Friday, November 30, 2007

In Retrospect: The Standoff

In hindsight, was the Manila Peninsula Standoff really intended for us, the Filipino people? If it were spontaneous as Sen. Trillanes claims, then it was doomed to fail. People will never come. Were you and I the audience he seeks? I doubt it very much as I view the incident as an avenue for a different purpose. From a military point of view, you will never "invade" unprepared.

So I think it was not meant for us. Trillanes is a soldier and he would know, the people will never come without the proper information. Even the opposition was caught off-guard by his action. His move has a deeper motive. Was it a test case, was it a balloon to test the sentiment of the people? Maybe, maybe not, I think we will find out in the days to come.

Missing yesterday was the coming out of major service commanders to show their unquestioned support for the incumbent. The downplaying by the military of the incident as a simple police action only proves that there are rumblings in the military. DOTC sec. Leandro Mendoza's order to closely watch the ports and airports supports this theory. It only shows that there indeed a broader support for Trillanes in the armed forces. The constant loyalty checks also supports this theory. Was the move by Trillanes meant for the military? We all cannot simply dismiss this outright.

I am sure that professional soldiers will at all times adhere to their constitutionally mandated roles. They know the limits of the doctrine of the chain of command and what constitutes legal and moral orders. These soldiers will question anything that is unlawful. This is the cause of continuing military adventurism. Soldiers will follow but will have lingering questions in them.

That fact that independent and professional generals never make it as chief of staff proves that a strength of a president(?) relies heavily on her relations with the military leadership. This practice have been questioned by disgruntled officers since far back as I can remember.

On Coups And Its Components

Coups of the violent nature will never succeed in this country. People will never subscribe to a militarist view. The fact that violent coups in the past were widely condemned and never supported only shows that a violent option for a takeover is doomed to fail. People power however is a different animal altogether. Civilian-led moves had been successful. But for this to succeed need a series of worsening events. Gloria's situation is of this nature.

The questions of her legitimacy continue to hound her. The corruption scandals and the blocking of legal avenues to resolve these questions could escalate things. Ninoy Aquino's assassination merely started the ball rolling for Marcos's downfall. The real spark was the cheating in the snap election. When an administration resorts to subversion of the constitution and curtailing of civil liberties, then it will be prone to coups and civilian upheaval.

The administration's reaction yesterday may have some legal basis to a certain extent. Its actions to resolve the incident may have been proper. But it failed miserably to paint a picture of stability. The small details such as the hauling of the media, "dragnet" style will not sit well in the eyes of foreign press. The cuffing of clergy and senior citizens is unsettling to some. The imposition of the curfew has sparked questions of its legality however justified the imposition maybe.

So it seems we have not seen the end of actions like the one Trillanes took. It has exposed the frailties of the current dispensation, whether it be its political image or public relations. What is clear is that there is growing public dissent. The continuing discontent should not be discounted. Accountability is still the order of the day. Gloria's remaining years will be the ride of her life. Whether she will be finally ousted will depend on how fat her wallet is. What awaits her beyond 2010 is uncertain. She has only two options left, a shift to parliamentary form or a declaration of martial law. Exile is not an option, she will have to face the music eventually.

One statement resounds, Gen. Danilo Lim summed it all up. "DISSENT WITHOUT ACTION CONSENT."


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Freedom Under Threat

The standoff at the Manila Peninsula exposed the true nature of the state of the nation. We are not in a free state nor is the true essence of democracy is practiced. With the friction that the administration has been having with the media, now is the time that GMA and her gang can collect payback. DILG Ronaldo Puno did away with niceties and minced no words in justifying the police's treatment of the members of media.

Only in countries under authoritarian rule do we see such excesses committed by security forces on journalists. Alston's findings are now proved right. The government can and will twist anything to serve its purpose. But this not stop there. every venue of discontent has been plugged by this administration. Rallies are met with violence and critics silenced for eternity.

Some may say otherwise and claim, no, we are free. But freedom has a broad definition. We maybe free in a superficial way but there is a deeper meaning to it. I suppose people see things differently. Some maybe content with their lives concerned only with their comforts and enjoyment. But those are simple things which cannot be the barometer of freedom. True freedom offers more.

With its popularity in the gutters, the government will not hesitate to use any means to hold on to power. This has been displayed so many times. Just look at the impunity by which this administration abuses its powers. I am sure that the coming days will be a stroll in the past. Gloria has perfected what Marcos left unfinished. Another round of witch hunt will be conducted and known critics once again harassed.

Freedom has been under threat since Gloria took over. It became more apparent in the last three years. The arrest of dozens of journalists in full view of the world and the subsequent confiscation of their equipment is a complete violation of freedom of the press. Even foreign journalists were not spared and repercussions will surely follow. Seeing handcuffed journalists is not a good sight to see especially to the international community.

This will not simply blow over. There simply is no law which can justify this action. I suppose the overreaction of this paranoid government has stirred them to make a succession of blunders. Seeing a former VP handcuffed, clergymen handcuffed and then the journalists will not sit well with society. The coming days will be a wait and see. This incident could may very well start the ball rolling for this regime's demise.

The scenario will be taking a different color in the days to come. Reactions by the public could not be noticed until the last moment. That is how our society works. We can be patient but are not martyrs.


News Update! Trillanes And Lim Walkout (UPDATED)

Senator Trillanes and Gen. Danny Lim walked out of the Makati RTC which was hearing the case of Sen. Trillanes. The group now is in Manila Peninsula. The MPs tasked to secure the two merely followed them. They were joined by former VP Guingona and former UP pres. Nemezio.

Guests were not disturbed and some even showed support. Esperon has issued a statement that the MPs were ordered not to intervene. The group has settled in and has issued a statement calling on the military and the people to withdraw their support of the Arroyo administration.

DnD sec. Teodoro said that they will use the full force of the law and that he has been ordered to rearrest the group. Civilians also brought out Magdalo armbands to show support for the group.

On a different light, Viviene Yuchengco speaking from the PSE said that the AFPshould deploy snipers and shoot the group. Talk about pure stupidity. This woman obviously has no other concern but money.

Some bishops have also joined the group at the Manila Pen.

12:53 PM - Marines are moving from Fort Bonifacio. Some marines wearing orange markers are reported to have joined the group.

1:19 PM - Riot units of Navy deploy. Marines wearing orange markers join Lim and Trillanes.

1:26 PM - About 300 troops cordon off the Manila Pen area. Whose side they're on is unclear. They refuse to comment when asked. Replying only that they are following orders.

1:49 PM - Arrest orders have been issued by Malacañang. Negotiations have started and all occupants are asked to vacate the hotel.

2:00 PM - Malacanang holds a press-con. As expected, Lito Atienza had a mouthful to say about the rule of law(?) and the church's role.

2:26 PM - DOJ sec. Gonzalez says there is connivance between civilians and the group of trilanes and Lim.

2:39 PM - NCRPO chief Barrias delivers 3 PM ultimatum. He said he will effect arrests after. Use of force is not ruled out by Barrias. Mkti RTC judge issues warrant of arrest for contempt. Barrias was driven out of the hotel by a Magdalo member.

2:42 PM - Guests start evacuating the hotel. Trillanes speaks. He says that nothing will happen after 3PM. He also points out that AFP is not 100% behind GMA. He also stressed that's they are merely following the lead of the people and that its the people's choice whether they would like GMA to continue to make a mockery of our democracy.

3:09 PM - Way past the deadline, 4 phone numbers were given so the people may call in their support.

3:11 PM - DBM sec. Andaya tries to interpret law as he sees fit.

3:15 PM - DOTC sec. Mendoza of the ZTE fame tries to "scare" media into giving airtime to Trillanes. He was quick however to laud media for a fair reporting of the ongoing standoff.

It now boils down to how one views the constitution and the abuse of the doctrine of the chain of command. Men in uniform have become automatons, devoid of principles, and common sense.

Donald Dee meantime says that actions like this could bring down the entire country. From my point of view, its only Gloria's ass that's on the line.

3:35 PM - Trillanes goes down to the lobby to escort some guests out of the building. Magdalo still control the entrance of the hotel.

3:40 PM - Police are asking media to leave. Trillanes and his group remain steadfast and will fight if they have to.

3:58 PM - Barrias says SWAT ready to storm hotel any minute now.

4:02 PM - SWAT slowly approach hotel as warning shot rang out.

4:03 PM - V-150 apc moves with SAF closely moving with it.

4:05 PM - Some guests are still inside with Magdalo showing them out.

4:14 PM - Troops crouch closer to hotel. Apc now in the driveway behind the hotel.

4:17 PM - Media are herded into one side of the lobby. Local and foreign media comprise the group.

4:20 PM - Trillanes say people are being blocked from going near the hotel. He adds that they are just waiting for things to unfold.

4:23 PM - Media asked to stop filming troop movements to cloak the operation.

4:25 PM - Trillanes chides the kind of people the administration has sent to various TV stations for interviews. Even comparing them with the men inside the hotel with him.

4:35 PM - Media and other civilians still inside the hotel. JV Bautista says government has lost decency. He laments that the senate has been stymied and the lower house composed of paid hacks. He said that this action is not against the judicial processes but a fight against a corrupt and illegitimate presidency. He also will question the issuance of the warrant. He says that these are political acts against the current dispensation.

4:48 PM - Assault starts. Teargas lobbed into ground floor of hotel.JV Bautista says Lim and Trillanes will take their stand.

4:51 PM - RG Guevarra says they will all stay. If this should be the new Tirad Pass, so be it. Trillanes said that the people should witness the ruthlessness of this administrations. Guevarra adds that they are willing to lay their lives on the line.

4:58 PM - VP Guingona said a call for sobriety is a bit too late. Bunye presents local officials reminiscent of Marcos's last days in office. Shots are now being fired.

5:03 PM - Firing escalates. 500 people trapped inside the hotel.

5:06 PM - Apc breaks into the lobby of the hotel. 2 civilians brought out.

5:08 PM - About 50 troops enter lobby as shots are fired. Apc serving as their cover.

5:09 PM - Lim refused to talk to media.

5:16 PM - CNN reporter still inside hotel. Reports his ordeal during the start of the assault.

5:18 PM - Bishop Libayen speaks. Group has decided to leave the hotel as situation becoame too dangerous for civilians inside. Libayen says that to have peace, there must be justice. Justice he says is not being properly dispensed with. Sen. Trillanes says he is standing for the rights of the oppressed. He adds that we are witnesses to the kind of treatment this government is willing to give. He said that they will face whatever action is taken upon him. He doesn't want the blood of the innocent to be spilled. Lim for his part said that dissent without action is consent. Trillanes said that he is not the loser but the entire nation. Trillanes also said that the AFP will soon live up to its mandate.

Bibet Orteza lauds the kind of leaders she is with. Bibet is proud to be a Filipino. Trillanes was voted to the senate by more than 11 million votes. He asks the people that he believes that GMA will still be there beyond 2010. To stand is no longer a duty but a moral obligation. Like all evil regimes, Gloria's reign will also have meets its end.

The group is still inside a function room while waiting for the teargas to dissipate.

5:43 PM - Gen. Barias has asked 11 media to go to Bicutan for questioning. Pinky Webb of ANC says that she has no idea what questions will asked of them.

5:52 PM - Media are finally allowed to leave the hotel. All media will be brought to Bicutan.

6:03 PM - Norbeto Gonzales now announces the start of another witch

6:09 PM - Media are frisked and searched and are whisked away at gun point. Atty. Marichu Lambino says that media can reject an invitation. She also points out that violations may have been committed in this regard.

6:14 PM - The group of Trillanes files out of the hotel.

6:19 PM - Trillanes is brought out and the rest of the group will be brought to Bicutan as well.

6:29 PM - Members of media are brought out with strapped hands.

Last entry on media affairs: Media being the source of our information are now treated as common criminals despite what explanations the police may provide. It was media's duty to update us of what was happening on the ground. Police may have overstepped the boundaries of law. The rough treatment of our brothers in media should be condemned by all.


When Dogs Run Wild

The Alston report is finally out, and it points to the military as perpetrators of extrajudicial killings. As expected, Esperon is once again dismayed. PNP Chief Avelino Razon also questions the report. We all know about the sham Task Force Usig and Melo Commission. These were creations of GMA to cover up the mess she and her dogs created.

Gloria herself called for an all-out war against the left. It was so sweeping that it justifies and legalizes the use of covert actions against those perceived to be enemies of the state. So everybody became fair game to an inhuman military leadership, even legitimate opposition were lumped with the insurgents. The military will of course deny such actions. Not all units are used for these operations. I am sure that only a select few conduct these operations.

This is now a problem we all must face. Gloria has allowed her dogs to run wild. They instill fear in all critics of the current dispensation. Gloria has to keep the military leadership close to her. She has to keep them happy long after they retire. Just look at how many retired police and military men occupy high positions in government. Gloria's "savior" in EDSA 2, Gen. (ret.) Angelo Reyes have been bouncing around different cabinet positions. He paved the way for GMA's power grab in 2001.

Generals tapped for electoral fraud in 2004 have been given top posts in the military hierarchy. Esperon, Gloria's top dog has been abusing the doctrine of "chain of command" to keep the lowly soldier in line no matter how immoral the orders may be. Those who stand for their constitutionally mandated duties are quickly dealt with and charged in military courts.

Such is the current state of lawlessness in the Philippines. Impunity is the order of the day. Those tasked to protect the people had thrown their principles out the window. They have become mercenaries for an illegitimate and greedy regime. Men who were taught to adhere to the ideals of professional soldiering are reduced to dogs of a despot-wannabe.

The killings have waned since the UN took interest in the Philippine situation. GMA's dogs have stood down lest they run the risk of an outright international condemnation. So life goes on in the enchanted kingdom of Gloria. I am sure she is just biding her time and waiting for things to cool down. I hope the international community will not abandon the Filipino people. I hope they keep their watch or Gloria will once again set her dogs loose to run wild among the populace.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tagged By Two

I know, I know, some would react. Some of you who have tagged me have been waiting for months now. Melai and Nick leads the pack. But as of late, Kris (Nightdreamer) and Elay (Flygirl) have tagged me. Kris wants to know why I blog and Elay wants to know 7 things about me.

I seldom do this but I suppose I have to now.

To Kris who's been a faithful reader and a friend, here are 5 reasons why I blog.

  1. I want to share my views on the goings on in our country.
  2. I want to open the eyes of the youth and if possible, influence them to take a more proactive role in nation building.
  3. I blog for advocacy and what better way to get the message across through blogging.
  4. I have to make a stand against corrupt leaders and this is one way of expressing my disgust.
  5. I am an idealist and this is one way of sharing my principles and ideals.

Elay, here are 7 things you have to know about me.

  1. I love pizza and tacos.
  2. I too love planes.
  3. I collect models, from cars to ships.
  4. I hate bigots.
  5. I love making friends.
  6. I call my younger blogging friends, anak (that includes you).
  7. I love video games.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Cronyism And Philippine Politics

Cronyism has been our country's biggest headache since time immemorial. Politics leads to creating a more profitable retirement. Politics not only gives one power but gives one a deeper pocket and a fatter wallet. Such is the case with the current dispensation. Bids and sales are awarded to close associates. Why is it that every time a multi-billion project comes up, the name Enrique Razon is not far behind?

The shelved NBN deal which is currently being investigated by the senate exposed the links between the Arroyos and Razon. The NBN controversy is yet to be resolved but a new and bigger controversy looms in the horizon. The government now wants to sell Transco, the company responsible for power transmission. Transco is one of the government's few assets which actually earn.

We should have learned from Petron's sale during the Ramos administration. Instead of preventing a birth of a cartel, the sale has led to the creation of one. If Petron was not privatized, Shell, Caltex and the rest of oil firms would not be able to dictate upon us the indiscriminate increases in fuel prices. Petron would have been a deterrent to such a cartel.

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.(PSALM) was tasked to oversee the Transco bidding. It is headed by Jose Ibazeta who is a close associate of Enrique Razon, Jr. Ibazeta sat as a director for Razon's various companies. Razon is a close friend of none other than Mike Arroyo. Razon's Monte Oro consortium is one of the bidders for Transco. Razon was also Team Unity's treasurer. With Ibazeta conducting the bidding, Razon has a greater chance at outbidding(?) the three other bidders.

The winning bidder not only stands to have control over power transmission but also the telecommunications business as well. Fiber optics in the transmission cables can give clearer and broader wireless telecoms services. Just imagine the huge profit Transco can generate. The NBN can easily be provided by Transco considering its national coverage.

Its a pure and simple case of cronyism. The Arroyos are clearly building a business empire with the aid of their cronies. Dummies and fronts are nothing new to business. Its an accepted practice anywhere. I wouldn't be surprised that some time in the future, an Arroyo would be named chairman in any of the companies put up by their cronies. I wouldn't be surprised too if they end up being majority stockholders of their cronies' businesses.

The vaunted Gloria-nomics brags about growth yet why sell government assets and acquire more loans? It defies logic that despite a claimed growing economy, government has no funds to spend. Aside from irresponsible spending, buying off allies has drained the national coffers. Instead of selling off the government's nonperforming assets, why sell those which actually make money?

So it seems that the Arroyo's greed has not diminished but has grown in fact. Why settle for kickbacks when you can actually get more with the sale of government assets? So the rape of the country continues. The only time we will see the actual devastation is after Gloria steps down or is ousted. I prefer the latter, to wait for 2010 might be too late.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

When The Going Gets Tough, Look Busy

Scandals galore continue to hit the Arroyo government. And even the World Bank has joined the fray. While the request of the UN-WGEID (UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances) gathers dust on Gloria's table, Central Philippines is battered by successive typhoons. Blasts has hit Metro Manila and the PNP is hard-pressed to come up with answers.

Bribery, kickbacks, pardons left and right and stonewalling investigations, light is slowly waning in GMA's palace. So to look good and somehow convince the people she's doing something, she calls a command conference to find out what her loyal buffoons are up to. I am sure this is just another stage play in Gloria's attempt to show she cares.

Judging from her body language, she looked bored, and at times sleepy. I am sure that at the back of her head, she must be dreaming of her soft bed in the palace. Such is the life of a despot who tries to hold on to power. Sincerity was never a trait, even at trying to look like she is just too obvious its all an act. Just look at how she will squeeze every centavo from our senior citizens while she gives tax discounts to cigarette manufacturers.

What gives, she doesn't really care. Her main focus is survival. As if God has heard our prayers, the typhoon spares an already desperate Bicol. Damage to crops and property manageable with most affected communities evacuated. Its tough being an illegitimate president, one who is hounded by ghosts of her crimes. She should be thankful its typhoon season as most are too occupied and her scandals drowned out.

Its tough times for Gloria, even tougher than the Garci episode. Now, more concrete evidences link her and beloved partner. International organizations slowly see the truth. No more diplomacy or sweet talk can her. She now sits alone with her dogs at her feet just waiting when the whole charade ends. Like any dictator, acting is an essential part of her everyday life. She has to create a script and a scene she will be comfortable in. Her motto: "Whan the going gets tough, look busy."


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Corruption And The Corrupt

As the World Bank hands Gloria Arroyo a bag of shit, it highlights the how corruption has evolved. From a clandestine act to hide its illegality, it has become brazen and blatant. No more does corruption lurk in the shadows, it has come out in the open for everyone to see. It has become proud and has become the rule than the exception.

In a developing country such us ours, the only ones who "develop" are those in power while the rest are left with nothing. Corruption is nothing new to us except that it is now a sanctioned act then a crime. How many times have our leaders escaped with their loot? The likes of Joc-Joc Bolante remain free and only the small fry get convicted. We have yet to see a cabinet secretary get the ax or even charged.

The Marcos's are slowing recovering their ill-gotten work. Ramos had his IPPs, PEA-AMARI and Expo scams. He was never held liable for them. Erap was set free despite a conviction and never served a minute in prison. Now its Gloria's turn to rub salt on our open wound. She is a different animal. She has this arrogant not confident air. She bulldozed her way to infamy. She wreaked havoc on the country and left our institutions in shambles.

Despite creating so many agencies to combat corruption, it persists and has even grown. Why, because corruption emanates from the highest office of the land. GMA has tolerated, abetted and even benefited from corruption. Not only were her official family implicated in so many corruption scandals, even her own family, her son and husband has been implicated as well. With their actuations, even the ordinary Filipino has been perceived corrupt.

Because our leaders represent us, everybody now sees us in the same light. The gift-giving in halls of Malacanang is the lastest and most blatant act of corruption yet. It was done with arrogance and disregard for the laws of the land. GMA and her gang can do anything with abandon. While the Filipino wallows in the quagmire of despair, Gloria and her gang loots the country dry.

I am somehow glad that the World Bank has decided to stop its aid. It is a slap on Gloria's face. If she can do everything shamelessly, its high time someone finally puts her in her proper place. For the second time in Philippine-WB relations, we have been dealt with an action like this. The first was during Cory's term. The difference is that back then, heads did roll and charges filed. Now, despite allegations and even evidence-supported allegations, nobody ever gets fired.

I am sure that GMA will once again bank on the strong peso, her "legacy projects", her taskforce and the GDP growth. I am sure she will say that she will remain focused on her programs. Yeah sure, focused on how much she will earn from these projects. She will again blame the political noise and the media for the negative perception. She will blame the poor for their woes and she will blame every Tom, Dick and Harry, but she will never blame herself.

So life goes on in our corruption-riddled country where the corrupt continue to reap the fruits of their immoral acts. The only change we see is how institutionalized corruption has become. Another round of investigations will not amount to anything. Even if evidences are revealed, as long as you have a mafia ring in the executive and the lower house, it will be just another day in the life of the Philippines. I do not know how much of this the lowly Filipino can take? Its time to wake up and kick someone's ass. I don't want to called corrupt, would you?


Monday, November 19, 2007

B.S. Criminology Major In Agriculture

Farmers, this is how I see our PNP investigators. The speed at which the Batasan bombing was resolved is mind boggling. Imagine, in one fell swoop, all suspects and even the smallest evidence were conveniently on hand. And this is just a couple of days after the bombing, how lucky can these blokes be? Immediately after the blast, the PNP had started framing the mind of the people on who was responsible for the blast.

I recall the capture of Honasan. Videocams were used to cover the complete operation. But with the killing and arrest of the so-called bombers, this was absent. It should be an SOP for every operation the police undertakes to prevent speculation and promote transparency. The public's mind is being framed to believe that Akbar was indeed the target and all evidences point to that theory.

But I think that there is more to this than meets the eye. Former Rep. Gerry Salapuddin was first implicated and now its Rep. Mujiv Hataman. With the peace talks in Mindanao in progress, could the bombing be connected to it? It has been the strategy of GMA's administration to divide and conquer to weaken its opponents. I would not be surprised if in the end, this was the case.

Its highly probable not simply plausible that evidences in found in the Payatas raid were planted by PNP elements. The PNP was quick to embrace their theory and forgot to exhaust all avenues to find the truth. This is also the case with the still unresolved blast in Glorietta 2. They were quick to dismiss it as a case of industrial accident. Even when the investigation they conducted was inconclusive and even 2 feet of debris still cover the G2 basement, they quickly put the blame on the owners of the mall.

I would rather have a lengthy but thorough investigation than have a resolution for convenience. It seems that the Abu Sayyaf has reached the notoriety of the NPA. Both have been convenient suspects for the government when incidents like this happen. In the end, credibility and perception dictates the what is believable. The PNP and AFP clearly lacks credibility. The public also has distrust for both services. Both have been mercenaries for Gloria whose distrusted by majority of the people.

The police investigators should do what is asked of them. They should solve crimes, they are not farmers.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Isolation And Deprivation

Trickle down effect has yet to reach the lower rungs of society. Gloria's economic reforms has led to the poor to be left behind in her claimed progress. Growth mainly was supported by the growing numbers of OFWs and government spending. While our OFW's contribution is not restricted to mere remittances, government is directed mainly to so-called infrastructure.

Remittances has contributed to the retail as well as the real estate businesses. OFW families have more to spend now. They have enjoyed years of high dollar rates which is now slowing down due to the stronger peso and the dropping dollar value. This had led to our OFWs now in a not so enviable situation.

The social cost of migration far outweigh its benefits. Children are deprived of parental connection. To make up for their shortcomings, parents resort to material expression. Children are left wanting of emotional and moral guidance. Parenting becomes a long distance affair. I am sure that if our OFWs had their way, they would rather stay here than be separated from their loved ones.

The claimed growth of Gloria-nomics has also isolated those who have no means to leave, making life more miserable to the unskilled and undereducated. Social services such as education and health continue to suffer. Schools are overcrowded, teachers are few and other school facilities are nonexistent. The dropout rate has steadily risen. The health sector has its problems as well. With the dwindling number of health workers due to migration, the ration now stands at 1:28,000. Nurses and doctors continue to seek higher paying jobs abroad. Government hospitals are closing down due to lack of personnel and government health subsidy per person is a mere P1.45 a day.

The local workforce has gotten the shortest end of the stick. Utility costs continue to rise which has also increased the cost of living. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. The trickle down the government promises will never reach the poor. The P43/day poverty threshold set by NEDA is simply unrealistic.

As desperation sets in, those who cannot cope with the rigors of the daily grind simply gives up. The case of the 12-yr. old girl had caused quite a stir. Local and national government inaccessibility is the culprit. Now the finger pointing begins. The mayor and the congressman of Davao City are blaming each other. Its sad that these elected officials have short-term memories. After the elections, they forget what their jobs are. They focus on how they can get back the money they spent in their campaigns.

Mayor Duterte and Rep. Nograles are now engaged in an absurd word war that only highlights their ineptness. Duterte being the mayor is hard pressed to sanitize his image. He had even gone as far as to desecrating the the body of the child by having her remains exhumed for autopsy. Duterte had framed an image of a hardworking public servant and the child's suicide is a big slap on his face. Now he is doing everything just to put the blame on someone else.

As for Nograles, his attention is more focused on saving Gloria's ass than serving his constituents. Just like most congressmen, you will see their ugly faces only during election season. The poor girl's family resides in his district and this too has put him in a bad light. Local government is suppose to be at the front line of the fight against poverty. They should be the one going around in a proactive role and reaching out to the people. The national government on the other hand should be introducing programs for poverty alleviation. It should not rely on highly suspicious statistics that try to cover up its shortcomings.

At the end of the day, its the government who isolates and deprives its people. The people are left own their own due to lack of genuine government concern. With the lavish gifts the palace can afford to give to its allies, this further insults the suffering people. The corruption is just too great that it is really the cause of the poverty in the country. The government has no one to blame but itself. And we the people, should now be thinking of good governance, accountability and transparency.


If Only They Had The Right Dogs

The toll of the Batasan bombing is now 4. There obviously was a lapse in security. The congress as we know is one of the seats of power. Why such an act succeeded would make everyone cringe in fear. If this could happen to the Batasan, then it could happen anywhere. There wouldn't be a safe place anywhere in the country.

The AFP and the PNP has been on heightened alert. The Batasan should have beefed up its security and should have installed x-ray machines. With the huge allowances and pork barrel given to congress, I am sure that they can provide the necessary funds to procure security equipments and hire more guards.

Perhaps they were too confident that no one would even dare bomb the Batasan. We may recall that a plan to bomb congress was discovered. This should have been a wakeup call for the Batasan. Questions come to mind why and how such a bombing could have been successfully undertaken. It was so daring that one would ask if it was a covert operation of state forces.

In hindsight, the PNP was certainly remiss in their duty. They were tasked to secure the Batasan and they failed miserably. If only the congress had more bomb-sniffing dogs, this could have been averted. I am sure that congress has more than enough to acquire more dogs to improve their security. But alas, the congress has dogs. Sadly they were the wrong dogs. What congress has in huge numbers are ass-licking dogs. Dogs that are too happy to lick the ass of the impostor.

How I wish that the innocent congress staff were spared from this tragedy. I grieve with their families. It would have been better if the ass-lickers got their asses licked this time around. Then perhaps the country would have a congress worthy of praise.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Batasan Bombed

At 8:15pm tonight, the South Wing of the Batasan Pambansa was rocked by a big explosion. Initial reports were sketchy and reports of casualties were conflicting. The ceiling of the South Wing collapsed from the blast. Three solons were reported hurt, Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela, Negros Oriental Rep. Pryde Henry Teves and Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar. Reports also said that Ilagan's driver, Marcial Talbo was killed.

This is the second blast to hit Metro Manila. The first was the blast that occured in Glorietta 2 (after the testimony of Joey de Venecia implicating GMA and her husband in the canceled ZTE deal). The explosion that hit the Batasan tonight comes in the eve of the senate hearings on the bribery that took place in Malacañang last month. It also took place at a time when issues about GMA's "Impeach Me" deliberations were to take place. The question that comes to mind is are these two blasts related?

With the way things are right now, issues are hurled at the people to divert our attention. Scandals have been rocking the Arroyo regime. Expose after expose of corruption have been coming out. The administration has been trying to convince the people that it is clean. But the people are not buying their assertions.

Memories of the days before martial law comes rushing back. Lawlessness was used to justify its declaration which led to the rape of the nation. The magnitude of the corruption in the Arroyo administration is so staggering to the senses that the only way for her to stay immunized is to stay in power way beyond 2010.

With mounting calls for her resignation and holding of snap elections, the embattled GMA has no recourse but to declare martial or to push for a shift to a parliamentary system. The Glorietta 2 blast has yet to be resolved. It could have been a trial balloon to see if Gloria has enough support ask for emergency powers. We all know that congress, even before she can open her mouth had said that there is no need for such.

I suppose that to bring it closer to "home" and get the congress's attention, she has to push the right buttons. Tonight's blast at the Batasan maybe the prelude to a more drastic action from Gloria. As she convenes the National Security Agency, one would wonder what would be next? Has she finally gotten the congress's attention? Will the senate go along with it? Will a blast or even just an attempt at the senate do the job?

We cannot be complacent with GMA. We have to be suspicious of the goings on around us. May it be the political noise or the violence, we need to be wary of the undertones. GMA is capable of anything, and she has proven this time and again. Even foreign pressure does not easily rattle her. The sly, scheming despot is just too wily to be dismissed.

The days ahead would tell us where we are heading. Will the future senate hearings play an important role in settling the final scenario? Would Gloria be successful or would the people see through her plan? We can only speculate for now but anything is possible. For now, we can only hope that we will wake up tomorrow and find out that we can still enjoy what remains of our dwindling democracy.

*As I was writing this, Wahab Akbar finally succumbed to his injuries.


Monday, November 12, 2007

DoorMat Defensor: GMA's Floormat

Matias Defensor has been hugging the airwaves defending the inevitable death of the GMA's impeachment. There is nothing new here. Its still a numbers game. They will never allow an impeachment complaint against Gloria to prosper. It will be a waste of time to argue it out with a doormat like Defensor.

Many like him are only too eager to take center stage and make themselves worthy of what Gloria paid them. But to allow themselves to be bought at such a small amount shows how "CHEAP" these stooges are. No sense in making a fool of one's self in exchange for loose change. If I were them, I would ask GMA for more. She wants her freedom, she must pay through her ass. Its her neck that's on the line here. I am sure that she will give more just to stay where she is.

DoorMat now challenges everyone to bring the matter to the Supreme Court. We all know they will stand by DoorMat's assertion. He insists that they will only entertain the weak Pulido complaint. There is no such thing as rule of law when we speak of the lower house. They will interpret law as they see fit. Due process depends on whose ass is at stake. Defensor will never allow anything near his master.

The (in)justice committee is composed of GMA's Kampi party and some were implicated in the gift-giving scandal in the palace, the supplemental complaint is doomed. Everything depended on Gloria's doorMat Defensor. Anything else hurled against GMA is dead.

Such is the reality in the lower house. The is no delicadeza to speak of. This is how thick-skinned these hoodlums are. No matter how ridiculous and flimsy the Pulido complaint may be, we have to stick with it. Unless the people rise to show their collective disgust, Gloria will continue to pour shit on our heads.

Now if you can still take this crap sitting down, then we do deserve Gloria.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Johnny Come Lately

So after the palace failed to kick JdV out, they send Johny Enrile to attack JdV. Enrile, the face behind the coups against Cory, one of those who manipulated and exploited the crowds of EDSA 3, the guy who promised us lower power rates and one of the biggest loggers of our country is now the designated hitter for Gloria.

He now comes out to "expose" JdV's role in the NorthRail scandal. In another bid to confuse and divert the people's focus on the bribery scandals besetting GMA, they have to create another issue. Enrile has debts to pay Gloria. He was spared, just like Miriam, in the violent rally of masses back in may 2001. His company was given by the DENR to cut trees in a "PROTECTED RESERVE".

Time and again, Enrile tried to demolish the testimony and the credibility of Joey de Venecia to no avail. Joey sunk everything Enrile threw at him. The accusation of Enrile are 2 years late. This only shows what the real motive behind his expose is. But the people are fed up with this administration's PANGGAGAGO. We know too well where Enrile is coming from.

Lakas is flexing its muscle in the house and the administration knows that JdV cannot simply be put down. He has cards up his sleeve that could destroy Gloria. The bribery in Malacañang was not limited to Gloria's party, Kampi. Members of the Liberal Party aslo claimed they received cash. JdV can easily turn the tables on GMA and this is why she had sent her mercenaries to clobber JdV. We know JdV is not clean but GMA is far worst.

So now Johnny, the Jurassic tradpol who continues to reinvent himself has taken the fight to JdV. The persistent Enrile who has not learned his lesson from Joey's trouncing will have his hands full. JdV, one of the best "statesmen" congress ever had will surely not back down. Johnny could end up with 2 blackeyes from the father and son. He and Joker surely is a pair we could have lots of fun with. They both are "abogagos" who could give our top comedians a run for their money.

Signs are all over the place, GMA's time could be almost up and its just a matter of time before the final bell rings. Her arrogance and complacency has taken its toll. Her allies realize this. They just made too many blunders that could not be rectified. The clock is winding down, her last 2 minutes is almost over. The only question now is Noli de Castro, ready? I hope he is as the seat of power is within his grasp.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Putting A Face On Poverty

The United Nations report on poverty and hunger in the Philippines is alarming. The claims of the government about our economy is nothing but insulting. I am sure you've heard of the 12-yr. old girl who committed suicide. If not, I would like to share with you this heart-wrenching article that has put a face on poverty.

All Mariannet Amper wanted was to finish her studies. Its sad that her wish will never come true. A day after her father failed to give her P100 for a school project, Mariannet hanged herself in their small shanty. The father who was able to borrow P1,000 arrived too late. All he went home to was a home filled with sorrow.

Mariannet wrote her sentiments in her school diary. Her Oct. 5 entry said that she felt like she's been absent for a month and that she did not even notice that its almost Christmas. Her father said that they had no money for her fare and food that Mariannet had to skip school. Her entry for Oct. 14 said that they were not able to hear mass as they did not have money for their fare and that her father was sick. She and her mother had to do laundry just to have something for the table.

Her unsent letter to GMA-7's Wish Ko Lang show which realizes the wishes of needy letter-senders was found in her diary as well. She wrote, she wished for a new bag and a pair of shoes, a small livelihood for her parents, a bike and for her to be able to finish her studies.

Their family is the poorest of the poor. Even their poor neighbors are well off compared to them. They are rejected by their very neighbors because they were filthy. There were even times that they begged from their neighbors for leftovers just to have something to eat.

The poor girl is long gone. The trickle down of Gloria's 7.5 GDP did not reach her or will ever rich children like her. The girl has matured faster because of the hard life they had. She wouldn't be this desperate to think of such an act in her tender age if she was like just any other kid.

I couldn't put sense into all these. All that flooded my mind was how many like her are out there? Gloria can give hundreds of thousands of pesos to her already rich and fat-bellied allies while 3 million kids under the age of 5 are malnourished. She can give half a million to governors while 52 million Filipinos say they are poor. Its too late for Gloria to release P1 billion for poverty alleviation. The threat of rising prices looms in the horizon, ready to engulf an already impoverished nation.

There is no sense in reactionary responses. She should have developed proactive programs years before. She is the second longest serving president. But of course her interests come first and the Filipinos last. She would rather spend billions making her cohorts happy and making sure of her political survival. Finally poverty has a face and a name. Poverty is Mariannet Amper, the 12 yr. old girl who only wanted to finish her studies so she can help her impoverished family.

*Thanks to the Inquirer for the photo.


Agrarian Reform And The Lowly Farmer

I promised Gari Lazaro that I will tackle the plight of the Sumilao farmers. These farmers were left out in the cold by the very government who promised to give them land and uplift their lives. These farmers have chosen to walk from Sumilao in Bukidnon to Manila to air their grievance. Not only has the government turned a deaf ear, the Supreme Court has also tuned its back on these farmers. The last bastion of justice have chosen to turn a blind eye to their plight.

Agriculture is the foundation of our nation. The lowly farmer has toiled and slaved for greedy landlords for centuries. In this modern time, we still see this slavery being practiced. The Sumilao farmers were legally awarded a 144 hectare land. But the greedy owner, Norberto Quisumbing applied for conversion and the land in question was never distributed. But after five years, the development did not take place and the land in question was subsequently sold to San Miguel Corp.

Now the farmers have nothing to look forward to. Their claim to the land is just but a claim. No one is listening and the government would rather side with the moneyed than address the lives of the poor. The future of the Sumilao farmers is in limbo. Their march is a march to death. Buried is their claim to the lands government awarded to them. Buried are the dreams that somehow, their miserable lives will have a change for the better.

I hope that those who read this spread the word and make their plight known. They are Filipinos like you and me. They are making a stand on this and I hope that their efforts will not be in vain. Let us not abandon them in their hour of despair.

*For additional information on Task Force Sumilao, you may visit this website. For a thorough discussion, visit Gari Lazaro's site.


Clueless My Ass!

Now DILG Sec. Ronaldo Puno claims he was the last to know about the cash gifts handed out by their party during a Malacañang meeting last Oct. 11. With his neck on the line, he now tries his best to shield himself and Gloria from this bribery issue. The more it gets murkier by the minute as everyone tries to protect their asses.

Funny how GMA and her minions are now like a headless chicken. Kampi has lost its cohesion and with every word they utter, the more they dig their own graves. How I wish they are doing this literally, its still November anyway. Its too late in the game and the web of lies they weave has snared them instead.

Puno and Kampi are in for more more trouble as its members will try to distance themselves from the issue. Political survival of every party member is at stake. Gloria's allies in the senate are now singing a different tune and are actually supporting a senate investigating. The shit had hit the fan and everybody's running, trying to avoid getting hit.

I am clueless says Puno and Luis Villafuerte echoes his claim. Their plan backfired. Gloria is now covered in muck. Puno may have thought that they can easily get away with bribery. They forgot the there is a priest and a pastor in their midst. These will not simply go along with their lying ways.

No controversy will cover up this mess they created. JdV may still end up having the last laugh as his hardliners are beating their chests. They are still a very potent force and will not easily join Kampi in protecting GMA. I am sure that JdV left them instructions on how to deal with Gloria. JdV is a wily adversary and cold-hearted operator.

Better make up a more believable alibi Mr. Puno. You may fool people some time but not all the time. Their next round of statements will surely be more absurd. If Puno and Villafuerte says they're clueless, Gloria will be singing, "don't let me be the last to know". So the lying continues until they lie themselves to oblivion. As for me and the rest of the Filipinos who have had enough of GMA's lies. As in Bart Simpson's famous line, we say, "EAT MY SHORTS!"


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Let's Do The Twist

LLP claimed that the money given to governors came from their funds. Now it the congress's turn, Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa claims that the money given to congressmen came from KAMPI. This is came after the submission of the opposition's supplemental impeachment complaint.

If I remember right, Ronnie Puno had claimed that the money distributed in Malacanang came from JdV. As we all know, Puno is a bigshot in KAMPI and its simply impossible for him not to be aware of any disbursement of KAMPI funds. To further confuse us, Villarosa now comes out to take the bullet for Gloria who is the founder KAMPI.

The LLP first came out to claim that the league gave cash to Govs. Panlilio and Mendoza. This was the first twist which failed misserably. Rep. Abante during his speech in congress named Villarosa as the one who was responsible for the cash dole-outs. But what is bewildering is why KAMPI would give "aid" to Abante who is a LAKAS-CMD member. I'm sure that KAMPI will never give funds to a non-member.

Villarosa had to come out to protect GMA from being directly link to bribery, its an impeachable offense. As they say, "if you can't convince them, confuse them". So this is what the administration is now doing. To muddle the issue and deflect the blame from Gloria, they are putting twists, not just spins on the bribery issue.

Villarosa, GMA's constant companion is the wife of former congressman Jose Villarosa who is convicted murderer and is currently serving time for masterminding the killing of his political opponent. Rumors have it that Villarosa is working on the pardon of her husband. No wonder she would rather be a sacrificial lamb for the embattled GMA.

But the people I am sure will not be taken by this very late claim. The Filipino have learned not to believe the web of lies that Gloria and her allies weave. Its too late to rectify their very blatant mistake. We are not a nation of fools. Gloria will have a very bumpy ride from now on. The succession of blunders is just too glaring and even a grade one pupil can easily see through their screen.

So the table have been turned. Erap reeling from the backlash of his pardon will support an impeachment. Twenty-five of JdV's supporters have shown their true sentiments by voting with the opposition on amendments to the house rules concerning impeachment. And I am sure that those who were not present would surely have voted for the amendments as well.

The chink in the administration coalition had grown into a big crack. Gloria would like us to do her twist but no dice. We are not dancing to her tune, we do not have two left feet like her. We don't waddle our asses like an ugly duck. Keep your lies to yourselves, sawa na kami sa pang-gagago niyo!


Monday, November 05, 2007

OK Sa Alright

As the opposition is set to file an amendment to the weak Pulido impeachment complaint, the majority has been sending signals to what awaits this move. Art Defensor is making sure that this will not prosper. He asserts that this is unconstitutional and against house rules. For the third time in as many years, GMA's allies will use its numbers to thwart any attempt to unseat Gloria constitutionally.

In the center of the storm, Speaker Jose de Venecia's speakership is at stake. Everything now hinges on whether or not he is really sincere in his moral revolution program. The question now is which will weigh more, his redemption or his position? This however will not matter now as we all know the answer to the question. GMA had made sure that she will be safe from everybody, even from JdV. Bribery has been used to set the "Impeach Me" in motion. Bribery has also been used to make sure that GMA will have the numbers in the lower house.

The opposition again failed to plan ahead. They failed to see Gloria's telegraphed punches. Gloria will be laughing in their faces. She had once again averted an honest to goodness impeachment. She is always on her toes and her allies are only too happy to "aid" her. With the money they spent last elections, I am sure the congressmen are more than willing to make GMA's political life a little safer. Its money in the bag for her and her cohorts.

I am almost sure that everything has been settled way ahead of the opposition's move. JdV may have lost out of this one. It might be too late for him to make a move. He had been lulled into complacency. There is nothing he can do right now but to sit and ride this one out. The stage is set not for a JdV-GMA confrontation but for the death of another impeachment and another year of corruption.

As they say, "OK sa alright." The fight has ended even before the bell rang. Transactional politics again ruled the day. A successful impeachment? Not by a long shot.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Damaged Goods, Damage Control

Since the Erap pardon, apologists and propagandists for the so-called leader of the masses has been flailing away. To avert a fallout, media personalities identified with Estrada are hard at diverting the attention of the public. With Erap being perceived as Gloria's new posterboy, they now bear the burden of protecting Erap's image.

Everyday, Erap's media friends have been redirecting the blame on civil society. I don't know if anyone noticed how the crowd that welcomed Erap home did not applause or cheer when he asked them to thank GMA for his release. This only shows that Erap has lost his magic. Gone were the huge Erap crowds during his sentencing. His command to get the warm bodies isn't there.

Erap is a broken man. No amount of image building or even media hype will bring back the glory he once had. I pity those who continue to waste their precious space and time trying to bring back the Erap magic. So from hypocrites, they now want us to think we're stupid. Nice try, but no dice.

The masses still love Erap, but they will not go along with him in supporting GMA. GMA made their lives a living hell. He was used and even the masses know that. The opposition would also back away from such a call. To do so is to sign their death warrants. To stick it out with Erap may cause them their 2010 ambitions. The same goes with those allied with GMA. The unpopularity of Gloria is just too much that no one will dare align themselves with her.

Jinggoy and Erap may deny that they support GMA now. They may even claim that they will remain with the opposition. But the people know better. GMA can recall his clemency anytime and the Estradas wouldn't dare crossing her. Just look at how Jinggoy now diverts the attention to FVR (who's no angel himself). They need to make the people believe in their theatrics.

Damaged goods is damaged goods. Just like Gloria, Erap's camp is in damage control. Whatever influence he had is gone. He too is now a lame duck. He sold his masses out and everybody knows it. The Estradas are dead in the political water. Political survival dictates that no one in his right mind would want to be associated with a loser. GMA and Erap are in the same boat, and both are definitely sinking.

I am sure that in the coming days, the opposition will try to distance itself from Erap. Any statement to deny this will just be empty talk. The opposition's win in the elections is not based purely on Erap's endorsement, a lot were protest votes. Just look at some of those he endorsed but lost. People are just too tired of Gloria and the elections were their way of protesting.

Apologies and propagandas will be hurled back and forth, from the Estradas and the palace. Both will try to paint a favorable picture to help their tarnished images. Erap will try to appease his supporters while Gloria does the same with hers. The pardon has created rifts on both sides of the political fence. Both will try to get on board with their estranged allies.

The pardon weakened both the opposition and the administration. With the realignment of forces, strange alliances will once again be born. Switches will be made and both camps will cancel each other out. Even the CBCP will be ignored. The people will have none of their rhetorics. Rosales and his ilk has long been trashed by their flock. Only a handful of priests remain credible.

Now everything is clear to us. Erap and Gloria are both sunk. Political operators will be at the forefront of cleaning this mess. Erap and GMA lost big time. Millions will be spent to repair the damages this pardon left. Our Trapos will be very happy with the bonus that awaits them. As for the lowly Filipino, its just another day in the desperate life of Juan dela Cruz.