEP officers and directors stemming from libel cases filed by the Yuchengcos came out on Fridays. Now this.

Vic said that this is clearly another case of harassment by parties who do not wish to see the PEP Coalition in Congress.


1. A Motion for Reconsideration is going to be prepared.
2. A press conference is being planned by the PEP Core Group early next week to address this recent development.
3. Despite this setback, the PEP Coalition will continue to move as before to bring awareness to the voting public of its participation as party list in the May elections.


This disqualification will definitely be fought out by the PEP Coalition. And until final decision is actually handed out,


March 26, 2007

First Division Approves PEP accreditation (February 02, 2007) – stating:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED, subject, however, to petitioner's submission of its representation and proof that its members have been notified of its intention to register and participate under the party-list system and that they have given their consent thereto."


1. The First Division issued the resolution.
2. NO DEADLINE WAS SET. The First Division did not specify any deadline. In the absence of any deadline, the earliest logical deadline is on March 30, 2007, the deadline for the filing of nominees.

PEP Party List submitted the documents to the COMELEC to comply with the conditions set by the First Division:

1. February 03, 2007 Board of Trustee reiterates consent to apply as party list and to participate in the coming May 14, 2007 election.
2. February 26, 2007(As received by Comelec): Approval of 6,241 members
3. March 06, 2007 (As received by Comelec): Approval of 1,385 members

A total of 7,626 members issued the following statement:
"I hereby reiterate our approval on PEP Coalition's participation in the coming May 14, 2007 Party List election. This also certifies that I support whatever action the Board may take on my behalf on all matters related to the pursuit of the PEP Coalition's goals and objectives."

The Second Division on March 23, 2007 cancelled the registration of PEP Coalition Party List under the Party List System. The crux of its decision rest primarily on this: "More importantly, PEP Coalition Party has failed to prove that its members have consented thereto. What it only provides is that the Board of Trustees of "Parents Enabling Parents Coalition, Inc." has ratified such application."

Questions That Deserved To Be Answered:

1. The First Division promulgated the ruling. Shouldn't the First Division be the Division to set the date on when PEP Party List submit the documents?
2. In the First Division's resolution, the earliest logical deadline is March 30, 2007. How can the Second Division find PEP Party List guilty of non-compliance in March 23, 2007 when the earliest logical deadline is March 30, 2007?
3. Can the Second Division put words into the mouth of the First Division? Shouldn't the First Division be the Division to rule on whether PEP Party List has complied with its ruling?
4. Can the Second Division totally disregard the documents submitted by PEP Party List showing that 7,626 members gave its consent for PEP to participate in the coming election?
5. Who is behind ANAD that it is using its resources and time to try and block PEP Party List in its quest to "Fight for Justice and Good Corporate Governance, and strengthen the protection of the Filipino Consumers."
6. Is it possible that the father of the Security Head of one of the Pre-Need Company that reneged on its commitment is behind this dastardly act?


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Parrot In Monk's Robes

With priests like Gaudencio Rosales, its no wonder why Catholics are seeking the Lord elsewhere. I will not address him as cardinal as he does not deserve the title. I would rather call him a parrot. For someone who is supposed to be a preacher of morality, he seems to lacking much of it. The Church has no room from impostors like him.

The Catholic Church is better off without him. He should be sitting with the likes of Norbie, Raul and the two Hermogeneses in the council of the enchanted kingdom. He seems insensitive to the killings around him and even has the gall to belittle the claims of the human rights victims.

As a Catholic, I cannot and will never respect Rosales for his views about the killings that are going on. He should not be justifying the abuses committed by the state against members of the progressive groups just because the rebels are doing it too. There's a world of difference between the two. The rebels are outlaws and do not operate within the framework of law while the AFP should be upholding the law.

Whether the killings is just a speck compared to what happened during the Marcos years is irrelevant. Murder is still murder Mr. Rosales. Its still the same whether its just one or a thousand. The Vatican should kick you out for being an insensitive fool. Are you saying that as long as the abuses and killings are few and far between, that it is justified? There could never be a distinction nor a justification for such acts.

Rosales definitely is an outcast, a lost soul who should get out of the church and join Gloria instead. Instead of being a defender of the faith and the teacher of men, his immoral views regarding runs contrary to the word of God. Mr. Rosales, I implore you to leave the church for you are a disgrace to those who truly serve the people.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

From Dancing To Drama: Oreta's "I am sorry"

I had the misfortune of seeing the latest "political" ad of Tessie Oreta. The setting was that of a one on one interview where she talks of her "dancing prowess" during the botched Erap impeachment. In tears, she apologized for how she pranced to mock the people in the stands. This of course sealed the fate of Erap who was subsequently ousted.

She added that as if the load she had been carrying for the past years has been finally removed. I am appalled by the theatrics she had used. It seems that she has more talents than previously manifested. She gave the best actresses of the land a run for their money with her new campaign ad. Sincerity madame, that's what is lacking, pure sincerity.

It was nothing but a pathetic attempt to improve her ratings. She had been wallowing in the 20s in the surveys. Her image maker sure knows how to reinvent Oreta. But deny as she may, the people can clearly see her motive for doing this ad. Its to woo the electorate. I must admit that her acting was superb. Acting, that's all there is to it. If she believed that she had done wrong, she should have apologized earlier.

She also emphasized how fully aware she is with the criticisms her latest ad would get. She opined she did it to give closure and to follow her conscience. Closure? Conscience? I'll let her brother Rep. Butz Aquino ask her instead.

Alas, she deserves to be in Team Unity. Her president did that in 2005 after the Garci tapes came out. Her colleagues in the slate are also a bunch of actors, literally and figuratively. I would love to discuss how Pichay, Zubiri, Defensor and the rest of the gang has also been acting, but that calls for another post.

I hope you get to see the ad for yourself. I'm quite sure you'll feel sick in the gut like I did. Its not politicians who should be afraid of our actors, its the actors who should feel threatened by these politicians.


Friday, March 23, 2007

GO Website, Finally Launched

The Genuine Opposition finally launched their own website to inform the electorate of their platform. I have linked the site and have created a button for an easier access.

You may view the site here.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

An Obligation To Fulfill

This coming elections will be a test for the people's resolve. In past elections, we were content at routinely casting our votes. The bad experience we had last 2004 should be a wake up call for us, the electorate to step up to the plate. Our reactive stance will not help to effect reforms. We must be proactive this time around. Months before the elections, we have seen how this administration intends to make a mockery of the electoral process. The COMELEC under the leadership of Abalos continues to challenge our common sense.

With barely two months to go, the cheating machinery is working doubly hard and only our vigilance can thwart any sinister plan to steal the elections again. Be it in the counting or the canvassing, we must see to it that the will of the people be respected. Let us not dismiss the elections as an exercise in futility. It only becomes one when we simply sit idly by and just swallow whatever those in power throw at us. We are their masters. Our taxes fatten their families.

We hold the true power not them. We can take from them what they stole from us. Its our duty to vote, regardless of the obstacles brought before us. We owe it to the future of this nation and our children as well. Change will only take effect if we put our foot down and kick the cheats out. Nobody has the monopoly to power. No one has the right to strangle us and bring us down with them.

Apathy has no place in a society wanting for change. As long as we unite against fraud, the cheats will not succeed. To vote is not only our right, its an obligation we all must fulfill.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Militarist Asses

Sorry about the language, but I just cannot find a tamer word to describe the warlords in power. I speak of no one else but the three mentally deranged asses, Hermogenes Esperon, Eduardo Ermita and Norberto Gonzales. This is the problem with people who impose deadlines which they could not meet, instead, they cut corners to solve a social problem. The Communist bogey has long been dead and only paranoid dimwits would believe otherwise. The cold war is a thing of the past. The iron curtain has been torn to shreds. Even the North Korean problem is being addressed through diplomacy. And China is now the biggest capitalist.

These three bozos seem to have their brains in their asses. They resort to scare tactics to propagate their road plan to peace(?). At what cost? At the cost of more than 830 lives who has yet to see justice. Now they threaten to outlaw the Communist Party and justify their Jurassic acts. As if the people has had enough of their militarization, they now shroud their true intentions with intimidation and murder.

In the age of a civilized world, they seem to have forgotten how peace can never be achieved through the barrel of the gun. They may kill thousands but more would take the place of those who fell. Peace can never be achieved if bloodthirsty warlords are allowed to reign in a civilized society. Obviously, these three pea-brains have not learned from the different conflicts that have battered the world. They continue to live in the past which have seen millions of lives wasted.

Scars from these conflicts continue to be felt the world over. Violence and repression are acts committed only by narrow-minded megalomaniacs. Despotic mentality has no place in market of free ideas. While they accuse the Left of terroristic acts, they too commit terrorism.

Obviously, GMA has lost control. When she cannot control those under her, this only shows she is a lame duck. With all the political debt she had incurred, its no wonder why she would toe the line of these three. She continues to remain silent while her warlords wreak havoc on the populace. She would rather praise them for their inhuman acts than risk being overthrown by a coup. If she had balls, they're tightly held by Esperon.

We now live in a backward society as I pointed out in my previous post. We can now throw away whatever gains were made through peaceful means. The sad part is that the people are too scared to speak lest be branded as communists. While government ask party-lists to denounce the NPA, they have yet to denounce the extra-judicial killings obviously perpetrated by security forces. They have yet to denounce the and even work for landlords who disregard our land reform laws. They have yet to denounce the killings of labor leaders whose only concern is the welfare of the labor force.

Instead of addressing legitimate social concerns, they do away with talk and let their guns do the talking. We are not in some African country were warlords reign and lives are cheap. Unless we do away with the militarist mindset, more and more people will pay with their lives all for the cause genuine change.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Report On US Hearing On Extra-Judicial Killings

I received this update through my email.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

California Senator Boxer presided over the first hearing on the extrajudicial killings today, and judging from the surgical questions she asked, it was obvious the lady senator did her homework. She also mentioned extensive briefings made by the in-house legislative think-tank, the Congressional Research Survey, for the benefit of all members of the foreign relations committee.

For starters, she cautioned Eric G. John's against doublespeak for painting a "rosy picture" of the Philippine economy calling his attention to a recent survey by a Hongkong-based group putting the Philippines as "most corrupt" in Asia. John is the deputy assistant secretary of state for east asian and pacific affairs.

Boxer also asked John to raise the bar by admitting that despite the rhetorics coming from Manila officials, the Philippine government has not embarked on anything credible to mitigate the killings and that US assistance to the Philippines must be used not only to send a strong signal but to leverage the stop to the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

The senator also asked the state representatives to stay and listen to the testimonies of Amnesty International, the United Christian Churches in the Philippines, Karapatan and the United Sates Institute of Peace, all of whom later pointed at the Philippine security forces as the main culprit.

The lady senator did not mince words and asked for verifiable results from the Philippine government. She said she feels she is directly accountable to making sure reform flies because there are 1 million Filipinos in her constituency in the state of California. It is even made more urgent, she added, because the US military has presence in the Philippine assisting the Philippine military in its anti-terror campaigns, and could wrongly be misunderstood to be a party to the illegal killings.

Before taking leave, Boxer also ordered the report of UN Rapporteur Philip Alston be accepted in toto to the records of the Senate, calling it most comprehensive and most credible.

Virginia Senator Tim Webb also sought from the witness representing Karapatan clarification of the statistics they have documented from their 15 regional offices. After the lady witness appeared cocksure about her position that the victims they tallied were not collateral victims of encounters but individual unarmed civilians targeted for assassinations, Webb asked her to repeat the name of the person she mentioned in her prepared text to be most likely behind the extrajudicial killings. Thus the name of Norberto Gonzales, Mr. Arroyo's national security adviser was put on record.

Webb, being a former Secretary of the Navy recalled fond memories of his frequent visits to Asia and especially the Philippines. Before banging the gavel to end the hearing, he assured his audience that the US Senate knows very well what is happening in the Philippines because in addition to our long-shared history, there are 100,000 Americans residing in the country.

The hearing ended with a consensus on the floor that the person posing as president in the Philippines is not a lady but a butcher, who has done nothing beyond rhetorics in addressing a very serious international problem.

We started 2:40 pm and were off before 5pm.

What was inadvertently omitted in today's hearing, however, was that Siche Bustamante-Gandinao, 56, a member of the farmers group Misamis Oriental Farmers Association, was assassinated as recent as last Monday a few meters from a military
detachment. Gandinao (now victim #837) testified before Phillip Alston on the killing of her father-in-law, Dalmacio "Tatay Daki" Gandinao, during the UN rapporteur's visit to the Philippines.

Expect sanctions soon.


By Email from Washington DC


Thursday, March 15, 2007

In Disservice To The Filipino People

"God gave me a sign", this is what most aspiring candidates say in justifying their desire to run. As if God has not had enough, being crucified, His name is now being blasphemed by personalities seeking public office. It seems that whenever we have elections, our politicians suddenly become visionaries. With this statement, politicians paint themselves as messiahs, God-sent to save the people. What is surprising is how the clergy allow themselves to be pawns in this charade to fool the electorate.

As if we need saving, what we actually need is divine intervention to rid us of these opportunists. I have yet to witness a candidate in a trance, this would be a sight to see. I know our trapos speak in tongues, forked tongues that is. We hear promise after promise but have yet to see them materialize. What I'd like to see is God coming down from heaven and hitting them on the head for using His name in vain.

Another favorite is, "I want to serve the people". Movie and sports personalities often use this. How stupid these people can be. We have citizens who never seek public office and yet spend their time and resources to serve our people. Celebrities in other countries use their popularity to gain support for their advocacies and charities. They lobby for the betterment of people the world over. They offer themselves to the people of the world for free.

Here, its a totally different situation, our celebrities use their name to get elected. How convenient it is for them to use their fame to get more glory. Its plain ego-tripping if you ask me. They have fame, they have fortune and yet they want more. Their lust for glory is so insatiable that they even toy with the simplicity of the masses' minds. They cry to get the people's sympathy and votes. They play out their role like its their last performance.

Its such a sickening sight seeing these people lie through their teeth all for the sake of getting elected. They allow themselves to be pawns of trapos who exploit their status to fool the people. They talk of sincerity yet they have none. We who can see through their theatrics only know too well of their intentions, but what about the masses who are seduced by their empty promises and lies?

There are however some celebrities who rise to the occasion. They actually outperform even the most seasoned politicians. They adhere to their principles and advocacies. But these are a rare breed. Their pure hearts result in genuine service. They're more of the exception than the rule.

Its election time once more and these celebrities are coming out of the woodwork once again. A new group of visionaries and servants are emerging. But all are definitely proxies of big politicians out to hoodwink the electorate. Its obvious that they are being used by some trapo to consolidate his/her power. We will finally see our congressmen after three years. We will see our mayors repair our roads and public markets. We will see their ugly faces plastered all over our communities. Our siestas will be ruined by blaring jingles of some Pontius Pilate begging for our vote.

Its party time once again and I am bracing myself for the onslaught. My head spins from the constant bombardment of Boom, Tarat, tarat and I have to time and again clear my eyes of Pichay's insincere face. Angara daw ng buhay but every time I look out my window, I see the squatters in my area. The Dragon becomes a lizard when investigating the Arroyos, the "Tol" has done nothing for his constituents but runs to the rescue of GROs at a moments notice. We all know about the "doggies in the window" and who would forget the sultan who prides himself with a harem. AmiGO, with his biofuel which would benefit his family greatly and who once chided Chiz for hanging out with the likes of Rep. Magtubo. Cesar Asar whose only role is a crowd drawer during rallies, and the most famous of all, Precious, the Original Lord of the Rings, we all know the evil that lurks in the ring. Lastly Mr. Santos who brought his entire family to the brink of destruction all in the name of rebuilding their tarnished name.

There are a host of candidates in the local arena, but that's another post. As I see it, its a disservice to the Filipino people. The lies and deceit all in the name of power.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Regression Of The Philippine Society

This new round of crackdown on the legal left shows how narrow-minded this government is. The Huks started it all and it seems that social reform has yet to see the light of day. With the way president after president failed to pull the poor up, one would wonder if indeed our politicians welcome social change.

I believe that our insurgency has evolved from an ideology-based to one which espouses genuine social reform. Our society has become to restrictive that the masses had lost their voice and their rights. With the increasing number of people driven into a life of desperation, they end up in the mountains to fight for their survival.

Now we see the upper classes of society view them as outcasts or as government would want us to believe, terrorists. They chose to create their own society because society has forgotten they exist. They built their own institutions and have their own brand of justice. With the feeling of alienation, they were forced to take a different path to change. Our institutions are filled with landlords and greedy officials.

These landlords can all be found in the halls of congress. Familiar names whose families own majority of the lands in their provinces and districts. Their serfs are expected to vote them into office or suffer more poverty. They use their land as a carrot for their laborers, The people are held hostage by a few. These are the true oligarchs, our representatives in congress. The real industrialists do not hold elective positions. Its our representatives who own haciendas and plantations. Their laborers slave under them deprived of basic rights.

The law has also deprived them of justice. The courts have been made inaccessible by the fees a complainant has to pay to file a case. We have to thank Chief Justice Davide for that. If only he did not think that our justices needed an expensive hall to hold court. If only he did not think the justices needed expensive luxury cars. If only he did not think the justices needed an expensive summer retreat in Baguio. While the Supreme Court justices lived in opulence and splendor, municipal and regional judges had to make do with whatever they had. The fees the courts impose now discriminates the poor. Its no wonder why many prefer to take the law into their own hands as the courts are no longer venues to seek redress.

This administration is pushing us back to feudalism. The people become so marginalized that they are no longer a functioning member of society. The insurgency is kept alive by people thrown out by a society that is so unequal and unjust. I cannot blame those who take up arms to fight a system who has not addressed their needs and plight. They are now members of an outcast society. They impose their own taxes and their have own courts. Its a society within a society.

Now we call them terrorists when they terrorize the rich. We accuse them as having kangaroo courts when our courts are selective as well. We pay taxes that never benefit us and most end up in the pockets of bandits masquerading as public servants. We must realize that we live in a society that will never accept change. A society which fears change, a change so drastic that it strikes fear than understanding. Many dismiss the insurgents as mere bandits yet we allow banditry in our institutions. Is this the progress our leaders boast of? Unless we understand what our brothers in the hills are fighting for, we will never have peace. Unless we accept that peace cannot be achieved through the barrel of a gun and persecution of those who believe in an equal society, progress will be an elusive dream.

As long as we have leaders who are greedy and insensitive, all kinds of reforms will never materialize. I have seen the despair in the eyes of the poor. I have seen them abused by those who have deep pockets. I have even heard comments like they have no right to complain because they never pay taxes. Every Filipino has rights and our constitution assures that right even to the poorest of the poor. We who have enough should be the last to put down the poor. We who are schooled should learn to understand. Only when we are humble enough to care, then and only then can we rein in those who have been alienated to believe in the society we envision.

Our country has never known freedom. Our politicians protect the rich and drive away the poor. They only remember the poor during elections. They feed on the desperation of the people to advance their personal interests. We have always been slaves to the rich. Sixty years of liberty amounted to nothing. Our society continue to regress, soon we will be back to a feudalistic society where we are all serfs and our leaders, our landlords.


Thursday, March 08, 2007


Back in 2004, during the canvassing in congress, we witnessed the spectacle of cheating right under our noses. Some maybe cheering and others heaving a sigh of protest. Day after day, we heard two prominent personalities utter the word NOTED again and again. The two are the "Mr. Bypass", Raul Gonzalez and the other, holier than thou, "Mr. Noted", Kiko Pangilinan.

Looking back, I wonder what would have happened if both entertained the opposition's protestations? Amid the hoots and howls and Digs Dilangalen's outbursts, the two majority leaders banged their gavels and shouted the most abused word of the day, NOTED. Was there a sinister plan already in motion or were the duo acting with expediency to please an impatient nation?

A year after, the Garci tapes came out and the nation reeled into uproar. With each passing day, people from different walks of life were caught in a hail of intrigues and deceit. Witnesses started to come out to tie together the biggest electoral fraud the country had ever seen. Going back to my question, were Kiko and Raul part of that grand plan to defraud a nation?

Raul could have as he has remained untouchable despite the many blunders he had committed. Kiko on the other hand is an elected official. He now paints himself as an independent who stands by the rule of principles. His wife Sharon defended his stand and actions during the canvassing. She said that Kiko just wanted to speed up the process as the electorate was becoming impatient with the slow canvassing.

Haste really makes waste. If they had only given the opposition a chance to be heard, we could have known about the cheating way sooner. We could have discovered for ourselves if there was cheating in a scale the opposition and other witnesses say. We could have averted the so-called ballot switching in congress. We could have known if FPJ was cheated in the millions or if GMA won by a small margin. The legitimacy issue could have been solved right there and then. I voted for some other candidate and it did not dawn on me that the word "NOTED" would have such a big impact on our country.

As elections dawn on us again, let's take time and ponder what's in store for us. Will we see the word "NOTED" rear its ugly head again? I hope not. My head is still spinning from the blast we got from that godforsaken word. Let's be more keen this time unless we want to be taken for another ride. This time, I'll take "NOTE" of that. Let's do our part and be extra vigilant this time around.

"Do I hear anyone saying, NOTED?"


An Open Letter From A Concerned Parent

I got this through my email: This is a summary voluntarily sent by a parent to a group of parents who banded together for the purpose of fighting the unscrupolous businessmen in the Pre-Need Industry. The parent's name is withheld for their right to privacy and security reasons.

Dear Parents.......

I would like to update all of you on the plan to launch the PEPC Party List. It is definitely being spearheaded by the Pacific Education Planholders but joined by the planholders from CAP, TPG and Platinum. The move comes about because of the realization and first hand experience of the sad flaws of our current systems in government which plays not by the rules of justice but of power and influence. But instead of just griping and bashing, the leaders would like to try and work for changes by using the electoral system. Significantly, this will be the first time that the middle class and the business people will be bonding together and try to enter the realm of politics.

The basic platform of the party is good governance as well as protection of consumers, especially from being bullied by big corporations--exemplified by what happened to pre-need plan holders.

A few updates on the fight of the Pacific Planholders (given by PEP Coalition President Philip Piccio to the school's parents last Friday night)...

As you know, the Yuchengcos filed 14 libel cases against the officers of PEPCoalition. 10 have been dismissed; there are 4 more to be resolved. There were some near attempts to arrest Philip and the officers but Philip told the judge that if he did that, he would not post bail and he would gladly wait in jail for all the planholders to raise his bail money--just to highlight the injustice of the charge. The judge balked and did not issue the warrant. (As I understand it, then, it shows that the cases really do not have merit)

The decision to declare legal the formation of the Lifetime Plans (the spun off company that got most of the money from the PEP plans so that PEP became insolvent) by the Regional Trial Court was appealed by PEPC. The presiding judge in that case (Judge Barza) was also made a justice of the Court of Appeals 3 days after he approved the rehabilitation plan of Pacific Plans . Things did not seem to look so good for PEP planholders. But by a miracle, Philip admits, the Court of Appeals remanded the decision to the lower court and told that court two things: a) by virtue of the evidence presented by the lawyers of Yuchengco, it is obvious they are liquid enough to pay the receivables up to 2014 and b) the lower court erred in not allowing the new evidence presented by the PEPC and the case should be re-decided!

This puts the Yuchengcos now in a quandary. If they appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, the case will reach a final decision immediately, instead of a long protracted struggle (which they thought would happen and prefer). It is most likely that they will lose in the Supreme Court because the merits of our case are very strong. If they follow the Court of Appeals decision, they are forced to settle with the planholders. This comes about due to the untiring heroic efforts of the PEPC leaders (who no longer can live normal lives--their families, too) and the Ongkiko law office who is doing all this pro bono.

PEPC has started filing cases of syndicated estafa against the Board of Directors of Pacific Plans. During arraignment, all came except Helen Yuchengco (the prime architect of the maneuvers to isolate Pacific Plans from the Yuchengco Group of Companies that became the reason for declaring insolvency and inability to pay) despite the fact that her appearance was mandated by law. But she was allowed to get away with it. The first case was filed in Manila and, as expected, was dismissed. The second will be filed in another place in Metro Manila, after examining the reasons for dismissal. New evidence will be presented. But the officers expect this to be dismissed again. The dismissals while disappointing are actually Ok with them (they are realistic about the power and influence of the Yuchengcos). They have more than 100,000 plan holders anyway all over the country and a lot are willing to file the cases, which hopes to get stronger and stronger as each of Pacific's arguments for dismissal are rebutted. It exemplifies the tenacity and commitment of the men and women who are leading us in this fight to see that what is due us is eventually given to us.

So I make this appeal. If you think that this shouldn't be happening--that people cannot rely on promises written in the contracts by big companies, that cannot hold them accountable to these promises because they are so small compared to these wealthy companies, that some have to experience being threatened, their lives being disrupted just because a lot of us wish to see these companies made accountable--please put PEP COALITION (or PEP, for short) -- both are acceptable in the ballot-- in the blank for party list in your ballot during elections. It is estimated that for every 300,000 voters that do so, we will get 1 seat in Congress. We are aiming for at least 3 party seats. The people who will represent us in those seats will be (in this order): Philip Piccio (PEPC's President), Wilson Lee Flores and PEPC's Finance Head, Vicente Ortuoste. Wilson Lee Flores (the Star columnist) is not a pre-need holder (but his sister is a preneed victim as well) but he represents the other members of the business community who are joining us in this stand for good governance and protection of the consumer. As Wilson says, this is historical in that it is the first time that the middle class and the business community will be sending a party to congress... [By the way, the parties that have 3 seats in Congress are Bayan Muna, APEC and Akbayan...they're well-organized. So why can't WE do this too?]

"I am not an officer of PEPC. I do not head any committee. I don't have any responsibilities assigned to me. I just receive the texts and pass them on to whoever I know is interested. But this is my contribution to my country. I am being given an opportunity to make a difference through a group I know who share many of my frustrations with the current way we are governed. So I send this write-up and hope that you will help us get those 900,000 votes or more we need to make a difference. Thank you for reading my email."

A Concerned Parent


Monday, March 05, 2007

On The Road To Martial Law?

The presence of the military in the metropolis is a clear sign that something is afoot. The timing is suspect, being so close to the elections. It seems that the MOA signed by the COMELEC and DND Sec. Avelino Cruz has been dumped. With the approval of the Human Security Act of 2007 and the deployment of the military in Metro Manila, one would wonder if the administration is gearing up for martial law.

The last time military presence was felt was during the coups of the late '80s. What makes it different now is the constant propaganda against the left-wing party-lists. Norbie Gonzales had been harping on the communist threat for several weeks now. While Gabby Claudio wants us to give the AFP the benefit of the doubt, the military has time and again shown that they cannot be trusted. With the extra-judicial killings, the military has lost its credibility. CoS Hermogenes Esperon is a known GMA attack dog and any statement or justification from him is highly questionable.

With the power and arrogance he wields, he can do pretty much anything with impunity. The signs are all there for people to see. Marcos laid down the predicate to the declaration of martial law with the Red Scare. It is happening now with Gonzales's pronouncements. The attacks on the party-lists integrity coupled with the Terrorist Scare, shows where the administration is heading to. With the surveys going against its bets, they are on the verge of political meltdown.

See how the administration tries to divert the people's attention on the political issues hounding Gloria? She is now trying hard to do an Erap to win over the masses who definitely see her true color than the fence-sitting middle class. She thinks she can bribe the poor with her promises of growth and wealth. Marcos too did this to kill the people's skepticism while the military subdued the critics.

Is this a prelude to something bigger? This obvious electioneering by the military at this time is something we should not be taking lightly. These deployments are serious enough and threatens the outcome of the elections. We should not take Esperon's denials at face value and should be more vigilant. Its an obvious attempt to cloak the true nature of their deployment.

This latest deployment of the military is a slap on the face of the PNP. It clearly demonstrates the ineptness of the police at cracking down on criminality. Is the military now assuming the role of the police? The MOA clearly stated the military's role during this elections. Ebdane and Esperon clearly overstepped the boundaries of the MOA. Unless the COMELEC is in cahoots with the administration, Abalos should quickly charge Esperon with violations of the Election Code. Abalos should sue him in court. But alas, Abalos had given in to Esperon and now the road is clear for the AFP to do as it pleases.

Clearly the deployment of the military has intimidated the people. As if under constant watch, people have no other option but to give statements supporting the military presence. Armed with long firearms, who wouldn't be intimidated. With their presence, any form of partisanship is quickly crushed. With 26 communities now under its control in the metropolis, how many more will follow? There is no clear and present danger to the people that warrants such an operation. Clearly, the military and GMA are taking no chances. They need to rein in the masses to avoid a victory of the legitimate party-lists and the growing opposition.

Its a way of telling the electorate that the AFP will not allow any form of dissent. As the signing of the Human Security Act of 2007 dawns on us, what assurance do we have that this will not be used by the current dispensation to perpetuate itself to power? With the current mindset of the military and GMA's track record, the law can easily be abused by the administration. The Anti-terror Commission is composed of Malacañang lackeys who will need no coercion from Gloria and would gladly put her critics behind bars.

Its no wonder that Gloria is reinforcing her forces, its a last ditch effort for her to save her skin. They have resorted to the infamous "HAMLET SYSTEM", widely used to quell dissent. They are attacking the mass base of their critics. Striking terror and fear is the best deterrent to an expanding opposition. This is a stab to the very essence of civil liberties. The blatant display of force and the impunity by which this administration is harassing the people, where else would it lead? Are we on the road to Martial Law?


Friday, March 02, 2007

A Democracy Under Siege

The government is suppose to allow democracy to evolve and mature. But the current dispensation is actually stifling democracy. The extra-judicial killings and the harassment of its critics undermines our democracy. After Dr. Alston and the Melo report pointed to the military as culprits in the killings, there are now reports of harassment of partylist members.

In a true democracy, all ideas are welcome. But what is happening here is the hypocrisy of government. Anyone who espouses social reform is met not with understanding but with outright rejection and worse, the barrel of the gun. Our constitution assures us protection from harm and allows us to do or say as we please within the bounds of law. It also allows the representation of the different sectors of society. It assures equality among its citizens.

But what do we do when the state mocks the real essence of democracy? What do we do increasingwhen the state and the supposed protector of the people are the ones perpetrating crimes against its people? This is what is happening now. Are we to allow this culture of impunity that pervades our land?

Now even the supposed to be apolitical military is dipping its dirty hands in politics. They justify their killings in the name of insurgency. Before Sec. Nonong Cruz resigned, he and Com. Abalos of the COMELEC signed a MOA regarding the responsibilities and neutrality of the military. Apparently, Esperon just waited for the the people to settle down. With the appointment of Ebdane, the military hierarchy quickly moved and seems to have redefined the MOA.

Activists are now lumped together with the NPAs, the left-leaning partylists too are now considered enemy of the state. Dr. Alston pointed to the stifling of the partylists by the government. It seems his perception was accurate after all. Military units are now in the metropolis to intimidate members of these progressive groups. Even the media is now being shadowed by military operatives.

Is this the democracy Gloria continues to brag about? As the elections draw nearer, the killings of partylist members are escalating too. The impending signing of the Human Security Act of 2007 may soon uncloak its true intention. Now, anyone can be a target for the military death squads. The killings so far are in the far-flung areas, soon, it could be at Metro Manila's doorstep.

While many still believe the government propaganda about the Reds, it maybe too late for them to realize that we are now in a semi-dictatorial state. From the "state of denial", the government is now in a "state of justification". The AFP propaganda machine will not stop at nothing to destroy these progressive groups. They recently showed a video of Joma Sision supposedly naming, Bayan, Gabriela and LFS as communist front. The video is 20 or so years old. While it may be true 20 years ago, it certainly isn't now. The Communist Party was legalized during Pres. Aquino's time. The constitution also encourages the progressive groups to join the political mainstream through sectoral representation.

So it seems that the government must try to justify the continued killings to avoid increasing international pressure. They have to link those killed to the insurgency. This is what they want the international community to believe. We no longer live in a democratic state but one which tries to make it appear that we are. When a government suppresses and oppresses its people, then its now a dictatorship. Some of you may say hat we are free, I would question that. When journalists are either sued or killed, we cannot call it freedom. When even the youth mysteriously disappear for criticizing the government, it is not freedom. When any form of public expression/assembly is met with violent force it is not freedom. What we have is a democracy on paper not a true democracy.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Economy In The Eyes Of Gloria

Gloria keeps bragging about how our economy is taking off. She's boasts of how her economic reforms has led to the peso's strength and the booming stock market. Fuel and LPG costs have also been dropping. As if to put icing on the cake, the NAPOCOR announced that they will be lowering their generation charge. She said that this is the start of the trickle down effect which the people will finally feel.

Either I'm stupid or Gloria is telling the truth. The dollar had been dropping in the world market. Our OFWs have also been breaking records in terms of monthly and annual remittances. The dollars which they have been sending home has propped our economy through the increased spending of their families. Based on consumerism, our economy is humming along. But while there is in an increase in spending, these are spent on mostly imported goods which does not benefit our local manufacturers.

The spark in our stock market is mostly due to bargain hunting which had resulted in the rise in stock market gains and activity. Its mostly paper trading and very few companies actually use their earnings in stocks to expand their businesses. Most use it to strengthen their portfolio or to add liquidity to their companies. Franchising is what gives some companies room to expand. Taking royalties while their "new" partners pick up the tab. Even telecom companies now expand through the use of agent outlets. The movement of the stock market does not affect the poor anyway. Its those who have excess funds who gain from it. To put it bluntly, the rich gets richer while the poor stay poor.

Oil and LPG prices have been on a steady decline since last year. Oil companies have been adjusting their prices on a weekly basis. With the drop in the dollar rate coupled with the dropping prices of oil in the world market, its but natural that it would affect our local prices as well. NAPOCOR really will have to adjust its prices too.

The EVAT which was imposed last year has greatly increased the government's spending purse. Its additional cost for the people but an added funding for government. Of course, with higher taxes, its but natural for the government to have a deeper pocket. The additional taxes have somehow increased the cost of living of the ordinary Filipino.

So what is Gloria really bragging about? All these gains were brought about by outside forces which she does not control. She has this nasty habit of claiming credit for things she has nothing to do with. What if things were reversed? Can she still boast about an improving economy? The flight of our labor force is the best indicator that there is nothing the government can offer. It shows a people's desperation to make their lives worth living. This is Gloria's biggest contribution, the slavery of the Filipino, a shameless way to address the unemployment.

The cycle became more vicious under her regime. The former OFWs are forced once more to take that familiar path of seeking work abroad. The twist is that now, the children they are sending to school are aiming for the very same path their parents are taking, the road to a distant promise land.

Until such time when Filipinos are no longer traded as commodities, until such time when children can attend school, until such time when every Filipino has access to quality health service, and until such time when families eat three times a day, Gloria and her ilk can shove it. I'd like to hear what what her Team Unity has to say when they debate on the economy. I'd like to hear how they will convince the ordinary Filipino that their lives are improving.

Gloria, oh Gloria... when will you ever learn? Honesty, integrity and genuine love for country makes a good president. "Bogus ka na nga, sinungaling ka pa."