Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Day That Will Live In Infamy

Five years ago to this day, an ambitious Gloria swore that she will not run for the presidency. Borrowing Miriam's famous line, "I lied!" She ran and stole the 2004 elections. If she can lie to our faces once, she can do it again. The next months will be crucial as she and her cohorts in the lower house launch their assault on the constitution. Dureza's prayer was a trial balloon to test the people's patience. The flat reception of the December anti-chacha rally has emboldened the proponents of Chacha and make a mockery of democracy.

The thugs in congress is gearing up for a final push to perpetuate themselves in power. The hoodlums needs only 30 votes as of last count to convene congress as a constituent assembly. Add about seven or eight senators to the mix and they succeed with their evil plan. The 1st quarter of 2009 will be their only chance. Anytime after that will be too late or dangerous for Gloria. There are several scenarios to consider.

One is to push their Chacha not matter what and try to reach the Supreme Court. With justices set to retire and with Gloria's appointing powers, even the JBC cannot do anything to prevent her from appointing her allies to the vacant posts. A coup by any military unit idealistic enough to launch one is next to impossible. They were all shipped to Mindanao to fight the MILF. All the units in Manila are those whose loyalty can be easily bought. Civil society is alone to face the onslaught of the vultures in the administration.

Recent business gymnastics point to a consolidation of bargaining power by those who intend to further enrich themselves. The business community can easily be held hostage and will be unable to even raise a whimper. No businessman in his right mind will ever gamble on something that would cost him his bread and butter. Civil disobedience cannot be relied on with the current economic situation wherein everyone is too busy trying to survive. Unless the Filipinos get their acts together and show resolve, we can kiss our precious democracy goodbye. Gloria and her minoins are here to stay.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Anti-ChaCha Rally

Friday started early for me as I prepared for the rally in Makati. Fetched Manolo Quezon and then we met up with Leah Navarro and Enteng Romano. We were joined by Mike Cohen formerly with ANC and now a reported for Fox News. He was to cover our march from Greenbelt to the Ninoy Aquino monument. As we prepared our banners, members of the Black & White movement from Nueva Ecija arrived. We soon learned that others from provinces in the north and from the south were held in various checkpoints by elements of the PNP. Their contingent was the only one who made it through.

Our companions from Nueva Ecija were prevented by Greenbelt security guards from entering the mall. To be honest, they were well-dressed. This prompted Leah to make a few calls and soon they were allowed into the mall. I did not know that Ayala malls had a policy of discriminating against people from the province. The incident drew too much attention from passersby which made the guards uneasy coupled with a riled up Leah. My feisty sister berated the stunned guards into submission.

We marched in rows of four abreast. In my row were Atty; Edwin Lacierda and former SCAP chair, Bianca Lapuz. Despite being in a wheelchair, Bianca marched with us. What I thought was a fairly sized crowd soon swelled as people started coming in fro different points in Makati. The PNP had a huge force which really didn't bother us. After the prayers, personalities took turn in lambasting the administration. But the highlight and the most controversial is the speech by Mar Roxas who verbalized the sentiments of the people by saying "putang ina". There was no other way to describe the disdain we felt and Mar Roxas got it spot on.

I had the privilege of meeting Mae Paner, the Juana Change sensation. Arbet Bernardo joined us in the evening and took photos of the rally. The rally was peacefully and merry as artists performed on the small stage. The heavens cooperated as dark clouds shielded us form the sun. Not a single drop of rain fell and we were all dry but cool. Judging by the diversity of the crowd, one could feel the real sentiments of the people. I don't give a rat's ass what Alex Magno prefers to call us, the important thing is that we sent the message across. This was just a test run for an even bigger event soon. The next time, Gloria and her gang might not like what they hear.

*Thanks to Edwin Lacierda for a delicious merienda and to Manolo Quezon for a wonderful dinner.


Monday, December 01, 2008

CON Our Sorry ASS

The Cha-Cha train is on its merry way again. This time around, Gloria is banking on her appointees in the Supreme Court to carry the day for her. At the head of the wolf pack is her "independent" son, Mickey and her favorite dog, Luis Villafuerte. She has lied through her buckteeth countless times and her silence shows that something is brewing. She has left the denying to her surrogates. Golez her puppy is the one doing the lying this time around.

But we all know that no action in the lower house takes place without Gloria's blessings. Like Chiquito's character, Mr. Wong would always say, "Kita tali, kita tali!" All strings are being pulled by the puppeteers in Malacañang. It's a good thing that tactless Jess Dureza exposed the new bid to amend the constitution. This time around, they are hellbent in pursuing their Cha-Cha. Villafuerte is bragging that they have the numbers this time around. The seven incoming justices will have to closely guarded by the people or we may wake up with Gloria as the new prime minister.

The mafia is trying to CON our sorry ASSes. But will the military take this sitting down? Well, it depends if the junior officer will toe their leaders twisted doctrine and mandate. We cannot go at it alone as Gloria and her gang showed how ruthless they can be. Only two scenarios come to my mind should Gloria force her Cha-Cha. Either we would end up with an Arroyo monarchy or total anarchy. Both could be grim but the latter could seal the fate of the criminals in the administration.

With the impeachment dead, Gloria has been inoculated till 2010. No impeachment against her can be filed within a year before an election. She and her cabal can concentrate on their Cha-Cha, unmolested and with complete focus. It would be only us in their way. I just hope the fence sitters would finally realize that watching from the sidelines cultivates impunity and creates dictatorships. Unless of course they have masochistic tendencies and love to be beaten to a pulp. Or perhaps they don't mind being robbed blind by politicians and Gloria's mercenaries.

We must be vigilant and the next few months will be crucial. The Supreme Court will be the next battleground between the forces of good and evil. I am certain that Gloria will ensure that she can gain control of this institution. The senate is powerless against Gloria's onslaught and they know it. Gloria's appointees hold the fate of the nation in their hands. Will they be independent or will they have the patriotic hearts to prevent our annihilation? Only time will tell.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I Should Stop Paying Taxes

With the way the SONS OF BITCHES in the congress has been running the show in the impeachment and their desire to amend the constitution, I will stop paying my taxes. Why should I continue feeding the families of these charlatans while they clearly do not represent me nor their constituents? Despite the glaring abuses, excesses and mounting evidences of the scandals besetting the gnome in the palace, these salivating, greedy thieves in Barong Tagalog help in covering up the shit their overlord has been dumping on the nation.

To continue to pay my income tax is a sign of surrender. It would only show that I condone the immoral and unethical acts these hyenas are doing. They should be making accountable those who commit and continue to commit injustices against the Filipino people. I will stop paying my taxes and hold them in escrow instead of feeding these maggots in congress. I'm making this as a statement against a government who never really served my interest.

We cannot allow these hoodlums to continue to wreak havoc on our society and senses. We work our butts off so that Gloria can hand out P500,000 to her henchmen whenever her illegal presidency is threatened. Any right-minded Filipino should stop and think if we should continue to give our hard earned money to the syndicate in congress. Now they are cooking up a recipe to perpetuate themselves to power. We been in hell under the current dispensation, to allow her and her minions to continue enriching themselves is the height of stupidity.

This government has given us scandal after scandal. They protect plunderers like Nani Perez. The Ombudsman purposely sits on cases involving Gloria's lieutenants while petty criminals haven't been arraigned yet. Why should I continue to finance the operation of a mafia when I could put my money into better use. Why should I give my money to police generals who gallivant with their wives in Europe while I cannot even travel around the country? Our soldiers who put their lives on the line had to rely on their themselves while their leaders sit in airconditioned rooms spending tens of thousands of pesos on snacks. Our students have to squeeze like sardines in classrooms and try to learn as much as they can from underpaid educators.

Joj-joc Bolante showed us how our hapless farmers can be exploited so that the campaign kitty of the troll can be padded. Nani Perez showed us how crime does pay and how the law is only for the rich.This is where our taxes go, in the pockets of politicians who bleed our families dry so they and their families can go on junkets at our expense. This is how our REPRESENTA-THIEVES work. It's high time we take back what is truly ours and show these villains who their bosses are. I will have to make my stand sometime and I couldn't wait for the next impeachment or 2010. So I will no longer pay my taxes and instead spend it all on my family and my charities than give it to these scums of the earth. Civil disobedience is a protest that sheds no blood and forces governments to heed the people's call. Without any funds to steal, the government will be forced to step down. It's all about conviction and a collective move to bring these gangsters to their knees. Unless you have other means in mind, civil disobedience is always better than an all out civil war.

(I've been given a clean bill of health and I'm more feisty than ever. Thanks to all who prayed for my recovery.)


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Justice In The Philippines Is 4'11"

(Despite my medical condition at present, I cannot simply let this injustice pass.)

The news of Gloria Arroyo granting double murder convict, Claudio Teehankee, Jr. executive clemency recently hit the headlines. Teehankee is the son of the late SC Claudio Teehankee, Sr. who shot and killed two teenagers more than 2 decades ago and wounded a third. Late last year, former congressman Romeo Jalosjos, a convicted child rapist was also released. Intrepid reporters found out about it and caused the recall of Jalosjos's release. Both Teehankee and Jalosjos are allies of Arroyo.

Executive clemency cannot be questioned because it is one of the constitutional powers of a president. Is this the kind of leader(?) we have? She has totally disregarded the rights of the victims because of political accommodations. What enrages me is that both are heinous crimes and that no amount of good behavior in jail can pay for their crimes. Teehankee up to now has not admitted his crime to the family of his victims or even to the Filipino people at that. Teehankee snuffed out the lives of kids who had so much future ahead of them.

Is this the brand of justice Arroyo weilds? Such abuse of discretion is totally unacceptable. I wll cite an example of how selective justice can be in the Philippines. An 6-yr. old boy was imprisoned for almost a year because he stole a pair of slippers. The boy never faced the courts and was thrown in with hardened criminals. He was rescued by an NGO which facilitated his release. The boys story was widely picked up by the media. Another case is that of an 82-yr. old grandafather who continues to languish in jai because he cannot raise the P10,000 bail for the crime of theft. He stole a small can of coned beef to feed his hungry grandchildren. Justice in the Philippines is selective. No wonder crimes go unreported because it only favors the rich and the powerful. Reforms in the judiciary and the penal system has been very slow and justice continues to be denied to a big number of alleged criminals and victims alike.

Gloria Arroyo's administration has been justifying its actions because Arroyo promised that she would release all prisoners who reached the age of 70. With the help of her callous secretary of justice, they even put the blame on the families of the victims. There is a procedure to follow before a convict is released. The prosecutor and the families must be formally informed and notified. The impending release should also be published in the newspapers. Although the latter was followed, the prosecutor nor the family were never informed. The concerned parties could have blocke Teehankee's release. What's worst, Raul Gonzales, the secretary of (IN)ustice even mocked the victim's family. He said that it's too late for them to complain. If they want to plead their case, they can do so with Jesus Christ. Such a blasphemous ass. this snile nicompoop is. Clearly the rights of children or their safety cannot be protected by this administration.

If this is the case, let's just throw the entire justice system as Arroyo can do as she pleases anyway. What I hope and pray to happen now, no matter how unchristian it may be is that their children befall the same fate the victims went through. It is wishful thinking as I know very well that their families has dozens of bodyguards to protect them. I am really fuming mad as the blatant violations of human rightd in the Philippines continue. The sad reality however is that Filipinos are indifferent and apthetic to what is happening to our country. I just hope that the Filipino people realize that the moral decay propagated by the current dispensation should and must be stopped before it's too late.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Muddled Picture Of Peace

The government should have consulted the stakeholders before dangling the ancestral domain issue with the MILF. With the way Commander Bravo has been acting, it seems that he is his own boss. The MILF, if they are indeed sincere in their quest for peace should have taken the necessary steps in reining Bravo in. Instead it sits on its pompous ass while Bravo retreats to his mountain lair.

The government should have thought twice before negotiating with the MILF. Only two reasons come to mind with Bravo's actions. Either Bravo is against the creation of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity or the MILF is trying to force the issue of the BJE. Now we are faced with the prospect of an all-outwar in Mindanao because the administration focused more on how it could insert Cha-Cha in the MOA.

Clearly, Gloria's allies thought that they could ride on the peace issue to push for GMA's term extension. Well, it backfired and now the people of Mindanao have to face uncertainty once again. It also behooves me why the GRP did not consider consulting the Moro councils and went straight to the MILF? Peace cannot be attained without going to the grassroots and asking what the ordinary Mindanaoan wants.

Malaysia also has its interests to protect that is why it decided to join the peace process. Sabah is the common denominator in their interest in the creation of the BJE. I agree that the Moro's have genuine grievances but they are a fragmented people as well. Tribal issues have to be addressed too as differences in the tribes compounded by political interests have caused conflicts in the past and continue up to now.

The unrest now is not about a frustrated rebel. It all boils down to who gets what. The MILF is held only by the creation of the BJE. What is unclear with the rebel group is how to divide the spoils of war. Malacañang is not after peace when it went into the negotiation, it was after how they could stay in power. Now the people must suffer because of interests by those who have the power and the guns.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Cha Cha Cha.....

The controversial MOA creating the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity entails a change in the constitution. Without the amendments, the MOA cannot push through. So it seems that Gloria is at it again. She is bent on pursuing her Cha-Cha plans. This time, she had cloaked it in the guise of peace in Mindanao. She cannot openly push for Cha-Cha as it could finally cause her ouster and even the patient military could finally lose its cool.

With barely two years left in her illegitimate presidency, and without a clear ally after 2010, it is only through charter change that she can save her neck. I am sure that her successor(?) will not be able to save her as countless groups are poised to charge her in court. She will lose her immunity from suit the moment she steps down.

So it is not true that Cha-Cha is dead. Her zombies will again rise to wreak havoc. This time they have a more powerful weapon in their arsenal, PEACE. They all know that we want peace in Mindanao and will support any move to achieve it. But I am sure that Filipinos have learned their lessons well. They will be able to discern Gloria's real motives. In the coming days as the people begin to understand the MOA and its implications, I am sure that it will be harder for GMA to sell us this "Peace in Mindanao" crap.

I'm glad the Supreme Court issued a TRO so that it will give us more time to put under scrutiny this MOA which was hatched by this evil-minded administration. If Gloria doesn't stop, we may not have to wait for 2010 to see her charged in court.


Basket Case Of The Philippines

Rocked by decades of war, Mindanao still seeks the elusive dream of peace. considered the bread basket of the the Philippines, Mindanao is more like a basket case. The way I see it, the continuing unrest is no longer about ideology or ancestral land. It is all about who gets what. Mindanao is a mishmash of cultures. Rule of law is virtually nonexistent with security forces unable to disarm even the ordinary resident.

The region is ruled by powerful clans, warlords and rebels hiding behind the cloak of independence. What is at stake is keeping the status quo. The more autonomy the region gets, the more those in power can impose their will on the ordinary Mindanaoan. Those with private armies terrorize the people into submission while their politicians sell their loyalties to the highest bidder.

Progress in Mindanao will never come unless the people are given a voice. As of late, people are beginning to realize that they have rights and this threatens to destroy the prevailing system. It is no wonder why groups are out to sabotage the ARMM elections. The ruling class stands to lose the most. This is the reason why they have turned to politics to secure their hold to power. Rebels on the other hand is viewed with skepticism as former rebels who turned to politics enriched themselves than address the plight of the people.

Even Muslims do not trust the MILF or the defunct MNLF. The government continues to dialogue with the MILF despite the group's obvious fragmentation. Splinter groups continue to defy instructions from their leaders. It could also be that the MILF leadership is actually supporting these groups. Their continuing occupation of several towns could be a protracted action directed at gaining more ground that could give them a wider area of control should the creation of a Bangsamoro push through.

Elections also do not guarantee any form of change as long as genuine representation is achieved. With the kind of mindset Mindanao politicians have, the people of Mindanao are the biggest losers. Progress comes in trickles leaving the people salivating at the prospect of progress. At the end of the day, Mindanaons remain voiceless as powerful clans and warlords will never relinquish the power they now possess.

Is Mindanao hopeless? NO! Change is up to the people, they are the true stakeholders. The rebels and the ruling clans are the biggest obstacles in Mindanao's quest for peace and progress. But of course, everything will depend on how Malacañang will act. With Gloria at the helm, I doubt if change or peace will ever come to Mindanao. Mindanao will never be our country's bread basket with the kind of people sitting in the peace panel now. Both groups are not looking after the people's welfare but their own.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Gloria's Popularity

Gloria once again stuck to her old line that she doesn't mind being unpopular as long as she can deliver the goods. This is the reason why she is sticking to her EVAT as the funds would be used for her pro-poor programs. But in reality, EVAT is the most convenient of all forms of taxation. No need for any king of legwork to collect it. In more simpler terms, is a lazy governments way of stealing from the people. The EVAT is a tax on tax on tax. What the people should realize is that everything from the raw material to the finished product is heavily taxed every step of the way.

DepEd's Jesli Lapus defended GMA's Pantawid program saying that this is a proactive move by the administration. Instead of waiting for the trickle down effect of Gloria's economic programs, this now brings the supposed trickle down effect directly to the people. As one beneficiary pointed out, P500 will not go far. What they really need are opportunities and not one-time dole outs. Sustainability is the key. After the P500 is gone, beneficiaries will go back to their miserable lives.

Gloria doesn't mind being unpopular to most Filipinos, what she is concerned about is being popular to the right people. The Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) loses an estimated P142bilion a year because of smuggling and evasion. Yet the BOC leadership has the temerity to reward itself with millions because according to them, they performed well. Performance or dereliction of duty? I suppose the latter as smuggling still reigns supreme in the ports around the country.

Yes, Gloria is popular. Popular to the big-time smugglers and tax evaders who support her. A good president will be very popular even if he makes some unpopular decisions, while a bad president is unpopular because he is simply bad. This is the true reason behind Gloria's unpopularity. She simply is a bad president and not because of her unpopular decisions. The corruption in her administration is just too ominous for people to change their perception. Bad leadership leads to bad governance. The unity Gloria seeks will never come as good and evil will never mix. It's either we roll over and expose our asses to her evil ways or we can finally choke up enough courage to just kick her out of office.


Monday, July 28, 2008

A Distressing SONA

Gloria's "I care" speech was a futile attempt to caress us into believing in her. It was so callous of her to say that she cares when her economic programs directly affect the lives of the poor. The EVAT clearly hits the poor and the struggling middle class than those in the higher echelons of society. The rich can easily make ends meet despite the inflation while the common man has to struggle more. The EVAT is the only gains this government can boast of but the more pressing need to increase actual collection has not been addressed.

Her SONA showed GMA's weakness. She clearly cannot inspire the people to agree with her. With her dismal ratings, she is now moving to the realm of fighting for her popularity more than ever. I believe that cha-cha is now inevitable as her future becomes more uncertain. Her "Pantawid Porgrams" is a clear indication that she is out to buy the support of the masses. One-time dole outs without clear and solid sustainable plans is vote-buying in its purest form. Could it be in preparation for 2010? I don't think that with her situation now, stepping down is option.

This I think is one of the most expensive SONAs to date. With a face lift budget of P200million to refurbish the Batasan's stinking toilets, the funds could have been used for other socio-economic programs. The congress stinks anyway and no amount of makeover will deodorize the institution. Gloria passed the blame on international crisis to cloak the gravity of the situation we are in. As usual, she took credit for programs long laid out by previous administrations. She did not present any concrete legislative and economic programs that would lead to improving our lives.

I will not be expecting any changes with her administration. Still in a state of denial, Gloria chose to close her eyes to the realities on the ground. Corruption in her administration is widespread. All they have netted are the small fries with the Bolante case still unresolved. It was a feel-good SONA and nothing more. She is after all entitled to her opinion no matter how unrealistic it is. She has to live her lies so she can believe it and what better way to do it than through her SONA.

"Anything is better than nothing", Gloria says. Are we this low to just accept scraps and cultivate a culture of mendicancy? I hope we are not this desperate to just swallow whatever GMA throws at us. Gloria spoke to her minions and not to the people. She after all is a master of speech and not of deeds. She practically made a goddess of herself in the midst of despair.

2010 is still a distant future and I am sure she and her battalion of corrupt "chefs" are busy cooking up something to save their skins. There is simply too much at stake not to consider their options this early. So I think that the dead shall rise again to push for charter change. The congress was given their marching orders and will now buckle down to "addressing" political reforms through legislation. We all better watch out as this may bite us in the ass. She has a knack for going back on her words. I can still remember clearly how she promised never to run only to announce her presidential bid.

*I'm back in fighting form with my health issues done away with. Sorry for the sudden silence. Thanks to those who showed their concern.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I grabbed this from Nightdreamer's blog. After visiting the site and being a husband myself, I cannot help but feel sorry for this very loving husband. I don't know this man personally but I hope you can help in whatever way you can. For more information on how to donate and to learn more about his predicament, please visit:

"If only love can settle hospital bills..... Sadly it cannot. So I'm reaching out to your kind hearts to please help a wonderful and loving husband."


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Stinking Hellhole

School is suppose to educate and energize the youth. It's the least we can do to give our kids a brighter future. But the government's lack of foresight and penchant for kickbacks have caused serious harm to our once great education system. With life getting harder by the day, migration from private schools to the public has been rising every year. As more and more transfer, it overcrowds our public schools. Lack of classrooms, tables and chairs to the very latest shortage, comfort rooms!

To address the shortage of classrooms, public schools have three shifts a day to be able to accommodate the students. Up to 80 students are packed into classrooms built for only for 45. Construction of classrooms is overtaken by the huge population of every school. Teachers are overworked as well as more and more of their ranks are forced to seek employment elsewhere.

But schools have learned to adopt to the changing times. To address the growing numbers of enrollees, no space is wasted. Every square inch of school grounds are used just to accommodate the kids. The quality of education is dropping fast. With it is the lessening proficiency of our students. Teachers are swamped with too much work and with very little pay. They are left to their own devises just to be able to remain true to their unholy vows. The sufferings do not end there, with the lack of rooms comes the lack of comfort rooms as well. Certain schools have make do with 600 persons for every comfort room. This is simply unimaginable with many more unusable.

The school is our children's second home. It is a place where our children should learn. The government both local and national is duty bound to see to it that the needs of the students are met. Despite the numerous taxes we pay, the government is unable to construct the needed facilities for our students. Already cramped like sardines, the last thing they need is a stinking CR. Because of our governments ineptness, our public schools have become stinking hellhole!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ramdam Ko Ang Kalayaan

Ngayong araw ng Kalayaan, isang tanong ang aking ibabato sa inyo. Tunay nga ba tayong malaya? Ang kalayaan ang adhikain ng bawat tao saan mang bahagi ng mundo. Ilan daang taon na patuloy na nakikibaka ang Pilipino para sa kalayaang ating minimithi. Sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon ng bansa sa pamumuno ni Gloria Arroyo, maraming uri ng kalayaan ang umusbong. Sa bawat salitang namumutawi sa kanyang mga labi, lalo kong nararamdaman ang kanyang uri ng kalayaan.

Aking susubuking itala dito ang bawat kalayaang ating tinatamasa sa ilalim ng rehimeng Arroyo. Ano ba ang mga kalayaang binibigay ni Gloria sa ating mga Pilipino? Kung ako ang tatanungin niyo ay marami. Ito ang ilan sa kanila:

Malaya akong magutom.
Malaya akong kotongan.
Malaya akong nakawan ng pamahalaan.
Malaya akong mamatay sa sakit dahil wala akong pambili ng gamot.
Malaya akong itigil ang pag-aaral dahil kailangan kong kumita.
Malaya akong buwisan ng walang makukuhang serbisyo sa pamahalaan.
Malaya akong maramdaman ang lahat ng uri ng paghihirap sa buhay
Malaya akong ma-salvage.
Malaya akong mabugbog habang ipinapahiwatig ang aking saloobin.
Malaya akong dakpin ng walang dahilan.
Malaya akong dukutin at mawala.
Malaya akong harapin ang kinabukasang pinalagim ni Gloria.
Malaya akong magtipid habang walang habas ang paggastos ni Gloria at mga kampon niya.
Malaya akong pakinggan ang propaganda ni Gloria.
Malaya akong tumabi upang padaain ang rumaragasang SUV ng mga pulitiko.
Malaya akong gumamit ng abaniko habang naka-aircon ang mga nasa gobyerno.
Malaya akong mamasyal sa Luneta habang panay ang pasyal ng mga pulitiko sa iabang bansa.

Tunay ngang ramdam ko ang kalayaan. Ang bawal ko lang maramdaman ay ang sarap ng buhay. Ikaw, ramdam mo rin ba ang kalayaang ipinagmamalaki ni Gloria?


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Landed Congress

Gloria is a lame duck. Her recent acts proves this as she has gone a populist blitz. To appease the Catholic Church and to make it appear that she cares for the masses, she ordered congress to extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The CARP was crafted to address the plight of the suffering farmers and to push for social justice. It is a known fact that majority of congress are landlords. CARP goes against their interests.

To assure that their interests will be protected, there are provisions in the CARP that could be used to circumvent the law, thereby assuring these landlords that can still keep their lands. The Dept. of Agrarian Reform through the years have protected the big landlords. The DAR distribute lands, they went after the small landowners first, then distributed public lands while allowing the big landlords to convert their lands to avoid the CARP.

Twenty years since its implementation, the farmers continue to suffer. With the food crisis upon us, the failure of the CARP is more evident. The lower house with its powerful Negros block was able to force a deadlock. The case of the Sumilao and Calatagan farmers exposed the weakness of the CARP law. These are the only prominent cases with dozens more unexposed to the public's eye. Groups are now at loggerheads as they push for different advocacies. Some are opting for the CARP's extension while some want reforms with extension. This has created rifts between advocates which has led to accusations being hurled.

The main issue here is social justice. Regardless whatever means the CARP should be extended, one thing is clear, the house with its landed members will never allow an honest to goodness agrarian reform. Gloria was giving lip service to the farmers when she asked her allies to pass the CARP's extension. Her husband's family are landlords too and has managed to evade the CARP. The NPC headed by one of the biggest landlords, Danding Cojuangco will fight tooth and nail to prevent the extension of the CARP. Cojuangco owns San Miguel and thousands of hectares of land. To keeps his land, he opted to implement a stock option scheme. His cousin Peping controls the Hacienda Luisita which was the scene of a bloody confrontation between the military and farmers. Both are very close allies of GMA.

Social justice will continue to be an elusive dream for our hapless farmers. While we continue to allow landlords to control the legislative, genuine agrarian reform will never be implemented. Unless our legislators have a reexamination of conscience, no law which would bridge the social gap will ever be passed. In our country, the tyranny of the minority rules while the majority gasps for air and fights among themselves for the little scraps thrown to them by the powers that be.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Real Score?

These past weeks have seen the assault on Meralco bring its stocks value down. Losing more than 20% in the stock market, the Lopezes may soon lose its grip on the electric company. What is the real motive behind the attack on Meralco? Ome would say that Gloria is trying to bring her image up, others would say the abusive Meralco has to be made accontable. I have my own personal view on the real score.

Muddled in the issue, we have forgotten that Transco is now owned by GMA's allies. With NAPOCOR yet to be fully privatized, and could be very costly for anyone to try to acquire at this time, the best option is to attack the distribution side first. With Meralco's value dropping, the GREEDY GROUP can now buy more shares to finally wrest the power from the Lopezes. With this, the monopoly will soon change hands. With taxes and NAPOCOR's inefficiencies, power rates is unlikely to go down.

Clearly the two-pronged attack on Meralco will benefit not you and me but those whose image needs a makeover and of course those who are out to make a huge profit. Utilities much like the food business can hardly ever fail. One can easily make money while sitting around. Electricity is after all an essential component of everyone's life. Prostituting advocacy in the name of greed is one of the best moves this corrupt administration has ever made. Just imagine the how "good" Gloria will look in the eyes of the masses and how rich her gang would be after they get control of both distribution and transmission sides of the power sector. Now, they can easily acquire some of NAPOCOR's assets and the circle would be complete.

This was planned from the start. With Mikey Arroyo heading the energy committee, they gave gained a very comfortable foothold in their bid to control the power sector. They now have a very influential say on where the power sector should head. So it seems that the GREEDY GROUP has yet to satisfy its hunger for more mullah. What a way of ensuring that they will enjoy a good life way past Gloria's reign.

As for Gloria, 2010 may yet be gentle to her. Her successor could be kind to her or she may opt to stay on, relying of course on a succession of events that could "force" her to seek "emergency powers". Despite the posturing of several presidentiables, greed can make one do the unthinkable and unexpected. These presidential pretenders could wake up one morning only to realize that there is no such thing as elections in the Philippines. At leats they have their product endorsements to fall back on.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Doling Out Scraps

At a time when mistrust for GMA is growing, her strategy now is to buy out the people. The illegal tenant of Malacañang has been announcing subsidies for the poorest of the poor. Alleviating the plight of the poor should have begun on the very first day Gloria took office. With barely two years before she ends(?) her criminal reign, she will go on a bribing spree. With her economic programs clearly hitting the people hard, her only option is to dole out scraps.

Giving out cash without concrete sustainable programs is utter stupidity. One cannot close a gaping wound with band aids. With her bludgeoning EVat and the rising cost of living, empty pockets and grumbling stomachs will not go very far with measly P500 dole outs. While she avoids crossing her criminal-minded allies, she dangles P20 wage increases to the underpaid slaves. She refuses to suspend her pet, the EVat because it would expose her economic incompetence. Even investors have began shying away due not only to her corrupt bureaucracy but her unstable programs as well.

Putting the blame of her ineptitude on her critics is the only thing she can do. She has to divert the attention of the irate populace to stay in power. Now, even announcing projected increases in oil prices is being prevented. We have the right to know what we are facing so we can prepare for the worst. It is the government's responsibility to keep us informed. Gloria should suspend the EVat on oil and power if she is sincere in easing our sufferings. While the cost of oil increases, so does the VAT. At present levels, about P7/liter is being collected by the government. Removing the VAT would lower the cost of everything.

The P500 electricity subsidy should be paid directly to the power company instead giving it to individuals. We have no assurance that these monies will go to the intended recipients with this government's track record of misusing funds. I am sure that Gloria will use this for photo ops again. Just imagine her being shown giving out "gifts" to the poor? This would be a great propaganda opportunity to make it appear that she is doing something for the people. P500 would not go far, it is only good for three square meals a day. After it has been spent, the poor family will go back to its miserable life. This dole out is no different from the money given out to buy votes.

Our so-called leaders live off our taxes. We pay for their gas, their phone bills, their trips and even their power bills. While they go around with blaring sirens in big gas-guzzling luxury vehicles, we have to walk under the blazing sun bathing in our sweat while inhaling toxic fumes. They sit in airconditioned offices while more and more people ply their wares in the streets only to be taken away by Gestapo-like goons of Bayani's MMDA. At a time when we face desperation, we look for inspiration. We do not need rhetorical speeches and political gimmickry.

So what do you call these dole outs? Bribery? Maybe cover-up funds, or diversionary funds perhaps? At the end of the day, incompetence and dereliction of duty is what Gloria is guilty of. Of course her other crimes against the people should never be forgotten.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bolante Update

It's out, an undersecretary of the Dept. of Agriculture testified in Jocjoc Bolante's asylum case in the US. To refresh your memory, Bolante was involved in the P3billion fertizer fund scam which was diverted to GMA's presidential campaign kitty back in 2004. Bolante has been serving prison time in Chicago and has filed an appeal for his case.

Atty. Harry Roque has been actively following the case and was the one who unmasked the witness. The undersecretary is still in active service. Palace parrot, USec. Golez defended the usec. and said that it might have been in his personal capacity and perception that DA Usec. Montes testified for Bolante. Montes asserted that there are threats to Bolante's life from the Philippine Senate.

Golez added that Roque should bring the case to the proper courts. Well, the senate did send the recommendations to the Ombudsman but agency has been sitting on the case. They said that Bolante is no longer a government official but they would still look into it. Such is the culture of impunity that pervades in our country. Accountability simply does not exist. With all agencies controlled by Gloria, justice can never be had.

The only threat Bolante is facing is the possibility that with his testimony, Gloria could be indicted in the fertilizer scam. The information Atty. Roque has discovered is another expose that could send chills up GMA's spine. Montes being an undersecretary is an alter ego of Gloria. The palace hand has been caught in the cookie jar again. The palace will be in panic mode again and would lie through its teeth to muddle the issue. So the ghost of the fertilizer scam has come back to haunt Gloria. The embattled illegitimate president will have to throw in more rhetorics to divert the people's attention. Unresolved scandals continue to hound her till her last days in office.

We have to make sure that should she step down, her successor would give the people the elusive justice we all seek. And let's all be vigilant so that GMA cannot pull a fast one on us through another Charter Change.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Birthday Greetings

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to blogsphere's most famous blogger, Manolo Quezon. May you have more blessings and happiness. I hope you can all drop by his blog and share with him this special day.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Populist Rhetorics

Tell the people what they want to hear, and for sure they would listen. This is what GMA is doing now. Her motive of course is to appease the people who has been pummeled by the rising cost of living. If she is to survive until 2010, she has no other option but to do what is popular than what is right. This also diverts the people's attention from the systemic raping of the country by her gang. Of course this is nothing new to Gloria, she has mastered the art of lying.

Diverting attention has been her forte and she has managed to stave off threats over the years. With the crises engulfing us hitting where it really hurts, people tend to get restless and the crimes of her administrations becomes more evident. When the rice crisis erupted, she went around handing out bags of rice. When high energy cost started hurting us, she sent marching orders to Winston Garcia. But of course she will never admit that her EVAT is causing us more harm than good. Her indiscriminate borrowing is the root cause of our problems. Add the corruption that has been institutionalized during her administration, then you have the perfect recipe for an incurable disease.

I expect Gloria to go after companies that the people perceive to be the causes of our hard lives. I suppose she would go after the oil companies next and then the water utilities after. Glaring as it is, she never touched NAPOCOR, ERC, TRANSCO or the really big smugglers in our ports. She never even bothered to investigate the price-fixing allegations in the power sector. She closes her eyes to the fact that she has mismanaged the country's economic affairs. She has entered into agreements detrimental to the country and to the people. She undertook and wasted so much resources on projects we don't really need.

Legacy is about concrete results and about inspiring people. It is not about rhetorics, political gimmickry and lies. Legacy is something you leave behind so that people may realize their dreams. The only dreams she had realized are those of the greedy and power hungry. She has left more people destitute and hungry while those close to her devour what little we have left. We need reforms and accountability. She has not delivered anything during her 7-year reign. The country had sunk deeper and is on the verge of collapse. Life could not have been worse and the hardest hit are the very pillars of society, the families.

With life getting worse, families are torn apart with parents and children separated due to economic woes. Dole outs do not help at all, what we need are opportunities that would offer the people more. We do not need words that slowly caresses us to death. Instead of strengthening the country, GMA is slowly selling us off piece by piece. Her eyes widen at the prospect of how much she and her gang will be dividing.

We are all alone. Our leaders have deserted us. Words are the only things we have in our pockets and hope is what is left in our hearts. We will be inheriting the devastation Gloria has left. She and her family will be living comfortably while we enslave ourselves to pay off her debts. We are collateral damage to her corrupt practices and will have to try survive her holocaust. Rhetorical speeches, that's about the only thing is she good at.

She now walks on very thin ice, one wrong move and she will be ousted. She should thank the people's patience. If we had been a different race, she would have been kicked out a long time ago. Borrowing the words of Joey Salceda, "she is one lucky bitch."


Friday, May 23, 2008

Systems Loss

We've been hearing this phrase "systems loss" for several weeks now. It's suppose to mean loss through pilferage or in simpler terms, stolen. Meralco has been under fire from all sectors because it passes on their "systems losses" to their consumers. Because of their ineptitude, we are the ones who end up paying. We are being forced to pay for their failure and and supposed mismanagement. While Gloria's pack headed by GSIS president Winston Garcia is clawing at the heels of the Lopezes, it's high time we make Gloria's administration accountable for their own "systems loss" the we the people are paying for.

Corruption has been institutionalized under Gloria's watch. We are now the 8th most corrupt country in the world. Because this administration has been mismanaging the country, we are the ones paying the price. Loans and aids continue to be misused. Bribery and kickbacks rampant and GMA and her gang continue to make fools of us. With almost all institutions under her control, we are helpless against their onslaught. Just like Meralco, they have turned our country into a monopoly wherein we have no other choice but to take what they dish out.

Systems loss is when we are heavily taxed not because the government is trying to increase social services but because we need to pay our ballooning debt. Systems loss is when small importers pay more because smugglers pay less. Systems loss is when Gloria needs to bribe the lower house and she distributes loot bags full of money buy the loyalty of our local officials. Systems loss is when we have to pay for her junkets and trips that amount to nothing. Systems loss is when we spend millions of dollars for embassies which do not look after the welfare of our migrant workers. Systems loss is when politicians use their pork barrels for their personal gains and promotion. Systems loss is when we have to pay for overpriced projects which are substandard. Systems loss is when government pushes for projects we don't really need.

I am very sure there are more systems loss being charged to us by this corrupt and inept administration. Hidden under the rug are billions of unexplained expenditures which this administration has yet to account for. It is Gloria's politicking that is destroying this country. Because she needs to make her allies happy and loyal, we have to bear the brunt of their systems loss. Meralco maybe abusing us but we should not be blinded by Gloria's populist rhetorics. GMA and her gang should refund to us the systems loss of this administration.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Philippine Human Rights Record

While our government boasts of a vibrant democracy, hidden in the shadows is its human rights abuses. As bloggers around the world unite for human rights we in the Philippines would like the world to know about what is happening in our country. Abductions, enforced disappearances and summary executions are a dime a dozen here. Journalists, youths and even judges are not spared. The violations run in the thousands since Gloria and her henchmen took over the reins of power.

The most glaring assault on press freedom was that of the alleged failed coup last Nov. 29, 2007. An elected senator, a general and several civilians locked themselves in a hotel in the prime city of Makati. Journalists who covered the event was later summarily arrested and brought to a military camp to be questioned. The GMA administration threatened the journalists of charges of obstruction and aiding and abetting the alleged participants of the coup. Even foreign journalists were not spared. Though released soon after, the government left a chilling effect on the media. The GMA-controlled Dept. of Justice also threatened the hapless journalists.

Access to information is also being denied to the public. Any personality who exposes anomalies are charged with libel or worst, kidnapped. Members of progressive groups who have been educating rural folks of their rights are branded communists and liquidated. Men, women and children are not spared from harassment by security forces. During an encounter last year between rebels and the military, a young child was shot pointblank by a soldier. They planted an assault rifle bigger than the slain child and made it appear that the poor kid was a child-soldier.

Due process is nonexistent as the administration controls all institutions of government. The corruption that pervades has made life so hard that hunger and malnutrition in children is common. Many of the less fortunate subsist on foraging for food in garbage cans. Child labor is widespread and an accepted norm. Despite assertions by the government that poverty has decreased, the reality on the ground shows otherwise.

Women may enjoy equal rights on paper, but more often than not, victims of rape end up being blamed for what happened to them. Hypocrisy and apathy by the very people tasked to protect rape victims has led to numerous unreported cases of rape. Children victimized by pedophiles suffer in silence. A convicted child rapist would have been released had it not been exposed by the vigilant media.

A student who died during a fraternity hazing is yet to be served justice. Perpetrators of the crime still roam freely due to the protection of influential members who are in government. Connections to personalities in power leave the citizens to the hands of lawless gangs who has no respect for human rights and justice. Death squads roam with impunity through the auspices of local officials. Life is cheap in this country and killings go unsolved because of an indifferent justice system and an apathetic society.

People are terrorized into submission. With government condoning outright abuse, justice comes slow to those who seek it. Government only shows superficial efforts to address these violations to appease the international community. The reality is that the administration would rather enrich themselves than do its job. The proof of our government insincerity is its refusal to ratify the Rome statute that could pave the for a genuine resolution to human rights abuses.

Human rights is the foundation for a modern global society. Unless these abuses stop, the world will forever have strife and suffering. Each one of us must do our share in pressuring our leaders and the the peoples of the world that for peace and progress to reign, protecting the rights of all is imperative.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Education is suppose to be a right and not a privilege. It is every parent's dream to see his children finish school. A bill filed by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez aims make liable, parents who fail to send their children to school. The law in itself is laudable and should be passed. Education Secretary, Jesli Lapus is also pushing for the passing of this bill. He adds that children should be in school and that poverty is not an excuse.

While I agree philosophically, the reality is that the high dropout rate is a consequence of the government's ineptitude. Public education is indeed free in the primary and secondary levels but there are hidden expenses that Lapus and Rodriguez should consider as well. Poverty plays a humongous role in education. Infrastructure and accessibility are other factors to consider too.

It is so easy to put the blame on parents and not the government. If this bill is passed, then Gloria should be charged as well. The government has a program of putting 15 year olds to work. Isn't this espousing child labor as well? With GMA's computation of squeezing in kids in a cramped classroom, what kind of education will the children be getting? The government cannot even provide textbooks and other materials to allow for genuine education. Despite pouring billions in our education system, the lack of educators continue to plague the system.

Schools are also far from some communities that kids as young as six have to walk for hours just to get to school. Some schools even conduct mixed-grade classes. This further compounds the problem of learning. The rising cost of living and lack of opportunities add to the woes of parents. It has been reported that a family of five must earn a daily income of P842/day to live decently. With the low wages, even the middle class is having a hard time to make ends meet.

Corruption and misuse of government resources is one of the biggest problems we face. Congress and the other government agencies throw away billions in projects we do not need. While there are legislators who do pour their pork barrels in education, a bigger number of them do not. The government relies heavily on the private sector in the name of corporate responsibility to its job. NGOs both foreign and local have also been immersed in programs to help the education system in the country.

But Gloria and her gang has this penchant to redirect blame on others. They cover up their crimes by diverting attention away from them. Now it's the parents who must suffer because of their indiscretions. I am sure the kids would not be forced to stop schooling if their parents have decent jobs or an opportunity to earn decently.

Government must also push for a genuine family planning program. It lacks political will to undergo such a deviation from the norm and is so afraid of losing the church's support. Perhaps the government should focus more on this before pointing fingers. The government should also make accountable those among its ranks continue to steal from the nation's coffers. Rodriguez and those like him perhaps do not feel the economic pinch the country is in. Congressmen have huge allowances and pork barrel that they allocate improperly. Some of our politicians also have numerous "families" to feed and wives to please which of course results to corruption.

Public education may have been good in the past, but not today. With tuition fees in private schools increasing every year, many of those who cannot cope transfer their kids to public schools. This in turn eases out those in the lower rungs of society. Had Gloria concentrated on specific institutions instead of spreading our resources thinly, we wouldn't be in this situation. She should have allocated an entire year's budget on one institution per year and perhaps development in these institutions could have been adequate.

I hope that all concerned agencies would conduct further research before passing this bill. Parents I know should be made responsible but we must weigh in all the factors. We also must first make accountable those whose corrupt practices have led to the hard life Filipinos are in. Education is fast becoming a privilege than a right. Bark if you must but please bite the right people.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center (Labor Concerns)

Susan 'Toots' Ople of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center sent a list of alternatives benefits to somehow address the plight of our workers. Join us in spreading this to all.

News Release
Blas F. Ople Policy Center
April 27, 2008

Ople Center recommends additional non-wage benefits for May 1

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center proposed five specific non-wage benefits that the government can study as part of its package of benefits to workers on Thursday, May 1 also known as Labor Day.

Former labor undersecretary Susan Ople, who heads the BFO Policy Center, said high costs of rice, food and oil should encourage the government to think about urgent ways to help workers around the country cope with inflation and the erosion of their purchasing power.

The Center recommends that the government consider:

  1. Declaring a temporary yet mandatory four-day work week for all government agencies except for those dealing with public health and national security. A four-day work week will enable government workers to save on transportation and food costs while giving them a three-day weekend that they could use to be with their families or to jumpstart micro enterprises. This would also help ease traffic on Fridays which could in turn alleviate stress on the part of the driving and riding public. This will also help government save on its energy costs.
  2. Citing occupational health and safety standards as a way to compel the Business Processing and Outsourcing industry to invest in free shuttle services for their employees. Night shift call center agents, especially young women, have to pay extra for taxi fare to ensure their own personal security while going to or leaving their place of work everyday. Given the substantial earnings of the biggest call center companies in Metro Manila and other urban cities, such investments would go a long way in promoting the well-being of their employees. As an alternative, successful BPOs should provide daily transport allowances to night-shift employees and workers on top of their regular pay.
  3. The government can also expand and maximize the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) during the summer break. Very few employers and students are aware of this program and yet it represents a good vehicle for skills training and development. On the part of the students, the SPES under DOLE’s supervision, enables them to gain work experience while at the same time saving up for their tuition fees in the forthcoming semesters. SPES deserves a re-launch with the full participation of the different chambers of commerce.
  4. Fast-track an emergency employment program that would tap jobless yet experienced ex-OFWs and early retirees who have certain skills sets and good work ethics honed through the years. For example, in nearly every department, there is always a backlog of data and information that needs to be encoded and digitized. The hiring of qualified ex-OFWs and early retirees from the private and public sectors to help meet such backlogs can form part of this program which is geared towards enhancing productivity of the workforce and stimulating the economy.
  5. Develop employment opportunities in the creative economy through outsourcing. This is something that can easily be done at the national and local levels. The different departments can stimulate the economy by outsourcing programs and projects that qualified NGOs and freelance creative groups and individuals can do. Rather than just putting out bidding announcements for equipments and supplies, the government must also learn to look outwards by encouraging department heads to outsource certain programs to the private sector. This will help stimulate government interaction with young creative minds and dynamic civil society groups. This would also expose bureaucrats to market and technology-driven concepts and realities. Government outsourcing requires a new mindset that now prevails in many bureaucracies around the world.

Ople said the five points can be fleshed out by the government through the labor department with representatives of big business and civil society.

“We need fresh perspectives on how to combine public policy with the government’s clout as an employment-innovator. If done right, the public sector can assume a leading role in job generation, even if these are work assignments that are time-bound and objectives-driven,” the BFO Center stressed.

The BFO Policy Center said it would submit a memo to Labor Secretary Marianito Roque containing the five unsolicited recommendations. “If one or two of them are considered, then that is already a positive contribution of the Center to Labor Day,” Ople said.

The Blas F. Ople Policy Center is a non-government organization formed in honor of the memory of the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople. It was during Ople’s time as labor secretary that the overseas employment program was created. He is also acknowledged as the Father of the Philippine Labor Code.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Government Insincerity In The Midst Of A Crisis

While long queues of people line up to get their daily ration of NFA rice, somewhere in the south of Manila, fate of farmers hang in the balance. As the saga of the Sumilao farmers end, a new battle looms in the horizon. This time around, farmers of Calatagan, Batangas are about to lose their lands. These lands that they have toiled on and have paid fully are now about to be turned into mines. So it seems that it becomes more and more apparent that this administration lacks political will, even becoming hatchet men of the rich. While there are calls for a stop to land conversion, those that are under dispute are not covered by this call.

The case of the Calatagan farmers stemmed from an unlawful order backed by an antiquated report by both the Dept. of Agrarian Reform and the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources. Food security has been abandoned in the name of environmental destruction. The Dept. of Agrarian Reform has time and again taken the side of the rich than do what is mandated by law. The DAR is supposed to address social justice and not pure injustice. Perhaps those who crafted the CARP never intended to address the plight of the poor. Provisions were inserted that weakened and undermined the true essence land reform and social justice.

The gravity of the implications of the Calatagan case cannot be denied. This is a human rights violation in its purest form. Some thirty-six farmers joined the Sumilao farmers in their walk last year, this time around, they started their own march for justice. Lakbay-Kalampag para sa Lupang Sakahan, Hindi Minahan hope to finally end the ten years of uncertainty which gripped the beneficiaries of the land dispute in Calatagan. Self determination and equal opportunity is what the agrarian reform is supposed to achieve. It is high time the government do what is morally and humanely just.

This time around, the issue is closer to the seat of power. The issue of food security must be our priority now more than ever. A progressive country relies on food to harness development and progress. Unless we set our priorities right, we may end up like the country of Nauru, mining is about to drive them into extinction. Please visit CALATAGAN MARCH for the background of the case. I hope that those who fought for the Sumilao cause will again join me and show their support for the hapless farmers of Calatagan. "We are after all our brothers' keepers."


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Filipino Voices Is Up And Running

Finally, the master has finished his Obra. Nick of Tingog has launched the Filipino Voices. It's a collaborative blog that will tackle issues that few would dare delve into. It would showcase writings of my fellow bloggers, journalists and idealists. For sure it would be an exciting blog as diverse views of every writer will be expressed. It covers a broad spectrum of views. From the centrist to hopefully the extreme so that we may give you the sentiments of both sides of the not only the political fence but by society in general.

Yours truly is one of those lucky enough to be invited to write for this new blog. I hope that we at Filipino Voices would be able to reach out to all of you so that issues besetting our beloved country would be properly explained and dissected. Let the fun games begin. I hope that all of you would take time out to visit the site and share with us your thoughts and sentiments.

The writing team is composed of Nick (, Arbet Bernardo (AWB Holdings), J (The Nutbox), Dean Jorge Bocobo (Philippine Commentary), Manuel Buencamino (Uniffors),
Cocoy (Big Mango), Jester (The Jester in Exile), Lester Cavestany, Rom Sedona (Smoke), Butch (The Warrior Lawyer) and Patricio Mangubat (New Philippine Revolution). I hope you enjoy our writings.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Of Roses And Surveys

It is now clear why the nine Magdalo soldiers changed their plea to guilty. The real score was to make Gloria Arroyo and Hermogenes Esperon smell like roses. In the guise of POLITICAL reconciliation, Gloria is set to pardon them. Regardless whether it would be a conditional one, the end result is the freedom for the nine and the image building for Gloria and Esperon. Esperon is about to retire and he would like to come out deodorized. As for GMA, she will boost her image among the men in uniform. Gloria's operator Ronaldo Puno seems to be pulling the strings again just like how he orchestrated Erap's pardon.

So the stage has been set for the spin meisters and propagandists of the palace. The nine will be made political props in Gloria's drama. Like rabbits ganging on a carrot, I am sure the nine soldiers will look back and suffer the consequences of their decision. Of course we cannot judge for they have families to protect and futures to secure. With the impending pardon, many of their grievances have yet to be addressed in earnest. Everything has only been a window dressing of sorts. The "bata-bata system" continues and only those close to GMA and Esperon enjoy real perks.

It's all about Gloria's and Esperon's image. Both wants to show how humane(?) they can be.

So the latest surveys are out, Gloria's ratings continue to spiral. While the palace dogs debunk this, perception is equivalent to sentiments. Anthony Golez counters by saying that surveys are not absolute, what counts is the continuing rise of our economy. So they now go back to our booming economy(?). Despite the staggering cost of living, the impending rice shortage, the weekly increases in oil products, the threat of a new round of hikes in electricity and water and the increases in tuition this coming school year, they still claim a progressive economy.

When Filipinos continue to leave in the thousands everyday to seek jobs abroad, the only growth is in remittances and the unabated corruption in government. Let's go back to the surveys. If you ask those who benefit from Gloria's reign, then the economy is booming. If you ask the ordinary laborer who has to make ends meet, life is getting harder everyday. When a government makes it a policy to export its citizens, life is not good as they want us to believe. When a government has employment programs for kids as young as 15, then something is definitely wrong.

This administration survives on rhetorics, terror and lies. I throw this statement back to Gloria, "No political posturing will put food on the table. No headlines will produce jobs." Gloria's politics is becoming personal. It has touched the empty stomachs and wallets of the people. Soon the surveys will result in actions, actions that this administration will not want to face. Resignation or ouster through peaceful means might be more palatable than be dragged out of Malacañang by the hair.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Faking And Exploiting Crises

I have heard of speculations about the crises that had engulfed this country. Are these imagined or real? Some would argue that these could be factual in more ways than one. With the distrust ratings of Gloria's administration, everything is probable and plausible. Let's just take the issue of the rice shortage. Is there really a shortage or was is made to look like one? There has been talks of a BIG personality who had imported a huge shipment of rice. But because importation of rice has been strictly controlled, the huge shipment could not be taken out. The BIG personality stands to lose a lot.

Now to facilitate its release without attracting attention, rice importation has to be lifted. This would expedite the release and the BIG personality would be laughing his way to the bank. His profit would be so big because of the skyrocketing price of the Filipinos' staple food. Fantastic way of legalizing smuggling. Just create a scenario of panic and viola, instant profit. This is of course just a speculation by some that this is in preparation of something bigger. Let's say, in preparation for 2010.

I too wonder if there really is a shortage as a friend from the north told me that rice is abundant and that if I would like, he would buy rice in the province for me. If what my friend is true, then we have all been taken for a big ride. The other scenario would to incite panic among the populace. With the prices of basic commodities reaching the stratosphere and with utilities costing more, clamor for Gloria to take extreme action could be pushed by unscrupulous allies. Talks of emergency powers are now being floated and for what reason we really cannot tell.

What if parties with vested interests are doing this deliberately to build an atmosphere of lawlessness that could give Gloria enough reason to declare martial law? Who would benefit from it and who has the numbers to make such declaration legit? With the lower house and now the Supreme Court teeming with GMA's allies, anything is possible. Just imagine, Gloria would not have to spend for another people's initiative or even lock horns with the senate. She could easily steamroll her way to an undetermined term. We all know how she and her advisers operate, nothing can be discounted with them around.

The crisis should now be viewed with skepticism. We could be playing into one of her traps. Could this be the reason why we see pictures of long queues for NFA rice? Could this be the reason why threats of impending hikes on utilities continue to be floated? Just imagine if all hell breaks loose and Gloria can now legitimately declare martial rule? Whether this crisis was done to cloak another scam or to perpetuate Gloria's hold to power, we should now double, even triple our vigilance. We shouldn't be complacent when GMA and her gang are desperate.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Birthday Greetings

My 'sister' in activism, Leah Navarro of the Black and White Movement is celebrating her birthday today. The lovely lass with an enchanting voice left the entertainment limelight to lend her voice in our people's fight for democracy. Tireless and more beautiful than ever, Leah is another voice in the wilderness who inspires us to stand up for our rights and secure a brighter future for our youth.

Sis, a toast to you and may your tribe increase. I am proud to be your 'brother'. I hope that the Lord will shower you with more blessings and give you strength to continue your advocacies. A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you, and may you have more birthdays to come.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Tale Of Two Justices

Former justices Artemio Panganiban and Hilario Davide have one thing in common, they are both responsible for putting Gloria Arroyo in the seat of power. But this is where their similarity ends. Davide went on and was named by GMA as our permanent ambassador to the United Nations. Panagniban retired and is now a private citizen. Davide played a major role during Erap's impeachment and Gloria's ascension to power which gave him an edge over Panganiban.

After the Gloria's Supreme Court ruled in favor of Neri, both former justices came out to give their views on the decision. Davide naturally sided with Team GMA saying that we should all respect the SC's decision. Panganiban went the other way. Short of calling the SC as GMA's Supreme Court, he points out that the SC made a grave mistake in favoring Neri. He explicitly gave weight on transparency and accountability. He pointed out how presidential abuse is now legitimized. Panganiban, untainted by Gloria's Midas touch is an outsider looking in which gave him an objective view of the situation.

Davide once rode high and was respected by the people. He now lies in the gutter with his benefactor, GMA. He clearly lost his objectivity and sense of justice. He could have kept his credibility if only he stayed away from the grasps of Gloria's corrupting clutches. He seems to now have a clouded mind which has led to his misinterpretation of the limits of executive privilege. He has sided with the criminals who continue to cover up Gloria's crimes.

Justice Panganiban is a true justice. He clearly knows his constitution. He knows what limits the legislative and the executive have. He is a man of honor and integrity. Keeping his independence, how I wish that the Supreme Court had more like him. He may have been one of those who legitimized GMA's power grab, he more than made up for it by pointing out the great injustice the nine justices brought upon the nation.

Now that a motion for reconsideration has been filed by the senate, I hope the SC would agree with the views of Panganiban. I hope they do, or not only would history judge them unkindly, they may suffer a worst fate in the hands of the people.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

When The Shit Hits The Fan

Gloria may have thought that she is invincible. Thanks to her corrupt practices, she has managed to stave off her ouster and perch precariously on the mantle of power. She may have survived the Garci scandal by effectively buying the loyalties of AFP officials. She may have survived impeachments through the "graces" of her corrupt representa-THIEVES. She may have blocked the probes of the senate on her kickbacks and corruption scandals. But one cannot go on dodging the inevitable. Her crimes had caught up to her.

With the food crisis rearing its ugly head, Gloria may have reached the end of the line. Her corrupt practices is the cause of the looming crisis. Because GMA was too busy defending her illegitimate presidency, she forgot to back up her claim to the throne with concrete programs that could have "legitimized" her reign. Personal gain and ambition clouded her view and she must now answer the people.

The nation may turn a blind eye on her scandals, but when the "stomach" rambles, it would very hard for the people to simply forget. Now she is faced with a scenario that could turn very ugly for her. I have blogged about the people's apathy before due mainly to surviving the daily grind. I don't think that faced with high costs of living and a looming food crisis, the people would still remain apathetic. The ineptness of GMA has finally reached the people's doorstep and I don't think they will take this lightly.

This time around, the fight has become personal as it affects the poorest of the poor and the middle class as well. The elite may stay neutral but could be overwhelmed by the rising tide. With social services nonexistent and wages unable to match up with the rising prices, Gloria will be facing an opponent larger and more powerful than her purse. She may have bought off congress, the judiciary, the military and the executive, but I don't think that a few centavos here and there could quell the anger of a hungry people.

The shit has finally hit the fan and it showered the nation. She cannot hide behind technicalities nor executive orders, she must now fight the battle herself. Despite attempts to temper the simmering cauldron, I don't think she can squirm her way out of this one. Something has got to give. Gloria forgot that we are an agricultural country. She forgot that our people are mostly farmers, livestock raisers and fishermen. She forgot that importation cannot supply our every need. What she should have focused on is strengthening the foundations of progress before dreaming of turning the Philippines into a first-world country.

She should have focused on food security and education first before embarking on her corruption binge. With a happy tummy, the people could "overlook" her shenanigans. But it's too late for that now, she had decided her fate. Hunger did her in. Where the opposition failed, Gloria managed do it herself. She has only herself to blame her for this.

I'll leave you with this: Ending her speech before the AIC in Hong Kong, she said that when she steps down in 2010, corruption will end. One of her economic advisers said that the food crisis will stay on until 2010. Is this the sign of things to come? Are they trying to tell us who to blame for the mess the Philippines is in? I suppose you can decide for yourself with the situation our country is in.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

What About The Corruption In Your Administration?

Gloria Arroyo has moved her Enchanted Kingdom to Fantasy Land. Speaking before businessmen at the 11th Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong, our illegitimate queen said, "As an economist, I know that first and foremost, a strong economy is an economy that is transparent and free from corruption. We are freeing ourselves of the shackles of corruption evidenced by our growing economy which is increasingly free of corruption and inefficiency," Yowww, my ears hurt!

The torture continues. She adds that she had poured billions in the fight against corruption. She claims to have asked congress to pass a comprehensive anti-corruption law. Reminiscent of Erap's "Walang kaibigan, walang kumpare, walang kamaganak" speech, she said, "We will hold officials accountable if they are found to be corrupt. For our part, any allegations of wrongdoing go straight to the independent Ombudsman," She adds, "We will let the chips fall where they may as investigations are concluded and friend and foe alike are brought to account for their actions."

I don't know what else she can concoct, but based on recent surveys, Filipinos say their lives have worsened. Of all economists, she sure has the worst track record. As for her vaunted anti-corruption campaign, maybe the rank and file corruption has been minimized. Of course we all know that corruption now belongs exclusively to the higher ups. What her PAGC and Ombudsman have caught/convicted are the small fries. Maybe she had forgotten Jocjoc Bolante (whose extradition she now dangles to divert the attention of the people away from the ZTE scandal)or Nani Perez whom the Swiss found to have a questionable account.

Even patrimonies which were given to the Filipino people as war reparations of Japan did not escape the eagle eyes of GMA. She wants them sold without the consent of the entire Filipino nation through a referendum. The trickle down effect of her economic programs seems to have thickened that only the minute sector of the people actually claim they have become richer. I suppose these are the people around her who has benefited tremendously on her program of systemic corruption. I really don't care what her advisers say about our economic growth. All I know is that my earnings continue to drop. Thanks to her successful corruption-free economy, my sales have dropped 63% in the past two years.

My family has been living frugally and yet we feel the pinch. What more the people whose fixed income cannot even cope with the rising cost of living? She calls for transparency and yet getting information from her administration is virtually nil. What growth can you expect when an investor has to shell out a going rate of 22% in grease money? She dreams of industrialization while forgetting that agriculture is the bread and butter of our nation. Farmers are being forced to sell their land to developers because of nonexistent aid from the government, while our neighbors export their's because their governments know which sectors to prioritize.

Thanks to GMA's medical tourism, Filipinos can now readily sell their organs for a few measly dollars. Aside from trafficking our loved ones to employers abroad, our out-of-school youth are being urged to seek employment instead. How can our country flourish when the youth are being forced to work instead of learning to increase their chances of progress? What our people need are concrete solutions to plaguing problems. A few dole outs every now and then does not address the real problems our people face.

One thing is clear, the unabated corruption in the very halls of the highest office of the land has led to desperation. Gloria can claim progress all she wants. She's been eating her words more often than not. How many times have she lied only to be slapped in the face with the truth? But as the old saying goes, what are we in power for? She can do or say anything she wants and get away with it. Unless we finally get fed up and lose our patience, she and her cabal will rule with impunity. Can you still wait until 2010 and see what happens?


Monday, March 31, 2008

Public Sinners Raise A Howl

Bishop Oscar Cruz steps up a notch. The feisty bishop declared that he will not be giving communion to public sinners. Yehey! The bishop finally nails the corrupt. Instead of communing with God, certain public officials would rather dance with the likes of Mike Velarde than with God. It's a slap on the faces of those who rob the country blind for six days a week and has the temerity to hear mass on Sunday. And these officials even receive communion.

The good bishop is right. That is why we have the sacrament of confession, we atone for our sins and welcome God in our hearts. But it seems that some of our leaders are so thick-faced that they would even openly receive communion. There is no such thing as benefit of the doubt in the eyes of the Lord. There simply is right and wrong. You cannot tell God that He should present His evidence to the courts as He surely knows the good or bad things we do.

Palace loudspeaker, Anthony Golez is also wrong in saying that God gives salvation to everybody. Those who repent and offers himself to be saved will be saved, those who continue to sin will never be saved and will forever be condemned. Communion is sacred. The host is considered as the body of Christ. You do not feed it to dogs and pigs. In the eyes of the Lord, there is no such thing as perception. His court is greater than Gloria's Supreme Court, her Ombudsman or her Dept. of (in)Justice. God cannot be bought with a thick envelope nor be blinded by juicy government posts. One cannot hide behind the laws of men as He will judge you by your acts.

Twenty-eight TONGressmen from southern Luzon raised a howl. Calling the bishop's statement the "height of ecclesiastical arrogance", they are calling on the CBCP to reprimand Bishop Cruz. If they do not get a favorable action from the CBCP, they threatened to elevate their call to the Vatican. Southern Luzon Alliance head Rep. Danilo Suarez of Quezon also said that Cruz violated the provision in the constitution on the separation of the church and state by mixing religion and politics. When morality and values are involved, separation is nonexistent. Nice try but I doubt if this move will get anywhere. (Maybe the jueteng lords will hear them out.)

The CBCP replied that they should give a specific crime that the bishop committed. Bishop Cruz said that it would be scandalous for a priest to give communion to a known sinner. When asked what he thought of Gloria Arroyo, he replied that he cannot consider her as a saint. GMA had been accused of lying, cheating and stealing. The bishop also said that he was misquoted and he never specifically called GMA a public sinner. I saw only portions of the said press conference and I really cannot say if Bishop Cruz called Gloria a public sinner. The TONGressmen said that Cruz is guilty of lying and that being a man of the cloth, he should not hastily condemn anyone.

I am glad Bishop Cruz has made this statement. It sends a strong signal to all corrupt officials. Confess and repent or maybe they should establish a church of their own. Laws of men are different from the laws of the church. Though both may contain the same "sins", church laws are not hindered by "technicalities" which our corrupt leaders use to get away with their crimes. The palace can cry foul all they want. Only the guilty raise hell when faced with sanctions from the Church.

The truth really hurts and that when faced with such statements, the GUILTY quickly react. I expected the bishop to be swarmed with criticisms from the allies of GMA. I was not surprised to see her paid hacks launch an attack on the bishop. The morally bereft representaTHIEVES should avoid going to Cruz's archdiocese and risk being denied the Sacrament of Communion or worst, turned away. Every bishop is autonomous and does not have to prove beyond reasonable doubt, the guilt of a sinner.

These officials should reexamine themselves and contemplate. If they can shield Gloria from impeachment, they cannot shield her from outright excommunication.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sumilao Update: At Long Last And Then Some

After a 60-day, 1,700km trek from Bukidnon to Manila, three months of waiting, the Sumilao farmers and San Miguel Foods, Inc. has finally reached a settlement. I received a text message early this morning informing me that a Memorandum of Agreement is to be signed by the two parties. SMFI will give 50 hectares of the disputed land and will acquire another 94 hectares to complete the contested 144 hectares being claimed by the Sumilao farmers. All cases pending on the issue will also be dropped.

After ten long years, the Higaonon farmers will finally realize their dream. They will have their lands back. After the land is awarded, the farmers intend to form a cooperative together with other farmer groups. Groups like taskforce MAPLAD and SALFA will be included in the new cooperative. It will be a good start and a happy ending for the farmers. The DAR had been ordered by GMA to expedite the process of determining the beneficiaries of the land.

I am glad that all is well in the end. The farmers can now determine their own future with this development. But as the last page of the Sumilao saga closes, another fight looms in the horizon. Another group of farmers whose land was awarded to them back in 1990 is about to have it taken away from them. Farmers from Calatagan will be marching their way to Manila starting April 17. Their land is to be converted to a mining area. Asturias Industries, a mining corporation is now going through loopholes in the legal process to convert the land.

So the fight for social justice and equity continues in the Enchanted Kingdom. I am sure that more farmer groups will come. Inspired by the Sumilao farmers, I hope that they too will win their fights. As a food crisis threatens the country, I just wonder why conversion of farmlands continue? I suppose the government would rather have the people go hungry first before they realize the impact of their misdirected programs. Oh well, what else is new? Industrialization will never be realized if the people are straving. Productivity? When the government would rather have 15yr. old kids work than go to school, it tells you where the country is headed.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SC's Team Gloria Delivers

As I had expected, the Supreme Court's Team Gloria delivered. Voting 9-6, the SC favored Romulo Neri. The SC also clipped the senate's wings on the issue of contempt and issuance of warrants of arrest. The senate can however call on Neri to testify but must refrain from asking the three most controversial questions. 1. did GMA follow up the NBN deal, 2. did GMA tell Neri to prioritize the NBN deal, and 3. did GMA tell Neri to go ahead with the project despite being notified of a bribe attempt. All these questions to me are all answerable by a simple YES or NO. These questions also do not fall under the restrictions of executive privilege.

To my view, these questions do not involve national security nor diplomatic relations. What these questions really concern is Gloria's security and her corruption through diplomacy. This is how they voted: The Taliban, team captain: Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, members of the special action force are: Associate Justices Leonardo Quisumbing, Renato Corona, Dante Tinga, Minita Chico-Nazario, Presbiterio Velasco, Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Ruben Reyes and Arturo Brion. The counter terrorists: Chief Justice Reynato Puno and Associate Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez, Conchita Carpio-Morales, Adolfo Azcuna and Antonio Carpio. Of the nine, eight are GMA appointees while one is FVR's.

It is now clear that all institutions are controlled by Gloria. The Filipinos have no one to turn to. The SC considered by all to be the last bastion of truth could might well be the last straw that holds at bay, the smoldering cauldron. The SC may have sealed Gloria's fate. With the Ombudsman and the DOJ clearly her mercenaries, the people might as well throw caution to the wind and kick them all to kingdom come. We have no other option now as even justice now wears Prada. Justice did not die when Erap was pardoned, it died with the SC's decision.

The SC in essence inoculated the entire executive branch from any investigation on its criminal acts. When even the courts cannot be relied on, the entire system breaks down. Clearly, the SC did not even bother to dig deeper into Neri's case. It did what the palace wanted all along. This was evident when the SC tried to broker a compromise deal. The decision will have a huge impact on every investigation the congress conducts. Corruption can now be legalized through executive agreements.

There is no balance of power now. Equality of the branches of government is nonexistent. The senate is on its own. The advocacy of CJ Puno has been thrown in the trash. The SC has shown its true color. Gloria's appointees have paid their political debt to Gloria. When the going got tough, these appointees delivered for her. Has justice been served? No it was not. Justice chose to uphold criminality in the executive. We now have to seek truth somewhere else as the courts will have none of it. The people will now have to look for justice elsewhere. When all legal remedies have been exhausted to no avail, the rule of the mob is the last resort. It would be ugly, very ugly. But it may just get the job done.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Less Rice Anyone?

Rice as we all know is the staple food of the Filipino. The Filipinos would rather have less viand than less rice. In a country where agricultural programs are misdirected, importation is the only option. The National Food Authority (NFA) is the agency tasked with ensuring that supplies is always enough to meet the demands of the country. Due to the increasing demand for rice and the shift to developing crops for bio-fuels, the price of rice continue to shoot up globally. With our dependence on imported rice, the usually affordable food could now go beyond the reach of ordinary Filipinos.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was able to develop a hybrid rice that would allow several harvests a year. The problem is that it requires a different and more expensive fertilizer. With corruption well entrenched in this administration, even subsidies intended for farmers are diverted. Our farmers are at a disadvantage as foreign governments subsidize their agricultural sector quite extensively. The NFA set up centers of procurement which should have done away with unscrupulous businessmen who prey on the hapless farmers. But more often than not, funds are low that these centers cannot buy the farmers' produce. Farmers are asked to come back when funds are available. The farmers in their desire to convert their crops to cash, only have this abusive middlemen to turn to.

The administration for its part has asked the people to "lessen" our intake of rice. Even going as far as asking fast food chains to halve their serving of rice. Do they even know how small the serving Jolliebee or McDonalds serve? I doubt it. Millions of Filipinos survive on rice and fish sauce or salt everyday, I wonder what other options do these people have? Millions of children are also malnourished. Average price of commercial rice is now pegged at P34/kilo. One need not be a rocket scientist to reach a conclusion that these factors leads to unproductive individuals. With oil and electricity also on the rise, poverty will definitely increase.

It is so easy for our officials to call for such actions since they do not have to experience the kind of harsh lives our people face everyday. I find it so irresponsible on their part to even contemplate on the only food most Filipinos can afford. What the government should do is to lead by example. Our leaders live a life most people can only dream of. They live in mansions and drive expensive cars. Their children are permanent fixtures in expensive clubs and even travel abroad whenever they wish to. Such callous display of wealth is deplorable in this country.

Insensitive, pure stupidity or lack of empathy, these so-called leaders should try the life we have. Let us see if they would even last a minute in the sorry state the poorest of the poor live in. A country cannot and will never progress if we have leaders like these. The other reason why we are facing a rice crisis is because of unchecked(?) smuggling and the existence of cartels which makes life even harder. Care to guess who is involved in such activities?

So who among you want less rice? They should be the ones sacrificing for us, not the other way around. Public officials are suppose to serve the people. If Gloria wants a revolution, the best way is to deprive the masses of something to fill their empty, aching stomachs with. Rice, glorious rice. If Gloria and her gang can't address this, they all end up being milled and stuffed in sacks.