Archive for January, 2008

31
Jan
08

The Boy Is The Father Of The Man

Speaker Jose de Venecia should face the fact that in politics there are no permanent friends but only permanent interests. As the imbroglio in the lower house reaches its peak, the best thing for JdV to do is to let it go. No use trying to stop the inevitable. He will be ousted come hell or high water. His ouster has become personal. Despite Gloria’s denial that the palace is not involved in the ouster bid, the fact remains that the Arroyos have an ax to grind with the de Venecias.

The rift began when JdV’s son Joey exposed Mike Arroyo’s role in the scrapped ZTE-NBN deal. Now the entire Arroyo family has joined the fray. Along with JdV’s treacherous allies, JdV’s speakership is about to end. I don’t mind a trad-pol being kicked out, but the pretender is no better. Boy Nograles has his eyes set on the speakership. It has now come down to the nastiest of coups. Nograles has been JdV’s staunchest ally I suppose JdV now knows what it feels like to be Caesar.

The old man can still outdo himself. With his long relation with Gloria and the tons of dirt he has on her, he can still do a lot of damage even if he is ousted. My advice to him is cut out quickly and let the Arroyos swim in their shit. No use fighting fair, trad-pols like him should know that. Fight dirt with muck. If one cuts off your hand, cut her off her arm. If Gloria thinks she can survive it, then take away her legs as well. Gloria has always been known to say one thing and do another, this may cost her big time. It’s best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

The best that JdV can do is learn a thing or two from his son, Joey. Joey went against the Goliaths and they are clearly shaken. He had exposed enough to hurt Gloria, JdV with his long dealing with the Arroyos can do more damage. Forget that he maybe implicated as well, Filipinos love whistle-blowers. He may get out of this unscathed and even be hailed as a hero. JdV may still reinvent himself and smell good with the people. C’mon Mr. Speaker, it’s time to abandon Gloria and throw caution to the wind. To finally nail the Arroyos would leave a lasting legacy.

Learn from the boy. What the boy does in his youth makes the man. It maybe a wrong analogy but from the looks of it, Joey has outshone his father. He seems more like a father teaching his son the right thing to do.

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28
Jan
08

PUBLIC SERVICE

An urgent call for help was relayed to e by Fjordan Allego of Hiraya. It concerns a Leukemia patient who is in dire need of blood transfusion. I am publishing here the original request of Kat Cartagena. I appeal to you to please help this young man. Thank you in advance.

“Dear all,

I know u all have busy schedules… Still, we are asking for a little bit of your time. Because our batchmate and friend, Joven Bico is suffering from Leukemia. He already surpassed his first chemo. But he badly needs blood transfusion, any blood type would do. He’s currently at UST hospital, please proceed to UST Blood Bank to donate. We really need your help.

Just contact me, Kat Cartagena (09275160871) and the patient’s brother (09164563828) for any help.

Thank you so much,

Kat”

Please help us… thanks in advance and God bless.

28
Jan
08

Prolonging The Agony

As farmer groups remembered the Mendiola Massacre, twelve Sumilao farmers quietly came to Manila. Days before Christmas the 54-strong Sumilao group went home after Gloria placed their disputed land under the CARP. The farmers vowed to return to Manila if GMA fails to deliver on her promise. SMFI has filed an appeal with the DAR to counter the order. This is the only thing they can do. DAR sec. Pangandaman as we all know has been dragging his ass on this case.

SMFI floated an offer but nothing has come of it. Atty. Marlon Manuel said that they were never approached by SMFI nor a formal offer was made. And the farmers also would also stick to their claim of the disputed land. I am waiting for the case to reach the Supreme Court as the case has evolved and has taken a new dimension. SMFI is banking on Pangandaman but this is only prolonging the inevitable.

SMFI knows only too well that delay is the only thing they can do. Evidences and circumstances are not on their side. The lack of the cease and desist order is giving them a leverage as development continues. They can use this to bargain up to a certain extent. But it is not an assurance that the courts will decide in their favor.

So the fight of the Sumilao farmers is far from over. Time is not on their side. If this case drags on, SMFI might finish construction that could change the entire scenario, A cease and desist order should be issued by DAR, unless of course Pangandaman chooses not to end this quickly. Rumors have it that he cannot simply do so. I would leave it to your inquisitive mind why.

NOTE: A farmer is considered landless if he owns less than three hectares of land.

25
Jan
08

Gloria’s Authoritarian Democracy

We are living in a country under an implied democratic system. Democracy exists only in name. Criticism is considered a crime against the state. The only thing which prevents the government from exposing its dictatorial nature is the perception of the international community. It cannot simply declare itself for fear of international condemnation or the removal of foreign aid.

This practice is common in developing countries which rely on foreign funding. Rarely do we see states declare its government an outright dictatorship. Human rights violations is the norm and the government will impose its will on the people. Unlike in stable and totally free countries, you see free expression suppressed in these states. Outspoken critics are quickly dealt with. More often than not, harassed or silenced to submission.

In countries like ours where our government covertly curtail civil liberties, you will hear of countless rumors which the government itself spreads. In reality, it is the government who destabilizes itself. This is to keep its critics scared shitless and the people wary of the opposition. The military leadership even puts a twist on doctrines to keep its forces in check and make them loyal to a person than to the constitution. Propaganda is normal practice and the government churns out advertisements that make itself feel good and the people somehow content. Notice how many ads this administration runs to paint a picture of stability and instability? They need to do this to confuse and divert the people’s attention from the real issues besetting the nation.

Every so often, the administration and its security chiefs would “leak out” rumors of dreamed up plots to overthrow it. This allows them enough space to maneuver and of course a reason to crackdown on its critics. It relies on the long running insurgencies to conjure up lies and scare the populace into submission. One need not be a rocket scientist to see what the government is up to. They need to rock the boat to keep themselves in power. This practice diverts the blame away from Gloria’s administration and leads to condemnation by the people of GMA’s critics. Its a fairly simple gimmick.

Notice how many retired generals are put back into service in the different agencies of government? This is a practice in dictatorships, civilians are systematically eased out, the few civilians are carefully selected from Gloria’s political allies. Outgoing Civil Service Commissioner blew the lid on Gloria’s transactional politics by exposing her beneficiaries of political paybacks. The bureaucracy is overpopulated with retired military men and unqualified appointees. And these enjoy more benefits than the career employees. They in turn bleed the coffers dry and of course make money out of their stint in government.

Gloria really rocks, not just suck. She rocks the country to stay in power and she sucks our money to feed her insatiable pack. We, the taxpaying public end up shouldering the cost of her gang’s hooliganism. She is one wily individual, often a step ahead. The few times she reacts late, her spin doctors do the dirty work. They subvert the constitution and mock our laws. They rely on their own brand of due process and rule of law, their law.

So is there genuine democracy in the Philippines or an implied one? It is obviously the latter. Gloria sure is learning a lot from her African counterparts. I’ve had comments from nonbelievers that continue to say that there is democracy in our country and compare us to Communist China. These comments come from individuals who reside abroad or maybe Gloria;s paid hacks. Obviously, they do not experience the uneasy air and chilling effect of Gloria’s rule. Elections do not make democracies as they can be manipulated. Freedom to blog does not make democracies, believe me, I’ve had my share of threats. Media do not make democracies as they can easily be threatened or overrun with lies. She must allow us a comfort zone lest the world sees her as a dictator. It is clear she has no intention of stepping down. The Philippines is a democracy only by name, what the people have to learn is to read the fine print which says, “I am Gloria Arroyo and I am here to stay.”

24
Jan
08

Of Witch Hunts, Farmers And Fishermen

AFP chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon has less than a month in office. He is currently lobbying to get an extension. To bolster his bid, he concocts a story about another coup. With his cohorts in the PNP, they create a scenario of an alliance between the plotters and the Left. They placed the date to coincide with the farmers’ march to commemorate the Mendiola Massacre.

So the day came and went. He now comes out to say that they have crushed the threat. He now says that the destabilizers are losing financiers and that the threat is contained. He is now singling out supposed funders of his imaginary coup. To bolster his claim, they arrested five individuals with three rusty, old firearms. Two have been released and the remaining three are facing illegal possession charges instead of rebellion. I did not know that five people and three firearms can launch a coup.

The PNP for its part is going on a fishing expedition. PNP chief Avelino Razon claims that a lady reporter aided escapee, Nicanor Faeldon. Journalists were illegally arrested after the Manila Pen press conference.This set the stage to a confrontation between media and the police. To save face and divert the attention from an impending human rights case, Razon now floats the rumor that a member of the media is a coup supporter.

To create confusion and of course, intimidate the media, Razon, instead of filing appropriate charges refuses to divulge the reporter’s identity. But the Inquirer jumped the gun and named Jiji Press reporter, Dana Batnag. Razon claims she was caught on video by government controlled, RPN 9 cameraman who was covering the incident. The video shows Batnag speaking with Faeldon. So what, she could very well be interviewing Faeldon. Batnag now challenges the PNP and DoJ to file a case against her.

The DoJ’s Raul Gonzalez joined the fray by stating that journalist could be arrested when covering events which involves the military and police. The journalists could be charged with obstruction of justice. You may recall that the journalists’ presence prevented a commission of injustice during the Manila Pen incident. This forced the PNP to arrest the journalists as they foiled what could have been a rubout. The security forces has this habit of claiming a firefight to justify the killing of suspects.

So Gloria’s enchanted is almost complete. She has “farmers” who plant evidences. She has “fishermen” who fishes for suspects. And to intimidate the people, she has witch hunts conducted by her wizards. The longer she stays in office, the more bizarre things happen. We live in dangerous times. We have a government for themselves, of themselves and by themselves. We are mere onlookers, an audience to an unfolding play. We are unwilling riders on Gloria’s train.

Now you and I know very well that to stop the train, one only needs to pull that emergency stop. The problem now is who has the balls to pull that lever? Will it be you or me? Or will it be another unknown hero who will do it for us? But we can always unite and pull that lever at the same time can’t we?

22
Jan
08

Desperation Leads To A Creative Pinoy

*READERS BE WARNED: Portions of this entry may wreak havoc on your senses. Reader discretion is advised.

There was a survey that said that there less Filipinos who think they are poor. Yes they are no longer poor, they are desperate. Filipinos have been known to be creative in times of crises. Filipinos have also been known to love exotic dishes. There are several regions in the Philippines which actual consider bugs, field rodents and other animals as delicacies. That is true in the provinces, but it should never happen in Metro Manila. We all know how germ-filled these critters can be.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and some Filipinos have done just that. I Don’t think that Discovery’s Travel and Living or the Lifestyle channels will ever feature these in their programs. Wolfgang Puck wouldn’t even dare showcase this in his show as well. Even Bizarre Food host, Andrew Zimmern will be put to shame with what some communities consider as food.

Several communities, not just families have resorted to using house roaches, rats and other life forms as their food. Yikes! I have tried crickets and ants, but those I mentioned I would definitely never try. Out of desperation and decreasing opportunities, people even dig up leftovers from trashcans. This is what we call “Pag-pag”. They reheat these thinking it would decontaminate the food. Some have also become enterprising enough and sell these leftovers to poor people like them. Goods that are way off their shelf life are even gobbled up. You can just imagine how desperate these people must be. They have compromised their health and decency in the name of survival.

While Gloria and her gang boasts of a growing economy, why do practices like these continue? GMA says Filipinos are choosy and that is why the jobless continue to grow. There are thousands of jobs out there, but the employers are to blame not the job seekers. The requirements are either too restrictive or applicants do not match the jobs they offer. Corruption and an unstable government continue to shoo away investors. High taxes have also limited the Filipinos’ buying capacity. Tax alone takes away almost half of a worker’s pay. What is worst, despite the high taxation, social services are almost nonexistent.

The cost of living has gone up yet the pay remains low. People now have to resort to the unthinkable just to make ends meet. Children are forced to work to augment the needs of their families. As the country’s population shots up, a holier than thou church continues block birth control programs yet they cannot offer anything concrete to address the problem. Gloria in her fear of being excommunicated has refused to allow NGOs to distributed contraceptives and billions are lost in international aid because of this.

The gap between rich and poor continue to grow. Child labor is on the rise and the poverty situation is worsening. Farm lands are lost to industrialization which has forced the country to import even the most staple of foods. With a government set on mining our country into oblivion, one would wonder if it is all worth it. Fertile fields lay idles, their tillers deprived of the livelihood their forefathers taught them. Subsidy for the agriculture sector is even stolen.

Our fisher folks do not fair better. Our seas are being raided by foreign fishermen with the coastguard unable to do anything. Companies which operate fish and pearl farms have even banned fishing in areas near their operations. I did not know that the bounties of the sea are only for the rich. Mining has ruined our waterways with government doing nothing. In fact, they are in the process of allowing more companies to mine our resources. As if this is not enough, communities around these mines do not benefit from them but are made to suffer and live in toxic environments.

Politicians allow logging in their areas and once lush forest are gone. Some politicians even own these firms. Even forest reserves have been given to these politicians in exchange for their loyalty to the current dispensation. With the bio-fuels law passed, authored by the senator of Maguindanao, our forest will soon disappear only to be replaced by his jatropha. Farmers will definitely plant this as well in the hope that it will give them more earnings. Food supply will be threatened anew.

The Filipinos have been known to be very creative and resilient. I just hope that in desperation, people would not resort to anything like the movie, Soylent Green.

18
Jan
08

Remembering EDSA 2

Ever since the Garci tapes forced me to start blogging, I have never forgotten what Nick Joaquin wrote. It has stuck to me and still people out there continue to deny they where tricked by Mike Arroyo and his gang. Every January as the anniversary of EDSA 2 comes around, I post Mr. Joaquin’s article to open the minds of the unbelievers.

The Arroyos have planned Estrada’s ouster perfectly. They executed the plan to its minutest detail. With the help of corrupt parties and people with vested interests, they succeeded. Allow me not so much to nag you but to show what EDSA 2 was really all about. It was lust and greed for power. It was a once in a lifetime chance for the Arroyos to take down the Philippines.

Seven years of bad luck, that’s what the Arroyos have given us. They have managed to destroy everything in their path. Institutions crumbled and hundreds of lives lost. Leaderless and divided because of distrust and denial, the Filipinos will continue to suffer under the Arroyos’ curse. Here is the article and allow me to once again remind you of how “People Power” and the legacy of EDSA 1 can be destroyed by GREED and LUST.

Credit should go to Mike Arroyo

THIS is a season of remembering those exhilarating days in January last year when Joseph Estrada, accused of betraying the trust of the Filipino people who elected him president, was ousted three years and five months short of his term.

Believing in giving credit to where credit is due, we are reprinting here again excerpts of the interview with Mike Arroyo by the eminent Nick Joaquin on his role in the ouster of Estrada, which paved the way for his wife’s takeover of the presidency. The interview appeared in the March 5, 2001 issue of Philippine Graphic.

“She had really left the Cabinet at the right moment: the timing was perfect. If she had tarried a moment longer, she would have been too late for EDSA: she would have made it there as an opportunist. And as for the ill-feeling in Metro Manila, we tackled that by going back to the door-to-door campaign: she went from barangay to barangay explaining her motives, outlining her program. And it worked. Then came the impeachment trial, and from there, tuloy-tuloy na.

“There was a time honestly, when I felt I erred in advising her to resign from the Cabinet. The masa in Manila apparently wanted her to stick it out with Erap. And when she started attacking him, everything fell on us – grabe!- everything! But I told myself: it’s now or never; if we lose here we’re totally destroyed and it’s goodbye to her political career – but if we win here, she becomes President! So we really fought.

“We got all those Erap tapes from Ramon Jacinto and distributed them all over. We bought one million and a half million copies of Pinoy Times to give away so the public could read about the Erap mansions and bank accounts.

“And when EDSA happened, we texted everybody to go running there. EDSA, EDSA: everybody converge on EDSA! Panalo kung panalo. Patay kung patay! Jinggoy had already announced what they would do to us if they won.

“Chavit Singson had Plan B involving elements of the military to strike the first blow. They would kindle the spark by withdrawing from the government, and one by one others would follow: Class ’71 would also withdraw, then Class ’72, and so forth. But General de Villa warned that the timing had to be precise because one untimely move against the government and the military would automatically defend it. The move must be made at what De Villa called a ‘defining moment.’

“You see, General De Villa had his Plan A, which was better than ours, because his was focused on the Chief of Staff and the Service Commanders. At past one o’clock p.m. January 20, Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes defected but we knew that already the night before, when negotiations had lasted until the small hours. By past 2 a.m. we knew Reyes had been convinced to join. His only condition was: Show us a million people on EDSA so it will b easier to bring in the service commanders.

“And they asked when the crowd was thickest; we told them: from three to five in the afternoon. So they agreed to come to EDSA at around that time. But while hiding in their safehouse, they got reports that General Calimlim could not be located and their first thought was: “He’s out looking for us!” So they decided to rush to EDSA right away. When they got there, why there too at the Shrine was Calimlim! He had been looking for them all right, but join to join them, not to arrest them!

“Our group there was a back-up strike force. In fact, it was our group that won over to our side the PNP first. If Panfilo Lacson had resisted, he and his men would have been repelled: there would have been bloodshed, but not on EDSA. In every place where Erap loyalists had a force, we had a counter-force to face it, with orders to shoot. And not only in Metro Manila. Carillo had already been sent to the provinces; and in Nueva Ecija, for instance, we had Rabosa. This was a fight to the finish. That’s why those five days that Erap was demanding were so important. He was counting on counter-coups and baliktaran.

“I was negotiating with Pardo up to three o’clock in the morning: niloloko lang pala kami. But I told him point-blank: “If by six o’clock this morning you haven’t given us the resignation letter, we will storm the gates of Malacañang!’ But they insisted on more talk: with De Villa up front, and my back channel debate with Pardo, which even became a three-way contest, with Buboy Virata pitching in.

“But the threat to march to Malacañang was for real. And so was the danger of bloodshed. I wasn’t telling Gloria everything: I didn’t want her alarmed. So she didn’t know about the orders to shoot.”

But then of course Gloria would have know too. There was a script to be followed for the plan to succeed. It was a partnership, they are partners in crime. To this day, the partners continue to rape the country and bleed the people dry. Revolutions need not be bloody. Let’s be creative. Civil disobedience is one and nationwide strike is another. Let’s not be apathetic. This is the only country we have. It’s about time we start loving it. I hope this will enlighten you and finally convince you of the evils behind EDSA 2.




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