Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year tips para sa mga magpapaputok

1) Please don't use any more "Whistle bombs". Para kasing mga guided missiles sila eh. they don't stay stationary in one place.

2) Wear glasses or goggles to protect your eyes when using fireworks, just in case matamaan sila ng sparks.

3) Kapag nagpapaputok kayo sa top floor ng building nyo, please don't throw your lit triangulos or bawangs sa kalsada, kasi baka may matamaan kayong pedestrian.

that's it. happy new year, suckas!!!

How convenient...

According to Arroyo's CON COM, we should scrap the 2007 elections na lang raw kasi "we don't have the necessary institutions" to conduct clean elections:

In a full-page newspaper ad, the Con-com headed by Dr. Jose Abueva admits that they “have proposed no elections in 2007” because “the necessary institutions for credible elections might not be in place by then.”

This is the loudest admission that the current Comelec cannot be trusted anymore to hold credible elections. Earlier, Sen. Joker Arroyo said the same thing. Chairman Benjamin Abalos, isn’t it time for you to throw in the towel, get your substantial pension and enjoy playing golf at Wack Wack year round?

If we can't hold any credible elections in 2007 because the Arroyo's COMELEC is corrupt and partisan, THEN HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU EXPECT THIS ADMINISTRATION AND IT'S COMELEC TO CONDUCT A CREDIBLE REFERENDUM ON CHARTER CHANGE????

Since changing the constitution (to give her more powers) is vital to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's survival, she'll do anything to make sure this gets passed -- by hook or by crook.

Kung pwede ang dagdag-bawas sa presidential elections, mas lalong pwede ring yan sa cha cha referendum.

Friday, December 30, 2005

More on those Pro-Arroyo Censorship advocates

We were talking about the attempts by this admin to curtail our free speech rights and this is what Lucy has to say sa blog ni Ellen Tordesillas:

Araw-araw ko sinisilip ang column mo, at wala na kayong ginawa kundi bumatikos, di ko na lang matiis kasi naisip ko na parang bago lang kayo sa Pilipinas.Noong panahon ni Marcos,nasasabi nyo rin ba yan? Hindi di ba? kasi takot kayo na baka sa kulungan kayo pulutin?
Naisip ko nga na mabuti pa siguro “semi china” na lang tayo,
kasi sa sobrang kalayaan ay lahat na magaling at matalino.
Wala ng ayaw magpakumbaba….

Well, when you compare Arroyo to Marcos on issues of free speech and free assembly rights, then of course Marcos comes out looking worse than GMA. (but not that worse with the way GMA is acting lately. The gap is getting closer between her and Marcos.)

But I think it is safe to say that Erap, Ramos and Cory were more respectful of free speech and free assembly rights that the current administration we have now. Ramos was able to do well without curtailing our freedoms. Erap allowed anti-administration rallies without resorting to the unconstitutional "No permit, no rally" and CPR nonsense. It led to his overthrow of course. And who led the overthrow? The very same people who now want to limit our free speech rights and take away our right to free assembly.

I guess what Lucy is really saying is that magpasalamat na tayo kay GMA, dahil kung Marcos yan, baka pinatay na tayo o kinulong sa bilangguan.

At least kay GMA, kinikidnap lang naman o binibili ang mga witnesses at whistleblowers, o sino-"soft touch" ang mga kamag-anak nila.

It's like saying dapat magpasalamat yung Pinay victim dahil ni-rape lang siya at hindi siya pinatay ng US soldiers.

Or dapat magpasalamat tayo kay Arroyo at "partly free" lang tayo (according to Freedom House), instead of likely getting a "not free" verdict during Marcos' time.

Why Garci and Joc joc Bolante are "untouchable"

A comment from Tomas Tinio from Ellen's blog:

Sabi ni Lucy: “Wala ng [sic] ayaw magpakumbaba” Ang iyong pangulong GMA ang dapat magpasimuno nang pagpapakumbaba dahil siya ang pinakamataas na lider ng bansa. Sa obserbasyon ko lang, si GMA ay both “corrupt” at “corrupting.” Marami na ang nagkakalakas-loob na gumawa ng kasamaan kasi puede naman palang makalusot. Halimbawa: Garci, Bolante, at higit sa lahat, GMA.

I agree Tinio.

The reason why arrogant crooks like Bolante and Garci are able to flaunt the law with impunity is because GMA, the biggest crook out ther, is still free to give her acolytes (like jocjoc and garci) some gov't protection and cover to escape punishment.

UPDATE: Another Arroyo untouchable is former National Archives director Ricardo Manapat (where is he now, btw?), who forged the birth certificate and other documents of 2004 Presidential election frontrunner FPJ in order to disqualify Poe from the race.


To all the anti-Arroyo bloggers out there, beware. As you all know, ever since pumutok ang GLORIAGATE, the pro-Arroyo internet brigade is out in full force, trying to spin the negative news against their boss's illegitimacy problems.

The usual tactic of course is to harass bloggers and spam their sites.

Another more clever tactic though is one that was used by the artist Moby.

It’s called “Mobyism”. It’s a tactic to demoralize the other side by pretending to be a “disgruntled” or a “disappointed” anti-Arroyo person. they visit anti-arroyo blogs and other sites to try to plant the seeds of doubt among those who are against arroyo.

Ellen Tordesillas' blog was a recent victim of this tactic.:

Ellen at mga kasamang walang humpay na sumusubaybay sa column mo…

Wala ng bago sa mga pinagsasabi nyo…Araw araw na lang yata ay puro “KASINUNGALINGAN, PANDARAYA,MAGNANAKAW, at lahat ng masasamang katawagan sa tao.Baguhin mo naman ellen ang yong style, nawawala na ang pagka professional mo, sayang magaling ka pa naman.At ang mga tagasubaybay mo naman ay nakikisakay na lang…

Di ako tuta o aso ng singaling at mandarayang GLORIA na sinasabi n`yo, pero ang masasabi ko lang ay pag-ukulan n`yo naman ng pansin ay ang magagandang bagay na kakaharapin ng pilipinas di ang kabaliktaran nito…

Araw-araw ko sinisilip ang column mo, at wala na kayong ginawa kundi bumatikos, di ko na lang matiis kasi naisip ko na parang bago lang kayo sa Pilipinas.Noong panahon ni Marcos,nasasabi nyo rin ba yan? Hindi di ba? kasi takot kayo na baka sa kulungan kayo pulutin?

Naisip ko nga na mabuti pa siguro “semi china” na lang tayo,
kasi sa sobrang kalayaan ay lahat na magaling at matalino.
Wala ng ayaw magpakumbaba….

Yon lang at sana`y sa sususnod na taon ay iba naman ang topic nyo….

"Lucy" claimed she's not pro-Arroyo, and she reads ellen's blog everyday raw, but her nasty post attacking Ellen and parroting the Arroyo line betrays her true intentions.

I think Ellen was Moby'ed.

Here's an article on "Mobyism" from the NY Daily News:

One of Sen. John Kerry's celebrity supporters is ready to pull out all the stops to get him elected. Republicans are shrieking over a suggestion by rocker Moby that Democrats spread gossip about President Bush on the Internet.
"No one's talking about how to keep the other side home on Election Day," Moby tells us. "It's a lot easier than you think and it doesn't cost that much. This election can be won by 200,000 votes."

Moby suggests that it's possible to seed doubt among Bush's far-right supporters on the Web.

"You target his natural constituencies," says the Grammy-nominated techno-wizard. "For example, you can go on all the pro-life chat rooms and say you're an outraged right-wing voter and that you know that George Bush drove an ex-girlfriend to an abortion clinic and paid for her to get an abortion.

"Then you go to an anti-immigration Web site chat room and ask, 'What's all this about George Bush proposing amnesty for illegal aliens?'"

More on "Mobyism" here.

I'm sure this reader is right. And many other emailers have also told me to beware any email which begins "As a lifelong Republican...." But I would add that I doubt it's just letter's to the editor and emails to bloggers. I'm sure C-Span callers and others have played this game too, on both sides of the aisle. What's different is that people are publicly advocating it, saying lying is a good thing. The Clintonian rot sinks ever deeper. Anyway, the letter:

I am not surprised by the actions of Moby and others of the liberal/leftist persuasion. I wouldn't expect less of them. But did you ever consider that maybe their tactics are also aimed at the various "letters to the editors" pages of the daily newspapers? and not just to the blogosphere?

More and more I am reading such letters that begin with something like "I am a life-long Republican" or "I voted for Bush in the last election" that then go on to list the litany of sins perpetrated by the current administration.

Letters such as these may well influence the non-blogosphere since their carry the cachet of the daily snoozepaper. I've noticed that these letters don't have the same amount of vitriol that a liberal/leftist writer would use, but they have got me thinking.

I don't agree with everything going on the Bush administration, but I sure wouldn't write a letter complaining about it to the local news.

Read this too.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Free speech will not be as free anymore under proposed Arroyo Constitution

Napaka accurate naman ng assessment ng Freedom House. Right on the money.

From the Tribune editorial:

Gloria Arroyo had no hand in the drafting of the Charter changes proposal by her hand-picked Consultative Commission (Con-com), so the commissioners, led by Jose Abueva, claimed.

But the hand of Gloria in that proposed Con-com Charter certainly shows, not only in the suspension of the 2007 elections with no term cut for Gloria, but also in the big changes found in their Bill of Rights.

The sneaky Abueva-led Con-com, no doubt dictated upon by Gloria, went to the extent of limiting the freedoms the press and the Filipino citizens enjoy.

There is no doubting that this proviso clearly limiting the freedom of speech, of the press, of the right of a people to peaceably assemble and of petitioning the government for redress of grievances, shows the strokes of Gloria and her fascist aides in Malacañang, including a former newsman, Rigorberto Tiglao, who almost everyone knows, was in constant consultations with Abueva, who does Gloria’s bidding.

Just how did Gloria and her Con-com limit our freedoms?

Simple. They added the word “responsible” to modify the freedoms enjoyed by the people, which no law, but no law, can abridge.

Where the Constitution states that “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of a people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances,” the Con-com’s new Bill of Rights on the citizens’ freedoms now reads: “No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

Just by adding the words “responsible exercise,” Gloria, through her Con-com, killed the freedoms the citizens enjoy as their inalienable rights.

So who is to determine whether journalists responsibly exercise their freedom of speech and expression? Gloria and her aides? Abueva and his commissioners? Congress? The Supreme Court? Any goddamn government official who feels slighted by negative reports?

None of them certainly is qualified to determine whether the press exercises its freedom responsibly — and certainly not Gloria Arroyo, who, just weeks ago, dictated to the press what should and should not be highlighted, and slammed the media for their negative reports on her government, calling them “bad boys.”

Just who is to judge whether anti-government demonstrators are exercising their right to assemble peacefully for redress of grievances? Gloria? She who fashioned the calibrated preemptive response (CPR)? Her police and military that break up even a small gathering and disperse protesters even before they can mass up to peacefully seek redress of grievances? The police and military that stopped even peaceful demonstrators who enter a church to hear Mass, and denying them even their right to bring anti-government placards?

The Supreme Court (SC) then? How, when it sits on such important cases dealing with the rights of a people, such as the case against Gloria’s CPR? Then too, isn’t the SC, sitting also on the gag order of Gloria, Executive Order 464, that prohibits officials from the executive branch from attending congressional inquiries?

The Bill of Rights was precisely crafted to guarantee the rights of a people against the abuses of government. Limiting these rights means limiting their right to check on the abuses of government.

When that Bill of Rights, enshrined in the every Constitution — except that of Abueva and his traitorous ilk — says no law shall be passed abridging these freedoms, it meant just that — that government cannot abridge these freedoms. This means that government cannot exercise prior restraint. What is acceptable to the press is the recourse that one who feels slighted by news reports, can take action, which is for one to sue for libel, and even in this, there is already that age-old doctrine that government officials and public personalities, being in the public eye, cannot claim to be libeled by the press.

But in this country, despite that doctrine, even a President sues for libel, as in the case of Cory Aquino, and in the case of Gloria Arroyo, she sets her spouse and all her aides, as well as her personal lawyers to lodge multiple-counts of libel suits against their critics, all of which should be thrown out by the fiscals and judges. But as they have been so prostituted, the cases flourish.

Everything now fits, which explains why Gloria handpicked the Con-com, and why the draft came to be such.

Gloria is to stay on until 2010, with the same asses in Congress sitting in parliament, to ensure her protection.

There is to be no criticisms of Gloria as she and her thieving, lying and cheating brood commit any and all abuses. There is to be no demonstrations against her and her aides.

And they complain when Freedom House says the country under this government is no longer free?

UPDATE: More here from Ninez on CON COM's attempts to limit free speech.

And to stop all criticisms and all exposés, Gloria has made it a point to have her handpicked Con-com limit the freedoms enjoyed by the people — especially the press.

Who else but Gloria and her set of fascists like Abueva and company dare to cut off the freedoms and rights of the citizens, by amending the Bill of Rights to state that only the responsible exercise of the freedoms will be allowed by law?

And what, to them, is responsible journalism, responsible demonstrations, responsible peaceful assemblies and responsible redress of grievances?

For responsible journalism, it is, to them, for the media to write up all their praise releases, which are nothing but pure propaganda. The media that will come up with exposés, or negative reporting will not be deemed responsible.

For demonstrations to be deemed by her as responsible, they will have to be all pro-government demonstrations that will show full support for her. As for the citizens’ right to seek redress of grievances responsibly, why, all they will be allowed is to write government a letter, pleading and begging for the crumbs that Gloria might throw their way, if it pleases her.

A dictatorship cannot survive when the press is free, because only when the media are free to report on the abuses of government, as well as the government’s employment of massive cheating to ensure the top officials’ fraudulent victory, can the government be kept in check, precisely because all other government institutions, including the SC, have been prostituted and serve only her needs.

This was the situation in 1972, when then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. Media were under heavy censorship, with the military assigned to newspaper offices to ensure that no negative reports on his government would slip out.

Then, it was claimed that the press was the robust partner of government.

Insincere offer

No wonder nobody takes her word seriously anymore.

In the Dec 27 Malaya article, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was offering "reconciliation" again with the opposition.

But the following day, Arroyo's Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita pretty much accused the opposition of more "destabilization" tactics in 2006.

A thorny 2006 for the administration was practically admitted yesterday by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, who said this early they see the Chief Executive’s critics stepping up their anti-Arroyo tactics....

Ermita said they “know that the political opposition would not stop” in 2006, but “this is expected.”

“The President would still be criticized and who knows what surprises (from the opposition) are (in store for her)? But as far as freedom of speech and expression is concerned, the opposition would still enjoy that because this government adheres to democratic processes,” he added.

Amazing. The administration started badmouthing the opposition just a day after they offered another "reconciliation" deal with them. That was fast.

I remember Arroyo as early as 2001 (immediately after edsa dos) saying na she wants to unite this country raw. But instead of delivering on that promise, she went after the opposition in a vicious and partisan manner.. She tried to humiliate an already beaten Erap, which later backfired on her immensely. She also tried to destroy Lacson via Victor Corpus, and we know how that went too.

And about this "freedom of speech" thing... The opposition is already banned from holding any more anti-Arroyo rallies in the streets without the administration's permission. pwedeng mag parade para sa mga beauty queens at boxing champs sa kalsada, pero bawal mag-hold ng malalaking rallies laban sa adminstration.

And with the internet censorship bill in the pipeline (crafted by administration senators), mas lalo pang mababawasan ang freedom of speech natin. The PCIJ already got a taste of this of what the admin is capable of a few months ago.

More: This is interesting.

While the focus of the criticisms on the Consultative Commission (Con-com) proposed Charter changes is on the no presidential term cut and no elections in 2007, an even more authoritarian regime to be headed by President Arroyo has been envisioned by the Jose Abueva led-Con-com, as it curtailed the freedoms of the Filipino people by subtly altering the Bill of Rights on the freedoms of speech, the press and the right of peaceful assembly to seek redress of government grievances.

The Bill of Rights, as stated in the 1987 Constitution says: “No law shall be passed abrid-ging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peace-ably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

But in the Abueva Con-com Bill of Rights, it is stated that “No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

This proviso effectively curtails the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, as the freedoms are now defined by the modifier “responsible exercise” of the guaranteed freedoms, or a clear subversion of the rights of the citizens against government abuse.

Will I be arrested for calling for Arroyo a crook and a fake president? Will I be arrested for calling for the fake president's ouster via people power?

Based on the administration's tendency to call Arroyo's critics "destabilizers", should I worry about this?

Another Pinay journalist's life in peril

Conrad de Quiros reprints a letter from another journalist who is still in hiding after reporting on jueteng.

Kung totoo yung laman ng sulat, then shame on this administration and our media organizations for doing pretty much didly squat on Ms. Magsino's case.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"If FVR doesn’t watch out, he may end up like Abat."

This discussion prompted one discussant to call former President Fidel V. Ramos as "one big loser", arguing that the President he so quickly came to the rescue of has now effectively slapped him in the face with a big fat trout through the proposals by the GMA-appointed Presidential Constitutional Commission that proposes a no-election scenario till 2010.

Remember that Ramos came to GMA’s rescue arguing that she still had to make the ultimate sacrifice of cutting her term short in 2007; he said this not once, not twice but countless times both to broadcast and print media outlets who cared to get his interpretation of the political crisis. And now, following the submission to GMA by the Con-Com of its proposals, Ramos has come out swinging, pointing an accusatory finger at Malacañang and effectively daring GMA to renounce the "No-El" scenario, "or else".

"Or else what?", says this friend of mine. He insists that GMA knows that FVR is all bark but no bite, adding that the generals are now in GMA’s (and FG’s) pocket even though they may still accord Ramos some amount of respect as a former commander-in-chief and fellow soldier.

"Loser" ba si Ramos? Di naman ano? Napaka-harsh naman nyan.

At least tuloy pa rin ang "great debate" on cha cha, diba Tabaks? ;)

Attention Daily Tribune!

Hindi ito si Rudy Romero.

(Sample article ni Rudy Romero.)

Palitan nyo naman ang pic nung kawawang mama.


I also had a good laugh at these funny GLORAGATE jokes from Ms. Ellen T.

More: Should I laugh or cry?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Grand Diversion

From Angelteddy of Pinoyexchange, challenging the opposition to offer "alternatives" raw on cha cha recommendations:

Why don't they just draft their own recommendations and let's see if theirs are better. If they have better alternatives, then their yakking will not be in vain.

In the first place, there's no urgent need or call from the public to change the constitution. pakulo lang ito ng arroyo admin ang cha cha to divert the people's attention from her illegitimacy and corruption problems.

To claim that cha cha is the solution to gloriagate is just pure crazy talk. That's like saying marcos should have never been driven out of power by edsa in 1986, and instead he should have been left alone to pursue his "reforms" via by crafting a new constitution after 1986.

The solution to our ongoing national nightmare is not to tinker with the Constitution, but to remove the illegitimate president, fire the COMELEC officials responsible for GLORIAGATE, and hold new elections, para naman may legitimate president tayo for a change.

Arroyo, if she has any decency left, should do the honorable thing and resign ASAP, so we can elect a new president na and leave behind this national shame/scandal called the arroyo "presidency".

P.S. for arroyo supporters to say that there is nothing wrong with arroyo and her cohorts (the ones responsible for gloriagate in the first place) leading the reforms is absurd.

UPDATE: Excellent article from Conrad de Quiros.

Hindi ito parusa?

Would the church do something like this against Fr. Robert Reyes aka Running Priest kung si Erap or Lacson ang tinitira niya instead of GMA?

Fidel Ramos' legacy

Siya ang dahilan kung bakit ang taas ng kuryente na binabayaran natin ngayon. And the way the Arroyo admin is handling the situation will only make it worse, I believe.

From Neal Cruz:

Napocor bloated Meralco's debt
, Dec 26, 2005
Updated 00:34amam (Mla time)
Neal H. Cruz

THE NEW YEAR WILL BE A BAD YEAR FOR Meralco if developments in the last few days are any indication. If President Macapagal-Arroyo gives her imprimatur to a proposal by an unknown government official to take over Meralco if it does not pay an alleged P42-billion debt to the National Power Corp., then like the Napocor itself and other private companies taken over by the government through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), this successful company will be run to bankruptcy. The losers will be not only the Lopezes and other stockholders of Meralco but also millions of people who depend on Meralco for their electricity.

How did this quarrel between the Napocor and Meralco come about? In 1994, Meralco contracted to buy electricity that the Napocor generates to distribute to its customers. During the power crisis that hit the Philippines during the Aquino and Ramos administrations, the latter encouraged Meralco and other investors to put up generation plants because Napocor was unable to supply the demand. This gave rise to the so-called IPPs, or Independent Power Producers, which now supply a big part of our electricity. Meralco put up three or four sister companies to generate power.

However, Ramos approved too many IPPs, with the result that we now have an oversupply of power. Under the contracts of the IPPs with the government, the latter has to pay the rated power-generation capacity of the plant even if the electricity is not used-in fact, even if it is not generated at all. That is the reason for the high cost of our electricity: we are paying for electricity we do not consume.

Meralco, meanwhile, has been buying its electricity from its own IPPs, so it is buying less than the contracted amount from Napocor. The Napocor is now billing Meralco for all the power it could have generated and sold to Meralco had the latter bought all the power it had contracted for. That and other charges, are what bloated Meralco's alleged debt to the Napocor.

Meralco says its obligations amount to only P15 billion.

In 2003, Meralco and Napocor signed a compromise settlement. After adjustments, Meralco's debt was brought down to P20.5 billion, payable in five to six years or until December 2006. Other differences are being threshed out by the Energy Regulatory Commission. In the meantime, the Epira law was passed mandating the privatization of the money-losing Napocor.

In the middle of all these, the confidential memorandum of the unknown official was leaked to the press. The memo still starts with P42 billion but admits that Meralco has acknowledged only a P15-billion obligation. To collect the P42 billion, the memo recommended three options:

1. Meralco will be asked to issue a promissory note or bond in favor of Napocor.

2. Napocor will convert the receivables into equity by receiving an equivalent value of Meralco shares.

3. Napocor will offer special programs and discounted rates to targeted markets.

The second is Napocor's preferred option, and the reason is obvious: Napocor will be sold or go bankrupt, whichever comes first. Either way, its highly paid officials will lose their jobs. If they control Meralco, they can transfer to it.

But three basic questions were not answered by the memo: (1) The settlement agreement is still pending before the ERC; (2) The plan and steps being taken are not in compliance with the Epira law; and (3) The memo wants to subvert the authority of the ERC.

To make heads or tails of the matter, I talked to a Meralco official over breakfast before Christmas and the poor guy was crying on his coffee. The options recommended by the memo were ridiculous, he said. He explained why one by one:

1. On the options of a promissory note or conversion of the debt to shares of stocks: There is no recognized liability on the part of Meralco as contained in the Settlement Agreement between Napocor and Meralco.

2. On the P42-billion debt: The amount is bloated. The memo said it is based on "minimum charges due for unconsumed energy levels for the period of Dec. 25, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2004." But that P42 billion includes interest rates and costs of fuel and other variable costs not actually incurred. "Minimum charges" do not include all these.

3. The memo made false claims: First, it claims that if the alleged debt is converted to equity in favor of the government, there will be no additional cost to Meralco customers. This is a lie. If indeed the P42 billion is based on "minimum charges," the amount will be passed on to customers as provided by the Settlement Agreement.

Second, it claimed that the debt-to-equity option will not inflict pain on ordinary stockholders of Meralco, nor will it change any of the stockholders' rights and benefits. Another lie. A government takeover will surely send the share price plummeting because many of the foreign stockholders, who own a substantial chunk of Meralco shares, will leave the country.

Third, the debt-to equity option will not result in a takeover. Still a lie. If there is no corporate takeover, why does the memo virtually dictate where Meralco should get its power? This violates the Epira law which mandates open access and retail competition.

Fourth, it subverts the authority of the ERC to settle the dispute. The memo turns off foreign investors because it undermines business policies and dealings. Foreign investors want stability and consistency in government policies and rules.

The Napocor is bleeding; it has a long record of mismanagement and corruption; it has the biggest debts in the country; it is beyond rehabilitation. Why entrust the handling of a successful company like Meralco to it?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Impressive comeback

50% approval rating for Bush.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanza!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Freedom House downgrades Philippines from "Free" to "Partly free"


Number of electoral democracies reaches 122 as freedom spreads
Email this story

Dec 20 8:49 AM US/Eastern

The number of electoral democracies around the world rose from 119 to 122 this year, setting a new record as freedom made inroads in the Middle East and Africa, an independent monitoring group said. But in its annual report rating every nation in the world as "free," "partly free" or "not free," Freedom House on Monday expressed concern about countries like the United States and France, where it saw "looming problems" with electoral setups and immigrant integration.

"These global findings are encouraging," said Arch Puddington, director of research at the organization.

"Among other things, the past year has been notable for terrorist violence, ethnic cleansing, civil conflict, catastrophic natural disasters, and geopolitical polarization," he added. "That freedom could thrive in this environment is impressive."

The three additions to the list of electoral democracies were the African nations of Burundi, Liberia and the Central African Republic.

The three countries afforded considerable space for political opposition and met the minimum standard of a fair vote count, the report said.

But the most significant improvements were noted in the Middle East, where Lebanon was upgraded from "not free" to "partly free," despite a series of political killings that shook the country.

The Lebanese witnessed major improvements in both political rights and civil liberties following the withdrawal of Syrian troops based in the country, the report said.

It also noted elections held in Iraq, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories, the introduction of women's suffrage in Kuwait, and improvements in Saudi Arabia's media environment among other encouraging signs in the region.

"This emerging trend reminds us that men and women in this region share the universal desire to live in free societies," commented Thomas Melia, acting executive director of Freedom House.

In a rare critique of the United States, the survey complained about what it called "the widespread use of sophisticated forms of gerrymandering," or redrawing of electoral districts, that the authors said has "reduced competitiveness in congressional and state legislative elections."

Just last week, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear a case dealing with redistricting in the state of Texas engineered by former House Republican majority leader Tom DeLay that allowed Republicans to pick up six more seats in the House of Representatives in the 2004 elections.

Meanwhile, several European countries, including France, faced challenges to their democratic institutions stemming from their failure to effectively integrate non-European immigrants, the report said.

Freedom House listed 89 countries as "free," meaning that 46 percent of the world's population now enjoy a climate of respect for civil liberties.

Another 58 countries were judged "partly free," while the number of countries considered "not free" declined from 49 in 2004 to 45 this year, the lowest number in over a decade.

Ukraine and Indonesia saw their ratings go up from "partly free" to "free" while Afghanistan, which inaugurated its new parliament Monday, moved from "not free" to "partly free." Also rising to the "partly free" ranking was Kyrgyzstan.

However, the Philippines suffered a set back as their status declined from "free" to "partly free."

The decision to downgrade the Philippines, the authors explained, was based on allegations of electoral fraud, corruption and government intimidation of opposition members that were found "credible."

Eight states in the "not free" category received the survey's lowest rating for political rights and civil liberties: Cuba, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Burma.

More from PCIJ.

UPDATE: More from UPI:

"Of the four countries that registered an outright decline in status, the most significant was the Philippines," Freedom House notes. "The decision to downgrade this country from Free to Partly Free was based on credible allegations of massive electoral fraud, corruption, and the government's intimidation of elements in the political opposition."

Plus this from the Tribune:

GMA gets failing marks in freedom, democracy

Freedom House downgrades RP from 'free' to 'partly free' state


Even as Malacañang claims President Arroyo won the elections “fair and square” and that the country is run by her under the rules of democracy, a prestigious and independent international group, Freedom House, which monitors the number of electoral democracies around the world, evidently does not agree with the Palace claims.

An Agence France Presse report, datelined Washington, yesterday said the international monitoring agency downgraded the country to a “partly free” from a “free” state, based on the independent group’s monitoring of the number of electoral democracies around the world.

Of the four countries that registered an outright decline in status, the most significant was the Philippines. The decision to downgrade this country from free to partly free was based on credible allegations of massive electoral fraud, corruption and the government's intimidation of elements in the political opposition.

Freedom House in its report also noted a rise in the number of democratic states from 119 to 122 this year.

In its annual report, Freedom House said every nation in the world was rated either as “free,” “partly free” or “not free.”

Freedom House was founded over 60 years ago by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie, and other Americans concerned with the mounting threats to peace and democracy.

Non-partisan and broad-based, Freedom House is led by a board of trustees composed of leading Democrats, Republicans, and independents; business and labor leaders; former senior government officials; scholars; writers; and journalists.

All are united in the view that American leadership in international affairs is essential to the causen of human rights and freedom.

Freedom House was an advocate of the Filipino democratic opposition in the 1980s.

With the downgrade, it appears that the international organization monitoring freedom and democracy all over the world did not deem the presidential polls in 2004 that Filipinos say was marked with massive fraud, as credible.

President Arroyo stands accused of having cheated her way to Malacañang through massive vote buying, as well as vote shaving and vote padding operations, as recorded in wiretapped conversations between her and a poll official, Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano,

Both denied they had rigged the elections to favor her candidacy.

The international monitoring agency also noted in its annual report that it found credible government “intimidation” of the opposition members...

Mrs. Arroyo has also curtailed the rights and freedoms of the citizenry, with her police and military breaking up the most peaceful demonstrations staged against her, with her calibrated preemptive response policy.

UPDATE: As expected, Malacanang cries foul over freedom downgrade

Mrs. Arroyo's spokesperson Ignacio Bunye fumes: Freedom House "out of touch" with reality raw!!!

UPDATE: I'd like to comment on this Bunye remark:

According to him, a trip to the Philippines will make the members of the agency “see for themselves how constitutional democracy works, how the media (work) and how the people freely express themselves,” he said.

Heh, ipinagbabawal na nga ng arroyo admin at mga allies nito ang pagho-hold ng GMA resign rallies sa kalsada ng makati, edsa at mendiola eh kahit na generally peaceful naman ang anti-GMA rallies (at hindi naman bawal dati ang mga anti-admin rallies sa mediola, edsa at makati during erap, fvr and cory's time.)

And with GMA's new internet censorship bill in the pipeline, our freedom marks will probably take another hit once the law being crafted by administration senators Bong Revilla and Manny Villar gets passed next year.

UPDATE: Related to internet censorship. We've already seen how the Administration and it's attack dogs are harassing PCIJ. I think it will only get worse.

More on this from The Belmont club.

Mini-fisking Jarius Bondoc

Pro-Arroyo columnist Jarius Bondoc is for reforming the COMELEC na rin raw.

Let Arroyo and her allies "reform" the COMELEC? That's got to be the dumbest thing i've ever heard from pro-arroyo columnist and gov't station tv host jarious bondoc.

Pro-Arroyo poster et al comments:

what a twisted way of looking at things. just because it will happen during Arroyo's time doesn't mean she'll be hands-on when it comes to doing the reforms. bondoc's point is to reform the COMELEC right now whether or not elections will be held in 2007. so would you rather have the same Comelec conducting the elections in 2007? makakontra lang.

Well, that's like saying (after the 1986 election fiasco) to let marcos "reform" the COMELEC and to find out if there was really any cheating involved.

Btw, i was for reforming the COMELEC way before you, pro-arroyo columnist max sullivan and jarious bondoc were.

More: Jarius Bondoc:

An Opposition leader, when he was in power to do so, also had endorsed Garcillano’s promotion but now accuses him of the Mindanao dagdag-bawas of 1995.

What an effin liar jarius bondoc is. he doesn't even have the guts to name the senator he was smearing. sen. pimentel was against garci from the very beginning because of garcillano's role in the 1995 dagdag bawas scandal.

Inq editorial: Feb 18, 2004

Men on a mission?

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's new appointees to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seem to be in a great hurry to either earn their keep or prove their critics right -- or both. With their first official act, Election Commissioners Manuel Barcelona and Virgilio Garcillano have shown that they are men on a mission. Their mission: to ensure that Ms Macapagal-Arroyo wins a full term in the May elections.

Barely a week after they were sworn into office, Barcelona and Garcillano submitted their opinion on the disqualification case against presidential candidate and movie star Fernando Poe Jr. The two new election officials urged the Supreme Court to disqualify Poe on grounds that he was born illegitimate and therefore took his mother's American citizenship. Garcillano said it was "a rule long settled by the Supreme Court that only legitimate children follow the citizenship of the father and that illegitimate children are under the parental authority of the mother and follow her nationality." Barcelona said substantially the same thing: Since Poe was born illegitimate, "he did not acquire the Filipino citizenship of his father." Commissioner Florentino Tuason, another Macapagal-Arroyo appointee to the commission, joined them in their dissenting opinion.

What is most curious about this sharing of their views on this raging controversy is that the Supreme Court never solicited them. What the Court sought was the comment of the Comelec, and that means the arguments of the majority of commissioners who had voted to throw out the petition for Poe's disqualification....

The integrity, competence and independence of the new Comelec commissioners were already questioned right after their appointment was announced. Oppositionist Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. charged that as a Comelec regional director, Garcillano was a key figure in the vote-padding and vote-shaving operation that cost Pimentel a Senate seat in 1995.

Feb. 17, 2004:

IN A MOVE that could bolster the perception that they were named to the poll body to help President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo win a full six-year term, the two new appointees to the Commission on Elections Monday asked the Supreme Court to disqualify actor Fernando Poe Jr. from the presidential race on the ground that he was not a natural-born Filipino citizen....

Opposition Senator Aquilino Pimentel, a reelectionist under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino led by Poe, had questioned the appointment of Barcelona and Garcillano because of their close ties to First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

Barcelona was reported to have contributed to the campaign kitty of Ms Macapagal when she ran for vice president in 1998, while Garcillano had been accused by Pimentel in the "dagdag-bawas" (vote padding and shaving) operation in Mindanao that cost him a seat in the Senate in 1995.

PDI Editorial: Feb. 13, 2004

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo apparently is not leaving anything to chance. In her eagerness to secure a full six-year presidential term of her own, she has appointed two commissioners of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) who are perceived to be partisans to her cause: Manuel Barcelona Jr. and Virgilio Garcillano.

According to a report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Barcelona and his son, Manuel Barcelona III, contributed 500,000 and 100,000 pesos, respectively, to Ms Macapagal-Arroyo's 1998 campaign for the vice-presidency.

Garcillano did not contribute to Ms Macapagal-Arroyo's 1998 campaign. But he was the Comelec regional director for Northern Mindanao when "dagdag-bawas," the infamous padding and shaving of votes in the 1995 elections, took place.

Opposition Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., one of the victims of the vote-rigging, swears that Garcillano had a hand -- or at least was complicit -- in the fraud.
Although Garcillano was never indicted for it, it is noteworthy that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration, for all its much-vaunted talent search, does not seem worried about resurrecting from the tomb of ignominy a man whose reputation is sullied or, at the least, controversial.

Worse, the administration seems to be doing the bidding of Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos, also its appointee, who has pulled Garcillano out of retirement to make him his consultant for Mindanao. To be consulted for what? For vote-rigging and -shaving?

UPDATE: As long as may google, hindi makakalusot ang mga kasinungalingan mo, mr. bondoc.

Feb. 12, 2004:

Sources from Comelec who requested anonymity confirmed the reports made by reelectionist Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who accused Garcillano of being involved in election fraud.

"There had been numerous complaints that the [Comelec] Chairman’s office received concerning the attitude of Director Garcillano," the Comelec insider said....

Garcillano on Wednesday defended himself against allegations of Pimentel that he was appointed to the Comelec to help President Arroyo to win the May 10 election.

He said he is willing to sit down with Pimentel and discussed the matter with him, adding that the senator’s statement was a carryover of a long-dragging argument and there was misconception.

Garcillano admitted that he was offended by the accusations against him but at this time it is water under the bridge

Hahaha... this garcillano guy is funny pala. Remember, this article was published back in feb 2004 pa.

Another revealing article back in 2004:

Opposition Senator Aquilino Pimentel, who has opposed Garcillano's appointment to the poll body, alleged that Garcillano had somehow contributed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's victory and was being rewarded as a result.

"What reward is the honorable senator talking about? She [the President] doesn't have to pay for anything," said Garcillano.

He said he was embarrassed by the President's defeat in his region but "if that's the mandate of the people, we cannot do anything."

Now, why would garcillano be "embarassed" by arroyo's defeat in his region? isn't he supposed to be non-partisan? a freudian slip?

More from Jarius Bondoc:

A past Comelec chair, now an Opposition lawyer, had warned him then to be straight, but apparently failed to bring up charges to end his notoriety.

LOL. jarioush bondoc must be referring to this conversation between garci and harriet demetriou.

Former Comelec Chair Harriet Demetriou had a good laugh while listening to the conversations. "The irony of it," she said.

Demetriou said that in early 1999, Barbers called her to complain about Garcillano's involvement in "fraudulent activities" during the 1998 elections in Northern Mindanao, where Garcillano was assigned as Comelec director.

In the elections, Barbers ran for senator while his mother, Regina, ran for governor in Surigao del Norte province. His son, Robert Ace, ran for the congressional seat while his other son, Robert Jr., ran for councilor in Makati City.

Regina lost the gubernatorial race, and Barbers was said to have blamed Garcillano for the debacle. Soon after Demetriou's confirmation at the Commission on Appointments in January 1999, Barbers gave her a call about Garcillano's conduct.

Garcillano was summoned to Manila for a confrontation with Barbers in the commissioners' office.

Demetriou said that during the confrontation, Garcillano explained his side and vehemently denied he had engaged in electoral fraud.

"So I asked Barbers if he wanted to file a formal complaint so we could conduct an investigation. He said, 'H'wag na lang (Never mind),'" Demetriou recalled.

After Barbers left, Demetriou said she confronted Garcillano about the complaint, and the regional director reiterated his denial.

"I glowered at him. H'wag kang luko-loko, Garcillano. Tandaan mo ito, kung totoo ito, ipakukulong kita (Don't fool around. Remember this, if this is true, I'll have you arrested)," Demetrio recalled telling Garcillano.

so even back in 1999, there were already complaints against garci. but at that time, ms. demetriou wasn't sure kung totoo yung bintang ni barbers kay garci, and bobby barbers for some reason decided to drop the case vs. garci.

so how can harriet file charges against garci "to end his notoriety" back in 1999 when barbers himself did not present any compelling evidence of fraud vs. Garci except his word -- and barbers eventually lost interest in pursuing the case vs. Garci boy?

exposed na naman yung misleading smears ni jarious bundok

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Controversial Hilario Davide retires

The person who presided over the most politicized SC in this country's history steps down.

From the Malaya Editorial:

Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide said the controversies hounding the Supreme Court were due to the court’s being "proactive" during his watch. "We had the courage to defend the independence of the court from partisan politics," he said.

Independence from partisan politics? What a laugh. The Davide court has been the most politicalized high tribunal in the country’s history and it will probably take a generation for the court to shed its image of a fawning handmaiden to politics.

The Davide court will ever be remembered for legitimizing Gloria’s Arroyo’s usurpation of the presidency in January 2001. All the good the court has done will always be eclipsed by this singular political act of installing an illegitimate president and subsequently weaving a whole cloth of judicial doctrine justifying a power grab from the flimsy thread of President Joseph Estrada having purportedly "constructively resigned."

Three women senior students at the UP College of Law had a merry time pointing out the absurdity of that ruling. The Supreme Court can only take comfort in the fact that the debunkers, at least, were not sophomores.

Perhaps it is unfair to blame Davide for the Supreme Court’s descent into politics. He was just one of the 15 members of the court. It was Justice Artemio Panganiban, now highly touted as next chief justice, who convinced Davide to swear in Arroyo after cutting the Bible to guide the court’s action. It was Justice Reynato Puno who wrote that towering decision on the Arroyo presidency based on the lie that Estrada had resigned.

It is the high tribunal that is on the dock. And that’s why whoever succeeds to Davide’s position will have a Herculean job of regaining for the court the respect and awe it used to be held.

The single biggest test currently facing the tribunal is the constitutionality of Executive Order 464 which bars officials, including the military and the police, from appearing before congressional inquiries without permission from the president.

It’s a cut-and-dried issue. But let’s see. The court might yet spring another surprise, complete with the kind of contortions that characterized the Estrada decision.

Still hope springs eternal. The Supreme Court, as the final arbiter of the law, is the last institution standing in the way of the country’s seeming descent into the rule of naked power.

It can still redeem itself.

Redeem itself? Hah. That's way too optimistic, Malaya Edit.

From Ninez Cacho Olivarez:

Fulsome praise is being heaped on retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., especially by Gloria Arroyo, who called him the “paragon of service and an exemplar of upright conduct and a bedrock of confidence and stability,” adding Davide is the epitome of honesty and even handedness in upholding the rule of law.”

A lot of Filipinos — at least a majority, would hardly share that view. Upright conduct from him when he and his justices engaged in a highly partisan activity as Edsa II, where he swore in a Vice President as President even when there was no vacancy in the high office, apart from the fact that he and his justices brazenly breached their judicial code of conduct?

Honesty? Davide was caught on tape, as he was leaving the high court last Jan. 20, 2001, as saying he and his justices were off to Edsa to swear in Gloria as the “acting President” and yet when he reached Edsa, he swore her in not in an acting capacity but as full President. One who deceives cannot be said to be an honest person.

Ninez is wrong in one detail.

Davide actually did swear in GMA as acting president. Check the tapes. GMA was sworn in "to act as president" of the Philippines. I saw that on TV, and radio commercials were constantly repeating her "to act as president" line over and over until somebody from Malacanang noticed it and told the radio station to remove the commercial.

Pero nung nasa pwesto na si GMA, they and their media allies tried to slowly edit out the "to act as president" part on all the tapes and videos of her being sworn in in an acting capacity. As if the words that were caught on tape were never uttered by GMA and Davide.

Ang tawag yata diyan ay Edsa Dos "revisionism."

And here's some info on the guy who replaced Hilarious Davide, si Justice Artemio Panganiban:

PRESIDENT Arroyo yesterday named Associate Justice Artemio V. Panganiban as the new chief justice, succeeding Hilario G. Davide Jr. who retired yesterday.

A congressman known for his loyalty to Arroyo told Malaya the appointment was made over the objections of the Iglesia ni Cristo, Bro. Eddie Villanueva and about 30 other congressmen.

The incoming chief justice stirred a controversy over the overthrow of President Joseph Estrada when he wrote in one of his books that "up to now I could not understand how I summoned the courage to suggest to the Chief Justice (Davide) that the oath be administered to Vice President Arroyo knowing that President Estrada is still in Malacañang."

In the "Business Circuit" column of Malaya publisher Amado P. Macasaet, it was reported that the author later withdrew the book from the bookstores.

The statement was variously interpreted to mean that the Office of the President was not vacant when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was given the oath as president.

The Davide court came up with what it called "constructive resignation" in legitimizing the Arroyo presidency.

UPDATE: Ducky Paredes: Panganiban choice was obvious from the start

May blog na pala si Virgilio Garcillano

Eto o, called Hello Mam!

Nasa Google news na pala ang PCIJ blog

Since Nov. 20 2005 pa pala. It may even be earlier than that, kasi ngayon ko lang siya napansin.

I was suggesting to Alecks na he submit the PCIJ blog as a google news source back in Septermber.

Congrats to PCIJ blog. The first Filipino blog (that i know of) na nakapasok sa google news. Even Michelle Malkin and Wretchard of the Belmont Club are not being picked up yet by Google news.

Arroyo's Stooges

Con Com Group

More on this from Ellen Tordesillas's latest article.

Ellen in her comments section:

Rizalist, didn’t you see the guileless and clueless Abueva say that they consulted the mayors and local officials? Those mayors and local officials that Gloria Arroyo cultivated with taxpayers money? And the consultations were arranged and managed by Bobi Tiglao’s PMS.

What consultations!

Fake president, fake reforms, fake dissent... and now FAKE CONSULTATIONS. LOL @ Arrovo.

UPDATE: This is related to Ellen's comment to Rizalist. Here's a prescient Malaya Editorial dated Nov. 16 2005 on GMA's P25B pork barrel funds ("Kilos Asenso", "Kalayaan Barangay" and the so-called "Healing the Wounds of Edsa" fund) and Cha cha:

WOULD you trust Gloria Arroyo with a blank check for P25 billion? Senators would not and they should ensure that the gargantuan "pork" is excised from the 2006 budget or realigned for other socially desirable but transparently implemented projects.

There are three programs Arroyo wants to launch where selection of projects and release of money will be completely under her discretion. These are Kilos Asenso with a proposed funding of P5 billion, Kalayaan Barangay with P3 billion, and Healing the Wounds of Edsa with P13.7 billion. The funding requirements total P23.7 billion although senators have rounded off Gloria’s pork barrel to P25 billion to include, we suppose, her traditional discretionary funds.

Budget Secretary Romulo Neri said the P5 billion Kilos Asenso fund is for counter-part funding for development projects of local government units. The P3 billion Kalayaan Barangay fund is for the rehabilitation of barangays in conflict areas. The P13.7 billion Edsa healing fund is for social services to indigents.

As Sen. Manuel Villar, chairman of the finance committee, and Senate President Frank Drilon said, these are good programs on paper. But why can’t the projects be undertaken by regular departments?

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile said the Edsa healing fund is supposed to bankroll pharmacies in far-flung areas, medical care for indigents and, incongruously enough, purchases of police patrol cars. Enrile wondered how health care and police cars could remotely salve the social wounds arising from Edsa 1 and Edsa 2.

What is Gloria up to in wanting to have P25 billion in spending money for 2006?

The funds for agricultural productivity and for the repair of roads – estimated at around P4 billion in all – were shamelessly hijacked in 2004. But at least we reasonably knew where they went. There were elections in 2004 and the money was used to buy the support of congressmen and local officials. There was allegedly a systematic skimming off through overpricing, but the proceeds, again we are reasonably sure, went to the campaign kitty of Arroyo and not into the pockets of the Pidals of this administration.

Top of the head we can only think of one Arroyo initiative this year that
would need that never-as-yet-seen magnitude of discretionary spending. We’re referring to the proposed constitutional changes. The proposed shift to the parliamentary system is supposed to end once and for all the legitimacy issue hounding the administration after the cheating in 2004.

The local officials are the key to delivering the "yes" votes in a referendum. The sum of P25 billion is not too expensive a price for ensuring Gloria’s continued stay in power.

That’s all there is to this P25 billion pork.

The wiretapping issue in the US

Wretchard of the Belmont club comments on the issue in the US regarding the NSA surveillance program to monitor terrorists.

Ito naman ang comment ko:

Hmmm... kinda similar to the case in the Philippines where our own Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) have been conducting wiretapping operations on just about everybody -- including administration and opposition candidates, election officials and members of the media during the runup to the 2004 elections.

Can't tell though if ISAFP is still conducting secret wiretaps against government officials or not since Mrs. Arroyo doesn't seem interested to know who ordered ISAFP to do the wiretapping.

Finding out who ordered the wiretapping could complicate her political problems, I guess. ;)

So the US eavesdrops on suspected terrorist phone calls huh? But how would the complexion of the story change for the Bush administration if it was found out that they were also conducting secret surveillance on Democrats and Republicans, US gov't officials, members of the press etc...

Can you say Nixon, Wretch? Impeachment? Resignation?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Untouchables

Wala na talaga akong masabi pa sa admin na ito. The most corrupt since Marcos.

From the Daily Tribune:

Protecting the criminals


Ninez Cacho-Olivares


It wasn’t an empty boast from former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, said to be one of the presidential couple’s bagman, when he reportedly bragged to his fellow International and local Rotarians that he is an “untouchable.”

It does look like he is untouchable, as earlier, the Immigration bureau, despite the Senate’s directive for it to put Bolante on a watchlist and prevent him from leaving the country, did nothing of that sort, and had even given Bolante a royal send-off to Hong Kong, enroute to the US.

And now, from all indications, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which is obviously into protecting Bolante, evidently on orders of Gloria Arroyo and her spouse, Big Mike, doesn’t care to enforce the law on the passport act and obey the Senate’s directive to cancel Bolante’s passport.

There are three grounds for the denial, cancellation or restrictions of passport under Section 8 of the passport act, such as the fugitive from justice being a passport holder; when the person is convicted and when a passport is acquired fraudulently.

The DFA, already standing accused of a cover-up job on former poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano of the “Hello Garci” tapes infamy, largely by not moving and delaying obeisance to the directive of the House to check on the whereabouts of Garcillano abroad, now says it can’t possibly just cancel Bolante’s passport just because he has been issued a warrant of arrest.

Why not? If there is a warrant of arrest issued, and Bolante skipped the country, he certainly becomes a certified fugitive, and under the law, Bolante’s passport can be cancelled and no ifs or buts about it.

Bolante does not need to be convicted to have his passport cancelled, which makes it odd for the DFA to now find excuses for not cancelling his passport.

Besides, it is not as it this would be the first time a Filipino accused who leaves the country has his passport cancelled, and without any objections from the DFA.

Too many accused, mostly political foes of an administration, had their passports cancelled immediately. Sometimes, even when they are not even accused of a crime, their passports are quickly cancelled.

The DFA now says it will first seek the Department of Justice’s opinion on this matter of obeying the Senate’s call to have Bolante’s passport cancelled.

And what does the DFA expect the Justice agency under Raul Gonzalez to say, given the fact that the DoJ is certainly not going to go against Gloria in anything, supported by the fact that the DoJ even justifies the unconstitutional and illegal as constitutional and legal.The DoJ is there to serve Gloria and her whims.

Bolante is being protected by Gloria and Big Mike, that is for sure, because if he isn’t given the untouchable status Bolante insists on, he can spill the beans on the presidential couple and they would be blown to kingdom come.

After all, there are already too many documents pointing to the diversion of not just of the P3-billion fertilizer fund scam, but also the fund diversion of various agencies, all being dumped on the war chest of Gloria Arroyo for her presidential campaign, such as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, the P2-billion road tax that didn’t go into the improvements of the road but to street sweepers who were Gloria’s walking campaign billboards, and not to forget the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. funds, to mention just a few.

After all, it wasn’t for love of Gloria Arroyo that Garcillano and the poll officers nationwide cheated for Gloria. Money certainly made them move. In the same manner, the congressional allies and select local officials of Gloria also moved because of a few millions for each of them to spend for their election to office, apart from fattening their private pockets.

What is clear is that this has become a government that shields criminals and fugitives, and does it willingly.

At the same time, it accuses those who may not have even broken the law, and has these people arrested, simply because they are seen as political foes or threats to Gloria and her fraudulent government.

And she dares speak of the rule of law as a cornerstone of governance?

From the executive department, to the legislature, to the judiciary, all of these branches of government have been ignoring the rule of law and in fact, willfully violate it to serve their personal interests.

The laws they speak of are interpreted to protect their criminal activities, because they insist on being above the law.

Bush ups approval rating to 47%

From an ABC Poll.

Ann Althouse comments:

See? He just needs to keep talking to us, answering his critics. Standing by silent, hoping people will notice what you've done, unfortunately, doesn't work.

I also recall a similar move by Mrs. Arroyo recently, going on the offensive, attacking the opposition and the media (who were mostly pro-Arroyo anyways) to improve on her abysmal approval and trust ratings.

But the ratings continued to stay very low for her (even fall a few notches) despite all her efforts to communicate with the public.

I guess her problem is lack of credibility and honesty and that people knew she's not the real president.

She may have attacked her media critics and the opposition, but she still refused to use that time and opportunity directly tackle and confront her legitimacy and corruption problems in an honest and truthful manner... unlike Bush who strongly and credibly defended himself and answered his critics charge on Iraq and the "Bush lied" accusations.

UPDATE: Bush's popularity increase means US troops more likely to finish the job and succeed in Iraq?

I believe that is the case.

Kasi hindi naman matatalo ang US military sa Iraq eh. Matatalo lang ang US if they lose domestic support at home.


-- Bush up, Arroyo down (Dec. 11 2005)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Fake President, Fake Reforms, Fake Dissent

Con Com appointee Jarius Bondoc protests and says na wag raw silang tawagin na Arroyo rubberstamp dahil contra raw sila sa "No Elections" proposal ni Arroyo.


If that's the case, then bakit ngayon lang kayo umaangal sa publiko, after the opposition and the public has made it known na unacceptable yang "No El" na yan?

I believe matagal nyo nang alam yung proposal na ito, so bakit ngayon lang namin naririnig ito?

Anyways, In other news, tuwang tuwa ang Malacanang sa No El proposal:

No-El paves way for RP’s First World status by 2025 — GMA


Malacañang yesterday defended the recommendation of the Constitutional Commission (Con-com) to cancel the 2007 national elections and extend by three years the stay of incumbent officials whose terms end in that year.

It said the recommendation “marks a big step toward the repair of our degenerated political system” and also “signals our big leap toward decentralizing political power, expanding the horizons of economic prosperity and gaining First World status in 20 years."

Under the proposal, which already tinkers with the 1987 Constitution without first formalizing a shift to the parliamentary system, the same officials will serve in the transition parliament, with President Arroyo still at the helm of the government.

The administration, at the same time, called as unfair accusations by the opposition that the Chief Executive had bribed lawmakers and local government executives into supporting the Con-com's recommendation.

"That is an unfair comment...the (51-member) Con-com is composed of experts, known leaders of their professions, known for their respective skills. They decide on matters that they believe are right and good for our country. I think we have to give them the benefit of the doubt on all the provisions they have debated," Press Secretary and concurrent presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye told a radio interview over RMN-dzXL.

As for me naman, I believe "trial balloon" yang "No El" proposal na yan. I don't believe it's serious, and it is meant to make some of the Cha-cha appointees of Arroyo "less stooge-like".

Meaning, they get to "dissent" and show their "independence" from Mrs. Arroyo, and the administration and it's allies will eventually "back down" from their "NO EL" proposal. I believe this is what will happen because nobody (and certainly not the public) is dumb enough to accept that "No El" ek ek ni GMA at Jose Abueva.

At since yan ang isa sa mga main complaints ng opposition, by removing that "no el" proposal (which they were never seriously considering in the first place), sasabihin ng administration na "O yan, may election na sa 2007. O timigil na kayo."

But like I said before:

Beware, beware of the lying cheater/thief and her stooges presenting themselves as "reformers."

And even if they eventually withdraw their NO-El proposal (because of strong negative clammor from the opposition), it is already too late because most Filipinos will see this Cha Cha move by Arroyo/JDV/FVR as nothing more than fake reforms meant to distract the public from Gloriagate.

As for me, I'm not for changing the Constitution. Ever since panahon pa ni Ramos at Erap.

But EVEN IF I were for it, I want somebody who is credible and with integrity to lead the reforms. The last person I would trust to make changes in the Constitution is Mrs. Arroyo and her appointed stooges like Jarius Bondoc, Alex Magno and Carmen Pedrosa of PHILSTAR. Changing the constitution is not a small matter, and I sense we have another Marcos type situation in our hands with his 1973 Constitution.


- Why say NO to ARroyo's constitution?
- Bawal tumakbo ang walang College degree?
- In Arroyo's Constitution, trapo power triumphs
- “The proposal to pack the parliament (with her allies) is shameless. I can’t believe they even attempted this."

Will the Arroyo admin sequester MERALCO?

Will they?

hindi ba na-sequester na ito dati nung panahon ni Marcos?

deja vu?

In Arroyo's proposed Constitution, trapo power triumphs

PCIJ has a report on the Con Com proposal.

UPDATE: Cha-cha isang malaking panloloko ng Arroyo admin at ng Arroyo appointed CONCOM nito:

Kung inyong natatandaan ang ideyang pagpapalit sa Konstitusyon ng ating Republika ay lumutang bunsod ng matinding krisis sa pulitika na pinagdaraanan ng ating bansa.

At ang panukalang pagpapalit sa sistema ng gobyerno ay base sa rekomendasyon ng liderato ng Mababang Kapulungan ng Kongreso na si House Speaker Jose de Venecia na sinusugan na rin ng ilang pulitiko partikular ng Pangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas na si Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Sa takbo ng mga pangyayari matapos na ihayag ng ConCom ang kanilang pag-aaral, tila lumihis ang tunay na layunin ng panukalang pagpapalit sa sistema.

Lumabas na nga ang katotohanan sa likod ng inilulutang na pagpapalit ng Konstitusyon, na ang lahat ng ito ay may kaugnayan lamang sa pagkakaloob ng dagdag na kapangyarihan.

Hindi ba’t isa rin sa rason kaya’t piniling manahimik ng sambayanang Pilipino sa kabila ng malaking kuwestiyon sa kredibilidad ni Mrs. Arroyo bilang Pangulo ng Pilipinas ay dahil sa pangakong sa sandaling magpalit ang sistema ang ating lipunan, kasunod na rin nito ang pagkawala sa kapangyarihan ng Pangulo?

Pero bakit bigla naman yatang nagbago ang plano?

Kung kakatigan ng liderato ni Pangulong Arroyo ang ConCom report, malinaw na indikasyon nito na niloloko lamang tayo ng gobyernong ito

UPDATE: P2B fund ikakasa para sa Cha Cha. I'm sure this is money well spent. LOL.

“The proposal to pack the parliament (with her allies) is shameless. I can’t believe they even attempted this."

Roilo Golez on the Cha-cha proposal.

Ellen Tordesillas called the Arroyo’s Con-Com eerily reminiscent of the Marcos Con-Com:

Gordon speaks with the wisdom of experience having been a member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1973 Constitution under the Marcos dictatorship. A number of the recommendations of Arroyo’s Con-Com are so eerily reminiscent of the Marcos Con-Com that also changed the government from presidential to parliamentary with Marcos acting as both president and prime minister during the transition period. Arroyo’s Con-Com recommended that Arroyo act as both prime minister (head of government) and president (head of state) until 2010.

Arroyo’s Con-Com also made sure that she becomes even more powerful by giving her the power to fill the Parliament with her stooges. In addition to members of the Senate and House of Representatives, she would have the power to appoint one-third of her cabinet and thirty experts as members of the Interim Parliament.

Read the whole thing. Beware, beware of the lying cheater/thief and her stooges presenting themselves as "reformers." I think this No El proposal by Arroyo's stooges revealed what ARroyo's constitution is really all about: To divert our attention from her legitimacy and political problems and to strengthen her power.

But even if they eventually withdraw their NO-El proposal (because of strong negative clammor from the opposition), it is too late because most Filipinos will see this Cha Cha move by Arroyo/JDV/FVR as nothing more than fake reforms meant to distract the public from Gloriagate.

UPDATE: It's funny that Dean Jorge Bocobo left this comment on my post re the Cha-cha 2 days ago:

Why am I not surprised. While everyone is beating their breasts over the 2004 elections and cursing Garci, do you realize she's planning to stay LONGER than 2010??

So what DJB/Rizalist is saying is that we're wasting out time over GLORIAGATE and Garci because Arroyo is planning to use cha-cha to prolong her stay?

But then he visits Ellen's blog yesterday and posted this:

I can’t believe there is not a published copy of Garci’s Second Petition with the Supreme Court ANYWHERE. It’s just the most important legal maneuver of Gloriagate. But who has actually read it? Analysed it? Understood it? Where the heck is it? Anybody know someone with a copy? Chacha is long term problem. That Second Petition will be decided long before chacha.

Dean Bocobo seems to be unable to make up his mind kung anong mas importante. Dean, musta na?

Stop playing dumb, Max Soliven

From Max Soliven:

Now for my two centavos worth: I agree that our coming May 2007 elections must not be postponed – and perhaps no Cha-Cha effort can be fast-tracked to effect such a postponement. There is no way, I fear, to effect instant salvation for us via changing our form of government – without changing our attitudes and our mores.

But, contrary to the elegant two paragraphs above, some of our public officials deserve to be insulted, as well as our people’s intelligence, at times, "affronted." And here’s my problem: How can we hope for meaningful elections unless and until we reform the corrupt Commission on Elections which flubbed the May 2004 elections? As long as we cannot eject the crooked, and allegedly "vote-rigging" Commissioners of the Comelec – whose identities are wellknown – how can any Comelec-run polls be clean, honest and acceptable? Those who have been touting a "snap election" were guilty of the worst form of sophistry when they presented this to our people as the antidote to a "vote-cheating" La Gloria. A new "President" elected through the courtesy of the old Comelec by "snap elections"? It’s no surprise the idea fell flat on its face, and our people refused to "people power" anything of that demented sort, and went on trying to make a living.

Max Soliven himself is being disingenuous. Aside from GMA's stepping down, the opposition has also called for the resignation of all the COMELEC commissioners and other officials involved in the Gloriagate scandal.

I've elaborated on this proposal here. Ito ang summary:

1) New credible/clean presidential elections ASAP once Arroyo is out. The voters will get to choose the best alternative.

2) Revamp the COMELEC immediately and replace the commissioners with people whose integrity are unquestioned.

Long term goal is to institute major reforms in the COMELEC so that a repeat of 2004 election fiasco will not happen in the future.

Read the whole thing, Max and stop playing dumb.

Here's de Quiros's latest article to counter Max Sullivan's stupidity:

Abat's (mis)adventure in fact simply strengthens my argument about (clean) elections as the only alternative to GMA. In a trick-mirror sort of way, Abat shows up the fundamental flaw in the call for a transitional government in all its permutations. Which is: What's to prevent anyone from saying he has the answer to the country's problems? What's to prevent anyone from saying he has the interests of the nation at heart? What's to prevent anyone from claiming he has the right to lead the nation?

That is not for anyone to say. That is not for GMA or Abat to say. That is not for you or me to say. That is for the people to say. That is what we have elections for. That is what we call ourselves a democracy for.

GMA stole the vote from the voters, let's give the vote back to the voters.

As I keep saying, by all means let's have a caretaker government after GMA. But completely transient and only to assure clean elections-not least by putting the current Comelec commissioners, chief of them Virgilio Garcillano, behind bars. That is all the extra-constitutional thing we need to do.

The constant objection to this is that it will not go far toward reforming the country. My constant answer to that is, oh, but it most assuredly and monumentally will.

Not least, it will arrest our fall from democracy, the way Satan fell from heaven. That is no mean thing. We do not have a democracy anymore, not in mind, not in body. Just last Friday, I saw again something I never thought I'd see after Edsa. One Philip Casey wrote in the Opinion page: "Let's just let the President do her job. I don't care whether she cheated or not, but had she really cheated, well, glory to her: she saved the country from still greater shame by doing so!" I leave others to unburden themselves of their emotions over this statement. Suffice it for me to say that it obviously never occurred to the writer that that is an argument not just for seizing power but for keeping it forever.

But my point is: Aren't the groups proposing an (indefinite) transitional government, not just to prepare for elections but presumably to reform the country, not falling into the same trap? Aren't they saying: "We don't care if we take over without a mandate, but if we do, well, glory to us: we're saving the country from greater harm by doing so"? Is it just me, or is no one truly noticing how the future of this country is now being debated as though the people do not exist? Contrary to rumor, the problem of who to replace GMA is not the hardest thing to solve, it is the easiest. It is to let the voters decide who to replace her.

The notion that that would only bring us to where we were, ignorant voters voting for the "wrong" candidate, is a dangerous one. The day we start thinking of the citizens as being stupid, as being unprepared to chart their own future, is the day we lay out the welcome mat to dictatorship. It is exactly the same argument our colonial masters used against us, saying they had a right to keep us in bondage because we were unprepared to be free, we needed tutelage. It is exactly the same argument sexists and bigots use against women and people of color, saying they may not be given equal rights because they are unprepared for equality, they still need time. The only thing worse than voters voting "wrongly" is that they are not allowed to vote. Or have their vote stolen from them. That is why we are where we are today.
The solution is still: Oust GMA (by people power and/or civil disobedience), and call for (clean) elections. All the rest is just Abat idea.


Biazon: Other political officials were bugged too

From Malaya:

WIRETAPPING by the Intelligence Service of the AFP (Isafp) started in January 2004 and targeted a number of prominent people, including a then incumbent senator and a retired general, according to Sen. Rodolfo Biazon.

Biazon, in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) Thursday night, said he listened to three additional tape recordings forwarded to him by Samuel Ong, former NBI deputy director for intelligence, shortly before last week’s hearing of his committee into the national security component of the "Hello Garci" scandal.

Biazon is chairman of the Senate committee on national defense and security which is looking into the alleged participation of four generals in the alleged rigging of the May 2004 polls to ensure President Arroyo’s victory.

He said among the conversations he heard were those between the senator and the general.

"Nothing controversial ang pinag-uusapan nila. Ang controversial kung sino-sino sila," Biazon said.

Biazon refused to name the two personalities but said the senator was a member of the opposition bloc. "He did not run in the 2004 elections," he said.

Biazon said the conversations in the three additional tapes did not include any between President Arroyo and former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano.

"Those conversations are in the mother of all tapes," he said.

Biazon said conversations in the "mother of all tapes" started in May and lasted until mid-June while those in the three additional states ran from January to April 2004.

"This only shows that the wiretappings started way before the May 2004 elections," he added.

At sino kaya ang utak ng ISAFP wiretapping na yan? esep esep...


Do you want to be my guest or my prisoner?

According to the police, they had intelligence agents monitoring Abat and company’s show at the Club Filipino. The agents, therefore, had personal knowledge of the crime allegedly committed.

So why did these agents not go to a prosecutor a file a complaint? Why did they have to invoke citizen’s arrest when Abat was not going anywhere?

Plain laziness? Sheer stupidity?

And they could not even get their act together. The policemen told Abat and his companions they were being "invited" to Camp Crame. When Ambassador Rey Señeres asked for any document covering the "invitation," the policemen could not present one.

The policemen, not to be bothered by legal niceties, bodily carried out lawyer Carlos Serapio. Seeing the policemen meant business, Abat, Señeres and Salvador Enriquez decided to go with them to Camp Crame.

During martial law, people were not arrested. They were "invited," with the invitation extending to free board and lodging courtesy of the state for an indeterminate period. The police are back in the business of inviting people. Did Edsa 1 really take place?

Incidentally, would it have greatly inconvenienced the policemen had they slipped into uniform before proceeding with their mission? They looked like bums in T-shirts, vests and rubber shoes.

"Citizen's arrest"? Hmmm... hindi ba pulis yung mga naka-civilian na yan?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Why say NO to Arroyo's Constitution?

Here are a few good reasons why.

As for me, I'm not for changing the Constitution. Ever since panahon pa ni Ramos at Erap.

But EVEN IF I were for it, I want somebody who is credible and with integrity to lead the reforms. The last person I would trust to make changes in the Constitution is Mrs. Arroyo and her appointed stooges like Jarius Bondoc, Alex Magno and Carmen Pedrosa of PHILSTAR. Changing the constitution is not a small matter, and I sense we have another Marcos type situation in our hands with his 1973 Constitution.

It's deja vu all over again.

More: Statement of Roilo Golez:

The No-El proposal is also a political ploy to save the administration from certain defeat in the mid-term elections of 2007. With the President’s record low rating, political analysts consider association with her as a kiss of death especially in the national capital region, rest of Luzon and Mindanao.

Political analysts believe 2007 is going to be a valley of death of most administration candidates. So, wy not a constitutional coup by canceling the election and maintain status quo? better than employing a Garci.

Additional comments on poposed amendments: It’s designed to be packed in favor of the President. One third of the cabinet shall be appointed members of the Parliament. That’s around 7 MPs. 30 “experts” shall be appointed to the Parliament. So the President would start with at least 15 percent puppet MPs. With that kind of packing, the President would be able to do anything. No wonder the 55 “wise” men and women got isntant medals from the grateful president. This proposal to pack the parliament is shameless. I can’t believe they even atempted this.

How they insult the people’s intelligence!.

Ellen Tordesillas:

Nakakabahala kasi, sa highlights na pinalabas ng Concom, sinabi na wala ng eleksyon sa 2007. Lahat-lahat raw na nasa pwesto ngayon ay manatili hanggang 2010, kung kailang magsimula ang eleksyon para sa parliamentary system. Garapal.

Ang unang eleksyon sa ilalim ng bagong Constitution ay sa pangalawang Lunes ng Mayo 2010.

Teka ka. Sino ba ang nagsabing gusto ng taumbayan ang parliamentary system. At sino ba ang nagsabing gusto ng taumbayan palitan ang Constitution ngayon?

Sa survey ng Pulse Asia noong Octubre, mas maring Pilipino (55%) ang hindi pabor sa pagpalit ng Constitution ngayon at 37 lamang ang may gusto.

Ang may pasimuno nitong pagpalit ng Constitution ay si dating Pangulong Ramos at si De Venecia.Lalo na si JDV dahil sa ilalim ng presidential system kung saan isang tao, isang boto, wala siyang tsansa maging pinuno ng bayan. Kasi maari mong lokohin ang iilan ngunit mahirap lokohin ang buong bayan.

Kumagat na rin si Arroyo dahil nakita niyang salbabida itong charter change para mabaling ang atensyon ng taumbayan sa kanyang pandaraya, pagsisinungaling at pagnanakaw. Ang mahalaga lang sa kanya ay manatili siya hanggang 2010. Ang susunod niyan ay siguruhin niya, sa kung ano na namang pagmanipula kung paano siyang malibre sa ginawang niyang krimen sa bayan

Malaking anomalya itong ginawa nilang transitory provision na ang term of office ng lahat na opisyal, local at national, ay hanggang 2010.

UPDATE: From Neal Cruz:

Speaking of another old man who refuses to fade away, there's former University of the Philippines president Jose P. Abueva who accepted an appointment as chair of the Consultative Commission. Very recently, he submitted to Ate Glue the draft of a proposed Constitution, which she immediately endorsed to Congress. Luckily, we still have a bicameral Congress, and the Senate quickly thumbed down Abueva's handiwork. Can you imagine what would happen to us if we had a unicameral parliament with the present members of the House as the MPs? That is what Abueva's ConCom is proposing.

Not only that, it proposes to ban school dropouts and actors from running for public office. This is clearly class legislation directed at the likes of Erap and FPJ (Fernando Poe Jr). It reveals that members of the ConCom are bigots and elitists. A college degree, even a whole string of them, does not automatically clothe a person with wisdom. There have been many dropouts who turned out to be good public servants. Former Senate President and Foreign Secretary Blas F. Ople and former Sen. Francisco Tatad come to mind. On the other hand, there are many college graduates who are bobos. Even university presidents can be that. Look at Abueva.

His draft constitution uses bribery to entice congressmen and senators to accept it. It proposes to postpone the elections of 2007 and automatically make them, including the many third termers, members of Parliament, gratis, without having to run and spend for a new term. Isn't that bribery?

Walang College degree, bawal tumakbo bilang MP?

From Ellen Tordesillas:

Nakasama rin sa rekomendasyon nina Abueva na college graduate lang ang maaring maging miyembro ng parliament kung saan manggagaling ang president at prime minister.

Kahit na alam ko ang kahalagaan ng edukasyon, parang hindi ko yata gusto itong lilimitahan mo ang gustong maging lider ng bansa sa college graduate. Sa akin kasi, hindi college diploma ang batayan ng pagiging maging lider.

Katulad na lang ngayon. College graduate ang nakaupo sa Malacañang, mandaraya, sinungaling at magnanakaw naman.

How about kung bawal ang mga mandaraya, sinungaling at magnanakaw na tumakbo bilang MP?

I think that's a better requirement.

UPDATE: But seriously, this is the kind of fake reforms na hindi ko gusto. Bawal ang walang college degree? Kung ganyan ang Constitution sa US, eh di people like Bill Gates would be disqualified from running for office.

Besides, I don't think most Filipinos can afford a college education for their kids anymore in the future.

Yes, importante ang edukasyon at qualifications ng isang candidate, and those are some of the factors I take into consideration when choosing a candidate. (And yes, I did not vote for Erap or FPJ in 1998 and 2004.) But in the end, it's who the people want to lead them that's important. Putting unnecessary and artificial restrictions on who they can vote for is just plain retarded.

(I've also heard a similar proposal para sa Cha-cha where we should disallow voters who do not pay taxes [read: masa, poor people] from voting. Elitist talaga ano?)

UPDATE: More from de Quiros:

The notion that that would only bring us to where we were, ignorant voters voting for the "wrong" candidate, is a dangerous one. The day we start thinking of the citizens as being stupid, as being unprepared to chart their own future, is the day we lay out the welcome mat to dictatorship. It is exactly the same argument our colonial masters used against us, saying they had a right to keep us in bondage because we were unprepared to be free, we needed tutelage. It is exactly the same argument sexists and bigots use against women and people of color, saying they may not be given equal rights because they are unprepared for equality, they still need time. The only thing worse than voters voting "wrongly" is that they are not allowed to vote. Or have their vote stolen from them. That is why we are where we are today.

And if you ask me, who is more experienced, competent and qualified to run for president -- Cory Aquino with her college degree, or Joseph Estrada, a college dropout? If you're talking about experience and competency alone, then between Erap and Cory, Erap is the more qualified candidate, because the guy was a public official for many years (mayor, Senator and VP).

And if you're talking about moral fitness naman, who's more trustworthy and less corrupt, and the choice is between Erap and GMA, I think it is safe to say na after experiencing five years of post-Edsa Dos hell under GMA, I think a majority of Filipinos would say na mas corrupt at less competent si GMA kaysa kay Erap.

Because we are worse off now than we were 5 years ago.