Monday, October 31, 2005

Commenting on B&W's post-Arroyo reform agenda

Ito ang post-Arroyo reform agenda ng Black and White movement:

On Electoral Reforms

Acknowledging that there will be no credible elections without electoral reforms, the group calls for the adoption of the following measures:

- Appointment of new Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioners who are competent and fair
- Adoption of modern and transparent systems with meaningful citizen participation in voter registration, vote casting, counting, and canvassing
- Convening of a truth commission to uncover electoral fraud in the 2004 elections

I think ito ang pinaka-importante sa lahat. If we don't learn from GLORIAGATE and take the necessary steps to correct the problem, may posibilidad na mauulit itong ganitong klaseng dayaan sa 2007 elections and beyond.

In order for Filipinos to feel confident na they can make a difference (and punish incompetent politicians), our elections need to be credible. Kung hindi, idadaan ulit ng taongbayan sa people power ang pagpapatalsik ng mga illegitimate, corrupt at mandarayang politicians.

Except for GMA, who I would be glad to pardon (para mapabilis ang pag-heal ng GLORIAGATE wounds), all those who are responsible for GLORIAGATE needs to be identified and punished.

On Reforms in the Justice System

In order to hasten judicial processes and make these more transparent and accessible to all citizens, the group proposes to:

- Enhance alternative dispute settlement and develop paralegal systems
- Strengthen Court of Tax Appeals and the Office of the Ombudsman
- Set up special courts for settling business disputes
- Ensure their adequate independent budget

As long as we appoint competent and impartial judges (and not cronies like Arroyo's laywer Antonio Carpio or GMA's former chief-of-staff Renato Corona), I think we'll do fine.

Isa pa, I want Supreme Court justices and RTC judges to be confirmed by the Senate. At dapat, pwedeng mag-filibuster ang minority kung sa tingin nila ay hindi maganda ang qualifications ng isang judge o kung partisan ito, para naman hindi na lang idadaan ng majority sa numero ang pag-confirm ng mga judges (whether competent or incompetent sila). To break the filibuster, you need 60% of the Senate voting for the nominee.

I'm in favor of term limits for SC justices too.

On Financial and Economic Reforms

- Restore government revenues to 1990s level in proportion to national income
- Run after tax cheats (especially those who owe the government P25 billion)
- Collect proper income taxes from businesses, professionals (doctors, lawyers, entertainers and others)
- Legislate and collect higher sin taxes
- Exercise fiscal restraint
- Reduce debt by creative non-arbitrary means
- Ensure a level playing field and curb rent-seeking

Cut unnecessary spending. Reduce or Abolish Pork Barrel funds.

On Peace Efforts

- Stop discredited purely military tactics that have not worked and will not work, and only create new enemies for our system
- Step up negotiations with MILF, NDF-CPP-NPA, RPMP-PRA, and RPMM-RPA
- Respect peace agreements

Work with the US gov't on providing financial aid and assistance to the Muslim-dominated areas in Mindanao. I hope the Philippines will fully qualify next year for the Millennium Challenge Account, so that the next president can declare na all the US/MCA aid money (or most of it anyways) will be used to develop Mindanao.

On Bureaucratic and Military Reforms

- Uphold transparency, accountability, citizen participation, responsiveness, efficiency, and predictability as key elements of good governance
- Use competence, integrity, and commitment to good governance as basic values in setting criteria for recruitment and promotion
- Restore promotions and rewards systems in the AFP and PNP
- Develop effective strategies for defeating state enemies, preventing the rise of international terrorism in the country, and winning the peace

No complaints here.

I'll comment on the other parts later.

Gloriagate Roundup: FVR wala ring isang salita

-- FVR camp says admin behind US report leak:

A HIGH administration official was behind the leak of an alleged United Embassy report linking President Fidel Ramos to an alleged power grab against President Arroyo, a spokesman of Ramos said yesterday.

The spokesman, Ed Malay, said claims by Palace officials that the opposition was behind the leak was intended to sow confusion.

"Basta hindi talaga opposition ang nagkakalat nito. Siguro ang taong yan gusto lang mag-away away ang lahat," he said.

When pressed to identify the administration official, Malay declined.

"Kung sino yun, mag-deny siya na yun" Malay said in a text message.

He said the timing of the leak was also suspicious.

Ano ba yan?!?!?

A visibly irritated Ramos dared the US Embassy to clarify its report which stated that he was plotting a coup d'etat to unseat Mrs. Arroyo.

“I challenge the US Embassy to disclose the content of its report to determine the truth,” Ramos stressed during the press conference he called upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 from China.

Without categorically denying the US Embassy report, Ramos said the US Embassy report was apparently baseless as he asked why it only appeared in just one one newspaper.

He decried the report as being nothing but a report to destroy the good relations between the US and the Philippines, adding that the relations between the two countries are solid.

Also this from Raymond Burgos: Walang isang salita si Tabako, katulad ni GMA.

More here.

-- JB Baylon has a good idea:

Just as there is a Freedom Fund to raise money in support of the honorable General Gudani and his aide, why don’t we raise a Truth Fund that will be used to buy a one page ad in, say, four or five of the world’s top newspapers on one single day?

The ad will state that "we, the Filipino people, having been denied at every turn in our search for the truth, now seek the help of the international community in locating the whereabouts of this man" (here is where we insert the picture of Virgilio Garcillano). The ad can continue that "we seek Garcillano’s return to the Philippines – alive – because he holds the key to the truth behind the "Hello Garci" conversations that appear to show the President of the Philippines in numerous, possibly criminal, conversations with an election official, with some conversations even making reference to kidnapping!

Finally, we will state that "any information provided that leads to the location of Garcillano and his safe return to the Philippines will be rewarded with the undying gratefulness of a people yearning for the truth". Then we can give the telephone numbers, fax number and email addresses of the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, the chair of the Commission on Human Rights and the incoming president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.


-- Former VP Tito Guingona, ginulo ng dalawang komedyante sa Totoo TV (Oct. 31, ABC-5). Uhh... kagaya ba ito ng Ali G show sa UK?

-- Flaver and Loi tandem ini-rerekomenda para labanan ang bird flu

-- Ellen Tordesillas says there is no escaping Pinoy Big Brother these days.

More information leaks out

From the Tribune:

US dissatisfied with GMA, stresses need for new leader

By Gerry Baldo
Monday, 10 31, 2005

While United States Embassy officials downplay alleged reports that they had prepared about the Arroyo administration, a political counselor at the American mission in Manila notes that “a discouraging (President Gloria) Macapagal-Arroyo” is a problem for the Bush administration.

A classified report dated Nov. 11, 2004, slammed Mrs. Arroyo for the economic mismanagement, vindictive judiciary, homegrown graft and investors' mistrust, among other serious ills, that resulted from the President's failure to show the skills of a strong leader and to face the challenges after ousting sitting President Joseph Estrada in 2001.

The report said these grave problems, not the alleged destabilzation moves of the political minority, cost Mrs. Arroyo dearly her vain attempt to move the country within distance of its neighbors in Southeast Asia.

In an apparent message that the US government wants the Philippine President out sooner than later, it talked of the need for a new leader.

The report indicated that the replacement of Mrs. Arroyo must stress that the justice system at present cannot be trusted and that her administration “has planted the seed of disorder and at worst, social upheaval.”

In the classified report, the US Embassy political adviser said prospects for a “bright and prosperous future” will not materialize under the Arroyo administration.

“Trained as an economist, who promised to bring about an economic recovery, before Estrada's ouster, the Philippines, recovering from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, was considered to be having a bright and prosperous future,” the political counselor added.

But the US official said “reality has been different after Estrada's ouster” more than four years ago.

“Rather than moving ahead, the Philippines has lagged behind, not just behind Indonesia or Vietnam, but many of its Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) neighbors,” the classified report said.

According to the report, the per capita growth of the Philippines has averaged less than one percent annually.

It said the failure of Mrs. Arroyo to move the country forward was not due to alleged destabilization attempts by the political opposition but because of many factors, including “weakness of the rule of law - resulting in both a poor peace and order situation and endemic corruption.”

The President's “lack of mandate and sharp memories in the powers of the masa (masses) have made her tread carefully and eschew bold, possibly unpopular measures,” the report added.

“She has exhibited weak leadership skills and simply has not consistently risen to the challenges,” the political officer said.

The US Embassy report also talked of massive corruption even as the political counselor said foreign investors have been shunning the country due to massive corruption in the government.

“The corruption trail is long and shadowy, and appears to include family-contolled companies which do not shoulder their share of the tax burden, underpaid civil servants in revenue agencies who siphon off what money they collect, and members of Congress who expect to be paid for their support for legislation,” the report said.

It also noted that even the judiciary, the police and the military are also infested with corruption.

“Corruption also infests the judiciary, the police and the military, with direct economic effects: Businessmen and investors already here (in the Philippines) avoid the court system at all costs, and prefer to make their own arrangements for personal and corporate security, rather than rely on or call on the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” the political counselor said.

American investors, the report stated, routinely cite frivolous legal maneuverings as a major impediment to doing business in the country.

It said the US Embassy in the Philippines “regularly emphasizes the importance the USG (United States Government) places on the rule of law to high-level GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) officials.”

The report added reform efforts have begun but are inching along at a snail's pace and are hampered by Philippine cultural factors.

It said the state of the country's judicial system concerns Washington for three reasons because the US “(has) a stake in the game.”

“US businesses in the Philippines can be subject to harassment under a justice system in which they generally lack confidence,” the report cited the first of the three concerns.

The second concern stated in the report says “any of the estimated 120,000 American citizens or tourists here could be caught in the tangled web of the Philippine justice system,” which could possibly result in “unwarranted detention, outright extortion and/or miscarriage of justice altogether.”

For the third concern, the report said “a reliable justice system and respect for the rule of law are prerequisites for a stable and peaceful society which can act as a strong partner in the region.”

“The lack of judicial reform is one of the several factors that fuels public resentment - as in the case of ongoing trial of (ousted) President Joseph Estrada,” it pointed out.

“In considering the prospects for true reform, reality dictates that significant change must occur,” the report said.

It added “paternalistic and favor-trading” ways, which are inherent in the Filipino culture, could be blamed for current mess in the judiciary.

The last paragraph of the report talked of the need for a new leader.

It said the problem has reached the “highest levels of the GRP” and that reform would not be implemented or completed in the near term unless the new leader brings everyone (judiciary, Congress, the executive, the citizens, non-government organizations and international donors) to the table.

The report added the new leader “must emphasize that there is a mistrust in the justice system and that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration has planted the seed of disorder and at worst, social upheaval.”

“The international community, as well, as the USG would need to see a major, long-term reshuffling, before anyone would have confidence in the integrity of the game,” it concluded.

A post-Arroyo reform agenda

From the Black and White Movement. Looks good. I'll comment on it later.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Jonathan Tiongco, a Terrorist coddler?

Alam ba ito ni Mike Defensor? May kinalaman rin ba siya sa paglaya ni Tyrone del Rosario Santos, an alleged leader of a JI-affiliated group? :o)

UPDATE: More here from Philippine Commentary.


Winnie Monsod: GMA is the real president!

Winnie Monsod writes in her article yesterday na GMA is the legitimate president raw.

She based her claims on the so-called polls and exit polls, while ignoring actual hard evidence presented by the opposition and the mainstream media na ninakaw ni Arroyo ang eleksyon:

1. Voter preferences in the run-up to the 2004 elections, as recorded by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), which conducted polls every two weeks since the start of the campaign period, showed that while at the beginning (Jan. 16-28) the lead of Fernando Poe Jr. over Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was almost 10 percentage points (36.3 percent vs. 26.5 percent), this was whittled down so that a month later, they were running neck-and-neck, and this continued into March. By the second week of April, the polls showed Ms Arroyo ahead by almost five percentage points (35.3 percent vs. 30.8 percent), although this was not statistically significant (i.e., it still could go either way). But by the week before the elections (May 1-4), Ms Arroyo’s lead over Poe was significant (37 percent vs. 30 percent).

The other major polling organization, Pulse Asia, also noted the same trend, although its polls were taken at slightly different time periods: an increasing trend for Ms Arroyo and decreasing trend for Poe. Its last poll, conducted from April 26-29, showed Ms Arroyo leading, 37 percent vs. 31 percent.

Note that a six-point lead in voter preferences, if translated into actual votes, would imply a difference of 2.0-2.5 million votes between the two candidates, depending on whether we use total votes cast or total registered voters as base.

I have already slammed Solita Monsod in the past for repeating this BS re polls etc.

SWS and Pulse are not as independent as Winnie Monsod would like her readers to believe. In fact, the top three major polling organization (SWS, Pulse and NFO Trends) have one thing in common: Mercy Abad.

Mercy Abad, who heads NFO Trends, does all the data gathering and polling legwork for SWS and Pulse too.

Scary ano?

You'd think that these different survey groups like the prestigious SWS and Pulse would have their OWN people conducting interviews and collect data just like ANY OTHER SURVEY GROUPS in the world like Gallup, Zogby, Rasmussen, FOXNEWS.

Pero hindi eh. SWS and Pulse Asia are totally dependent on Mercy Abad's organization.

It is believed that Malacanang operators have infiltrated SWS and Pulse thru NFO Trends to skew the results in the polls to favor Mrs. Arroyo.

And not all polls before the elections showed GMA winning. Yung Ibon surveys conducted before (released apr 30, 2004) and after the elections indicated an FPJ victory. And guess what, they didn't rely on Mercy Abad to do polling work for them. ;)

2. Exit polls conducted on election day itself by at least three media organizations (although only one of them may have used acceptable polling methods) validated the run-up polls. All of them showed Ms Arroyo as the winner.

Winnie Monsod is wrong again. Not all exit polls showed GMA winning. And the only polling firm that used acceptable polling methods, SWS, was involved in a major screwup in it's exit poll numbers in Metro Manila.

More here:

THE PRESIDENT of the Social Weather Stations, Mahar Mangahas, acknowledged Saturday that the private polling group made some errors in the exit polls it conducted during the May 10 elections.

SWS erred in declaring that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had won in Metro Manila and Southern Mindanao when it was opposition candidate Fernando Poe Jr. who carried these regions, said Mangahas who spoke at an election postmortem forum sponsored by the Kilosbayan civil society group Saturday.

SWS also erred in saying that Poe had won in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) when the official count showed otherwise, he said.

But he noted that the results of the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections quick count also showed that Poe had won in ARMM, contrary to the official count.

"We are very unhappy about this. I myself don't know for sure what happened. I would also like to know,'' Mangahas said.

Mangahas said a seven-man independent committee has been created to review the conduct of the exit polls and identify the factors that led to the erroneous results.

He said it was NFO Trends, a market research organization, that conducted the exit poll interviews. The SWS interpreted the data collected and the results were broadcast by ABS-CBN television, which commissioned the exit poll as part of its election coverage.

NFO Trends na naman???

One reason why SWS/NFO got their results wrong in Metro Manila, but got it "right" in other areas was because Malacanang's cheating operators couldn't get anything done in Metro Manila, because the voting there was closely monitored by party reps and the media. Here, I'll let Ellen Tordesillas explain:

Sources said, long before election day, Arroyo and her operatives had decided by how much she should win. They couldn’t make it too big because it would be unbelievable. But it had to be over a million votes.

A source close to the Arroyo campaign said they had in mind the doubt that had haunted Fidel Ramos because of his unconvincing margin of a little more than 850,000 over Miriam Santiago in 1992. It’s interesting to note that the person who operated for Ramos in 1992 was with Arroyo in 2004.

After Arroyo’s operatives had taken care of the surveys, which helped condition the public’s mind to an Arroyo victory, it was then the job of former Comelec Commissioner and his gang to make sure that the election results supported the exit poll figures. The problem was, in Manila, where party representatives and media watched closely, Arroyo’s co-conspirators couldn’t do much. They had to get the needed numbers in other areas.

Former Senator John Osmeña, who ran under Arroyo’s ticket in the 2004 elections, is now saying that she could not have won by over one million votes in Cebu, his province. He said based on the study he commissioned in connection with his electoral protest, Arroyo won only by about 621,000 over FPJ.

Mindanao was Arroyo’s hope to get the numbers she wanted, never mind if actual votes cast didn’t support them or if the figures reflected in the certificate of canvass were more than the number of registered voters.

That’s the meaning of her famous conversation with Garcillano in the morning of May 29, 2004 where she asked "I will still lead by more than one M overall? … It cannot be less than one M?" To which Garcillano replied, "Pipilitin Ma’am natin yan. (We will force that ma’am.

Read the whole thing.

And finally, this from:

3. The final official congressional canvass showed Ms Arroyo getting 40 percent of the votes cast, while Poe got 36.5 percent (a difference of 1.1 million votes), while the Namfrel Quick Count, based on 83 percent of total precincts (the election watchdog group Namfrel was not present in all precincts), showed Ms Arroyo with 39.4 percent and Poe with 36.8 percent (a difference of 700,000 votes).

Not only are they wrong, but NAMFREL is biased, biased, BIASED!

What is more, other circumstances obtaining during the campaign period support the conclusion that it is the claim of “illegitimacy” that is a lie: after all, her coalition party, K4, won 58 percent of senatorial seats, 87 percent of congressional seats, 85 percent of gubernatorial slots, 87 percent of city mayor seats, and 85 percent of all mayor seats. Either they carried her or she carried them, or there was some combination of both.

Well, ganyan naman ang mga congressman at governors natin eh. Mga balimbing. That's how most of these political families and clans survive. Dati maka-Ramos nung presidente siya, tapos naging maka-erap sila, then lumipat sila kay arroyo. Ganyan si Chavit singson. I don't know kung maka-FVR si Lito Atienza, pero nung first time niyang maging mayor ng manila, maka-erap ito. ngayon, maka-arroyo na. As long as they ally themselves with the people in power, most of these powerful politicians will have no problems getting re-elected.

So I don't take seriously those numbers where 87 percent of congressional seats and 85% of gubernatorial slots were won by arroyo's party. Kasi kung si erap pa rin ang presidente noong 2004 at hindi nag-away sila singson at estrada, singson (if he ran) and atienza would still win, but under the erap administration's coalition party naman.

Related links:

-- I take issue with Winnie Monsod
-- Mercy Abad of Trends and exit polling manipulation
-- Arroyo only "joking" when she claimed she was cheated in 04 polls
-- A look back at the SWS Exit Poll fiasco
-- Mercy Abad Again
-- SWS, Pulse Asia and Mercy Abad

UPDATE: More on Winnie Monsod from Dean Jorge Bocobo.

And this from Rudy Romero:

Dewey won surveys but lost election

Wednesday, 11 02, 2005

Hitler propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels' famous observation “If you repeat a lie often enough, it will eventually be accepted as truth” has now been invoked in support of the proposition that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the victor in the 2004 elections.

Mrs. Arroyo really won over Fernando Poe Jr., it is being claimed, but if the outcome of the elections is continually presented as a victory for Mr. Poe, eventually the public will accept Mrs. Arroyo's defeat as fact.

To support the claim that Gloria Arroyo really won the 2004 elections, (1) the results of opinion surveys taken just before the elections, (2) the results of the exit polls taken by the conductors of the pre-election surveys, (3) the outcome of the National Board of Canvassers canvass of the presidential vote, (4) the pro-Arroyo sentiments of most of the winning candidates for congressional and local positions and (5) the post-election statements of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) secretary general have been presented.

With all these positive pre-election and post-election factors in her favor, how, it is being asked, can Mrs. Arroyo be said to have lost the elections?

Let's examine these supposedly pro-Arroyo factors one by one. First, let's take the CBCP and Namfrel statements. What did the bishops and secretary general Guillermo Luz actually say about the manner in which the 2004 elections was conducted. Did they say that they knew for certain that the elections was not attended by organized and massive cheating? Of course not. All that the bishops said in their July 11, 2004 statement was “massive fraud in the conduct of the elections (was not observed) by each bishop and the volunteers so as to have affected substantially the results of the elections.” Mr. Luz stated he “didn't see enough electoral anomalies at the national level to have a material effect on the national results.”

Considering that the kind of cheating that “substantially” or “materially” affects national-level electoral results takes place not in the precincts but in the offices of municipal and provincial treasurers, what else could Mr. Luz and the bishops have been expected to say? To have expected them to say more than they did would have been the height of naivete.

Next let's take a look at the connection that has been sought to be established between the outcome of the presidential contest and the victory of a multitude of pro-Arroyo candidates for congressional seats and local positions. Anyone who believes that victory for a pro-Arroyo congressional or local position necessarily translates into victory for Mrs. Arroyo only has to remember the experiences of Ramon Mitra in 1992 and Jose de Venecia Jr. in 1998. Most of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and Rainbow Coalition candidates whom Mr. Mitra and Mr. De Venecia had nurtured and pampered during their respective time as Speakers emerged victorious while the two House of Representatives chiefs went down in defeat. A person who thinks that a strong congressional or local candidate automatically carries his presidential candidate to victory with him should ask Mr. De Venecia what he thinks of that notion.

We come next to those exit polls. After the outcome of the Metro Manila exit polls, I can't for the life of me understand how anyone can seriously offer the May 10, 2004 exit polls to support a claim that Mrs. Arroyo beat FPJ.

The Metro Manila exit polls indicated that Gloria Arroyo defeated the late movie icon in all of the 14 cities and three municipalities that make up this country's premiere metropolis. But when the final results were in, the little woman from Lubao had won in only one Metro Manila component — administration Sen. Manuel Villar's Las Piñas City, and then by only around 1,000 votes. Eggs-it polls was what the 2004 exit polls were more like.

That leaves us with only the much-touted pre-election opinion surveys. These showed Gloria Arroyo to be progressively closing in on FPJ's lead and overtaking the nation's No. 1 actor just before the elections (GMA 37 percent and FPJ 31 percent in the April 26-29 survey). To drive the point home, it is pointed out that a six-point survey lead translated into a margin of between 2 million and 2.5 million votes, depending on whether the base used was total registered voters or total votes cast.

To anyone who claims that pre-election opinion survey leads necessarily spell victory on Election Day, I commend a look back to the US presidential election of 1948. That election, it will be recalled, was contested by the incumbent Harry Truman, who was serving out the late Franklin Roosevelt's fourth term, and the popular and tough Republican governor of New York, Thomas Dewey. All the pre-election polls showed Mr. Dewey to be pulling away from Mr. Truman so steadily that the outcome of the election seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Indeed, the Chicago Tribune, in a didn't-get-to-see-print banner headline, proclaimed “Dewey Wins.” Yet, when the vote tallies were in, the former senator from Missouri had trounced his Republican opponent. For Thomas Dewey, read Gloria Arroyo.

Back to Joseph Goebbels. The Nazi propaganda chief's famous statement is entirely inapplicable to the outcome of the 2004 elections because Herr Goebbels was speaking of the continuous repetition of an outright lie until it gets to be accepted as truth. He did not contemplate a situation in which (1) an incumbent Chief Executive is caught on tape talking to a Commission on Elections official 15 times during the immediate post-election period, (2) they talk about adding one million votes to the candidate's vote total, (3) she says “I am sorry” for having spoken to an election official, (4) she thwarts all attempts to get her to say if the female voice on the tape is in fact hers and (5) the election official in question disappears without a trace. This is not a Goebbels-type situation. Continued repetition hasn't led to acceptance as truth, for from the day of its disclosure the Filipino people had accepted the “Hello, Garci” tape as representing the truth.

GMA won the 2004 elections? Baloney.

The Veto Holders

According to Dean Jorge Bocobo, there are three powerful "veto holders" which has help kept Mrs. Arroyo's illegitimate rule alive:

Anyway, this is really a continuation of my last post Game Theory and Gloriagate. It is my "game-theoretic model" of the relationship between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the three main forces that saved her from certain doom last July and therefore hold VETOES on her continued stay in power: (1) the US Government, which has stayed perfectly, and properly, neutral on Gloriagate, at least on the surface; (2) the Catholic Church hierarchy, which has defined perfectly and properly the moral perimeters and points of intersection with Gospel teachings of Gloriagate while taking no action; and (3) what I call the Military-Political Complex, headed, but not necessarily dominated by former President Fidel Ramos and House Speaker Jose de Venecia.

Seems about right. Click the link to read the rest.

I think it would be a good idea for those people who want to see Arroyo resign to reassure the Americans na RP cooperation with the US on anti-terrorism will continue and improve once GMA is out.

Judy Ann Santos baka ibagsak ng E-VAT

Pati showbiz, apektado rin sa EVAT.

From Ed de Leon of Taliba:

NOONG isang araw ay nakakuwentuhan namin ang manager ni Judy Ann Santos na si Alfie Lorenzo.

Nakapag-taping na raw pala si Juday sa bagong TV series nito. At nang makabuo na sila ng series para sa dalawang buwan, itinigil muna iyon para gawin naman ng aktres ang isang pelikula.

Dapat nga raw, ngayong buwang ito na magsisimula sa ere ang serye ni Juday sa telebisyon, at sa susunod na buwan naman ilalabas ang kanyang pelikula.

Pero, mukhang magkakaroon nga raw ng delay. Ang latest daw na nasabi sa kanya, baka sa Enero na ipapalabas ang TV series ni Juday, at iyong pelikula naman, depende siyempre kung kailan mata-tapos.

Pero, nasabi nga namin na baka maging advantage pa iyon ng serye at pelikula ni Juday.

Sa ngayon, na ipinatutupad na ang E-VAT, napaka-uncertain ng lahat. Ayaw gumastos ng mga tao. May epekto pa iyan sa sister companies ng ABS-CBN na Meralco at NLEX na parehong magtataas na naman ng singil.

Eh, kung ngayon sasabay ng showing ang pelikula ni Juday at ang serye niya sa telebisyon, walang ka-duda-duda na iyan ay tatamaan ng impact niyang E-VAT na iyan. Baka madamay pa sa pagbagsak ng ekonomiya natin si Juday.

Kung magkakaroon ng delay, kahit na mga ilang buwan lang, baka naman masanay na ang mga tao sa mataas na presyo kahit na hindi naman tumaas ang suweldo nila.

Baka sakaling kahit na hirap na sila sa buhay ay masanay na silang lalong mag-hirap, at maisipan na nilang manood naman ng sine, o manood kahit na papaano sa telebisyon. Kagaya rin iyan ng Metro Manila Film Festival na tiyak na tatamaan ng impact ng E-VAT.

Sanayan lang yan.

My new hobby -- Editing Wikipedia

I've been working on this muna -- Philippine General Election, 2004. I saw a few things that needed to be corrected/added. ;)

Relevant links:
-- Wikipedia: How to edit a page
-- Lifehacker: How to contribute to Wikipedia

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I think Tatad needs to take a chill pill muna

He keeps complaining na "treasonous" at "unconstitutional" raw ang Mindanao deal ni Arroyo. Pero, katulad ng sinabi ni GMA Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, draft pa lang yung na leaked na agreement sa Tribune.

Maybe the final product won't be as bad as some people think. I'm still open-minded about it.

Let's wait and see na lang in December kung ano yung kalalabasan ng Mindanao deal ni Mrs. Arroyo.

Still, I bet the MILF was pleasantly suprised they got MORE than they expected from the Arroyo administration.

In a way, GLORIAGATE was godsend for their cause. ;)

Imagine, a 20 percent minority gets to rule a huge chunk of Mindanao. That's like the Shiites and Kurds agreeing to let the 20% Sunni minority rule most of Iraq, including some provinces that are heavily populated by them.

Anyways, I don't care if the peace deal is "unconstitutional." Remember, we ourselves may be forced to use "unconstitutional" means (ehem... like another Edsa) to oust this fake president. ;)

GLORIAGATE roundup: The timing is suspicious...

-- From the Tribune:

Fire hits DBM, records feared burned, missing

By Angie M. Rosales and Jun P. Yap
Saturday, 10 29, 2005

Amid a heavy downpour, a fire of still-unknown origin struck the computer records division of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) near the Malacañang complex in Manila early yesterday morning.

Manila Fire Marshal Pablito Cordeta said the fire, which started at 6:24 a.m. and reached the fifth alarm at around 6:27 a.m., took place barely two days after former DBM Secretary Emilia Boncodin gave her deposition on the controversial P3-billion fertilizer scam.

“From what we learned, the fire destroyed the room housing the computer servers, which stores virtually all the DBM's information. The fire destroyed 20 percent of the first floor and caused damage to the second floor. The computers were practically destroyed,” Cordeta said in an interview.

No one was reported injured during the fire, which hit the two-story Building-3 of the DBM, a Spanish-era structure that houses the repository of computerized records.

Cordeta said the fire was placed under control at about 6:57 a.m. with the fire eventually declared out at around 7:39 a.m., adding there was little chance that anyone was inside the computer center.

“Security guards said the doors of the building had been locked. There were already some early employees at the other building, but they were immediately evacuated,” he said.

-- GMA, allies scramble to clear FVR on coup plot:

President Arroyo, her aides and congressional allies yesterday quickly cleared former President Fidel Ramos on the reported plot to stage a coup d'etat against her, saying Ramos was a “true patriot” and that it was 'out of character for him to even dream of ousting Mrs. Arroyo.

The absolution of Ramos came in reaction to a newspaper report Friday that Ramos was planning a coup against Mrs. Arroyo and had given his former national security aide, Jose Almonte, until June to implement the coup plot.

The basis of the newspaper report was a United States Embassy report dated February this year, before the scandals of jueteng and poll-rigging erupted.

My question is, who's been leaking to the PDI? Halos lahat na yata ng mga "sensitive" na US intelligence report na di-nownload ni Mr. Aragoncillo ay napupunta sa front page ng PDI ah!

-- More on E-VAT from Ducky Paredes:

By our next column, the e-VAT would already have been operational. Again, I point out the Russian roulette provision that will kill off a lot of businesses. This is found in the Implementing Rules and Regulations and it goes like this:

"Illustration: For a given taxable quarter XYZ Corp. has output VAT of 100 and input VAT of 110. Since input tax exceeds the output tax for such taxable quarter, the 70 % limitation is imposed to compute the amount of input tax, which may be utilized. The total allowable input tax, which may be utilized, is 70 (70 % of the output tax). Thus, the net VAT payable is 100 less 70 = 30. The unutilized input tax amounting to 40 is carried over to the succeeding month."

I urge all of my readers to apply this illustration to their own businesses by computing for their VAT.

When you have the figures, ask yourself whether you can continue to go on with your business.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Star Trek's George Takei comes out of the closet

Yep, Sulu is gay.

Filipino diplomats say ties with Beijing more important than US'

Says US "focused too much" on anti-terrorism and calls it their "weak spot."

Comment: But I must say, for the moment, Mrs. Arroyo needs the US support more for her own political survival, that's why she's been sucking up the US lately and talking re "anti-terrorism" and rushing the peace deal in Mindanao. Walang kwenta kasi ang suporta ng China sa kanyang political problems eh.

From the Tribune:

RP boosts ties with China, laments US focus on anti-terror

By Michaela P. del Callar
Friday, 10 28, 2005

The Philippines' bila-teral relations with China, particularly the economic aspect of its ties, are increasingly becoming dynamic and vibrant today than the United States, Filipino diplomats yes-terday admitted.

Flourishing ties with Beijing can be attributed to Washington's focus on anti-terrorism, which, according to sources, is far from what the country needs at the moment.

“The US focus is more on terrorism and that's the weak spot. Our relation with China is more relevant investments-wise and in terms of economic development opportunities,” one of the sources said.

Although the US remains the country's top trading partner, the sources added Washington is more concerned right now with the anti-terrorism than investments.

Washington-based Heritage Foundation, an influential and conservative US think-tank, said some US policy-makers are concerned over the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations' new alliance with China.

In its recent report, it acknowledged that China is rapidly becoming a predominant superpower in Southeast Asia, using its economic clout to gain political influence.

This development, according to the report, has somehow diminished the US role in the region even with traditional allies and friends.

A senior Filipino diplomat believes Manila should not be faulted for forging closer relations with China.

“The US has some responsibility in its diminished influence in the region. They must address this rather than we. I think there are efforts (to solve this). Both sides, the Philippines and the US, are doing their best to bring back the dynamism in the relationship. We continue to make it stronger to restore normal vibrancy,” the diplomatic source who requested anonymity said.

“The Philippines should look after its own interests too. The Philippines and the US must work harder to transform existing relations into a new one after the falling out as caused by the Philippine pullout of troops in Iraq last year,” another diplomat noted.

According to the Heritage report, Chinese military aid, at first glance, is a small amount when compared to American assistance, but Beijing has achieved its goals.

It cited President Arroyo's commitment to supporting China's view on the One-China policy and agreed to allow China to explore for oil inside the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is a “remarkable reversal” of Manila's earlier opposition to Chinese activities in the South China Sea.

“Although Mrs. Arroyo looked great from Washington, bad economic policies, tax increases and allegations of corruption and vote rigging at home seriously damaged her reputation,” the report added.

“American commentators denounced Mrs. Arroyo's capitulation to terrorists and (US) Congress decreased American foreign aid from $130 million authorized for 2005 to $96 million in 2006,” it said.

China stepped in to aid the beleaguered Arroyo administration “within six weeks of pulling out of the Iraq coalition,” one senior Bush administration foreign policy official noted.

“Our Filipino allies sent President Arroyo to Beijing, completed reciprocal visits for their and China's defense ministers and signed a confidential protocol with China on exploitation of South China Sea resources,” Heritage Foundation, quoting the same US official, said.

The US Embassy in Manila said the Heritage Foundation's report does not reflect the overall policy of the Bush administration.

“President George W. Bush speaks for himself. Heritage Foundation is one of many think tanks. The administration speaks for itself,” Embassy spokesman Matthew Lussenhop said.

Also, the US government yesterday declined to comment on mounting calls for snap elections, but warned it will oppose violent and unconstitutional measures to change the government.

Lussenhop said the Washington's policy remains the same and that it will not support an overthrow of government.

“We support democracy and the rule of law, but we are against extra-judicial steps to change the government,” he added.

The embassy official refused to comment further when pressed about resignation calls for Mrs. Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro.

Lussenhop maintained that Washington will not interfere in the domestic issues of the Philippines.

The President's popularity ratings continue to drop as she remains mum on the issues confronting her presidency.

Protest actions calling for the President's removal have also snowballed rapidly since exposes of 2004 election fraud and family corruption scandals were made public earlier this year, and demonstrations are at a near daily rate in the streets of Metro Manila.

After the President's admission she was the voice behind the controversial wiretapped conversations with former Commission on Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, the US has distanced itself from the Arroyo administration.

This was contrary to the embassy's previous expression of “unequivocal” support to the President.

Washington has maintained its official line on the Philippine political criss, saying its support is for institutions and democratic processes, not to individual persons.

UPDATE: Read this too from Philippine Commentary.

GLORIAGATE Roundup: "No permit, No Mass"

-- Arroyo's new "No permit, no mass" policy

-- Sunod-sunod na pagpatay ng mga aktibista nakaka-alarma

Nakakaalarma na ang "serial killings" na nagaganap sa hanay ng mga aktibista at lider manggagawa partikular sa Central Luzon.

Kahapon, hindi pinalagpas ni Senate President Franklin Drilon ang magkakasunod na pagpatay sa mga lider ng militanteng grupo sa Central Luzon kasunod ang pagkalampag sa liderato ng Philippine National Police (PNP) at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

May labing-siyam na pagpatay sa hanay ng mga aktibista at lider ng militanteng grupo ang naitatala, simula noong Setyembre 2 kung kaya’t nakakaalarma, ayon kay Drilon, dahil walang ginagawang aksyon ang gobyerno.

Ayon kay Drilon, dating kalihim ng Department of Justice (DOJ), karapatan ng bawat indibidwal ang magpahayag ng kanilang damdamin at saloobin laban sa gobyerno kung kaya’t hindi dapat humahantong sa madugong senaryo.

"Freedom of expression is an inalienable right of every Filipino. It is the government’s obligation to safeguard this right...," ani Drilon.

-- Ellen Tordesillas: Ambassador Bobi Tiglao

Tiglao’s foreign assignment has surprised even some members of Arroyo’s inner circle and has led to speculations on why he has opted to be away at a time when Arroyo’s hold on the presidency is precarious.

-- US Embassy report links RAMOS to coup plot

EARLY on in the year, the US Embassy in Manila received information linking former President Fidel Ramos to reports of a supposed planned coup against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

According to an embassy report dated Feb. 24, 2005, and prepared before the "Jueteng-gate" and "Hello, Garci" scandals erupted, Ramos gave his former national security adviser, Jose Almonte, until June to implement the plan against the President.

At that time, the questions of legitimacy and integrity leveled at Ms Arroyo involved only the dismissed election protest of the late opposition standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. and the persistent allegations of fraud in the 2004 polls.

"Most disturbingly, sensitive reports maintained that former President Ramos continues a series of meetings with Forces (Federation of Retired Commissioned and Enlisted Soldiers)," the report said.

It added: "[Forces], which includes many ex-members of Ramos' former Cabinet, including former Budget Secretary Salvador Enriquez, former Defense Secretary Fortunato Abat, and... Almonte, is mostly just a springboard for Ramos' conspiratorial hints of a forthcoming coup attempt."

Ramos, who helped install Ms Arroyo as president in January 2001 and "saved" her from ouster in July 2005, is currently on an official trip to Guangdong, China. He is expected back on Oct. 29.

-- JB Baylon: First things first

-- Good Idea from Ernie Maceda:

Scrap it. If the Cha-cha pushes through, one of the offices needing to be abolished is the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). The poor performance of the judiciary as a whole proves that the JBC has not produced quality judges. Friends and relatives of JBC members have been recommended for appointment.

Like in the US system, return the screening and confirmation process to the Commission on Appointments.

Another possible change would be to give Supreme Court justices a staggered fixed term of six years so that they would not be controlled by the President and to prevent a President from being able to appoint all the members of the SC or even a majority of them.

-- Former Sec. Emily Boncodin spills beans on Agri funds scam

Moves were made by Malacañang to ensure that the presidential couple's alleged bagman, former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, along with former Agriculture Secretary Luis “Cito” Lorenzo would not testify before the Senate, knowing that resigned Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Sec-retary Emilia Boncodin would tell all and pin them all down, including President Arroyo in the P3-billion fertilizer funds scam.

Up to the last minute, Palace gofer and staunch ally of Mrs. Arroyo, Wilfredo Villarama, was in the hospital room where Boncodin's deposition was being taken.

The deposition was enough to pin down the two former officials on the alleged misuse of billions due farmers for their fertilizer needs.

Boncodin confirmed the release of funds amounting to some P3 billion, which was said to have been diverted to help bankroll the candidacy of Mrs. Arroyo and her adminis-tration candidates in last year's elections.

She confirmed making more than P1-billion funds in cash available a week before the campaign period started, upon the initiative of the Department of Agriculture (DA), for distribution to 105 congressmen and 53 provincial and 23 municipal officials.

Boncodin formally entered into the records of the Senate panel investigating the fertilizer scam her testimony as gleaned from her deposition, which was taken by a team led by Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr., chairman of the committee on agriculture and food.

The former Budget secretary even vowed to support her sworn statements by submitting evidence and sworn affidavits while also committing herself to testify before the Senate panel and allow senators full play in grilling her.

The alleged fertilizer scam is believed to be among the issues that led Boncodin in deciding to sever her ties with Mrs. Arroyo and cut short her career in government.

“I am banking on her promise to attend the third and final hearing to supplement her testimony when her medical condition improves,” Magsaysay said.

Boncodin, currently being treated for an ailment at the National Kidney Institute, was sought by Magsaysay's committee to shed light on the issue on the heels of the flight abroad of Lorenzo and Bolante hours before the Senate hearing last Wednesday.

More here.

Abante-Tonite: Boncodin inespiyahan sa fertilizer scam

-- Corruption jacking up electricity costs - ADB

YOU WONDER why your electricity bill is so high? It’s because of corruption, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

A new study by the bank warns that “deeply rooted” corruption is jacking up costs of power projects in the Philippines, delaying their implementation and providing Filipino households and businesses with expensive but unreliable electricity services.

“If unmitigated, the growing negative perception will adversely affect the inflow of investments into the sector,” the ADB said in a study assessing its assistance to the local power sector as a lead development partner over the last 30 years.

-- Noli iniinsulto ng mga GMA allies

Neal Cruz: Let PET decide Legarda poll protest to end crisis

Neal Cruz says let the Presidential Elections Tribunal (PET) decide Legarda poll protest to end the GLORIAGATE crisis.

I like Neal, but I disagree with him.

Kung nandaya si Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, why the hell should Noli replace him? Shouldn't there be new elections instead? It's like saying nandaya si Marcos, therefore dapat si Arturo Tolentino ang papalit. (Or kung nandaya rin si Arturo Tolentino, yung sumunod sa line-of-succession ang papalit sa kanila. Nuts.)

Hindi ba nung may dayaan sa Ukraine, nagkaroon ulit ng bagong election instead of promoting Yanukovych's deputy PM to the top job?

Isa pa, if PET delivered a stupid and partisan decision re FPJ's protest, what makes you think PET (which is composed of members of the Arroyo's Supreme Court) will do it right this time with Loren's election protest?

You yourself said in your article na parang biased rin ang housePET ni Arroyo:

The trouble is that Legarda's election protest at the PET is moving too slowly to make the paranoids suspect that the justices are too old, too lazy, too overloaded or purposely slowing down the recount to favor De Castro. At the rate the protest is moving, the term of office would be over before the real winner is known, as has happened in many other poll protests. And that doesn't solve our present problem, does it?

Here's more info on Arroyo's SC/PET.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

GMA's boys doing a Garci?

-- Doing a Garci? GMA scam boys flee for the US.

FORMER Agriculture Secretary Luis "Cito" Lorenzo and DA Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante were no-shows in yesterday’s Senate hearing into the alleged diversion of P728 million in fertilizer funds into the 2004 presidential campaign kitty of President Arroyo.

Senate President Franklin Drilon and Sen. Ramon Magsaysay, chairman of the Senate committee on food and agriculture, tasked the immigration bureau to place the two officials under its watch list following their departure before dawn yesterday.

Bolante’s counsel, Antonio Zulueta, said his client "will be out of the country to attend to prior commitments involving matters of equal importance that had been scheduled long before the subpoena was issued."

But information reaching the senators said Bolante left for Los Angeles, California, only at 12:30 a.m. yesterday aboard Philippine Airlines flight 102. His original flight schedule was 10:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Magsaysay said Lorenzo left on the same flight but other reports claimed Lorenzo left yesterday afternoon while the Senate hearing was ongoing.

No explanation was given to the committee for Lorenzo’s absence.

"Both (Bolante and Lorenzo) have chosen the path to being fugitives from truth and justice. They have besmirched their reputations when in fact they could have both clarified their roles in DA’s flawed program to help the country’s millions of farmers. Bolante and Lorenzo showed their fear of testifying to clarify their participation in the alleged misuse of taxpayers’ money," Magsaysay said in his opening statement.

Dean Jorge Bocobo comments.

-- Opposition i-ban sa simbahan!

Hindi papayagan ng Malacañang na makapagsimba bukas sa kalapit na St. Jude Parish Church ang oposisyon dahil kumilos na umano ito para kausapin ang ilang namamahala sa nabanggit na simbahan na huwag nang ituloy ang misa sa kapistahan ng patron para hindi na rin makadalo rito ang mga kritiko ng pamahalaan.

Kahapon ay umikot ang mga ulat na nakipagpulong na umano ang Presidential Security Group (PSG) sa mga opisyal ng St. Jude Parish para ipaabot ang nais ng palasyo na huwag nang magmisa sa kapistahan ng patron.

Bunga nito, tahasang inihayag ng ilang lider ng Simbahang Katoliko na 'paranoid' na ang palasyo sa pagsikil sa oposisyon at pagbabawal na makadalo ang mga ito sa banal na misa.

Sa panayam ng Abante kay Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, sinabi nitong malinaw na ang naturang hakbang ng palasyo ay isang patunay na "paranoid" at napapraning na nga ang Pangulo dahil maging ang isang lehitimong religious activity ay pinaghihinalaan na rin nitong gagamitin laban sa kanya ng oposisyon.

-- Why did the senate release Norberto Gonzalez eh wala naman siyang balak na magpa-opera?

The truth is, in all that time of detention and Gonzales' propaganda about his serious heart condition, he kept resisting a heart bypass, despite his doctors' suggestion. But it was also clear that he wanted to leave the hospital premises, and not to have surgery in Sweden or any place abroad. He just wanted to be back in Malacañang.

It is fact that his doctor, in a TV interview, stated Gonzales told him he does not want to have heart surgery but has to be out of the hospital because “something big is going to happen.”

Considering his mindset on coups and destabilization attempts, this could be translated to mean that he has to be around if and when the expected action starts. Is this the reason the administration senators gave in to Malacañang?

Read the whole thing.

-- "Gloria Quit" campaign signature launched

AN alliance of Church-based and advocacy groups yesterday launched a campaign to collect a million signatures to press for the resignation of President Arroyo.

The "Resign Immediately Peke (RIP)" campaign is spearheaded by the Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME), the People’s Assembly for Genuine Alternative against Social Apathy (Pag-asa) and the Gomburza, under the umbrella group Alliance of the Non-Aligned (ANA).

ANA members said they would bring the signature drive to the provinces through parishes.

Where do I sign up?

-- Manong Ernie talks about FVR's Sixth sense:

I am beginning to like FVR's sense of timing in reading the wind directions in politics.

In Edsa I, FVR was the last to join the Enrile/Honasan breakaway revolt, thus sealing late strongman Ferdinand Marcos' fate.

In Edsa II, he arrived from abroad when the gathering at the Edsa Shrine was at its peak and then conducted an impromptu run from the airport to the Edsa Shrine, thus sealing Joseph Estrada's fate.

This late five-year struggle against GMA, FVR has finally seen the light and has joined the calls for GMA and Noli de Castro to resign or to shorten their term so that snap elections could be held.

His actions have been calibrated like the West Point graduate that he is.

Will FVR's breakaway from GMA now serve to motivate a military faction to withdraw support from GMA? Will Gen. Angelo Reyes move? Will Sonny Alvarez and Lakas loyalists now join Teofisto Guingona Jr.? Probably.

It's twisting in the wind. As Fr. Larry Faraon said “Nagawa na ng tao ang lahat. Diyos na ang kikilos.” Let's continue to pray.


Good tactic. An opposition coalition, the Bukluran ng Katotohanan, has announced the calling of a Citizens Congress for Truth and Accountability to hear evidence on the three of the five charges against GMA which were rejected by the House of Representatives.

The fact is clear that the amended impeachment complaint filed by 42 members of the House was dismissed on procedural and technical grounds. There was no actual hearing of evidence to support the charges.

The Citizens Congress to be headed by former Senator and Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. provides a forum for the evidence to be presented.

Malacañang will, of course, refuse to participate in the hearings on legal and technical grounds. But this is not a legal battlefield. It is a battle for truth, for the minds of the people. And of course, for historical records.

How much further damage it will inflict on the Macapagal name depends on what evidence is presented.

For example, if a Commission on Elections official who did indeed go to the La Vista home of the Arroyos to receive money testifies, that would be very damaging indeed.

It's worth watching how this Citizens Congress will unfold.

While it is not legally a court of law, it is a court of public opinion.

Conrad de Quiros: Critical Differences

WITH various groups calling for snap election today, I have to clarify my stand on it, something I have been advocating for some time now. My position is completely different from the ones being bandied about today.

The critical difference between my concept of snap election and theirs is that mine doesn't rely on Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's participation in, much less permission for, it. Indeed, my concept is premised on Arroyo being removed from office in the first place....

My concept of elections is something that takes place after Arroyo is evicted from Malacañang, one that any caretaker government should implement at the soonest possible time. An interim government that lasts for more than a few months is as much a threat to this country as Arroyo.

A snap election, as I see it, serves two basic functions. The first is that it restores order to this much-disordered universe, or nation. It is the complete, perfect, and only answer to the problem. The problem is that we do not have an elected president, the answer is to have an elected president. The problem is that an injustice has been done to the voters, the answer is to give justice to the voters. The problem is that the people have been removed from the equation in this country: Even elections no longer depend on their will but are foreordained in advance. The answer is to bring the people back into the equation: Let us have clean elections and foreordain only the fate of Mr. Hello Garci and ilk in the Commission on Elections.

But the call for snap elections serves one other vital function, which is to remove Arroyo from office. (Clean) elections after Arroyo goes are the only cause that can stir the people up to make sure Arroyo goes. No other alternative has the capacity to stoke action. Why should I risk life and limb just to put a transitional government in place? I will only risk life and limb to make sure that we will replace a usurper with a legitimate ruler. Clean elections are the Good to Arroyo's Evil, which is how People Power happens. You have to have both Good and Evil to have People Power. A story of Evil alone does not hack it, which is why more and more exposés about Arroyo's wrongdoing aren't hurting her anymore. You need to pose a Good against her Evil to get her out. Clean election is that Good, clean elections is that good enough.

But how do you get Arroyo out to have clean elections afterward?

Well, to repeat, you need to pose clean elections as the alternative. That is not an option, that is a necessity.

Read it all.

Conrad seems to be more open to the idea of temporary caretaker/transition gov't, as long as new elections are implemented ASAP.

Should I rethink my earlier opposition to the transition council too?

Ernie Maceda says Cory and Renato de Villa should head the transition council.

More on the Arroyo's Mindanao deal

Pinoyexchange has a discussion on this very topic here. Registration required.

People have been asking how many Muslim Filipinos are there in the Philippines. Well, Filipino Muslims compose 5 percent of the total population in the Philippines. In Mindanao, they comprise around 20.4 percent (according to the 2000 Census).

Now back to Arroyo's Mindanao deal.

The government panel negotiating the peace deal with the MILF says there's no peace pact signed yet, even though documents on a signed peace agreement already exists, according to the Tribune.

Despite the existence of documents that show a signed agreement on a consensus reached between the Arroyo government and the secessionist Islamic group on the ancestral domain issue which grants the BangsaMoro Juridical Entity virtual status of an independent state, government peace negotiator Silvestre Afable yesterday debunked reports that the Arroyo administration has ceded part of Mindanao to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as part of the peace agreement that will be signed with the rebels next year.

Afable stressed that the government has not given the MILF negotiators a political commitment on the issue of ancestral domain although an agreement between the government and the secessionist group was reached at the technical level in Malaysia last month.

“I do not wish to dignify all these charges that have been leveled by certain groups in Mindanao that we are trying to sell out the region in this negotiation,” Afable told a press conference after a closed-door briefing conducted for the diplomatic corps on the status of the peace process.

“We have not signed at the panel level or plenary level any agreement that would show a political settlement with the MILF,” he added.

Afable explained that technical agreements “do not reflect any political commit-ment of the government.”

But earlier, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita admitted that that the reports were accurate, even saying that anyway, the country is going into federalism.

The so-called technical agreements, however, clearly state that on the issue of ancestral domain, as discussed in the meetings, have not been objected to by either party and clarifications of certain terms and conditions have been threshed out.

The final agreement will have to be based on the technical agreements and minutes reached by the two parties.

If the Eduardo Ermita link is now dead, here's the relevant parts of what he said in the article:

Malacañang yesterday admitted there indeed are terms in an agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that would give the Muslim separatist group territories where they could impose taxes and create military and police forces.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita's admission confirmed a Tribune report published also yesterday that President Arroyo has unilaterally decided to carve out the country's southern Mindanao region, the lair of the MILF and other Muslim secessionist groups, with areas partitioned as ancestral lands and homelands to be independently governed by the MILF, under the term “BangsaMoro People.”

But Ermita, during a phone patch interview, insisted that the agreement is still a draft that has to be firmed up by December or after the Muslims end their holy weeks of Ramadan by November....

He allayed fears that the MILF is carving out their own territory in Mindanao.

“Well, it (partitioning) can very well (be) like an expanded autonomous region for the MILF, especially since we're pushing the amendment of our Constitution, (which) could be expanded, (with the expanded region) becoming some sort of a federal state, that's where we're heading once we amend the 1987 Constitution,” Ermita said.

Ermita claimed the reaction of the international community to the slicing of Mindanao was positive, citing the response of US Ambassador Henry Crampton, US overall coordinator for counter terrorism.

“In fact, the other day (Crampton was) in Malacañang... (and said) they are satisfied (with) how we address the anti- terrorism campaign we're pushing. In fact, he kept on asking me what the US could give in terms of assistance in our fight against international terrorism. He understood that our military and the police have to get some assistance wherewithal to improve our capacity,” the Executive Secretary said.

Well, who isn't for a "peace deal" anyway? But is this really a well thought out "peace deal" that is fair to both sides or more of a rush job?

More here:

Ermita defend Mrs. Arroyo, saying to judge her and her government as being treasonous over the agreemment with the MILF is unfair.

“Well, it's very hard to say (if the President could be held for treason), it's still on the table for discussion, it would be finalized come December,” Ermita said.

Which got Bob Martin, an American living in Mindanao, reacting:

So, Arroyo’s own employee is saying that she cannot YET be accused of treason because it’s only a draft? In other words, he is saying that if it goes beyond a draft, it is a treasonous act? That is how I would read the statement.

Heh. Try reading the comments below too from disappointed supporters of Mrs. Arroyo.

Here's are samples:

From Marcus Aurelius:


Bad move on GMA’s part if true. One of the tihings that gives her some definite clout are the threats coming out of MIndanao to secede if GMA is ousted, and here she is giving Mindanao away. Her supporters in power down there now have little or no incentive to support her.

From Bob Martin:

Hi Marcus,

You are right on the mark. Not only do her Mindanao supporters have little incentive to continue supporting her, GMA has now put in an incentive to proceed full speed ahead with plans to secede from the Philippines. With Mindanao being about 80% Christian, not many people here will relish the idea of living in a Muslim theocracy, that I am sure of.

From Marcus Aurelius:


You think this is disinformation being pushed by the PGMA opposition to neutralize her support in Mindanao and the Bisayas?

By support I mean political, it sounds like the people are every bit as PO’ed at her down in the Bisayas & Mindanao as they are in Luzon.

LMAO!!! He thinks the deal is so bad that it must have been cooked up by the opposition just to hurt the fake president. LOL!!! More on Marcus Aurelius' "opposition plot" theory here and here.

Bob also said that this peace deal will lead to war in Mindanao, if all the reports about it are accurate. And that's coming from a guy who I believe is pro-Arroyo, based on the writings in his blog. (So I don't know why is he so afraid all of a sudden about this news. Only anti-Arroyo critics will be targetted here, Bob. ;))

And from what I have read and what I can sense, most of the people who are familiar with Mindanao and are not affiliated with the MILF have a negative opinion on the so-called peace deal, whether they are pro-administration or pro-opposition.

Is it a really good deal, or "peace at all cost" like what Zamboanga Mayor Celso Lobregat said? "Peace at all Cost"? Hmmm... that's harsh. It's like Mayor Lobregat is saying na GMA has chosen "appeasement" ala Neville Chamberlain.

Former Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Parouk Hussin, a ranking member of the MNLF, thinks the Arroyo administration is playing a "dirty game."

COTABATO CITY -- Former ARMM Governor Parouk Hussin, who is a ranking official of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), said on Saturday the Arroyo administration had insulted and effectively dumped the group as an ally when the government entered into an agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) allowing the latter to draft the charter of an expanded Muslim region in the southern Philippines.

Hussin, also the MNLF foreign minister, told the Inquirer by phone that the government did not consult the group before it entered into the agreement with the MILF.

Hussin said the agreement was also an insult to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) which had brokered the 1996 peace agreement between the government and the MNLF.

"It's a dirty game. I don't know how they can play with the Bangsamoro people," Hussin said.

Wow. Tough words from an MNLF official. Will this cause the MNLF take up arms again? Let's hope not.

I myself am still undecided about Arroyo's Mindanao deal, but that's only because I don't live in Mindanao. I and most Filipinos from Luzon will be least affected by this deal.

Wretchard of the Belmont Club comments on Marcus Aurelius question:

I have no independent confirmation that this is true. But it wouldn't surprise me if Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had cut a deal like that for political advantage. People whose judgment I trust say that her support is at rock bottom. Whether or not there is a better alternative to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo available she may fall notwithstanding. You will also recall she has been making noises about federalism and raised the specter of secession should she be ousted. And there are rumors she is building a private army to survive in a post-cataclysmic Philippines. So while I don't know anything for a fact there's nothing I'd discount.

More: RP, Muslim rebels to split revenues on ancestral lands

UPDATE: A determined 20 percent Sunni population in Iraq...

I was reading Krauthammer today and noticed this part:

The insurgency in Iraq is not proof of an escape-from-freedom human nature that has little use for liberty and prefers other things. The insurgency is, on the contrary, evidence of a determined (Sunni) minority desperate to maintain not only its own freedom but its previous dominion over the other 80 percent of the population now struggling for theirs.

A determined 20 percent Sunni minority in Iraq wants dominion over Shiites and Kurds, which comprise a combined 80 percent of Iraq's population?

Parang familiar ito ah.

While I think the Sunni Baathist minority in Iraq are unrealistic about their goals, looks like magiging reality naman ito para sa MILF, which will lead to a 20 percent Muslim minority controlling most of Mindanao.

UPDATE: I've heard the Mindanao situation being compared to East Timor, where the East Timorese chose independence over autonomy.

But the difference between Mindanao and East Timor though is that 90 percent of East Timor's population is Roman Catholic, and only 5% are Muslims. Halos magkabaliktad naman ang situation sa Mindanao.

More here:

Aug. 30 1999 – A massive 98.6 percent of registered voters turn out to cast their ballot. Voters are asked to chose between Jakarta's offer of autonomy within Indonesia, or full independence – 78.5 percent chose independence.

In the wake of the vote, the anger of pro-Jakarta militias and their supporters in the Indonesian military explodes in a bloody rampage.

Tens of thousands of East Timorese are forced to flee their homes; entire villages are burned to the ground, much of the territory's infrastructure is destroyed and unknown numbers are killed.

As worldwide outrage grows Indonesia's President Habibie is forced to allow an Australian-led international intervention force to move in and bring a halt to the violence.

If Mindanao decided to have a referendum today, I doubt the majority of non-Muslim Mindanaoans would like to put themselves under MILF rule.

UPDATE: Bob Martin comments,


Just to let you know, I have slightly modified my position on the whole peace deal. A friend and I were talking the other day (he is also a foreigner living here in the RP). Basically, after we talked the issue out, the conclusion that each of us reached was - "how much worse could it get than it is now?" I mean, the political climate in the Philippines is terrible right now. Not much is getting done here because everybody is politicing. Would life under the MILF be worse? Maybe not. I am willing to see how it is. I think it is a bad deal for the Philippines, but maybe it wouldn't have much affect on my daily life. Let's see!

More links:

-- Wikipedia on East Timor.
-- Timeline on East Timor's long path to nationhood.
-- Q&A on East Timor
-- Goodbye Mindanao?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"I have two CDs, the left and the right."

LOL. JB Baylon thinks Bunye has snapped.

Plus this on Cha-cha:

In the meantime, we have 49 members of the Palace-inspired Constitutional Commission jetting around our country trying to feel the pulse of the people: Do we want charter change? Do we want a shift to a federal system? Are we dying for a parliamentary form with a unicameral legislature? (My own personal answers to the three questions are it depends, it depends, and absolutely not!).

I think this is a waste of time. In fact, I think that the questions that should be asked of our people should be the following: 1) Do you believe it was GMA who called Garcillano? 2) Do you think they talked about cheating? 3) Do you think Garcillano was spirited out of the country to keep him from spilling the beans? 4) Do you believe GMA won the 2004 elections fair and square? 5) Do you believe the impeachment process "resolved" the issue? And 6) Do you believe we have arrived at the truth, and, if not, do you believe it is worth pursuing the truth no matter what the cost?

More important questions, indeed.



-- Conrad de Quiros is glad that finally people are thinking of elections to solve the problem of an unelected president. But he thinks the Mike Velarde snap elections proposal is dumb, dumb, dumb.

Mike Velarde and the civil society groups who are pushing for this proposal are not even honest about the real reason why Arroyo should go, he said.

-- Neal Cruz asks, "Hey guys, what about the people?":

WHILE it is full stop on impeachment and the brakes have been applied on snap elections, it’s full speed ahead for Charter change and a parliamentary-federal form of government for the 40-member Consultative Commission illegally created by Ate Glue. In fact, the Jose Abueva railroad is running too fast it is bound to derail once it comes to a curve. A few days ago, the commission, by a vote of 32-7, decided to recommend to the President and Congress a parliamentary-federal system of government. Then it’s going to go out and “consult” -- "kuno" [so they say] -- the people. This is like the train leaving the station but without its most important passenger, the people. Or like putting the coaches before the locomotive.

In an earlier column, I asked: Shouldn’t the commission first ask the people if they want to change the Constitution and shift to a parliamentary system of government? But the commission decided to do it the opposite way: Draft the Charter first and then present it to the people for their acceptance. That’s not “consultation”; that’s ramming down the throat of the people a Charter the commission members had already in mind even before they were appointed to that body.

Indeed, except for a very few independent-minded souls, that body is so packed with "sipsips" [suck-ups], notorious for their love for Charter change and parliamentary government that whatever discussions they have would be a farce. And that’s what happened: All the objections were voted down by the body’s predominantly pro-Arroyo (and Arroyo-appointed) members.

Yeah, then we'll have a "referendum" on the new constitution, with the Arroyo admin and their COMELEC in charge of the "vote counting." Siguradong pasado ito!

-- Ellen Tordesillas says Noli de Cashtro blew it:

Two months ago, Vice President Noli de Castro would have been acceptable as an alternative to Gloria Arroyo.

But not anymore. His stand, rather his failure to make a stand, on such important issues as honesty in governance and integrity of election process, is dismaying. He can’t be a beneficiary of difficult fight for truth and justice when he seems not to have an idea what truth and justice mean.

Read it all.

-- The opposition rightly rejects Arroyo's "power sharing" scheme:

THE United Opposition yesterday rejected a proposed power-sharing with President Arroyo, saying it will continue to press for her resignation.

"Kahit 100 percent admin na ang government, tanggalin lang si GMA. We (the opposition) are hungry for true change and progress, not positions," said Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano (NP, Taguig-Pateros).

"Kahit 90 percent opposition, if GMA is the head of government, then stealing, cheating and lying will continue," he said.


Sen. Serge Osmena III said that this "is a form of bribery to co-opt a few opposition leaders."

-- Jake Macasaet: Dapat hindi na lang nagsalita ang AFP

-- Grim look at how EVAT will affect the way live.

-- Paranoid Malacanang re-routes traffic after protesters give them the slip

-- More on Rosa Parks, whose appearance wasn't as spontaneous as the myth about her tells us. Doesn't diminish what she did though.

-- Francisco Tatad lists down the options on how to deal with Gloria Arroyo. Mine is this: remove her from power first, then hold clean elections.

Here's more from moi.

-- And last but not least, Manong Ernie!

Give it up, Cory. Vice President Noli de Castro has firmly rejected the offer of Cory/Hyatt 10/Black and White Movement to split from GMA and assume the presidency. Noli had previously turned down the earlier offer of Cesar Purisima and Butch Abad to lead the country made last July in Hong Kong.

Most people believe Noli de Castro means what he says for the simple reason that he knows he is not ready for the job and is just too scared to accept it.

President Cory and her group have been pushing the Noli option for more than three months now. This has become one of the divisive factors among opposition groups.

It's time to give up the idea, Ma'am Cory. That would pave the way for unity behind the call for a revolutionary transition council which Cory and Renato de Villa can head.

By the way, what happened to the six other members of the Hyatt 10? It is now down to the Hyatt 4 (Soliman, Abad, Deles, Nicolas) who are active in the Oust GMA campaign.


Stay put. Serge Osmeña has affirmed previous reports that Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo has been pressured to resign by Malacañang that objected to his filing of extortion charges against former Justice Secretary Hernando Perez.

But if that is so, why did Marcelo have to resign? The Constitution precisely gave him independence. Marcelo is now being praised for resisting the pressure and resigning his post.

He would deserve more commendation if he stayed and filed the charges against Nani Perez, against Chairman Abalos and the Comelec commissioners, and against ranking Armed Forces of the Philippines officers.

Resignation will not stop corruption. At least file the charges first. The principal witness against Nani Perez, former Rep. Mark Jimenez is coming back soon and will testify.


Incredible. NCRPO Director General Vidal Querol warned the Lakbayan-KMP marchers of New People's Army (NPA) infiltrators in their ranks.

Yes they caught two infiltrators, one from the Philippine Marines and one from the Philippine Army with firearms in violation of law, not any from the NPA.

This incident again demonstrates that the statements of generals such as Querol, Lomibao and Bataoil cannot be taken at face value. What happens is the opposite of what they say.

Meanwhile, mediamen led by dzMM reporter Rod Izon joined the Black Friday rally to deplore the continued killings of media persons and the repression of the freedom of the press as exemplified by no less than the secretary of Justice banning a Manila Times reporter from entering his department.


Off-guard. The successful penetration of the Malacañang perimeter through the Arlegui and Solano gates by 200 members of the United Opposition (UNO) shows that despite steel barricades and barbed wire, Malacañang is not that well-guarded. A suicide bomber can easily enter.

Mayor Jojo Binay, UNO president, Secretaries Cuasi Romualdez, Boy Morales and Sonny Escudero, Senators Boy Herrera, Tito Sotto and Kit Tatad, Rep. Butch Aquino, Mayor J.V. Ejercito, Vice Mayor Danny Lacuna, Sandra Cam, Rez Cortez, Linggoy Alcuaz, Ping Fernandez, Badong Malbarosa and other well-known oppositionists were apparently not recognized by the presidential guards. They were not even asked where they were going.

Or maybe, it is true that the rank-and-file of the presidential guards are unhappy with GMA.
Even the employees at a nearby Malacañang unit (the old Singian clinic) came out, waved and applauded the opposition leaders who posed in front of Saint Michael the Archangel, GMA's favorite saint.

Good job, smart move, Jojo Binay.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Joc joc Bolante sumusunod rin sa EO 464


Maski pala hindi na opisyal ng pamahalaan, kaya pa ring tanggihan ang Senado, bagama’t hindi sakop ng E.O. 464. Iyan ang natuklasan ng Komite sa Agrikultura na pinamumunuan ni Senador Jun Magsaysay nang sila’y ilang beses pinalusutan nitong dating pangalawang kalihim ng Kawanihan ng Agrikultura, si Jocelyn "Joc-joc" Bolante.

Doon sa unang pagdinig sa kontrobersya ng 729 milyon "fertilizer scam" kung saan diumano ang pondo ay napunta lamang sa panggastos sa eleksyon noong 2004, hindi na sinipot si Magsaysay nitong si Joc-joc, na ni hindi nga matagpuan ng kanilang mga tauhan. Wala raw sa bahay sa Ayala Alabang. Ang mga opisyales naman ng kawanihan ng agrikultura na inimbitahan din sa Senado ay pawang hindi sumipot, dahilan ng E.O. 464. Tanging mga magsasaka ang sumipot, kaya’t walang malinaw na kinahantungan ang imbestigasyon.

Read it all.

GMA has a "Black Army"?

Ano ito, private army ni Arroyo? May sleeper cell pa!

The Black Army is reportedly composed of more than 50 persons in a established core group but is said to have sleeper cells which have already been provided the firearms. They are said to be on a 24-hour call.

These sleeper cells were reportedly tapped by the police and the military in the government's counter-insurgency program in the North and Southern Tagalog, particularly in Quezon province.

Marcos called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to check and confirm reports of the recruitment activities of the Black Army of local and foreign mercenaries in the light of the disclosure made by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen that Cambodia has been secretly supplying arms to the Philippines.

Mussomelli, in his political report to Washington, revealed that a private armed civilian group is being formed to protect the President should there be another people's uprising or a military takeover.

Iimbestigahan raw ito ni Sen. Biazon. Good idea. Let's see kung totoo nga ito.

De Quiros: Forget about reclaiming Mendiola

He suggests to organize rallies at Plaza Miranda instead.

But I have a better suggestion kung saan dapat i-hold ang rallies.

Malapit siya sa Malacanang, maluwag ang lugar (an Ayala size anti-arroyo rally can fit in here easily) at walang traffic.

Trust me, sirs/rally organizers, this is an EXCELLENT PLACE to hold rallies, better than mendiola or plaza miranda.

"Anong gusto nyong pumalit kay Arroyo, yung Opposition?"

We keep hearing that from the pro-Arroyos. They're very adamant na ayaw nilang makuha ng opposition ang presidency at any cost.

But this kind of extreme attitude from Arroyo's supporters is what gave us GLORAGATE in the first place.

SO WHAT kung manalo ang opposition?!?! Kung yung kandidato nila ang halal ng bayan, anong magagawa mo? (oh, don't answer it, let me guess... MANDAYA AT NAKAWIN ANG ELECTION!)

Hindi naman pwede yung attitude na ang mga admin at civil society candidates lang ang kikilalanin nyo at tatanggapin bilang presidente, at bawal makuha ng opposition ang presidency at any cost... unless you're not interested in democracy anymore.