Archive for July, 2007

31
Jul
07

On Miriam’s Sobriety

Declaring herself sober Miriam Defensor Santiago is elated to be nominated to the International Court of Justice. Aside from being sober, she adds that it also depends on the nominee’s personality. Her campaign manager is none other than DFA secretary, Alberto Romulo. It will be quite a feat as she belongs to a developing country and its always been first world countries who get the seats.

Its nice to hear that a Filipino is nominated to such a prestigious position. What I am afraid of is how long will she be sober. Its no secret how she “behaves” and how opportunistic she is. She can lose it anytime which could spell disaster for our countries image. Will her merits outweigh her demerits? I must admit that she has a way of re-inventing herself every time the need arises.

Will the ICJ conduct neuro-psychiatric tests as well? Will they discover the skeletons in Miriam’s closet? Would the country’s dismal human rights record do her in? Would the the government’s international cases affect her bid? Remember that we have an arbitration case which looks a little sour in the eyes of international business community. These are just some questions that come to mind with Santiago’s nomination.

She maybe a good RTC judge but the international scene is a totally different scene. She may possess the personality of an angel but sanity is imperative. Just because she can mouth off a grammatically correct sentence does not mean she is brilliant. She may have the intelligence of Einstein but the wisdom of a microbe.

She maybe sober for now but a tiny pinch could set her off anytime. The ICJ needs a person who will always have her head on her shoulder not one who has her mouth in her ass. On her credibility, I can only repeat her (in)famous line: “I lied!”

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30
Jul
07

Four Years After Oakwood

Last July 27 was the 4th anniversary of the Oakwood takeover. I will not call it a coup or a mutiny. I would refer to it as desperate attempt to open our eyes to reality. Generations of soldiers will tell you that corruption and favoritism has ruled the military institution for years. While there are genuine soldiers in the military, it cannot be said for some.

Politics have wreaked havoc on the institution. It had clouded the vision and wisdom of weak officers. They have succumbed to corruption and have thrown away the lessons they learned in the PMA. Instead of taking the road less traveled, they took the shorter route to achieve success(?). Enticed by the lure of wealth and promotion, they licked the asses of their corrupt leaders.

The low pay and slow promotion has pushed some to the brink and joined their corrupt leaders in destroying the honor of the men in uniform. There are many more out there who continue to have integrity and honesty. The same cannot be said to the current lot of leaders in the AFP. They would rather sell their souls to the devil than serve the people.

Oakwood was an eye-opener for us. For the firts time, the people heard the rumors from the soldiers themselves. The young men of Magdalo knew what they were getting into. These men put their entire future on the line for the sake of the people and the military institution. We cannot fault them for their actions as its not only the military’s intergrity that is at stake, its the entire nation as well.

The Magdalo did not happen overnight, they were frustrated by the system. They went to the grievance committee but was given the cold shoulder SEVERAL times. They sought the intervention of GMA but was not heard. Its obvious that they leadership was in a state of denial or all were in cahoots. Now I tend to believe the latter.

After four years, many who joined the Oakwood have sought different legal remedies. But some sold their comrades out. This only shows that even the Magdalo had weaklings among them. The admittance by most is not a sign of weakness, it was the only recourse they had. A very few went the extra mile and collaborated with Esperon and GMA to save their skin. A highly admirable few have remained steadfast and continue to fight for the truth.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes, IV and Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon continue to hold out along with several members of the core group of the Magdalo. The military hierarchy in its shameless state continue to persecute these idealistic young men. But try as they might, Esperon cannot break these men. He only showed what kind of corrupted leadership he has.

As Trillanes and Faeldon clearly points out, the situation in the military has worsened. The debacle in Tipo-tipo showed how leadership in the AFP has failed. The reaction of the leadership in the aftermath also showed how weak this administration is at handling the Moro insurgency. While the military addresses legitimate political dissent with unequaled savagery, the same cannot be said with the handling of the situation in the south. Is it because several interests would be affected? Are we to believe that this administration considers “diplomacy” than action? Is Malaysia a bigger player than just a mediator?

Four years and grievances continue to mount. The cancer had grown and no solution is in sight. As long as unfit leaders whose personal agenda comes first, the Oakwood incident will be followed as more disillusioned men will follow their footsteps. No amount of monetary compensation can buy integrity, honesty and genuine love for country. Men will rise up to continue the ideals of honorable men. Esperon and Gloria may have the upper hand for now but for how long? They will have to face the people sooner or later. Their mockery of morality will have to stop sometime.

30
Jul
07

TAGGED!

CVJ and Manila Bay Watch have TAGGED me. I guess its my turn to reveal some things about myself. Just like MBW, I’m clueless how this TAGGING works.

  • In the 8 facts about [name], you share 8 things that your readers don’t know about you. At the end, you tag 8 other bloggers to keep the fun going. Each blogger must post these rules first.
  • Each blogger starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • At the end of the post, a blogger needs to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

But just the same here are 8 boring things about me.

  1. I love reading history books and finished reading about world civilizations by the age of 10. Still, I’m collecting books on the different conflicts worldwide. This has led to one of my hobbies, collecting models.
  2. I’m supposed to have been the youngest programmer in the Philippines. At least that’s what the first programming school in the country told me. I was only 16 back then. I’m surprised at how the systems I studied are still the ones being used today.
  3. I love to eat. Pizza and Tacos make my day. But the ultimate high is still Kobe beef Yakiniku (that’s a rare treat considering the price). I miss my trips to Japan which of course leads to a Yakiniku feast.
  4. I have seen the country from north to south. Huwag maging banyaga sa sariling lupa. My fave is still Batanes but the beaches of Bogo in Cebu are the best for me. Diving in Pagbilao is a wonderful experience and catching a shark off the shore of Curimao in Ilocos is a tasty experience.
  5. I never liked watching movies. I often sleep in the theater. I just rent or buy instead so that I can simply watch it again should I fall asleep. Public affairs programs are my constant companions. Any news program gets my attention.
  6. I’ve been an activist since I discovered the poverty around me. I’ve been fighting for equality which some had misconstrued as being communistic. But wouldn’t it be nice to finally eradicate poverty? Its nice to see smiling faces around you.
  7. I love sports. I think I’ve tried everything. From basketball to track and field. My memories of my sporting years, 2 busted knees and a torn shoulder. It practically put a stop to my love for sports. Did I mention I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome too?
  8. Lastly, I love video and computer games. I maybe the oldest person who plays online. I play America’s Army (which you can download and play after passing a battery of tests)and the walang kamatayang Counter Strike. I definitely hate terrorism.

I’m supposed to TAG eight bloggers and leave a comment in their blogs. They in turn have to tag 8 other bloggers. I guess I cannot TAG those who CVJ and MBW have TAGGED already.

26
Jul
07

I Am Strong, I Am Invincible, I Am GLORIA!

From where I sat, squirmed and scratched my head while the lame duck beat her chest. The queen shouted to the heavens that she can be tough when she wants to be tough. Yeah sure, eat my shorts! Strength is not measured by how many activists, journalists and professionals have been killed or abducted. Nor is it measured by how many unconstitutional EOs one has issued. It cannot even be measured by how many rallies one had ordered dispersed.

When one deploys 9,000 policemen to guard her SONA, she just showed how scared she really is. A strong president can walk through any place without fear of getting booed or pelted with rotten eggs. A strong president will not resort to repression to silence the voices of the hungry. A strong president will never cheat and will adhere to democratic processes. A strong president will not cow and pay up political debts, she will choose the right people for the right jobs.

Gloria was clearly trying to look tough but deep inside, she knows she can be kicked out not by the people but those around her. She had to keep all her minions happy. So WHAT does she do? She takes all her cronies for another ride and promise them projects left and right. And THE bozos clapped and roared with delight at the prospect of having more moolah in their pockets.

She gives her “militia” the free hand to attack all unarmed and helpless political dissenters. But of course she allows them to “wage” war on the armed insurgents to keep their “trading businesses” going. Just imagine if peace is finally attained? The generals and their henchmen will no longer have materiel to sell to the rebels. Kickbacks from supplies will cease and they can no longer finish the mansions they are building. Their poor kids will no longer be able to go on trips or even study abroad.

Of course she has to keep the cholesterol flowing in congress. Pork translates to SOPs. And SOPs means having enough ammo for the next elections. So for the next three long years, we have to slave hard and pay our high taxes so she can shower her political allies with love. Of course she will have to send more Filipinos abroad as the dollars they remit would help her globetrotting junkets. The dollars will also help the BSP keep our peso strong and creditors happy.

But of course she will leave “helping the needy” to the NGOs and businessmen. She wouldn’t waste her own money to help the poor, hapless Filipinos. She “worked” very hard for it. So now our students will have to make do with the scraps the government throw to them. They will have to study hard so the can work abroad and send their kids to school and prepare them to take their place as OFWs.

I have but one thing to say to this toughie, “being strong is totally different from having a THICK FACE”.

24
Jul
07

Political Props

Back in 2001, GMA used as her props, three boys from the Payatas dump site. They were promised scholarships, employment and housing. The first two were fulfilled while the last is yet to materialize. The boys also asked for the rehablitation of Payatas which up to now remained unfulfilled as dumping there continues. Justice for those who were killed in the landslide is left unanswered. Her seventh SONA was no different. She once again used political props to highlight her supposed achievements.

For the agrarian reform, she presented several farmers who benefited from the program. But she never lifted a finger on the plight of the farmers in Negros. Members of Task Force Mapalad have been trying to claim land awarded to them. Several farmers have been killed. To this day, Hacienda Velez-Malaga has continued to defy orders from the DAR to hand over 5 hectares to farmer beneficiaries.

She paraded students who won in international academic competitions to show that our education system is working. The problem is that she never addressed the current problems besetting the education sector. Lack of classrooms is still the number one problem. The high dropout rate and the lack of teachers are yet to be addressed. She also bragged that there is now a 1:1 ratio for textbooks for our public school students. What she said is true but she forgot that these books are riddled with errors that would mislead our poor students.

She has this penchant for using political props to make her look good. A handful cannot represent the entire picture. The 3 boys from Payatas is but a speck in the millions of young kids who have a harsher life. The level of poverty that prevails in our country has pushed more youths to seek employment. Child labor is now a growing problem as many face hazardous conditions just to survive.

The push for industrialization has displaced farmers and fisher folks and deprived them of their livelihood. Mining firms have taken over areas and had caused environmental catastrophes that would take years to rectify. In its bid to generate revenue, permits have been issued left and right much to the detriment of the locals and the environment.

Never were the stakeholders considered. The get-rich programs of this administration is no different from the pyramiding scams of certain individuals. GMA can boast all she wants, but all these amounts to nothing as the reality on the ground paints a different picture. In the end, its mere rhetorics once again and individuals were used as political props.

I hope the SONA will never be presented in such a restricted place like the Batasan. I hope the SONA is held in an open space where even the ordinary man can witness it delivered. I hope the SONA will not be restricted in attendance by cronies and political lackeys. I would rather hear the genuine applause or resounding boos of the ordinary Filipino than hear the scripted claps and chants of ass-lickers.

23
Jul
07

Response To GMA’s HSA

At the SONA today, GMA asked the senate and lower house to craft laws to protect the rights of the people against abuse. Like I mentioned in a previous entry, the HSA is open to any abuse by those who would implement it. There maybe safeguards but loopholes and misinterpretation by certain quarters can render these inutile.

My response to her call is to ratify the Rome Statute. In a nation where institutions have deteriorated, nothing is safe from any kind of abuse. The concept of the creation of the International Criminal Court is to protect every citizen of the world from abuse of the state. When the state represses its people, the ICC can intervene on its behalf.

The extra-judicial carnage we continue to experience is a good case for the ICC. It is absurd for the administration to ask that we all abide by the rule of law while it attacks the very essence of the constitution. Calling for additional laws to protect the people from abuses of the security forces will amount to nothing as she can easily call upon her forces to respect the people.

She referred to men who commit these atrocities as rogue groups in the military. How convenient it is for her to use this alibi. The MILF uses this excuse as well to “protect” those who beheaded the ten marines, lost command “daw”. Its so easy to point elsewhere to cover up the truth.

If the administration is clean and conducts itself properly with regards to human rights, then it should not be afraid to go under the scrutiny of the ICC. Are we made to believe that the ICC has a hidden agenda or even a deal with insurgents? I don’t think that the ICC will be biased to any side. It will not allow its institution to be used as a tool for harassing any leader of any state.

The abuses in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Detention Centers showed why the Rome Statute should be ratified. Citizens should have someone to run to when leaders or even institutions who cannot be made accountable by its people abuse them openly. The administration clearly has unjustified reservations against the ICC.

Any complaint will first be investigated, the ICC will not readily accept cases without basis. If the government cannot make accountable these “rogue elements and lost commands”, then where does this leave us? We signed the Rome Treaty on December 28, 2000. It was during Erap’s administration. Since Gloria took over, nothing was heard of it and extra-judicial violations increased. It has been growing at a steady pace. Even when nations the world over have condemned these, GMA quickly dismissed tham and toed the AFP line that all these killings were done by the communists.

The Melo Commission whose task is to investigate the extra-judicial kilings and enforced disappearances have cleared the AFP. Witnesses were afraid to come out for fear of retaliation. In the end, the commission became a tool by this administration to cover up its misdeeds.

GMA stood beside the U.S. in not ratifying the treaty. The U.S. and Israel both signed but have said that they will not ratify it. Only countries whose leaders and military are abusive should be afraid of the ICC. Countries who have dictators and authoritarian leaderships will never accede to such a treaty. Maniacs who rule without respect to life will never approve such an agreement.

If GMA really wants us to give the Human Security Act a chance, yes we will. But she has to ratify the Rome Statute to make sure that someone will really be watching our backs. With her around, nothing should be left to chance.

Additional references to the Rome Statute can be read here and here.

22
Jul
07

State Of The Nation’s Distress

Tomorrow is the big day. The queen of the enchanted kingdom will once again address her loyal(?) subjects. She’ll not be addressing the Filipino people as we already know and experience the realities of Philippine life. She will be speaking to the hundreds of ass-lickers and cronies in the gallery of congress.

Last year saw the birth of the super regions and hailing the butcher as the hero of her anti-insurgency campaign. This year, characters will change and data will once again be manipulated. She will praise herself to high heavens for a job well done. I’m sure she’s tickled pink at the “timely” release of Fr, Giancarlo Bossi. She’ll probably laud the Comolect for an honest and peaceful elections with special mention to the best actor/senator of Maguindanao.

She will again put emphasis on her ongoing programs for education. (Incidentally, Sec. Jesli Lapus admitted that only 4,000 or 10% of 40,000 classrooms needed by our public school students can be constructed.) She’ll brag about how millions of error-filled textbooks have been distributed to our clueless students. She may even thank our teachers who worked tirelessly during last May’s polls (except those who exposed the cheating).

She’ll brag about the strong peso due to her sound fiscal reforms. Of course these reforms include BSP intervention and the successful employment abroad of more than a million OFWs. She will brag about the sharp rise in the stock market due to bargain hunting of only 40,000 of the more than 84 million Filipinos.

The highlight of her SONA is the Human Security Act. She will toast congress for approving it. For sure she will chide the detractors of the law and insinuate that they are terrorists. She will brag about making headway in addressing the extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances. She will brag about the creation of special courts to address these cases. She’ll mention the great and heroic efforts of Esperon, Bacarro and Tolentino. She might even blame the killed/abducted militants for the fate which befell them. She will drop a promise or two to keep the international community at bay.

She will say that the poverty alleviation projects of the government are working despite the report that states that 19% of Filipinos experience hunger. She will boast of the millions of jobs her administration had created even if most of them were actually due the overseas demand. We all know her penchant for taking credit for everything good. Despite all her “achievements”, prices are still up. Electricity and water costs continue to rise. Despite the strong peso, commodities are up and rising. The only thing stagnant is the salary of the lowly worker.

Her report on infrastructure will be something to watch out for. She’ll report on the status of her super regions. She’ll say how everything is on track despite the failure to open the NAIA Terminal 3. The Northrail project has yet to commence the actual groundwork. She will boast about her Chinese connection in getting more funds for her cyber corridor.

One thing we must be wary of is her intention to run for a congressional seat. Her ambition to be the prime minister has not diminished. The woman’s greed for power sure is insatiable. For sure, they will make a more calculated push for charter change this time around. They cannot afford another setback.

Her SONA will most certainly be another spin-splattered one. She will captivate her supporters and keep them salivating of prospective projects. She will dangle new carrots to the “rabbi(t)ds” in the lower house to keep them on their toes. The only people she will not report to is us, the ordinary Filipino whose tax she continues to misuse. She will keep her “mongrels” happy and the rest of the nation distressed.

Another year had passed. The people had grown tired. The wicked queen had wore down the people. She had pushed the nation to desperation and made the people zombies. It has been 6 struggling years, 3 more grueling more to go. Have we really resigned to our fate or is the people biding its time? Will the queen deliver another SONA? Or will distress finally push us to the brink? Only her next actions will tell what awaits her.

One thing is for sure, should she survive till 2010, I will go into the t-shirt business. My shirt will say, “I SURVIVED THE ARROYO REGIME”.




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