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.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bishops Should Learn From The Monks

The protests in Burma were led by Buddhist monks. The events in Tibet were also triggered by monks. Buddhist monks have always taken the peaceful path and have suffered tremendously in the hands of both authoritarian regimes. But they remain steadfast and has chosen to make a stand. Persecution and even summary execution await these monks. They have chosen to lead their flock, stood by them and even died with them. No amount of pressure from anyone have changed their beliefs.

The same cannot be said for most of our bishops. Bishops here have taken the easy way out. They chose the path littered with thick, white envelopes. Our politician cum bishops should go to Burma or Tibet this Holy Week. They may just learn a thing or two from the monks there. Maybe they should get out of the church and join the likes of Mike Velarde, Cerge Remonde and Medy Poblador (Right Card. Rosales?). Better yet, they should join the lower house instead and be a part of Gloria's gang of thieves.

Cardinal Sin took donations from the palace yet he stood by his flock and beliefs. Money did not sway him and never allowed himself to be prostituted by those in power. I am sure that if he were alive today, the likes of Rosales and Vidal will be put to shame. When a priest becomes a tool to suppress the truth, he is no better than a drug lord whose "business" destroys the foundations of society. He goes against the very principles and teachings of the church. Now, even the servants of the faith are divided. Corrupt bishops versus activist priests and nuns.

This Holy Week, I pray that the hand of God touches the hearts of these bishops. And if the Lord would hear my prayer, I'd like to have Him slap the living daylights out of these so-called fishers of men. The lights have gone out of the Catholic church and "darkness" had swallowed up the souls of the bishops who chose the thickness of the white envelopes from Malacañang.

Now if only we have the monks from Burma and Tibet here, the bishops would definitely learn what being spiritual leaders stand for. To actively stand for the truth is not plain activism, to be bought with white envelopes is to be a prostitute.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Of People Power And Propaganda

Angela Stuart Santiago posting in the Republic of Pundits debunks the propaganda being played by Gloria and those who still refuse to open their eyes to reality. Ms. Santiago discusses the issues raised by some quarters on why another People Power should not be pushed. People Power is the only peaceful means by which we can oust a criminal government, unless of of course we go by the palace's divisive assertions and end up with a full blown civil war.

Back in 1986, People Power ousted a dictator. Marcos stole the people's voice during his years in power. He ruled with impunity and he controlled every institution during his reign. After fourteen years, the people found enough courage to finally deal with him. As there was an issue of personality against Marcos, the issues behind it are far larger. Marcos had a horrible record when it came to human rights. The thievery of his administration left the country bankrupt and submerged in debt. EDSA 1 was and is still being used by suppressed people the world over.

EDSA 2 was a totally different story. It had a script that was played to the last scene. The middle class and the elite had a perception or a bias against Estrada from the very start. Even before Erap was finally declared president, these sectors of society have seen him as incompetent being a high school graduate. His rise to power showed how huge the disparity was between the poor and the rich. He played into the trap set by the Arroyos and those who perceived him to be unfit to be president. At the end of the day, the spirit of People Power was bastardized by Gloria and Mike. It actually did not take much to get the crowds riled up and kick Erap to kingdom come.

We had a chance to kick Gloria out back in 2004. Running against another actor, sectors of society raised alarms bells again. FPJ is a close friend of Erap and was viewed as similar to Erap by the powerful minority. It was only after a year and the Hello Garci scandal that we learned how the voice of the people fell victim to GMA's greed. Elections should reflect the voice of the majority, however, that is not the case with our country. Personal interests and comfort far outweigh not outnumber national interest and democracy.

Gloria would like us to believe that People Power is bad because she knows how she prostituted the exercise. She knows how her husband and their greedy gang maneuvered and exploited the situation back in 2001. She has to make it appear that kicking her our is unjust and unconstitutional. At the same time, she slowly re-framed the vital institutions of government to make sure that any legal and constitutional means to take her out of office will not work. Falling out of grace and ending up like Erap will be a bitter pill to swallow. Now she is believed to be the worst president the country ever had. Not only that, she is now even perceived to be a traitor by some.

Malacañang will do anything to make it appear that everything Gloria is facing now is simply political and the opposition's desire to oust her. But we all know, at least those who now accept that the Arroyos hoodwinked them in 2001, that these calls for her resignation is based on issues. These issues have dragged the country into instability both politically and economically. The repercussions of Gloria's transgressions are being felt now with immeasurable consequences yet to be seen.

People Power only becomes bad when persons with ulterior motives use it. The opposition is just one part of the entire picture. With people now more informed and more discerning, pulling off an EDSA like what the Arroyos did will be very difficult. Politicians are being shunned now. The youth has picked up the slack. Politics has taken a backseat and genuine people power is emerging. Despite the drumbeating of the palace, never again would the people be easily swayed by politicians. But even the likes of Card. Rosales nor the voice of Winnie Monsod would not convince the people that it is best to maintain the status quo.

Gloria will never step down. She will do anything to avoid paying for her sins. People feel betrayed and the nation is sitting on a powder keg. People power this time around will not be a simple case of ousting a treacherous leadership. It will not be case of personalities, it will be based on issues and genuine change. The youth have learned the lessons our generation have overlooked. The lies that this administration are peddling exposes its weakness. It's just a matter of time before we reach not only the boiling point but the tipping point as well. We only have two options when all else fails. Either we resolve this peacefully or an outright revolution.

I would always prefer the peaceful path to solve our problems. We can also reform and strengthen our institutions through this. But if you are dealing with a lawless administration, would this really work? Perhaps the latter maybe more apt. It is is a better means to eradicate the greed and to exterminate the breed.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Of Mendicants And Thieves

Are we a country of mendicants? It only appears that way because we have an administration of thieves. Instead of fighting for our sovereignty, our so-called representatives cower at the first signs of China's might. It is not war I am referring to but of fear of losing their kickbacks. They can hide behind the skirt of diplomacy all they want but we all know it's all about money. When a country is ruled by a greedy bunch, expect that they will sell even the future of a nation just so they can fill their pockets.

As China flexes its enormous wealth in the realm of geopolitics, the smaller Asian nations can only bend backwards. This is what is happening to us and how we relate to China's might. So in exchange for loaded loans, our leaders are scrambling for the pot of gold promised by the world's biggest economy. Never mind if the Filipinos suffer. Never mind if future generations will be paying for these loans. Our leaders couldn't care less as they have more than enough in their loot bags to ensure their families' survival.

Forget about the Spratlys and our country's sovereignty. As long as they can line their pockets with gold, let's sell whatever we can sell to the Chinese. Cynics shout that Gloria has less than two years to go so why don't we just ride her ruthless storm and wait for 2010? My response is what would be left of our country after Gloria and her gang has completed their rampage? Can these people rebuild a devastated nation? This is the kind of reasoning that should send fear in the hearts of the rest of Filipinos. We had barely recovered from the Marcos years and now we would once again turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the crimes of this administration.

It is now obvious how this administration is part of the greatest rape of this millennium. We are being offered to China to slaughter. Maybe not physically but as a nation. It's pure unadulterated treason. If there is nothing sinister behind Gloria's deals with China, why can't she put her foot down and simply say no? So she makes it appear that we are in dire need of China's donations while she fills congress and her administration of thieves. Is this the way to move forward? To hell with hell call for unity and support. Filipinos should realize that we are being sold out by this administration.

No need to wait for 2010. Time to close down the dump site in the Batasan and take the garbage out. If Gloria and her gang loves China so much, then let's kick them there. We don't need them here. Oh but wait, maybe she can take her Filipino Chinese lackeys with her, They all deserve each other.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Trojan Ass

The nation waited for "Supplies" witness Leo San Miguel to drop the bomb on the personalities involved with the NBN-ZTE scam. San Miguel did as expected, he did drop a bomb and obviously lied through his teeth. For the first time, NBN 4 covered the hearings. He performed much to the delight of the psychotic occupants of the palace by the toxic river. I am sure the celebrations were short lived as the senators finally showed their teeth and went down to business.

San Miguel's testimony was slowly shredded not only by the questions propounded to him but by documents presented by walk-in witness, Dante Madriaga. From "moderate the greed", the new word is "tong-pats" which means commission. As the hearing wore on, the sleaze behind the dealings stuck out like a sore thumb. The Trojan horse the palace sent to the senate slowly turned to a Trojan ass as he continuously stuck his foot in his ass.

With every claim San Miguel blurted out, he was quickly rebuked. Former commissioner Ramon Sales shared a piece of his mind. The decent man was removed from his post because he would not go along with the shenanigans of Malacañang. The senate managed to link San Miguel to the "Greedy Group ++" which he unwittingly admitted. The astute businessman claimed he was hired by ZTE as consultant without any contract and promised verbally with a half percent pay. He was also reimbursed in cash which is highly suspicious.

Enrile tried his best to plug the loopholes in San Miguel's testimony to no avail. He scoffed at the opposition even saying "nakuryente sila". But of course fishes are caught with its mouth and San Miguel was caught lying time and again. The more he opened his mouth, the more Lozada, Joey and Madriaga's credibility strengthened. The palace will have its work cut out for them. I am sure that Gloria's Myna birds will be busy singing again to try and rectify the blunder which is San Miguel.

San Miguel is better off getting drunk with his namesake than face the senate. I have never seen a drunken sober in my life. The show he put on at the senate showed how utterly stupid Gloria's advisers are. San Miguel helped link the personalities much to the delight of the opposition. He was both careless and reckless. Now the senate has more bullets against GMA. The momentum is once again with the senate. No more EO 464 or MC 108. I am sure that Gloria will turn to her last card, Executive Privilege. She couldn't afford another debacle like San Miguel. Time to send her "witnesses" into exile again unless she wants to be trampled by her own herd of Trojan Asses.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Politics Of Poverty

It seems that poverty will never be eradicated from a fertile, resource rich country such us ours. Despite aid from the international community and socio-economic programs of the private sector, higher incidents of poverty overshadow the claimed GDP growth of GMA's administration. With the national debt increasing, pressure to increase government revenue had actually pushed the poverty line higher engulfing the middle class.

The fact of the matter is this administration immersed itself into using poverty to its advantage. Poverty forces the people to cling to the promises of their politicians. The people are held hostage by baits dangled to them by their congressmen. Sure the government spends on infrastructure not only to increase our GDP but to show soe semblance of progress. Unbeknown to them, more often than not, these projects are overpriced.

One proof of this is a friend of mine who decided to close his construction business than be a party to our country's rape. He was tasked to build a 75 meter road. His price was P100,000 for the project. The district representative told him to jack up the price to P1.1Million. He did as he was told and was paid P110,000. The congressman too P.5Million and the rest divided among the local officials. This was his first and only government project. He told me that he cannot deal in such conditions that he might as well change careers.

I am sure that projects like this litter the entire country. Take the case of Mindanao. The poorest of the poor can be found here. Despite massive fundings being poured into the province, it remains poor. Why? The answer lies in their local officials. To get their loyalty Gloria allows them to treat Mindanao as their little fiefdoms. Warlords abound and the people are terrorized into submission. Their leaders give them a cupful and take the drum for themselves.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has been turned into Gloria's milking cow. At the height of the rallies last week, governors and mayors were reported to have trooped to its office. I never knew that these officials can directly seek "charity" assistance from the PCSO. Everyday, the needy lineup to try and get help from the PCSO. Only a handful actually get the assistance they sought. The PSG was even able to solicit P1.4Million for their Christmas party last year.

Misuse of government resources is a habit this administration has been practicing while the supposed beneficiaries are left wanting. Congressmen are given loot bags, their pork used to secure their loyalty and given special funding for their "special" projects. The administration even had the temerity to us a large part of foreign donations destined for calamity-ravaged provinces to repair the Malacañang golf course. Gloria's politics is what makes this nation's poor poorer. Gloria's lust for power has driven this country to the brink os total poverty because she needs to buy off her so-called allies.

To cover all these spending, she imposes high taxes. She drives our loved ones to distant lands and splurge on their remittances. She sells our country to China in exchange for loans and of course more kickbacks. Her lackeys can defend her all they want. They can put out ads everyday but the reality is that her corrupt practices is what made more Filipinos poorer. Her desire to keep the seat of power at all cost is the cause of our people's sufferings.

Read Beatrix P. Guilas's excellent views on loans and taxes.


EO 464 Revoked, What About MC 108?

So what if GMA revoked EO 464, MC 108 still exists. The MC is actually the same banana. This administration is forward-looking. It has a bag full of dirty tricks. Notice how the administration had been shielding this from the public and flaunting EO 464 instead? The MC has even expanded the coverage of EO 464. In fact, MC 108 covers every tom, dick and harry in government. This will be the new battleground.

So to quiet down the CBCP and to buy Neri more time, the only recourse is to drop EO 464. Gloria has a long record of insincerity. She has a fall back for everything the senate has for her. GMA will never allow the truth to come out. EO 464 was a no-brainer and was struck down by the Supreme Court. The palace asserts that EO 464 was put in place to protect officials from being disrespected by the senators. Doesn't the likes of Joker, Miriam and JPE do the same to whistle blowers?

The Solomonic compromise of the SC regarding Neri's case have been junked by the senate. Now te SC has to rule on what is covered by executive privilege. Gloria should never put our diplomatic relations with China over national interest. This is the gist behind the NBN-ZTE deal. Despite palace denial, videos would clearly show that she indeed knew of "flaws" in the deal. It even took her several months and several senate inqueries before she finally shelved the deal.

The other role of congress is to check the dealings of the executive. It does not exist mainly to craft laws. So Neri and Gloria has bought time again. They have once again squirmed their way out of a tight spot. But I am sure they will run out of gimmicks and cannot use the same tactics again. Sooner or later, they will meet a dead end and will have to face the music. Soon, the senate will have to deal with MC 108 and as the SC has said, executive privilege cannot be used to cover up a crime.

MC 108 could very well be Gloria's last line of defense. If the SC should decide against it, she's going to have a hard time completing her term. Of course, she can always send her officials to the usual "official" trips abroad.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Preventive Actions A Human Rights Abuse

It seems that since the Jun Lozada issue came out, anti-Arroyo blogs have been under attack from who we perceive as government hackers. Last week, several bloggers noticed that blogs like that of Ellen Tordesillas and Manolo Quezon's have been on the blink. Commenters failed time and again to share their views. As of late, I even failed to post my comments in Uniffors.

This is so weird as this did not even happen during the height of the Garci scandal. Even the media was not spared. The ABS-CBN chopper was ordered by the ATO not to fly over Makati last Friday. This is in clear violation of the people's right to information and press freedom. Media has been at the forefront of exposes and this has hurt GMA tremendously. The unresolved abuses of the administration against freedom of speech has forced more fencesitters to finally make a stand.

Protesters are also subjected to harassment and are prevented from joining rallies. While this maybe true for anti-Arroyo rallyists, those who are pro-Arroyo have been given a free rein. This bolsters the perception that Gloria is desperate. Proof of her paranoia is how she "imprisoned" herself in Camp Crame last Friday surrounded by her generals. She has also learned from EDSA 3 how vulnerable she really is. The PSG now cordons off Malacañang with huge container vans to prevent the palace from being overrun.

Chilling effect has been the norm. The administration has been threatening the media with arrests, whistle-blowers with cases or harm, and the men in uniform with incarceration and removal of benefits. Such preventive actions only bolster the perception that the administration is hiding not only something but a very big thing. We have guaranteed rights enshrined in the constitution and this had been curtailed by this administration.

Is the country under martial rule? The senate and the Supreme Court should investigate the palace's actions. Even "paid" local officials have subverted the will of the people. They hold hostage their constituents through their pork barrel and projects. The people should know that we hold the key and the purse of these erring officials. These officials are our servants and should put in their proper place. The same goes for the lower house which is riddled by self-serving ingrates.

Brace yourself my friends. This is only the start of a very long fight. With Gloria trapped in a corner, she will resort to anything to herself "glued" in the palace. Such is the the life of despots. Paranoia and fear of ouster leads to preventive actions. I just hope that the security forces will not allow itself to be used in the defense of a morally bankrupt regime.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Inter-Faith Rally (Very Late Post)

I left home early to avoid being blocked from Makati, the site of the Inter-Faith rally in the search for truth. It was drizzling while I sat across the AIM sipping coffee. Te actual march was delayed a bit as the participants awaited some delegates from the outskirts of Manila which were blocked by police checkpoints in the highways leading to the city. Unfortunately, time was running and the rally had to roll.

As I stood up, a roar from the students erupted and the march began. Priests and nuns lead by Bishop Bacani was at the head of the seeming endless throng of students. One by one, students from the different universities and colleges passed by me. They were chanting "Gloria Resign" and "Let the Truth Out". The usual activist schools paraded their numbers. I was astonished to see this huge group of ladies in their uniforms. They were the delegation from Assumption College, the alma mater of Gloria Arroyo. They announced their presence by shouting, "Nandito ang Assumption". I would have loved to see GMA's reaction.

As the march reached Ayala, confetti rained, reminiscent of the rallies in Makati in the '80's. I was not able to join the Black and White's group as I had to wait for Arbet Bernardo and Gari Lazaro. Ellen Tordesillas called me up and told me she was at Ninoy's monument. Off I went searching for her but the huge crowd prevented me from locating her. The JIL occupied the length of Paseo de Roxas from the Insular Life Bldg. I had to walk back to Shangrila to wait for my "anaks". It was almost 6PM when we met up.

The three of us waded through the crowd only to be stuck near the stage. We listened to Jun Lozada's speech. A few other personalities spoke. No politician went up. Our group also bumped into Sen. Ping Lacson who was weaving through the crowd. Shortly after 7PM, our group met up with Manolo Quezon and Manuel Buencamino. We had a small talk about politics and the Spratlys issue. Manuel also has this novel idea about a weekly show about GMA. After a few smokes, yes I smoke. Our little meeting ended as Manolo headed towards the stage to meet up with Leah Navarro. After dinner, Gari left us to meet some friends. Arbet and I left the rally as the band played "Tatsulok". The emcee also bade goodbye to the cheering crowd.

The size of the crowd surprised me. So many new faces were there. I suppose GMA was so scared that she declared Makati a "No Fly Zone". The helicopter of ABS-CBN was prevented from taking aerial shots of the humongous crowd. As the rally progressed, GMA was meeting with her generals. And there were reports that mayors were being called to Malacañang. Employees from different offices also took part in the protest. The MBC came in full force. When even businessmen participate, it only shows that a wide spectrum of society is disgusted.

The fact that the PNP prevented rallyists from entering Manila is a clear sign that GMA is in panic mode. Thousands from outlying provinces were harassed in check points and choke points at the NLEX, SLEX and the Coastal Road. The contingent from DLSU-Dasmariñas was stopped at a checkpoint at the Coastal Road. Armored units also were brought in from the provinces. A total of twenty-seven armored vehicles were brought in. The contingent included Scorpion tanks and M113s. Malacañang is surrounded by container vans and barbed wire. Special units of the army were also rushed to Manila, signs that GMA is panicking. The navy's golf course was closed much to the dismay of those who wanted to play golf. Esperon as of late has three armed guards whenever he plays golf. One is even armed with an assault rifle. The guy sure has a lot of enemies.

The administration is downplaying the situation. Her town-criers are booming lies. I just hope Dir. Avelino Razon sees the light and drop GMA. I suppose he was appointed to the PNP to lend some sense of decency to the organization. I am sure that the next rally will be even bigger. Makati is such a small place to accommodate a million warm bodies. The groups that came were just small delegations but I am sure that more would have loved to come. With summer vacation coming, the youth will definitely come in full force.

Despite my bad back, I forced myself to attend the rally. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Arbet shared the same sentiment. He passed off an office party just to make it to Makati. All in all, the rally was a success. Even when the rally was halfway through, people were still arriving. Families with small kids in tow also came. I even saw disabled people. The administration has its work cut out for them. Their propaganda isn't swaying the fencesitters to their side. The growing number of disgusted Filipinos is growing. Soon all Gloria can rely on is her small armed group. Will she last till December as Manolo Quezon predicts? Maybe, maybe not. But I am sure she will not last till 2010.