Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Latest from Euroleague Report

If you're interested in European Basketball, check this out.

Teaching the people how to hack the vote

MORE ON PROBLEMS WITH ELECTRONIC VOTING, at Ars Technica. (HT: Instapundit)

And the article is only referring to outside hackers, which I thought wasn't really much of a threat.

Eh ano pa kaya kung mga INSIDERS sa COMELEC yan?

Gins now in sachet packs

I kid you not! (via mlq3)

Raise our sachet packs... este glasses!

The Grand Diversion

I agree with Ellen about Arroyo using Cha Cha to get JDV and FVR's support.

Noong simula, hindi naman talaga sold si Arroyo sa Cha-Cha na nilalako ni De Venecia at dating Pangulong Ramos dahil iikli ang kanyang termino.

Kaya lang, nang tagilid siya noong Hunyo ng isang taon nang lumabas ang Hello Garci tapes, ang tumulong sa kanya ay si FVR at JDV at ang kanilang linya at matatapos itong krisis kapag may Cha-Cha tayo.

Nakita ni Arroyo ang oportunidad na maa-ari niyang gamitin ang Cha-Cha para lalo siyang magiging kapangyarihan at manatili sa pwesto ng pangmatagalan. Siyempre iba naman ang plano ni FVR at JDV.

Nag-iisahan ang mga tuso.

GMA doesn't really care about CHA CHA. It it passes, then it gives her and her trapo allies more power. If not, fine. Nasa pwesto pa rin si Arroyo. The status quo remains.

Dagdag pa ni Ellen:

Sinabi ni Atty. Pancho Villaraza na hindi nila ini-iwan si Arroyo at suportado pa rin nila siya.

Naniniwala ako na gusto pa rin protektahan nina Villaraza si Arroyo kaya ayaw nila matuloy ang pekeng People’s Initiative na sinusulong ng Malacañang. Alam nilang kapag ipinilit ang garapalang Cha-Cha, ito ay magbibigay daan sa kaguluhan sa bansa at ma-aaring malagim na pagbagsak ni Arroyo.

Para ngang tinutulungan nina Carpio si Arroyo na magkaroon ng graceful exit o matapos niya ng maayos ang kanyang termino hanggang 2010. Ang problema lang, gusto ba ni Arroyo bumaba sa 2010?

I don't know if magkakaroon ng kaguluhan kung naipasa ang bulok na P.I. ni Arroyo, it might happen or it might not. basta ang alam ko ang CBCP ay kontra sa People's Initiative (but not the Constitutional Convention method).

But the fact that we've used up much of our energies on fighting Arroyo's Grand Diversion aka CHA CHA instead of focusing on the real issue of Arroyo's Grand Dagdag bawas operation of 2004, the anti-Arroyo groups may be lulled into a false sense of victory over something that was meant to distract both the anti-GMA groups and ate glo's allies in the House.

By the time we've finished fighting off Arroyo's CHA CHA diversion, we may be too tired to bring Arroyo and her COMELEC and military cohorts to justice.

Btw, I also believe Arroyo will step down in 2010. by that time, all 15 members of the SC will become Arroyo appointees.

UPDATE: Read this too from Tony Abaya.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Uncovered Meat's Fault

"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem."

-- Sheikh Taj El-Din Hamid Hilaly, the most prominent Muslim cleric in Australia, comparing women who suffered from rape to uncovered meat being pounced on by cats.

COMMENTS by Australia's Mufti blaming immodestly dressed women for sexual assault have been branded as "totally unacceptable" by Treasurer Peter Costello.

Mr Costello wants Muslim leaders to condemn the comments by Sheik al-Taj al-Din al-Hilaly, disassociate themselves from them, and pull their leader into line.

Sheik al-Hilaly's comments were delivered in a Ramadan sermon to 500 worshippers in Sydney last month, The Australian newspaper reported.

He blamed women who "sway suggestively" and who wore makeup and no hijab (Islamic scarf) for sexual attacks.

UPDATE: Almost as disgusting as the statement here by an American priest.

Heh heh heh...

My favorite Bush impression, from Comedy Central's Jon Stewart.

Go to the last part of the video.

Rina Jimenez David on Multiculturalism

Rina writes about the recent controversy in Britain re Muslim women wearing the veil here and here.

More: Here's are recent examples of the controversy from Val McQueen:

In the last few days in Britain, three events have caused what was already a small crack in the paper-thin edifice of "multiculturalism" in Britain to widen to a noticeable fissure.

Read the whole thing.

And watch Ms. Asmi's interview here. Walang patawad ang BBC interviewer. Crikey!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

bakit pakonti ng pakonti ang nanonood ng PBA?

Yan ang tanong na nakita ko sa pinoyexchange.

In my opinion, ito ang problema:

1) because we don't play the best basketball in asia anymore.

2) we keep sending crappy teams most of the time in int'l competitions.

3) the suspension by FIBA did not help.

lahat yan nakakaapekto sa popularidad ng PBA.

Solution:

1) get suspension lifted and send our best team in future major bball tournaments.

2) set an achievable goal: like becoming the 2nd best team in Asia.

3) beat china. in a best of one format, anything can happen. upsetting china is not impossible to do. the surprise factor works in our favor. we are familiar with their players, and they don't know about ours.

if a team like ours can get hot from the outside at the right moment, and if we play suns style offense, tapos mix it up on d using zone and man to man, with asi playing the role of kurt thomas fronting yao. who knows?

"You knew that the world has become infatuated with America's game and is learning all of our former secrets..."

NBA commissioner David Stern thinks that the US should take the beatings they suffered in the World basketball championship as a compliment from other countries.

From the Washington Post:

Stern has been criticized for allowing NBA players to continue to lose international competitions -- Team USA has lost seven games in the past four years -- but he said he believes the exposure to international basketball, win or lose, has enhanced the quality of the league.

"When you follow the scene for the past 20 years as I have . . . you knew that the world has become infatuated with America's game and is learning all of our former secrets," Stern said. "And that's a good thing because that is going to make our game better in two ways: It's going to force us to focus on international competition, if we decide that we want to win. And it's going to give us the benefit in the NBA of having elite athletes from all over the world who are super athletes and super basketball players. When you think about Yao Ming, [Dirk] Nowitzki, [Tony] Parker, [Pau] Gasol and [Manu] Ginobili -- just to name five -- that's some team.

"I think, actually, Americans now understand that the world has given us the greatest compliment," Stern said. "They have embraced our game, and they are determined to play it at the highest level."

"It's going to force us to focus on international competition, if we decide that we want to win."

Yes, I believe one of the reasons why many US NBA players in the past have turned down offers to join the US national team was because of the old notion that the competition in these international competitions are weak, therefore the games have no challenge and are meaningless. (And most players would rather take a vacation than participate in some meaningless tournament.)

Yes, the europeans and the rest of the world were inferior to the US back then. But not anymore.

If the US is serious about winning these international tournaments, then the old ways of selecting (ala dream team 92) and training players for the national team needs to change. That has already been addressed by mr. colangelo (3-year commitment from players) after the 02 Worlds and 04 Olympics debacle.

But I also believe the best players need to represent their country too.

And what if the US wins the gold in 08 Olympics? Will Lebron, Wade and Carmelo Anthony think their job is already done and declare "Mission Accomplished"? Or will they continue to commit playing in 2010, 2012?

Will they take a "two-year vacation" from the NT after Beijing and let other players represent the US? Or retire from international competition?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What Guts! What Balls!

I like Winnie's punchline paragraph at the end of her article on the recent thrashing of Arroyo's P.I.

To quote Puno: “Let them who will diminish or destroy the sovereign right of the people to decide be warned. Let not their sovereignty be diminished by those who belittle their brains to comprehend changes in the Constitution as if the people themselves are not the source and author of our Constitution. Let not their sovereignty be destroyed by the masters of manipulation who misrepresent themselves as the spokesmen of the people.” I totally agree. Except that Puno’s “them” seems to refer not to the Lambino group (that, according to the Carpio ruling, did the deception and manipulation), but to the other groups in opposition of the Lambino petition.

Go figure.

Read the whole thing.

Joker Arroyo praises the 4 Women Justices who voted against P.I.:

THE WOMEN justices in the Supreme Court delivered the vote, with only one of them voting with the minority, Senator Joker Arroyo noted yesterday.

“What guts, what balls! A revelation -- in a crunch the nation can depend on women,” Arroyo said in a statement, referring to Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez and Conchita Carpio-Morales.

“A fitting valedictory of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban -- an independent Supreme Court,” said Arroyo, who had argued against the people’s initiative petition in behalf of the Senate before the high court.

Yung isa na pumabor sa P.I. ni Arroyo ay ito.

I'm also in favor of ynares santiago or sandoval gutierrez as our next Chief Justice, btw, over the likes of Puno, quisumbing and carpio.

It's about time we have a Woman Chief Justice sa bansa natin.

Sabi naman ni Neal Cruz: Not people’s but politicians’ initiative

Raul Pangalanan: "Significantly, the two most senior nominees to become the next chief justice, Justices Reynato Puno and Leonardo Quisumbing, both dissented from the majority. President Arroyo has not been coy at all about her support for Lambino’s initiative, and the two justices’ dissents certainly won’t hurt their bid to succeed Panganiban. But since neither Puno nor Quisumbing carried the majority, all earlier speculation that deals and promises had been made must be put to rest. All bets are off, and the President will choose the next chief justice painfully aware that her appointee might, heaven forbid, actually live up to his or her oath to be independent and to uphold the Constitution."

And the next person to be appointed as SC justice should be asked whether he agrees with the 8-7 decision to junk Arroyo's Initiative, whether Lambino v. COMELEC is settled na.

In other news, it's full steam ahead for CON ASS. Expect more lies and half-truths from Sigaw ng Bayad, sabi ni Helga.

More from Lito Banayo:

Much is said of the "total" loss of the fake initiative. This is a warning. The progenitors of the win-win formula are not yet convinced their enterprise is a lose-lose proposition.

The minority decision did not completely sustain the Lambino position. What it sought was to remand the case to the Comelec, to ascertain the veracity and validity of the alleged 6.3 million signatures to change the charter. On the surface it would look like even if said decision had won, the timetable of the initiators would have been defeated.

Wrong. The evil genius who manipulates things simply wants "no elections" in May of 2007. By throwing the problem to the Comelec, the "genius" knew that such would take months and months, and therefore thwart the preparations for the scheduled elections. The real purpose is not charter change now, as FVR and Joe de V and all those who were taken in by the deception thought. The real purpose was simple "no-el".

The "win-win" formula fit perfectly into their purpose. The ponente was after all not reversing himself from a previous decision in Santiago vs. Comelec. The rationale that the Court does not try facts is legally acceptable.

Consider further that at about the same time that the High Court was deliberating on the initiative, Malacañang’s hacks were speculatively raising such hobglobins as no elections because partial automation was not possible, as Congress demanded. All to lay a predicate to the moment when the Comelec, saddled as it is by the Court-appointed burden of verifying millions and millions of signatures, with both sides of the political fence objecting at every turn, would raise its hands and declare that it would be physically impossible to hold regular elections in May 2007, a scant seven months away.

But the evil design was thwarted last Wednesday, when the Holy Spirit must have sent its guiding light into Padre Faura. This is a cause for celebration. It is the triumph of the people.

dagdag pa ni Banayo:

President Joseph Estrada, through counsel Rufus Rodriguez, would file charges against the fifol’s initiators, Lambino, Aumentado et. al., for unlawfully using public money in their grand deception. How very proper.

But while they are at it, shouldn’t Atty. Rodriguez also look at the possibility of initiating disbarment proceedings against these initiators of grand deception. Aren’t lying and deceiving the Supreme Court enough cause for disbarment? People have to be taught lessons.

In other news, FM funds handled by Malacanang vanished without a trace.

THE Office of the President received at least P53 million of the questionable releases by the Department of Land Reform from the confiscated Marcos Swiss deposits.

Of the amount, P20 million disappeared without a trace.

The administration on the other hand, claims that it doesn't know anything about the missing funds.

The Cipher

Sen. Mar Roxas has been a cipher on most of the important issues in our country today.

Is he studying to become another Hillary Clinton?

Barack Obama should run in 2008

Sabi ni Charles Krauthammer: "He should run in '08. He will lose in '08. And the loss will put him irrevocably on a path to the presidency."

Read the whole thing.

Here's the relevant part of the article:

These are strong reasons for Obama to run. Nonetheless, he will not win. The reason is Sept. 11, 2001. The country will simply not elect a novice in wartime.

During our last great war, the Cold War, no foreign policy novice won the presidency, except for Carter in the anomalous Watergate election of 1976. The only foreign policy novices elected in the past half-century -- Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- won the presidency during our holiday from history between the fall of the Soviet Union and Sept. 11.

In any circumstance, it is fairly audacious for any freshman senator to even think of the presidency. When freshman Sen. John F. Kennedy began his preparation for 1956, he was really seeking the vice presidency. And, unlike Obama, he had already served three terms in the House, which in turn had followed a celebrated military tour in the Pacific in World War II.

In 1956 Kennedy was preparing for a serious presidential run in 1960. Obama should be thinking ahead as well -- using '08 to cure his problem of inexperience. Run for the Democratic nomination and lose. He only has to do reasonably well in the primaries to become such a compelling national figure as to be invited onto the ticket as vice presidential nominee. If John Edwards, the runner-up in '04 did well enough to be made running mate, a moderately successful Obama would be the natural choice for '08.

Then, if the Democrats win, he will have all the foreign policy credentials he needs for life. Even if the ticket loses, assuming he acquits himself reasonably well, he immediately becomes the presumptive front-runner in the next presidential cycle. And if by some miracle he hits the lottery and wins in '08, well, then it is win-win-win.

He's a young man with a future. But the future recedes. He needs to run now. And lose. And win by losing.

This is how they voted

From the PDI editorial:

Cliff-hanger

The others who also voted to junk the petition were Associate Justice Antonio Carpio (the ponente), and Associate Justices Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez, Conchita Carpio Morales, Romeo J. Callejo Sr. and Adolfo S. Azcuna.

Those who dissented along with Puno were Associate Justices Leonardo A. Quisumbing, Renato C. Corona, Dante C. Tinga, Minita V. Chico-Nazario, Cancio C. Garcia and Presbitero J. Velasco Jr.

With Santiago’s vote, the count reached a cliff-hanging 7-7 by the time Panganiban was asked for his vote, the source said.

(In the high court, the most junior are asked to vote first, with the Chief Justice voting last. This protocol is to ensure that the Chief Justice’s decision does not influence the junior associate justices.)

“So you could say that although Panganiban made the final swing vote, Santiago set the stage for it,” the source said.

So, kung titignan natin yung mga members ng Supreme Court, si justice presbitero velasco ang pinaka junior, next si Garcia, Chico-Nazario, Tinga, Azcuna, Callejo, Carpio Morales, Corona, Austria Martinez, Tony Carpio, Sandoval Gutierrez, Ynarez Santiago, Quisumbing, Puno and CJ Panganiban.

So Velasco voted first for P.I. 0-1

next si Garcia for P.I. 0-2

then Chico-Nazario for P.I. 0-3

then Tinga for P.I. 0-4 (shocks, nakakatakot naman ito!)

then Azcuna vs. P.I. 1-4 (FINALLY!)

then Callejo vs. P.I. 2-4

then Carpio Morales vs. P.I. 3-4

then Corona for P.I. 3-5

then Austria Martinez vs. P.I. 4-5

then Tony Carpio vs. P.I. 5-5

then Sandoval Gutierrez vs. P.I. 6-5

then Ynares Santiago vs. P.I. 7-5

then Quisumbing for P.I. 7-6

then Puno for P.I. 7-7

and finally CJ Panganiban vs. P.I. 8-7.

Fin.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Mini-roundup

The Marcos loot has been re-looted. Read this too.

Ninez Cacho Olivarez on the Thai PM's meeting with Arroyo:

Gloria Arroyo sounds more and more ridiculous as she attempts to get into the world’s limelight by forcing herself to get into global and regional issues and trying hard to project herself as an influential world leader, especially at a time when she has become a virtual international pariah.

With the new Thai prime minister under a military regime coming to the country to meet up with the regional leaders, in his bid for him and the military regime to be acceptable and recognized in the region if not the world, Gloria had the gumption to state that she would exhort him to speed up the restoration of democracy in Thailand by lifting martial law there.

This is ridiculous talk coming from Gloria for a multitude of reasons, prime of which is the fact that her regime is hardly a democratic one, and neither was she positioned in power democratically, and all talk of freedom and democracy is mere lip service.

There are other major reasons as well: For one, since she had accepted to recognize and receive the Thai prime minister, she therefore has absolutely no call to publicly, or even privately, urge him to lift martial law, as she is clearly interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. Further, she came off so stupid since she could not have been unaware of the fact that the new Thai premier is a figurehead who takes orders from the military government, and obviously, any lifting of martial law would not be dependent on him or even the military-dictated parliament, but on the military council, which makes all the decisions, which are evidently blessed by King Bhumibol.

And the decision of the military council is to hold elections in a year’s time and long after a new Constitution will have been drafted by the military government.

For another, Gloria has no moral or legal ascendancy to speak of democracy to a foreign head of state who rose to power through a coup d’etat, since she herself made a mockery of the democracy in the country when she — as the incontrovertible evidence shows — plotted with military officers to oust a legitimate state head, then sitting President Joseph Estrada, from power a full year before the actual ouster.

Talking to the Thai premier about restoring democracy coming from her is absurd, given the incontrovertible evidence of her having massively cheated to win Malacañang in the 2004 polls. And she thinks the world does not know of her having lied, cheated and stolen all this time?

Plus Conrad de Quiros on the same topic.

Ernie Maceda says na maraming ghost employees sa PNP.

Ghost employer. The office with the most number of ghost employees for the longest time is not the city of Makati or any other city government. It is the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP Finance office sources informed us that hundreds of policemen from National Capital Region alone are now working in the United States and other countries but are still on the PNP payroll and their salaries are being paid to someone. Lately, some policemen have been recruited by US firms to serve as security personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan but the bulk is in the Los Angeles area. Some dead officers are kept in the payroll long after they passed away.

Some police officers assigned as bodyguards of politicians and executive officials have never reported back to their mother units even after their bosses have left public office.

Even the three police officers assigned as security of Jaime Cardinal Sin, who died a year ago, have not reported back to Camp Crame but are still collecting their salaries even while managing businesses in Laguna.

Will Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita dare to look into this matter? Will he admit there are hundreds of 15-30 employees in Malacañang?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm glad the SC did the right thing

by throwing out Arroyo's Initiative. Thank You.

8 Justices who voted against the People's Initiaitive

And to One Voice to led by Christian Monsod, MLQ3, Toots Ople and many others from their group for leading the fight against Arroyo's P.I.G. (lalo na yung mga young volunteers na pumunta sa COMELEC para i-verify yung mga signatures ng Singaw ng Bayad.) Thank you.

But why am I not yet celebrating like there's no tomorrow and popping the champange corks?

Because it's not yet over.

Merong pang Con Ass. Tapos magre-retire pa si Mr. Panganiban at the end of the year. All Arroyo has to do is appoint a new justice who favors Arroyo's Initiative or Con Ass, and with a 7-7 vote, the new justice's vote could change everything.

A Muslim's experience inside an Ann Coulter chat forum

Ali Eteraz's experience is an interesting read. (via Michael Totten)

How to Solve the Rubik's Cube

Hehe... this so 80's, but it's all about the math. Siguro magaling dito si DJB.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

US nursing board council says the World is monitoring test leak outcome

From the Malaya:

The leakage in the June 2006 nursing examinations has caused the US National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc. (NCSBN) to put off its decision on whether to include the Philippines among its international testing centers, a top official of NCSBN said yesterday.
.....

"Obviously, it (leakage) has affected (our decision) because we were set to make a decision. When the leakage occurred, we decided to back off to get the results of how you handle that," Fields said in an ambush interview after her courtesy call on Arroyo.

Fields said the board is watching how the Philippine government will handle the leakage issue. "We will definitely be waiting for the outcome of the issue," she said.

She said Filipino nurses make up about 80 percent of foreign educated nurses that come to the US.

"We’re very interested to see how you handle the crisis and I think it’s something that you don’t want to waste the opportunity to make your system better," she said.

She said doing nothing about the leakage issue would be "a mistake."

"You have to understand that the entire world is watching what the Philippines does here and so you definitely will need to take some action. But what that is, is up to the Philippines to do," she added.

More from Rina Jimenez David:

I DON'T know if this applies only to the Philippines, but educational trends here are actually dictated, not by employment and market demands in the country, but by market demand abroad, specifically in the United States, and by labor and migration policies of the US and other "destination" countries.

In my teens, all of us five sisters felt tremendous pressure from my mother, whose lifelong dream had been that at least one of her daughters would become a nurse, emigrate, earn dollars and send home the money. Even better would be if one of us would earn a coveted "green card" and send for her and install her into a life of blissful retirement in the US.

Of course, in keeping with the usual run of such stories, none of us chose my mother's career path of choice.

Eventually, her dream of sending abroad a nurse-daughter faded, not because Mama had reconciled herself to our personal ambitions, but because the demand for nurses, especially in the US, tapered off. Tough immigration policies made it difficult for Filipino nurse-applicants to enter the US, unless there was an actual job waiting for them.

But while demand for nurses abated, demand for other types of workers heated up: physical therapists, caregivers, and eventually, teachers. Such spikes in demands for specific occupations were met by corresponding spikes in enrolment in these courses in local schools. And woe to students who found themselves in the middle of a two-year or four-year course when the trend shifted downward, they were suddenly rendered unemployable. But those were the breaks to students and their parents banking on overseas employment: it was all a gamble.

* * *

THESE days, young people and their parents are banking on a nursing degree and passing the board exams yet again as a surefire way of obtaining a high-paying job abroad. With high demand matched with accommodating policies, working as a nurse in the US and the rest of the developed world has become a viable option again.

In true Filipino fashion, and based on the "lechon manok and hot pan de sal" school of business development, nursing schools and training hospitals, alongside nursing review centers, mushroomed all across the metropolis and in urban centers around the country. When education authorities, including the deans of the older and more established nursing schools and colleges, talk of the "commercialization" and the "falling standards" of nursing education, they refer mainly to the many "upstart" nursing centers, which churn out graduates who receive only minimal and sub-standard training.

And then, to ensure that these graduates meet the minimum requirement of nursing employment -- getting a passing grade in the nursing board exam -- the schools send them to classes in review centers they either established themselves or are allied with. And because a review center's reputation rests on the number of passers it manages to produce, these centers resort to all means fair or foul to even the odds.

* * *

THAT those who pass the board exams relying on leaked questions and close coaching would end up as incompetent nurses who present a threat to the lives and health of patients seems to be of little concern to such nursing "educators."

Even worse, the pressure to increase the number of passers among their graduates has led to schools and centers corrupting the very system designed to weed out the competent from the incompetent, the skilled from the unskilled, the knowledgeable from the ignorant.

In an earlier interview, Professional Regulation Commission Chair Leonor Tripon-Rosero bristled at talk that the results of the nursing board exams is the indicator of the quality of nursing education in the country. "The test only measures what a nursing graduate knows at that particular time. The quality of a graduate's education depends on the knowledge and skills imparted by the institution itself."

But it is passing the licensure exam that vouches for a nurse's basic competency, which is why test-takers and reviewers resort to short cuts and inside knowledge to gain an advantage.

A news report says the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) is preparing a new regulation that would make sure that a review center that has been involved in a "controversy" would no longer be able to do business. The report has been taken as referring to the three review centers implicated by the National Bureau of Investigation in the leakage.
Like I said before, it is important that a full retake of the exams is needed. At parusahan rin ang mga review centers na responsable sa leak.

RP among worst ranked in Press Freedom Index

Not surprised by this. From the PCIJ:

SEVEN Asian countries, including the Philippines, are in the bottom 20 of the fifth annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index released by the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

RSF Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2006The Philippines is among the worst-ranked countries for 2006 at 142nd place (in a tie with the Democratic Republic of Congo out of 168 countries surveyed), further slipping three places with the continuing murders of journalists and increased legal harassment in the form of libel suits, including those filed by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, husband of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The country is now in the ignominious company of Bangladesh (137), Singapore (146), Vietnam (155), Laos (156), Pakistan (157) and Burma (164). (Download the Asia Index.)

Since it was introduced in 2002 to provide a worldwide index of countries according to their respect for press freedom, the RSF Index has documented the deterioration of press freedom in the Philippines under Arroyo’s rule, with the country sliding down the rankings from 89th in 2002 to 118th in 2003. Though it improved to 111th in 2004, the country endured a sharp decline to 139th in 2005.

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World

Highly recommended film. I never laughed so hard in my life... More updates later.

Here's a review from Roger Ebert:

In an opening scene of "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World," Albert Brooks is summoned to a secret State Department meeting. It's chaired by Fred Dalton Thompson, who was a lawyer and actor before he was a U.S. Senator, and now plays one in the movies. The president is concerned about reaching the world's Muslims, Thompson explains. He's tried wars and spying, the usual stuff, and now he thinks maybe he might try humor. Brooks' assignment: Spend a month in India and Pakistan and write a 500-page report on what makes Muslims laugh.

That's the premise for a movie that might inspire a sequel titled, "Searching for Comedy in the Albert Brooks World." I mean that as a compliment. Brooks' movie has a lot of humor in it, but it's buried, oblique, throwaway, inside, apologetic, coded and underplayed. Midway through the movie, he does a free stand-up comedy show in New Delhi, and nobody laughs at anything. Rodney Dangerfield attacked sullen audiences aggressively: Folks! Folks! There's a guy up here on stage, telling jokes! Brooks is incapable of bluntness. He sidles up to his material and slinks away from it.
.....

The laughs tend to be hidden in the crevices. Brooks walks by offices every day, for example, filled with people who are answering the phone for big American corporations. There are two bigger laughs in the movie, one involving his dressing room for the standup show, the other involving his meeting with executives of the Al-Jazeera network. And some medium laughs. And a lot of chuckles. And a stubborn unwillingness to force the laughs. Brooks has a persona that apologizes for everything including being a persona. No matter how much you laugh, you get the feeling he wanted you to laugh less.

Because I have seen all of Brooks' movies, liked most of them and loved some, I was in training for "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World." Veteran Brooks-watchers will be able to hear the secret melodies and appreciate the way he throws away even the throwaways. It's also interesting how he doesn't take cheap shots at India or Pakistan. When a Muslim woman asks him, "Are you a Jew?" he's set up for a slam-dunk, but he walks away from it. He acts not like a comic wiseguy but like a clueless citizen sent on a baffling State Department mission. Well, that's what he's playing.

More whining and crying from Iraya

From Iraya aka Pinoy:

Between Binay and government, there is no lesser evil. They are both evil. Both are poweer hungry and will hold or do anything to keep that power. Binay has lorded over Makati for two decades now. He has used the masa to keep himself in power but has he improved the lot of the masa? What can he show for? Free movie passes and birthday cakes? I really don't know.


i don't know if this proves anything, but he's a finalist for world mayor 2006.

He has lorded it over Makati for 2 decades getting a respite when he let his wife run the show for 3 years. It's still a Binay. The trapo signature of letting another nameaake take the helm when the 9 year term limit is reached. As a non Makati resident, all I can make of Binay is that he is just your regular trapo.

The same kind of trapo that lords it over at Malacanang.


I think binay is a different kind of "trapo" than GMA. Binay won his seat without Garciing the elections.

GMA not only stole the presidency once, but twice. We know her administration Bolante'd the gov't funds to help her campaign. And let's not forget Pidal.

In Binay's case naman, Brillantes charges of corruption against the mayor looks flimsy at best. At least most Pro- and Anti- Arroyo columnists seems to think so. You can't get more bi-partisan than that.

if binay's a trapo for letting his wife run for office, fine. our mayor lito atienza is letting his son run in 2007 too. While having a "trapo" for a public official is not the ideal, i don't think it's a crime either. You don't just suspend, impeach or file criminal charges against somebody like JDV or Pichay just because trapo sila, diba?

Binay's not really a heroic figure, but he should thank his enemies for turning him into one.

Where were these non Makati resident Binay supporters when the honorable mayor of Naga was suspended?


Who's he?

Why wasn't there any noise with this suspension? Simply because the opposition will not be able to hit back on Gloria. And hitting back on Gloria is all that matters to them.


the date of the naga mayor article you linked is mar. 28, 2005, before the Hello garci scandal.

I doubt cory, susan or MLQ3 or most non-makati defenders of binay would be trooping to the makati mayor's defense either if GLORIAGATE did not happen.

GLORIAGATE changed everything.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"By the time the Doña 'ends' her term in 2010, she may well be the only civilian left in the government hierarchy."

Thompson Lantion is the 22nd general appointed to a major position in the civilian bureaucracy. And Generoso Senga, the former AFP chief, will soon head the government broadcast system – NBN 4, with its probably less than 2 percent share of television viewership. If so, he will be the 23rd retired general to be rewarded with a post in the civilian bureaucracy, if the Center for People Empowerment and Good Governance, a research and advocacy group’s September count is correct.

In a September 22 article in the International Herald Tribune, an analyst at the Center reported that 21 military and police generals, led by current Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, have been conscripted into cabinet and other sensitive positions in the government hierarchy, prompting the Tribune to ask if "a de facto military-civilian junta is lording it" over the Philippines.

And who will replace Anneli Lontoc at the Land Transportation Office, now that former police general Tom Lantion has taken over the LTFRB? Insiders at LTO say, with a shiver and a shudder, that it could well be another police general, Reynaldo Berroya.

By the time the Doña "ends" her term in 2010, she may well be the only civilian left in the government hierarchy.

From Lito Banayo.

Euroleague (basketball) blog coverage in English

Yes! from truehoop:

Julien Debove edits a French basketball magazine, called Reverse, and has recently put together sometheing that was badly needed: English language coverage of the Euroleague that is, well, pleasingly unlike the existing online coverage.

Here's the blog called BasketSession.

Here's their mission statement:

Because the Euroleague no longer is a second rate championship and has all the tools to interest people who have absolutely nothing in common but a shared love for the game. Because you guys from all over Europe like to see your favourite team face its archrivals and you guys from America have grown more and more curious after the World Championships. Because it’s actually possible to follow and appreciate both the NBA and the Euroleague. Because yeah the Euroleague is fun. Sure it is no And One mixtape but it is not as boring as a Tim Duncan press conference either. The Euroleague has its own Phoenix Suns, its own Detroit Pistons…and its own Atlanta Hawks… But since now, we agree it was hard to get anything else than game reports, stat sheets and strange old-fashioned video clips out of the official websites.

That is the reason why we’re gonna do this Euroleague report every week. Because it’s high time we have a Truehoop or Slamonline-ish way to cover European basketball. We’ll run more profiles, more stories. We’re even gonna strive at cracking jokes. As good Frenchmen, we might make you smile with our sometimes awkward English but careful because your girls like it and check the report regularly ‘cause we might be the most improved players at the end of the year.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Terror bomber Palace Man?

I don't know kung totoo ito. Pero nasa front page ito ng Journal.com.ph kanina.

TERROR BOMBER PALACE MAN?
by : Fernando M. Cariaso

Suspect also linked to ‘Hello, Garci’ scandal

ONE of those charged by the police in connection with the October 10 bombing in Mindanao where six people were killed and 20 others wounded is a former Moro National Liberation Front leader now working with the government and attached to the office of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita in Malacanang, sources at the largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said yesterday.

Respondent Hadji Akmad Bayam went to work for the government after the group signed the 1996 GRP-MNLF agreement with the government, the sources alleged.

He was also involved in the “Hello, Garci Tape” controversy and recently was sent by Ermita to Basilan to negotiate for the release of a kidnapped victim, the daughter of the president of the Southwestern Mindanao University in Zamboanga City, the sources said to reinforce allegations that he is a political operator by the Palace.

Bayam, along with MILF chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and several other ranking MILF officials were charged with murder by the Philippine National Police following the bombings in Central Mindanao.

According to sources at the MILF, Bayam once served the late Congressman Salipada Pendatun in late 60s, as well as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Bayam, described by sources as a very articulate and intelligent person, reportedly hails from Kabuntalan, Maguindanao.

An MILF official said a non-government organization based in Central Mindanao has requested Secretary Ermita to confirm or deny that Bayam is working in any capacity in his office in Malacañang.

Arsad Solaiman, chairperson of the Moro Youth for Bangsamoro Genuine Empowerment (MYBGE), was quoted as saying that such clarification would really help establish the veracity of the allegation that the accused in the Central Philippines bombings, especially Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Hadji Akmad Bayam were really involved in the planning and execution of the series of terror attacks.

“It becomes urgent that Ermita speak up and clear this issue so that people will know the real truth behind the raging controversy on who really did that barbaric act in Makilala,” sources said.

I hope mr. ermita can clarify things for the public.

More on Hadji Akmad Bayam from Moroland:

A non-government organization (NGO) based in Central Mindanao has requested Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to confirm or deny that Hadji Akmad Bayam is working in any capacity in his office in Malacañang. The request came in the wake of the filing of murder charges against Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Hadji Akmad Bayam, et al, in connection with the Makilala bombing on October 10 that killed six people and wounded 29 others. Arsad Solaiman, chairperson of the Moro Youth for Bangsamoro Genuine Empowerment (MYBGE), told Luwaran that such clarification would really help establish the veracity of the allegation that the accused especially Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Hadji Akmad Bayam were really involved in the planning and execution of the series of terror attacks in Central Mindanao .

MYBGE, according to Arsad, is a newly organized group that will help enrich the discussion on various issues confronting the government and the MILFin their peace talks.

“It becomes urgent that Ermita will speak up and clear this issue so that people will know the real truth behind the raging controversy on who really did that barbaric act in Makilala,” he stated.

He also disclosed that there is a clear plot by vested interest groups in Mindanao led by North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Piòol to destroy the good reputation of the MILF.

Earlier reports disclosed that Bayam was formerly a high ranking official of the MNLF and is now working with the government after the group had signed the 1996 agreement with the government.

Bayam, a very articulate person, once served the late Congressman Salipada Pendatun in late 60s, as well as the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). He was also involved in the “Hello Garci Tape” controversy and recently was sent by Ermita to Basilan to negotiate for the release of a kidnapped victim, the daughter of the president of the Southwestern Mindanao University in Zamboanga City .


And this:

Correction: We would like to correct the news item appearing in the abs-cbnnews.com, today and yesterday, saying that Hadji Akmad Bayam, one of the accused in the bombings in Makilala, North Cotabato and Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat on October 10, is the information officer of the MILF. Bayam was once the information of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), but is now with the government.

A source in Malacanang told Luwaran that Bayam is holding a portfolio as Assistant Secretary in the External Affairs Department in the office of President Macapagal but is detailed in the office of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

Wow.

Censorship

Isagani Cruz defends Erap from MTRCB censorship of his video. It's interesting because Justice Cruz is no erap supporter at all.

THE prohibition by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board against the public exhibition of the documentary on the life of former President Joseph Estrada is yet another portent of the increasing repressiveness of the present government.

Like many other citizens, I had entertained the hope that Estrada’s replacement by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would usher for us a future cleansed of the flaws of the past administration. That hope has been slaughtered in the disillusionments foisted on the people by GMA since she took over the Palace in 2001.

One may recall that Estrada, out of pique with the Inquirer, imposed a ban on advertising in it by his political supporters, including his friends from the movie industry. But he did this on the strength of his political or personal influence and not officially as the lawful tenant of Malacañang.

It is different in the case of Ms Gloria, who is using her dubious official authority to entrench herself in power. And one of her petty methods seems to be to use the Board to further discredit her predecessor by preventing the exhibition of his life on TV while he languishes helplessly in the custody of the law.

I have no loyalty for Estrada whom I have criticized many times in this column, resulting in his disdaining me as one of his enemies. I am not. But even if I were, I would still be happy to defend him, as I’m doing now, when his rights as safeguarded by the Constitution are disregarded and betrayed.

All he wants to do is tell about his public life from the time he was elected as a municipal mayor and rose to become a senator, vice president and president, until he was ousted over his protest from his high position. Yet he has been denied this legitimate move that is protected by his freedom of expression as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

The reason, according to the Board in X-rating the documentary, is that it tended “to threaten the political stability of the State, undermine the faith and confidence of the people in the government, and (be) libelous or defamatory, and (pertained) to matters that are sub judice in nature.”

As a columnist in this paper, I could be charged with similar acts, which I do not consider offenses. Yet, in view of my comparatively insignificant position, I am not (yet) being discriminated against unlike the formidable Estrada. Estrada is being targeted because of his dangerous potential to derail the ambitious designs of Ms Arroyo.

The Board’s decision is based mainly on its shallow argument that the Estrada show is critical of President Arroyo, who has control of the MTRCB.

The right to criticize is part and parcel of freedom of expression. It is in fact more significant than the right to agree or not to disagree. Disagreement makes democracy more vital and meaningful. “Compulsory unification of opinion,” said the US Supreme Court in a famous case, “achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.” It is now settled that one of the important functions of freedom of expression is “to invite dispute.”

It is this militant function that the Board would immobilize by banning the Estrada documentary and its indirect criticisms of his successor. It is this function that the Board would castrate because it might impair popular faith and confidence in her erratic and dishonest government. It is this function that the Board has disallowed because it would “threaten the political stability of the State,” which it obsequiously identifies as Ms Arroyo.

Censorship is anathema in the free society, but the MTRCB would blandly claim it like an assignment from a trustful Heaven. Arbitrariness and pretentiousness are not divine gifts for the Board to assert against persons who are slightly “lower than angels.” These dubious powers cannot prevail against the right to criticize as the bedrock of the democratic ambience.

Mr. Cruz ends his column with a plea from Arroyo to remove the ban on the erap video.

I hope President Arroyo will reverse the decision of the MTRCB, even if favorable to her, as President Fidel Ramos before her allowed the showing of “Schindler’s List” and “The Piano” in 1994 without the deletion of the parts considered objectionable by the censors at that time.


Agreed. I myself have made a similar call to maam arroyo. not because I want to watch the Erap Docu on the big screen. I have a pretty good idea kung ano ang nilalaman ng erap video and the story of his life doesn't really interest me at all. I like political docus but this one only got political during the last 3 minutes of the film (at yan rin ang ipina-ban ng MTRCB). i've already seen the last three minutes, and it's pretty ordinary, "pitik sa tenga" stuff compared to what Bush has to endure from fahrenheit 9/11 and the stinging attacks and ridiculing you see daily from Jon Stewart, David Letterman and Jay Leno.

Anyway, read this today... a navy officer is facing court martial proceedings for possessing and distributing the erap video. More info here.

Mabuhay ang Strong Republic.

From the tribune editorial:

If distribution of any CD in the military is now a crime under the military justice system, then it is equally a crime for the AFP leadership to distribute and order the showing of the Malacañang-produced propaganda CD showing the alleged coup plot plan against Gloria.

Gloria’s CD shows the alleged coup plot against her and her government; Erap’s video shows Gloria admitting before a public forum that she had been plotting with at least five military groups to oust then sitting President Estrada, a full year before the actual ouster. So why should a military officer who distributes Erap’s CD be charged before a court-martial while the AFP leadership that ensures the showing, if not the distribution of the Gloria CD, not be charged for the same crime as well?

The double standard being employed by today’s military leadership definitely shows it is engaging in clear partisan politics — and is partisan to Gloria in her political plays.

"A one-party state dominated by provincial warlords is their ultimate objective. Nothing modern, efficient, or admirable about it."

The ultimate objective of the present move to change the Constitution is, therefore, not reform. The chief aim—and the fundamental effect that aim will have—is warlord power. Warlord power fuels “Charter change” as it has mutated during the present crisis. There is no grand ideal behind it, such as federalism. Put another way, federalism is what may excite the public, but it does not excite the incumbent, professional politicians who would compose a future parliament.

By Manuel L. Quezon III. Read the whole thing.

I have to disagree again with Philippine Commentary

From Dean J Bocobo:

Time has run out on the People's Initiative if Ed Ermita is right that January 15 is the drop dead date for a plebiscite to ratify the proposed unicameral Parliament. Given that the Supreme Court has not ruled at this late date, the November 15 deadline for a certification of sufficiency simply cannot be met in time to set up a plebiscite before the 2007 election becomes unstoppable. I think it already is ... and so the Palace's greatest fear, the emergence of a powerful, solidly Oppositionist Senate

not really. As long as the control the House, walang impeachment complaint ang papasa.

from the tribune.

Palace drops Senate, banks on House in ’07 elections

By Sherwin C. Olaes

10/23/2006

Apparently sensing it has been losing support in the Senate, Malacañang has trained its sights on the House of Representatives, admitting empowering the Arroyo administration’s local front to ensure landslide victory either in a regular or parliamentary elections next year....

He added they have no concrete preparations for the 2007 senatorial slate of the administration as their objective is really to empower the local fronts and congressional districts especially when the parliamentary election takes place.

yung pork barrel na nakasiksik sa election budget ng kaalyado ni Arroyo will be a huge factor in the admin efforts to maintain status quo in the House, aside from garciing some local elections here and there.

(yung mga bumoto para patayin ang impeachment have a huge money advantage over the opposition and their challengers.)

UPDATE: DJB has more comments in MLQ3's blog here:

What is the Palace’s worst nightmare? That the Opposition will capture the Senate in the 2007 elections.

Why? Well consider the fact that if GMA had been impeached in 2005 or 2006, the likelihood is that she would have been acquitted on trial in a Senate that is presently in Admnistration hands.

But in 2007, every statistical survey shows the handwriting on the wall: the Senate will be solidly Opposition in 2007, with a strong potential to have 2/3 for conviction if the Palace keeps behaving as it has.

If that happens, the President becomes vulnerable to impeachment in the House, since those who vote for impeachment can have a greater assurance that they won’t be clobbered if she is acquitted in the Senate.

An Upper House that is perceived to be inclined to convict her will make her look like a nail in a hammer factory to the Lower House.

The greater the Opposition victory is in the Senate next year, the greater the chances of a House impeaching her.

You mean marami talagang anti-arroyo sa House, DJB... pero ayaw lang nilang bumoto para sa impeachment dahil natatakot sila na ma-makalusot si Arroyo sa Senate trial (ala Erap style)?

Pero paano na kung nadagdagan nga ang opposition sa senado, pero wala pa ring pagbabago sa composition ng admin-opposition members sa House?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Oh my...

From the Malaya:

FM wealth ends up as milking cow
Projects unrelated to CARP charged to recovered P35B

By PETER J.G. TABINGO

FOR 23 months between February 2004 and December 2005, the P35 billion recovered Marcos Swiss deposits was everyone’s milking cow.

Politicians, media outfits, non-government organizations, officials of national agencies, executives of government-owned and controlled corporations, and private individuals all siphoned off millions that should otherwise have gone exclusively to implementation the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

Where some took efforts to conceal the looting, others simply did their embezzlement with the ease and familiarity of withdrawing cash from an ATM.

There's lots more info in that article. Read the whole thing.

Binay should thank his enemies

Read this from Max Soliven.

You know the administration screwed up when PHILSTAR columinists are criticizing the ARroyo admin for their stupidity.

From Ana Marie Pamintuan:

For once a temporary restraining order is most welcome. Many people — including the fools in the administration, we hope — breathed a sigh of relief after the Court of Appeals issued a TRO suspending for 60 days the 60-day suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay.

The TRO spared Malacañang from what was shaping up to be another embarrassing confrontation with the opposition. If the standoff had lasted longer, the administration might have given opposition forces the unifying martyr that they have lacked since taking on Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last year.

The genius who thought of suspending the head of the United Opposition a few months before the start of the campaign period for the midterm elections (and with Christmas virtually just around the corner!) should be banished pronto from his post by President Arroyo, and without the courtesy of a goodbye.


Sabi ni Cito Beltran:

In a season of Cabinet reshuffles, the people who deserve to be promoted are Executive Secretary Ed Ermita and DILG Secretary Ronnie Puno.

Mayor Jojo Binay should actually kiss the butt of these guys for successfully promoting the great achievements of Binay as Mayor of Makati.

After suspending Binay for 60 days, people in media who are Makati residents started to make comparisons and unanimously began to praise the yellow card, free hospitalization, superb facilities of the Makati Hospital, free movies for senior citizens etc.

Ermita and Puno also deserve praise for succeeding to do what no oppositionist could do in the last six months. The Dual genius actually reunited, resurrected, and revived an almost dead opposition.

Ermita and Puno also succeeded in launching the senatorial slate of the opposition, drawing out Cory Aquino, giving her air time and an opportunity to take a dig at her single biggest regret in politics, launching the political career of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Magagaling talaga ang mga geniuses sa Malacanang at mga arroyo defenders sa blogosphere. They've managed to turn Binay into a hero and a martyr.

Good work boys!

I've always said na if you allow this corrupt admin to survive, gaganti yan sa mga kritiko niyan sooner or later. Let's "move on" na is just a slogan designed by the arroyo supporters to deceive the public into allowing arroyo off the hook, to allow the garci beneficiaries to reconsitute and launch a counter-attack against Arroyo's critics.

In the WOT, that's called a Hudna.

And when Arroyo defenders say they do not reaally realllly like Arroyo, they are actually practicing Taqiyya.

More: I must say though that I admire the administration's bold moves. they were really going for the kill. if they had succeeded in taking out binay, one of the leaders of the opposition, it would been a huge triumph for the admin...

Read this too: Manila's street fighting mayor: a thorn in president's side

by Karl Wilson of the AFP

Malaya Editorial: It's a fight to the Finish

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno are now being demonized for the hasty suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay on flimsy charges of hiring "ghost" employees. The two very well deserve to be pilloried for the clearly politically motivated attempt to put away one of the most consistent critics of their principal. This should not, however, make us lose sight of the fact that it is Gloria Arroyo who is behind the systematic efforts to crush any opposition to her corrupt and illegitimate administration.

In the Binay case, Gloria has been trying hard to keep her hands hidden. The Local Government Code, however, clearly says it is only the President who can suspend officials of chartered cities. She cannot hide behind the signature of Ermita which appears on the suspension order.

Binay, after securing a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals, was realistic enough to recognize that this was just Round 1. Binay wistfully said he hoped there would be no Round 2, but deep in his heart he should know that this is a fight to the finish.

Read this too from Manong Ernie.

And finally, from Lito Banayo:

See what one man’s courage can do? By fighting for his rights under what ought to be the rule of law, and not budging an inch against the onslaught of superior albeit illegitimate force, one man’s courage can infect many.

This is the lesson one gets from the siege of Makati. It is a lesson that the rest of the opposition, and by that I do not mean the trapos hoping to get back to power, or the swift balimbings who want to return to the proper fold. By opposition I mean the decent elements of civil society, the religious sector, the principled men and women of the political opposition, the exploited public servants, both civilian and military, and the masa who see no hope under this wretchedly-run administration. One man’s courage can move mountains.

WORD!

UPDATE: From Conrad de Quiros:

I heard the exchange between Binay and Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno last Tuesday night, during the first day of Binay’s suspension, and nothing could be more damning for government. To say that Binay reduced Puno to fumbling inarticulateness is to say Gonzalez is not always in the full possession of his senses: It is the understatement of the year. After Binay repeatedly challenged Puno to show proof of a ghost employee under his watch, indeed after demanding to know what kind of investigation was conducted for Puno to conclude wrongdoing on Binay’s part, Puno tried to exculpate himself by blaming his bosses for the crime. He wasn’t the one who fired Binay, he said at length, Malacañang did.

This was after one public official after another had been reciting like a mantra that there was nothing “political” about the suspension of Binay. The dismissal of a local official signed by the executive secretary and not by the secretary of the DILG—an astonishing usurpation of authority—is not political? The attempt to dismiss a duly elected official who happens to be a thorn in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s side by GMA herself—by Puno’s own suggestion—is not political?

And this is my favorite, from Neal Cruz:

WHATEVER MALACAÑANG AND ITS LAWYERS and allies say to justify the attempted suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, it will smack of oppression and dirty politics. The suspension of duly elected officials was allowed under our laws to prevent them from tampering with documents and other evidence, such as receipts, while their case is being investigated. Perfectly sensible.

But the charge against Binay is that he has “ghost employees.” It is a simple matter of asking the mayor to produce the workers in the city’s payroll and prove that they are warm bodies and not ghosts. Failing that, then he should be declared guilty. There are no documents or evidence relating to the case that he can tamper with. Therefore, there is no need to suspend him and disrupt the delivery of basic services to the people of Makati. In fact, he can still be prosecuted for having ghost employees even while he remains the mayor of Makati.

Besides, the complainant in the case, perennial losing candidate Bobby Brillante, is not even sure if there are ghost employees and who they are. His complaint only presents the names in the payroll and says that “some of them are ghost employees.” Some of them! A regular court would have thrown the complaint into a waste basket then and there. But Malacañang, without even trying to get the side of Binay, or asking Brillante who these ghost employees were, immediately suspended Binay. That was a denial of due process guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

That’s why Binay went to the Court of Appeals. Who are these ghost employees? Let Brillante identify them. Then, presumably, Binay would present them one by one to the investigating body to prove that they are real people, alive and kicking, and not ghosts. If he fails to produce even one of them, then he will be proven guilty.

But Brillante, until now, has not produced a list of the alleged ghost employees, even though All Saints’ Day is just around the corner. If he is sure of his facts, it is a simple matter of ticking off the names of the ghosts. Why can’t he?

Because the real purpose of Malacañang is not to identify the ghosts and prove corruption but just to suspend Binay and get him out of the Makati City Hall before the election period ban on suspensions kicks in. The start of the ban is only weeks away. That is why Malacañang is in a hurry.

Ang bagong chairman ng NBN 4

ay si former AFP chief General Senga.

Sabi ni Ellen tordesillas:

Wala na bang ibang pwesto na maibigay si Gloria Arroyo kay retired AFP Chief Generoso Senga at ilalagay siya bilang chairman ng National Broadcasting Network?

Sabi nga ni Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, "Bakit hindi ambassador?" Si Vidal Querol, dating National Capital Region commander ng Philippine National Police ay ginawa niyang ambassador sa Indonesia.

Noon, si dating AFP Chief Efren Abu ang sinasabing ipadala sa Indonesia dahil classmate niya and Indonesian President. Baka may ibang pwestong nakalaan kay Abu.

Lahat kasi ng nagre-retire na opisyal ng military at PNP ay binibigyan ni Arroyo ng trabaho dahil malaki ang utang na loob niya sa kanila sa kanyang pananatili sa kapangyarihan kahit siya ay hindi naman hinalal ng sambayanang Pilipino at siya ang pinakakinaiinisang Pangulo sa buong kasaysayan ng Pilipinas.

Sa dami ng mga nagre-retire na opisyal ng military at police na binibigyan ng posisyon sa ibang ahensya ng gobyerno, militarization of the bureaucracy na ang nangyayari.

In a way, these moves tend to strengthen Arroyo's grip on power dahil kontrolado na ng mga loyalist military ni Arroyo ang bawat sulok ng gobierno, and these generals and military people are less likely to switch sides cuz the corrupt GMA and her military cohorts are all in the same boat together.

Quote of the Day

"The high sentiments always win in the end, the leaders who offer blood, toil, tears, and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic." - George Orwell

Trim the fat!

Eto ang sabi ni Dean Bocobo re the budget:

Last week House Speaker Jose de Venecia announced the passage by his chamber of a record 1.125 TRILLION Peso budget. "Intact" is how the President and the House want their pork, please, intoning the hope that the Senate will immediately work on the measure.

Me too!

Pero dapat idaan sa liposuction muna raw ang budget. I agree.

LIPOSUCTION: Regarding the proposed 2007 National Budget, the good Senators ought to put that pig through the wringer and do a VICKY BELO job on an election-season oinker that's just bursting with bacon-and-butter cholesterol. The Senate should do an honest-to-God good job and pass a budget that is lean and mean and truly responsive to the needs of the nation, not the needs of the President alone.

i agree. i think the senate better cut out the fat, dahil yang pork barrel na nakasiksik sa 2007 budget ay yang gagamitin ng mga kaalyado ni Arroyo para ma-maintain ang hawak nila sa kapangyarihan. Dapat i-abolish na ang pork barrel politics para mabawasan ang corruption at ang paggamit ng gov't funds for election and political purposes.

Friday, October 20, 2006

True Ghost Employee is in Malacanang -- Erap

LMAO! How true, how true.

Alan Paguia: Why Ermita’s Binay suspension order is void

Here's the full text:

Why Ermita’s Binay suspension order is void

By Alan F. Paguia

10/20/2006

Executive Secretary Eduar-do Ermita’s preventive sus-pension order against Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, dated Oct. 16, 2006, is illegal and, therefore, void on its face.

Why?

First, under Section 63 (a1) of the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act 7160), preventive suspension may be imposed “by the President,” not “by the Executive Secretary” and not “by the Office of the President.” The law is clear and specific. It confers the authority on the person of “the President.” In other words, the exercise of the authority requires the personal attention of “the President.” The Executive Secretary has no authority under the law to impose preventive suspension or issue the suspension order.

Second, under the Adminis-trative Code of 1987 (Executive Order 292, Book III, Title III, Chapter 9, Section 27, sub-paragraph 2), the Executive Secretary has the duty to “IMPLEMENT presidential directives, orders and decisions.” The law does not authorize him to MAKE or ISSUE “presidential directives, orders and decisions.” He may PROMULGATE and IMPLEMENT, but he cannot MAKE them. May

the President delegate such authority to the Executive Secretary? No. The Executive Secretary cannot substitute his personal discretion over the President’s. To do so would, in effect, make him an “acting President.” Under the Constitution, the Executive Secretary can never become an “acting President.”

Third, the order was signed by General Ermita alone. While it is true the Executive Secretary is authorized by law to sign papers “by authority of the President,” it is equally true such authority is limited to IMPLEMENTING, not MAKING “presidential directives, orders and decisions.” In the case of Mayor Binay, the suspension order was MADE by the Executive Secretary, not by the President. The order does not merely IMPLEMENT. It is the suspension order itself. The order does not even mention any suspension order signed or issued by the President herself. Thus, it seems clear that the Executive Secretary is imposing, albeit without legal authority, the subject preventive suspension.

Fourth, while it is true the Executive Secretary is authorized by the Administrative Code to “decide, for and in behalf of the President, matters not requiring personal presidential attention,” it is equally true the matter of placing a duly elected Metro Manila city mayor plainly requires “personal presidential attention.” Moreso where the controversy involves the possible political destabilization of the country’s premiere financial hub.

Fifth, the Executive Secretary’s order admits Mayor Binay had duly requested a “bill of particulars.” The law provides that - BEFORE responding to the complaint - a party may ask for a definite statement or for a bill of particulars of any matter which is not averred with sufficient definitiveness or particularity to enable him to properly prepare his answer (Rule 12, Section 1, Rules of Court, which applies by parity of reasoning with respect to similar factual situations in administrative or criminal cases). The Executive Secretary completely disregarded the request for a bill of particulars without stating nor claiming there was no need for it. Therefore, there is an implied admission there is valid ground for a bill of particulars. Consequently, Mayor Binay could not possibly “properly prepare his answer or responsive pleading.” It would follow that without being given the opportunity to properly prepare his answer, it was UNFAIR for the Executive Secretary to have concluded the issues have been joined. Under the law, preventive suspension may be imposed only AFTER issues have been joined. In Mayor Binay’s case, there appears no proper joining of issues. Therefore, his constitutional right to due process of law was violated when he was placed under preventive suspension.

Sixth, the Executive Secretary’s ruling to the effect that “the evidence of guilt is strong” is in the nature of a quasi-judicial conclusion. Reason dictates it must state clearly and distinctly the facts and the reasons on which it is based. Instead, the order lamely argues “the documents submitted as annexes to the complaint present strong evidence of guilt that some of the employees may be ‘ghost employees’ from their respective offices, collecting salaries from the city government to the prejudice of the latter.” This is an absurd case of a conclusion being supported by exactly the same conclusion. What is the nature of the documents referred to as strong evidence? The order does not say. Which particular annex is referred to as strong evidence? The order does not say. Why are such annexes considered strong evidence of guilt? The order does not say. Who are the particular ghost employees? The order does not say. How many ghost employees are there? The order does not say. The order seems to expect the reader to accept the conclusion of the Executive Secretary as self-evident truth. Is that fair or legal? No. The law abhors unreasonability. An administrative conclusion which does not state its factual and legal bases is necessarily presumed to be baseless in fact and in law. That conclusion is, therefore, unreasonable.

Is General Ermita trying on Mrs. Gloria Arroyo’s presidential shoes for size? So it seems. But he must remember, those shoes were stolen - not just once before, but twice. And the rightful claimant may reclaim it sooner than later.

Gay Outing

Ayan, the outing campaign on Republicans is well under way. A Republican Senator is outed by a Lefty blogger as a closeted homosexual.

Sabi ni Sully:

The outing crusade gains momentum. Look: I loathe the closet. I despise the hypocrisy in the Republican party. But a witch-hunt is a witch-hunt. If the gay left thinks it will advance gay dignity by using tactics that depend on homophobia to work, that violate privacy, that demonizes gay people, then all I can say is: they are wrong. They will regret it. It will come back to haunt them. And they should cut it out. The fact that their motives might be good is no excuse. Everybody on a witchhunt believes their motives are good. But the toxins such a witchhunt exposes, the cruelty it requires, and the fanaticism of its adherents are always dangerous to civilized discourse. What you're seeing right now is an alliance of the intolerant: the intolerant on the gay left and the intolerant on the religious right. The victims are gay people - flawed, fallible, even pathetic gay people. But they are still people. And they deserve better.


Sabi ni instapundit on the Left's outing campaign vs. closeted GOPers:

Yes, "creepy, gleeful efforts" don't win you many friends or converts. Of course, they're really just meant to demoralize Republican voters and keep them home on election day.

I suspect they'll have the opposite effect. The GOP leadership has managed to alienate much of its base, but this kind of slimy and obviously organized political effort is more likely to encourage GOP voters to ignore the bad stuff and vote Republican as a way of demonstrating their disgust with the creepiness.


Sabi ni Jonah Goldberg: "The sort of scorched earth attack liberals have mounted in the wake of Foley is creating precedents I guarantee will haunt them in unexpected ways in years to come."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mayor Binay links

Jejomar Binay's website

Makati City Portal (I guess this is makati city hall's website)

Mayor binay's blog
(not much content)

Contact information

And a forum on Makati issues, news and events planned. (you can leave your messages of support here)

The Administration must be reading Max Soliven

Max Soliven, who has the ear of Malacanang, writes:

If the DILG and the GMA Government don’t really have the goods on Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay – who "refuses" to be suspended – they’d better "whisper" to the Court of Appeals that it quickly resolve the issue and get Makati City defrosted from its present paralysis. Courts, alas, are like leviathans that move in slow motion and there are many "lawyer’s tricks" to delay or derail cases. Every abogado de campanilla has a lot of Whereas and Wherefores tucked in his or her old kit bag.

With Jojo Binay defiantly barricaded in his New City Hall, and newly-imposed "caretaker" OIC Rodolfo Feraren trying to get the business of Makati going again in his bunker in the Old City Hall, nothing can move in Makati. Like our traffic jams, Makati is gridlocked.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronnie Puno, no Shining Knight himself, must have convinced La Presidenta that Binay must be punished for his transgressions (the biggest transgression being that he opposes the President). This, from what I’ve been hearing, is the public perception.

Sure, Binay’s rusty armor – after 20 years of his lording it over Makati – may not be shiny either, but will Puno’s "man" Feraren be better? I don’t mean to scoff at him, or insult him, but the fact is that nobody I know, myself, included, ever heard of him. Yet, he’s being tasked to run one of the country’s richest and most pivotal cities – the virtual Financial Heart of the Philippines.

My unsolicited advice is that our government resolve the Makati Mess pronto – sooner rather than later. The spectacle of Jojo B. holed up in his mini-fortress, and an alternative City Hall attempting to conduct business – a difficult if not impossible proposition since almost every Makati employee and bureaucrat was appointed by Jojo Binay during his two decades of hegemony – demonstrates our political instability to the rest of the world.

And Voila, kumilos kaagad ang court of appeals.

So one of the leaders of the Opposition is currently under siege...

But wouldn’t it be better if the military and police withdraws it’s support from the fake president instead, and immediately surround Malacanang to force Arroyo’s eviction?

Finally do to arroyo what this admin is currently doing to binay. lol.

and if there’s a suspension on a group of people that needed to be made, it’s the people at COMELEC.

the COMELEC people who helped rig the elections, and more importantly, the COMELEC people who helped coverup and lie to protect the guilty parties (katulad ng mga republicans party officials na tumulong sa coverup ng mark foley scandal).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How we were misled--not once, but twice--on the two deadliest terror attacks on RP soil

People who remember the Rizal Day bombing were misled into thinking na ang erap administration ang mastermind dito. The anti-eraps blamed erap to put more pressure on erap, and it helped led to his downfall.

Well, it turns out later yung JI at si al ghozi pala ang nagpasabog ng bomba sa LRT.

And then, there's this one:

It was the deadliest terrorist attack on the Philippines since the December 30, 2000 Rizal Day Bombing of the LRT, (which a lot of people, especially in the Civil Society Media actually blamed on Erap and Ping.) But read how the Superferry 14 Bombing on Feb. 26, 2004, which took 116 lives, was blamed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on "pranksters."

Alam ng admin na gawa ito ng abu sayyaf, but chose to lie about the true nature of the attacks dahil natatakot si arroyo ibibintang ng mga tao ang terror attack na ito dahil sa pagsali ni Arroyo sa "coalition of the willing" sa iraq, and it will hurt her candidacy.

(And she may be right, since a few weeks later, spain's PM aznar lost because of the terror attack in madrid right before the elections. many spaniards felt that aznar misled the public about who was responsible for the attack. Hindi pala taga ETA, and the voters guessed that aznar was afraid to tell the truth--because if the voters think it was from al queda, then they'll blame aznar for dragging spain into the iraq war and becoming a target of al queda, and vote for zapatero instead. i guess he was right.)

And since there were no WMDs found and iraq is getting more violent during 2003-2004, she couldn't wait to get out of iraq ASAP, once she "won" her election. And that hostage situation and our eventual surrender to the terrorists plus withdrawal made it all clear to the bush admin na ginamit lang ni Arroyo ang US, and GMA has no more use for them and iraq (until sumabog ulit ang legitimacy crisis ni arroyo noong mid 2005)

Amazingly, the Philippine government did not even announce what it already knew about the Superferry 14 bombing until October 2004, after the elections had been safely GARCIED....

The President's managing of that deadliest terrorist attack on the Philippines by denying it's true terrorist nature reveals what a heartless political animal she truly is. Since the Palace was enmeshed in that entirely shameful controversy over FPJ's citizenship and the orchestrating of a series of public opinion polls in preparation for Garci's prestidigitation, and with the election campaign having just gotten underway, GMA was not to be bothered by a bunch of drowned and bombed Filipinos in the cruel seas near Bataan and Corregidor. Better to just attribute it to pranksters, even if there was a clear claim by the Abu Sayyaf, just a day after the bombing that they had done it!


More comments from American Painter. tignan nyo yung treatment ng superferry attack ng philstar.

I recall however, that on the day that the Philippine Star’s front page headline screamed about 50+ people being killed in the London bombing, there was a story on page four about a Ferry being bombed with the loss of 100+ Filipino lives. ON PAGE FOUR! Go figure..........

More comments from DJB:

AP: Oh my God! Please, please don't get me going on Super Ferry 14. That happened just two weeks before Madrid's 3/11, in late February 2004. 116 innocent men, women and childred died, and hundreds more missing never really accounted for.

But even SunStar media claimed the Palace squelched the CLAIMS of ABU SAYYAF that they had bombed that boat and massacred those poor innocent people. Because you know what was going on that very month of February, 2004? The 2004 election campaign had just begun. It was not until October that the President, safely esconced in Malacanang Palace triumphantly announced that they had solved the Super Ferry Bombing: that yup, the Abu Sayyaf did it.

Sir! please have mercy on me and do not write to me again about giving GMA the benefit of the doubt. You remind me of the lives that have been lost to her ambition and her treacherous and selfish cowardice, the deadly consequences of which will yet be visited on us by the Big Lies that so many good people, like you, believe.

And this one too:

2004 FEBRUARY 27 is a date that will live in infamy. It was our September 11, being the worst terrorist incident here.

But candidate Arroyo successfully turned it into just another sea mishap that we are famous for, having no faith whatsoever in the Filipino people's willingness to rally behind their leader, any leader that will defend them with honor and dedication and the selflessness that their ancestors always displayed.

it's obvious na pinu politika lang ni arroyo ang mga terrorist attacks na ito since 12/30.

Trying to intimidate a blogger

This generally backfires.

Poll: Who's your choice for Manila Mayor in 2007?

Please participate in this poll: Who's your choice for Manila mayor in 07?

Interesting tidbit on Binay

Finalist pala siya sa World Mayor 2006. From Willy Prilles:

3. While googling for figures on Makati's income, I found out from this site that Mayor Binay is actually a finalist for the 2006 World Mayor award, one of the 12 from Asia (together with Angeles City's Carmelo Lazatin) and 50 worldwide. If last year's procedure still holds, internet voting for the second round ends this month.

Which gives me a wild thought: Why don't we vote for Binay to become the 2006 World Mayor if only to dramatize our disgust over this recent development?

Good idea, Willy. You can vote for Binay here.

take note, if you're gonna vote for him, you have to provide a short comment on why he deserves to win:

Please also comment on why the mayor(s) you voted for deserve to win the World Mayor 2006 Award.

The choice of the winner will be based on the number of votes mayors receive and the persuasiveness and passion of supporting comments. The organisers believe that the strength of argument is as important as the number of votes. This ensures that a ‘good’ mayor from a smaller city can compete on equal terms with a mayor from a large metropolis.

I would have expected the opposite but...

this was a surprise. I thought na there would less opposition from the people on the junking of the impeach complaint this year comapared to last years.

Pero baliktad ang nangyari. From Ellen Tordesillas:

The latest survey of the Social Weather Stations showed that more Filipinos disagree (45 percent) than agree (30 percent) with the decision of the House of Representatives last Aug. 24 to junk the second impeachment case filed against Gloria Arroyo.

Forty-five percent is a substantial number. It’s almost 50 percent or half of the Filipino people.

The latest poll, Sept. 24 to Oct. 2, 2006, shows greater opposition to the House’s decision compared to last year when Filipinos were split (37 percent disagreed and 36 percent agreed) on the dismissal of the first impeachment case against the President on Sept. 7, 2005.

This also belies the excuse given by a number of the 27 congressmen who turned around (from voting “no” to dismissal last year to voting “yes” or simply absented themselves this year) that it was pressure from their constituents that they did not support the impeachment complaint. Well, the survey shows the people wanted Gloria Arroyo tried for cheating in the 2004 election and for betraying the trust of the people with her misuse and abuse of the power of the presidency.

Roll out the Pork Barrel for 2007

From Lito Banayo.

Joey Salceda cannot lie. Good for him. He admits that the House-approved version of the Dona’s budget provides an increase in the pork barrel allocations of each of them from P40 million to P70 million. And so everybody is happy, following the avowed dictum of their Speaker Joe, the "win-win" principle, with each senator allocated P200 million, up from the previous P120 million.

There’s no economic crisis, folks. Those who have to make do with P36 pesos a day or P13,140 pesos each year, can heave a sigh of relief. Swerte nyo, baka ambunan kayo ni congressman sa kanyang pork barrel. Those whose businesses are closing down, unable to keep up with high costs while facing market contraction because their market niche does not cater to the rich and powerful, try to smile. Congress has officially declared it, along with the Doña’s crew: The crisis is over.

But I like Salceda. He is candid and truthful. He also says that even while we were in "official" crisis, many congressmen actually got the same P70 million. Malacañang just gave them an additional P30 million, and perhaps delayed the release of the P40 million due to the opposition who signed the impeachment raps. Now you and I know who got the additional P30 million, perhaps more. Depends on how they defended the Doña during her political crisis. Because in truth, the Dona has the biggest pork barrel.


The focus shifts to the Senate come November when they tackle the budget. Will they join the pork barrel polka and accept P200 million apiece, minus the walang pakisamang Ping Lacson? How do billionaires like Manny Villar, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jamby Madrigal, Mar Roxas, and multi-millionaires like Ed Angara, the Estradas, Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid, Jun Magsaysay, Dick Gordon, Joker Arroyo and others whose manifest wealth I cannot deduce, go about using these funds?

How can good governance ever be good when you have to spend P21 billion pesos on the basis of the personal discretion of 256 legislators? Why should mega-rich districts get the same as the dirt-poor districts of the ten poorest provinces in the country? Why should good streets in Metro Manila be torn apart so they can be "re-done" because their congressman needs to spend his pork barrel? While in Igbaras town in Iloilo, 22 people were swept away to their untimely death because a river had no bridge?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Opposition mayor Binay Suspended by DILG

(UPDATED and bumped up)

Background From the Malaya Editorial:

Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay has been accused by perennial mayoral loser Bobby Brillante of hiring ghost employees. Binay understandably wants to know what the charges are all about. He is asking for a "bill of particulars" so he can prepare his defense to the charges.

The interior department has not deigned to answer Binay. Yesterday Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita confirmed that Binay is under investigation by the DILG. Ermita, however, also could not say what the charge is against Binay.

Perhaps the Binay case has not reached the table of Ermita, thus, the latter’s claimed ignorance about the charges.

Binay, however, recalls that the Brillante complaint has been forwarded by the DILG to the Palace, the latter being the body authorized by the Local Government Code to administratively suspend city mayors.

Binay said Malacañang asked him on Sept. 1 to reply to the complaint. Binay said he has submitted documentary proof of the employment details of those mentioned in Brillante’s complaint.

In the meantime, Binay fears that his suspension is just around the corner. So he has gone to the Court of Appeals to seek a temporary restraining order against any planned suspension order.

Binay may be showing signs of paranoia. The pattern of harassment of opposition local officials, however, cannot be ignored.

Paranoia? Not anymore.

From Ellen Tordesillas.

Amidst tension in Makati, Local Government Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar served the suspension order on Makati Mayor Binay, his vice mayor and all the 16 councilors at about 6 a.m.

They have designated Rodolfo Ferraren, official of the national capital region, as officer-in-charge.

Binay refused to personally receive the suspension order. Andanar merely pasted it in front of the City Hall.

Binay’s suspension, which stemmed from allegations filed by Vice Mayor Roberto Brillantes that he employed ghost employees, comes after the suspension of Pasay Mayor Peewee Trinidad and his vice mayor. Both Binay and Trinidad are with the opposition.

Binay, who is in military fatigues, said they have filed a petition before the Court of Appeals. He further said he will not vacate the Makati City Hall.

Makati City Hall was surrounded by Philippine National Police. A text from a Binay supporter said,”We protest the Gestapo style of serving suspension of Binay. All opposition mayors will be removed. Stand before Ninoy statue and know that you are not alone. May God help us.”

MLQ3 comments:

Like a train wreck in slow motion, it finally happened: the entire Makati City government has fallen, a regime change on a scale not seen since the aftermath of the 1986 Edsa Revolution, when local officials were dismissed wholesale. There was certainly plenty of time to prepare the public for what was going to happen. The timing is perfect, beating the prohibition on suspensions that takes effect 90 days before the start of the campaign period (in January). Philippine Commentary says this is all a Ronnie Puno power play.

From DJ Bocobo: "President Cory Aquino has expressed her support for Jojo Binay, vouching for his integrity."

Anyway, there is an interesting article from the Phil. Star (will not be confused as an anti GMA newspaper) back in July 2005.

GMA ALLIES LAUNCH 'OPLAN SAVE THE QUEEN' COUNTER-PROPAGANDA

MANILA, July 13, 2005 (STAR) By Perseus Echeminada - A plan to counter and neutralize the negative reports and publicity swirling around the Arroyo presidency is reportedly being launched by the President’s allies, a source close to Malacañang told The STAR yesterday.

Dubbed "Operation Plan Save the Queen," the strategy includes mobilizing pro-Arroyo supporters for rallies in support of the beleaguered Chief Executive and conducting a massive information campaign on the "real issues" affecting the country.

"Our first priority is to save the Queen," the source said, referring to Mrs. Arroyo, though he refused to give further details.

But another political officer disclosed that one million pro-Arroyo supporters will converge at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila as a counter-display of force to the rallies organized by the opposition and other anti-Arroyo groups, especially the mammoth rally scheduled in Makati City this week.

Oplan Save the Queen was launched just as the Campaign for Public Accountability (CPA), a multicultural group, filed an urgent motion before the Ombudsman to resolve the multimillion-peso graft charges filed against Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, the chairman of the United Opposition seeking the ouster of the President.

In its motion, the CPA, headed by Bobby Brillantes, was seeking the immediate resolution of the P662-million graft and plunder cases filed against Binay. The cases were based on Commission on Audit (COA) reports dated April 19, 2002 and Sept. 24, 2004.

Francis Reyes, CPA spokesman, however, denied that the filing of the urgent motion was linked with Oplan Save the Queen. He said it’s just a coincidence that they are seeking resolution of the graft cases at the same time Oplan Save the Queen was being hatched.

"We are a neutral group, we are not part of the Oplan Save the Queen," Reyes emphasized, adding that their group is just carrying out its mission to help the government fight graft and corruption.

Pro-administration politicians also began their own exposé on the alleged irregularities committed by personalities identified with groups calling for the President’s resignation.

The STAR source said it is ironic that while some of the opposition leaders are crying for the ouster of Mrs. Arroyo, they themselves were also involved in irregular transactions, both in their public and private lives.

"We want to expose their true motives in seeking the ouster of the President," the source said.

They've begun their "exposes" last year to counter the GLORIAGATE legitimacy scandal, and now that the elections are near, the timing for bringing this up again could not have been more perfect. isi-isa na nilang tinutuloyan ang opposition.

And "neutral group" my ass!

Order for Binay's suspension served

From Ellen Tordesillas.

Amidst tension in Makati, Local Government Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar served the suspension order on Makati Mayor Binay, his vice mayor and all the 16 councilors at about 6 a.m.

They have designated Rodolfo Ferraren, official of the national capital region, as officer-in-charge.

Binay refused to personally receive the suspension order. Andanar merely pasted it in front of the City Hall.

Binay’s suspension, which stemmed from allegations filed by Vice Mayor Roberto Brillantes that he employed ghost employees, comes after the suspension of Pasay Mayor Peewee Trinidad and his vice mayor. Both Binay and Trinidad are with the opposition.

Binay, who is in military fatigues, said they have filed a petition before the Court of Appeals. He further said he will not vacate the Makati City Hall.

Makati City Hall was surrounded by Philippine National Police. A text from a Binay supporter said,”We protest the Gestapo style of serving suspension of Binay. All opposition mayors will be removed. Stand before Ninoy statue and know that you are not alone. May God help us.”

MLQ3 comments:

Like a train wreck in slow motion, it finally happened: the entire Makati City government has fallen, a regime change on a scale not seen since the aftermath of the 1986 Edsa Revolution, when local officials were dismissed wholesale. There was certainly plenty of time to prepare the public for what was going to happen. The timing is perfect, beating the prohibition on suspensions that takes effect 90 days before the start of the campaign period (in January). Philippine Commentary says this is all a Ronnie Puno power play.

From DJ Bocobo: "President Cory Aquino has expressed her support for Jojo Binay, vouching for his integrity."

Anyway, there is an interesting article from the Phil. Star (will not be confused as an anti GMA newspaper) back in July 2005.

GMA ALLIES LAUNCH 'OPLAN SAVE THE QUEEN' COUNTER-PROPAGANDA

MANILA, July 13, 2005 (STAR) By Perseus Echeminada - A plan to counter and neutralize the negative reports and publicity swirling around the Arroyo presidency is reportedly being launched by the President’s allies, a source close to Malacañang told The STAR yesterday.

Dubbed "Operation Plan Save the Queen," the strategy includes mobilizing pro-Arroyo supporters for rallies in support of the beleaguered Chief Executive and conducting a massive information campaign on the "real issues" affecting the country.

"Our first priority is to save the Queen," the source said, referring to Mrs. Arroyo, though he refused to give further details.

But another political officer disclosed that one million pro-Arroyo supporters will converge at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila as a counter-display of force to the rallies organized by the opposition and other anti-Arroyo groups, especially the mammoth rally scheduled in Makati City this week.

Oplan Save the Queen was launched just as the Campaign for Public Accountability (CPA), a multicultural group, filed an urgent motion before the Ombudsman to resolve the multimillion-peso graft charges filed against Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, the chairman of the United Opposition seeking the ouster of the President.

In its motion, the CPA, headed by Bobby Brillantes, was seeking the immediate resolution of the P662-million graft and plunder cases filed against Binay. The cases were based on Commission on Audit (COA) reports dated April 19, 2002 and Sept. 24, 2004.

Francis Reyes, CPA spokesman, however, denied that the filing of the urgent motion was linked with Oplan Save the Queen. He said it’s just a coincidence that they are seeking resolution of the graft cases at the same time Oplan Save the Queen was being hatched.

"We are a neutral group, we are not part of the Oplan Save the Queen," Reyes emphasized, adding that their group is just carrying out its mission to help the government fight graft and corruption.

Pro-administration politicians also began their own exposé on the alleged irregularities committed by personalities identified with groups calling for the President’s resignation.

The STAR source said it is ironic that while some of the opposition leaders are crying for the ouster of Mrs. Arroyo, they themselves were also involved in irregular transactions, both in their public and private lives.

"We want to expose their true motives in seeking the ouster of the President," the source said.

They've begun their "exposes" last year to counter the GLORIAGATE legitimacy scandal, and now that the elections are near, the timing for bringing this up again could not have been more perfect. isi-isa na nilang tinutuloyan ang opposition.

MORE Thoughts on the suspension: Wawa naman si binay. First, Binay’s aide pablito glean got killed by an assassin’s bullet.

Now this.

ini-isa isa ng administration ang mga opposition… ng ombudsman. lol. pero sila nani perez, mike arroyo at joc joc bolante, ayaw pakialaman ni mercy gutz.

Solon raps Ombudsman on GMA’s big fish getaway

By Dona Policar and Sherwin C. Olaes

10/13/2006

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who is still reeling from strident public criticism over her absolution from any criminal liability of Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials, led by their chief, Benjamin Abalos Sr., was yesterday again rapped by opposition congressmen for her office’s continued inaction on the $2-billion extortion case, related to a bribe offer from an Argentine independent power producer, Impsa, filed against then Justice Secretary Hernando Perez by a Manila congressman.

House Minority Leader Francis Escudero brought this issue up during yesterday’s budget hearing delving into the Ombudsman’s budget for 2007.

At the same time, the congressman lashed at the Office of the Ombudsman for employing double standards in pursuing graft and administrative cases against government officials, especially when the official is not an administration ally.

The Ombudsman was also given more dressing down by the minority leader for not doing her job — fighting corruption — pointing to the cases where her office failed to act on various issues, particularly the multimillion fertilizer scam, and for coming up with an incredible resolution absolving from any criminal, administrative and civil liability all officials of the Comelec and the Mega Pacific consortium on the controversial poll automation project.

During the deliberations, Escudero said Perez’s case had been filed a long time ago and continues to remain pending before the Office of the Ombudsman, but to this day, there has been no resolution issued.

There are many people like Capalla and Bong Austero who say, "let's move on" na. But if you settle on that kind of mentality, especially against this corrupt and amoral administration, you allow them to recover and survive. And one of these days, iisa isahin ka ng administration (but maybe not you Bong), until all anti-Arroyo people are either dead, in jail, cowed or bought off.

Another thought: I guess pidal’s boy mr. lito lapid don't have to run for mayor in makati anymore huh? because the heavy political lifting has already been done by the ombudsman and the DILG to remove binay from his office and inflict severe damage on him politically.

UDPATE: More from Dean Bocobo:

14:20 Excellent comments from House Minority Leader Francis "Chiz" Escudero: (1) Unlike all the other Mayors that have recently been suspended by the DILG, who were suspended by orders from the Sandiganbayan or Ombudsman's office, the order of preventive suspension against Mayor Jojo Binay came directly from the Office of the President; (2) Unlike all those other Mayors, Binay will apparently be replaced by a non-elected person who doesn't even live in the City of Makati, NCR Regional Director Rodolfo Ferraren. The latter tried to call a meeting of Department Heads to get the business of the country's premiere business district going. But no one showed up. (3) The preventive suspension may actually be illegal and irregular since "the issues have not been joined" since the suspension order does not identify WHO the alleged ghost employees are, and merely lists 600 names with the allegation that "some of these" are ghost employees.

UPDATE: I expect the DILG to want to give the appearance of evenhandedness by nailing an expendable pro-administration mayor next. But taking down the opposition leader binay was the big prize.

From the Tribune Editorial:

The elite in Makati may not be enamored with Binay, but there is grave doubt that they would want him replaced this way, and by a no brainer such as Lito Lapid, who is not even from Makati. And to think that Binay is being ordered suspended by Gloria on the strength of an ex-councilor (who can’t even legitimately win a seat) Bobby Brilliantes’ complaint of ghost employees who have not even been identified!

In other words, on the basis of a complaint by Brilliantes charging Binay with having hired ghost employees, he promptly gets suspended, and in the meantime, the administration goes into an investigation to the charges.

If such is the manner by which a duly elected mayor gets suspended, then anyone can file any trumped-up charge against him and expect him to be suspended. Is this what is called probable cause, or is it all a matter of a prostituted cause that Gloria again wants to force through?

And Bobby Brillantes has been at it against Binay since the late eighties pa! LMAO!

From Ernesto Maceda:

The Malacañang/DILG investigation centers on former Councilor Bobby Brillante’s charge that Binay, Mercado and the city councilors hired ghost employees. The theory here is that the local officials pocketed the salary of the ghost employees on the payroll which amounts to a measly sum.

Considering that Brillante has accused Binay and the councilors with overpricing purchases in the hundreds of millions, it doesn’t make sense to go into a ghost employee scam involving only thousands of pesos which is easily detectable.

Besides, Brillantes has not identified the alleged ghost employees. Just like the “aswang” in Guimaras, this is a ghostly, if not ghastly, suspension.

Thirteen out of 17 Metro Manila mayors have pending cases before the Ombudsman but only those against opposition Mayors Peewee Trinidad and Jojo Binay are being taken up. Now the Commission on Audit (CoA) is reviewing all the contracts signed by San Juan Mayor J.V. Ejercito. Manila Vice Mayor Danilo Lacuna, another opposition leader, revealed that he is also under investigation.

None of administration mayors’ cases has been pursued, including Caloocan City Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri who has 16 pending cases.

If people get the impression na ang mga oposisyon lang ang tinatarget, you cannot fault them for that..

Like i said before, many of the anti-GMA people who listened to the calls of Bong Austero and Capalla to "move on" na lang have been duped. they said na if we just "shut up" about arroyo and politics, this country will be able to move forward na.

Well, it didn't happen. but it allowed this administration, who has been on the ropes and on the defensive since the legitimacy crisis came out, a chance to recover and reconstitute it's defenses.

now, they are back on their usual attack mode, a familiar mode since 2001-2004 nung siniraan ng admin sila ping (via corpus, rosebud, blanquita), FPJ (manapat's forged documents), and roco (deped scandal smear).

(The latest targets are Ellen Tordesillas and Jejomar Binay.)

you may be tired of politics, bong. but the arroyo admin and politics are not tired of you. (ay, nakalimutan ko pala, maka-arroyo ka, so you don't count. kami lang ang nasa delikadong posisyon)

This is interesting:

The Manila mayor is said to have 80 cases pending in the various courts including the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan, and three of the cases are for implementation and over three years old now. Yet, he has not been put under preventive suspension until now. Caloocan Mayor Enrico Echiverri is reputed to have the most number of cases and, like Gov. Ayong Malicsi of Cavite who also had a number of cases, was scheduled to be suspended until they swore in to Glue’s party. Lito Lapid has a string of cases but being with Glue’s party has spared him any problems. Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay was not even given the five days due to appeal.

UPDATE: Read this too.

JB Baylon: "Jejomar Binay now feels the wrath of a woman scorned. A critic of Fidel Ramos when Ramos was in office, Binay was never treated the way he is being treated now under the administration of a president he would love to see ousted and who just as equally would love to see him ousted in turn.

I have said it once, I will say it again: this government has demonstrated a remarkable capacity for throwing the book at political opponents and the small fry, while protecting their loyal followers and key allies. Whether it is the Secretary of Justice or the Ombudsman, the PNP or the NBI – the wheels of justice turn only a certain way, while the eyes of Justice turn away!"

The PDI Editorial: Putsch in Makati

UPDATE: Para fair and balanced, here's what the other side is saying. Read the comments section too, where many arroyo defenders and pro-arroyo's congregate.

Two words pop out of my mind: breathtaking hypocrisy