Archive for November, 2007


In Retrospect: The Standoff

In hindsight, was the Manila Peninsula Standoff really intended for us, the Filipino people? If it were spontaneous as Sen. Trillanes claims, then it was doomed to fail. People will never come. Were you and I the audience he seeks? I doubt it very much as I view the incident as an avenue for a different purpose. From a military point of view, you will never “invade” unprepared.

So I think it was not meant for us. Trillanes is a soldier and he would know, the people will never come without the proper information. Even the opposition was caught off-guard by his action. His move has a deeper motive. Was it a test case, was it a balloon to test the sentiment of the people? Maybe, maybe not, I think we will find out in the days to come.

Missing yesterday was the coming out of major service commanders to show their unquestioned support for the incumbent. The downplaying by the military of the incident as a simple police action only proves that there are rumblings in the military. DOTC sec. Leandro Mendoza’s order to closely watch the ports and airports supports this theory. It only shows that there indeed a broader support for Trillanes in the armed forces. The constant loyalty checks also supports this theory. Was the move by Trillanes meant for the military? We all cannot simply dismiss this outright.

I am sure that professional soldiers will at all times adhere to their constitutionally mandated roles. They know the limits of the doctrine of the chain of command and what constitutes legal and moral orders. These soldiers will question anything that is unlawful. This is the cause of continuing military adventurism. Soldiers will follow but will have lingering questions in them.

That fact that independent and professional generals never make it as chief of staff proves that a strength of a president(?) relies heavily on her relations with the military leadership. This practice have been questioned by disgruntled officers since far back as I can remember.

On Coups And Its Components

Coups of the violent nature will never succeed in this country. People will never subscribe to a militarist view. The fact that violent coups in the past were widely condemned and never supported only shows that a violent option for a takeover is doomed to fail. People power however is a different animal altogether. Civilian-led moves had been successful. But for this to succeed need a series of worsening events. Gloria’s situation is of this nature.

The questions of her legitimacy continue to hound her. The corruption scandals and the blocking of legal avenues to resolve these questions could escalate things. Ninoy Aquino’s assassination merely started the ball rolling for Marcos’s downfall. The real spark was the cheating in the snap election. When an administration resorts to subversion of the constitution and curtailing of civil liberties, then it will be prone to coups and civilian upheaval.

The administration’s reaction yesterday may have some legal basis to a certain extent. Its actions to resolve the incident may have been proper. But it failed miserably to paint a picture of stability. The small details such as the hauling of the media, “dragnet” style will not sit well in the eyes of foreign press. The cuffing of clergy and senior citizens is unsettling to some. The imposition of the curfew has sparked questions of its legality however justified the imposition maybe.

So it seems we have not seen the end of actions like the one Trillanes took. It has exposed the frailties of the current dispensation, whether it be its political image or public relations. What is clear is that there is growing public dissent. The continuing discontent should not be discounted. Accountability is still the order of the day. Gloria’s remaining years will be the ride of her life. Whether she will be finally ousted will depend on how fat her wallet is. What awaits her beyond 2010 is uncertain. She has only two options left, a shift to parliamentary form or a declaration of martial law. Exile is not an option, she will have to face the music eventually.

One statement resounds, Gen. Danilo Lim summed it all up. “DISSENT WITHOUT ACTION CONSENT.”


Freedom Under Threat

The standoff at the Manila Peninsula exposed the true nature of the state of the nation. We are not in a free state nor is the true essence of democracy is practiced. With the friction that the administration has been having with the media, now is the time that GMA and her gang can collect payback. DILG Ronaldo Puno did away with niceties and minced no words in justifying the police’s treatment of the members of media.

Only in countries under authoritarian rule do we see such excesses committed by security forces on journalists. Alston’s findings are now proved right. The government can and will twist anything to serve its purpose. But this not stop there. every venue of discontent has been plugged by this administration. Rallies are met with violence and critics silenced for eternity.

Some may say otherwise and claim, no, we are free. But freedom has a broad definition. We maybe free in a superficial way but there is a deeper meaning to it. I suppose people see things differently. Some maybe content with their lives concerned only with their comforts and enjoyment. But those are simple things which cannot be the barometer of freedom. True freedom offers more.

With its popularity in the gutters, the government will not hesitate to use any means to hold on to power. This has been displayed so many times. Just look at the impunity by which this administration abuses its powers. I am sure that the coming days will be a stroll in the past. Gloria has perfected what Marcos left unfinished. Another round of witch hunt will be conducted and known critics once again harassed.

Freedom has been under threat since Gloria took over. It became more apparent in the last three years. The arrest of dozens of journalists in full view of the world and the subsequent confiscation of their equipment is a complete violation of freedom of the press. Even foreign journalists were not spared and repercussions will surely follow. Seeing handcuffed journalists is not a good sight to see especially to the international community.

This will not simply blow over. There simply is no law which can justify this action. I suppose the overreaction of this paranoid government has stirred them to make a succession of blunders. Seeing a former VP handcuffed, clergymen handcuffed and then the journalists will not sit well with society. The coming days will be a wait and see. This incident could may very well start the ball rolling for this regime’s demise.

The scenario will be taking a different color in the days to come. Reactions by the public could not be noticed until the last moment. That is how our society works. We can be patient but are not martyrs.


News Update! Trillanes And Lim Walkout (UPDATED)

Senator Trillanes and Gen. Danny Lim walked out of the Makati RTC which was hearing the case of Sen. Trillanes. The group now is in Manila Peninsula. The MPs tasked to secure the two merely followed them. They were joined by former VP Guingona and former UP pres. Nemezio.

Guests were not disturbed and some even showed support. Esperon has issued a statement that the MPs were ordered not to intervene. The group has settled in and has issued a statement calling on the military and the people to withdraw their support of the Arroyo administration.

DnD sec. Teodoro said that they will use the full force of the law and that he has been ordered to rearrest the group. Civilians also brought out Magdalo armbands to show support for the group.

On a different light, Viviene Yuchengco speaking from the PSE said that the AFPshould deploy snipers and shoot the group. Talk about pure stupidity. This woman obviously has no other concern but money.

Some bishops have also joined the group at the Manila Pen.

12:53 PM – Marines are moving from Fort Bonifacio. Some marines wearing orange markers are reported to have joined the group.

1:19 PM – Riot units of Navy deploy. Marines wearing orange markers join Lim and Trillanes.

1:26 PM – About 300 troops cordon off the Manila Pen area. Whose side they’re on is unclear. They refuse to comment when asked. Replying only that they are following orders.

1:49 PM – Arrest orders have been issued by MalacaƱang. Negotiations have started and all occupants are asked to vacate the hotel.

2:00 PM – Malacanang holds a press-con. As expected, Lito Atienza had a mouthful to say about the rule of law(?) and the church’s role.

2:26 PM – DOJ sec. Gonzalez says there is connivance between civilians and the group of trilanes and Lim.

2:39 PM – NCRPO chief Barrias delivers 3 PM ultimatum. He said he will effect arrests after. Use of force is not ruled out by Barrias. Mkti RTC judge issues warrant of arrest for contempt. Barrias was driven out of the hotel by a Magdalo member.

2:42 PM – Guests start evacuating the hotel. Trillanes speaks. He says that nothing will happen after 3PM. He also points out that AFP is not 100% behind GMA. He also stressed that’s they are merely following the lead of the people and that its the people’s choice whether they would like GMA to continue to make a mockery of our democracy.

3:09 PM – Way past the deadline, 4 phone numbers were given so the people may call in their support.

3:11 PM – DBM sec. Andaya tries to interpret law as he sees fit.

3:15 PM – DOTC sec. Mendoza of the ZTE fame tries to “scare” media into giving airtime to Trillanes. He was quick however to laud media for a fair reporting of the ongoing standoff.

It now boils down to how one views the constitution and the abuse of the doctrine of the chain of command. Men in uniform have become automatons, devoid of principles, and common sense.

Donald Dee meantime says that actions like this could bring down the entire country. From my point of view, its only Gloria’s ass that’s on the line.

3:35 PM – Trillanes goes down to the lobby to escort some guests out of the building. Magdalo still control the entrance of the hotel.

3:40 PM – Police are asking media to leave. Trillanes and his group remain steadfast and will fight if they have to.

3:58 PM – Barrias says SWAT ready to storm hotel any minute now.

4:02 PM – SWAT slowly approach hotel as warning shot rang out.

4:03 PM – V-150 apc moves with SAF closely moving with it.

4:05 PM – Some guests are still inside with Magdalo showing them out.

4:14 PM – Troops crouch closer to hotel. Apc now in the driveway behind the hotel.

4:17 PM – Media are herded into one side of the lobby. Local and foreign media comprise the group.

4:20 PM – Trillanes say people are being blocked from going near the hotel. He adds that they are just waiting for things to unfold.

4:23 PM – Media asked to stop filming troop movements to cloak the operation.

4:25 PM – Trillanes chides the kind of people the administration has sent to various TV stations for interviews. Even comparing them with the men inside the hotel with him.

4:35 PM – Media and other civilians still inside the hotel. JV Bautista says government has lost decency. He laments that the senate has been stymied and the lower house composed of paid hacks. He said that this action is not against the judicial processes but a fight against a corrupt and illegitimate presidency. He also will question the issuance of the warrant. He says that these are political acts against the current dispensation.

4:48 PM – Assault starts. Teargas lobbed into ground floor of hotel.JV Bautista says Lim and Trillanes will take their stand.

4:51 PM – RG Guevarra says they will all stay. If this should be the new Tirad Pass, so be it. Trillanes said that the people should witness the ruthlessness of this administrations. Guevarra adds that they are willing to lay their lives on the line.

4:58 PM – VP Guingona said a call for sobriety is a bit too late. Bunye presents local officials reminiscent of Marcos’s last days in office. Shots are now being fired.

5:03 PM – Firing escalates. 500 people trapped inside the hotel.

5:06 PM – Apc breaks into the lobby of the hotel. 2 civilians brought out.

5:08 PM – About 50 troops enter lobby as shots are fired. Apc serving as their cover.

5:09 PM – Lim refused to talk to media.

5:16 PM – CNN reporter still inside hotel. Reports his ordeal during the start of the assault.

5:18 PM – Bishop Libayen speaks. Group has decided to leave the hotel as situation becoame too dangerous for civilians inside. Libayen says that to have peace, there must be justice. Justice he says is not being properly dispensed with. Sen. Trillanes says he is standing for the rights of the oppressed. He adds that we are witnesses to the kind of treatment this government is willing to give. He said that they will face whatever action is taken upon him. He doesn’t want the blood of the innocent to be spilled. Lim for his part said that dissent without action is consent. Trillanes said that he is not the loser but the entire nation. Trillanes also said that the AFP will soon live up to its mandate.

Bibet Orteza lauds the kind of leaders she is with. Bibet is proud to be a Filipino. Trillanes was voted to the senate by more than 11 million votes. He asks the people that he believes that GMA will still be there beyond 2010. To stand is no longer a duty but a moral obligation. Like all evil regimes, Gloria’s reign will also have meets its end.

The group is still inside a function room while waiting for the teargas to dissipate.

5:43 PM – Gen. Barias has asked 11 media to go to Bicutan for questioning. Pinky Webb of ANC says that she has no idea what questions will asked of them.

5:52 PM – Media are finally allowed to leave the hotel. All media will be brought to Bicutan.

6:03 PM – Norbeto Gonzales now announces the start of another witch

6:09 PM – Media are frisked and searched and are whisked away at gun point. Atty. Marichu Lambino says that media can reject an invitation. She also points out that violations may have been committed in this regard.

6:14 PM – The group of Trillanes files out of the hotel.

6:19 PM – Trillanes is brought out and the rest of the group will be brought to Bicutan as well.

6:29 PM – Members of media are brought out with strapped hands.

Last entry on media affairs: Media being the source of our information are now treated as common criminals despite what explanations the police may provide. It was media’s duty to update us of what was happening on the ground. Police may have overstepped the boundaries of law. The rough treatment of our brothers in media should be condemned by all.


When Dogs Run Wild

The Alston report is finally out, and it points to the military as perpetrators of extrajudicial killings. As expected, Esperon is once again dismayed. PNP Chief Avelino Razon also questions the report. We all know about the sham Task Force Usig and Melo Commission. These were creations of GMA to cover up the mess she and her dogs created.

Gloria herself called for an all-out war against the left. It was so sweeping that it justifies and legalizes the use of covert actions against those perceived to be enemies of the state. So everybody became fair game to an inhuman military leadership, even legitimate opposition were lumped with the insurgents. The military will of course deny such actions. Not all units are used for these operations. I am sure that only a select few conduct these operations.

This is now a problem we all must face. Gloria has allowed her dogs to run wild. They instill fear in all critics of the current dispensation. Gloria has to keep the military leadership close to her. She has to keep them happy long after they retire. Just look at how many retired police and military men occupy high positions in government. Gloria’s “savior” in EDSA 2, Gen. (ret.) Angelo Reyes have been bouncing around different cabinet positions. He paved the way for GMA’s power grab in 2001.

Generals tapped for electoral fraud in 2004 have been given top posts in the military hierarchy. Esperon, Gloria’s top dog has been abusing the doctrine of “chain of command” to keep the lowly soldier in line no matter how immoral the orders may be. Those who stand for their constitutionally mandated duties are quickly dealt with and charged in military courts.

Such is the current state of lawlessness in the Philippines. Impunity is the order of the day. Those tasked to protect the people had thrown their principles out the window. They have become mercenaries for an illegitimate and greedy regime. Men who were taught to adhere to the ideals of professional soldiering are reduced to dogs of a despot-wannabe.

The killings have waned since the UN took interest in the Philippine situation. GMA’s dogs have stood down lest they run the risk of an outright international condemnation. So life goes on in the enchanted kingdom of Gloria. I am sure she is just biding her time and waiting for things to cool down. I hope the international community will not abandon the Filipino people. I hope they keep their watch or Gloria will once again set her dogs loose to run wild among the populace.


Tagged By Two

I know, I know, some would react. Some of you who have tagged me have been waiting for months now. Melai and Nick leads the pack. But as of late, Kris (Nightdreamer) and Elay (Flygirl) have tagged me. Kris wants to know why I blog and Elay wants to know 7 things about me.

I seldom do this but I suppose I have to now.

To Kris who’s been a faithful reader and a friend, here are 5 reasons why I blog.

  1. I want to share my views on the goings on in our country.
  2. I want to open the eyes of the youth and if possible, influence them to take a more proactive role in nation building.
  3. I blog for advocacy and what better way to get the message across through blogging.
  4. I have to make a stand against corrupt leaders and this is one way of expressing my disgust.
  5. I am an idealist and this is one way of sharing my principles and ideals.

Elay, here are 7 things you have to know about me.

  1. I love pizza and tacos.
  2. I too love planes.
  3. I collect models, from cars to ships.
  4. I hate bigots.
  5. I love making friends.
  6. I call my younger blogging friends, anak (that includes you).
  7. I love video games.


Cronyism And Philippine Politics

Cronyism has been our country’s biggest headache since time immemorial. Politics leads to creating a more profitable retirement. Politics not only gives one power but gives one a deeper pocket and a fatter wallet. Such is the case with the current dispensation. Bids and sales are awarded to close associates. Why is it that every time a multi-billion project comes up, the name Enrique Razon is not far behind?

The shelved NBN deal which is currently being investigated by the senate exposed the links between the Arroyos and Razon. The NBN controversy is yet to be resolved but a new and bigger controversy looms in the horizon. The government now wants to sell Transco, the company responsible for power transmission. Transco is one of the government’s few assets which actually earn.

We should have learned from Petron’s sale during the Ramos administration. Instead of preventing a birth of a cartel, the sale has led to the creation of one. If Petron was not privatized, Shell, Caltex and the rest of oil firms would not be able to dictate upon us the indiscriminate increases in fuel prices. Petron would have been a deterrent to such a cartel.

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.(PSALM) was tasked to oversee the Transco bidding. It is headed by Jose Ibazeta who is a close associate of Enrique Razon, Jr. Ibazeta sat as a director for Razon’s various companies. Razon is a close friend of none other than Mike Arroyo. Razon’s Monte Oro consortium is one of the bidders for Transco. Razon was also Team Unity’s treasurer. With Ibazeta conducting the bidding, Razon has a greater chance at outbidding(?) the three other bidders.

The winning bidder not only stands to have control over power transmission but also the telecommunications business as well. Fiber optics in the transmission cables can give clearer and broader wireless telecoms services. Just imagine the huge profit Transco can generate. The NBN can easily be provided by Transco considering its national coverage.

Its a pure and simple case of cronyism. The Arroyos are clearly building a business empire with the aid of their cronies. Dummies and fronts are nothing new to business. Its an accepted practice anywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised that some time in the future, an Arroyo would be named chairman in any of the companies put up by their cronies. I wouldn’t be surprised too if they end up being majority stockholders of their cronies’ businesses.

The vaunted Gloria-nomics brags about growth yet why sell government assets and acquire more loans? It defies logic that despite a claimed growing economy, government has no funds to spend. Aside from irresponsible spending, buying off allies has drained the national coffers. Instead of selling off the government’s nonperforming assets, why sell those which actually make money?

So it seems that the Arroyo’s greed has not diminished but has grown in fact. Why settle for kickbacks when you can actually get more with the sale of government assets? So the rape of the country continues. The only time we will see the actual devastation is after Gloria steps down or is ousted. I prefer the latter, to wait for 2010 might be too late.


When The Going Gets Tough, Look Busy

Scandals galore continue to hit the Arroyo government. And even the World Bank has joined the fray. While the request of the UN-WGEID (UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances) gathers dust on Gloria’s table, Central Philippines is battered by successive typhoons. Blasts has hit Metro Manila and the PNP is hard-pressed to come up with answers.

Bribery, kickbacks, pardons left and right and stonewalling investigations, light is slowly waning in GMA’s palace. So to look good and somehow convince the people she’s doing something, she calls a command conference to find out what her loyal buffoons are up to. I am sure this is just another stage play in Gloria’s attempt to show she cares.

Judging from her body language, she looked bored, and at times sleepy. I am sure that at the back of her head, she must be dreaming of her soft bed in the palace. Such is the life of a despot who tries to hold on to power. Sincerity was never a trait, even at trying to look like she is just too obvious its all an act. Just look at how she will squeeze every centavo from our senior citizens while she gives tax discounts to cigarette manufacturers.

What gives, she doesn’t really care. Her main focus is survival. As if God has heard our prayers, the typhoon spares an already desperate Bicol. Damage to crops and property manageable with most affected communities evacuated. Its tough being an illegitimate president, one who is hounded by ghosts of her crimes. She should be thankful its typhoon season as most are too occupied and her scandals drowned out.

Its tough times for Gloria, even tougher than the Garci episode. Now, more concrete evidences link her and beloved partner. International organizations slowly see the truth. No more diplomacy or sweet talk can her. She now sits alone with her dogs at her feet just waiting when the whole charade ends. Like any dictator, acting is an essential part of her everyday life. She has to create a script and a scene she will be comfortable in. Her motto: “Whan the going gets tough, look busy.”

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November 2007
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